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FROM THE PEN OF AN AMATEUR WRITER.

Dream….

Do you have any dreams??

Yes, I want to make it to the hockey team.

But, the road ahead is going to be very tough,

Have faith, I will make it, even if the path is rough.

I have faith in you my boy, but I cannot bear to see your tears,

Mumma, it high times that you and I overcome our fears.

I wish to wake up on one fine day,

And see you running around, happy and gay.

Don’t worry, my chair has strong wheels,

I shall chase the ball on my automobile.

 

95 words microfiction.

Prompt: Wake up

Recipe: To make the perfect Indian Woman!!

Statutory warning: Please read at your own risk. 

Time required: As much time as you want to dedicate. The more the merrier!!! But, as Rajni ji would say, MIND IT!! It might just take hell lot of time.

Please note down the key ingredients- 

10 ounce of patience, 15 ounce of obedience, 10 ounce of respect and kindness, an ounce of humility, 5 ounce of empathy, 10 cups of tolerance, 10 cups of endurance, 10 cups ‘keeping others happy’, 10 cups of sacrifice, 10 cups of strength, 10 cups of efficiency, 10 cups of emotions towards others, few ounces of love and understanding, 15cups of ‘expert at household chores,’ 20 cups of “killing my dreams,” 10 cups of adjustments, 10 cups of submissiveness, a pinch of “smile every now and then,” and a dash of fake smile and lots of modesty, a handful of cleanliness, helpfulness, economical and perseverance, lots of elegance & self control, a couple of spoons of care…..

Things not to add: (Make sure these are not within the vicinity while you are trying to create a perfect woman)

Confidence, outspokenness, extrovert-ness, a voice, emotions towards self, self-respect, ambition, pride, intelligence, wit, outgoing-ness, anger, needs & desires for herself, self respect, lust, self worth, praises, self-love, appreciations, choices, stubbornness, atrocity, prudence, wisdom, tardiness, brains, courage….

(To err, is human!!! If I have missed any then kindly let me know. I will be happy to add that to my list)

Process: 

  1. Add all the above ingredients into the mind of a girl, preferably from the day she starts understanding the mystery called ‘life.’
  2. Give the ingredients ample time to settle in her mind. (Time may vary from individual to individual)
  3. Make sure that the temperature settings are such that it creates an environment where she is forced to perceive that woman are worthless creatures meant for only household chores.
  4. Continue to do this every single day she manages to survive.
  5. Repeat the entire process until you get the desired “woman” as per as yours and your family’s need.
  6. Make sure you don’t keep any of the “Things not to add” ingredients in her vicinity or within her reach. Because, no matter how much you try, she is has an inborn capacity to imbibe each and every ingredient from “Things not to add” list, with the slightest exposure. 
  7. Make sure the proportion of ingredients is exact. If not, then be ready to bear the consequences.

Well, I’m sure that most of my readers don’t like my recipe for creating a perfect woman. But, you have all the freedom to choose the ingredients as per your requirements. 

So, please, please, please, feel free to add ingredients as per your choice. 

The result may be disastrous for  our beloved “society” but, you would succeed in creating someone who will love the fact that she is born as a woman. 

And mind you, result might just turn out to be something similar to Me, or millions of other women, who loves themselves for their imperfections, loves themselves for the choices they have made, loves themselves for understanding their self-worth, loves themselves for the accolades they have won, loves themselves for balancing their family and their job, loves themselves for just being a WOMAN. 

Am I characterless??(A true story)

I have seen her toiling day and night.

Her husband left for the heavenly above leaving behind a 2year old. She had hardly come out of bereavement when hunger knocked hard at her door. 

In laws starved her and also the little soul. You could count his little bones. They even tried sell her off. But she escaped from their evil clutches with the help of a close relative.

I have seen her toiling day and night…

A young dusky village girl who started working as a house help. It would fetch her enough to feed her little son. There were days when she had food for just one mouth. Her son ate as she filled her stomach with joy. Her son’s burp was enough to satiate her hunger.

She worked like a dog, day and night. Never did she shy away from any of the household chores. With a happy face she served as many houses as her famished body would permit. When other maids chose to take a weekly leave, she chose to work as an extra. Rain, storm, heat, political strike, what may come, she was never absent from her work.

Soon, the people understood her worth. She became a person whom all could trust. And along with that came in more money.

And she needed it all. Life was not as good as that her husband had planned for her. But with time she forced life to become bearable for her. Her son was growing in leaps and bound.

She worked, she toiled day and night.

“I want him to go to an English medium school. I’m ready to work more just to see him prosper.”

