Archive for the ‘Nation and Politics’ Category


When the end credits of Newton will roll, you will be prompted to an unusual song ‘Chal tu apna kaam kar’-roughly translating to keep doing your work. This is what pretty much sums up what this cinematic marvel tries to convey you in 2 hours. There are no long speeches imploring us to do the right thing, no theatrical background music, no redundant sadism and yet Newton scores at every point. This is a tale extremely relevant to our times.

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Years ago there was Issac Newton who shook the world with his pathbreaking explanation of gravitational force, and here we are introduced to Nutan Kumar aka Newton Kumar, who wants to exercise honesty and induce sense of righteousness at every given situation.  Air dropped into the dodgy Naxal prone area in Chattisgarh, Newton and his teammates are given the task of conducting elections in a fair and smooth way. However, it is not a cakewalk as it looks like. Risks are involved, even with their lives. At one point in the film, Aatma Singh, a para-military commander, along with his subordinates arm-twists many Aadivasi’s to turn up in the polling booth. When they are overwhelmed with a huge list of party symbols, Aatma Singh absurdly asks them to assume the Electronic Voting Machine as a toy and press any symbol they like, be it “Gajar, muli, or cycle”, because as per him it doesn’t really make a difference. Yes, and then we claim we are the largest democracy in the world. If not election, it definitely looked like a trade fair.

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Without divulging much about the story, I would say that Newton sets a platform to show the fierce collision with rigid sense of duty and realistic stumbling blocks. It often takes the form of a satire that asks uncomfortable, hard and courageous questions, which Hindi movies generally try to avoid.

As mentioned somewhere in the film “great change doesn’t happen overnight. This jungle took years to grow.” Since childhood we have learned about the little drops that make the ocean. Newton talks about those 1% people, the little drops, which make the difference without making hue and cry about their good deeds and honesty. We are not doing any favour to anyone if we are being honest, if we are truthful, if we are serving our country, or if we are abiding laws. This is what we are supposed to do, isn’t it? Precisely this is why Newton feels amused when he gets an award for punctuality in an office where working hours start from 9 in the morning. All he did was arrive at office daily at sharp 9 am.

Newton reaffirmed my faith in the idea that a country improves brick by brick. We do not need to go out and be a hero or wage war on Twitter. Just do your bit and the country will take care of itself.  Place your brick and you will be heard. Newton is not a hero and he doesn’t even intend to be one.  I will end this article with the same thought as the movie.

Chal tu apna kaam kar,

Akal dikha na shakal dikha na,
De na nasihat kar na fazihat,
Yun na traffic jam kar,

Chal tu apna kaam kar,

 

P.S: All pictures are a result of Google search and I have no copyright over them.

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Constant preaching on women empowerment and safety has now lost all its credibility. Sharing Facebook posts and voicing opinion on gender equality has now become a gag probably for many of us. Gag because, we know nothing is going to change! The Bangalore mass molestation didn’t surprise me at all. Clearly, nothing has changed in the past few years. To be honest, we read or hear felonies on the same radar almost every hour now. Till few years back, I was under the impression that writing about it frantically would bring a change of ‘awareness’. I was oblivious to the verity that it is almost impossible to rattle the intrinsic evil in our men.

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So, what is really wrong with them? Or with us? Are men here really that much sexually deprived? I often wondered how a forceful touching or groping for fraction of seconds could render such level of pleasure. We all are perhaps still figuring that out. While we attribute misogyny and patriarchy to the root cause of this– thank god to the abundant newshour debates and newspaper articles for that–we tend to overlook the urgent need to address some issues from our end as well. And no, I am not going to talk about girls being more careful with their dressing, and other similar shit.

The Bangalore molestation case will die down soon and other breaking news will take over, but let me bring out some pointers where the onus falls on us too as a society.

