Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Hornet Nest

Dear Miss Shuba,
We regret to inform you that as per your performance evaluation of this year we will have to terminate your employment effective immediately. This is in no regards a retaliation of your sexual harassment complaint against our senior employee. Please find attached the complete details regarding the severance pay and let us know if you have any queries.

HR Team, GEC Enterprise.

She stared at the email message on her computer, her mind racing so fast that the words blurred together and no longer made any sense. Just three lines, but enough to make her life--the life she’d worked so hard and sacrificed so much to build--begin to crumble around her.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Teaching to be emotionally intelligent

There are so many times when we feel ourselves reeling from some sort of anger or depression. Be it a rude comment by a relative, lack of compassion by a loved one or losing a close one in a tragedy, all of these things though seems almost natural to happen in a lifetime, can sometimes drag us into depression. It’s that feeling in our gut that our whole world is crashing down on us.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Digital World

Digital World

The gold spilled in my backyard as the sun pulled out another day in front of me. I watched as the inky shadows spread around me warmed up into a colorful world. The white clouds were floating lazily on their back in the pristine sky. I closed my eyes as the humble wind shuffles the leaves of the tree and sings an empty tune. Were they singing my village folk song? I start humming with them. There were still few hours before the jostling lives of this small town takes over this tranquility. I sit on the backyard steps and try to breathe in the view when suddenly my daughter darts right by me and began to walk restlessly in the backyard. She paces right and left holding her mobile phone up to the sky. Now and then she would take few calculated steps here and there and look for a signal on her phone. I could tell she did not get any because she groaned and stomped her feet in frustration.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The Weapon

The Weapon

I wish I’d been there earlier. It might have made all the difference. So all I can tell you is why he was murdered.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Role that we play

Role that we play
“You are fantastic!” The professor taking the audition exclaimed in astonishment “I never thought a guy could play the role of Draupadi with such a depth”
“Thanks” Suraj replied with a small grin. It wasn’t the first time he had played such a role, but the surprise on people’s face always gives him an extra kick. 
“No, you are really good, much better than all the girls who were just parroting dialogues like a dead bird,” He said still looking at him with amazement. “Rehearsals starts from today. Can you dress up a bit to see how you fit into the character?”
“Sure” Suraj agreed casually.
“You have a real talent Suraj. Your parents must be proud!” He looked at him admiringly.
“Actually it’s just my mother and me. She is kind of my role model in life” Suraj replied humbly.
“Then you should bring her to the rehearsals, she should see how good you are” 
Suraj hesitated for a moment “She doesn’t really want to come watch me…”
Professor nodded empathetically “I understand. But if she could see how good you are, maybe she will support it..”
Suraj nodded reluctantly but he knew it was little more complicated than that. There would be trouble waiting for him at home today. A man enacting a female character was not that strange in the world of art and theatre. Many famous male artists have played female characters on the stage. But his mother was very much against it. Even as a child, she would reprimand him if he was found wearing her heels or her jewelry just to mimic her. She would look at him horrified and say “This is not a joke. I don’t want you dressing up like me”.
To be fair it wasn’t her fault, she was merely trying to fill in the shoes of a fatherly figure that are supposed to lend a stern hand when thing go awry. As Suraj grew up he found his passion for acting. The world where he could be anybody. Once he gets on the stage, the world around him dims down and the character seems to come alive within him. Her mother would not say it explicitly, but he could see it in her eyes that she loathed the idea of him playing the female roles. There would be an uncomfortable edge in her voice when she would enquire why it was him who was playing this female character. There wasn’t any explanation for that, except for the fact that Suraj delivered these roles better than anyone else. He was brilliant, but his ability to understand a women’s emotions with such a depth troubled his mother. To Suraj’s defense, he played all kinds of role. It did not matter to him what was the gender of the character that he played. It was the role that fascinated him.
But he knew his mother detested the idea that she has to share her jewelry and makeup with her son; hardly a dream of any mother. She would never attend any of his stage shows, but she was what most of the mothers were not; Supportive and loving. Although more often than not, they would tend to disagree with each other on many occasions. Suraj suspected that today was going to be yet another of one such occasion. So he decided to get ready for the rehearsals before his mother can find out what he was up to. He went into her room and began shuffling around her dressing table.
His mother walked into the room just as he was about to apply her new lipstick. She was startled. He was startled. "What are you doing with my lipstick? It's new...I haven't used it so far. Couldn't you have waited?" He smiled and handed it back to her. "I forgot to tell you...I am playing Draupadi in our college production... rehearsals start this evening."

