Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Not an halpless woman anymore-Article published in HuffintonPost India.

This Article was first published in HuffingtonPost India.
It was 6.30 in the evening but it looked as if it was midnight. I was sitting on the night bus from Guwahati ISBT bus stop to my hometown in Arunachal Pradesh. My sister and I were visiting home after nearly a year, and naturally we were excited. I had always liked this bus drive to my hometown. I knew I would be fast asleep in sometime and with the first ray of sunlight, I would be home--sipping the early morning tea with my father and brother.
I woke up in the middle of night as I felt something on my leg. I looked down to find someone's hand on my leg. I was shocked. There was a guy sleeping in-between the isle and it was his hand. I was alarmed for a second. Were his intentions nasty or was he an innocent soul accidentally touching my feet? It could be either so I gave him the benefit of the doubt and removed my leg quietly.
I dozed-off again only to be woken up with a tingle on my thigh. It was again some hand hunting for something. I knew it was the same guy. I knew very well now that he was not a poor soul as I had earlier thought. I was annoyed at myself for not warning him at the first place. I knew he was the culprit, but do I have the guts to speak up for myself? I wasn't sure. My sister, all this while, was sleeping besides me, blissfully unaware of the turn of events.
Molestation like this is not the first I have experienced in my ten years of life as a single woman living on her own. In fact, this was the nth time I was touched without my permission. Be it the man rubbing his private parts against me in the MTC bus in Chennai or the man rubbing his elbow on my neck in Varanasi. I was always too ashamed to talk about such incidents. I have cried alone in my bathroom after the excruciating pain caused by the biker on a moving bike who hit my breasts in Bangalore city. I was embarrassed enough not to mention my agony and anger to my roommate or family for that matter. I have crushed, abused, yelled at the culprit in private, in the safety of my room, but never on his face. I was too scared to do that. What if he turns back and does something even more dangerous? What will the people around me think of it? Will I be portrayed as "Just another helpless girl crying for attention?" What if nobody helps me? It would be humiliating. My throat had always dried-up at the thought of it. I have never spoken a word about the humiliation and the mental trauma I have gone though all these years, something that always made me feel guilty--guilty of not standing up for myself.
That night, it was yet another incident in my long list of abuses by strangers. I looked down at the guy with the light of my mobile phone. He was acting as if he was fast asleep, which he wasn't. The light of the mobile phone was flashing on his face but he was daring enough to keep his hand still on my thigh. I alerted my sister about it. She gave me a look "What are you going to do about it?"
I didn't know what happened to me at that moment. I took out my slipper and started slapping this guy's face left, right and centre. I felt rebellious as if someone has set me free. I'd had enough of these jerks. I thought that this guy would wake up horrified and apologise for his deeds. To my utter shock he didn't. He shoved my hand as if I am some mosquito dancing over his face. He was obviously unaffected by my rage at him.

My sister and I were staring at him in disbelief. He was least bothered by our presence. We were the physically weak human beings trying to take on a 'Man'! We were the weak species called 'Women'. It was our fault that we travel alone in a bus without the security of a male companion. This was bound to happen. 'Men will always be Men'. We shouldn't have ventured out in the dark.
His overconfidence irritated me beyond words. What I did next was unbelievable for my own standards. I got down from my seat and gave him a real hard kick at his private part. YES! I did that. The guy finally woke up and curled himself in pain abusing me in Assamese. I was least bothered. I'd had enough of the nuisances of these monsters leaching on woman as and when it pleases them. I landed another kick on him. His voice grew louder waking up few of the fellow passengers. Before they could do anything this guy leaped into the driver's cabin.
People asked me "What Happened?", "What he did he do to you?" I narrated the incident to them without being bothered if i would be judged. I wasn't scared to speak up anymore or if someone will stand up for me. I went to my seat secretly hoping this guy would come up and confront me for trashing him in the most painful way. I waited for the next five minutes, ten minutes and fifteen minutes. Nobody came. I slowly drifted in the arms of sleep not before the bus stopped at a location and I saw the guy getting down from the bus. I had a smile on my face.
Confrontation was not that difficult as I had imagined. It was rather easy. I felt much at ease. I was not a hapless woman anymore!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Thailand: A Backpacker's Paradise.

You know what they say "you have not backpacked enough if you haven't been to Thailand". 
True to the gentleman who said that. 
How much ever you read about this country is less untill you visit them.

                                                          A day in the life of Patong.