  • When the news of a sexual assault comes out, you focus more on sex, and less on an inexcusable grave crime. More than the punishment for the accused, you show pity that the life of the victim has gone for a toss. Her ‘izzat’ (honour) is now compromised and she can spend rest of her life (if she is left alive) in giving interviews to news channels as a blurred face. End result: Nobody remembers the accused or what happened to them after that, but the ‘changed’ name and blurred face of the victim is etched in the memory of all of us.
  • You are out for your morning walk and see a man passing lewd comments on a woman. She is sweaty and panting after a run in the Joggers Park, just like you. You choose to ignore it. You go home, talk bath and get ready for your office. End result: Your willful ignorance instilled a confidence in the other man that he can go ahead with his acts and perhaps take it further someday.
  • You go to school/ college / office meet your female friends and make fun of their weight, height, and other physical attributes; sometimes on their face (as a fun banter) and most often on their back. End result: You effectively and ‘humorously’ establish that women of any age—even in today’s time—are nothing more than their mammary glands or waist.
  • You pass out from a reputed college, start working in a multinational company, earn good money, but when your family starts looking for a prospective bride for you or for your sibling, you emphasis on bringing home a girl who is educated but not willing to pursue a career so that your parents and future kids can be taken care of. End result: You are not leaving any role model for your son, younger brother or for any other men in your contact. You indirectly instill in their minds that only ‘homely’ girls are ‘good’ girls.
  • You have made a good name in your organization with your work, but when a slight rumour of two colleagues of opposite gender going out for lunch comes, you waste no time in aggravating the floating rumour. Worst, if the girl gets a promotion then it is by default assumed that she is advancing her reach to the boss by ‘other means’. End result: You become a major part of the obnoxious stares and wagging tongues that compels friendly and dynamic women to tone themselves down and think before talking.
  • Your son’s teacher calls to complain that he misbehaved with a girl. You tactfully discard that saying ‘he was just being funny’. End result: Congratulations! You carved the golden path for a future rapist.
  • Your daughter dares to give her opinion in a serious family discussion and in a minute she is shown the door to kitchen saying she doesn’t need to be part of all this. End result: You not only shake her confidence for many more years to come, her brother gets a vivid picture how he will treat his future wife and all other women he gets to interact with.

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I am sure there are many more every day instances where we are contributing to the toxic society in which we are breathing today. Be it multitasking or financial independence, women have been successful in outperforming men at many levels now. If not outperforming, women are at par with men. But, the thought of dominance and supremacy takes over, and bam in few minutes, we do things to women that has the potential to scar them for life.

This New Year, no more futile discussions, posts or writing! Let us first acknowledge that something is wrong with each one of us. There is something that we all have been doing wrong all these years. Try to figure that out and take baby steps. I believe we all can reach there and proudly label ourselves as good human being. But, first profound introspection is needed.

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P.S: All images are a result of Google search and I have no copyright over them.


 

Let’s get the record straight, yes we are experiencing a hurricane right now in the country with the onset of high-value currency demonetization. A lot has been said about it; the problems, long queues, hidden agendas, currency circulation, cash crunch, bankers as our new hero…and many other things. We have been filling our head with innumerable information, thanks to television and social media. Some are with the government while others not.

It’s time for a breather. Isn’t it?

Let’s give our relentlessly working mind a break and, for a change, look at things just the way they are. No political spin, please! I have been reading all the stories that have been going rounds from past couple of days. Having experienced the cash crunch myself I know one thing– that it is not an easy phase. However, this stage of adversity made me realize one basic thing. We Indians are not that complicated or apathetic as one would portray us to be.

If there are retired bankers who are offering to extend their helpful hands to wind up the work faster, there are also young bankers who don’t mind sacrificing their weekends and sitting daily till 10 at night. If there are restaurant chains like Pizza Hut offering free food to people standing in inexhaustible queues resembling 100 feet long anaconda, there are also shopping malls that have made their parking charge free for the entire week. If there are some local vendors who are delivering groceries at credit, there are also people who are voluntarily serving tea and water to people sweating in scorching heat just to get hold of the new currency at banks.

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Of course, there have been many inadequacies and I am sure we all are ranting about it. The entire country has toppled over, but honestly, can you guarantee that if there had been some other country things would have been better? Far from our image of a poor or a law-breaking country, there has not been a single incident of violence, hostility, ransacking or loot.

My father had to wait for four long hours at the esteemed PNB bank to get his old currency notes exchanged. Honestly, I was worried because growing age usually brings along many jigsaw puzzles. To my surprise, he came back with a beautiful story to narrate. There were few chairs in the bank lobby, and it was unanimously decided that the senior citizens and ladies will take turns to sit there and rest, while their place in the queue was being taken care by the person subsequent to them in the line. My father got his share of resting time. Not only that, he was also greeted with generosity- in the form of snacks- offered by strangers who had now become friends.

