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Sunday, December 28, 2014

When Paper And Pen Made Love

For your practice writing sessions: 365 creative writing prompts, one for each day of the year.


image source



I read an ad in the paper today. I’ve been watching their new set of ads on TV for a while now, and they are quite charming. This one was the one that grabbed the eyeballs for me.

It had to do with the concept of pen on paper.

Isn’t that charming? Well, if you know what that means that is.

Once upon a time there was a magic bond, a bond that grew between a rough paper and that pen. No, not just any pen you see. This paper and pen romance was more than just a scratch here and there, or a quick getaway. It was more classy and erotic.

There was once upon a time a time when stories were told on paper, not on a screen. The texture of the paper would be felt within your fingers. It couldn’t be too soft or the see-through variety, not much class in those ones. 

What I was looking for was some roughness, some coarseness

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Tales From The Lift And More: Whose God Is It Anyway??

That's why I am an atheist! J.J, - I continually think it is so ironic that 'christ - ians' in particular accuse those of us who see Religions for what they really are of not being 'open minded' when in fact the main reason we are not 'Believers' is because we are 'open minded ' !


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Of late the lift and the lobby seem to be quite the interesting areas in my building...Have met many amusing and entertaining specimens there, not necessarily the types that I want to or do associate with. One such specimen who has been bumping into, or near, me, is the one with the 'Oh Gosh What Happened To You You're So Fat' one....remember him? I won't blame you if you don't. Even I don't wish to remember him...but.....In case you would like to refresh your memory though you could always do so HERE - this is the moron in the 'third' instance.

Well, so again this character sees me and walks up to me with a silly grin. I don't even know his name or which floor he is on, though we live in the same building...with some people you just don't want to know, right? Ya right.

So he walks over to me, again, and asks me silly things like my name and where I am originally from (why??) and all that bore me to death talks......And then he looks at me and grins and says ya I know you, I remember the Christian girl....So I'm like...huh? Christian girl? Who?

The moron: You (and please picture a pathetic smile along with that)

Me: Me? Christian? Wow...I didn't know that

Saturday, December 13, 2014

How Much Is Enough?

luv,luv, this !!!


 image source

And the world is filled with them...or at least the world I know of......

I have always felt myself a very shy and introvert being - I am kind of a social recluse, I am vain (and even though I am contradicting myself here to the post in general, I will later explain on this too), I do not warm up to people easily, I find it hard to speak with people especially face to face and all in all, I am very selective about people who I actually want around me.

Of course social obligations mean I do pretend a lot...and I mean A LOTTTTT!!!! I smile, I laugh, I hug and I tell them how wonderful it was to meet them, when all I ever want to do is to get out of there and be somewhere on my own, or with someone else, listening to some good music, reading a good book, watching YouTube videos or even dancing the night away....the right people mean you can do so much and more while actually wanting to do so...

So coming back to the title, the reason I find it so hard to be 'friends' with just about anyone is the mental gap...I feel I live in a world where my existence is quite different from most. And maybe I am a weirdo in their opinion..

Monday, November 10, 2014

I Thought Of You Then......


http://g02.a.alicdn.com/kf/HTB1AzflIXXXXXb0XFXXq6xXFXXXE/Lonely-Girl-In-Autumn-Boulevard-5D-DIY-Diamond-Painting-Cross-Stitch-Of-Diamonds-Embroidery-Mosaic-30.jpgimage source

and take away my name
wipe it down
remove the letters
that made its sound

wipe out my prints
the ones my hands made
on your heart
on your face
in your thoughts and 
the spaces we shared

i thought of you then
did you feel it in the air
in the breeze that caressed you
the rainbows that you drew
the dreams that you spun
the tales that you made
the lines that you wrote
the wrinkles you didn't smooth out 

tell me....did you feel me then
did you feel me there
in that space we shared
that space we broke
that space we tried to make
that space that was never ours
but was just that...a space

i was just waiting
for you to call out to me
i tried to hear
my name in the moments you didnt call out
i tried to see
my face along yours in the moments that were never really true
i was waiting
just...
waiting...
still...

maybe........

you know it, don't you....

- Debolina Raja 

**************************************
And like I always believe in and say:
"Heal the world we live in
Save it for our children" - MJ

Debolina Raja

Did I Miss You?......


