Falling ill is harsher on the mind than on the body, me feels. The drowsy numbness, your thoughts twisting and whirling around in your cerebral matter and your inability to attack even one of them..
Lying in hopeless passivity with sunken red eyes and an anger at the phlegm plaguing your breathing.
Hate feeling useless.
Mostly, I go into denial- if I can trick my mind into believing that I'm not sick, maybe I could trick my body too. The struggles continue till the last vestige of energy is given up and I surrender to medicine and sleep.

Many hues of the Sky!

Someone wisely said that Beauty can be found in every passing second.

I did not have to venture too far to capture these shots. Armed with nothing but a sloppy two mega-pixel camera, I love to gaze at the evening sky with abandon...


Across the red sky two birds flying,
Flying with drooping wings.
Silent and solitary their ominous flight.

All day the triumphant sun with yellow banners

Warred and warred with the earth, and when she yielded

Stabbed her heart, gathered her blood in a chalice,

Spilling it over the evening sky.

When the dark plumage-d birds go flying, flying,

Quiet lies the earth rapt in her mournful shadow,

Her sightless eyes turned to the red sky

And the restlessly seeking birds.

-Katherine Mansfield

I bring fresh showers for the thirsting flowers,

From the seas and the streams;
I bear light shade for the leaves when laid
In their noonday dreams.
From my wings are shaken the dews that waken
The sweet buds every one,
When rocked to rest on their mother's breast,
As she dances about the sun.
I wield the flail of the lashing hail,
And whiten the green plains under,
And then again I dissolve it in rain,And laugh as I pass in thunder.
-P.B Shelley

I wandered lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o'er vales and hills,

When all at once I saw a crowd,

A host, of golden daffodils;

Beside the lake, beneath the trees,

Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

-William Wordsworth

The sun at bay with splendid thrusts still keeps the sullen fold;

And momently at distance sets, as a cupola of gold, The thatched roof of a cot a-glance; Or on the blurred horizon joins his battle with the haze; Or pools the blooming fields about with inter-isolate blaze, Great moveless meres of radiance.

Then mark you how there hangs athwart the firmament's swept track,

Yonder a mighty crocodile with vast irradiant back,

A triple row of pointed teeth?

Under its burnished belly slips a ray of eventide,

The flickerings of a hundred glowing clouds in tenebrous side

With scales of golden mail ensheathe.

-Victor Hugo

With how sad steps, O Moon, thou climb'st the sky,

"How silently, and with how wan a face!"
Where art thou? Thou so often seen on high
Running among the clouds a Wood-nymph's race!

-William Wordsworth

It's Time/Project Unbreakable

What can I say about the shocking incident in Guwahati? You can assume I am saddened, horrified, disgusted and angered. I can pen down a tirade of abuses against the molesters, against the police action and the inaction of the mob assembled around the victim. I can complain about the insensitivity shown by sections of the media and the government bodies. I can express how I loathe stepping out in public after getting to know about incidents like these. I can express sympathy with the poor girl and vow to not rest until justice is achieved. What difference does it make, anyhow? I am just a voice out there,among millions of people who are similarly befuddled, horrified, enraged and ashamed by this and countless many other incidents. I have no idea when and how justice will be brought about. Ay, I have no faith in justice anymore. I do not know how we can ever put an end to this. There is a colossal amount of work to be done there. I do not know if I will live to see a change. What I do know is that a woman has been wronged and I'd weep a silent tear to it. I can only hope she heals, with all the pain our society is going to put her through, I pray she is able to bear it.

It is with respect to this process of healing that I'd like to share about something I came across a few months back.

'Project Unbreakable' was created in  the October of 2011 by Grace Brown. Grace works with survivors of sexual assault, photographing them holding a poster with a quote from their attacker. Through Grace's work, thousands of victims have been able to come forward, discuss their pain and participate in an experience they've titled 'Healing through Art'. Going through the pictures on Tumblr, I was deeply disturbed and at the same time, very moved. Through this initiative, people are getting a chance to speak out, to express themselves and tell their assaulters that they are made of sterner stuff and wouldn't be broken down.