I am sure there must have been several other incidents as well, some inspiring, some depressing. The point is, let’s start looking at things in a transparent fashion, without being influenced by what is being said or written. Figure out your experience and then pass a judgment. We may not be the perfect law-abiding citizens, but we are not that bad as well. Some part of us still continues to be the caring, compassionate and refined one.

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P.S: All pictures are a result of Google search and I have no copyright over them.


On 15 May 2008 two innocent lives were lost in House No. L-32 of Noida. One of the deceased was 45 years old Hemraj, and the other one was a bubbly, vivacious 14 year girl Aarushi. A promising life lay ahead of her. Unfortunately, it was cut short abruptly because of someone’s sudden impulse. Who was that someone? The Noida police, media channels and two distinguished teams of CBI left no stone unturned to bring the ‘truth’ to the surface. What we were left with was the character assassination of both parents and child, Narco test of three suspected domestic helps, CBI closure, divided opinions of public, and finally sentencing of life imprisonment to the parents for the charge of double murder in 2013.

What we didn’t know was that many more layers were also entailed in this tale of brutal slaughtering. Meghna Gulzar’s Talvar is that attempt to bring to forefront almost all the imperative investigation and case details meticulously and condense them to a two and half hours motion picture. First things first, it takes spine of a steel to take up a subject that is controversial enough to be regarded as one of the most high-profile and mysterious murder cases of the country till date. Writer Vishal Bhardawaj and director Meghna Gulzar, in spite of the possibility and leeway of over dramatization and incursion of songs in a Hindi movie, stuck only to the facts. It is shot completely in a documentary style, leaving the audience with an open end just like the Rashomon style (a form derived from a Japanese film in which there are different versions of the same incident). So, Talvar doesn’t tell you who was the killer that night; rather it focuses more on the botched up investigation process, helping the viewers to draw their own conclusions.

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Having followed the Aarushi-Hemraj murder case fervently since past 7 years, Talvar gave me many points to ponder upon. It’s intense. It’s gripping. It’s disturbing. It’s hard-hitting. Irfan Khan and Neeraj Kabi as the cinematic version of Arun Kumar and Rajesh Talwar respectively, are powerful. Seeing Konkana Sen Sharma on screen after such a long gap was satisfactory. Your heart would ache every time the teenage girl’s throat is slit on that fateful night. Talvar deserves to be seen by each one of us because it is a reflection of our system, our society and our media. If this movie is also sidelined by some leave-your-brain-at-home kind of movie then something is really wrong with the choices we as movie goers are making. Next time, we would not be in a position to anticipate Masaan, Maanjhi and Talvar.

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Who was the actual killer that night? Well, I am as clueless as you all. It can either be the parents or the domestic helps. What really matters is …… On 15 May 2008 two innocent lives were lost in House No. L-32 of Noida. One of the deceased was 45 years old Hemraj, and the other one was a bubbly, vivacious 14 year girl Aarushi. A promising life lay ahead of her. Unfortunately, it was cut short abruptly because of someone’s sudden impulse………

Rest in Peace Aarushi. You definitely deserved better.

P.S: All pictures are result of Google search and I have no copy right over them.

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The lid of discrimination and hatred that we open for  transgenders and eunuchs on a daily basis is not something alien. This time the axe has fallen on a 19-year-old transgender called Shivy who was a student at University of California till a few months ago until he (Shivy prefers to be referred as ‘he’) was hoodwinked to come to India on an urgency by his own parents. On coming here, his phone and laptop was confiscated and had to undergo verbal and physical abuse so that he transforms into a ‘proper girl’. The good news is that after all the ordeal now the Delhi High Court has granted him police protection. He still has to get hold of his passport and green card from his rigid parents so that he can return to US and pursue further studies.

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Couple of weeks back, a group of transgender appealed to Tamil Nadu government for Mercy Killing stating that despite getting the recognition of third gender last year they still struggle everyday to lead a dignified life. Just imagine what kind of extreme prejudice they were subjected to that made them experience these bouts of depression. Sure there are brave souls like Manabi Bandopadhyay and Laxmi Narayan Tripathi who dared to create a new world of equal opportunities. But, there are also thousands of eunuchs and transgenders who end up having a tragic end to their lives.

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You cannot blame a single person for the inadequacies prevailing; a tiny finger should be raised at each one us because we all are instrumental in encouraging those “stares”, “hijra jokes” and “comments” at some point while having harmless fun. But, at the end, who is taking the onus?