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image source
 
did you ring my name?
did you call out to me?
i thought i heard you
or maybe it was just me

like the loose waves that tumble down
as i shake out the rubber band
your thoughts flew down to me
on that cloud...
on the song of the bird there...
on that unfinished path that was winding through my dream...

i missed you
i did
and i went out
to that place inside me
that's happy to be with just me......

you weren't here...
so it was just me....

- Debolina Raja Gupta 

************************************

And like I always believe in and say:
"Heal the world we live in
Save it for our children" - MJ

Debolina Raja Gupta

Monday, October 13, 2014

Threatened Just By Night Or Day Too?

Ok so for this post I don't really need to put up any image. It's a very basic post, especially something that is very common all over India, and in many parts of the world as I know is true.

The reason I chose to call this a basic post is that this is something most of us girls go through almost on a daily basis. I am talking about the situation where guys stare and leer at women, sometimes taking it to a little more, or keeping it within the boundaries of 'staring' and end up making women feel threatened or uncomfortable.

It happens to all of us.

And if you've lived in Delhi like I've been born and brought up and lived through the majority of my years, being stared at and feeling uncomfortable is something you go through on a daily basis - you kind of are already prepared that that's what you will get once you are out there.

My ramble of this particular post has nothing to do with Delhi though. I am talking about good old Mumbai, but yes, there is still a connection, as you will later see.

About 10 days back I was dropping off a few friends to the airport. We were in an event-provided cab and this guy had also taken us to the event earlier in the day. However, I definitely did not like him, as did my friends, who were all guys. They found him a bit weird. So, when it came to me dropping them to the airport and heading back home alone at night with this guy driving, we were all feeling a little uncomfortable. I in fact was feeling so uncomfortable that I was thinking of taking a different cab instead. But I finally decided to go ahead. So by the time I reached back home, it was 1:30 am.

Let me tell you - this guy was actually perfectly fine. Yes, he was talking a lot. And also looking at me through the mirror while talking. Initially I wasn't very happy with the invasion of privacy, but later realised he just wanted to talk.......that's all...harmless....he dropped me home safely and wished me a good night...

I felt bad about the way I was thinking he was.

The next incident happened last week.

I was returning from work with a friend in the evening. It wasn't dark yet. I dropped her off and then headed home in the cab. This was a TabCab, a pre-booked one. This driver was a native of Delhi and a middle aged uncle. Throughout the way he was speaking very politely, and once, when he spit out his tobacco stuff on the road, we actually admonished him, to which he seemed quite embarrassed. But he was behaving very nice.

Now once I dropped off my friend, I asked him to move the cab and drop me home. That's when he started acting funny. He stopped the cab and stared at the building where I had dropped her. Started asking me questions about whether she lived here, who did she have back home, who did I have back home and all that. I told him to start the car and move as I was tired and needed to be home.

We reached home, and throughout the way he kept staring at me from the rearview mirror. I was getting majorly irritated and angry now, and I am sure it was evident on my face, as the b%@$^ kept staring more and more. Finally we reached home, I took the receipt and handed him money, waiting for the change back.

He sat there on the driver seat and turned around to look me full in the face, and then gave a leering smile. I asked him about the money back, to which he said he didn't want to return my change, and why don't I tip him some more. I was furious now, and told him to hand me my change immediately. Sometimes, I do let go of the change if the person is especially nice, but with this man I would rather take back all the fare than give him a few free money. The man did not wince, and instead gave me a good full on stare. Finally, I told him he was asking for trouble, and did he want me to create a scene. He handed me my money, all the while his eyes on me and his stare in place.

I got out of the cab and was waiting at the lobby for the lift. But I could see his reflection in the mirror lobby, he was sitting right behind in his cab, which he had stopped, and was staring constantly. I thought of filing a complaint, but then decided against it as I was worried he had seen our workplace and home, and I thought it best to let it go there.

I won't say I felt threatened by him, but I did feel disgusted. I'm sure you understand the feeling. It was just not right.

There are so many things at home and at your work that make you feel good about yourself and positive and powerful, and then something like this happens and it does make you feel low, if only for a while. I did feel like that.

I know if this was earlier in my younger days, I would have reacted in a very different way - aggressive and violent and a slap back, but this time, somehow knowing that he knew where I lived and that I have kids at my place, I wasn't too sure. So I let it go.....I still have this nagging feeling that maybe I chickened out and did the wrong thing, who knows....

- Debolina Raja Gupta
*************************************
And like I always believe in and say:
"Heal the world we live in
Save it for our children" - MJ

Debolina Raja Gupta

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Tales From The Lift and More: You Are Fat....Jaw Dropping Fat !!!!!