Have a look at Grace's work here:

I think we, as responsible citizens of the country, ought to take inspiration from Grace's beautiful work and set out to make a difference in the lives of those who have been wronged. It won't do to just sit and discuss, act horrified and worked up and then distract yourself to get the images out. It just won't do anymore.

A Cleansing Ritual

'Worry, worry, worry, worry
Worry just will not seem to leave my mind alone
Oh, worry, worry, worry, worrySometimes I swear it feels like this worry is my only friend'

- Ray LaMonatgne, Trouble

The trouble with the human mind is, it's seldom at peace. It's always engrossed in a web of memories, ideas, promises and most of all, nagging doubts. So has been my state this past couple of weeks. With the huge amount of free and idle time in my hands, my mind cleared off the space earmarked for inner peace and invited the devil to play fiddle. From dawn to dusk, my thought process became a succession of doubts. Every little decision I had to make became a point of contention in the senate of my head. Every news I recieved was tossed and turned and stretched till it gave me nothing but displeasure. In short, I began worrying myself sick.

Worrying is one stubborn disease. The habit starts from one little genuine problem and before you've had time to get your optimism intact again, it spreads over to everything you once had under control. The once cheerful, majestic and life-giving morning Sun now becomes the harbinger of cancerous UV rays and burnt skin. You don't realize you've been affected till it starts showing obvious signs on your being.

Realization hit me when someone remarked I looked gloomy and sad, on a day I was congratulating myself on having spent well. It was confusing. But when my mind started doing the depressing rounds again, I understood.

It was time to putrefy.

It was time to catch the devils one by one and set their tails on fire.

So what if everything on my schedule didn't fall into place?

Life is too short to follow my planner to the 'T'.

So what if the work I turned in wasn't perfect?

Nobody really expected it to be.

So what if someone else got all that I really wanted?

I'll wait for my turn.

So what if i don't get placed this year?

It's not like my life depends on it.

So what if I don't make it into an IIT?

I've been living my life quite well outside of one.

So what if I'm not as smart as the others?

I did my best.

So what if i'm not the favorite person around?

I'm being myself.

So what if I'm not as good looking as

the other person?

I was born this way.


A few weeks back I read somewhere that 'to be able to write about heart break, you have to experience it first'. This, coming from an author, sent me thinking. It sounded a lot like the theme underlying the movie 'Rockstar'. Also, at that time, I was(and still am) reading Tolstoy's War and Peace. I noticed how effortlessly Tolstoy spoke of teenage love, heartburn and romantic tiffs while at the same time, describing a war scene to near perfection. It is true that Tolstoy's work is a proof of rare genius, rated among the best of out time. But should lesser artists let themselves dwell in an easy mediocrity?

It is the writer's imagination and skill that would enable him to create any world, any condition and emotion. It is true that artists can express those things better that they have avtually experienced, but it cannot be the case always. To enact out a scene, one needs to understand the emotional dynamics involved. Which may be done by recalling to mind a similar experience, or an experience wholly different but which would evoke the same emotional reaction. In many cases, artists are known to experiment with their emotions by creating conditions and letting themselves be made victim.

In the movie Rockstar, the protagonist was told he could not be a successful musician who sang about love and loss without having experienced it first. To me it seemed ridiculous advice. It is true that authenticity does lend a greater degree of romanticism to Art, but what about skill? Imagination? Creativity?

A novelist can understand the emotions of even a leaf, if he thougt himself to be one. Observance is the greatest tool of all artists.

Our experiences in life are so diverse that recalling them to mind we can re-create any emotion in ourselves. If I have to write about the fear of dying, would I actually have to first poison myself and experience it? If i know and understand fear and if I know and understand death, I would be able to express the terror of one dying. It is the basic nature of the emotions that matter, not the conditions in which they are made to be expressed.

If you're only going to write about the stuff that you've experienced or are experiencing, you're not ready to step out of your comfort zone and put on the thinking cap. You're not ready to explore.

An Intern's Summer

'Oh Shit! Oh Shit! Oh Shit! I'm late! Gotta get my bath! Gotta get ready!'

Eyes half closed, I crawl to the bathroom and open the taps. Rush back to the still dark room to grab my stuff.  Glance sideways at the clock and...oh damn! Not again!