There has been many talks about peaceful coexistence till now. Howbeit, it seems, some cracks are irreparable. Time and again we have been told that transgender are as normal as us; they are not misfit–then why string together this tempestuous relationship between us?

I was once told by my dad that if you put an energy into the world then surely in someway it will come back to you. Lets try to put out an energy that brings aroma of equality and justness. My upcoming book ‘The Paradox of Vantage Point’ is a fictional tale which speaks volume about the treatment that is meted out to eunuchs by ‘normal’ people like us. It’s about that positive energy that we still need to release from within.

If you are yet to see the teaser, here it is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BweBy7ugNM0

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“It seems to me that if you or I must choose between two courses of thought or action, we should remember our dying and try so to live that our death brings no pleasure to the world.” — John Steinbeck

P.S: All images are from the website Scoopwoop and I have no copyright over them.


While the whole country was busy in peeping into controversies of LaMo (Lalit Modi) and striking some innovative Yoga poses, a gentle and compassionate soul associated with Missionaries of Charity—that runs various leprosy centers, soup kitchens and home for women across 134 countries–breathed her last.

Nirmala Joshi, recognized worldwide as Sister Nirmala, who in 1997 succeeded Nobel Prize winner Mother Teresa as superior general of the Missionaries of Charity, passed away yesterday i.e. 23 June 2015 in Kolkata.

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Serving humanity selflessly with the aid of Missionaries of Charity was her only goal in life. Being chosen to fill in the shoes of Mother Teresa could have been highly intimidating for anyone. However, if someone is passionate about the realm of responsibility they are getting into, nothing can pin them down.

No wonder when she was questioned about carrying forward the legacy of Mother Teresa, she was quick to respond, “I never try to fill her shoes. I have to wear my own small shoes. I don’t have to be Mother Teresa, just Sister Nirmala, and being Sister Nirmala isn’t so difficult. If I had to be Mother Teresa, I would have collapsed.” Such was her level of willpower and fortitude when she sunk her teeth into this challenge. In the year 2009, she was awarded the second highest civilian award—Padma Vibhushan—for her immense contribution and devotion to underprivileged people.

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The legacy of superior general position of the Missionaries of Charity will continue like always. However, the act of serving humanity is not just restricted to a position. Her legacy can be continued by each one of us. How? Practice kindness and compassion to the best of your capacity. Look around and see if there is anyone who needs your help. Patronize people who show the impetus to break out of the confines of stereotypes. Raise your voice against wrongdoers and above all try to be a better human being. Sounding little theoretical? Well, benevolence is more like a volcano; it remains dormant unless a ghastly situation tries to trigger and shows you the mirror. Are you willing to wait for that?

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Her loss can only be replenished by accepting and following her true virtues. For her painstaking efforts, true free spirit, and altruistic body of work, my appreciation for Sister Nirmala knows no bounds.

“We don’t know who we are until we see what we can do.” – Martha Grimes

P.S: All pictures are a result of Google search and I have no copyright over them.


Its not even a week when Ireland became the first country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage through popular votes. A constitution that allows the same-sex couples to walk the aisle together was indeed a historic event wherein today Ireland is seen as the torchbearer of human equality on all grounds. Cut to 27 May 2015, couple of days after the profound victory, you open the newspaper and see that India has also put a step forward towards a more acceptable and evolved world. Defying all the “standard” norm of a civilized society, Krishnanagar Women’s College in West Bengal paved way for the world’s first transgender principal- Manabi Bandopadhyay.

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This bold move, taken by the College Service Commission, has propagated a strong social message that a successful professional career is only based on your talent as opposed to sexual orientation, caste or colour. Despite all the suffering and societal intimidation, Manabi worked hard, earned first class degree and became a Bengali lecturer in Jhargram College. Today, after becoming the first ever transgender principal, she is nothing less than a sough-after celebrity. However, this journey was never an easy one for her.

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Manabi, born as Somnath Banerjee, was fascinated with classical dance and music since childhood. Somnath’s inner soul always howled that probably he needs to deviate from what is expected out of him; he wanted to break free and get soaked in the joy of being a woman. Alas, Somnath was taunted ruthlessly by his father and forced to visit psychiatrist regularly where he was given sleeping pills. Even after attaining a doctorate degree, he was called a Hijra and asked to vacant the professor quarters. After getting support from West Bengal Human Rights Commission, a Bengali transsexuals group was established by him and a notice was sent to the college. She also penned down the national bestseller Endless Bondage that talks about the condition of transgenders.