LOL So I wore my sweats to the gym and just watched people while sipping on a venti full fat full whip PSL...now I feel better.

image source

I am vain, I admit. Ever since I can remember, I have been very conscious about my weight, how my body looks in a certain kind of dress, and how I look in a setting. That does not mean I hide behind a layer of makeup or wear the biggest brands and such.

I rarely wear makeup (except eye makeup sometimes), and never wore it when I was younger. I wear clothes mostly picked up at street shops, and the ones that I pick up from stores I never go by the brands.

That however does not mean I am not vain - I am.

And the biggest fear I used to have, and still have a lot - is being called fat.

Being born to Bengali parents, I can say that my body type is not flattering. Though many of my friends have told me that I am lucky to have the assets I have, I consider it a burden and would rather have them less less and lesser. But that doesn't happen and I am left to worry and wallow.

I am endowed with bigger lady assets and lower body assets too. And yes, they contribute to the overall image of being 'big.'

Of course 2 kids later, and the younger one having just turned 1, I have definitely gained some quality kilos over the years. I can't imagine I look like what I looked earlier, and I sure don't expect to be the way I was as a teen. That is not my goal.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Tales From The Lift: Do You Live Here?





Some weeks back I was in the building lift, dropping my daughter to school and holding the younger one in my arms. Other than us, there was a young boy in the lift, probably in his late teens, and another lady from the building.

It’s been more than one n half years now that we’ve moved into our new home, but I have still to know everyone in the building. Most times I don’t recognise people. No, I am not yet attributing that to age, but to the fact that while earlier I was chilling with my daughter while I was preggers and not socialising with the new crowd much, at this moment, I am socialising a lot, but with my earlier gang of friends, as I find people in my new building extremely boring. So the truth is I haven’t been mixing much with them yet.

Of late I have been, however, asking people in the lift if they are from my building and if yes, what floor and such.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Father's Name Please... Only!


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So recently we were getting a new passport made for our newborn. As we were going through the forms at home, I realized, India doesn’t really recognize a mother. All things said and done, being a mother in India, gives you the status of just another, say, a tree, or a bird flying up there in the sky, or the concrete building in your neighbourhood – hello, getting the drift?

I meant, your status is that okay, you are there, be happy, but don’t come out in the forefront, coz you barely exist.

As we were checking all the paperwork and getting them sorted for the visit to the passport office (which, let me tell you, is now much much better than what it was earlier – getting any kind of paperwork in India is a pain in all the choices of places, as you all know.)

All the spaces were being signed by hubby, as he sat down signing his name and filling it out in capital letters. Poor guy – had to do that for so many papers.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

I Promise I Have A Baby, Give Me Food?

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image source

That night we went out on an impulse to eat at a famous roadside eatery. It was just the four of us - me, hubby, and our daughters.

The night was cool and it was quite cosy sitting inside the car - a great way to have some delicious roadside food. We ordered in a rush, wanting to sample most of the possible delicacies that were so tempting.

Hubby headed to the stall and I was sitting inside with the kids, my window rolled down a bit. It was then that I heard her, a soft whisper, a soft, hesitated asking.

She was selling balloons, those beautiful colorful things of our childhood that kids these days probably don't have much charm left for. Maybe it's us, the parents, who have successfully managed to deviate them from all things simple and move towards the more 'sophisticated' world of gadgets...alas...

I turned to look at her. She was a thin woman, of course a migrant from some village, her dirty saree draped around her, covering her head, a thin hand holding on to the supposedly wonderful things she was trying to sell on that busy food stall packed road, but wasn't making much success of.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Tales From The Lift: My Few Minutes' Worth of Blog Thoughts!

 
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So much as the title suggests, I do meet quite a few interesting people in the lift, or elevator, if that is what you want to call it. It could be people in my own building, people in an elevator in the mall or people in any elevator anywhere......

The thing is - if you keep your eyes open, there is a lot of interesting things you can see in people who are standing in the lift - even in those few minutes it takes to reach where you are headed.

I do meet quite a few interesting creatures in the lift...on and off......and yes, it makes for some interesting blog posts, why not! I mean, if I can think those thoughts out in my head, I can very well write them here too, right? It's my blog....remember? ;)

So yes, I wish I had such a cute guy in the lift with me...at least to not stare while side-staring (it's an art that we all do, admit it!), and I can wish as much as I want to. But obviously my luck is super different....