Climb back under the covers and go back to sleep. It's just two-thirty am.

Fast-forward by four hours and am on my feet again, throwing on some clothes, stuffing things in my bag and gobbling down breakfast. It's a work day and I don't wanna be late!

With this kind of desperation to get at my desk, you'd think I'm getting paid by the hour. But sadly, I'm not even making a penny. It's an internship, just for experience's sake.

The thing is, for the first time in my life I'm feeling confident about not being stuck in the wrong place. I'm enjoying my work, even though it's all male-dominated, but, hell, if a man's brain can grasp it, a woman can totally crack it :P

I'm enrolled for a seven-week internship at the Engineering division of Larsen and Toubro in Faridabad.
Everyday I travel for roughly an hour one-way on Delhi's famous DTC bus service. In two weeks, I've accomplished it all- running after buses, taking the wrong route, getting off in no-man's-land, trying to make sense out of dilli-autowalah's logic and getting lost in the maze of Noida's sectors.

But thankfully, all this mayhem lasts only up to the entrance gates of my destination. Inside the office, there's a calm- no, it's not the calm before a storm, but a lingering calmness that leads you to your work while relaxing your tensed brain muscles ( maybe it's the air conditioner). No work ever gets done without first injecting caffeine in your bloodstream. Talking about work, I always thought these big corporate houses made a slave out of you but what I saw here was quite different. The most common use of the internet was to browse through the news or shopping sites! My mentor tells me that since they are in the final stages of their project, they have a lot of free time in their hands. Cool enough! They don't exactly teach us to slog throughout the year at engineering schools, do they? We're accustomed to putting ourselves through brief periods of intense work. :P

I haven't been really able to figure out how I feel about being here and the work. The thing is, at the end of the day, I'm too tired to give a label to what I went through during the day. Some days, when I get a new problem to tackle, it's interesting and busy. The very next day, when the problem becomes stale, it gets boring and I'm just strolling through.

The good part is that the people are friendly and helpful.
The bad part is that they banned trainees from using the net.
The best part is that I'm having a nice time, meeting new people and learning something.
The worst part is that I'm sleep deprived.

The next thing I have to figure out is how far can an introvert get in a system like this. Oh, there's a long way to go. So much more to see and learn about. 'Training' doesn't really end, does it?'

A Rapunzel Story

(This is my second entry to Dove and Indiblogger's 'My Beautiful Hair Story' contest. Here's presenting a fairytale with a twist. :P )

Once upon a time, in a land enchanting and far, there lived a Queen who's beauty and grace were incomparable. The queen was called Rapunzel and she lived in the Royal Palace with her King Daniel and daughter Ariel. On a bright summer morning, Queen Rapunzel sat with her hand-maidens in her chambers, getting ready for the Royal Ball. The Queen was very virtuous and kind, with lovely green eyes and red lips. But the most beautiful of all were her golden hair, cascading down from her shoulders all the way to the floor, enveloping her in a silken cape of gold. As Rapunzel sat adjusting a  flower on her dress, her eyes caught a glimpse of a figure crouching near the curtains.

'Ariel! Is that you? Aren't you ready yet?'

There was a fit of giggling and a young girl of around eleven appeared from amidst the curtains.'How did you know it was me Mumma?', she cried, running to her mother.

'Careful, little Princess!'

'Oh Mumma, how graceful you look! You do have the prettiest hair!'

'So do you, my lovely, now let's get ready'

'Is it true that they were once ten times as long and Father used them as a rope?'

'Yes, my dear'

'Then why did you cut them off Mumma?'

'Oh it's a long story, my sweet. You really should be getting ready now.'

'Pray tell me Mumma! I want to know! Tell me while I get dressed'

Seeing the young princesses' eyes alight with curiosity, Rapunzel had no choice but to oblige.
"Many, many years ago, when I was a fair maiden of twelve, an evil Enchantress abducted me from my humble home and placed me in a tall dark tower with a single window.  There she would visit me everyday to bring me food and clothing. She would stand at the foot of the tower and shout,' Rapunzel, let down your hair' and I would let down my long, golden hair which she'd climb up on. Many years thus passed with my being locked up in the dark, lonely tower. I begged the cruel witch for my release but she would not free me.

