I am Rain

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Like many other things,
I am perceived differently, at different points of time…
It is me, who sets the mood,
but it is also me, who kills the mood…
Worshiped, when I am required,
But loathed when I share a bit more than needed…
Though I give birth to millions,
But I am hardly noticed…
If, however, I kill a few,
No one else is blamed except me…
One dances at sight of me, dances with me,
While other is afraid to even touch me….
For Ravi goes into hiding, when I arrive
But with him, I paint the sky with the seven colors….
I signal the prosperity that lay ahead…
But I also bring forth destruction..
For not me, the Oceans will rot..
For not me, the winds shall never be a cold breeze
For not me, the earth shall go dry
For not me, the fire shall dominate
I am to be venerated, for I bring the joy
I am to be loved, for I am romantic
I am to be feared, for I can destroy
For I am the Rain…

BC, MC and subconscious slandering of Women

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There is something very distinct that I have observed about men here  in this region as compared to men of other parts of the country. The brazen and explicit manner in which men here go about shamelessly (many a times unconsciously) using abusive words, sets them distinctly apart from men of other parts of the country. If you do not believe in what I say, spend few hours in a busy Delhi market and you will know what I am saying. Slip of the tongue is still excusable, but ranting on and on, in every third sentence…Boy, its too much!

 

And as if to find an equivalent word for F*** in English and use the similar word in Hindi, it seems few set of words have already been found – namely Maa ki ********* (MC) and Behen ki ******** (BC). MC and BC is also used to indicate a Mother-fu**** and Sister-fu****. And these two phrases have been used so brazenly in Delhi’s local lingo that it has paralleled the F*** of English and is capable of being used to express just about any form of feeling like- 

 

Angry

Sad

Happy

Frustrated

Annoyed

Surprised – whether for better or worse

 

Highly offensive words, yet used as a normal daily life word. And its not that it is used by men here amongst themselves, when not in presence of women. Whether there are women in vicinity or not, the words are so embedded in the vocab that it will just come out. What women may feel is an irrelevant thought!

 

And before you raise your finger on those illiterate migrants of nearby villages, Dudes… realize the fact that educated class would perhaps be topping the list of people promoting the use of MC and BC. 

 

Though I am pretty sure, most of the men do respect women, but the way men, especially linked to Delhi, have been programmed to use their tongue, respect for women isn’t something that shows up when their tongue starts wagging. 

 

Behen ki and Maa ki…..seriously?? 

 

Supposedly, if you are celebrating Raksha Bandhan with your sister and she suddenly springs up with a surprise gift, do you actually say BC??? (though its quite possible that in your mind atleast this word may have revolved somewhere at that point !!!)

 

And talk of celebrating Mother’s Day- hugging and writing about your beloved mother and soon as next day starts, again start slandering another person’s mother…!!!! 

 

Dudes, what are you trying to show by using these words – that you are some kind of alpha-male, who by mere use of these words in your daily language, can set your self apart from the humble and meek n project them as weak? Or do you get some cash back, every time you use the words?

 

And, if you are saying that just saying BC and MC doesn’t actually mean anything…then please, grow up and stop using it!! It does mean blatant slandering of women. After all, you are actually referring to sexual abuse of women. Though you may condemn the words like rape or sexual abuse, but aren’t you by your use of BC and MC actually promoting abuse of women?  Actually abusing women you may not, but promoting abuse you definitely are!!!!

 

Think over it. After all, Hindi vocabulary is not just about two phrases and you are not that sick, or are you??

Six years and counting – A flashback

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As I complete six years of work, I thought I’ll share my progress report with you. I lost interest in making truck load of money while in tenth grade itself when I saw my parents losing their sleep, life and all the good things that life had to offer. Watching them go through the same motions on daily basis struggling to meet the daily ends, taught me two contradictory things about money – that having money to survive is essential yet one should not run after money.

 

Until tenth grade, I didn’t have a clue what money and daily life struggle is. Having a mandatory pizza every month and a toy or game as per my wish was a norm. If someone were to think of a spoilt brat, I would have easily made their list – and may have very well topped. People, who have seen my public figure, will find it hard to digest this fact but those who know me well will say ‘ye toh kuch bhi nahi hai’! (its nothing)

 

Anyways, as I look forward to touching 6 digit monthly salary mark, I realize its almost equal to both my parents’ yearly salary put together in their respective career twilights. Yet the extra digit hardly matters. Six years back when I started off working, I used to earn about one-tenth of what I earn today and even that seemed freaking too much to me. As I said, even when I started working, I had lost all my desires to accumulate money. Thus, every increment that each year brings me, it takes me back to ground zero, from where it all started in grade ten of school.

