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Table for One

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“So you took yourself on a date?”
“Yes.”
“But aren’t you seeing someone?”
“I am.”
“I don’t get you. Did you guys have a fight?”
“No.”
“Is there anything wrong?”
“Not a thing.”
“You’re weird.”
“I know.”

I exit the Whatsapp chat and put my phone down. Sit back and look around. Sitting alone on the central sofa for 5 gives me a clear 360-degree view of people around me.
Two couples on my right. A mother and her daughter on the left. An incessantly loud teenage group in a far side corner. A corporate collective of 3 behind me. And 3 waiters behind the counter with one manager at the billing area.
In a room full of allies and acquaintances, I choose my own company today.
The waiter comes in with a double shot espresso whipped cream and a plate of cookies. All for me. Yes, I’m pampering myself today.
Not because of the lack of company,
But
Because I deserved my own companionship today than anyone else’s.

Eyes stare. Lips mumble. Eyebrows raise. Some shift from their seats.
But I’m at my comfortable best.

Tell me what it takes to lighten up your own porch?
Tell me what it takes to fill the empty vase with your favorite flowers?
Tell me what it takes to climb the ceiling and change that annoying flickering light?
Tell me what it takes to seal your wounds with a kiss?
Tell me what it takes to dress up one random day and look your best?
Tell me what it takes to be, just, happy?

Surprisingly, it only takes YOU.

So I take a sip from my shake, lick the whipped cream with my bare tongue and take a crispy bite of the cookie.

My lips descend into an upward curve as my eyes roll horizontally around the interiors of the posh cafe.
I plug in my headphones and play my track.

“Ho khud se roobaru, mann darpan tak le tu…”
The evening rest, a bliss.
I’m the best person I’ve met in a while.

The guide to an Introvert’s heart

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The next time you want to ask an introvert
About why they don’t talk much,
Please understand that there’s
A monologue running in our mind,
Of a perspective that you can’t find.
The next time you click your fingers
In front of an introvert’s eyes,
Please accept that we have a world of our own,
A world of characters that we built
While pretending to stare at our phone.
The next time you want to invite an introvert
For a gathering with more than one person
Please acknowledge that we are awkward
Because we are afraid that our story
Might have more than one version.
The next time you question an introvert
About why they are glued to a book
Nestled in the quietest corner,
Don’t assume that we choose solitude,
Because we are much more than a mourner.
The next time you force an introvert
To come for a party for indulgence
Please know that we have silent conversations
With animals which are our kind of divulgence.
The next time you spot an introvert
Lost in thought all by themselves,
For a change, notice how we observe
Things, people and secrets buried behind shelves.
The next time you date an introvert,
Take us to museums and planetariums,
To places that are yet to be discovered
Even though there’s a fat chance,
We already had it uncovered.
But most importantly,
The next time you try to make a conversation
With an introvert,
Give us time, as you wait at the outstation,
Because when we let someone in,
We let them get through our skin.

Facebook Marketing Essentials We All Must Know!

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Well!! Everyone knows about Facebook nowadays. Facebook is becoming our niche requirement like ‘ROTI KAPDA OR MAKAAN’! Now you shall wonder why I am saying this, because now most people have an account on Facebook and they regularly check for the updates and what’s going on in the world. Some people are very crazy about it. From a morning selfie to the good night greeting, they update everything. But has anyone ever wondered how Facebook survives?

Here, you will know how Facebook earns & survives. Facebook is the world’s largest social media platform. Facebook is earning revenue from its Ads. So, what is Facebook Ads? Facebook is providing a facility to build your brand and grow your business on the platform of Facebook. Obviously, Facebook does not believe in charity!

Facebook provides basic facilities like, setting up your account; create your business page, and give ideas for more reach. All this is absolutely free of cost! Now, the question is if Facebook provides this kind of facilities for free, then why do we need Facebook ads?

Facebook Ads can help you grow your business by reaching right targeting audience. Facebook has the potential to give results in a very short period of time. As the old saying goes, “High investment, High returns!”

If you wish to create a brand in a short period of time you need to pay Facebook tremendously high. In return, it will reach out to more Facebook users which ultimately mean that it is reaching more people resulting in higher awareness.

Next question is how to pay Facebook? Facebook will charge you for the Ads which you have created on their website. Facebook can provide you the multiple options for the Ads like ‘Brand Awareness’, ‘Lead Generation’, ‘Conversion’, ‘Shopping’ and many more. You can select any Ad set to promote your business and be sure that it MUST be it relevant!

Now the answer of the question is Facebook can take money for running the Ad set on behalf of the brand and reach to the target base audience. From the Facebook ads, Facebook will generate its revenue & it is extremely popular because of its promotional activities for the business.  Facebook Marketing is indeed becoming a major business and it is gradually increasing to promote brand online, compared to traditional marketing. So go on and make your brand popular!!

 

A GIFT FOR ALL

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It was yet another Saturday morning. And like most of those that I had lived through happily, I was expecting a lazy yet fulfilling weekend. As I sat down for my breakfast, I heard a distant loud chatter, which was quite unusual given the limited number of homes in my colony and the private lives everyone loved to lead there.

I finally gave into my curiosity and stepped up from the sofa to see what could have possibly turned my quiet neighborhood into a chirpy one. At a distance, I saw a strange face with an even stranger background. With a bulky and muscular physique that clearly established that he was a gym freak, the stranger was wearing shorts and sleeveless white vest. But that wasn’t what bewildered me! What actually left me clueless was a pile of identical axes that were dumped on the ground while he was holding one in his hand.