One disclaimer you need to keep in mind, any city in Thailand looks different during the day and dramatically switches itself to be the nightlife capital of the world with the last setting ray of sunlight. Patong was one such glorious town. We got to know about that later on. we were on a mission to take the day as it comes and had not booked any accommodation beforehand. We hunted for a backpacker friendly accommodation suiting our pockets and settled for "Silverresortel" hotel for 700 Thai baht a day, an affordable and cosy property two minutes walk away from the beach. We were two hungry souls devoid of food from the past 12 hours, we decided to be little easy on our wallets and settled for the scrumptious breakfast buffet available at the hotel. Vegetarians travelling to this part of the world need not worry about the food habits as you will get numerous Indian restaurants offering the humble Daal-chawl, Aalo paratha or Masala Chai without robbing you off your bank accounts.

After cat-napping for a while, we headed out to refill our stomach for lunch at a roadside restaurant with the modest Pad Pak Bung Nam Man Hoy (stir fried morning glory), Pad See Eiu (wide rice noodles), Gai Pad King (ginger with Boneless chicken) served with white rice and few rounds of Long island and Cosmopolitan. Yeah, we had no intentions to wait till the evening to quench our thirst.

Though we were backpacking, it was extremely difficult to be in the shopping paradise of the world and do not shop! Our motto was not to shop but it became shop till you drop and then shop! There is so much to shop and such drop dead gorgeous prices! Bikinis, Maxi’s or accessories, you name it, they have it! Thailand is indeed a shopper paradise! Now, if you are in Patong or anywhere in Thailand for that matter, always bargain with the shopkeeper and quote one third of the offered price. Follow this golden rule and trust me, it works every single time.

After doing so much of hard work it was bound for us to head towards one of those tempting spas! We opted for a relaxing foot spa at one of the roadside massage parlours and if you remember the rules mentioned above, bargain on the rates. We got an hour of foot spa at just 200 Thai baht! It was such a steal!

 The sunset was enjoyed in full glory while lazing around on the beautiful beaches of Patong gorging on yummy chicken satay as a side dish was supplied by one of the beach side restaurant shacks. When you are in Thailand, eat like a local, drink like a local and make merry “like a local."

We had our dinner at the Patong night market and the menu included delectable Por Pia Tord (Fried spring rolls), Gaeng Garee Gai (Yellow curry with chicken), Pla Pao (Grilled fish), basil fried chicken, Khao Phat (Fried rice) and Itim Kati (Coconut Ice cream) for deserts.
If you are thinking that we called it a day after dinner; Hell! No! We did not! Our Thai rendezvous had just begun! As we were impulsive in our travel plans, we didn't have the slightest clue what Patong nightlife was all about unless the walking street decided to amaze us. It was bright, loud and flashy everywhere, something for which Thailand is known for and shall always be!

Travelled from: Bangalore
Airlines: Airasia(cheap and best)
Currency: Thai Bhat
Travel time: Any time of the year.
Sightseeing: Mainly the beach and Islands nearby.
Must do: The road side pancake stalls and the street food.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Book Review: Gone Girl.

I am going to make a confession: Thriller is not my genre. I am more of Nicolas Sparks and Richard Branson type of reader, not to mention Chetan Bhagat. 
I am also passing through a phase where I want to read vintage classic piece like Charles Dicknes, Thomas Hardy et al. Having said that, I picked up Gone Girl because of the sheer media attention it was enjoying and offcourse the movie. Gone Girl is everywhere. Ben Affleck will be competing with Shah Rukh khan in Indian theatre this festive season; I thought why not finish the book before that and I am glad I did that. The book later make me sit all night and finish it in one go. It was a fun read for a person like me who most of the time chooses to read happy-go-lucky type stories. Yup! You get it, Gone Girl is a dark, Sadist and Physio kind of book and not every one’s cup of tea.
Gone Girl is the story of a husband-wife myridly bored with their married lives. Nick Dunne a sports journalist with one of the New York famous magazines swiped Amy Elliot off her feet; the drop dead gorgeous author of the Nation's best seller "Amazing Amy". And like it always happens, the relationship was all coy and rosy untill that unfaithful day when Amazing Amy suddenly disappears from her home. 
Nick Dunne was suspected of murdering his wife and all the evidences were pointing fingers at him. But the question is ‘Did he really murder his wife?
The plot of the book is gripping not to mention the highly addictive storyline. Gone girl is a kind of book which will make you question the faith of life and relationships; at times forcing you to believe that the faith of every relationship is same. It is a book which once again proves a man inability(read every men) to read his wife’s head. It also enlighten the  fact that not only man but women also possess ego’s somewhere deep inside them, most of the time they are not aware of its presence. But someone like Amy Elliot is not ignorant.
Above of all, if you get impressed by the shear good reviews of this book and the movie, lemme warn you, this book might make you question the faith in humankind.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The descendance of god "The new iphone".

