The World is Bitter for a Bride-To-Be

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It started three years ago. The search for groom. Searching online, telling relatives, meeting some of the guys, Kundali matching, question-answer sessions, and everything related to arrange marriage. When I showed green signal to get married, I was treated like a princess who is now a bride-to-be.

But it has been three years now. One thing that has not been changed is my marital status. I’m still unmarried. But there is one thing that has changed. The attitude of my parents toward me.

They have become so superstitious. Wear a ring with a shining aqua blue colored stone to get married soon, use some yellow colored powder while bathing, and keep a fast on Thursdays, and what not. Then consulting a marriage counselor, spending money unnecessarily on their already known & implemented tips, and many unnecessary ideas they ask to implement.

One of their ideas was a brand new photo shoot. My mother brought two new dresses, asked to wear both turn by turn, and took photos in every possible pose. While giving poses, they suggested nearly 100 postures and prompted every single change their mind can think of. Then they checked out their clicks and were unsatisfied. So, they took me to a professional photographer. While going at the studio, I felt like I am a product in the market which will be cleaned, well-furnished, polished, and kept on the shelf in the most presentable way. During the photo shoot, I could see my eyes were heavy and teary. Like those eyeballs will pop out at any moment. Still, they suggested and prompted poses and postures. And photo shoot was carried out.

Everything has changed. My parents have become desperate and always hover over me to find a groom and get married. I don’t feel like staying at home because I feel miserable. I avoid talking to them and talk only when they ask me something. The world seems bitter now. Because, the precious princess has turned into a burdensome bride-to-be. Maybe the world is not bitter, but my parents are. And they are world to me, no matter how they treat me. So yes, the world is bitter. Bitter for a bride-to-be.

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This Is How The World Works

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Just because there were moments,
That you spent together,
Doesn’t mean, they were meant to,
Cherish forever.
The bonding, wasn’t meant to,
Stay forever.
This is how the world works.

We two happen to be here,
I’ll open up, you’ll listen.
You talk trash, I’ll add up.
You laugh, I’ll laugh harder.
But when we won’t be together,
It’ll be like we never knew each other.
This is how the world works.

Like the flower plucked from tree,
It has to leave everything behind,
The tree, the leaves, the garden,
And other flowers in vicinity.
Think about what lay ahead,
Blossom the surrounding it is put in.
This is how the world works.

The flower has to blend its essence,
In the new world it is put in.
It cannot go back to that tree,
It has to move ahead.
Even if it is put back in that vicinity,
Nothing will be same as before.
This is how the world works.

When you part ways,
When you bid goodbye,
You need to leave everything,
In the moment of separation.
At the point of separation.
Detach yourself, Like a plucked flower.
This is how the world works.

Only because you are still attached,
To those moments, to those people,
Doesn’t mean they are attached too.
Everyone has different expectations from life,
What they mean to you is not,
Same as what you mean to them.
And, this is how the world works.

Will Celebrating Days Stop A Woman From Getting Beaten Every day? If Not, What Does?

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I hear ear-shattering screams and excruciating cries almost every day when my drunk neighbor beats his wife in front of their three children. I don’t know why he does that. Nobody knows that. Nobody wants to do anything about it, because when someone tries to advice that woman to file a complaint of domestic violence against her husband, she lashes out at them and tells them, what happens between her and her husband is none of their business. So even if someone wants to help, no one can. They even think that she must have done something wrong or there must be some fault of hers for which her husband beats her. Because no sane and innocent woman would tolerate violence against her. And she berates them when asked to raise a voice against her husband. On the other hand, no one dares to talk to her husband, let alone enlightening him to respect a woman. Because he is high all the time and ready to fight. And top of it all, he is my cousin. Though there is a blood relation, we have no relationship at all. We live like strangers. The reasons for which we have a rift is not the concern here.

The concern is, we are celebrating the international women’s day by spreading messages,  organizing marches & events, and talking about uplifting & empowering women, but is it fruitful enough to stop that woman from getting beaten almost every day? We celebrate the spirit of womanhood and glorify women on this day, but are people like my cousin getting the same message and respecting women?