My curiosity had peaked and hence, I put on my slippers and walked toward the commotion. As the distance grew shorter, I could hear what the stranger was saying. Surprisingly, he was offering the axes to everyone for free. More than that, he was insisting that everyone should have at least one axe. My neighbours tried to ask him more questions behind this generous act, but he only said that it would help them sooner or later. One by one, they gave in.

A message chimed in my phone. I had totally forgotten about meeting my friend today. He had texted asking when I’d come to his home. I replied hurriedly and went back to home, finished my breakfast and left for his home.

An hour and a half later, I walked back to my home. On the way, a little far outside the main gate of my colony, I was surprised to see the same guy offering more axes to the neighbouring society. What was even weirder that he had somehow persuaded them to form a circle with those axes on the ground by stumping them one by one next to each other.

The pile grew shorter as they went on to make that unfathomable circle of axes. As the circle neared completion, there were only 3 axes left on the ground. The neighborhood residents completed the axe circle with the third last one.

As the guy saw me, he remembered I was too busy to take the axe when I last saw him. He approached me with the second last axe in his hand with a smile and offered it to me. I took a step back, I don’t know why a sudden rush of fear ran through me. But he continued to approach with the same, amiable smile. I relented. After I couldn’t argue anymore, I took the axe, said my thank yous and started walking for my home.

After walking about 10 steps, the stranger picked up the last axe and turned towards me. But what I saw was a totally different scene altogether now. He was no longer the friendly, cheerful face that I saw in the morning. His eyes were bloodshot and face had turned red, as if consumed with rage.

With a raised axe, he charged at me, yelling, ‘Now no one can say I didn’t give them a chance.’

Every day is Father’s Day

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Since the time I used to sleep on his plump belly, till now when I fit into his clothes and shoes – a lot has changed.

Since the time he used to give me a ride on his shoulders, till now when he freaks out every time I give him a ride in the car – a lot has changed.

I have been his look-alike ever since I was born into this beautiful world, and in his warm and wholesome home that he built with hard work, determination, dedication and above all, innumerable heartwrenching sacrifices.

He always brims over with happiness and pride at all my big and small achievements. And I know he sheds more tears than me at my failures, grief and sickness.

He inspires me at every waking moment and teaches me a lot even without trying or intending to do so. I know his pampering has spoilt me, but who’s complaining here?

He has raised me to be a strong, smart and independent woman that I am today. He helped me unfold my wings and take a fearless flight in the infinite sky of possibilities.

I can’t describe in words the humongous influence he has in my life, my own words betray me.
Today is no more special than any other day I spend with him.

Every day is Father’s Day. 🙂

Virtues From Fiction

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THAT FOUGHT FOR ITS CREATOR FROM INJUSTICE!

I watched a documentary film few days back. The title of the film was “Batman & Bill”.

The film is about a person named Marc, who, like so many of us, is a huge fan of DC Comics’ most popular superhero – THE BATMAN!

Marc at some point comes across the fact (which he does make it prove as the film progresses), that the real man behind the creation of our beloved cape crusader is not Bob Kane, as so many of us have known him to be for decades!

In the earlier parts of the film, he is shown doing some really deep studies and collecting evidences to substantiate the fact as to who was the true creator of BATMAN.

Some groundbreaking revelations follow. And it’s completely transparent by now, that the real man behind creation of Batman is not Bob Kane, but Bill Finger!

Of course, I’m not here to discuss the proceedings shown in the film. So to cut the long story short, a long and an emotionally painful struggle to get Bill Finger the highly deserved recognition and credit ensues which after long time, pays off!

What got me was, the person who initiated this – Marc!

There are Millions of Batman fans globally. But how does Marc actually prove himself to be the biggest or rather, the most loyal fans among all, to actually inculcate the virtues of Batman and implementing them?

Let’s delve into the origins of Batman/Bruce Wayne (his real identity) a little.

When Bruce was a young boy he witnessed the tragic murder of his parents, by the criminal Joe Chill, late one night after leaving a theatre. This was the foundation of BATMAN. In the years to come, he made sure, nobody else shared the tragic fate as he did back then, or for that matter, any injustice whatsoever!

And that was also the path that Marc walked upon no matter how time-consuming and painful it was! All he could see and feel was the injustice Bill Finger and his family had to suffer! This is what moved me!

I was constantly questioning myself whilst the movie was being played.

Questions like how would someone, who has nothing to do with the victims of injustice, give them his/her precious time, energy and focus so wholeheartedly and unconditionally?! It was never that Marc had no responsibilities and Work.

Questions like how can a person go so much beyond limits (mentally, here, as to bring forth those shocking evidences)?

I was going to have one of the biggest insights I had in a long time!

Since I’m a huge Batman devotee myself, the answers didn’t take much time to come.

The immortal virtues of Batman, the ones that Christopher Nolan (one can add Hans Zimmer’s share too) transcended to an unimaginable high through “The Dark Knight Trilogy” hit me heavily!

Dialogues like:

“Batman has no limits” (The Dark Knight-2008)

“It’s not who I’m underneath, but what I do that defines me” (Batman Begins-2005)

“A hero can be anyone, even a man doing something as simple and reassuring  as putting a coat around a young boy’s shoulders to let him know that the world hadn’t ended” (The Dark Knight Rises-2012)

Marc’s extraordinary pursuit was now understandable. The questions were all answered. He was actually “Batman-the dark knight” in true sense for the deceased Bill Finger survived by his family!