Disclaimer: this blog is for humor purpose and I don't have any intention to hurt the feeling of "iphone" lovers.

I woke late to this day of utmost importance, not that I was crashing in some drain from the last night hangover. I have a habit of over sleeping unless my back starts hurting or I am shit hungry. I was ignorant of the mind boggling fact that the world was about to change today, for better or worse. It was bright sunny Wednesday like another day with the same old traffic, same old work life. It was just another day for me until I realized it wasn't.

I sat on my desk munching on the Apple( I mean the fruit here, calm down!), which I had bought from "Bigbasket" and switched on my computer. Now you and me are secretly aware of the fact that nobody in today's world starts working unless they have scanned there Facebook timeline for the day. You never know what precious information will you miss in those eight hours of sleep you had last night. Its very difficult to catch up with the fast moving life of today's and Facebook as we all know is the new newspaper.

The facebook login page was right in front of me and I entered my username and password. I was blissfully unaware of the fact that my world was about to change in the new few seconds. I pressed the login button on the page displayed and Hallelujah! what the hell just happened?! The world  indeed has change in the past few hours. People across the globe were screaming, shouting, howling and bursting in tears of joy that the god has finally descended on this planet and they felt extremely humbled and grateful to be alive and healthy to witness this moment of true significance. The god was named by my fellow humans as "iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 plus".

Hmmm...iphone?!! I grumbled. What a strange name this god has got as if all the other names are banned? Till yesterday we had gods like ganeshji, shivji, Jesus Christ, Allah and many other with such beautiful and meaningful names but and in today's world its called an "iphone"? Really? how sad is that for a god to have a name like that?!

I crushed my luck and fate for again missing such an moment of historic and godly importance; the previous one? when ganesh ji had started drinking milk all over the country. Don't believe me, ask any of your Indian friends! you will get the whole story.

 My disappointment knew no bounds. I apologized to the dear god "iPhone" for my ignorance and started to Google out other pages on the internet to gain some more information about our new god! I browsed the pages of news websites, blog pages and twitter reactions, all of them were talking about this god but the discussions seemed to be like praising the features of a mobile phone unlike the divine qualities of a god which we all knew.

I couldn't take up this feeling of guilt and confusion anymore. I decided to check up with my friends and colleagues in a hope to find out if there are any other "humans"on this planet as ignorant as me, until i realized there were none. I was the most stupidest, dumbest and non tech savvy person of this century. The apple I was eating ( I mean the fruit, again) fell from my hands, my blood seems to freeze in my veins and my heart beat decreased. The god everyone is busy talking about since yesterday is indeed a "Phone" and not some new god descending from heaven or as shown in our bollywood movies. holy crap!

Is there a rumor again that world is ending in November 2014? I whispered to my colleague who was wearing a high power reading glasses and was busy reading the pages of mashable, huffington post, new york times and many more to gain as much information on this newly launched "phone".

His eyes were still glued on the monitor but he answered "Not that I know, why are you asking that?

Because everyone is going gaga over the mere launch of a phone, as if they have nothing else to do. I muttered munching on my last bite of the Apple(fruit again) which I could afford. Today its an "Apple" phone, tomorrow it will be a "Blackberry" phone? what's the big deal anyway?!

Pardon me! my colleague turned his face away from the monitor and look up to me. A look which was enough to freeze what ever blood I had left in my body. What did you just said can you repeat that? he fumed. For your information sweetheart its not just another phone, its an "iPhone". he screamed out loud. People like you have no idea how significant this day is! I have been anxiously waiting since last year for the launch of this "iPhone" and in fact have mortgaged my car to buy this gadget of a lifetime. He snatched tissue from my hand to wipe that droplet of tears flinking from the corner of his eyes. I want October 17 to come soon when this model debuts in India. I am so excited. I hope to the first person in my friend circle to own this phone. You don't know what this means to me. Its not just a phone, its proves my cool and trendy status in this society. He gleed in perfection with all his teeths smiling in union.

You do? I murmured while getting my senses back. I just have one question "Can this phone allows me to make a call to the real "god" the one we actually believes descends from heaven?!

Daaaa! its an iPhone! you cant talk about it like that! you are hurting my feelings by demeaning this glorious piece of handset and an "essence of me". Shut upOk?!

I am sure it is darling till the day some other "phone" decides to rule the market!

Until then! its not  just a phone its an "iphone". Remember that!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Why shut Down an entire city?