This is just one case. There are hundreds of thousand of cases across the country. Domestic violence is just one issue. There are many other issues too. The core problem does not lie in lack of awareness or not raising voice against violence and injustice. The core problem lies in attitude. Not women. Not men. But the attitude.

It is not about the attitude toward women, but attitude toward another human being. There are many cases in the country, false cases, in which women falsely accuse men of crime they did not commit to harass them mentally, economically, and emotionally. Or there might be another reason. But it is happening. Women play “woman card” to get what they want. Not every woman does it, but it is happening. The change in attitude toward another human being is necessary.

Celebrating such days is not a wrong thing, but the focus must be on imbibing good values in a person. Respect is the two-way street. Understanding is a two-way street. Only good values make us realize that. Taking advantage of circumstances is easy, but being fair is important. Spreading messages and organizing marches is important, but more than that, imbibing good values is important. If good values are inculcated and practiced, issues such as domestic violence, sexual harassment, and others will not arise in the first place. Taking measures to consolidate the core is of utmost necessity. If the core is rotten, it doesn’t matter how alluring and delicious the food looks, it will stink.

गुमसुमसा रहने लगा हूँ

​इस रातकी खामोशीमें गूंज रही बेबसीको सुन रहा हूँ मैं,
इस चाँदके सितारोंसे बने गुमनाम रिश्तेका नाम ढूंढ रहा हूँ मैं।

इस बहती हवामें सिमटी हुई तनहाईया महसूस कर रहा हूँ मैं,
इस जलते दीयेकी लौमें छुपी हुई बेचैनी बुझानेकी कोशिश रहा हूँ मैं।

हुआ है क्या मुझे, जो इतना गुमसुमसा रहने लगा हूँ,
इस जिन्दगीकी भागदौडमे तेजी से बीते हुए लम्होको फिरसे जीनेकी मांग करने लगा हूँ।

See You Again

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She was the inspiration behind the first poem of my life. Oblivious of what is going on with her and without any thought of her since I don’t know when, she appeared unexpectedly. Not in my thought, but in front of me. I thought Goa trip was over, memories of the trip were over. But they were not. It was the last phase in the journey back to home of the finally executed Goa trip, from Katraj to Nigdi. She boarded on the bus, searched for a place hastily. As she entered, I noticed she was wearing bangles, the same ones a girl wears after marriage. The same style. I thought she was married. My heart pulsated. I don’t know why. She settled down. I looked at her, and I am not sure if we exchanged glances or she remembered who I am, because I shied away as I anticipated she will turn her gaze toward me. No, it was not possible. She can’t be married. I don’t know why I was concerned about her marital status. She was my crush and I never talked to her. Not even once. What should I do? Should I talk to her or let it be the way it was?

After 12th standard, I saw her once, not once, twice, at two different bus stands. Both times, she didn’t see me. This was the third time. Again, I thought about whether to talk to her or not. I had never dared to talk to her in 12th standard, given her confrontational, sassy, and cocky nature. In addition, this indecision and chaos was result of terrible past experiences of initiating conversations. Once I initiated a conversation, I got scolded from teacher, peon, and principal. Then in another incident, I got a patronizing look from a girl, her disposition showing I am a downmarket pervert. Then I approached a girl and she turned around and walked away with a face like nothing happened. I felt like I had been misunderstood every time. This history loomed large over my capacity of decision-making when it came to the matters of the heart. This time, I feared, would not be different. I would try to say something and it might backfire. I decided to let it be the way it was. I don’t want to end up getting scolded from bus conductor, beaten up by fellow passengers, and thrown out at 11:30 pm for misunderstanding that may arise. There was no transport available besides cabs at that hour. Enough with shitty excuses, the truth was meri fatt rahi thi. Yes, meri fatt rahi thi.