 

But as I look back now, it seems it was all fated – some helping hand at each crucial step somehow coming up. I was not supposed to continue in the same school after grade ten as we went broke. As they say, when it goes wrong, everything goes wrong. Adding woes to the penniless situation was the fact that all the savings that parents had went into re-constructing the house in addition to home loan that we had. Further, this was the time when my brother got into a reputed engineering college. Though only saving grace was the fact that college was walking distance and hence we saved on hostel. Engineering college meant a minimum of forty thousand to be paid at a single time. Requiring forty thousand odd from a family that was at that point of time earning a monthly figure of four to five thousand was unimaginable. That’s when someone from outside the family decided to help – paying the entire sum. This is when I learnt the first harsh fact – family relations are directly linked to your bank account. People will desert you, if you don’t have enough money but will throng at your place if you are doing well.

 

But government school was a certainty given the scenario. Though against all expectations, I did well in grade ten and got a decent score in science but having seen the cost of taking up science as a subject in grade XI and XII, in addition to the realization that good grades in science was a fluke, I had made up my mind on taking commerce. I do not know about today, but at that time not taking science was frowned upon. I distinctly remember talking to one of the uncles, who asked what subject I had. When he got to know about commerce, he simply remarked, “Oh, poor thing, not enough marks to take up science, is it??”

 

Having seen me – the guy who could not even get to 65 percent in last 9 years, score well was hard to digest for my family. Perhaps, it hit my dad at that moment. He suddenly resolved that if I could be given a decent schooling for last eleven years, why not give me another just two more years. With this level of optimism, he put me back to the school, where I had went all my life. Having matured so suddenly within a span of months, I realized it was a huge investment that my parents had made in me studying in same school, which had a high monthly fee instead of a cheap Government school.

 

Watching my parents walk on a thread was a miserable feeling and not being able to help them monetarily was even worse. I remember that even in 46 degree heat, we didn’t have a fridge as the old one gave up its life and we could not afford its repair. Similarly, television became redundant as there was no cable. As opposed to a monthly pizza a few years back, getting a decent meal each day was a struggle. But we didn’t have any option and carried on hoping it will be better soon. That when I started taking life a bit more seriously. I now realized what toil was and I embraced it along it with my family. Going to school and study was the only thing I could have done at that time and that’s how I chose to assist my family. Against all expectations – both within family and among peers, it was a shock as I turned out to be among the best from the first periodic tests itself. From being kaun TD?, the tone now changed to kaun, TD????

 

But it was a cruel world and my dad realized it well. It was not going to be easy to sustain a family with one son doing engineering by taking a study loan with another home loan hanging on the head with a meager five to six thousand only each month to support it. Mom had stopped working. My monthly fee alone was one thousand. We were virtually left with nothing for buying monthly provisions. Debts with even vegetable vendor started. So it was a web of money lending that my parents had made, that is, taking a loan from one and paying the other and continuing a cycle. This continued till my brother started working.

 

As I determined myself to improve myself each passing day and dad realizing this, it made him feel even more pathetic as he realized he can’t fund my studies further without getting any assistance. That’s when we applied for a fee waiver. Obviously, the request was rejected by the Principal. It was sent again and it was rejected again. I wondered what it required to get a fee waiver as I had done everything a student could have done for school. But somehow carrying on with this helplessness, my dad went to one of my school parent-teacher association and after listening to few praises, he just broke down. That’s when few of my teachers realizing the situation stepped in and lobbied with school. Though I couldn’t get a full waiver, yet teachers succeeded in getting half-fee concession. That was sufficient to keep our boat floating for another year – 500 off each month was like a lottery!! That’s 6000 saved for a year. This taught me the value of each rupee that my parents were spending.

 

I distinctly remember one of teacher once asking me why I come to school without fail each day and I answered without thinking that my parents were paying my fees. I guess I grew up pre-maturely. In later years now, I recall what one of my class teachers of earlier years said of me, when asked of my future progress. She said a child will automatically do well, when he or she realizes the purpose of what he or she is doing. My concepts were clear in last two years of schooling – do well and somehow get both my parents retire from work. This was a distant reality at that time.

