Dictionary definition of feminism = the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes.

I had to state the synonym because there are birdbrains who think feminism is all about the supremacy of women. No! It’s not. It’s about equality. I emphasize on the word EQUALITY.

Why should there be a movement for equality of women you ask?

Because women have always been treated like doormats. Refer to a history textbook if you want proof. But the textbooks only hint at the unfair treatment women received right since the conception of the earth. So, I can refer to more works of literature where there are detailed accounts of gruesome acts against women by sadistic humans with horrendous mentalities. NEWSPAPER!

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You can get it anywhere for just a single-digit price. Turn a page and voila! There it is with headlines the size of our narrow minds—MAN FLOGS WIFE OVER NONSPHERICAL CHAPATIS.

It’s laughable, right? But that’s just juvenile compared to the other barbarous acts against women and I can’t even list them here because I’m too sensitive to that kind of stuff.

The answer to all the ratbags who say, ‘Screw feminism. Why should women be treated specially?’ is this.

If feminism didn’t exist, then women would still be coughing in the dark confines of the kitchen, making fire out of the sparks in order to cook the ordered menu for the household men.

If feminism didn’t exist, then social evils like Sati and child marriage would still be rampant.

If feminism didn’t exist, then female infanticide (although still exists) will turn into a dangerous pandemic.

If feminism didn’t exist, then your sister would be one of the many wives of your brother-in-law; your mother, instead of helping you with your homework, would be receiving her daily quota of lashes from your domineering father; your future wife would be . . . well, I can’t say anything to that because a man who condemns feminism would most likely expect his wife to be his slave.

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I’m certainly not saying that all men would turn into monsters (as if we don’t have enough) without a movement like this, BUT, the influence will be extensive.

Let me elaborate.

So, if your father treated your mother like an unimportant human being whose presence meant service, then you would grow up thinking that women are supposed to be treated as drudges. The world around you is operating in a manner that teaches you that men are superior and women are no more than underlings who should satisfy their every whim, then your mind would steer in that direction too because it will be accepted as a normal way of living.

But if there’s a movement reprehending those practices thereby advocating women empowerment, then it might shepherd you the other way—the right way.

I agree that sometimes feminists tend to border on extreme by promoting misandry but that doesn’t change the whole freaking definition.

If you hate feminists, then you don’t want equality and let me break it to you—it’s detrimental not just for us women but for men too.

Feminism is basically about dispelling prevalent patriarchy. Patriarchy screws up dudes too and here’s how. How many times have you felt the pressure of being forced into a conventional job just because it pays well?

Sometimes I put myself in a man’s shoes and wonder if I would write this if I were a man. Perhaps, I wouldn’t even get time to read because I would be busy tapping away at the keys on the keyboard in a cosy office, writing codes, and programs. That’s what I might be required to do in order to take care of my family and pay tuition for my children. I would be the sole bread earner and would have to kill my dreams in order to meet the norms and pay the bills.

Why couldn’t I become a chef like I wanted to? Or an actor. Or a painter. Anything.

Imagine a world of equality. Both men and women free to pursue their dreams and not persuaded to meet societal standards.

If you aren’t keen on supporting feminism, at least you should be able to be in favour of humanism, right?

What we don’t realize is feminism is on the same lines of humanism.

If you see a woman and man wrestling with each other, whom would you choose to help?

The woman, right? Why not the man? Because we intrinsically know that usually, a man is physically stronger than a woman, hence we would rush to protect the former first. If you have ever done that, then does that mean you’re a feminist too? Maybe or maybe not. But surely, you would have proved yourself to be a human.

And that is exactly what I’m trying to say.

You can fight with your wife, leave the house, roam the streets and can return home safely the next day. But if your wife fights with you and steps out of the house, can you guarantee her safe return?

I know, I know, even the situation is lame, right? Cruel. But I have heard some horrible things like these that impelled me to write this today.

I want to try and partially educate those morons who don’t understand the actual meaning of feminism and brush it off as some useless lib, which advocates “significance” of women.

We don’t strive for power. We need equality.

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And what that equality means, I would leave it to our brains since we have got one whole organ dedicated to doing logical thinking. I mean wouldn’t it be ridiculous if you ask both a girl and a boy to lift the same amount of weights shouting, ‘Equality!’?

Like I said, feminism is just another name for humanity.

This article is dedicated to—that guy, who remarked that women need not have to struggle to find a job as they can marry off a settled guy and enjoy his salary, that man, who said, ‘To hell with feminism’ when his girlfriend condemned his sexist jokes and all those people, who call themselves humans without understanding the meaning of humanity.