The crowd was less as the bus moved forward and her conversations on the phone were audible. I learnt she attended her friend’s marriage and those bangles were for that occasion. That was the only consolation for the night. Besides that, my cowardice persisted. I didn’t talk to her. Then she descended at her stop and I did what I always did. I wrote a poetry. She was the inspiration for my first poetry and she is also the inspiration for the following poem I wrote.

तकदिरकी साजिशोंमें कही कोई राझ छुपा तो नहीं,
इत्तिफ़ाक़तले मिलने वाले मुसाफिरों की कही मंजिल एक तो नहीं..

मिलन लिखा हो तकदिरमे, तो मिलेंगे फिर इक बार इत्तिफ़ाक़तले,
पर उस दफा, मंजिल की परवाह किए बगैर, बस उस सफर की खूबसूरतीतले।

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P.S. In case, you want to read that first poem, here is the link:

https://crazytruefacts.wordpress.com/2014/04/20/quite-quietly/

Experience Of First Marathon

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I punched in, gasping. I climbed four floors from parking to reach my office. Before starting the PC, I sat down quietly for a minute to regain my breath, greeted everyone, and started with the day. It was a routine.

Those gasps were embarrassing for me. I no longer wanted to be in that state. I played football for half an hour every day. But I did not run much because I didn’t have stamina and hated gasping. To avoid being in that state, I avoided running. Days passed by with this state.

I was scrolling through Facebook newsfeed one day and noticed a friend interested in an event. It was marathon. I commented to ask how much distance a participant needs to run. He replied there were various distances. 5 kilometers (km), 10 km, and 21 km.

The date of marathon was a month away. It was the time I decided I will run 10 km marathon. Not because I want to participate in marathon (which was in my bucket list, but never took it seriously), but to stop that gasping after little efforts. A 25 year old guy does not look good when he gasps after little efforts. I wanted to be fit, build stamina, and feel good about myself. The marathon was a reason due to which I would run every day and build stamina.

The journey had been phenomenal.

I started running from the next day. I gasped after barely 500 meters on day one and my legs began aching at thighs and calves. I increased distance every day. First few days were difficult. For the entire day, I could not walk straight due to pain in thighs and calves, and sometimes in shins. I gave up eating fast food and biscuits, and began eating healthy food only. Two boiled eggs, three bananas, and a glass of milk along with two meals. Chocolate is an exception. It is a sin to say no to chocolates. Whenever I could eat chocolate, I ate. But I tried to eat healthy.

The result was there. After two weeks, I wasn’t gasping and could run 3 kms. Not in the same speed, but I was able to cover the distance every day.

Then I sought help from my friend, who runs marathon and half marathon regularly. He guided me to run with the right technique and motivated to increase distance. When he told me the correct techniques, I realized I had been running so wrong. I used to run by landing the heel first. Landing on heels causes injuries due to shift in the center of gravity. He guided me to run with toes first, swing hands from shoulders, lean forward little, and pull legs as high as to reach butt. I was glad I could know this with two weeks remaining for the event.

I started running with that technique. Again, it was too difficult to run with the right technique. The technique used by marathon runners to reach more distance with less endurance. With this technique, all the pressure was put on calves and ankles. On first day with the technique, both calves were paining enormously. I was limping next day. Though it was excruciating, I ran the next day. I reduced the distance and focused on right technique. But, both calves and ankles gave up on the day two. I was able to barely walk, let alone running. I could not run on the day three with new technique. I did not run.

On day four with the technique, the pain reduced and I could run 3 kms with right technique. The next two days, I increased the distance up to 4 km and ran with the right technique throughout with varying speeds.

Then I made a mistake. I ate Chinese food after a movie next day. The oil used to make the food made a call. I was ill. Only a week to go for a race, I could barely run 4 kms and I had to take two days off to recover fully. I regretted eating Chinese food so much. It was not a big issue, but with my overthinking, I made it. I was so worried. My friend comforted me. He told me not to worry and I could finish 10 kms on the next Sunday because of the vibe of the marathon.

I began running after two days of full rest. Again, the calves were aching. I could not walk straight. The next day was even worse. My knees began aching. It was frustrating. I had the technique right, then why was it happening?