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In 2003, after many years of discrimination, Somnath underwent a sex change operation and liberated his soul from the forever enslavement–she was now Manabi. To her delight, she could wear a saree and savour her feminism like every woman.

Soon she fell in love with a businessman and married him. However, her husband was forced to leave when they were recurrently attacked by the people who were against this “unnatural” marriage. The court case that followed recognized her as a minor since she was only 3 years old as a WOMAN when the incident took place. (delusional, isn’t it?) Apart from being accused of child abuse and witchcraft, she was once beaten up by group of eunuchs at a rally. Still nothing could tame the ever-growing quench of empowerment and equality within her.

 

 

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Leaving behind all days of misery, Manabi Bandopadhyay has today become a name to reckon with. Because of her will-power to move away from the prototype, her feet is no longer chained to the door that was keeping away her from happiness. Assigning her as the principal of an esteemed college wisely establishes that caliber should always be kept above social expectations.

While the whole country is battling the issue of feminism and rape- physical rape to be precise, the struggle story of Manabi -and several others like her- makes me wonder that still a lot has to be done to prevent the emotional rape that LGBT section is subjected to on a daily basis. It’s high time that we understand that the self-respect of an individual should not be injured because of frantic pretensions. Because putting chaos over credibility will only lead to suppressing of individuality. For now, kudos to Krishnanagar Women’s College for passing on the baton of goodwill ahead.

As someone has rightly said, “’To exist is to change, to change is to mature, to mature is to go on creating oneself endlessly”

P.S: All pictures are a result of Google search and I have no copyright over them


The media is getting berserk and the common man is breaking into debates every now and then. The much-awaited verdict is out. Salman Khan’s fate was sealed yesterday when the case with several twists finally found its culmination; he was sentenced to 5 years of Jail in the infamous hit and run case of 2002. After Sanjay Dutt, this time our judiciary left no stone unturned to catch up with Bollywood.

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Many are feeling sympathetic and giving him an area of consideration because of his humanitarian work associated with Being Human NGO, while some are erupting in joy as apparently it has been established that law is above everyone. DW Deshpande, the session court judge who brought this verdict, was hell-bent on making this an exemplary decision. However, it is a known fact that, to his loyal fans, he will always be the invincible superhero who is –just like his on screen persona–good at heart but can resort to “little” law breaking aberrations when need be.

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Since yesterday I have been exposed to a steady stream of opinions. The sentiment that came through was either the thought that Salman Khan was paying the price of being an actor or how he deserves this for not giving value to human life. Honestly, I don’t have any stance at this moment. On the contrary, I have few questions that are refusing to leave my mind since yesterday.

  • Why it took 13 years for the witness (driver Ashok Singh) to claim that he was driving the car?
  • Why the sudden disappearance of Ravindra Patil- the key witness who later died of TB after leading an abandoned life- was not taken seriously?
  • What was the mistake of Constable Ravindra Patil; his sticking to one statement that Salman was drunk driving at more than 100 kms/hour on that fateful night?

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  • Why the investigation pace was so botched up that it took insane 13 years to arrive at the facts on a mere hit and run case?
  • Why the media is more obsessed with getting the viewers visuals of Salman and his family rather than the victims or their loved ones?
  • How can Salman Khan return to home on the same day when he was found guilty of culpable homicide not amounting to murder and sentenced to 5 years of jail?
  • Did the tedious legal battle made the victims give statements like, “the jail term to Salman will not fill our stomach. We just want compensation. Nothing else.”?

Surely he has a heart of gold and I really respect the kind of body of work he has in terms of philanthropy. In the coming days, we will see many more facets of this trial while the life of common man will return to normal and the superstar will perhaps continue with his movie run. But, in the democracy of India many questions stills needs to be answered and until then you can take sides and blurt anything in the name of support or justice.

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P.S: All pictures are a result of Google search and I have no copyright over them.


For those who usually have a hard time in keeping pace with avalanche of film-related information, Kunal Deshmukh is the name behind movies like Jannat, Jannat 2 and Tum Mile. Howbeit, this article is not about discussing his cinematic achievements or failures so far. This morning Kunal Deshmukh is again back to limelight(not because of any of his upcoming endeavor) because of his resurrecting escape from earthquake-hit Nepal.

