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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

That bloody son of a bitch

Featured in YOUTH KI AWAAZ

A while back, I got down at the bus stop after a not-so-good day at work. I had so much on mind as I gloomily walked on the non-existent sidewalk of my street with no street-lights. I had a whole kilometer to walk, and that’s a lot especially when spirits are on the lower side. I plugged in my ear phones, played my favourite song and pressed the volume-up button repeatedly till the music was blaring inside my ears. I walked more, trying hard to keep random crap off my mind, while playing pebble football by myself.

It was dark. I walked and walked and walked. Abruptly a bike from behind me stopped next to me, maybe three inches from me. I looked up and got the shock of my life. Three inches away from my face was an ugly face making a very very disgusting kissing face. I was horror struck. I shrieked, I moved back as far away from the guy as I could get in one second. I don’t know what I felt, I was too shocked to feel anything. I freaked out. I stood there with an undescribable expression till the yucky fellow did the “cool” DRRRRRRRR thing on his bike before he disappeared into the darkness.  Two random men across the street stared at me amused, as if I was doing some puppet show here.

It affected me badly. I couldn’t get that ugly face out of my head (Yes I will call him ugly and any vituperative word that comes too my mind. I can throw shoes at him. I can do anything). Then I was afraid and also angry at myself, for being afraid. But I couldn’t do much,I was still scared. I looked all around cautiously before every step I took. The two-member audience across the street, looked at me like I was some thief. I ignored them and walked as fast I could, yet very carefully. The darkness was eerie. I was alone and this man could be dangerous. I walked a little more hoping I’d never see his face again. But how often do wishes come true!? Ten metres from me, down the street was the yucky guy waiting to harass and bully me or any other girl passing by. He stared, dirtily. I took my phone out and held it tight, ready to make a call should any problem come up. I hurried across the road, I don’t know if I walked or if I ran. I made a call, I think I just pretended to. This man rode off. I thanked the Gods and the spirits and the guy who invented mobile phones.

I wish I had thrown at him, the pebble I was playing with. I wish I had called him a bastard on his face, for the whole road to hear. I wish I had made a scene, I wish I had humiliated him. I wish I had done something that would haunt him the next time he tries to intimidate a girl.

Alas, I did nothing, all I wanted then, was to get home. 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Confessions of a shopaholic

This post is a part of the contest at in association with

What is my hobby? Shopping. At least, it’s one of them.
I shop only when I need something. Only, I can very easily convince myself that I need something.

I love and enjoy shopping. I get so happy, shopping. Nothing can make me feel better than a new bag or a shirt or even a pair of chappals. The vibrant colours, the life these shops add to the world around, the crowds they attract, these shops (the ones on malls and on the streets as well - I don’t discriminate) are amazing. Sometimes I force myself to walk past the mannequins, ignoring my urge to take a second look, in an attempt to dodge the consequences – the buying and the after-buying-guilt. And here and there, when I give in to desire and go for another look, I hope against hope that the it fits me, because there is no decision tougher than the ‘to buy or not to buy’ one. It’s said isn’t it, that the right thing to do is never the easiest one. When I'm shopping, it makes so much sense.

One day, I had to hang up on my dad to avoid a conversation that was inching towards my account balance.  Some retrospection told me what was draining my account. That’s the day I decided to bring it down, to stay home a bit, to stay away from malls and shopping-places for a while. Barring Shilparamam that sells not-so-expensive and pretty stuff, I didn’t shop, at all. I stayed home, I tried cooking, I listened to music a lot, I blogged, I read, I Facebooked, I Youtubed and so much more.

I really did try to stay away, but it’s not my fault if Facebook, Google and every other site on earth is smart enough to know exactly what I want. They don’t show me phones or random stuff I don’t give a damn about. They show me exactly what I want, on every page I visit. It’s all right there, in breathtaking colours with huge discounts plastered on the ads. I did restrict myself to online window shopping (or should I call in screen shopping) for a long time, till one day when I gave in.