 

At the end of the schooling, I didn’t wish to top but just wanted a good college, so that future could be better. With 91.25 percent, all looked good except for the fact that I was not the only one with such a score in this vast city. In fact, my score was so low that I couldn’t get any of the top colleges in first list. With despair, I opted for a second rung college and waited for next list so that I could switch over. Sadly, nothing in second list either. I lost hope and thought if all the efforts were in vain. And then came the third list and I got a good top college and we opted for it immediately. But same problem again – no money. Thus, we had to resort to taking a loan from a friend and pay for first year’s fee – which was about 5 grands.

 

I was out of school now and I was allowed to earn money by taking tutions. It was then that I started to earn money for the first time. Teaching children and taking tutions for a meager two thousand bucks for 4 children each day after college is what I did. For remaining two years of college, I saved money and paid for my college apart from giving something at home. These three years of college taught me to be a miser and make every penny count. I rather took it seriously. I used to wait for hours just to take that government bus back home, which cost me total of four rupees both ways compared to thirty bucks charged by private bus operators. Rs. 375 was the six month bus pass and I had to bunk classes to stand in a long queue to get that pass. Canteen food was a rarity those days for me and outside food was even rarer. It was on first day of second year that I went for a movie for that first time after going to McDonalds for the first time. I didn’t tell me parents about the movie as I was sure to get reprimanded. Dad somehow got to know subsequently. Things were quiet thereafter. It was then that I first started to ‘splurge’ on myself.

 

Getting chided for slippers and torn shoe was something I had to face in college but didn’t have an option. I didn’t have a phone till I entered last year of college. It was then I was also caught in telecom revolution and the magic that SMS’s did – connecting with friends on the go. This phone got me few of the dearest friends that I still have  – and the good old phone is what still connects me to them. Prepaid is what I had and I used it wisely.

 

As college drew to a close – I saw half the class doing chartered accountancy and remaining half doing MBA. I didn’t have money to pursue either. That’s when I thought of giving a shot at civil services – Just fifty bucks and with decent general knowledge. For obvious reasons – I failed miserably as I realized it was not a quiz competition. But call it fate or whatever, it was the proximity of my college to my future office (present office) and my weird decision of civils that introduced me to my present boss – an ex-civil servant himself, who called me in to give tips. Call it again fate or whatever, it was he who arranged for my 4 week internship in my last year of college.

 

That internship was an experience in itself for two reasons and holds significance for variety of reasons. It was an experience because it was the first time I worked in an office. I didn’t get a single penny but found confidence in myself to just say what I felt. On that first day when the HR asked me to simply sign the dotted line of internship agreement, he was not expecting a 19 year old to reply back asking time to read the contents – which he had to allow. I wasn’t expected to do any ground breaking research there in my 4 weeks but what caught every one’s attention was the fact that I worked like any of other guys there and by the end of it, few workers even thought I worked there. It was there when I learnt that you should not look for money for your efforts and struggle like anything without asking for any return. My dad used to say to me to stay late there and keep working. He just wanted me to embrace struggle. Though I was not offered any job there, but the report did apparently go back to my future boss, who was pleasantly surprised by what I did there. I used to remind myself of the accounting principles that I learnt in school – anticipate no gain, provide for all losses. That became my funda.

 

So as my last year ended along with strings of failures in campus recruitment, I had no job in hand with no planned future. I had absolutely no idea what to do next. It was then when one fine morning as I came out after my bath that my dad suddenly gave me some sugar to eat as an alternative to sweet. Surprised at this strange reaction – I asked what happened. He said my future boss called him to ask if I am doing anything till the time results of civil service exams are pending and if I would like to assist him till then. I realized money was required and I was doing nothing – so I went to that place and joined.

 

I didn’t even know the name of the place, when I started there and what it did. It was then when my brother messaged me and asked the name, I took out a folder which bore the name and he was like “hmm…good law firm…have heard of the name”.  I was like, o ok….i didn’t know it was a law firm and the name was irrelevant for me at that time. Then he asked how much I will get. I again said, “no idea.” He joked that even five thousand was more for a guy like me. I took it seriously but felt happy that I would be earning so much. Home made food is what I used to get, whatever taste it may have…whether with or without salt or burnt up, it just didn’t matter. It was food and I ate it. I had lost taste buds by then. Any food was good for me and mum made it early morning. That still continues till date. It was fifteen thousand-my first salary and I was like, “are you kidding me??” It was just too high. I hardly had any expense. Though dad had retired earlier as my brother started working, but it was three or four months thereafter when I started working that I achieved what I sought to achieve after tenth grade – both parents retiring from work.

 

With dad working for more than 50 years and mum working since the age of 14, we brothers wanted them to take it easy atleast now. Being a mere commerce graduate in a law firm was of not much use. Then came the law entrance and I clearing it easily. A month back, I didn’t have a clue that in future I would be a lawyer. That’s fate.