Kunal, who went to Kathmandu last week to attend the wedding of his school friend, ended up spending the most horrifying three days of his life there with his girlfriend Sonali. Yes, he was stuck in the same 7.9 magnitude earthquake that rattled the breath out of Nepal. Although he is back now, it will take a while for him to get out of the heartbreaking ordeal he went through.

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Explaining the mental and physical trauma he said, The ground moved violently beneath your feet and it makes your stomach feel squeezy. There were people crying and collapsing being on the edge for so long. For those two days, we survived on chips, biscuits and water that the little shops were selling, but we didn’t want to eat as the loos were so bad. Amongst thousands and thousands of people, there was just one toilet and no one to clean it, so if you landed up going to the toilet, there was shit lying everywhere on the floor.”

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Too many thoughts were vying for my attention after reading his experience, but finally my thinking nerves were stretched as violin strings to a connotation. Mostly it has been seen that art imitates life; in case of Kunal possibly his cinema got imitated by life. In 2009, when he directed Tum Mile—based on the story of a couple stuck in a natural disaster of Mumbai floods- he barely had any idea that someday life may come full circle with this concept.

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The way I am looking at it, the analogy between fiction and real, in this case, is mysterious and totally unavoidable. Filmmakers usually try to present us a slice of real world by taking themes inspired from real life. What happened with Kunal is diametrically opposite. His story of a couple surviving amidst a natural crisis for few days is obviously in the same lines of his own movie. Those of you who have seen Tum Mile would consent to this I am sure. I agree that the screenplay of movie was slightly lose, leading to its failure, but today I can only presume one thing that when world falls to shreds you have no other option apart from wringing your hand in hope. Perhaps life has different ways of teaching you to maintain equilibrium despite all the emotional storms coming you way.

Kunal has come back as a changed man. With a new found gratitude and reverence he says, “Before leaving I was thinking of which film and which producer, but now I don’t care anymore. I will never ever complain about the small stuff in life.”

Experiences like this are not just a piece of news, it is life. Knowingly or unknowingly it may define our way of living. Often life induce emotions that fills your psyche with strong, very strong prayers, every now and then. It gives you the assurance to chart your own course, show gratitude and rise above adversity and intolerance. Instead of sinking under the weight of pretensions, let us pray for exuding positivity at every situation of life. The fact that the whole world is coming together to provide aid to Nepal- so that their disrupted life gets back on track-speaks volumes about the prayer and positivity I am talking about here.

God bless and protect all mankind!

 

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P.S: All pictures are a result of Google search and I have no copyright over them.

 


When nature’s fury fall it spares none; several dreams shatter and tears trickle down as you see loved ones depart at the snap of fingers. The devastating earthquake that hit the land of nirvana-NEPAL- on Saturday, 25April 2015, was exactly on the same lines.

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Who knew that the “mild” shivers and tremors felt in certain parts of India at 11:56 A.M. local time would become so pain-stricken for people of Nepal. By now, the news channels must have drilled into your mind that the 7.8-magnitude temblor had its epicenter 51 miles northwest of Kathmandu. Apart from the escalating death count, many world heritage monuments like Patan Darbar Square and Dharahara Tower are now reduced to debris. Adding to the woes, the pelting rain is making it difficult for the rescue team to churn out service as promptly as expected.

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This was a brief update about what our neighbors are going through right now.

What pushed me today to tap my fingers again on keyboard after a long time was a very crooked way of marketing used by Lenskart, an online eyewear website.

On the fateful day, by 1 P.M. over 400 people were reported to have lost their lives while battling with the wrath of nature. And Lenskart apparently-with all their sense and confidence-were asking people to ‘shake it off like the earthquake’ by sending promotional text messages around 1:30 P.M.

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The tremors which claimed many lives even in northern and eastern India, apart from Nepal, perhaps seemed a lucrative option for Lenskart to capitalize on the marketing of Vincent Chase sunglasses for Rs 500. If this was not enough then another online retailer company American Swan came up with an “Earth shattering offer” at the same time. Really? This is what market competition has stooped to? Now companies want us to celebrate this extremely tragic incident by availing discounts.

Lenskart realized that what they wanted to start as a roar is ending on a whimper when #ShameonLenskart started trending on twitter minutes after the message was received. This is when their callous move was covered up as “accidental choice of words” in their apology SMS sent two hours after the blunder. Even American Swan understood the gravity of situation and tweeted, “We empathize with the victims of the tragedy”.

