In the deep slumber of the dark                                                                                              A hand is curled up in one corner of the hallway                                                                  Resting alongside four pairs of outstretched arms                                                                A doorbell at dawn sets her day in motion.

A measure cup fills the pot till an inch from the brim                                                           The gas knob is turned right in time, before the milk comes to a boil                                  Babbling bubbles cover the rustic edges of the pail                                                              She is sixth in queue to finish her morning business.

Hisssssss goes the pressure cooker amidst sounds of bucket splashes                              Four lunch boxes lay open on a granite countertop                                                            Moving through a passage filled with baby cries and elderly chatter                                    She sets out on yet another long day.

Flesh is oozing on both sides of the strap secured on her shoulder                                      Her hand clutches the bag as she paces to get on a BEST                                                  Just as she pulls her dupatta to wipe her sweat                                                                    Another long, tedious journey awaits her.

The back of her slip-ons rub against the rounded edges of the stairs                                    In between hushed breaths, the view of the halting train magnifies                                      Shoving through sweaty armpits, squeals and stares filled with venom                                She manages to wrap three fingers around the partially idle grab handle.

Honks and vehicular smoke conveniently fill the air                                                              Open manholes lengthen her walk to her work                                                                    Before she can catch her lost breath                                                                                      Twiddling thumbs and buzzing phones grab her attention.

Deadlines and then more deadlines; one after one more                                                      A guise of spiritedness takes her over                                                                                    She competes for time against the sun                                                                                  Little does she know that she is the ray of hope for many

Maybe calling her a multi-tasker would be too mainstream                                                    Her being goes beyond her many roles and the work she accomplishes                              Maybe the term superwoman limits her existence to a gender stereotype                            Her power and resilience go far deeper than what the world needs of her                            Maybe she is nature’s hope during storm and happiness during sunshine                            Maybe because she is a force that remains unstoppable

Food war 1

I finally pronounce food affairs as most romantic. It would be no understatement to state that Indian weddings are the real epitome of palatable lust. Gone are the days when guests at weddings were hosted to a standard fare, usually comprising the roti-sabzi-daal-chawal combination and a sweet or dessert towards the end (read: gulab jamun or kulfi). And let’s not deny how the people then showed equal, if not more, enthusiasm at the sight of free food. The term ‘free food’ quite aptly and easily summarizes how pocketless transactions and a no-food-shaming policy form a core foundation of every Indian’s life.

A major food war broke out when I attended a wedding reception a few days ago. I was updated about the extensive list of items on the menu even before I got there. Apparently, and to add water in my mouth, the most popular caterers in Mumbai were hired to serve the wedding attendees. No sooner did I step out of the car than a natural bounce in my walk dictated my entry into the venue.

It was quite strange to think that the bride and the groom had conspired to remain absent till I addressed my increasing food cravings. At a glance, an exhaustive line of food stations filled me with contention. I rejoiced upon knowing that I wouldn’t go home hungry. There were a startling 8 cuisines that awaited a binge attack.

I believe there are primarily two types of experiences that our lives are divided into. The first category constitutes experiences that are dominated by a suspected eventuality of being rewarded. Here, you get indulged only after you have successfully seen all hurdles through. The second category constitutes experiences that are born out of the greed for extracting divine satisfaction. Without any exaggeration, my food tour starting with Cheese Burst Dosa and ending with a seven layered exotic mousse, screamed lust from the word go. With every portion that decorated my platter, I became increasingly desperate and lustful about relishing every ounce of what lay in front of me.

Stall no. 1 was a big hit with the guests who did not wish to venture past the tried and the tested. A tawa brimming with cheese on top of a fermented layer that was lathered in butter was enough to melt my calorie-centric guilt. I was almost waging a war while trying to grab my share of the dosa amidst frantic hoggers. My hard earned bites were worth every bit of the shoving and restlessness. Not withstanding the fact that cheese is the secret to all the sacred deliciousness in the world, I was coming to life a little more with the feel of every other ingredient on my tongue, including hot spices and exotic chutneys.