“Contentment is natural wealth, luxury is artificial poverty” – Socrates.

Here we are with another in “The Thing About . . .” series.

We are seldom satisfied with what life provides for us.

We have a shirt we want a suit. We have gold we crave for diamonds. There’s nothing wrong with wanting more of incorporeal things if you know what I mean but longing for materialistic things can lead to disappointment taking root, especially when it turns out to be a fruitless endeavour.

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We have to accept life as it comes. If you earn enough to own a Porsche, well and good. But if you’re capable of owning only a two-wheeler for now, be happy for that too since there are jobless people in the queues who would want to earn a few bucks just to satiate their hunger.

I’m not saying you gotta be content with what you have and slack off. No. In fact, you should be the opposite. But what you have to aim for is not the object but the objective. Aim for a better job, strive to climb the ladder and reach the top, exert yourself to reach your final goal. Then you can decide what to do with the rewards. Whether to buy a designer bag or save it for an investment. Priorities! I would choose the former undoubtedly, but I have people who would kick me like a football if I make wrong financial choices so . . . I guess I’ll be safe.

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But all of you who are prone to temptations, remember that you don’t have to lead the life of a saint. It’s okay to want to own that latest iPhone. But you shouldn’t turn that trivial thing into your life ambition. It should be one of the things that could be bought with the money you earn through hard work and intellect.

Lack of satisfaction not just affects our peace of mind but also destroys relationships. Imagine your wife/husband constantly griping about the bourgeois lives they’re leading. Wouldn’t that make you feel inept?

Your daughter whines about the inexpensive shoes she’s forced to wear to college every day but fails to take into account the lakhs of rupees you spend on her education despite your meager salary. Isn’t that insensitive? Of course, we all must have committed such mistakes at least once in our lives, blame our adolescence and peer pressure.

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What’s important is to realize at least now the importance of gratification and nurture the future generations accordingly. Teach them to value character, not commodities.

Always aspire for a job of your dreams, not job that pays for your luxury. There’s nothing wrong with having a desire. But the expectations should be realistic. Not delusive.

Wanting something that you desire is not a crime. But wanting to own everything that you wish for at any cost is puerile.



We often don’t realize how important time is. How transient our life is. We take things for granted, especially the time we have with the people we love.

We tend to dwell more on the past, hold grudges in the present and fantasize about the future but forget to cherish the now.

We never know what future holds, then why do we fail to realize the significance of the present?

Recently, I have read a book titled, “Still Alice”, which accounts the slow deterioration that takes place in the brain of an Alzheimer’s patient and how she goes from not remembering simple words to not recognizing her husband and children. By the time, the book ended, I felt a heavy weight settle down in my heart as if wet terrycloth had been stuffed inside.

It was fear, I realized.

In retrospection, I remembered the times I’ve gone without speaking for months with my parents and sister over petty issues that seemed of great import back then. I rued the days I have shown my mean streak to my friends and ended up losing some of them. I wish I could erase the times I have spoken rudely with my folks. If given a chance, I would take back all the whacks my little sister took from me although she deserved most of them. Look, I’m being foul again and I wish I could just stop that altogether.

You know, no matter how many days I spend in repentance, I can’t undo any of my actions. Nor can I change the course they have taken. It didn’t affect any of my relations but it did leave a hole in the past, which I wish I could fill.

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Now, I feel like I have missed so much in life by ruining those few days. But in that process, I’m wrecking havoc on the present. At least now, I could make up to all those unsaid I love you’s, withheld kisses, broken hearts, silent tears, hissy fits . . .

Life is shorter than we can ever imagine. And the time we have with our loved ones is even shorter because we spend half of our lives in our endeavours, which is only practical since we gotta settle down on a firm ground. But we have to make sure that at least the remaining time is devoted to spreading love.

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Absolution is the greatest gift of humankind. We must learn to forgive and embrace our loved ones, setting aside differences because we make mistakes too and a day would come when we would pine for forgiveness.

As long as we focus on the present and let the future be a surprise, we would have lived our lives to the fullest.

I have realized it after two decades of my existence and it could have been sooner. But again, I don’t want to waste my time in remorse when I could be out there bringing smiles to the faces I love more than life itself.

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Lo and behold! Here comes the end of another year. And the beginning of a new year. The passing of a winter and the dawn of a new sun.

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Here comes the time for resolutions.

This year, I want my resolutions to be a little different. I don’t want them to add to my growing list of unfulfilled undertakings.

This time I want to make vows that I can actually keep.