Anyways, the fact is that I do get some fun creatures to be talking about, and I will ensure I do so..

Till then...ciao!

- Debolina Raja Gupta

********************************************

And like I always believe in and say:
"Heal the world we live in
Save it for our children" - MJ

Debolina Raja Gupta

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

What Is Consent? And What Is Manipulation? Musicians and Fans: The Scandals That Rocked YouTube



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(*this image is part of a series of pictures that were clicked, showing the many excuses that a perpetrator uses to abuse his/her victim. This is not a quote in favor, this is one of the quotes that was shown to be commonly used for such crimes.)

Last week saw a huge upheaval in the till-now bonded world of YouTube. The issue being - open allegations by an underage fan of how she was manipulated and sexually abused by one of the most popular young musicians on YouTube, whose colored hair, quirky videos, crazy blogging and psychedelic music has got the whole youth in a tizzy. This said musician had been signed on by a YouTube popular music label that is co-owned by Hank Green, of VlogBrothers fame and also the brother of author John Green.

Since the allegations came out, there has been a clear divide, with some supporting the girl and cheering her for having the strength to come out and talk about her abuse, while others siding with the young musician and saying that this was not abuse, that the young guy had no idea the girl was not 'into it' and that the allegations are untrue.

An immediate result of the allegations, of course, has been the fact that the young musician has been taken off the list of artists from DFTBA records, and all his songs have been pulled off the site. So much so that the producers have also donated an amount to charity that helps victims of abuse, amounting to the profits from the songs of the said musician.



This is a trying issue. An issue that is not alone, but is not widely spoken about, and when it does come out in the open, leaves behind a lot of mess. Like it should.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Call Of The Hawkers

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Some of my earliest memories from childhood are waking up to the call from the hawker.

As a child born and brought up in Delhi, I remember the weekdays filled with the shouts of the hawker. What you generally wouldn't go out on a weekday afternoon to buy would come directly to your home, courtesy the hawker.

The shouts each had a ringing quality to it, and they were so distinct in their tone and tune that you could instantly make out what the person was selling, even without actually understanding the words. 

Sadly, on my recent trips to Delhi, I realised that they have been removed from Delhi's streets in the name of security. A city gets its flavour from its streets, from its local variety and speciality. The culture and the life of a city can always be judged best from its streets, not from the glitzy malls that are all just the same, devoid of any soul.

The image above is that of a stainless steel vendor. If you grew up in Delhi, these sights would be pretty normal for you. These women would carry their wares on their heads and roam around the different lanes of Delhi, shouting out in their typical voice 'Ayeeeeee steel waaleeeeeeyyyyyyyyyyyyy.' They would trade old clothes like sarees, trousers, shirts and the like for these utensils.

I remember these women coming into the courtyard of our homes, or sitting outside the gate on the road, while aunties from the neighbourhood would bring out old clothes and try and get the best bargain. Ma rarely ever got anything. But that was because we wore all our clothes till they were in no condition to give away. The best utensils could be got by trading in sarees. These women were forever trying to look for the best sarees they could lay their hands on. That would decide who would get what - a cooking pan, a pressure cooker, a pot, a kadai or maybe a plate or a glass only.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Help Donate Groceries For The Street Children At Aasara: 17th and 18th May 2014



Hi Friends,

The NGO Aasara in Mumbai, India, works with children from the street, trying to provide them a home, basic education and hygiene and healthy meals.

As you can surely understand, something of this kind needs tremendous support and help. The wonderful people at Aasara don't need your money. All they are asking for is groceries.

The children are in dire need of more groceries that can help feed them and more like them who are left alone to face the world, at railway stations and other areas that pick them up and force them to beg, steal and get into substance abuse.

A little help from you can really make a big difference. 

If you are in Mumbai and would like to share something, here is a list of food items they are really in need of:

Monday, May 12, 2014

You Are A Mommy Now, So Please Forget Yourself!



How many times have I heard that? Let’s just say I lost count.

I am a mommy to two beautiful daughters, they are my world and they are my everything, and most of what I do revolves around how they will react to it or how it will affect them.

Please read that I wrote ‘most’ not ‘all.’

And that is exactly what this post is about. That, being a mommy, how can I have a mind of my own, a choice of my own, or an entity of my own, when I have kids?
 