He added an extra mile to his smile to appease her. She frowned a little but said nothing, after all, she wanted to be the supportive mother his son looked up to. She kept back her new lipstick and took out another one from her dressing table.
“This one will go better with your dress,” She handed it to him without making any eye contact and turned away.
“Could you apply it ..please” Suraj hazarded. He could see her red bindi crinkling between her anxious brows. It was a calculated risk. Either she would finally confront him or would accept his passion and be a part of it. Either way, the open confrontation was much better than the long uncomfortable glares that her mother gave.
She took a minute before sitting next to him and gestured him to part his lips. She rolled out the bright lipstick and started to apply delicately on his lips, all the while maintaining the torturous silence. Suraj watched her intently and then sighed heavily “Ok, say it”
“I wasn’t going to say anything..” She said somberly, concentrating on his lips.
“I know you want to ..just say it maa..” he pouted his lips teasingly at her.
“It’s not funny” She gave him a stern look “I never had any problem with your passion for acting, but all this makeup and jewelry….it’s not good. People make assumptions you know.. ” The familiar uncomfortable edge was back in her voice. Suraj knew that he had hit a sensitive nerve.
He smiled at her lovingly. “What kind of assumptions mother…”
“Don’t tease me. You know what I am talking about” She turned away from him “Everyone will think something is wrong with you. Why else will a man go around wearing a women’s clothes and makeup?”
“Simply because he is playing that character” Suraj stated simplistically “An artist has to forget himself and transform into the character he is playing on the stage. So how does it matter if I play a man or women? It is the role that matters, not the gender who is playing it.”
She could see in his eyes that he meant what he said. But there was this unexplainable fear that refused to subside in her heart.
“Suraj.. tell me the truth..” She asked cautiously “Do you like dressing up like this?” She wasn’t sure if she was ready for an answer but the question was already out there.
“Is there something wrong with that..” He just asked casually, but his mother’s face suddenly crumbled into desperation. It was like the worst of her fears had come true. He added quickly “I like acting, and not dressing up like this…if that is what you are worried about…” He saw her mother breathing again “..Although, I don’t think people should be judged for what they like to wear. One should be able to do what they like and be who they want without caring about people’s opinion.”
She almost smiled at his naive ideas, and then suddenly a foreboding clouded her heart. How innocent was his son. He would never know what the opinions of others could do. What is the price to stand out from the crowd and be someone different?
“You are playing Draupadi and asking why does people’s opinion matter?” She gave a sardonic smile “She defied everything normal from being married to five husbands and being called the daughter of fire. People could not comprehend her ideas or her existence. She had to pay the price of humiliation to be different”
“I remember it the other way around maa. It was the people who had to pay the price for her humiliation.,” Suraj added cleverly.
His mother pressed her lips into a thin line. She knew she was being dragged into another oratory competition   “I am not asking you to stop acting, I am just asking you to stop dressing up like a lady..”
 “I don’t know why you are overreacting. This is just a stage shows maa” Suraj sighed heavily. He knew this wasn’t going to be an easy fight.
She looked at him appalled and pulled him in front of the mirror “My Son looks just like me and you are asking why I am overreacting..”
“Why.. you are gorgeous, anybody would want to look like you “ He jested but found out that it was not taken in a light spirit. He added seriously this time “Even Arjun had to take up the form of women, but he is still considered biggest warrior of our time. Vishnu had to take up the form of Mohini to marry Aravan, but he is still considered our God. These boundaries of gender should not entrap you from doing what you really feel like”
She stood there trying to think of an answer to his reasons, but her fear had no reasons. And she knew that the world will also not pay heed to reasons when they would try to ridicule his son for being little different.
 “Why can’t you just act like other kids of your age...a normal kid?” She suddenly felt ashamed for asking him that. A person who had never constrained herself by the social norms is suddenly beseeching her son to abide by them.
“What is normal maa? Each person has its own definition of normal. Why should I live by someone else’s definition of normal?” He said pulling out an eyeliner from her makeup kit and applying it carefully.