I realized, what looked like an abnormal behavior initially, a behavior that is a complete converse (and often mocked upon) of a personality which is a result of our materialistic, narcissistic and selfish surroundings, now looked completely normal and more importantly, just, from the virtual viewpoint of Batman!

What if, Marc just like so many others showed his apathy to this cause?

It made me believe that an individual’s indifference to someone’s grievance (when he/she can liberate the victim from a person/situation) is equally bad as the injustice the victim is suffering from, if not worse.

Or let’s assume that he was not indifferent to the cause, but only sympathized with the victims like so many of us, who share our sympathies on various public domains and gatherings. And as time passes, the sympathy and the emotion (if even real at all) gets faded in our routine.

Sympathy is good, but things don’t stop there. It’s not the end, it’s the start!

And that’s what exactly Marc displayed! He did sympathize with the victims. But he went ahead, took the next step and worked on how he can help the victims. Even if it meant working out of his comfort zone or limits!

That’s what BATMAN has always been all about!

On that note, one can imagine the power of fiction and its impact on our lives as individuals! (Not to include the Twilight saga!)

For instance, when Harry Potter asks Professor Dumbledore as to why didn’t the Sorting Hat put him into Slytherin but Gryffindor even when he possessed the traits of the former. That’s when Dumbledore, who makes Harry recollect, says, “It is not our abilities that show what we truly are.  It is our choices.”

Or maybe an inspiring and ethical Optimus Prime saying, “freedom is the right of all sentient beings.”

Or an emotional Peter Parker (Spiderman) after shedding tears at his Uncle’s Gravestone resolutely says to himself, “With great power comes great responsibility, this is my gift…my curse…who am I?…I AM SPIDERMAN.”

The instances are endless!

So to those who say, fiction is fiction after all, no reality. I believe, a good fiction can probably change the reality for good!

Give it a thought;

If fiction/s can strongly question and rectify your conscience, thereby, making you a better individual, I don’t think there’s anything better than that!

Isn’t it?

So, it’s your life, make it good, not necessarily large!

There’s a huge difference, and those aforesaid virtues make that difference!

Happy Mother’s Day

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My mother doesn’t surf internet. She will never know that people all over the world go berserk with tweets and wonderful messages on Facebook eulogizing their mothers one moment and then taking them for granted for the rest of the year. She probably doesn’t even know nor does she care that there is a special day in a year reserved for mothers around the world.

The last time I told her, she responded with a question, “So what happens on Mother’s Day?” I told her that this is the day when the whole world recognizes the contribution of mothers around the world. It is a way by which the world has decided to pay back the mothers. She twitched her brows in part appreciation part confusion, hugged me and went about her chore. Even if I tell her today, she will probably forget the concept tomorrow. The bottom-line is that, to her and to a vast majority of mothers around the world, the concept doesn’t matter, nor does it make a difference.

The larger question is “Who is the mother here? “

Is the interpretation of ‘Mother’ to be restricted to our biological mother? Is it the mother who became ecstatic when we kicked her from within the womb? The mother who we continued kicking while suckling, the mother who we quite literally continue kicking when we grow up, the lady who cares enough to prepare the dinner whether we eat or not and just don’t care to apologize if we don’t or thank her for her efforts, the lady who groomed us when we couldn’t do anything ourselves, the lady whose only strength and weakness is us, who would not, cannot ditch us even if we keep taking her for granted like door of the house, the house that she turns into a home.

Or does ‘Mother’ represent the goddesses from various mythologies? Or is it the Mother Earth that nurtures us all, absorbs all our infringements and still goes about giving and caring for us. Is it the mother that we shamelessly plunder to meet our godforsaken ambitions which know no end?

Or does ‘Mother’ mean the space that holds the Earth in place? Or is it the ‘Cosmic Womb’ from which came the universe just as we came from our mother’s womb? Is it the nothing that gave birth to everything?

If we go by the philosophy that there is a male and a female in all of us, then all of us are potential mothers. In Spiritually Evolved Societies, everyone is a mother – the whole society – because everyone cares and shares. The responsibility of parenting is not limited to the biological parents. The whole community grieves if one of them sleeps hungry. The whole village strives to love and recover the hurt of one.

The problem is that we have restricted and localized our idea of ‘Mother’ to that one individual. A mother is not just who bore us and breast-fed us; a father who caresses us after office while we are asleep is a mother, a neighbour who shares the sweet dish she made is a mother, a person who gives up his seat in a bus for an elderly person is a mother, a teenage son becomes a mother when he lies to his ailing mother that he had dinner at friend’s place, a friend who eggs you on when you’re down is a mother, a wife who takes leave from office to take care of her sick husband is a mother, a giver of alms is a mother to a beggar, someone who says no to plastic is a mother to environment, people who care for street animals are mothers to nature, a stranger who hugs you for no reason is a mother too.

We don’t have to bear and rear a child to become a mother; we become a mother the moment we love and care selflessly for that is what a mother does best. This is not to undermine the absolutely wonderful biological privilege of carrying another life within you that only the female gender can experience.

