Deep Down Inside

Like many of you, I too have intriguing thoughts, like this one in particular: “whether all of us are the same deep down inside?” I believe that yes, every human is the same deep down inside. Except for a matter of degree. This degree is what defines us individually. It is influenced by our culture, our society, our upbringing and our nearest surroundings. Therefore, sometimes the people who don’t fit in our degree of thought variance strike us as weird (even weirder). Anyhow deep down, all of us are the same. We are born, we live, we age and we die. Simple life process. We crave for the same things. We want security, we want love and we want our children to have better lives than ours. Some may have varying opinions on it, again depending on their thought variance, but we are considering the general opinion. The same opinion that we have had since we were cavemen.

Does it mean that all of us are the same? Negative. Because each one of us is intricately designed with infinite layers of varying cultures, life events, nuances and other life ingredients. You take all of these off and you get ditto samples. So, in a way we are the same set of people, yet uniquely defined.

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That feeling called LOVE

She was the distraction his soul fed upon.
If only someone could constantly tell her how amazing she was to him. If only thoughts could speak.
He always strived to touch her soul before he touched her.
No matter the condition, every time he thought of her, it rendered a smile on his face.
She taught him how loving someone could be so effortless. Even in their silences, they heard the voices of their hearts.
The only thing that irked him was how she could love him more. Always.
Separations by time and space were mere blindfolds to their inner selves. They didn’t need eyes to see the love.
He wished at times if their moments could freeze, for they were priceless. She was priceless.
The deeper they dug into each other, the more they fell for one another.
Most of the times he wished to sweep her off the ground, take her into his arms and kiss her.
They craved to be with each other, to touch, to be lost in each other. The feelings were intense.
When together they had their hearts intertwined in the rhythm of their heartbeats.

Dowry : A Menace

The last I knew we were living in the 21st century, eh? Recently got to know a good friend of mine from Kerala was having a horrid time attending marriages at her hometown. Somewhere in the conversation she mentioned about how grand few of them were, especially the 2-crore dowry one. I flinched at learning that. Two things were difficult to absorb, first of all, dowry system existing in Kerala, it is the state with the highest literacy rate (97.5% to be precise, source: Wikipedia). When the most literates are indulging in such malpractices what more can you expect from the rest. The second troubling thing was the amount, that sure was mindboggling. It was an arranged marriage, now assume if it were a love marriage, would the groom’s family still have taken the dowry and what if the bride’s family weren’t that affluent to squeeze out that much money? Would these obstacles (apart from many more that practically exist) have precluded the marriage? Would love have suffered at the cost of money and other worldly things? If it were true love, we’re sure to hear a resounding NO.

Dowry system has been prevalent in India since the Vedic times and “Kanyadan” is what it’s closely related to. It involved exchange of goods or money between the protector (husband) and the provider (father). It is still openly practiced, even after being categorized as an offence and punishable by law. The northern states in India are the places where it is more prevalent, but given what I came to know it is being practiced all over India.

Thinking of it logically, firstly you are taking a person away from her family, making her live in a place she has no choice about and then harassing her more money. You are making this world utterly impossible for her to live in. She has already sacrificed enough and will continue doing so with a smile on her face. Where did all your humanity go? Weren’t you supposed to treat her as your own child? What about the times when you too had felt the same sting and promised you wouldn’t let it happen to another soul? Aren’t you her protector, the one to save her from all atrocities, even if the ones inflicting them are your own? How come we all forget such things so easily?

It is high time we realize who we really were and what we have become. Caste, religion, race, sex, colour are all categories by us to brand each other. Do animals have a caste, do you discriminate between your pet dogs based on their colour? When did we, the ones proud to live in the modern era, the smart and sophisticated ones, become such savages? The answers to all life questions are very simple, just that we are blinded by the society we live in. Don’t let it fool you to the extent that it drives you mad. People will talk, they always do, the choice is yours and nobody but you will bear the fruits, good or bad, then why think of others? No point complicating things when life can be foolishly simple.

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That what rejuvenates the soul : Music

The world speaks to me in colours, my soul answers in music – Rabindranath Tagore.