One day, resigned to my melancholy life, I sat singing by the window when I heard a man's voice cry 'Rapunzel! Rapunzel! Let down your hair!'. I gazed down and my eyes saw a handsome prince.

'Who are you?', I asked, scared.

The prince looked up at me with his kind brown eyes and told me he'd heard me sing and felt drawn towards me. 'Trust me, lady, I wish to save you from your plight.'So I let down my hair and let the prince into my prison.

'Come with me', he said,' I will take you to my kingdom and make you my princess.''But how will we escape?My feet are shackled and we neither have a rope nor a ladder.'The prince thought hard and came up with a plan. He would come the next day with an axe to break the shackles and a rope to climb down with.So I bid the Prince good-bye with tears of joy in my eyes.

The next day, the Sun rose bright and majestic. Birds chirped delightfully and I sang a song of joy and love. Just then I heard the words, 'Rapunzel! Rapunzel! Let down your hair!'. It was the witch. I sighed and let down my golden mane.

'Oh how she pulls at my hair! The prince was so much gentler!', I erringly exclaimed. To my horror, the witch heard me and tortured me into telling her everything. She went mad with rage and started towards me. But just then, an evil glint came into her eyes and she said simply, 'Let down your hair. I wish to leave.'

I was confused over the witch's reaction as I had expected worse. But all my fears came true when she reached the ground. Cackling with laughter, she took out her wand and cursed me. Immediately, my hair erupted in flames!'Now your beloved Prince won't be able to visit you!', she growled.

I screamed and wailed! Though the fire died in a while, my hair were destroyed. They looked like ashes and I knew the Prince won't be able to climb up them. When the Prince came later that day, he found me distraugt. I told him about all that had happened. I asked him to forget me and leave, lest the wicked witch do him harm.

'No, my lady', he cried,' I have vowed to make you my Princess and I shall fulfill it. Wait for me at sundown.'Saying this, he galloped off into the forest.

The Prince rode to the heart of the forest to the place where the Wise Lady dwelt. He told her all about my plight and begged for help.

'There is but one way to help the poor lady. You must visit the Garden of Plenty and search for the tree on which the Blue Dove dwells. Beneath that tree, grows the magical herb of Lauretheam. Bring that to me and I shall make you a potion.'The Prince hurried to the Garden of Plenty as instructed and looked around for the Blue Dove. He searched and searched but there was no sign of it. He grew disheartened and began to weep. Just then he heard a beautiful, musical singing.

'Why, that reminds of Rapunzel!', he thought. Entranced, he followed the sound to it's source and to his surprise, it was the Blue Dove that had beckoned him. Overjoyed with his luck, he located the magical herb and ran off to the witch as fast as the horse would carry him.The Wise Lady brewed the potion and told him, 'Rapunzel must apply it to her hair only when the moon beams shine. If the magic works, her hair will be healthy and strong in no time.'So, the Prince gave me the potion, I applied it as directed and that was the end of my hair problems. I let down my hair and the Prince climbed up and broke my shackles with the axe. But just as we were about to fix the rope on the window, it burst into flames! The witch had jinxed the window!

'There is only one way to escape now. Cut my hair and we will use it as a rope', I said, thinking fast.The Prince was startled,'No Rapunzel, we can't cut your beautiful hair!.'But I was adamant and seeing that there was no other way, the Prince took out his sword and chopped off my hair. Then using it as a rope, we climbed down the tower and made our great escape into the moonlight."

Rapunzel finished with a tear in her eye.

'Mother! That is the most beautiful story I've ever heard!', Ariel beamed and hugged her mother.

And they lived happily ever after.

Liked my story? You might like this too:

Never have a bad hair day!

(This post is my entry for Dove and Indiblogger's 'My Beautiful Hair story' contest. Read and enjoy. :D )

Have you ever had hair trouble? I'd bet a million dollars you have! It's just simply inescapable. If I had a fairy godmother and she offered me a wish, I would most certainly ask her to take all my hair problems away! But alas, the world of fairies and magic is not one we inhabit and we have to rely on earthly remedies or learn to hate our hair. But how can you learn to hate your hair? Your hair, the most important part of your attire, can change your whole personality and being with a single knot, done or undone.