“Excuse me! Excuse ME…EXCUSE MEE!’’ I shouted, “2 slices please!” I blurted. The live quesadilla counter was the real crowd puller. It was like that showstopper that everybody was looking forward to. I pulled myself out of the frenzy with my hoops almost coming off and the parting of my hair losing its shape. I frantically began to adjust my dupatta in anticipation of the new couple when I was told that my bindi had disappeared. Wait, the embarrassment continued still further. I chanced upon the groom’s parents just when I stuffed a rather lavish slice of quesadilla into my mouth all at once.

A saree-clad server kept catching my attention intermittently. My mind wandered to thinking about why a woman so elegantly dressed should ever make rounds across the width and length of the venue to fetch food for guests. She looked graceful even while carrying two heavy platters in her hands to a table. The nacho chips gently glided back and forth over the thin pizza crust that was carefully laid out to resemble the petals of a flower. At once, I was seemingly hesitant to tamper with any food art. After much contemplation, I carefully pulled out a slice of the pizza. My ears ate as much of a big, crunchy bite as my big mouth. And here I was, 6 cuisine trials later, sitting with a bloating stomach but not willing to give up any soon.

Half an hour later, when a long queue had already made its place, I was back in action, ready to get going once again. This time it was the steaming hot Thai curry. There’s something about Thai curry that is gravitational in nature. Maybe it was the therapeutic aroma of coconut milk, tossed in an assortment of veggies, that did the trick. The item had all the elements to cause catastrophic hunger in a satisfied stomach. The exotic mix of ingredients combined with a rich gravy was truly a diner’s delight. So well-crafted was the menu, that I was lost in a maze of perfection.

BURP! My stomach was showing signs of extreme fulfillment. The last gulp of the Thai curry felt like a moment of glory. Never earlier had I experienced the kind of pleasure and satisfaction that I sought in the knowledge that I had done justice to almost every dish on the menu. I would like to believe that I came close to receiving the full worth of the money spent (which screamed off the plate’s reflection) on every plate. The reason why I choose to remain modest in my claim that my feast was a little short of perfection is because I missed out on smacking my lips to the cold-stone delight, owing to an overdose of paneer kebabs and crushed pistachio sprinkled over piping hot Kesar-Badaam Doodh. And, maybe, Kit Kat tiramisu.

The future of social media

Almost 10 years ago, as a newbie on social media, the virtual world looked like an ocean of endless discoveries. Orkut, which was thriving then, was a one-stop destination if one wanted stalk, socialize and just pass some free time on the internet. This was back in 2009, when I had just joined college and was awed with the noise social media was creating in the real world. Cut to 2018, social media platforms are literally growing at an exponential rate. While Orkut has disappeared into oblivion, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are still going full throttle despite being around for close to a decade. With this on-going power struggle between social media platforms, have you wondered what is the future of these social media giants?

With a pressure to retain the existing users by constantly introducing new features and attracting advertisers with growing numbers of user-base, the social media world is worst hit by uncertainty, more than ever before. Orkut serves as a classic example of a steady decline into oblivion. It proves for the current lot of social media networks that if they don’t keep up with the changing demands of the audience, they, too, will meet with the same fate. The users only believe in thriving on content that is easy to consume, offers a scope customize their identity and validates their existence. The choices and solutions that the internet, on the whole, offers with every new entrant is broadening, which empowers a digital consumer to an extent where he/she gets is prone to instant boredom.

Going by the current scheme of things, the path ahead for social media is anything but challenging. For every piece of information and updates that it offers, there is an increasing sense of fear that is slowly concerning the users of these networking platforms. The rise of fake news and information overload has seemingly become a cause of worry for users and regulators alike. It remains to be seen whether social media falls prey to these patterns or tackles them successfully. Unfiltered content indeed looks like a powerful recipe to drive away the audience that does not get what it wants. Combine this with the almost-sudden influx of advertisers, who have realized the potential reach of these youth-dominated networks, and you can see how it only acts like a nail in the coffin.

