Manic Mondays: Road Rash

Manic Mondays: Road Rash

If you’ve been to Kolkata, you’d be pretty familiar with this restaurant chain called Arsalan. They’re kind of known for their biriyani and people actually still love them.

The owner’s son, Arsalan Parwez was involved in a car crash a couple days ago. The twenty two year old happened to be speeding in his Jaguar at around two in the morning, and it was raining, and he ran into a Mercedes that spun out of control and hit a couple of people, who were then pronounced dead when they were brought to the hospital. The others involved in the crash got away with several injuries.

BJP MP Roopa Ganguly’s son Akash was involved in a similar car crash only the day before. Thankfully, there were no casualties.

What was the outcome? Both Parwez and Akash were booked under Section 279 of the IPC (Indian Penal Code) for rash driving. The former has also been booked under sections 304, for culpable homicide, and 427, for causing damage.

Both incidents strongly point in one direction – lack of civic sense.

I’m probably going to trigger a lot of people, but here’s why I think I have a solid point. Granted, the roads were waterlogged. Visibility is always poor when it’s raining. But on the other hand, there’s a TON that the average Indian driver is unaware of. For example, most people turn on the hazard/blinkers (four indicators) while driving in the rain. Although precautionary, you are not supposed to turn them on unless the vehicle is stationary. But people turn them on even while driving slow in the rain. If visibility is so low that you have to turn on hazard, it’s better to pull over and stop then turn on the hazard.

There’s this one other thing that’s also been bothering me. If system is so fair and if everyone is equal in the eyes of the law, why was Akash booked immediately BUT why did ten hours pass before Arsalan was arrested? Is it because of their clout? Will money continue to talk till we’re all dead and gone? This is so scary.

When youngsters drive like lunatics, despite being educated enough, it makes you wonder who’s in the wrong, really? Is this a result of bad parenting? It would have made a whole lot of sense, had these guys been minors. They are not. They’re both adults, with – and I’m assuming here – driving licenses. It’s just that sometimes people end up misusing what they’ve got. Drinking and driving. Speeding. Hit and run cases, among other things.

My point is, just drive and let drive.

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#50 Word Story: Lashes.

#50 Word Story: Lashes.

She sighed as she used her credit card yet one more time.

She was seeing someone – she had to stay picture perfect.

Cursing her congenitally missing lashes, she paid a bomb at checkout. This was her life now, spending all her money on Lilly lashes.

What Would It Take For You to Stop?

What Would It Take For You to Stop?

Sometimes it bothers me. Quite a lot. People, you know? All of them wearing the country’s colors, celebrating Independence Day. Getting drunk and contributing to plastic waste. Zero awareness. Not quite giving a damn to anything that’s happening in the country. Bashing other people, without actively doing something about contributing to the country.

What are we, really? Are we part of incredible India? Yes, India is incredible. Or at least, it used to be. But now? We’re more of “sin”credible.

The first thing you’d see if you were to ever read the paper would be news of some rape. Some murder. Some bribery. Some fight. In a country where the front page news – stuff that people wake up to – is chock filled with negativity, what else would you expect? Are we even independent? No. Women are at risk everyday. Babies.

I read about this security guard that raped five year olds at the school he worked for. People often ask me why I won’t think about having children right away, and this is precisely why I won’t. If your child’s school cannot provide security, where is your child safe, indeed? I read about this man that pawned away his wife and when he lost the gamble, allowed other men to gang rape the woman. India holds the title of the rape capital of the world, and I’m so ashamed.

A twenty five year old kidnapped a sleeping nine month old baby girl and sexually molested her, and the girl was brought dead to hospital. This guy is a millennial. And it’s scary to see that a some millennials are screwed in this country.

What would it take for people in India to stop being this way? When would this behavior stop!? And if it doesn’t stop, it’s going to get alarming. The path to our own self-inflicted destruction, it’s burning ominously bright.