Thankfully the government smiled after 8years of repeated and tiresome visits to the court. She got the job of her deceased husband. She joined as a peon in the government office. Her hard work once again, paid her off. 

She would attend office in the morning. And work as a help in the evening. All to give a better life to her son.

Son was good. He loved his mother. But soon, our society couldn’t bear her success. They started shaming her for ignoring her son. Some even questioned her modesty. She ignored it all. Because she knew that the world will raise questions on everyone. But it doesn’t matter as long as she is not wrong.

But, good things do come to an end. Society couldn’t bear her success. Yes, now she was promoted to the post of head peon, which was too much for her neighbors to bear. Within a few years she managed to buy a house of her own on loan. Once again her chastity was questioned. 

But she ignored it…

My son loves me and he is my pride. 

But one day, she was shattered. Her own blood had the heart to question her modesty. 

She broke down. She cried. She shouted. She cried. But she went to work. 

Her teenage son was maligned by the poisonous society. A society which was too weak to see the hard earned success of a head peon. 

I still see her toiling day and night. But with a weaker heart. A heart wishing for her son to understand the pain she had taken in bringing him up. 

Hope he understands, the pain his mother had to bear. 

She was young. She was vulnerable. She had the option to remarry, but she did not. Even in the worst of times, she never caved in to all indecent proposals that kept banging on her door. 

But I cried the day when she asked me,

“Bhabi, You know me. Am I characterless? My son called me so.”

P.S. This is not a story but a reality. Why can’t the society spare a single mother? Be it a house maid or a CEO, why does the society think that in order to be successful  single woman has to lose her chastity? 

Paint my world!!

Paint my world.

“Why didn’t they allow me?”

With welled eyes he turned the pages of his old art book.

“If only they had allowed me, my world would have been so vibrant.”

The mantle-piece was screaming of his glorious past, flooded with the many accolades. Wish he had just one trophy for something he really loved.

“Painting wouldn’t feed the mouths. Study hard. Study hard.”

A beautiful family, a bungalow by the sea and a rich man’s car….but all this couldn’t paint his world.

Beautifully yours…..

Have you ever had that experience where you go dress shopping and get aawwed by dress adorning the mannequin??

And then you rush to the trial room, trying out the same outfit, expecting you to surpass the mannequin…But you end up looking not “so good.”

If you ask me, it has happened to me a zillion times. But….somehow till date this has never managed to lower down the expectations that I have from me😜. May be it didn’t look as good as it looked on the petite mannequin, may be my plump body didn’t do enough justice to the dress…but that definitely didn’t curb down my desire to look pretty in something else.

The whole world is out there to look perfect. And believe me..when you buy a dress for yourself, you feel the same. You end up buying a particular outfit because you think it looks good on you. And believe me…it does. To hell with what the world thinks. I will always be the best person to judge myself.

I may be the worst dresser in the whole wild world. But I’m totally in love with my body, with the kind of outfits I choose for myself, with the way I want to portray myself in the eyes of others.

But how many of us actually think like this? Or how many of us make others feel like this?? We are always busy judging others or struggling to stay at par or look as pretty as petite as youthful as others. And in doing so, we definitely end up making ourselves unhappy.

Does beauty have one single definition? And is that definition restricted to being tall, fair, skinny, with the perfect set of eyes and the perfect lips and hips? What about those who doesn’t have the luxury of being perfect? What about those who simply can’t resist the sight of a chocolate pastry, who visits the gym daily in order to lose a few pounds, who goes to the trial room to find the perfect evening wear? Are they not beautiful? Are they not worth admiring??

What about the dusky girl who sells vegetables in the market? She toils the whole day, be it the rains or the heat…and then saves money…goes to a shop…finds a dress within her budget…wears it…and feels like a Queen. Believe me..we all are the same. We save..we go to the market…the shops may vary…the price of the outfit may vary..the size may vary…but when you find the perfect dress for yourself…you feel the same amount of joy as that dusky vegetable seller. You may be wearing a Ritu Kumar outfit and she may be wearing something from the wholesale market..but the joy in finding the perfect outfit will be the same. The expectations of others appreciating you, will also be the same…The satisfaction will also be the same…

So, wear what makes you happy…don’t judge others and don’t allow others to judge you. Don’t feel threatened by the petite mannequins, cause at the end of the day, you know that you are real. 

I believe every woman has TRUE BEAUTY within her in all the roles she plays. For over 18 years across 650 plus salons across the country, Naturals has been helping the Beautiful Indian Woman get more Beautiful.

Today Naturals Salutes the Beautiful Indian Woman.

Presenting Naturals TRUE BEAUTY… http://bit.ly/naturalsOF

Hate me as much as you want….