Not that I break promises. I give massive importance to promises and try my best to not forsake them. You see, it’s the New Year resolutions that I have trouble with. I have never acted with enough maturity in that department thanks to my extravagance.

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Let me give you a walk-through of some of the few substandard decisions my wretched brainbox made while welcoming 2017.

  1. Read 200 novels

I love to read, okay? But that doesn’t mean reading is the only thing I do. Sadly, my brain missed this vital info and vowed to devour 200 novels (Novels. Not even books. Books would have been easier because anything over ten pages can be considered a book and I would have accomplished the goal by reading my five-year-old cousin’s picture books. But I had to set myself a steady, clearly unrealistic target, right? Ugh). My whole life’s reading constitutes less than 200 books.

Have I considered setting a sensible goal like read for at least two hours every day? Pfft, not my style.

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  1. Abstain from chocolates and ice-creams.

And I was on the phone the very next second to order a chocolate ice-cream cake for New Year. Not the one to compromise.

  1. Exercise every single day.

When clearly, I’m a zombie on weekends rolling on the bed like a slug, while rest of the days I actively avoid doing anything that requires me to walk more than double-digit steps.

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An ideal objective would have been exercise for four to five days per week. Ideal what?

  1. Make fruits and vegetables part of your diet. 

I must say, this was easy because it didn’t say “raw”. Sure, I have a banana milkshake with two spoons of sugar and a dollop of cream whenever I get a chance. And obviously, the pizzas I consume are scattered with veggies. So mission accomplished.

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Maybe, I should be more specific this year.

  1. Save money.

It should’ve been, “No unnecessary shopping this year despite all the tempting discounts.”

“Save money” is too vague. Of course, I could save money by fanning myself with a newspaper instead of switching on the air conditioner. I can get a zero watt bulb as a substitute to the fluorescent tube.

Now, where’s that store which advertised a 30% discount on all clothing products?

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These are just a few resolutions (among many) I’ve made and failed in 2017. I hope my brain has matured enough to realize that I need to either start the next year with zero expectations or make decisions rationally.

I would like to share some of my “pragmatic” thoughts I’ve reserved for the 31st of December, with my readers.

The coming year, let’s vow to lead a healthy lifestyle by eating nutritiously and following a set exercise routine.

Let’s make time to build our knowledge by reading the newspaper every day.

Let’s strive harder to achieve our personal and professional goals.

Let’s be kinder to the society and ourselves.

Let’s suppress the pessimist in us and give way to positivity.

Let’s not give up no matter how many years pass by without the desired outcome. Your time will come. If not now, then tomorrow. You never know.

Although each year brings with it the dread of the fleeting time, reminder of the ticking clock, signs of aging bodies and, distress of the lapsed moments; it also gives us the promise of hope, fresh opportunities, new people, stronger aspirations and, second chances.

I hope every one of you will only get to see the best of the coming year.


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Ah, colleagues. They can make a real difference in our lives especially since we spend a great deal of waking hours with them.

Let’s take a look at the types of comrades we surround ourselves with.

  1. The nose-diggers:

These people amuse me, besides the obvious disgust factor. Allow me to get straight to the subject in question.

So, a presentation was going on and the hall was palled in pin-drop silence. Either the people were listening like their whole careers depended on it or were sleeping like they didn’t care. I, of course, chose the latter and shrank into my chair in order to snatch forty winks. As I rested my elbow on the arm of the chair, I felt another elbow prodding me lightly. When I turned to look, there was this girl, whom I recognized to be one of my teammate’s friends, devoting all her focus towards one task and that was to find the hidden treasure inside her nostrils.

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The force with which she excavated the shallow depths of her nose scared me. Her whole face scrunched up in the effort. And when she hit the jackpot, her finger slowly came out of the orifice, attached to a long thread of snot at the fingertip. She wiped it on her dupatta, all the while holding on to the beloved booger for dear life and then with Zen-like concentration aimed it at the wall. With one swift flick, she released the object that instead of catapulting six feet over to the wall, stuck to the chair in front of me, barely missing my knee.

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That was when I lost control over my actions and the gag reflex kicked in, forcing me to flee the spot, sending everyone there into a flurry of worry.

Excuse me for all the gory details but this needs to be said. There are some activities that are best done in private and nose digging is one of them.

  1. The know-it-all:

Wow! These people aggravate me to no end because all they do is bring down your brainpower and elevate your temper.

Yet, you can’t do anything about it because of the damn rules, and end up with a herculean task in hand, i.e. struggling to simmer down the raging volcano bubbling inside the pit of your stomach.

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Let me relate an incident to delineate this category of people.