Little Miss Bridey

Little Miss Bridey

She’s getting married, to the love of her life. The parents-in-law are lovely, the guy divine.

She’s the only child, apparently spoiled rotten. To outside world, she seems happy as she gets ready for the wedding in autumn.

But deep down, on the inside, she’s empty. Her soul, her feelings, her heart is as sad as it could be.

She wanted a small wedding, the guest list keeps getting longer. She feels her depression growing stronger.

Past mistakes and past problems, they keep her awake at night. She tries to fight it, to resist the darkness with all her might.

But does any of that ever work? No way. Life’s never been unfair to her, she’s never had one single good day.

People assume she’s happy, that her father’s loaded. They don’t know when their words turned explosive.

She can’t take it anymore and she writes a note. They find her next morning, with the goodbye in blood on the floor that she wrote.

#WCW: RIP Sushma Swaraj and Toni Morrison

#WCW: RIP Sushma Swaraj and Toni Morrison

“Some people are so loved, and so respected, that when they leave, they leave behind a huge emotional void in everyone’s hearts.”

We lost Sushma Swaraj yesterday. She was sixty seven, and died of cardiac arrest.

She was a served as the Minster of External Affairs in the first Narendra Modi government. She was also the second woman ever to hold the position, after India Gandhi. Ms. Swaraj got into politics pretty early in her life and she was an extraordinary person, who never failed to communicate and reach out to people in distress. As a senior leader with Bharatiya Janata Party, she stood above politics and was called “India’s best-loved politician” by the Wall Street Journal.

And no wonder, since she was born on Valentine’s Day, in 1953. Ms. Swaraj was born to spread love. It’s disheartening that good people always leave so soon. The whole country is in mourning, and Twitter is flooded with thoughtful tweets. She was the people’s politician, who actually did something for the country, with no hidden agendas.

American author Toni Morrison passed away on August 5th. She was eighty-eight. Perhaps best known for her quotes on writing, in addition to Beloved, which fetched her the Pulitzer and American Book Award.

I was in high school when I read my first Toni Morrison book, Love. It tells the story of Bill Cosey, a charming but very much dead hotel owner. And about the people around him, all affected by his life, even long after he’s gone. Morrison used split narrative and kept jumping back and forth throughout the story, not fully unveiling the plot until the end. This was my first introduction to Morrison’s non-linear style of writing, a style that tells the story as if it were told from human memory, with time lapses and skewed chronological order, and I was fascinated. I went on to read a couple others, too. (Beloved follows a similar story-telling pattern, in case you were wondering.)

There’s a particular Morrison quote that I read years ago and it’s one of my favorites:

You were brilliant, Toni Morrison.

Have you guys ever read any of Toni Morrison’s works?

It’s Okay.

It’s Okay.

It’s strange to see how often

You end up adjusting to things

You keep shut and never complain

You bow down, you take the hits.

Those hits, sometimes they die

But sometimes they don’t

Sometimes they only amplify

And you still take it all.

I remember being bullied like crazy

As if it were wrong to belong to my community

Like it were something I should be hiding

As if being Bengali was almost a sin.

In a political world

Where everyone stands divided, yet united

Where they say, “You’re wrong, girl,”

And they make you feel sick of being yourself.

You’ve gotta tell yourself

That it’s okay

You’re not wrong for being born

Not being wrong for born a certain way.

50 Word Story: House-Plant

50 Word Story: House-Plant

She runs into her ex at the mall. She’s buying new luggage. It’s awkward but they say hi anyway.

“That’s some fancy stuff! Traveling somewhere?”

“We’re starting a travel blog!”

“So the workaholic finally got married to the house-plant, woo!”

He walks away, breaking her all over again.

Callie On A Roll

Callie On A Roll

Callie was nineteen years old, and lived with her stepmother Joan, who had two daughters. Her father had passed away when she was only nine, a year after he’d married Joan. Things took a turn for the worse, and Callie ended up being the one that did all the chores, essentially becoming the maid of the house.