Disclaimer: It's my personal opinion I have no intentions to hurt anyone's sentiments. 
Ladies and Gentleman! You must be aware by now that Bangalore city is shut down today in protest of a rape incident of a 6 year old child in her own school. My heart goes to the victim and her family, her pain is beyond mine or your imagination and no words of wisdom will soothen her trauma. 
As a personal opinion,  I want the victim to be hanged till death or castrated for life. Unless we introduce tough laws in our legal system and create fear(yes, I mean that) this shit thing will not stop. As I write this blog someone, somewhere is getting raped. It's a spine chilling fact of our so called moral and ethical society.

Having said that, I don't understand why shut down an entire city?! Please explain this to me. How will disrupting the entire public machinery will bring justice to a victim when our Honourable chief Minister exclaims "Is this the only issue the public has to talk about". How does a observing a bandh and staying indoors will protect us from the "prospective rapes" when the budget allocated for women's safety by our new prime minister is just Rs. 200 crore? How does a Bangalore bandh helps in protecting the modesty of hundreds and thousands of women in this country when the judgement of Nirbhaya rape case is still pending and the rapist of this 6 year old toddler are still looming at large?
We are silently protesting against this heinous act of crime can be one argument. Is that really the case or my fellow Bangalorians have already planned there extended gateways to some exotic locations. Long weekend you know! The local liquor shop near my house last evening was  flooded as if there is no tomorrow. The handful of open restaurants have ran out of there famous grill chicken stocks. Too many orders Ma'am, the receptionist snuffle over the phone. My friends ping me "Why are you working today"? We have holiday at our office.What kind of sad organization you work for? Poor you.
I don't feel that a Bandh is a wise solution for critical issues like Rape and Violence against women. What we need in today’s time are tougher laws and assurance from our government that such criminal cases will not go unnoticed instead of the insensitive and irresponsible remarks by our learned politicians often chief Ministers. Stop encouraging “Boys will be boys phenomenon” and a diktak of does and don’t for women. ­These innovative measures will not improve our image as "Rape capital" of the world.
It’s wrong to say that we don’t have laws; it’s just that our laws are not strong enough. The Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013 introduced by the former Congress government in a hurry to hide their face in the aftermaths of Nirbhaya Rape case debacle has more loopholes than practical solutions.
Few of the examples,
1. Acid attacks-as per the current law the punishment for acid attacks is imprisonment not less than ten years but which may extend to imprisonment for life and with fine which shall be just and reasonable to meet the medical expenses and it shall be paid to the victim(source-wikipedia). Did you ever met any acid attack victim in your life? Did you notice there burnt face or scar? There whole life is spoiled if they are spared alive. If they die, well and good; if they survive they live a life worse than hell. Is this law sufficient in the current from? Can it heal the permanent scar on their soul. No, it can't.
2. Any mention about marital rape in the above law? Nope, there's none. That terminology doesn't exist for in our cultural society. A married woman is supposed to have intercourse with her "Pati Parmeshwar" with or without her wish. She doesn't have a say and that's the noble cause she is born for. It's high time and already too late to introduce marital rape laws in our judicial system. 
3. There is no mention of Juvenile rapes in the current law. What if a 16 year old rapes someone? Isn't he liable for rigorous punishment if he can rape or should we let him roam freely on the roads to rape someone else when he grows up? 

It’s time for some bold and harsh decisions and it better be quick. The clock is ticking. As far as these bandhs are concerned, it is nothing but "just chilling" at the expense of someone’s trauma and pain. 
We should hang our head in shame.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Signing off 2013!

Like any other, year 2013 is also getting over in the next few minutes, and what a year it was!
I never had such a rollarcaster year in my lifetime. A year which taught me the toughest life lessons which I wouldn't have understood otherwise.

Save money and and secure your future is a myth, someone has rightly said, "Paisa haat ka maiil hota hai"! I used to work in one of the leading media houses in the country, got a fixed salary and like any other person  was supposed to make a future in the media industry and get married.

For the longest time, I was confused about what I actually want out of my life. It was damm cool to have my employer name in my resume but did it actually gave me satisfaction, I didn't knew yet.

The stories of great men/women, their hardships and achievements have always inspired me. Its hard for me to count the number of times I have watched "Social Network" or read the entire series of Rashmi Bansal books(Stay hungry stay foolish, Connecting the dots, Poor little rich slum, Follow the rainbow) or admire Oprah winfrey and Richard Branson, needless to say it had a long lasting effect on me. The hidden desire to flash your card as "Bitch, I am the CEO(Mark Zuckerberg)" were make sound loud enough in my head to give me sleepless nights.