‘Bungee jumping is so passé. Have you guys tried bungee ejection?’ I asked my teammates as we sat for lunch, chitchatting about adventure sports.

The erudite girl seated behind me tapped on my shoulder and said, ‘Um, I think it’s spelled bungee as in blingy.’

I wanted to laugh. But I never mock follies. Instead, I try to offer what I know and contribute to their intelligence quotient. So long as they are willing to accept it. But not the Miss Smarty-Pants.

‘I think you’re mistaken. My pronunciation is accurate,’ I said.

‘Oh no. It is bungee. Don’t spell it the way you did now. People will mock you,’ she giggled and her cohorts followed suit because they didn’t know any better.

I shook my head and chuckled mostly out of sympathy because I was going to put a damper on her intellectual over-confidence.

I opened the dictionary application on my mobile, typed the word in the search box, increased the volume to its full capacity and pressed the sound icon that plays the pronunciation of the word.


It said in a loud, clear, unmistakable tone.

The table went silent for a minute and the girls looked at each other unsure of how to react. Then as if a switch had been flipped on, they burst into laughter.

The dummy of my colleague held my hand as if in pity and said, ‘Oh, Shilpa. You rely on these applications to learn English? That explains. It’s spelled as bungee. Like buggy, eggy, groggy . . .’

And piggy. Which you are. I wanted to say. But I didn’t. I simply stared at her speechless. She just said that the dictionary was wrong. She just claimed that Oxford and Webster were wrong. I gave up. I threw up my hands and dissolved into an exasperated laughter as they watched cluelessly.

I suddenly began to fear the safety of my brain amidst those wackos. But I didn’t realize then that it was going to be the first of many more mindscrews.

  1. Braggart:

If you want to test your endurance, talk to a braggart. If you want to have a good laugh with your friends at the expense of a temporary joker, talk to a braggart. But if you are looking to boost your ego, then stay away from these rotters because they make you feel like shit.

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It’s okay to boast once in a while, you know, it makes you feel good and serves as a recap of your achievements. But it gets ugly when you cross the line and blow your trumpet like a daily concerto. Trust me, it doesn’t serve the purpose. In fact, it will have the reverse effect and your peeps will resent you not out of jealousy but out of irritation.

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‘I’ll text you the syllabus. What’s your phone number?’

‘Well, I got 96% in engineering.’

‘Ugh, I hate these equations. What was your favourite subject in engineering?’

‘Well, all subjects are my favourites because I got 96% in engineering. Tee-hee!’

‘I love your outfit. Where did you get it?’

‘I got this at a shop.’ Wait for it. ‘It was while holding this very outfit, I received a call saying that they tallied the averages and I was the university topper.’ Just wait for it. ‘96% in engineering.’

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Just so you know, I ain’t kidding.

Why do I always tend to attract weirdos?

  1. Flirt:

Oh, the classic flirts. There’s at least one in each group/team and I’ll be talking about guy flirts for obvious reasons.

You know the thing about flirts is they either sweep you off your feet with their chivalry or creep you out with their excessive flattery.

Let us leave the former out of the picture since they are no harm to the society. The latter though cause mental stress by embarrassing you in public.

Like complimenting your nail shape and colour. Freak.

Noticing that you’ve got your eyebrows done and blathering about how shapely they are. Sick.

Smelling your hair brazenly and asking what shampoo you use. Run!

  1. The green-eyed monster:

These are the dangerous lot. They are toxic. One must avoid them at all costs and even try to hide from the person who falls into this category. Because once the fiend fixes its sights on you, it becomes hard to escape. You’ll become a prey and even if you manage to get away, it’ll chase you till the ends of the earth until you move away from its focus.


When I was working, there used to be a girl who happened to join my team to work on a project.

First, she targeted the healthy lifestyle I had adopted recently by making fun of my food choices.

‘Is that flatbread? Ugh, are you even human? Leave it and have this pizza,’ she used to provoke me.

‘Why do you exercise every single day? You’re paying too much attention to all these formulas. Live freely. You’re still so young.’

I started feeling uneasy because of her bad pieces of advice and feckless habits that she was trying to make me incorporate.

After a lot more red flags, I had decided to keep away from her. But then things started to get ugly. Given her close association with my team lead, she contaminated his mind enough to let me go.

Although this came as a rude shock to me, I was also extremely relieved to be finally free from her stranglehold. I wasn’t the monster’s target anymore. The evil that had latched on to me had unwittingly extricated itself. And it’s on the prowl for a new gull.