Callie was also a scholarship student, that was how she got into the same college as her step-sisters. Although she was way more intelligent than the other two, they never hesitated to poke fun at her. She took it in her stride and never complained, continuing to excel in school. Callie was well-loved by her teachers who were always impressed by her demeanor and how hardworking she was.

This continued for a while, with her balancing school and household chores.

But Callie, like every little girl out there, had grown up with a dream. She had a passion for music, and she could sing like an angel. She and her dad would often jam together before he died but with him gone, Joan forbade any sort of singing or music in the house.

“It reminds me too much of Karl,” Joan would say.

Which meant Callie could never sing or play the guitar with Joan or her daughters around. Callie had a guitar, passed down from her late father, the only thing she had left that reminded her of him. Everything else had been taken away from her and she held on to his Gibson like it were priceless. And it was. She would often play Summer of 69, by Bryan Adams, when her step-mother and step-sisters weren’t around. Callie had become really good at it. This hiding and practicing. Eventually she taught herself to play more songs and she would sometimes sing in the backyard when she thought she was alone.

One day on her way back from college, Callie noticed a billboard announcing an audition for a reality TV show. It was called The Right Chord, and it promised a fat check to the winner, along with an exclusive contract with one of the biggest record companies in the country. She was intrigued. She wanted to participate. Callie wanted to go to the audition and win and get out of her miserable life. The audition was on the very next day, a Saturday.

Joan got wind of the situation.

And as evil as she was, she set chores for Callie to complete, right on the day of the audition. After all, the girl wasn’t her own flesh and blood, anyway. Callie couldn’t say a word because saying anything would mean giving away the whole thing, and she didn’t want Joan to know. So she cleaned windows, tears running down her face, while Joan went to the grocery store, with a stern warning that she better get the house clean before lunch.

Five minutes after the she left, the doorbell rang.

Callie went to answer and saw Mrs. H, her apparently snobbish neighbor, who seemed to be in a rush, on the porch. Everyone said Mrs. H was a stuck up old lady who liked to keep to herself and waste her millions on her dogs.

She handed Callie a package.

“What are you waiting for, girl? Get that guitar, we’re going to that audition, so you better hurry. Dear God I hope that dress fits and those shoes fit. We can deal with your ma later!”

Callie was dumbstruck.

“T-thank you, Mrs. H!”

Callie gave the woman a hug and said thank you again and ran upstairs to change. Mrs. H owned a rather fast sports car, and the pair actually made it in time. Callie had a successful audition, and went on to do great things. She was a modern day Cinderella. The goal she had was not a prince, but freedom.

This goes to show that fairy godmothers do exist.

How Netizens Normalize Backlash

How Netizens Normalize Backlash

*TRIGGER ALERT*

The first time that I’d ever been told I was taking up too much space, I was a thirteen-year-old obese teenager. The obesity, I now understand, had been mostly self-induced. But did I deserve to be body-shamed for it? No.

Did the body-shaming stop? Also, no. It came from everywhere: relatives, friends, my then stick-thin geography teacher. Notice the emphasis on the “then”, because now, over a decade later, he is diabetic and chain-smoking to school while trying to hide those newly acquired chins. No hate, Mr. S, you do you. If you are happy, I hope nothing takes away from that.

But did I do something about the body-shaming? I did. I took it constructively and changed my awful diet. I am assuming Falguni Peacock would be proud and aglow with joy somewhere.

What’s the deal with Ms. Peacock, you ask? Well, take a look at this particular article here.