Let us celebrate this mother’s day with this new conscious understanding. It is mother’s day for you if and when: you made a difference to someone, you lied prostrate on the ground thanking the Earth, hugged a tree in gratitude, caressed a flower without plucking it, removed a stone from the road or filled a pothole, just spread your arms around feeling the air, thanked everything that holds you in place, just smiled – as if you know a secret – the secret that is love and the love outpours as tears of joy for all that is.

Every day is a mother’s day and every moment a potential mother’s moment if we operate from love. Let us pat our backs for all such moments that have brought out the mothers in us.

Happy Mother’s Day!

ON/OFF Work Environment

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My workplace has two partitions – corporate and casual. The casual part is the Creative Department that includes design, copy and client management teams. They always work without lights on. Second part is Development Department and the team always works in an on light environment. Whenever I see my work space from center I can see the partition through the light ON and light OFF environment.
I wanted to find the reason behind this Light On/Off Environment. So I asked one of my Design Team members – “Why do you always want to work without lights on? I found many reasons behind that light off environment. Creative people are very enthusiastic, moody and carry a playful attitude. Whenever they work they need focus on their work. So much so that they are sometimes lost in their tasks; which requires less light to distract them. In spite of light off the work environment is very noisy. It is the centre of origin of all dirty and cheap jokes. We have a lot of music lovers too. The opposite side always wonder what is the reason behind such fun-loving environment. Well, now they know.
I also talked with the guys of the Development Department – “Why do you prefer working in such a bright environment?” They replied saying that their work involves arithmetic, calculations and a lot of discipline. lways work in mathematics and logic work in a disciplined manner. They develop softwares and websites so they always work in discipline manner. They also don’t talk much, always focus on their computer screen only with silent environment. They don’t like to listen the music while working.
Any person who comes to my work space will be able to clearly differentiate between the two parts.
It is all about the habit that we create surrounding to our work place. Development Department never want to work without light. They feel that they would not be able to give their best work. Same goes for the Creative Department too. In my entire career, I have never seen this kind of work place.
With this, I will conclude that if you feel that the music can help you to give your best, then listen to music. Or if you think pin drop silence is the best way to work, then so be it. It doesn’t matter how you work, it is the quality of work that matters. And I am so glad CC allows all the employees to work the way they like, without enforcing anything.
The mystery of light ON and light OFF environment is thus solved!

मैं आसमान हूँ

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मैं आसमान हूँ |
मैं आसमान हूँ |
आसमान की तरह मैं बदलना जारी रखूँगा,
चमकने से उज्ज्वलता तक,
काले से रंगीन तक
जैसे आसमान बदलता रहेगा, मैं भी बदलता रहूँगा,
मैं भी बदलता रहूँगा|
मेरे आसमान में काला अँधेरा बादल भी होगा,
और सूरज की रौशनी भी होगी,
सूरज की रौशनी से मेरा आसमान फिर से उज्ज्वलित होगा |

लेकिन मुझे यकीं है इस चीज़ का भी की वोह काला बादल फिर से आएगा और अँधेरा फैलाएगा,
पर मैं वापिस लड़के उस काला साया को अपने सूरज की रौशनी से उज्ज्वलित कर दूंगा,
क्यों की यह आसमान मैं हूँ |

Billboard at the Junction

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A billboard stood proudly
at a busy junction of the city,
offering moon to earthlings.
It had a beautiful model
smiling graciously,
showing the product
as the panacea of all ills
and promise of living happily
forever after.

The advert stood there,
a picture of calm,
indifferent to the chaos
of traffic at the junction.
The model smiled
during the day and
shined at night,
mocking at and untouched by
the squalor beneath her,
like lotus blooming in muck.

Right under the billboard,
in makeshift huts,
lived deprived beggars,
ignorant and so stupid
that they never tried
to get the product
that sold the promise
of life’s fulfilment.

अस्तित्व की पहचान

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सुबह माँ की पुकार हूँ,
शाम को बहन की मुस्कान हूँ,
कभी पत्नी का प्रेम हूँ,
कभी बेटी का स्नेह हूँ|

परिभाषा हूँ अहं की,
धीरज का ठहराव हूँ,
दादी माँ का अनुभव हूँ,
देवी का इतिहास हूँ|

ब्रम्हांड का विश्वास हूँ,
श्रृंगार का उत्साह हूँ,
मर्यादा का विस्तार हूँ,
परंपराओं का इम्तेहान हूँ|

पहचान हूँ आफ़रीन की,
बाँसुरी की आवाज़ हूँ|
दुनिया का अर्ध हूँ,
और फिर भी,
अपने अधूरेपन में पूर्ण हूँ |

मैं नारी हूँ,
एक ऐसा आकार हूँ,
जो चौकोर में कैद होते हुए भी,
इस गोल दुनिया की शिल्पकार हूँ |

A Peek-a-Boo into the Heritage of the Walled City

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7:45 AM. Saturday Morning. As the morning sun kissed the hazel blue sky of the city, the chirping birds welcomed another new day. And CC’s entire Creative Team was ready with their walking shoes at Swaminarayan Temple, Kalupur.

A lousy weekend morning turned into an interesting tryst with the walled city of Ahmedabad.

Ahmedabad Heritage Walk was long due for all of us, even for those who belong here. Connecting with the roots again is always a good idea. Walking amidst the ‘Pols’, ‘Chabutras’, ‘Tombs’, and the ‘Masjid’, we re-discovered Ahmedabad – raw with its naked emotions. The beauty of Amdavadi culture was seeped deep on the streets we walked.  The temple bells conversed with us in divine tunes, and the silence of the masjid provoked peace within. The walk from ‘Mandir to Masjid’ was an experience that would not be forgotten for a long, long time.