One morning I woke up to the pesky sound of the doorbell. Usually, I don’t get to hear it much often—just once per day when my husband returns from work or occasionally (twice a week) when I order a box of Ferrero Rocher (which I devour within three days) from the departmental store conveniently located a few steps past our apartment building—thanks to my residence in a foreign country. So, this sudden shrill racket at an unusual time startled me, almost tricking me into believing that it could be a dream. Or a nightmare.

When I opened the door, a bright smile greeted me. Yes, a smile, because I literally couldn’t see the face amidst the teeth. When the grin subsided, I recognized the owner of the visage. My penny-pinching uncle, who is so far up our family tree that he wouldn’t be visible even if I searched through the branches one by one.

Two days back, I received a call from my mother saying that he would be temporarily shifting to Qatar, minus his family, and asked me to call him over the weekend just to be polite. But looks like someone dropped him my address instead of a phone number.

Honestly, I wasn’t happy to see him. I mean who would be happy to receive a guest at eight in the morning, the hour at which even your husband wouldn’t dare to stir you awake?


It’s okay. He’s here on his way to work. Mom might’ve missed out on an important piece of detail—that she gave my freaking address to a man, whom I have known only from an old photograph of an ancient get-together and the new one she whatsapped for reference. But it’s okay. Not a big deal.

I shook my head to ward off the residual languor and invited Uncle in. We exchanged pleasantries. We exchanged awkward looks. Then we exchanged apologies. Me for not calling him after he landed; he for not informing me before dropping at my place like a thunderclap.

He stayed for breakfast. Predictably. He returned after work in the evening alongside my husband, sharing his cab ride. As expected. Annoyed us with some irrelevant and silly anecdotes. Embarrassingly. Stayed for dinner. Unanticipated. Returned the next day. To my horror.

He kept bouncing back to our place persistently like a boomerang and we could do nothing but accept him, although my warm welcome smile receded with each passing day.


Among our relatives, he had a name for being a miser. He’s a reputed freeloader who would stop at anything to retrench even if it’s a single buck. I concluded that he was trying to save money through meals and got entertainment at our cost by tagging along to malls and picnics during the weekends, leaving us no room for privacy.

Although it had been a challenging few months, the whole thing introduced me to a new perspective on life and I’m going to get a little philosophical here.


Just like an unwanted, troublesome guest, problems knock on our doors when we least expect them. As long as we face them headlong, without fear, a solution will always show up. If we don’t, then they would just keep coming back.

Sure, in my case, the “problem” vanished after three months. But it won’t always be the case. That’s when we have to develop shatterproof resolve and wear it like a body armour before getting down to engage in a battle. The longer we fight, the shorter the distance between you and victory would get.

In order to drive the unwanted guest away, we first need to dispel the fear and uncertainty from their comfortable abodes of our minds.

Back to my undear moocher of an uncle, who, after three months, has left the country with three Tupperware boxes (mine) containing three different varieties of curries (cooked by me) packed to last for at least three days.

Let’s just say each of the dishes missed out on some key ingredients that would keep him off from leeching for a while.




When I say, ‘Best Day Ever’, I’m talking about the novel I have recently read, which deals with the subject of narcissism.


We all have a Narcissus wandering the depths of our minds searching for a way out. Sometimes, he manages to materialize but most of us are good at repressing him, thereby preventing the dolt from taking us over.

But if and when the good old Narcissus asserts control over our body and mind, then it would be a recipe for disaster.

So in the book I read, the story is told from the point of view of a narcissist named Paul (why are the bad guys always named Paul?), thinks he’s the best and he has it all—looks, job, money, women, everything. In reality, Paul is a pot-bellied forty-something guy, who loses his job, cheats on his wife and hasn’t a single penny in his bank account.

Basically, he’s a megalomaniacal loser with psychopathic tendencies.

He has the balls to presume that his wife would leave him a love note before leaving him for good, despite discovering his plot to murder her. (Oops, a spoiler!)

Laughable, disgusting, and appalling, right?

Naturally, he loses everything in the end and shifts to another city in search of another prey.

This novel, besides being entertaining, had made me think. We see narcissists everywhere—at work, school, college, street, restaurant, even at home.

Even I act like one sometimes. For instance, I believe that I have better taste in movies and music than anyone else and sometimes I tend to judge people based on their choices. But that surely isn’t harmful to either party and I forget my appraisal almost as immediately as I have made it.

The point is, sometimes the self-admiration gets out of hand leading to a mental disorder called Narcissistic Personality Disorder. That’s when things start to get shoddy.

I had a friend back when I was in college. Now, I’m ashamed of my poor judgement of character. Anyway, all water under the bridge. Let me continue my story.