I have to be honest, I am sligtly conflicted here. This could potentially get me into trouble, but I am happy Ms. Peacock did not blatantly tell her brides to go on and lose weight, she only said they could if they wanted to. I have been there, and I know that being told to lose weight on the face is one of the curellest things you could tell someone. But then again people get triggered by so little these days, and the Internet ends up making everything a big deal. All the time. Also, I have said this before, people tend to harbor herd mentality that would probably make the Roman Mob, were it alive today, cringe like crazy. Just a few weeks back, designer Sabyasachi came under fire for talking about Tagore’s famous anthology, Monihara, where Monimala, one of the important characters, is obsessed with her own vanity and jewels. Sabyasachi posted something along the lines of, “A woman who is overdressed is empty on the inside,’ on his social media, and ended up facing a major backlash.

He had to issue a written apology on Instagram.

And just a couple days back, he released photos of what he calls Charbagh, his winter 2019 bridal collection on Instagram. The collection seems to be super inclusive, featuring models with varying body types, and he redeemed himself in the eyes of the public. But the Internet by then already had a new candidate to hate – Ms. Peacock. I can only draw one single solitary conclusion from this, that no matter what you do, or say, or post or talk about, or endorse and love – there will always be a bunch of netizens with serious mob mentality issues, many of them exhibiting borderline feminazi behavior, that will always find fresh targets to lash out at.

So what do you do about it?

You do you. If you’ve got nothing nice to say, say nothing. If you cannot comment constructively, don’t do it. Don’t endorse pile-on hatred. Or fall prey to herd mentality. Just be happy, healthy and slay. In your very own lane.

Happy weekend, my people. Don’t be a troll.

The Cycle.

The Cycle.

She gets severe bouts of dysmenorrhea on the fourteenth of almost every month of the year. Sometimes her moon, as she almost lovingly calls her period, gets a little late; sometimes it arrives early. She doesn’t mind, because she lives by herself in a shoebox apartment in some obscure part of the city. For now. And her boyfriend is busy working hard because he said he wanted to give her a good life. So she doesn’t mind.

After all, how would you even mind, when you’re not in your senses anymore?

It started some time back in the summer. She’d gone to sleep, clutching at her tummy, groggy from an intentional overdose of Mefenamic Acid. The last thing she remembered, as she blacked out, was the fact that she was contemplating getting a hysterectomy done.

She didn’t remember anything afterwards.

Present day:

A shadowy figure follows him as he exits work. He’s distracted by a text from his new girlfriend and he’s typing away feverishly. He doesn’t see it coming. He feels a sharp pain, and then the world goes black.

The shadowy figure removes its hood and stuffs the body into a body bag. She picks up the bag with superhuman strength and swings it over her left shoulder. It’s the last day of her July moon, and there’s an immense rush going through her body. She must act quickly. She no longer feels her dysmenorrhea, she’s conquered it. She’s also really good at being an anesthesiologist. Knocking people out is right up her alley. She picks up his phone next and turns it off. It’s a good thing the whole thing’s just happened in a blind spot where no CCTV cameras could sense it.

She takes him to her car, with him still in a body bag, and proceeds to stuff him into the trunk. When she’s home, she retrieves the bag, takes him to her room, removes his belongings and proceeds to pour acid all over his unconscious body. She fishes through the bag, finds a pack of cigarettes and a woman’s undies. Not only was he cheating on her, he was also cheating on the other woman. With some other woman.

She lights up a cigarette and smirks as his body corrodes on the floor.

The next morning, she wakes up to a very strong odor in her apartment.

Might have fallen asleep funny last night, she tells asleep, as she rubs her left shoulder. In the middle of the floor, there’s an almost completely corroded human form, and she has no idea how it’s gotten there.

Horrified and disgusted, she makes her way to the kitchen table. There’s a wallet lying on the counter top. With shaking fingers she looks through it, and with a shock realizes it’s the guy she met over the summer she last experienced dysmenorrhea. The same guy that had promised her a good life. Her boyfriend of four months.

I cannot believe you killed him Moon, she says, and it’s the last thing she says before she takes a knife to her own wrists, killing herself and her alter ego in the process. Dissociative personality disorder sometimes just wins in the end.

After all, isn’t it better to die with the one you love, than rot in a jail cell, all by yourself?