Some moments during the walk were freezed in time and so emerged a canopy of beautiful captures by the shutterbugs of CC. Nothing inspires art more than art itself. And so, stroll through some of the best clicks of the day.

Bhargav Mistri
God is in the little things.
Guru Singh
I am telling you a secret through my camera. You can hear it, if you keep your eyes open.
Harsh Mehta
A photo is more than a mere medium of ideas. For I know no art more honest than photography.
Megha Saxena
You might not know my language, but I am sure if we both had cameras, we wouldn’t need a word to communicate.
Kristina Parekh
I will let my camera do the talking.
Vijay Chauhan
I don’t believe in time travel, but I do believe in photographs.

The Wavelength

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It was in this moment that all my insecurities, fears and inhibitions disappeared in the air. Though, the place was a little crowded and children kept complaining about going back to the park and the men in the room smelt of alcohol, I had managed to find my spot. My little space in the world, as I call it. The abandoned church is a part of the Diu fort and a place which not many people will find amusing. However, only if you listen closely, place your ear on the wall while breathing in the scent of waves mixed with the smell a building that has started to fall apart, brick by brick, you will realize that some places are simply meant for you. A century ago, the Portuguese architects who built this space merely to look out for smugglers wouldn’t have thought that putting a hole in the wall could possibly bring back someone from the dead. Now, as I look out towards the crashing waves of the sea, so enticing and yet, so alarmingly near, it falls upon me that somethings and some places are solely meant for you to forgive yourself.

Recovery doesn’t happen overnight. It takes years to heal and come back to who you used to be before everything happened. The skin changes tones and the sky reflects several moods, going from shade to shade, on some days a hue of blue and on some days a gloomy Grey. The earth rotates at its own pace while the whirlpool inside keeps twirling and twisting until the mind adapts to the movement. Gradually, the wind doesn’t seem as cold and you start embracing the breeze like a friend that you’ve met after a long time. It still talks, just not of the past. Do you remember how everything used to get blurred out, as if there’s an invisible shield blocking voices from reaching you, there was a sound, definitely, but only a whisper. Now the shield has cracked, its widening everyday. The sound of waves pacifies and the gurgling of the waterfall doesn’t petrify anymore. The body seems to be have a revolution too, the back, once arched and stooping now straightens itself with every step the legs take, willingly.

Every time a wave crashed on the rocks below and sprayed my extended hands with its foam, I felt cleansed, as if every drop that touched me, evaporated along with the little thoughts that kept me up at night and every whiff of wind blew away with it the stench of memories that should have been long gone. The huge symmetrical arch that I was standing under adorned a crack right in the middle, showing it off almost as if it was this little darkened space that it gathered the strength from to stand through all the storms that it had survived. Reeking of moss and stories I found it hard to bat an eye lid as every time I heard a tick from my wrist, another cell of my body replaced itself.

Once you’ve recovered, from whatever it maybe, there’s one thing that you cannot stop doing. Even if its involuntarily, you’ll often find yourself looking back, but this time, not because it’s a nightmare that you can’t forget, but because it’s a war that you won.

The little hole in the wall, opened to the ocean and the part of me that had been long gone, travelled back from the horizon

SELF NOTE

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self note

Hi Me,

Well this is a little weird, but called for. So, focus. If I am taking time to write this down, pay attention, as there are so many other things I could be doing right now.

You are 26, not 20 as you might believe. When did that happen, you ask? Well, in 26 years. It’s called time and it doesn’t move with the speed of light nor does it just fly by. Nothing has changed, something to do with math or physics, either way you were never good at it. The day still has 24 hours, as it did when you were a kid, thinking you will never turn 18! And here you turned into a Professional. Although you vowed to never be one. Never be tied down with the strings of the daily routine. How different you thought your life would turn out! But you are happy, and that is what counts.

You are not as great or as bad as you think. You do have moments when you shine and have every right to expect the Ode of Joy to be playing in the background.

But life is not a movie or a book you can just flip through, do the good parts or check the ending – as you are used to doing.

You have to go through it all, even the subtext. But trust me it will be worth it. As they say: “If you want to see the sunshine you have to weather the storm.”

The body you have is the only one you’ll get. Deal with it. Yes, it shows signs of carrying responsibility but it’s nothing a few classes of pilates can’t fix. Please don’t give up chocolates, you are not made for the “my body is a temple” stuff. 26 years have gone by, you don’t know how many you have left, so enjoy the little things without the guilt.

You are human, not a slave. Your happiness is in your hand. It is not wrong to be a bit selfish and take what you need. Everyone needs ‘Me time’. Don’t lose yourself.

You’ve got great friends. You are really lucky to have them. Yes, of course they have flaws, trust me, dear, so do you. It is okay to be with them anyway.

Finally, you are a good person, with a great family and friends. You are creative and fun, but your mind works too much. Things are not always as bad or good as your mind portrays.

Not everything can be planned. I know you will still try to have a schedule for the next five years and that’s okay. Keep in mind though that things will get out of hand.

Don’t spend your time trying to solve all the problems, sometimes you have to believe that they have a way of fixing themselves. At least some of them.

P.S. Please don’t make New Year resolutions every year. You’ve got too much on our plate as it is. Work on the ones you already have and don’t add new ones unless extremely important.

Love,

Me

Let’s go the WordPress way!