 

It still wasn’t easy. I remember the day when I took admission – dad struggling for life in a government hospital, sharing his bed with another patient; I going to college and getting myself enrolled for evening college, so that I could work in mornings; and returning to hospital in the evening again. Struggles of daily life – to run the house also now continued. For some reason, evening colleges are frowned upon or taken lightly by those traditional people who believe that IITs, IIMs and National Law Schools are the only ones, who give the best students. It’s a myth!!

 

Anyways, Law first year was a mess. I barely passed the exams with one paper back in each of the semester. I had simply no idea what I was doing and what law was. My good friend next to me was worried that she could not get a first class and asked me if I was worried about what dad will say about my horrible performance. I had replied that it was I who took admission here on my own and as long as I am trying, my dad cant say a thing. I knew my dad will support me in this. After all, I have been in this situation before in my earlier years of school, when failing a paper was a common phenomenon. My dad even then used to say that I will do well. He continues to say that. That taught me to remain positive and know that my family will back me as long as I tried. When it came to my boss, who only asked me to take law entrance, he simply said that I will do well next time and gave me a foreign coin saying its under a belief that next time I will improve. He also suggested me to try a different method next time – I followed and almost topped the next time! I had found a mentor. Its important to find a mentor early in career and just blindly believe in whatever he says. That’s what I did taking my boss as my mentor. People mistook it as being Chamcha or chaaplus, but I couldn’t care less for I realized that I was not in a position to take on anyone at that time.  This period taught me to remain calm and wait for my turn. That time is now – remember a colleague who used to literally call me a beggar when I started but as is fate, I will be taking over his position in coming months.

 

It was at the end of law college, as I sat with other classmates listening to their worries about future, that I realized that my patience paid dividend as I was to be inducted into the law firm (ofcourse after mandatory interview and tests). With all loans paid off during three years of college-cum-work, it was time to consolidate my position. I was still considered as a para-legal for first year of being an Associate. People found it difficult to accept the fact that I was now a lawyer and not a helper. I had to prove myself and it took me another one year to make others realize that I indeed was a lawyer and not a para-legal. I even heard one of our partners saying how could I write an article for the magazine – was I that good. But as articles kept on coming and I toiled, not one could muster up courage to say a thing against me. That taught me to believe in my hard-work and check anger and reply by doing more work.  

 

Its present day now and I continue to take bus, eat the food that my mum makes. Though I splurge on my travels, going to far off places but I ensure that I have enough money left for other expenses at home and meet contingencies. But even then, I have enough resources to take steps to start my dream project, which I started informally few months before  – to lend a helping hand to those in need, who like me, may be left behind if not helped on time. Inshallah, that shall happen soon. As one of my dearest friends used to say, while prompting me (jokingly though) to start my practice independently, that money should never be a problem to realize the potential.

 

Six years hence, I still feel the pull of the gravity below my feet, bringing back to ground and not letting me fly in air at sight of hefty bonuses that I get. Though sounding prophetic, but it has been the case with me as I follow the policy of ‘Seek not and thy shall get’. What ever I am supposed to get, I will get. But I am human, so I do have some expectations but that expectation is not the only thing that makes me work each day. It’s the love for work and willingness to sweat it out, not the love for workplace, that has kept me going.  

 

Lets see what seventh year brings. 

Jon’s shackle of love and Kitty’s escape

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Kitty- the Cat had a wonderful owner-Jon, when she was born. In the initial years, though Jon wouldn’t have anything to eat himself, but gave Kitty a plenty so that she could be healthy and happy. He looked after Kitty’s every small needs and requirements. However, there was a catch. Jon put shackles on Kitty, so that she could not go beyond Jon’s watchful eyes.

 

Jon put her in shackles, not because he was a dreadful master but because he loved her so much that he didn’t want her to wander off and get lost in the big-bad world. As a kitten, she was completely unaware that she was tied up with a chain since she was getting all the royal treatment that a kitten could dream of. While she grew up, she still remained lazy and was happy with the royal cat treatment that she was used to. For she even purred and purred until she went blue just to get what she wanted. She was a spoilt cat.

 

While she grew up, still locked up inside, she used to look outside, the other felines playing. Kitty was reprimanded if she even thought of going out and play with the other cats as according to Jon, those cats were of lower stature and will corrupt Kitty’s mind. Since Kitty didn’t have a thinking brain at that time, she reluctantly agreed. Though sometimes, without the knowledge of Jon, she used to sneak out by opening the shackles..but would soon return before Jon’s arrival. However, if Jon found out, Kitty got another round of scolding. So, Kitty had a little say in who could be her friends. Shackles still remained. 