Well sorry to break the bubble, but the reality is, even though I am a mommy, I am still a human being. Quite the rocket science kind of a statement, isn’t it? ;-)

Haha. I get it from so many people that it’s not even funny anymore.
 

There was a time when I actually started to believe that maybe I was being un-mommy like, that maybe I was setting a wrong example for my daughter(s) by being the real me, instead of following the norms and being how a typical Indian mommy should be like. (Yes, apparently, there are many variations on how a mommy should be.)
 

If you are a mommy in India, and you happen to have a strong personality of your own, chances are, everyone, right from your neighbour to your immediate family to your colleagues and some more can get quite concerned.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Racism In India: Obvious, In Your Face Yet Hush-Hush

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image source



If you have read the title of the post correctly, you will know that in this particular post, I will be talking specifically about racism in India. Yes, you heard me right.

Most of the stories you hear about racism work the other way – where Indians are at the receiving end of racist comments and jokes, where we Indians are discriminated against based on the colour of our skin. That is true, I have experienced it myself, a long time back, when I was staying in Germany for work, and was quite nicely stared at. This, in a city as big as Frankfurt, in a hill side beautiful town of Heidelberg and also in the quiet town of Rheinheim. I did face racism there, in the looks I got, in the way people would look at me. In fact, very recently, I also faced this in Hong Kong! The funny part was that I was sure offended, but I also found it quite funny. That’s another story and I will share it again in a different post. Let’s not digress here.

So yes, most of the racism stories that we hear have Indians as the victims.

But trust me, and I know that if you are an Indian who is reading this right now, you know what I am going to say is very true. We Indians are one of the biggest racist people that exist.

You may agree, you may be offended or you may really want to trash me out here – honestly, I don’t care. It is after all my blog and I choose to share the truth, as I have seen it countless times, and of course you have seen it too, or maybe done it too, and are now just trying to be nice and say you don’t know what I mean and how can I say something like this. Come on!

There are many aspects of racism, the most common one being identified is the colour of your skin. The other aspects of racism include your facial features, how you speak, where you come from, your religion and your caste. India has all these aspects of racism to pick from.

Check out any Indian market. The first time anyone who is remotely African walks by, many many eyes will stare. No matter if they are Africans or African-Americans or whatever, almost all shopkeepers turn around and stare. And if that person happens to wear their hair in dreadlocks (which I quite like), then the sniggers and the nudges are even more common.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

People



I chose to share this pic here coz I was just reading a lovely book today by one of my favourite authors, and in that, she mentioned about how the character has a blog in which she writes about all the different kinds of people she meets...

I found the idea quite interesting, and am definitely planning to steal it for my blog ;-)

I meet so many people and have met so many crazy ones in crazy situations tooo....... and some I have become very good friends with, while some I don't talk to at all anymore. Then there are strangers too, who I may see from a distance, but somehow, they manage to interest me...

Isn't it interesting, what all you can see when you actually see someone? I find it quite interesting...

Was thinking of starting to write here about interesting people I have met, and meet.... let's see how it goes...

- Debolina Raja Gupta

*********************************************************************
And like I always believe in and say:
"Heal the world we live in
Save it for our children" - MJ

Debolina Raja Gupta

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Devyani Khobragade And Gajar Ka Halva

image source

Okay, so she is finally back here in India, and I am glad that she is safe and back with her family. Devyani Khobragade landed in India and is now with her parents, waiting for her kids and husband to return to India from the US (the kids are US born citizens).

The last few weeks have been filled with reports about how Devyani was ill-treated in the US, publicly handcuffed as she went to drop her daughter to school, was strip searched and put in custody with other regular inmates. The newspaper was filled with these horror stories of an Indian diplomat being harassed and humiliated in the US.

Even as the Indian government and the public retaliated, burning effigies and shouting anti-US slogans and, for the first time in recent memory, showing some spine, after the initial first few reports, it started looking like this was actually some kind of a cover-up from the Indian side.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Killed Earth...Next Mission Mars

image source - Google Images. This is an image from the movie The Day After Tomorrow

image source
(2014) Real image of a warehouse in Chicago that froze over in one of the scariest cold snaps ever

As I was going through some of the images of the US after the cold snap, I realised how uncanny the similarities are between these images of the US today and the images that were there in the movie The Day After Tomorrow.

Did you know that in certain places in the US, the temperatures, combined with the snow, the cold and the chilly winds, is lower than what is experienced in the planet Mars? I don't know about you, but for me, when I think about it, it is actually quite scary.