She took it from him irritated “Fine, do what you want. People will only blame me. They will say I have raised you all wrong. ” A lump formed in her throat.
He smiled and wrapped his arms around her “No, they will say that you have raised a confident and secure son, whose identity cannot be smudged by an ounce of makeup.”
She looked at her son frustrated. No one could ever win with him in an argument. Bright, smart and handsome, he was everything she could never be and so much more. She had promised herself, that she will provide him with everything to be a perfect human being. Doesn’t all mother do that? Then why wouldn’t he change this little thing about him?  Was it her own fault? Was she even a good mother? Perhaps she should not have adopted him at all. She had never considered the motherhood, but the vision of a toddler crying next to his dead mother’s body on the street stirred something deep inside of her. She had bent down to wipe his tears and he hugged her with the strength that seemed too mighty for him to possess. She knew then, that she was a mother to this kid. How she got the strength to fight everybody and adopt him was still a mystery to her. But now she doubted her upbringing. She doubted if she had the right to take care of anyone else. 
“Can you help me with this..” He said breaking her chain of thoughts “How do you put this around the shoulder” He stood awkwardly trying to drape her bright red sari around his muscular shoulder. He looked like her spitting image; something mothers desire in their children. But this image terrified her and made her love him a little more at the same time.
 “Are you just going to watch me struggle here..” He said a little vexed as the sari tangled around his neck. Her face melted into a smile but she quickly stifled it. She did not want her son to think that he has finally won his mother over.
  “Come here, I will fix it with the safety pin” She took out the extra one from under her blouse.
“Will you come to watch the rehearsals?” He asked as she tucked the sari on his shoulders.
“No” She shook her head adamantly “it will be embarrassing…”She said biting her lips.
He held her hands firmly and looked into her eyes “For the last time maa. You will never be an embarrassment to me. Even the government of India has recognized eunuchs as the third gender, so why can’t I give you the recognition of a mother in front of my friends?”
She looked at him unsure as her eyes welled up with tears. The insecurities that were hidden deep inside her were finally been spoken out openly. She did not want her son to face the ridicule of the fact that his mother was a hijra. That was not the heritage she wanted her son to acquire.
Suraj smiled at his mother “You became my mother when I had lost mine and no one else would take me. It’s the role that you played in my life that is important, not the gender that played that role”
Her mother looked at him fondly, and she realized then, that she had raised her son just perfect.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Happy Father's Day

There is a hero without a cape, in every kid’s life.
Who hold our hands, while we walk for the very first time.
In the depth of dark nights, he sang us lullabies
And in panting hot afternoons, he fixed our toys.
He was that push behind our cycles, that we peddled with pure delight,
And those high shoulder, that were our designated ride.
He was our first play date and partner in our covet crimes.
He would throw us high in the air and then catch us right on time.
He relived his childhood with ours and gave us piggy rides.
The mastermind of late night cookies and ice cream heists.
He would let us fall ,to learn what it felt like
But then would smile and tell us, it’s quite alright.
We mirrored his walk and talk and all that style
He was Ironman, Superman and everything that is strong combined.
It was good to have a mix of love and tough-love in our life
While Moms would always call us back home,Dads would always ask us to fly high.

Happy fathers day.