The next day, four days left for the event, was the most painful one. I could barely walk. Still, I began to run. Calves did not stop paining, knees were weak, and shin bone began aching too. Why the shin bone now? Still, I ran 3 km. Very slowly, but ran. It was the day I realized we can endure more than we think we can.

Three days left. I don’t know what happened during the night. When I woke up, I felt very less pain. I don’t know how. But I was able to walk well. When I started running, calves were hurting, but very little. I could feel strong knees and there was less pain in shin bone. I ran 4 km with varying speeds.

The next day was great. I ran 5 km with varying speeds and right technique. There was little pain, but I managed to run. I decided to take a break a day before the event to run with fresh legs at the event.

It was the first marathon of my life. I could not fall asleep the night before. I barely slept for 2 hours and set two alarms five minutes apart.

And the morning arrived. I drove so fast that a street dog tried to chase me but gave up the thought in the next second. I reached at 5:40 am. If I wake up at this hour, I felt cold so much. But today, it was different. The cold environment was filled with enthusiasm, enchantment, and excitement.

The race timing for 21 km was 5:45 am. I noticed participants gathered at the starting point. As I reached there, a participant asked me where I got the pins to attach chest number to T-shirt. I had four, so I gave him one. I asked if wanted one more, but he refused and ran away. He was participating in 21 km. The whistle blew and 21 km race began.

The 10 km race was at 6:00 am. Before the race, they called all participants for warm up. The music played and everyone was doing Zumba by following dancers on the stage for 10 minutes. Everyone was filled with ecstasy and pumped up for the race. There were participants of all the ages. Few people were uplifting participants’ spirit. After the warm up, everyone gathered at the starting point. The whistle blew.

Everyone started patiently. I began with moderate pace and the right technique. First few kilometers were easy. I jogged with uniform speed with random thoughts running in my mind. Sometimes, few moments of the practice and pain popped in my head. Sometimes, witty bantering with friends. There were fellow runners who motivated everyone to keep running. As I moved ahead, calves began hurting a little as my feet touched the ground. After four kilometers, I slowed down as pain grew. I realized the strength in my legs was not enough. After five kilometers, the organizers sprinkled ink on our chest numbers.

As ink was sprinkled, my pace lowered. I moved ahead slowly and could see the sky getting brightened up from dark. It was the best feeling to see light emerging from the dark. The crescent moon disappeared. The sun was not visible yet, but there was light. I slowed down too much. My thighs, calves, shin bone, and groins began aching. I began using the techniques my friend told me. Whenever you feel like giving up, chase the guy running ahead or match the rhythm with other runners. I did the same. I began chasing the guy ahead.

The last two miles were the most difficult. My pace reached the lowest, but I was jogging. I felt like I was going to have abs at the end of the race. All fats burned. When I saw a board stating only one kilometer was remaining, I suddenly felt energized. I ran the last kilometer with more speed. At the finish line, dhol and tasha band was congratulating the runners for finishing what they signed up for. And it felt great to cross the finish line. Then I collected medal and snacks. To my delight, there were gulab jamuns. It was the best thing about finishing. They should have told me before about gulab jamuns. I would have finished earlier. However, my timing was 1 hour 10 minutes 13 seconds.

The organization was fabulous. The vibe was fabulous. And the experience was fabulous. I learned a lot that I would have never learned. And I will keep running even after the event is finished. I don’t want to loathe in the misery of gasping again.

Trust Is Beautiful

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Those conversations,
those comfortable silences,
and those rides.

Opening up true selves,
and sharing some funny yet weird stories,
while finding a way through traffic.

There was no judgmental attitude,
no ego, no holding back.

Even if someone knows,
the other person is talking trash,
the trash was listened carefully and attentively.
Sometimes, even responded with more trash.

The trash used to build up and at a point,
both burst out of laughter.

While riding, some moments were breathtaking,
as the crash seemed inevitable,
but somehow it didn’t happen.
Even when it was told to ride safely,
it wasn’t given much attention to.