It is also natural to address the issue of cyber bullying, which has gained substantial prominence in the age of social media, while trying to highlight some potential factors that may impede its popularity. Although cyber bullying has been prevalent much before social media came into existence, it is not possible to overlook its current intensity, courtesy of the opportunity one gets to hide behind a veil of anonymity. Virtual hate and negativity can deeply alter the social fabric of digital society, to an extent where one would eventually feel the need to detach themselves from the identity that they have portrayed. For many, the constant battle to appeal to people, get incentivized and forge an image that may not be exactly in sync with one’s real image may be too much to take and may find their consequences in time for one to see.

Going by the current trends, the future that lies for social media is going to be anything but predictable. Somewhere between giving a voice to the masses and  Whether Facebook and its likes want remain in the reckoning in the years to come remains to be seen, but sock then thekre’s there In the meanwhile, my mother has warned me to stay off my mobile phone every time the family sits to have a meal. Her build-up frustration saw its way out after I stayed glued to my phone, stalking my crush’s ex’s Instagram account during a dinner session.

A letter to my past

The one thing I most fear in my life is the thought of living the life I was living until 4 years ago, again. For me, it was a battle to rediscover myself after a series of setbacks. Whether it was going through a slump along my academic journey or losing the ability to reckon with my real self, while fighting anxiety, my life was quite evidently showing a decline.

With this letter, I shall, hopefully, reassure myself that I have indeed overcome my past challenges, and more importantly, I shall seek comfort in the fact that I have attempted to make peace with my past.

Dear Bageshree,

I know that you would sitting all day and thinking that you are just going to be a wreck all your life and fail in everything you take up. You have a long life ahead, and I advise that you don’t lose hope. But then, only hoping for things to get better is not the solution. It is equally important to work towards setting things straight.

A lot of people think ending their lives is a good option to permanently bring an end to all their problems. It is usually the losers who come to associate life as being a punishment. If you think you are going nowhere with your academics, then find an answer to where you are going wrong. I would also like to draw your attention to the turmoil that countless other beings around you go through. Everyday of your life is going to be a challenge, and so will it be for everyone else. Accept the truth and face life.

There are a few things that I would emphasize, which will help ease your pain along your journey. The first of the many crucial things you are expected to do is to find your conscience. ‘How will I do that?,’ you may ask. Avoid doing things that don’t resonate with you. The more you give into the temptation of seeking unwanted pleasures, the more you will see yourself moving away from your real self. This also entails distancing yourself from those people who are with you only to change you.

As important as it is to be sensitive to human emotions, it is equally important to remain your own person and strive for your individual happiness before tending to others. It is good to find a strong support system in your family, spouse and friends but, it is better to have your own back during the toughest of times. It’s important that you realize the importance of self-reliance and self-independence so as to achieve your full potential.

In the four years that I have taken to gradually evolve and tried to get myself on the trajectory of growth, I have learnt how crucial a role having the right attitude in life plays.Whether it is unparalleled success or miserable failure, don’t underestimate the power of your attitude and outlook, which will eventually decide your fate. Look at yourself as someone who is here to fulfill her duties, and everybody else close to you is meant to serve a similar purpose. Yet, don’t forget that your paths are different. People may change their paths, which is why it is important that you don’t lose sight of your path, to avoid excess attachment.

I’m at that stage where you have been dreaming to get all this while, and I continue to face challenges. I still get bouts of anxiety, at times, when my mind goes into an overdrive thinking about what lies ahead. So, if you’re to ask for something, then ask for peace of mind and contentment. During my anxious moments, I forget that I’m living the life I was once anticipating and dying to see in reality, which, then, ruins it all. Take one step at a time, and pause to experience the magic in your life. If you’re looking to verify what I’m stating with proofs and if that lets you stay happy, then know that you will soon become a blogger and a full-time writer who will successfully complete her master’s degree. And most importantly, you will constantly try to become a good human being!

Best regards,

Your anticipated self