 

As Kitty kept growing big, the shackles started to hurt. Upon Kitty’s repeated cries, Jon finally realized and removed the shackles…but only to put her in a large cage with very limited time-outs when she could move out. Some freedom was better than no freedom. So, Kitty happily took it.

 

Kitty was well brought up by Jon. Kitty knew that. So, she knew what to do and what not to do while outside. However, Jon without having confidence in himself and Kitty, started reprimanding and scolding her whenever she went out with Tom-Cats. Though Kitty was clear that she was well brought up and knew whom to purr and whom not to purr with, Jon would have none of it as he believed that he was the sole owner. But Jon forgot that Kitty now had a life of her own and was not just Jon’s pet!! Cage thus remained. 

 

Jon’s mind was clouded by too much love that he had for Kitty. Hence, he could never imagine that Kitty could do things in her own way, without Jon telling her. Obviously, he expected that Kitty should love her back, which was never in dispute. Kitty also gave in at that time, since she also loved Jon and did not want to hurt him for what he had done for her. Hence, both continued to live together.

 

But as Kitty grew, so did her dreams. Then came a day when Kitty wanted to go out and explore the world on her own. She pleaded with Jon. But Jon, fearful of the world outside and maniac-kind-of-affection he had for Kitty, did not allow Kitty to have her way and instead suggested some other things by which he could keep Kitty forever. These episodes started to recur every now and then as Kitty’s belief in her dreams kept increasing. However, each time Jon disapproved citing what he suggested earlier was correct.  

 

Jon was also forgetting that he also got a comfortable life after toiling, falling and hurting himself throughout his life. He would have surely realized that there was nothing more satisfying than a life earned through independent hard work. Then why was Jon so apprehensive about letting Kitty explore life?

 

Perhaps Jon wanted Kitty to achieve what Jon could never do on his own. He perhaps saw an extension of his own life in Kitty and wanted Kitty to do what he missed out in life. Perhaps also Jon was fearful that if Kitty be allowed to go out alone to explore and realize her own dreams, she would either fall down, hurt herself and given her young immature age, would be lost forever in this big world. Jon was no pessimist for he always hoped for the best. He could not have been insecure as well, as it was Kitty’s life, not his. Only possibility could be that Jon was scared that if Kitty goes, who would be there for him, when he returned from work. Who would reciprocate the love that Jon had for Kitty?

 

Jon, however, was not realizing that his pure love for Kitty and resultant quest to keep Kitty to himself would one day slowly start to either entirely kill Kitty’s dream or make Kitty break the cage and run out of the house for ever so that she could explore the world on her own. 

 

Kitty, on her part, still believed that Jon was the perfect mentor she could ever have. Kitty believed that she would come back home victorious. However, she was unable to understand why her mentor, after teaching everything was not allowing her to go out and realize her dreams?

 

So, one day they sat together…again…

 

Kitty explained again…. Jon heard again…was not convinced again!!!!!

 

It was yet another stalemate. Later that night, Kitty realized that dreams too have a shelf-life. They die after a certain time. That time had come. It was finally the time to decide this way or that way. Kitty thought if she decided to have Jon’s way, then surely the dream would die. Though this may have made her successful in some other manner, but the regret of not giving a shot to realize what she wanted would spook her entire life. It would not have hurt Jon, but Kitty. On the flipside, if she decided to have her own way, then the ride would have been tough. There would have been no pillion rider to help out. But the joy and satisfaction of reaching the destination would have been like no other. The ride would have hurt Jon, not Kitty!

 

Next morning, Kitty was not to be found in her cage. Jon searched everywhere hoping it to be a prank. It was not. Jon lay dumbstruck as to why this happened. Then as he got up slowly, he saw a piece of paper lying close to open window next to Kitty’s cage, which read –

 

“Jon, long time ago, I read this poem by Kahlil Gibran. I hope you will understand. I will be back. It read –

 

Your children are not your children.

They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.

They come through you but not from you,

And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

 

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,

For they have their own thoughts.

You may house their bodies but not their souls,

For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,

which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.

You may strive to be like them,

but seek not to make them like you.

For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

 

You are the bows from which your children

as living arrows are sent forth.

The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,

and He bends you with His might

that His arrows may go swift and far.

Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;

For even as He loves the arrow that flies,

so He loves also the bow that is stable.”