· Blog

why-wordpress_blogg

It’s been 14 years since the existence of WordPress being known in the global market as a “blog” platform. But for last few years, it also has become a favourite of all as a CMS (content management software) for non-blogging websites.

So, this happens: Often while interacting with my clients, they ask me difference between HTML (static website) & WordPress. More often than not, they ask why should we change the development platform to WordPress?

I am answering this question for once and all. Why choose WordPress over HTML?

1-Conducive
The interface & functionality of WordPress is very easy to use. For instance, uploading blogs, images, replacing content, adding a page etc. is like a cinch, because of the technology being used.

2-Any place any time!
This platform is completely browser based, which means you just need a computer with an internet connection to access.

3-Stress free editing
It is an unexpurgated system which has been developed in a way that it does not require HTML editing software. You can edit, upload, remove /add etc. hassle-free.

4-SEO loves WordPress
The codes on WordPress are real simple which makes search engines easy to crawl. Each post, page & image can have its own meta tag, keywords, description, title & in addition, it gives you enhancement options to use relevant tags.

5-You’re the boss
No more waiting! You can do the updates on your own without being dependent on the web developer or web designer. You can also change the look and feel of the site – it is customizable and provides a thrilling experience to your customers.

6-In built blog
As the platform was initially created for blogging, the capabilities are inbuilt and easy to integrate, if required. Functionalities like commenting, automatically posting the blog on website, etc. are easy to set-up. Also, it comes with additional features & plugins like adding video, social media sharing or follows buttons most of which are free or are pocket friendly.

एक आवाज़ बुला रही है

· Blog

A voice is calling me

एक आवाज़ है जो बुला रही है
बिना डोर के खींचे जा रही है
केहती है मुझे ‘आओ पास मेरे’
तुम्हे करीब से ज़िन्दगी दिखानी है

ज़िन्दगी के कई पहलु हैं
तुमने अभी देखा ही क्या है
काम की चार दीवारों में
तुमने खुदको चुनवा दिया है

इस नदिया के उस पार
उठाओ पतवार और चले आओ
चीर दो इस पहाड़ को
और नई एक सड़क बनाओ

निकल पडो एक ऐसे सफर पे
जिसमें अगले पल की खबर ना हो
जहां बैठें वो बसेरा बने
जहां आँख खुले सवेरा हो

उठो चलो आज, अभी,
कहीं देर ना हो जाए
कलियों को खिलते देखना है तुम्हे
तारों को टिमटिमाते देखना है तुम्हे

ज़िन्दगी के रंगों में रंगना है तुम्हे
हर उतार चढ़ाव को शब्दों में पिरोना है तुम्हे
हसी का अमृत और गम का ज़हर पीना है तुम्हे
फिर हर कहानी में ख़ुशी के आंसू रोना है तुम्हे

With colleagues like you, office is no more the boring OFFICE!

· Blog

11-01-2016_cct_blog

Wake up early in the morning, complete your chores, come to the office, complete your chores, go home and REPEAT this every day! Boring, isn’t it? No! Not at all!

When you have colleagues like I have, you’d never say this!

I have some awesome pals here at CC! In the HOR (Home-Office-Repeat) cycle, I have something that keeps me going and that’s nothing but my mates! In the entire one and a half year of my journey at CC, I’ve lived thousands of fond memories which I’ll forever hold close to my heart.

Festival celebrations, birthday parties, corn pulao parties, Appy Fizz Puri (Pani-puri – substituting pani with Appy Fizz) parties, birthday dinners, ice-cream parties and what not! Yes I know all of these parties have something to do with the food items but this is what we mostly enjoy doing here and I so love it! 😀

While we’re talking about food at CC, how can I miss talking about the sarcasm popping out of my colleagues’ minds about me being a Jain? The moment you start a conversation with anybody here, it has to start with a Jain food item, getting trapped into a Jainism controversy and probably ending with no-more-Jain-arguments left (phew!) Being a Jain is another perk of getting so much attention and love from your pals!

And yes, when somebody comes to know about my so called impressive name FENI, the alcoholics imagine a picture of the world-famous Goan alcohol called FENI! Others who are the not-so-booze types, come up with “Finding Feni… or O Feni re… or Feni ne mujhe bulaya, me chala aaya…” type songs to tease me.

Hold on! Where is all this going? I’m here to tell you about my gang! So let me introduce each hatke member of my CC gang. Believe me, each one is a crazy sample! 😛

Let me start with the angry young man (angry looks, soft heart) Amit Gurav who supports me as a great leader, friend and guide along with leaving no stone unturned when it’s about my taang-khinchaai.

Hassan who makes sure that I smile every day and is sincerely concerned to find my Mr. Right as soon as he can! (So that he can get rid of me!)

Kristina and Payal who are my Chaaat and Chat mates!

Sharmaji who proofreads all my write-ups and appreciates me always.

Daxesh who listens to me even when he is SO NOT interested!

Dipti who is the best companion for my visits to Shoppers Stop or National Handloom or any mall during the break! 😀 The only person at CC with whom I can plan my walking trips. 😉

Nikita – “Feni-Sha” is what she calls me! The person who always cuddles me cutely and cares for me. She always asks me, “Feni-Sha, kyun aaj aap itne chup chup ho?”

Amber who is the best girl-friend I could ask for– Cute and bubbly! Her charm is contagious.

Nikhil and Guru for making sure that I speak my heart out and have fun always.