In the beginning, this friend of mine used to be as introversive as me, which was precisely why we got along. But as days went by, I noticed a change in her behaviour. She would start jumping like a zappy lemur, high on coke, whenever any human being passed along. It didn’t matter whether it was a classmate, senior, lecturer or even a peon. She just had to make an impression.

Then came the fresher’s party. While I was relaxed and focused on winning the frivolous games that have been organized, she displayed an air of superiority and viewed every pretty girl in disdain.

‘Look at her cheap outfit. I’m hundred percent sure she got it from the roadside thrift store,’ she would whinge, contentedly ignoring the Tommy Hilfiger logo belting the targeted girl’s waist.

‘That’s a . . .’ I begin to point out when she steers her laser eyes towards another girl, who I admit was truly a walking fashion disaster. But of course, we don’t have the right to comment because to each his own.

‘Give it a rest. Let’s enjoy the party,’ I said and tried to drag her onto the dance floor.

‘Eww, no, I’m not dancing with those people. Soon I would be crowned Miss. Fresher and if I’m seen mingling with these cheapos I might lose the title,’ she said indicating our classmates with a scrunched up nose.

At that moment, I wondered if she viewed me that way too.

‘Those “cheapos” as you call them are going to take the call on who will win,’ I said in a mocking manner.

She waved her hand in the most contemptuous way possible and said, ‘Ah, to hell with them. They have no choice but to vote for me. I have it all. Look at me!!! Are you saying I’m competing with those idiots? Come on!’

I shook my head in hopelessness and left her alone looking like a friendless dud. She didn’t seem to care given her vanity.

Obviously, she was royally snubbed and didn’t win a single title. And she lost a friend as well. But one thing remained and that’s her conceit.

She used to squirm with jealousy whenever people noticed me. She used to resent me when my friends ignored her and chatted with me. And whenever I scored even a single mark more than her, then hell hath no fury.


She was clearly suffering from a disorder that was damaging to herself and also to the people around her.

It’s easy to recognize a narcissist. A person who craves for power is a dictator. A person who is under the delusion that he is already the most powerful being on earth is a narcissist.

A narcissist loves to slight every one around him just to feel more powerful and in control. If we let him be so, it would lead to dangerous consequences that might wreak unimaginable havoc.

Expectation of a narcissist

It’s always better to be on your tod rather than have a cocky cod for company.




It happened. I was invited to a birthday party where I knew absolutely no one but the host.


For the millionth time, I have missed my sister so much that day because when we were young and tailed along with my mom to various functions, boredom was the least of our worries.

We used to fret about losing our hunger and not being able to stuff our tummies with all the food on display since we ate those five almonds mom forcefully shoved into our gullets. We used to get stressed about which outfits to wear and whether we would complement each other instead of outshining one another. And when we couldn’t spot the ice cream; we used to get into a state.



Our mouths were always working so much so that people who saw us often wondered what we talked about nonstop. Most of our talks were filled with blather but that kept us from getting bored. That also precluded us from socializing since we always isolated ourselves from the rest of the humanity and were lost in our silly little games and gossips.


Hence, I’m finding it difficult to mingle with strangers all of a sudden because I was never used to that. I had my sister.

So yesterday, when I went to the party, I thought of doing an about-turn as quickly as I had walked into the door because a) I thought I was at the wrong party owing to the fact that not one . . . and I mean not ONE looked familiar. Obviously, what was I expecting? Being welcomed by my long-lost friends? b) The hall looked like a cornucopia of kids.

First, I was invited to a kid’s birthday party. So, it’s only natural to find toddlers streaming across the stage hovering near the birthday cake like houseflies around a gobbet of jaggery.

Okay, that was a mean comparison but I couldn’t think of a better one. Anyway, as normal as it is and as much as I love kids, I couldn’t bear the overload.


Before I could escape, the father, whose wife invited me, greeted and ushered me in, scotching my only chance of getaway. He pointed to where his wife was and I followed the direction dodging past the running and screaming kids to meet her on the dais. She said her hello with a bright smile and we exchanged pleasantries before a server brought drinks. I turned to pick a glass and when I spun back again she was gone. Poof. Vanished.

I looked around and found her on the other end of the stage, welcoming more guests with the same smile and sparkle, and I stood there, awkwardness shrouding me like a blanket. I waited for her to stop by me once again so that I could stall the boredom for a minute or two. But she busied herself with arranging the table, the cake, chocolates, candies, etc. all of which were already neatly organized. Her friends too joined her and I was the only one left there, feeling purposeless and wondering why they were pretending to spruce up the already shipshape disposition.