Hate me as much as you want because I really don’t care. 

I stopped caring the moment you wanted me to change. 

I asked…Why can’t you accept me the way I am? I want to be me..not someone else’s because I cannot pretend to be someone else.

But I continued to live…

I stopped caring the moment you told me that “Saree should be your only attire.”

I asked…why only saree? Why not only jeans or short skirt? No matter what I wear..It will be the same “Me”

But I continued to drape the 9meters….

I stopped caring the moment you told me,

“You are the pride of our family, and our pride lies in your ghoonghat.”

I asked….Why can’t your pride lie on my career or my accolades or my achievements??

But I continued to watch my dreams getting crushed…

I stopped caring the moment you told me, “Start eating spicy food because we hate the bland ones.”

I asked…Can’t we add a little less spice so that we all can eat happily? 

But I continued to cry while eating…

I stopped caring the moment you told me, “The girls in our family don’t go out to work.”

I asked….Why? Why can’t the girls work? Their parents have spent somewhat equal amount of energy and money on their education. And I also had put in equal effort on my education as your son.

But I continued to shove my degrees into the old trunk….

I stopped caring the moment you told me, “Be home by 7pm. Otherwise your father in law will get angry. Acche ghar ki betiyan raat ko der se nahi aati.” 

I asked…But, how can your sons enjoy late night parties? Ain’t they also the part of the family’s pride?

But I continued to follow the clock….

I stopped caring the moment you told me, “Please adjust…I love you na…please adjust for my sake.” 

I asked….what about me? I love you too..Why can’t you adjust to my ways?

But I continued to love you the way you are…

I stopped caring the moment you told me women are inferior to men.

I asked….Can a single man in your family deliver a child? Can a single man in your family multitask like a woman??

But by now I was fully aware of your miserable mind….

I stopped caring the moment you bribed the doctor to know the gender of the life growing inside me.

That day…I was speechless….because the last straw was finally drawn.

I stopped caring the moment you decided to abort the girl growing inside me.

That day..I didn’t ask..I just left that forlorn place in search of a little peace, a little compassion, a little humility, a little equality. 

That day I understood, not everyone likes me… but not everyone matters. But the life growing inside me is the only thing that really matters. And that life will be given it’s full chance to live.

Hate me as much as you want because now I have learnt to live my life on my terms and conditions.

My first job interview… it still haunts me…

It was June 2006. I had just appeared for last semester exams of MBA. And all I wished for at that time, was a job near my home town. And the best option for me was to find a job in Kolkata. 

But finding a job as per your choice is tougher than one may presume. But by gods grace, I managed to get an interview in one reputed organisation. 

The Vice President HR was very impressed with my resume. So he scheduled an interview with the CEO(the owner) of the company. My happiness had no bounds. Getting an interview call from a reputed company, that too in Kolkata.. was definitely nothing less to a miracle.

The interview was scheduled at 6 o clock in the evening. Since it was scheduled at the late hours, my uncle decided to join me. And I still thank my stars that he joined me. 

The office was almost empty. The VP-HR was present. He greeted me. I waited there for sometime. And then I was called for the interview. I nervously knocked at the door of the CEO. 

On entering I saw an elderly gentleman man in his mid fifties sitting there with my resume. He was the only one in the room. And being there all alone did freak me out a bit. To tell you the truth I was dead scared from inside. But somehow seeing an elderly gentleman in front of me, made me feel a bit secure. But pretty soon the same elderly gentleman started making me uncomfortable. 

The interview started on a good note. I answered almost all his queries. But after a few questions, I could pretty well guess where the interview was leading to.

Here’s a recollection of that horrible interview.

“How comfortable are you with traveling?”

“Well, to be frank, I’m not at all comfortable with traveling. I would prefer a desk job.”

“But, you will be joining as an HR executive, it will require regular travel at odd hours. You might have to travel even at short notice at wee hours.”

I sat there fumbling for an appropriate answer, because, I truly didn’t want to ruin this opportunity. 

“Your job location would be in Odisha. You will be reporting directly to me.”

“But sir, it was specifically mentioned to me that the job would be in Kolkata.”

“That will take sometime. Initially you will be reporting to me.”

“Monalisa, do you drink?”

“No sir.. I don’t”

“But, your job will require occasional drinking and partying. We regularly have parties, which you will have to attend. It may be late night parties too.”

Being a very straightforward person, I stoically replied, “No sir, I don’t drink. And I won’t drink.”

“Let me tell you something about me.”

“Well, I’m a party lover. Me and my wife share a very open relationship. She is aware of my affairs and I’m of hers. Even my son approves of the relationship we share with each other as well as others. I hope you understand what I actually mean…”

Fear had left me blatantly speechless after this conversation. All I wanted to do was to rush out of the interview room. I was clueless as to what to answer. 