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During the time when the common public were shrouded in terror and the government was working to provide relief as quickly as possible, Lenskart and American Swan thought to be cat’s whisker by leveraging the attention of potential consumers. This is what happens when you ignore to see the larger picture and focus only a distorted picture that appears tempting enough to “try” at least once. Although it might have been an inadvertent step, rarely you get a second chance especially in the world of social marketing.

At a time when scam cases, theft, murder and rape has become so prevalent that, I guess, even online sellers are gradually turning resilient towards the plight of each other.- just like each one of us. The reservoir of compassion has dried up completely because pursuit of happiness is the only goal. We talk about freedom, empowerment, and my choices, but forget that they cannot be sold through glossy marketing; it will come only with mutual respect. On the other hand, apathy and indifference will only lead us to these type of marketing skills and girls lying naked on roads for hours while people choosing to pass by!!!!

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P.S: All images are a result of Google search and I have no copy right over them.


“This is such a horrible thing. Is it happening because I am a woman or I am married to a man from another country, why am I picked on? I got medals for India after I got married. If someone questions my roots, my family even after all that I won’t let that happen. I will remain an Indian until the end of my life”.

When ace tennis player Sania Mirza got married to Pakistan’s cricket player Shoaib Malik in 2010 she never thought that this may be used against her someday to satisfy political appetite. It is never a wise thought to juxtapose politics and sports. Yet Telangana BJP leader K Laxman, a couple of weeks ago, sparked an unwarranted controversy by addressing Sania Mirza as “daughter-in-law” of Pakistan, thereby questioning her integrity to be the brand ambassador of Telengana. The statement clearly did not go down well with Sania and thousands of her followers across the country. It pained so much when the video of her breaking down in an exclusive interview with Barkha Dutt got viral over internet.

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Cut to Sep 2014, nearly two months after the controversy, Sania Mirza again hit the headlines. This time to put an end to all the speculations concerning her ‘Indian-ness’. She gave a thunderous response to K Laxman’s comment by winning the US Open Mixed Doubles Finals in partnership with Brazil’s Bruno Soares. She is the first Indian female tennis player to have won the Grand Slam title.

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Immediately after winning the title, Sania chose to dedicate her victory to her fellow countrymen. She said, “I dedicate this victory to everybody in India, my country, and to the state of Telangana and all people of Telangana,”. This itself speaks a lot about her skills as a sportswoman and mettle to fight back all the odds.

After making it to six Grand Slam finals I don’t think she needs to establish anything in terms of her talent and expertise over the game. Howbeit, the way some politicians exploit her personal life for their political intention is completely appalling. Sports person should always be privy to constant encouragement from their countrymen. There should be some emotional anchor that can boost their self-esteem to fight till end to raise their country’s flag. So, Mary Kom is not a chinki and neither Sania Mirza is a Pakistani. They are those rare Indians who have the guts to stand up and make India bask in the glory of success. We are proud of Sania and its high time the politicians find some other issue to come in the glare of publicity.

My heartiest congratulations to Sania for adding a major triumph to her name.

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And…yes the lid of controversy is open again, and this time within just one day of Modi government coming into power. Yesterday Jitendra Singh, minister of state in the PM’s Office, gave a contentious statement that the government is open to have a discussion on Article 370 and convince the unconvinced. He was evidently hinting towards its abolition. This statement did not go well with the chief minister of Jammu & Kashmir Omar Abdullah. He took to twitter to vent out his frustration as:

So the new MOS PMO says process/discussions to revoke Art 370 have started. Wow, that was a quick beginning. Not sure who is talking. Mark my words & save this tweet – long after Modi Govt is a distant memory either J&K won’t be part of India or Art 370 will still exist.

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Clearly, Omar was put off with the mere thought of abolition of Article 370. Many of us won’t even be knowing that what exactly this Article 370 is and how it has been affecting the lives of Kashmiris for more than 60 years now. Article 370 is basically a temporary provision that gives an autonomous status to Jammu and Kashmir, meaning the Indian Parliament will have to seek the approval of State Government before applying any law in the state apart from Defence, Foreign Affairs, and Communications. Consequently, the residents of Jammu and Kashmir fall under different set of laws as compared to other Indian states. Now, the question arises regarding its foundation. Without going into too much intricate detail let’s understand just the starting point. During our country’s independence, there were lot of speculations whether Kashmir was ready for integration or not, and to ensure peace, this article was imposed. It is rather strange that it’s been over 6 decades and this “temporary” provision is enjoying its long stay and evoking so many debates and controversies even today.