Born into a Punjabi family, my hair is thick and black. Not much to complain of, eh? But the thing that saddened me most whilst growing up was their lack of lustre. My hair was dull. Boring. Lifeless. As if it was going through the emotional upheavels of teenage for me. I oiled them, brushed them, used all kinds of fancy shampoos and fancy conditioners but to no avail. The limpness never left. It was like my whole being was sad and depressed owing to my hairstyle. I would be all joyous and full of life, but the sad mop on my head would reflect gloom.

It was during those days that artificial smoothening and re-bonding came to town. My mouth watered at the sight of the poster-girl's tresses. Pure silk! Long and smooth! And look at that shine! Enough to make anyone's day brighter! So I saved my pocket-money for months and coaxed my parents into lending me some money to get my hair back. Going into the parlor, I was sure I would walk out a truly transformed person. And so I did! For the first time in my life, I was in love with the way my mane looked and shined and bounced! It was dificult to keep my eyes off it! 'Oh why couldn't I have done this before?', I asked myself. I would wear my hair open like a crown and roam around flaunting it all through the final year of school. Whether it was in the Sun or in the rain, my hair was always about me like my very own customized robe. It was heaven.

A rude shocker sent me crashing down to Earth. My hair were shedding. The signs were there since a few months now but I had ignored them. Nothing could happen to my beautiful hair, I thought, they were invincible. It turned out I was very wrong. Every day they'd fall, in the bath, on the sink, by the dozen. I went back to my old habit of oiling, but it didn't help this time either. I was shaken and upset! I could no longer keep my hair open for fear of damage. What's more, my parents scolded me for spoiling them! They said it was all due to the harsh chemicals used in the treatment. I couldn't help but agree with them. Not only had I subject my hair to damage, I had also wasted close to 15k of my parent's well earned money. I was deeply troubled. My hair were falling and I could almost see a bald-patch. What more, the ends had started to frizz out giving me the look of an Indian 'baba'.
With no hopes of a recovery, I set out to get my hair chopped. The long Rapunzel-like tresses that I had become used to loving. Sorry, Prince Charming, but this would be the end of it. Sigh.

As I sat down in the salon, looking at my reflection in the mirror, a lone tear escaped my eye. O vanity, thou art cruel. Noticing my despair, the hairdresser asked me what was wrong. I started explaining to him how I had been a fool and messed up my hair. 'So is that why you're chopping them all off?', he inquired. 'Yes. There's nothing else to be done', I replied morosely. To my surprise, he stopped cutting and came around to talk to me. He explained to me that simply cutting off my hair wouldn't be the solution to my problems. It would be only an easy way of not dealing with the problem, a short-cut. He advised I visit a dermatologist at the earliest to consult about the hair loss. 'As for the damage, I recommend this', he procured an indigo blue bottle from the shelf and handed it to me. As I gazed at the bottle and listened to the hairdresser's advice, my spirits rose. I felt that I could rectify my mistake, it was not too late.

'So, should I resume cutting or not?', he asked with a smile.
'No, let's just get it trimmed for now', I said, beaming.

The next day, I visited a dermatologist and told her all about my hair trouble.
She looked calmly into my face and told me that the cause of all my hair woes was lack of nutrition.  'Beauty comes from good health, my dear', she said.
I blinked. In all the years of worrying about my hair and looks, it had never occured to me that there was more to hair-care than just washing and oiling. I had to be aware of the nutritional needs of my strands, which, in turn, were specific to my hair-type and routine. Beauty is skin-deep, literally.

That day marked a re-awakening of sorts. I gave up placing bets on fancy beauty products and treatments and started giving my hair a new life with better nourishment. With some research, I was able to find the products that did more good to my hair than harm.

I became a smart consumer
and that was the end of all my hair problems.

every day is a happy hair day :)

Today, armed with the right tools and knowledge, I'm not afraid to play with my locks. I take them out for a swim, into the Sun, for a date with a curling rod or on a rendezvous with colours.

Stop fretting and start being hair-smart!

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