It was a royal blue short jumpsuit with a very elegant braided orange belt. And it was on discount :D. I do know how they raise the price to some exorbitant number and then dramatically slash a chunk of it and call it discount. Yes, I do know that, deep inside somewhere. But at that moment, all I saw was the discount. I wasn’t going to get another chance, was I? And who knows if I will ever find a jumpsuit as cute. And this was just a click away. It would be a perfect summer outfit, and who knows, I could visit Goa sometime. It would be so amazing. And I went off into a walk-in-the-beach-in-the-jumpsuit reverie. Back in reality, the ‘buy it’ button was gleaming on my screen. I clicked away happily.

I waited three long days. The courier was in my hands. I was excited and eager.  I unwrapped the packing hastily and tried the jumpsuit on. And it all ended so abruptly. The tailor at the end of Pitchumani street in Salem would’ve stitched something better. I looked like a joker.

The online shopping guys have amazing photographers. Beware. L

P.S. I haven’t given up. I still e-shop. *facepalm*  

Saturday, September 1, 2012

The brutal murder of Aarushi

Numerous scandals and acts of crime have been brought to light by the media. The media has not always succeeded in bringing about justice, but it surely has done one thing amazingly well - It brings people together for a cause. The unity that a crisis brings about is inspiring. It’s beautiful, how random Indians from random cities get together to stand up for another.  We are a remarkable country. Yet injustice happens in this country. 

Of all those many cases that the Indian media has made unforgettable, there is one that has intrigued me more than any of the others: The Aarushi Talwar murder case.  I’ve been a keen follower  since day one . Here are a few reasons why.

1.       This is not a case that’s still in the courts, but based on some antiquated incident that happened long before I was born.  This is recent. It happened on one unfortunate day in 2008, sometime after my boards, before I left for university.
2.       Aarushi was 13, almost 14 - a kid. She wasn’t some rowdy woman involved in a drug/money dispute. She was a charming little girl that was excited about her 14th birthday party. I couldn’t get how someone could be so cruel and callous.
3.       The crime was so heinous, so heartless, so merciless that it hooked me on to it for the next many days.
4.       A group of girls I made friends with referred to me as “the Aarushi looking girl” the first few months in college.

Initially, there was no uncertainty about who the murderer was, none whatsoever. DUH, It’s got to be the Nepali servant, Hemraj. Why even search the house, let’s just give it the most typical story - “Illegal immigrant and servant rapes and kills pretty daughter of dentist couple”. The world cursed the servant and Nepalis in general. Some even fired their poor Nepali servants. Later, one policeman walked up to the terrace with a cigarette between his fingers and a smirk on his face, simultaneously judging the Talwars’ decision to hire a manservant in spite of having a daughter. Just that moment, his whole world fell apart seeing  what lay there in front of him. There was the body of the Nepali servant. He was murdered too. Their clumsiness and the sloppy conjecture got the police into big trouble.

After the initial debacle, the police could no more fool around. By this time, the world started to curse them for their inefficiency. And the ones who fired their servants, cursed the police more. Meanwhile, the media caught up. Every piece of inside information leaked out. The police could no more dally. They had to buck up, and they did.

However, after medical reports ruled out sexual abuse, and after some other tests/investigation ruled out the involvement of certain other suspects, the light turned to the Talwars themselves. The police and the media considered all the typical Indian motives (honour killing, et al). But investigation ruled out some and there was no evidence to corroborate the others. Aaj Tak probably found the story too boring and decided to add some masala. It brought a new suspect into the picture. The police ran their usual rounds of tests and interviews and declared that he was not guilty. The only people left were the Talwars. The slit on Aarushi’s throat, they said, looked like it could not have been done without dexterity. And that made the doctor couple look even more guilty. Aarushi’s dad was arrested and later released on bail. The couple has been making routine trips to jail. The CBI could find enough evidence to neither prove them guilty nor prove them innocent. Her mom is still behind bars.

I still watch every piece of news that’s aired. I read every article that’s published. The investigation still goes on. The progress is meager.

If it really was the Talwars, I have no words.

And if it wasn’t, I don’t think there has ever been a more deviously committed crime.

Either way, it’s an unsafe world. And justice is difficult to find. Let’s just hope she rests in peace.