The Toy

It was a shiny little remote control Car. I knew it was trouble the moment I saw it. I always try to stir clear of the electronic toy section during my family visit to the local supermarket. But on this one occasion, I haven’t been too vigilant and ended up having this electronic remote control Car in my shopping cart. Arjun held the toy tightly in his hand the entire time, while Shaurya looked at it with expectant eyes. The moment we reached home, the wraps were off and the toy was on the floor; Arjun trying to fix all the batteries inside it. I went to Kitchen resigned, knowing full well that a fight was about to follow, and sure enough, within minutes Shaurya was shrilling ‘Mummy’ at the top of his lungs.
 I came and stood there. Arjun had taken control of the remote and was merrily driving the car while Shaurya was trying to muscle it out from his hand.  But Shaurya, being the smaller and younger was no match to Arjun.
I gave Arjun a stern look “Can you please give back Toy to Shaurya”
He looked at me with a furrowed brow and said “NO, I am playing with it. He should know to wait for his turn”
 I looked at him furiously and took the toy from his hand and handed it to Shaurya. His deafening cries immediately stopped.
 I stared at Arjun “Let him play. He is much small to understand that. You can play with it once he is done.”
He looked at me furiously and went back to his I-pad. I came to the kitchen and started to work. It had only been five minutes that shrills had started again. I came out and saw Arjun trying to snatch the remote out of Shaurya’s hand.
I stared at him. He instantly answered” I wasn’t playing. I was just teaching him how to use the remote. He does not know it” he said innocently.
 I sighed and gave the toy back to Shaurya. “He will learn by his own. You just leave him alone.”
“Why do you always favor him? He needs to learn to wait for his turn” He said angrily and started down at his i-pad.
“I favor him because he is a little child.” I said firmly " and you sir , are his 35-year-old father, who is obsessed with remote cars. Now can you two get along so I can finish up with dinner?”

He ignored me and eyed the toy from the side of Ipad. I resigned from the situation and went inside the kitchen. I never thought I would be dealing with two kids while delivering one.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

The Mind Weaver (scifi thriller)

Mr. Raman waited impatiently in the lobby of the office. Six years, it took him six years to get this investor interested in his product. For a fifty-year-old man with a terminal illness, this was a very long wait. He had invested his life into this product.
“This invention will be the end of us” His wife would warn him with a frown. But he turned a deaf ear to her and continued to work on it. Year after year, experiment after experiment and finally he had something of significance. His name would be in the lines of Thomas Edison and Einstein. He smiled nervously. He looked at the clock. The uncertainty was annoying. He picked up the newspaper to get over his nervous fidgeting. It was crowded with the campaign ads for coming election candidates. A full page picture of Mr. Kailash Chadda stared at him in the face.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Good night little one

The lighting thundered through the dark of the night and rain pelted like rocks on the roof of the house. Beeku peeped through the cover of his blanket into the dark night. Lighting created shadows of monster on his walls. Another loud crackle of thunder and he threw himself into the arms of his mother.

Birth Of a Mother

When do we feel like mothers? It’s not always when we conceive a child or when we deliver them. It’s usually when we realize that an utterly helpless and tiny being is hopelessly depended upon us for their every need. They clutch onto us with the power seeming too great for them to possess and cry like the world is ending, just for a hug from us. They look a little bit like us and act a little bit like us. Their innocent ways dig hooks deep into our hearts and suddenly everything seems truly worth it. It’s then that we are born as a mother and brave against unthinkable to guard them with our life.
We could go behind the science that gave this motherly instinct to every female species on this earth, but then why credit the hormones for this magical feeling. Why waste time to analyze something that we have so little time to enjoy. So here is an ovation to all the lucky people of this world who were born as mothers.
A Happy Mother’s day

Love Priyanka

Monday, April 24, 2017

Deadlock For Eternity

I peeped into the room and saw her watching inane TV daily Soap. My mind buzzed with confusion. She should not be here. Something was horribly wrong.
“Can you stop spying on me, please? It’s creepy” She called above the TV noise. I came out of the shadows and stood in front of her.
“This is creepy? “I stared at her in disbelief “And you just sitting here watching TV is not creepy?”
 “What is creepy about it?” she responded ignorantly.
“You are dead! We shouldn’t be having audible conversations” I crashed into the sofa. It’s not every day that you talk to your dead wife.

Monday, April 10, 2017

The Taboo Word, SEX!