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It is only because of this provision that Indian citizens of different states are not allowed to acquire land or property in Jammu & Kashmir. If a normal Indian citizen has one citizenship, the citizens of J&K have two citizenships. Also, although Article 370 was gender neutral, it prohibits women of this state from the basic property rights. It also denies the president of India from enforcing any emergency in J&K.

While some experts argue that there is no reason that a state in India has a special status because it defeats the whole purpose of calling J&K a fundamental part of India. People like Omar Abdullah claim that the article 370 is instrumental in protecting the rights of Kashmiris. Many people also assert that the beauty of Kashmir will only prevail in less population and it is right if people from other states are not allowed to own property here.

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It is to be seen what becomes of this controversial topic in the coming weeks. However, the irony is that we claim that we live in a democracy and, as far as we all have studied in our text books, every community has equal rights and equal duties.

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Disclaimer: All pictures are a result of Google search and I have no copyright over them.


The nine phase voting festival of Indian democracy finally got over with a record voter turnout of 66%. I can proudly say that I was one of those responsible citizens who did not think of the Election Day as yet another official holiday. As for now, the major exit polls result clearly reflect that Narendra Modi is all set to take over the prestigious throne of India’s Prime Minister.

We have to wait till 16th May 2014 to know the actual results, but it will be interesting to see whether Modi works on his promise of “more governance, less government” and brings the economy back. And, with such a high voter turnout this time, it is pretty obvious that we want nothing less than perfect from Modi ji.

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I will not mince words this time. I couldn’t sleep last night properly. The statement of chief of the political party Samajwadi Party kept echoing in my mind. Often we hear politicians giving controversial statements with a clear intention to gather attention from different sections of the country. After this, well articulated debates are held on various news channels, the newspapers are filled with feature articles regarding it, and it just takes few hours and a McDonald’s burger to get out of the disturbing phase. Today, it’s different.

Mulayam Singh Yadav crossed every line of civilization and compassion this time. A politician, who once held the position of Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, and now, boasts of limitless political muscle power, made a statement that is nothing short of demeaning, insensitive, dehumanizing, and brutally misogynistic. Saying – “Rape accused should not be hanged. Boys make mistakes.” – left every individual of this country in a state of acrimony. For a second, I thought I heard something wrong and maybe I need to get to the bottom of this news again. But, to my dismay, he actually had the temerity to say what he said.

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Do you know what a rape victim and her family has to go through? If some day your daughter or wife, god forbid, goes through it then you would know how big the ‘mistake’ is! A rape victim is unwillingly forced to live with a damaged self esteem for the rest of her life. The social stigma and prolonged judiciary system just adds to her misery. You make someone dead by her soul and call it a bloody MISTAKE! In the times when we are considering nothing less than a deterrent punishment for the rapists, you are mouthing some illogical statements to support the action of rapists. Do you deserve to be called a human being? In fact, this is not enough. There is an incessant list of ‘mistakes’ did by your party. You and your little boys have been ‘raping’ our country for many years, and still there is no closure to it.

We still haven’t forgotten how IAS officer Durga Shakti Nagpal was fired just because she demanded the demolition of an illegitimate mosque wall. Later, the suspension was retracted because of too much public outrage. Another little ‘mistake’ done in the tenure of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav’s (your boy) tenure was the ghastly communal riots of Muzaffarnagar that killed/injured hundreds of people. And when thousands of riot victims were struggling to commence a new life in relief camps, you and your CM son were enjoying watching women dance in a “Bollywood Night” extravaganza at the SaiFi Festival.

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Yadav’s statement is surely excruciating, but now our duty as the potential voter starts after this. We cannot afford to elect leaders like him because it will not only encourage rape, but will also disregard the very theory of democracy. By defying the new anti-rape law, Yadav has brought into light a gruesome mentality that can turn the sensibilities of people into dust.

I strongly support Kiran Bedi when she says, “This statement is not just against women, it is against the society. He should be punished with no votes.” Today, the time has come to stir our conscience once again and vote only to the party which can deliver what is expected out of it; a leader who will not say boys will be boys because a real gentleman is one who allows the fellow countrymen to breath in peace, respect and dignity. And, Yadav ji, DIGNITY and RESPECT are some words that you are still not familiar with.

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Disclaimer: All pictures used are a result of Google search and I have no copyright over them.