There is nothing more than us this man didn’t know. That said, yes music does create us in ways profound to the majority. From those dark sulky days to the ones spent clubbing, everywhere music connects us to the world around us. It speaks to us in many different languages, though it per se doesn’t have a language of its own. That is the reason I prefer all sorts of music, from Alternative Rock to the Indian Bhajans, from Rap to Reggae. When high it makes even more sense, especially how the body responds to the beat sequence. All we need to do is let ourselves loose and let music absolve us off of our anxieties. More so it lifts up the mood, energizes us, gives that much needed adrenaline rush. Imagine your favourite movie without those euphoric soundtracks, gross eh ? Whether to make one a saviour or a diabolical self, music does it all. Listen to the right tracks and you are set for a helluva ride. Cheers \m/

My top ten favourites (Huge alternative rock fan) :

  1. Here Without You : 3 Doors Down
  2. Aicha : Outlandish
  3. Clocks : Coldplay
  4. Quit Playing Games (With My Heart) : Backstreet Boys
  5. The Scientist : Coldplay
  6. Lux Aeterna : Clint Mansell (I just love the build up)
  7. Wop : J. Dash (Play it at full volume to wake up your neighbours, even they’ll join you)
  8. Mirrors : Justin Timberlake
  9. Born to Die : Lana del Rey
  10. Hey There Delilah : Plain White T’s

Many more, but for now these are the top 10.

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Bludgeonings of Time

Time was his tyrant teacher,
Held, beaten, annihilated,
Reduced to an insect,
But never did he question His existence

He had nothing to hold on to,
No love, no caring hand on his head,
No embracing hug,
Still he searched beyond horizon,
For that one ray, one reason to carry on

He closed his eyes, took a deep breath and stood,
Stood for himself,
He shall stumble but not fall,
Persevere sans expectations,
He shall die on his feet than live on his knees,
Elevate him for himself,
And die a delightful death.

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Trippy Trip

I had long been waiting for the semester exams to get over, just like any other college kid. More importantly because I had a plan on mind, that would land me in Goa (my first time) and that was pretty much what the excitement was all about. The plan was made with some cousins, went down the dumps due to “tight schedules” (ghosh!), another plan of Delhi met with the same fortune. On the last day my cousin asked me to come to Mumbai, then on a road trip to Jamnagar, where he is presently based (Indian Navy Sub Lt.). That was enough to cheer me up and after a bit of hassle with the Tatkal train tickets (coz plain tickets are costly and I don’t earn yet, simple), I was up with an itinerary that would turn out to be a helluva ride.

Journey began from Kharagpur to Kolkata. My train to Mumbai was late by 9 hrs even before starting from Kolkata (Indian Railways :/). I had heard of trains getting late on the way but this one was late even before beginning. I tried sleeping in the waiting room but to no avail and half asleep I boarded the train next morning. The journey was not at all happening due to two candid reasons, one being I don’t understand Bengali so couldn’t get into a conversation with my fellow passengers (I prefer not ogling at people for reasons not known to both) , the other being my laptop was loaded with the latest movies and being a movie freak, I couldn’t help myself. The remainder of the time was spent lying dead in the berth as it was a long journey, 37 hrs plus 3 more for being late (yes Indian Railways again :/ ).

On reaching Mumbai and meeting my cousin, we rushed to Pune. Much to my amusement the government funded Volvo buses commute faster than the normal sedans. In two days we had travelled between Mumbai and Pune four times, all thanks to my cousins, one had to cater to his girlfriend in Mumbai and the other her boyfriend’s birthday in Pune (some people just can’t get enough :D). I, on the other was having all the fun, because I love hitting the road with some fancy music and an even fancier company. It was like the song I recall, Eat Sleep Rave Repeat.

20131129_174721(Sunset in Mumbai)

Mumbai-Jamnagar : This was the crux of the entire travel. 800km of pure bliss. This time it was Eat Sleep Travel Repeat. Travelling like that endlessly, stopping on funny places to eat, sleep, have a short snack break and experiencing India is what I presume constitutes to being wanderlust. Dialects change within every 100km. Gujaratis can be so funny at times for they assume you know their language so well (as if you own it) that they help you with navigation in Gujarati itself and all you end up doing is nodding like a retard. After covering around just 200km we were so tired that we had to rest, otherwise we were bound to end up waking in a hospital with probably multiple fractures. So we checked in a cheap hotel/dharamshala, hoping to get a quick nap and begin again as we were already late. The owner took our IDs in custody, had our fingerprints taken, had CCTV surveillance, only to be told in the end that some time back a handful of terrorists had lodged in their place (that part was shit scary, was more amused at how frivolously the worker was telling us that with a smirk on his face, left us in cold sweat).