For the first few days, I thought I have gone crazy, I can't do something of my own. Doing big-big things are for big shots, that's what we usually think right? I checked my bank account, it barely had any savings! My salary was majorly spent on paying house rent and maintaining my daily life,It was hard for me establish  a company with the few thousands I could save.

The usual advice I could get from people around me "Save money, get married, raise kids then do whatever you want". My brain revolted, "Do you seriously want to save money and pursue your passion to become an Entrepreneur later in life? Today I am earning Rs. 1, tomorrow it will be Rs. 10, will it be that easy for me to quit my job then and start fresh knowing the handsome pay cheque I take home every month? What about the numerous risk evolved in entrepreneurship, who knows how the economy will be 10-15 years down the memory lane? How can I forget I am still an Indian girl who is expected to follow my husband's wishes and commands after marriage?! what if he doesn't agree? who knows what will happen then, I don't even know if I will be alive tomorrow?!

After spending crazy number of days and months brainstorming, I finally got the courage and decided "Screw it, lets do it!( quote and book by Richard Branson, Founder Virgin Group). That was the time when I founded my first startup "Streetseven.com" an e-store for lingerie was launched in January 2013. Too much of hard work, energy and wrong market study, the company boomed in few months!

Disappointment, Dejection and a sense of failure had grouped me in, a bleak future was staring right in my face. One of my mentor had told me once "Roli its easy to fail but much harder to bounce back! the real fight is to start it all over again and knowing you have already failed once. Failure will make you stronger and confident enough to beat the shit out of every tough situation or a "chicken", you will never think about it again in your lifetime.

It was one such day, while staring at the fan in my room and thinking about the reasons why I failed over a 100th time, I decided to take a break and go somewhere away and out of Bangalore. During my self exile-vacation, these random thoughts were passing my mind "What if I had a job which allows me to travel and  discover these unexplored destinations every single day", It would have been so nice! Travelling had been another hobby of mine.

Suddenly like that mentos advertisement, one bulb glow in my mind, "What If I convert this idea as to launch my second startup"? what if I failed once? I am not the first and last person afterall to fail on this earth, how difficult it would be to do so?

And that's how after planning and ideation for few months, its time for me to launch my second startup "NORTHEASTRVELLER",(earlier Travelcoholic) our quest to help travelers discover the amazing "seven sisters", northeast India.
Our destinations lie in these seven states with untouched beauty, vibrant culture, uncover ancient traditions, indulge in the local cuisine around a bonfire and discover centuries of civilization never known before to you.

At the stroke of midnight, as I introduce "Northeastraveller"(http://www.northeastraveller.com/) to you its my faith that Nothing is Impossible in this world except your determination and if there is will, there is definitely a way out!

Wishing you a very Happy and Prosperous New Year!


Friday, October 18, 2013

That Rose girl!

I vaguely remember her face, she was a little girl of 11-12 years of age, shabby uncombed hair, a worned out frock to cover on her and she wore plastic chappals, I guess. I didn't know her name.

She was the girl everyone knew on Brigade road here in Bangalore. she used to sell Bundle of roses to the passersby. She was "The Rose girl".

She was there every evening, standing outside the Levis showroom, smiling  face as always with a bundle of rose in her hand. The roses were her bread and butter and she was a tiny Entreprenuer in true spirits. she very well knew how to sell her product.

I had came across her many times on Brigade road, she never asked me to buy roses from her. She never asked any girl to buy her roses. she catches the guys instead. she will very sweetly held the guys hand and say "Bhaiya ye roses apni girlfriend ke liye le lo"! It used to be an embarrassing situation for the guy, either the girl is his "girlfriend or girlfriend in making" and he had to buy roses to impress her. at times the guy used to refuse once or twice but they eventually gave in. how can somebody say  "No" to such a cute little girl, the roses weren't expensive and she had perfectly played the "girlfriend card"! Masterstroke!Girls loved the sight of the rose girl, they secretly wished their guys buy roses for them(we all love rose,choclates and  gifts isn't it?!) Rose girl was the secret cupid for many of the buding romances.

I don't see her nowadays. not sure where did she disappear or what happened to her. Everytime I pass brigade road-Levis showroom pavement it reminds me of her. The sight of The Rose girl was a delight for many passerby by.It was a matter of fact that she had a hard life, I always wondered about her story. I knew it wasn't a happy one orelse she wouldn't been here. I have no idea where is she today or what happened to her. Ours is a big bad world and she was a tiny little girl.I hope she grew up as a beautiful young girl, full of energy and her life is as smooth as it can get. That rose girl!