Aakash-BHAI and Jagat-BHAI who have a gala time cracking PJs on Jainism and Feni-ism!

And last but not the least Satya who always has faith in me and is the best mentor I could get!

Please excuse me for not being able to mention all the names (as there are so many of them!) but I am thankful to everyone who has made my professional life very interesting and entertaining.

Indeed, with colleagues like you, office is no more the boring OFFICE!

Being Young

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being-human

Staying up late
Never ending days
Challenging the limits of self –
That’s the essence of being young.

Dreams over memories
Forever headed forward
Enslaving self to the beckon of passion –
That’s the tenacity of being young.

Faster than time
Keeping pace with heartbeats
Pushing self to catch the train of thoughts –
That’s the vitality of being young.

In playfield of love
Heart’s a plaything
Stealing moments for reflection within self –
That’s the perplexity of being young.

Taking chances
Venturing into the unknown
On journey of exploration of self –
That’s the artistry of being young.

At the Crossroads of Religion

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religion-small

This is one of those ‘Once Upon A Time’ stories triggered by a few random events that left me with yet another insight into human nature!

A pleasant evening welcomed me as I came out of an enriching experience at Ahmedabad Book Fair. The sun had painted the sky crimson and the rush hour traffic had luckily spared the roads. I plugged the headphones and happily drove off, listening merrily to my favorite playlist. It wasn’t long before that I reached the first of the many crossroads, en route a café.

As I waited for the signal to turn green, a haggardly lady approached me. She was carrying a ‘thali’ embellished with small pictures of ‘Matajis’, a ‘diya’ and some ‘kumkum’. The mystical lady asked me for some money and in return be rewarded by the blessings from all those ‘Matajis’. I smartly paused the music but did not remove the headphones and as if I hadn’t heard a single word from her. To my surprise, she started cursing me when she couldn’t get my attention.

“You will soon face the wrath of Mataji because you don’t care about her,” the God-woman cursed. Thus she ordained me to ‘Nark’ through a complex articulation of curses. Luckily, the green light rescued me and I drove off from there!

I didn’t turn on the music thereafter. Her words rankled somewhere deep within. As if that was not enough, a ‘Pir Baba’ popped-up at the next crossroad. I was gifted with the same lot of curses, all over again except that ‘Jahannum’ replaced ‘Nark’.

And would you believe it? At the third crossroad, I found a nun walking towards me. I rushed out of her path because I had no energy left to take a detour to hell on my way to ‘Jahannum’ and ‘Nark’.

Lost in the mental chaos, I somehow reached the café of salvation and felt better after sipping the coffee. I started thinking clearly only after I finished coffee in a hurry. As the whirlwind of thoughts slowed down, some insights started coming to me. I started wondering why can’t we just keep ourselves away from the robes of religions and simply don the clothes of humanity? The world is flooded with the followers of ‘religions’ who don’t want us to explore the beauty of humanity. And if someone does, the society starts labeling him as an atheist, agnostic, panentheistic, pantheistic and what not!

That doesn’t mean religions are not good. They are! But these so-called messengers are ruining it. Godmen and their greed has made religion quite obnoxious. John Lennon was spot on when he said, “Jesus was alright, but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It’s them twisting it that ruins it for me.” Osho has a very impressive outlook on this. He says, “In three thousand years politicians have dragged humanity into five thousand wars, but you’ll be surprised: even in five thousand wars politicians have not been able to kill more people than religions have killed.”

We have been forced to not question the religion and the Godmen. Applying logic here surely seems to be forbidden! Maybe, that apple in the Adam and Eve’s story was logic! Jokes apart, aren’t we all clinging onto religion too religiously and leaving behind the very essence of humanity?

P.S. It’s better not to confuse humanity as a religion too. It’s just supposed to be human nature!

Why I sleep with a Bukowski clenched to my heart every night.

· Blog

Juniper Books

A 4 am coffee induced, self-fueled writing extravaganza. An interlude for a wordsmith. The world is asleep. Maybe I am too. But the writer in me isn’t. It all began as a mistake. But soon disguised itself as an obsession. Inspiration is a cruel bitch.

And yet again he cast a spell on me. Tonight, with his writings, yesterday was his naked honesty.

Charles Bukowski, often to the world – Bukowski the drinker, Bukowski the womanizer, Bukowski the belligerent, Bukowski the savage. For me, Bukowski the lasting influence on modern literature.

My eyes ran through my biased book rack. An entire row was dedicated to Charles’s books and his writings. Ham on Rye. The Last Night of the Earth Poems. Notes of a Dirty Old Man. Women. Burning in Water, Drowning in Flame. Post Office. Pulp. Hot Water Music.

“Hot Water Music. Yes!”, my lips mumble as I pull it out of the rack. I immerse myself in the pages. The themes are his usual: drinking, gambling, women, and writing. But here, Bukowski is truly at his best, with wit and cynicism aplenty.

Give me a sip of Bukowski every day, and I will forget how wine tastes like.

An unfiltered unadulterated writer inspires another writer to become one. He made an anti-hero and a legendary drunkard look cool in novels. Gives the writer the power to look at the dark sides as well as the bright. I invent and reinvent myself. Break-free from the clutches of mediocrity. Become self-reflexive of my own work.

At the crack of the dawn, sunrays peep through window across the floor of my bedroom. My scribbled notes finally made sense. My fingers are numb. The romance is evident on the floors. My pen had found its liberating canopy to make love with.