20131201_123207(one for the unwinding road)

Next day : had to travel around 600km, so was time to get serious. Took very few breaks, just the one around Surat and next big one in Jamnagar. We lost track around Rajkot as with just a few wrong turns and the all user friendly GPS navigation with its shortcuts, we ended up in the middle of streets with just enough space to fit one small car. We were laughing our asses off as yet with 200km to be covered we were in this grotesque situation of struggling to find our way out of Rajkot. Somehow we managed to get out of the mess and reach Jamnagar on time. The naval base is well built and maintained and there is no one thing you can’t get inside the base you’d want outside. All high class facilities are provided for and all in all it’s a city within itself. I have always been intrigued with how smooth a life defense people have.

Jamnagar-Ahmedabad : By this time I was pretty much used to “Mota Bhais”, “Moti Bens” and “Jai Shree Krishnas” floating all around, a taste of being in the Krishna Nagri. This one was a bus ride and I spent it listening to music as there was nothing much to see outside (it was a night trip). One amazing thing happened at the railway station in Ahmedabad. I had about 6 hrs to spend before boarding the train so went straight into the waiting room. I was groggy due to the tiring journey but was shook awake by the lady at the desk as she was shouting at me for being early to enter the waiting room. I had no energy to retort back and just asked “How much?” (Hit the bull’s eye) She gave me a repugnant smile, was all polite henceforth and helped me with the entry, after which I handed her 30 bucks, picked up my luggage and headed straight for one of the chairs. The day before itself I’d been reading in the newspaper that India was ranked 94th in the list of most corrupt nations and got to experience the same hands on. Ironically I had also been sold the same newspaper thrice its price in Bhopal with the price removed from the newspaper, leaving one no option but to buy it. If we talk about annihilation of corruption then it should begin at this grass root level (snip it in the bud), only when it swells to a larger “scam” do we panic.

Ahmedabad-Pathankot-Tiara (my village) : A train ride till Pathankot followed by a bus ride home. I had long been waiting to meet this stereotypical uncle/aunty which people boast to have met and eventually I did encounter one. Humorous shall be the conversation itself.
Uncle : Beta ghar kahan pe hai?
Me : Ji Himachal mein, Dharamshala ke paas.
Uncle : Kya karte ho?
Me :  Ji engineering kar raha hun, IIT Kharagpur se (B-|)
Uncle : Yeh kharagpur kahan pada?
Me : Ji West Bengal mein.
Uncle : Acha acha, Himachal mein koi acha engineering college nahi mila kya, jo itni door padhne jaana pada?
Me : (Imitating a facepalm in my head)

Travelling has always enchanted me, for the same reason I love it. It brings you in contact with new people, people all around the world, you get to experience their dialects and moreover you get to experience yourself. Most of the times I prefer travelling alone, reason being you need not worry about keeping someone company, you can be pretty much to yourself most of the time, thinking, experiencing, introspecting and appreciating what and who you have in your life and where your life is headed. It’s not about the destination but the journey we undertake to reach one. That is pretty much the essence of it.

A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.”
― Lao Tzu

Next up on the cards after owning a bike or a car, I have a plan to complete a road trip from Mumbai up to Dharamshala, should be even more euphoric and thrilling than this one, seems impractical but so did many other things in life.

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My Bucket List

never stop dreaming

The list of things I need to do before I die. The ones struck off have been done 😀

  1. Go Skydiving.
  2. Attend Tommorowland.
  3. Travel at least 30 countries by the time I’m 30 (My 30-30 mission).
  4. Open an orphanage.
  5. Learn the guitar well.
  6. Learn to ride a bike. (Dec 2013, Dharamshala)
  7. Attend a concert by Coldplay.
  8. Watch an El Classico live.
  9. Go Bungee Jumping.
  10. Travel to New York.
  11. See most of India by 30.
  12. Take a family tour on the Palace on Wheels.
  13. Buy the Ducati Streetfigher.
  14. Finally learn how to swim and go snorkeling and experience the marine life.
  15. Go to the disnelyland and the disneyworld.
  16. Get and maintain a six pack.
  17. Kiss her in the rain.
  18. Go to the airport, pick a random flight and go on it.
  19. Own a labrador/golden retriever.
  20. Go see Leh and most of north India on a bullet.
  21. Cross the Dhauladhar range from the side of my hometown.
  22. By 30 fall in love and get married.
  23. Learn another language. Probably French or German.
  24. Meet Megan Fox.
  25. Meet the Dalai Lama.
  26. Go on cruise on a Cruise ship.
  27. Take part in a flash mob. (Spring Fest, IIT KGP, Jan 2014)
  28. Get inked.
  29. Visit the lock bridge in Paris and tie a lock.
  30. A Gondola ride in Venice.
  31. Take Salsa dance lessons.
  32. DJ-ing in a club.
  33. Learn cooking.
  34. Go parasailing.
  35. Try all popular beers.
  36. Ride a hot air balloon.
  37. Ride a vespa in Rome.
  38. Visit the Bahamas.
  39. Have a cigar in Cuba. That too before communism dies there.
  40. Have a meal with a beggar and get to know him/her.
  41. Fly first class in Emirates.
  42. See the seven wonders of the world.
  43. Visit Alberrobello, Italy.
  44. Hike in Nepal to Everest base camp and to  Annapurna.
  45. Visit Las Vegas.
  46. Make donation.  (Done July 2013).
  47. Complete my bachelors degree
  48. Get a masters degree.
  49. Watch the Mahabharat TV series.