For a moment I thought that what will I do, if he tries to molest me? How will I escape? The room was closed. Not even a single glass window for others to see. My only assurance was my uncle, who was sitting outside. I knew that if I’m too late he will definitely do the needful. 

Soon there was a knock on the door. A beautiful lady walked in. She was adorable. A sigh of relief for me. She looked at me. I looked at her. I could read her eyes. And what I read was not something to be proud of. She offered us a cup of coffee, which I rejected. I couldn’t trust this man anymore. The so called erudite was nothing less than an abuser. His wily smile made me uncomfortable. 

“You decide and let me know. The profile is good. Exposure is good. If you agree then you can join within one week.”

The pretty secretary looked at me. I knew what I had to do.

“I will surely let you know. Let me talk to my family first.”

I knew very well that even for a million dollars I wouldn’t join this company. But, I couldn’t muster the courage to tell that right in front of him. All I wanted to do was to go out. Run to my uncle.

Once I came out of that dreadful room, I thanked God for saving me from such a monster.

I narrated the whole incident to my uncle. He told me to get the hell out of there. But this interview left me shattered. This was my first job interview and it turned out to be a nightmare. 

Next day, I got a call from the beautiful secretary. I told her, I’m not interested. I guess she understood the reason behind the rejection. 

After a month of struggle I finally found a job and workplace as per my wish. But, Every time I recall this interview, I get goosebumps. It took me a few months to overcome the trauma. 

Such indecent proposals are not uncommon in a workplace. Many women struggle to fight these odds and work in a place with their dignity well preserved. Many may give in due to pressure. 

There should be some laws about such indecent interviews. This is also a form of harassment. Another means of abuse. 

P.S. Do you think that the interview sessions should be recorded so that the interviewer dares not to ask any indecent questions to an interviewee? Be it a man or a women? Can that be actually done??

The secret behind those sleepless nights…

Her dad always told her, “you will be facing lots of competition in life. Life is full of challenges… how you deal with them makes life different.”

Wish someone told her that being married could also be challenging at times.. especially when the new mother in her life wanted to compete with her for her son. 

But it was one competition she chose to lose, in order to win everyone’s heart.. but unknowingly losing her own….

But did it make her life better?? She found her answer in the sleepless nights…

Breastfeeding is a household chore” remarks one of the biggest mall of Kolkata.

Why is there such a taboo on breastfeeding in public? Breastfeeding is perhaps the most beautiful relationship a mother shares with her kids. And it’s indeed the most beautiful scene that one can witness. But we still make breastfeeding such a hush hush affair.

Ask one mom in India who doesn’t feel insecure or embarrassed about public feeding? I felt, when I was nursing my son. I felt like a criminal hiding from the eyes of others while nursing my munchkin. I still remember, he was around five and a half months old and we had boarded a flight to reach our hometown. And I had to put in so much effort while nursing my munchkin. And I wouldn’t lie about those prying eyes on the flight. Those eyes made me feel awkward. Made me feel insecure while doing the best job in the whole wide world. 

On my visit to Dubai, I was amazed to see a breastfeeding room for the new moms. I was so relived that after nursing my son I rushed to my husband and said that “Wish we had such malls in India.” And my wish came true when we visited Mall of India in Noida. 

But, today I was shocked with the response of a very famous mall in Kolkata. 

South city mall, it’s just a 15mins drive from my place. And I have visited this mall a zillion times. Now it’s being renovated to make it up to the mark with other malls. But sadly, what needs to be renovated along with the mall infrastructure, is the mindset of the people. 

The story goes: 

A new mom, wanted a room to breastfeed her child… and this is the reply that the mall authorities offered her. 

“Breastfeeding is a household chore. So before coming to mall one should finish their household chores.”

Wow!! What a brilliant reply!!! 

Next I guess mall authorities will forbid the  new mums from entering the mall. Or may be even put up a notice that infants are not allowed to be nursed within the mall premises. Or even better.. the infants and nursing kids should control their hunger pangs because, we who claim to be one of the best malls of Kolkata cannot provide a place for them to nurse. Though we are proud to have a full floor dedicated to food lovers but not a single room for the nursing mums. Call it irony or ignorance, but fact remains that 90% of malls in India lack a nursing room. 

Time and again, new mums have been challenged. They have been stared at, harassed, criticised for nursing their kids in public. 

Breast milk is the sole reason of us surviving as a species. 

Without our mothers milk, we wouldn’t have even survived as a species. 

So how dare we question the very reason of our existence?? 

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