Then I debated walking over to the chairs and finding a space to ease my tense body on, since I was of no use to the ladies, lingering like an unwanted shadow, blocking the paths of the oncoming guests.

I finished the drink, put the glass on the tray and walked towards the chairs arranged in a semi-circle. I settled on the left side and to my utter dismay, most of the guests chose to sit on the opposite side.


I was alone in the whole line of chairs and I could do nothing but stare at the now empty stage like an idiot. The large two-tier cake, with the big “ONE” digit stuck in the center, was mounted on the fragile table that looked like it could crumble under its weight. Then there was a vase holding flowers that I mistook for cupcakes and even pondered sneaking one. There was another glass vase holding colourful lollipops, which I shamelessly admit, made me drool. A large bowl contained a mix of chocolates and candies, which were shunned by the kids, for they too, like me, instantly took to the lollies. I saw them holding those shiny things with swirly designs and felt the intense urge to climb the stage and grab one for myself. They looked so soft like jelly.

Then there were the balloons the children were playing with. Occasionally, a balloon would sway in my way and the more I swatted it, the more it came floating back towards me and stopping right in front of my face, probably making me look like a giant balloon-head to the people facing me.


I wondered how many of them laughed at me—the lone unwanted girl at the party. Then I remembered that this wasn’t freaking high school. Plus, I didn’t know anyone there so how could I socialize?

My friend, who must have watched my ordeal from a distance, came and asked me to shift to the right side where most of the human beings were. She introduced me to her friends and I thought this would be my chance to mingle and looked to sit beside one of the ladies.

Well, the amicable woman already had a friend by her side and it was her handbag. That’s right. She reserved a seat for her handbag and I was left sitting beside it, thereby slimming my chances of socialization. I couldn’t really talk to an unknown person, who was four feet away with a friend circle of her own. And the damned lady didn’t even look my way. So, I concluded that she was a cold woman who enjoyed the company of herself and her stupid white tote bag.


But I was relieved nevertheless that at least I was surrounded by humans and not balloons and empty chairs.

After the cake-cutting ritual, I scooted to the dining area, and hurriedly ate to just fill my stomach and flee the spot.

Well, this whole experience had sent me on a trip down the memory lane where I didn’t have to worry about being ignored, I didn’t have to panic that my companion would ditch me for another friend, and most importantly, I didn’t have to fear parties as much as I do now.

But next time I find someone securing seats for their beloved handbags or hair scrunchies, I’m gonna tear them apart and get some more chairs to accommodate their mangled remains.


Relax! I’m talking about the objects. Sheesh! I’m not a criminal.






Amma. That’s what I call my mother and in my opinion, it’s the sweetest word in any language.

Whenever I utter the word to call my mom, especially now that we’re living in two different countries, a range of emotions swell up inside me.


There’s absolutely nothing in this world that equals a mother’s love for her child. That’s a universal fact. But we never seem to understand the magnitude of it, for a mother is often the most ignored despite the numerous quotations and proverbs indicted to extol her virtues.


I was prone to doing it as well. When she scolded me for not spending enough time with books, I viewed her with contempt. When she admonished me for not finishing my lunch at school, I rebuked. When she chided me for not cleaning up my room, I was annoyed.

But now, what I wouldn’t give to have her roam around the house ticking me off with her constant grumbles. She visits occasionally but never stays. Her memories linger though, and there isn’t a single day when I don’t reminisce about our little disagreements and arguments that usually culminated in her becoming a child and me trying to quell her ire.

She never took a break all through my childhood and cared for us like we were precious gems. Even now, she doesn’t intend to rest. She dreams of cooking my favourite dishes whenever she’s here, instead of relishing the interlude.

In retrospect, I realize that I have never been fully worthy of her immense love because I have never valued it enough. Like most kids, I have taken it for granted. She nurtured me into a self-sufficient individual while I being a difficult child, still remember the trouble I have put my parents through in the process. My sister successfully managed to pull off the goody two shoes act but sadly, I couldn’t; blame my irascibility.

(My sister stole my share of mangoes when she was ten and I was sleeping like a log. You thief!)


All right, okay, that was immature of me but the weight of watching my little one walk away with the Miss Noble title while I’m taking the blame here is too onerous and I needed to get it off my chest. Phew!

So, essentially my folks endured that immaturity and more.

I can try to atone for my mistakes although it wouldn’t amount to much because their love can never be quantified.

I want to serve them just like they did when I was a child. I want to pamper them with presents and nag them when they neglect their health. I want to love them like crazy.