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Respect Women

Among many issues plaguing the society, disrespect to women has been pivotal recently in India. From raging crowds drawn to the streets to rapes being rampant, we have seen it all. It is how we have seen women all these years is the fact per se contributing to rising crimes and their improper treatment. Lately I read “A Thousand Splendid Suns” by Khaled Hosseini and was greatly touched by the misogyny depicted at all stages of the novel. Being forced to marry at an early age a person of about three to four times their age, quashed dreams, manhandled by their husband against the backdrop of terrorism and falling and rising regimes, is mostly what the novel depicts. Though it’s a fiction but it is definite that many would have seen the same wrath or even worse. The novel touches you in every possible way, arousing empathy and exasperation at the same instant. 

Then upon recommendation of a friend I stumbled upon “Water” a highly acclaimed movie by Deepa Mehta that focuses on the the lives of some widows forced into isolation to worship God in order to atone for their sins (which ironically some of them committed upon their husbands’ untimely death when they were mere kids). It was a daunting attempt at our society’s doctrines that left many suffering, mostly oblivious to their crimes. Towards the end it also shows how reforms making their way through the shackles of restraint and conflicting faith, but hope of a better future.

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I would recommend everyone to watch the movie as well as read the novel. They shall revive your respect for what women have been forced to endure over time and what stupendous sacrifices they’ve made. When we talk about equality of gender, it begins within our conscious. If you are not willing to let go of your ego and be selfless, you cannot expect yourself to let go of chance desires. All of us are sane enough to distinguish between right and wrong, age is just a number, it’s always the same you. Purge your thoughts and the deeds shall follow.

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Those Eyes

I had the opportunity to visit an orphanage during my last holidays. It was my dad’s birthday and he decided to celebrate it in a unique way this time. So we packed eatables and other gifts to be delivered to the less fortunate. It all went well, all were girls in the age bracket of 10-18. They all were taken good care of, went to school and were aspiring to make a good future for themselves even though God had not been pleasant with them. But things took a new turn when we got to know that there was an asylum being managed by the same people and as some eatables were still left, so we decided to visit it as well. Trust me on this that asylums are not good sites. They were all locked inside a building which from inside smelled of urine and feces. I was given the duty of distributing food to the residents. Among them I saw a young girl who seemed normal, even not the same age as the other residents. Upon on her turn she asked for two servings which I found strange, but without a word agreed to. She soon went upstairs to her room.

Later we got to know that she was staying with her sister and that both were completely normal. They were a fresh case, had been lately rescued by some taxi drivers. Both were around 13 years old, but the other one was *pregnant*. Now the whole story was excruciating and also poignant at the same time. They were orphans and had been staying with their maternal uncle since their parents death. The other one had been raped by the same uncle and that he had also been physically abusing her from a long time. I had no words after I heard about the story. I felt less of myself being a man. A little of the world inside me died. Those two innocent souls were being made to live with lunatics, one of them was pregnant and their whole world had come crashing down, what more pain could God have showered on them?

It’s time people start having respect for their fellow beings and the spirit of humankind be restored in the very system. It doesn’t take much to kill those evil desires but some self control and positive thoughts. Have respect for each other but more for yourselves.

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The world in there was a chaos,
much to my amusement, my sanity was at its best.

In the corner she stood,
shaken not by the people but her very own.

Those eyes spoke out loud,
mighty mountains of questions left unanswered.

Struggling to open up to others,
cause way strong sights had they seen.

A rebellion within,
betrayed by the world and Him.

In plenty beyond their age had they seen,
much pain than love.

Crying for help against this tyranny,
A new life, one that bears not what sea in them eyes.

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