“In the morning it was morning and I was still alive.
Maybe I’ll write a novel, I thought.
And then I did.”

Boxes made for women

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boxes-made-small

From the moment she is born, she is kept in the first box
Where she is judged based on her color
And then her looks
And then her arrival in a family
That may be did not need a ‘girl’ child.

She grows up in a family
Where her brother is treated better
And she is taught to behave
She is sent to school but never given any freedom
And is soon sent to the second box
Where she is dictated the terms of being a teenage girl

She is very lucky if she gets to go to college
Well obviously, she was not supposed to study in the first place!
She excels in a particular subject
Decides to pursue it further
Only to realize
It is time to move to another box
It is time she gets married!

Why you ask?
That is what the society demands!
What if she wants to pursue a career?
Well she doesn’t have the luxury to do so!

The marriage box is where she lives the longest
She is expected to be this multi-tasking human
Who does the home chores, takes care of the family
Raises kids
Oh yes, having kids isn’t a choice!

As she gets older, her life continues to be about people around her
And not about her!
She has by now got used to living in this box.
Her kids too learn that life is such for women!

A never ending circle in a box
Irony, eh?

Okay don’t be so disappointed
This is just about half the women in India
What about others you ask?

Well we tried hard, very hard to break these boxes
But alas! The society refuses to change
So we have found a way
We have started creating a new box
A box that doesn’t dictate rules
That gives you the opportunity to be you
That surrounds you with like-minded women
That isn’t perfect but is still a better box!

But you know what the problem is?
The society still won’t budge
It still keeps hammering you with
How can you do this?
How can you choose a different box for yourself?
How can dress up like that?
And party till late night?
How you can choose work over family?
How can you not get married?
How can you be in a relationship with a guy who doesn’t belong to your caste?
How can you speak up for yourself?
How can you demand for your rights?
How you can you be free when we designed boxes FOR YOU!
How can you breathe free?
AH! I can’t!
THIS CONSTANT HAMMERING DOESN’T LET ME BREATHE!

Every day is a different struggle in a woman’s life,
Even if she wins 9/10 she still isn’t happy inside
The constant hammering hurts
And no I don’t need your sympathy
I know you have your own problems
But just don’t ever judge or ask a woman
What box she belongs to!
JUST LET HER BE!

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Goa – Where ‘The Masks’ drop-down!

· Blog

Get ready; we’re going on a short trip to the land of beaches- Goa! Excited? Well, we’re not going by air or train; neither it’s a road-trip. Rather, it’s a ‘word-trip’! A ‘word-trip’ that would definitely end-up in you, texting your friends or family to plan a trip or maybe creating a Whatsapp group named ‘Go Goa!’

Most of us hold a special sort of fascination for this particular place. In fact, the reflection of this fascination is seen in our Bollywood movies too! Be it ‘Khamoshi’, ‘Finding Fanny’, ‘Go Goa Gone’ or the epitome of all – ‘Dil Chahta Hai’! Apparently, every next ‘dil, chahta hai’ a trip to Goa with their own crazy squad! But have you ever a thought of a ‘why’? Why such a level of fascination for Goa over every other dream travel destination?

My curiosity of knowing about your ‘whys’ is the by-product of the ‘why’ that popped up in my head, while on my recent trip to Goa! My squad & I took a walk through the Tito’s lane and then took the beach-route to reach St. Anthony’s. It was on this path when I started off with my hobby of observing people around. And suddenly I witnessed this over the top love for Goa on their faces. My ‘why’ knocked the doors here and I found a new task while on my trip!

People were walking with their beloved’s hand in theirs or a bottle of beer in their hands! Some found a platform for their hidden hobby of singing at the karaoke session, while many transformed the café into a dance floor. Some found their piece of peace in watching the waves coming closer as the evening faded, while some sat back and went ahead with their share of chitter-chatter. Everyone appeared to have found a place to explore & rejoice the self. And I seemed to be rejoicing the scene!

Two more days & nights of such rejoicing moments and it was time to say goodbye to the holiday! But there was one thing I took back home with my luggage (apparently, which can’t raise any legal issues while checking out) and that was the ‘why’! Why can’t we see such rejoicing faces, back home? Why can’t there be such rawness around other travel destinations? Why is it that only at Goa, where all the worldly masks drop-down? Why?!

As you know that the answers to such questions come to you when you least expect them, (mine come mostly in the WC). I accidently came across the answer while taking a ‘chai’ halt on my personal procrastination roadway- the midnight hours! And the answer was simple! Perhaps, we are clinging too much to all the norms, dorms & acts of all forms; something we’re also eager to cut ourselves away from.

When a father-in-law appreciates his daughter-in-law for her new achievement at work; she wants to jump with joy and go hug him like her own father but she has to settle down for a ‘Thank You!’ When a son wants to talk about his first crush with his dad & also rest his wonder quest about his father’s first crush; he has to choose a friend to share it all, over the father. When going for a night-party a girl goes for straightened hair while she actually loves her curls. And what is with these duck-faces and fish-gapes?

P.S. ‘The Mask’, yes! As little kids, we just loved him dearly. As we grew up, we came across multiple masks to be donned as & when required. These were the masks we never really liked deep down. And so, all these masks drops-down and find an escape route, when in the city of hippies- Goa! It is there where you unburden the self from all the masks; though for a short while. Just like Stanley did in the climax of ‘The Mask’!

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