And though it wasn’t given much attention,
the pillow rider didn’t leave in between.

Because those conversations,
happening during ride built up trust.

Trust, that no matter how roughly the person drives,
I’m reaching home safely.

Trust, that no one is going to judge,
when the other opens up.

Trust, that no one will try to rationalize,
when the other is talking trash.

And the crazy fact,
That trust made those silences during rides comfortable.

Those silences were beautiful.
Those rides were beautiful.
That comfort was beautiful.
And the trust, it’s always beautiful.

She Was The One

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“Do you know? I was driving through a narrow lane. Then, I saw a car taking turn and approaching toward me. The lane was narrow, only to let two bikes pass. But the car was sped toward me and I didn’t know what to do. As it approached, I was getting really scared. What am I gonna do? I thought I was about to crash into it. It came closer, when we were about to bump, I went to extreme left, then shifted my handle hastily to left and avoided it from crashing into its mirror. I was an inch closer to wall. I thought I might crash into wall, but I maintained my balance till the car passed and I was safe. I don’t know who was driving the car. That lunatic, pompous jackass! He thought he was driving car means he can get away. What about me? It doesn’t matter if I am safe.”

I rested both of my elbows on the table, putting chin on palms of both hands, and looking at her.

“Are you listening? Do you understand anything? What just happened?” she said.

“No, I didn’t understand anything,” I said. “But I just understood one thing. Your voice is very unique.”

She just gave me a hard look.

“What? No reaction?” I said.

“What do you expect?” she asked.

“You know, I decided this. I knew your voice is very unique. But I thought, I won’t tell you directly. I will tell you when I’ll listen to you, but pretend I didn’t listen to you or understand a word you said. That’s why I looked at you poker faced. Then you are so high of emotions while telling a story about yourself and suddenly I drop a compliment like that to catch you off guard and surprise you. I thought, this is the part where I flirt with you and you blush. And then I pretend like nothing I said was meant to be taken that way, I was just outlining a fact. But it seems, I am very bad at it.”

She shot a hard look again and burst into laughter. Putting her hand onto her mouth, she tried to control it. I was just looking at her, embarrassed. She stopped laughing, looked at me, and again burst into laughter. There I saw. Her eyelids turned downward, her cheeks turned pink, and her laugh ending into a closed mouth smile.

“Now, you are blushing. There you are.”

“Yes, I am. But what’s wrong with you.”

I stared at her. “You know what’s wrong with me.”

We were looking at each other. That moment was the moment when I wanted the moment to stop right there. Just an eye to eye, like the eternity lost, the universe stopped, and the millenniums passed.

And there she knew what was wrong with me.

“Do you want me to spell it out for you?” I asked.

“No need,” she said.

The crazy fact, that was the moment I realized, nothing was wrong with me. I was in my full senses when I fell in love. She was the one.

फसा देगी ये आँखे

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ये आँखे, फसा देगी ये आँखे एक दिन,
जुबाँ पलट जाए, पर ये अपनी जिद नहीं छोड़ती,
नियत बता देती है, सच बया कर देती है,
और अनजाने में इकरार भी कर देती है।

हमारी तकरार पे आँखे मासूमियत से बोली,
आदत है मुझे ताने सुनने की,
क्या करे, यहाँ लोगो के दिल बहक जाते है ,
और कसूर नजर को दिया जाता है।

She Gets Into My Head

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She gets into my head.
Whatever she does,
Whatever she feels,
Whatever she says,
Whatever her reactions are,
Whatever she is.

She gets into my head.
When she’s around,
I get distracted.
My attention is toward her.
I may do something else,
But think only about her.

She gets into my head.
Every small detail of her,
Significant or insignificant,
Likes and dislikes,
Everything matters to me,
I admire everything.

She gets into my head.
Even when she’s not around,
I recall our interactions,
Funny, deep, and emotional ones.
And feel good about it.
Like finding a reason to be distracted.

The crazy fact,
She gets into my head.
And she is travelling from there,
Through the road of feelings.
And I never knew,
When she got into my heart.