It would be obligatory for me to state this as a statutory warning, that this article might have just too many taboo words for you to digest with your evening tea. But with the right amount of sarcasm and some perspective, I think the target audience should get the right message.

Friday, March 17, 2017

First Love

Some love stories gets knitted into your whole life and marks the entire history of one’s being. And yet you never recognize it even existed until it hits you suddenly. Today is one such day in my life.
 I am a 30 year old guy, sitting at my wedding reception with a beautiful girl and I just cannot stop thinking about my very first love. Let me tell you, I am not the one to use the “L” word lightly. I have always hesitated away from this word, deeming it to be non-existential thing. Life has proved me otherwise; twice. This is about the very first time.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Happy Women’s Day!

To all the overachiever ladies in the world who were bred to excel in every aspect of life.  To all the Mothers who taught by example how to be a nurturer of a life, to be compassionate and kind. To all the wives who taught how to accommodate a whole new family into her life. To the daughters who stand by their families in the toughest times , to all the fun girlfriends who so easily filled the gap of siblings in our life, and to all the bosses and entrepreneurs, who taught it’s not that tough to have it all!
 I guess it won’t be considered presumptions to say this on a women’s day that the roles we pick up in life is endless and touches so many lives. Let’s take a moment to raise a toast to ourselves, for we women do not fall short to anyone’s expectation, but of ourselves. Let’s not be embarrassed to be proud and give a shout out to all the women in the world!

It’s women’s day after all!

Monday, March 6, 2017

The Short Mini Skirt

It was the most expensive and beautiful dress I ever got on my birthday. I knew it was very expensive because I was told so by my parents several times a day. This kind of pampering was very rare in a middle-class family. So I treated it with respect. I had even wrapped it up in my mom’s silk sari. For a fourteen-year-old me, it was dreams come true. I could already imagine my class’s Miss Congeniality bubbling her envy vein. It was perfect, perfect but for its length. An inch shorter and it would have been a dream. Nothing big, just a simple cut and stitch work. But a dress this expensive cannot be tailored at home or at a local shop. It has to be treated as per its standard. So I opted for this high-class boutique to alter it. It was one of those shops with a glass front and a receptionist sitting at the entrance. I had always wondered what it felt like being inside. And now I had a reason to. 

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Internet Addiction

Let me start out by saying that I am not against Internet platform. It is one of the most powerful medium to get across your opinion and bring together people with common purpose. Many of the recent revolution’s success are attributed to this medium.But now, most of it is just noise, noises from inane and nonessential information which compete against our blink time.
The explosion of information on the internet had given us the opportunity to be entertained round the clock. That in turn has taken over most of us with a need to be entertained all the time. This need has seeped so deeply, that now we don’t know any other way of living. We get too bored too quickly. Social encounters are a little more awkward than they used to be. Clicking the like button on that picture looks much easier than complimenting in person. Our Updates or our ideas need to be validated by the audience we hardly know. While all of this is a boon for an introvert, it has trudged many extroverts into extinction.

Monday, February 27, 2017

My Peter Pan -Story Part 4

Back to the Present

The Clock struck 12am.

Happy birthday to me! And like a Cinderella story I was back from the magical world into my real world.

My Peter Pan - Story Part 3

Peter Pan and Aerial

can still remember my farewell night, clear as a pole star in the dark sky of night.
School Auditorium was decorated with big Golden curtains for the batch of 1980. Silver stars hung low from the ceiling between the white cotton clouds. Colored lights glowing around the main dance floor giving a feel of a dreamy world.

My Peter Pan: Story Part 2

The Discovery

Clock struck 11:15pm

The night was as calm as a sea before a storm. Not a whisper of the winds or chips of the crickets.Just a faint howl of the owl . I tiptoed past the grandma's room , to the main hall and down in the corridor that lead to the store room. Long Dark corridor Stood gloomily in front of me .

My Peter Pan- Story Part 1


When her 15th birthday turns out to be a complete disaster , she reluctantly joins her parents to her grandma house with whom she share her birthday. This was going to be her most boring birthday ever until she remembered an old memory in grandma's house and embarked upon a discovery which took her to a different Time zone.