Despite me living 2000 miles away from her, I still endure my mother’s protests about my disregard towards my health, and carelessness when it comes to spending money. Sometimes it’s grating. But immediately, I remember that this is what mom is all about. Who would feel responsible enough to pester me like that?

She grouches about my love for fast food and I’m miffed. But then who else would berate me for my poor dietary habits?

She raves about my photographs despite me looking like the Grinch most of the time.

She goes gaga over my hairstyle even when it resembles a porcupine’s backside.

She loves to goof around in Snapchat.

She contributes to at least 100 views for each of my blog post. So when I see the stats and the views are 100 but the visitor is 1, I instantly know that it’s my crazy darling, mom.



I cherish every single reproof, all jokes—both funny and inane, countless banters, myriad laughs together, silly accusations, ambrosial dishes and the proud moments when my friends envied the splendid beauty of my mother and called me lucky. Well, I’m lucky with or without the beauty. She’s an angel, who has come to demonstrate what a heavenly privilege being her daughter would be. It’s time to return the favour to the best of my capabilities.

A word to my Amma—because of you, I came into existence; without you, I would be inexistent.






Realize the importance of family and relations before it’s too late.

There are so many relations in our lives that we tend to forget to prioritize and end up ignoring the most important ones. Parents, siblings, spouse, friends, grandparents . . . everyone deserves a special attention—especially the ones you’re sharing your lives with.


Imagine going home to a negligent wife, who doesn’t care whether you had your lunch or not.

Wouldn’t it feel terrible when you go out alone to get groceries, don’t turn up at home until four hours later and your husband doesn’t even bother to call why you’re running late?

Think about a bullied child’s misery when the tech-savvy parents are busy fiddling with their phones instead of asking the kid how their day went.

Scary, isn’t it? But that’s the situation of our present world. We are so caught up in our own affairs that we don’t bother to take a peek into the life of the person living under the same roof.

Let me tell you a story.

Meet Tanya, a garrulous woman, who loves to talk and keep everyone around her engaged with her vivacity. Her family, which consists of her husband, C, and an adult son, J, is the complete opposite of her. In fact, they’re sometimes repelled by her volubility and take her warmth for granted.

Tanya does notice that her husband is quite talkative too but only on phone. Her son is bustling with activity too but only around his friends. She often wonders what she did wrong to be ostracized by her own family but that doesn’t urge her to retaliate because if she does, then they won’t be a family anymore.

She would strike conversations with J’s friends much to his chagrin, discusses her views on politics only to be made fun by C, expects a compliment on her new dress but receives none. Yet the smile on her face never leaves.

One day, Tanya meets with an accident and slips into a coma. Of course, C and J are worried because after all she is their family. The doctor tells them that her chances of recovery are favourable but the time it might take is indefinite.

They return home and are hit by the sudden realization that there’s no Tanya greeting them with her Cheshire cat smile and irking them with her “How was your day?” “What did your friends say about your new shirt?” “How was the food at the restaurant?” “What did you eat?” questions. It feels odd and lifeless.

They face no problem with food as they take on a cook, who makes dishes of their wish. But the food lost its magical touch lent by Tanya.

They face no problem with house cleaning as they employ a maid to scrub the house spotless. But there’s no Tanya running around the house arranging things, and dusting tables.

Without her voice echoing through the walls, the house feels like a graveyard.

Without her bright face beaming at the threshold, going home feels stale.

Without her dainty form offering to fulfill their every whim, desolation becomes their constant companion.

They set aside their duties and jobs, pack bags and decide to spend a few days with Tanya at the hospital doing her favourite thing—talking. They would fill her in with the details about their lives, which she craved before, they would hold her hand like she did whenever they were upset and assure her that she would be up and about in no time.

They promise that once she wakes up from sleep, they would treat her like a queen and would put her above all.

The moral of the story is—never ever ignore the person who loves you. Being a priority is a blessing. A gift that’s rare and should be treasured.


Your friends on your contact list can wait a minute or two for your response to their text messages. But the person sitting in front of you, hoping to catch your eye and share their day is much more important.

Those TV shows you’ve been binge watching all day, ignoring your mother, ain’t gonna vanish by tomorrow. There’s always tomorrow. And if there isn’t then what are you gonna regret more—an unwatched episode or a one-hour long colloquy with your mom?


Share with your spouse, make time for your grandparents, giggle with your sister, peeve your brother, adore your mom, worship your dad, meet your friends, play with your cousins, talk to your kids, have meals together, make memories because these are what matter over the long haul.

Realize the importance of family and relations before it’s too late.


A quick note to my readers.

My next blog post is going to be on Sunday, two days from now. You’ll find out why