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Why You Need The AAP To Do Well

By Sahil Mehta


The Election Commission has just announced the dates for the assembly elections in 5 states. Scheduled to be conducted from mid-November to early December, these elections will serve as an appetizer to gauge the mood of the nation before the impending General Elections. 


Rajasthan, Mizoram, Chattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh are all set to go to polls. Chattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh should see the BJP successfully retain power. Shivraj Singh Chauhan and Raman Singh have both done reasonable well for their states.

Rajasthan has historically never voted for the party in power. We (Rajasthanis) have alternated parties for at least the last two decades. And while a few of  my friends currently living in Jaipur tell me that Ashok Gehlot has done some real vote-winning work by giving everything for free to the poor (Medicines, education, etc. etc.) I 'm still going for a BJP win.

Mizoram is all but a given win for the Congress with no real national party having much presence there.

There, then, remains the intriguing question about the assembly elections in Delhi. Sheila Dixit is the incumbent for the last 15 years, and the opinion, from the few Delhi people I know, is that she will remain as such for 5 more years. 


I for one do not believe a Congress sweep is hardly a given this time around. There has been some development in Delhi in terms of infrastructure. However the rising rate of crime against women (which is not really in the hands of the Delhi government, since Delhi police is not accountable to the CM), the rising electricity prices, a vicious opposition, and charges of graft against Mrs. Dixit all set the stage for a tumultuous election!

Throw into the mix a social activist turned politician by the name of Arvind Kejriwal, and a party that calls itself the Aam Aadmi Party, and we in the words of the revered Ravi Shastri, "are in for a firecracker of a contest"!
To be perfectly honest, the BJP hasn't done much in these last 4 years or so to make Mrs. Dixit uncomfortable! Arvind Kejriwal and the AAP have taken the task on themselves. And they have made a nuisance out of themselves with such gusto! They have been in your face, attacking both the state and central ruling parties at the slightest whiff of a scandal.

Of course when you make too much noise, some people are bound to get pissed off. The question then is whether they made the right noises in the right places!

While only time will tell us that, here are a few reasons that you should hope that they do well! 

5. For the very first time, or at least first time in a long long time, there is a bunch of people who've come together to try and clean up our political system. While these are definitely not aam aadmis, coming from various spheres of social activism, they are as close to being educated middle class, (people like you and me) as politicians have ever been! They could be a beacon for hope for a generation which has repeatedly been told that you are the future and then shunted to the side!
 
4. The AAP is a well intention-ed party, fielding candidates on the basis of a procedure which tries to reward merit. They're trying to break the politics of identity and community. All those who complain about same caste marriage phenomenon should at least be thankful to these people. Think about it!

3. It can't get any worse! I mean come on, given how things have been going in the last few years, it is improbable that these people will do worse than our current or past leaders. Your worst case would be that things continue the way they have been over the last few years, which is to say getting worse rapidly! And frankly while everything they say may not be practical or sensible, some of the policies and issues the AAP talks about really do make sense. And we really could do with a less corrupt system!
2. They have balls! For Arvind Kejriwal to come out and say that he will contest in the constituency from which Sheila Dixit stands is bold, considering the fact that he will likely get crucified! But you have to appreciate the courage. What India needs today is men/women of steel who are willing to do things the right way rather than the easy way!  
1. Because even a decent result for the the AAP will strike fear into the hearts of other political parties and just might make them clean up their act a bit. There's nothing a politician loves more than the power that comes with his seat. If you take it away, he might actually take notice of public sentiment. 

It would be naive to think that the AAP will win the assembly elections in Delhi. But if they can snatch even 10-15 seats in the 70 seat legislative, it would be a real morale booster for us disparate people looking for hope!

A lot of people really don't like Kejriwal and hence the party. I heard him being called a lot of nasty things. There's a good chance you might be one of them. But what you need to realize is that there are more people than Kejriwal in this adventure.

And when you're caught between the devil and the deep sea, there are no right choices. The AAP is as good a bet as any if you want change!

I'm praying for a miracle in Delhi. May be you should too! 

If You Weren’t Afraid

By Priya Singh

I came across this line while reading the book ‘Lean In: Women, Work, and The Will to Lead’. It says:

‘So please ask yourself: What would I do if I weren’t afraid? And then go do it.’

While it may mean different things to different people, it gives a common message to all.
“Confront your fears”.

Now the real deal: What would you do if you weren’t afraid?

I was reading about this on a Q&A site and could find all kind of answers, from falling off a big cliff somewhere, to selling everything.

For someone, it may mean sleeping alone at night, taking up swimming lessons, voicing yourself at your workplace, eating a complete meal with your parents, being quite for an entire hour, etc. etc.

It might sound silly but it means something entirely different to me.

What would I do if I weren’t afraid? Well, I’ll go on a road trip all alone to the most haunted places in the world. While you may make the mistake of thinking I am afraid of haunted sites, that’s actually not the case.

Instead of the places, I am afraid of the people. I am afraid of the people judging me. I am afraid of my safety in my own land. And most of all, I am afraid of those demotivators who are lined up, waiting eagerly for one reckless act of mine.

I have discussed my crazy intentions with quite a no. of friends, and it’s disappointing to not find a single one encouraging me to go ahead. Maybe they would have been more supportive if the world was actually a safer place for a lone female traveler.

They give me suggestions to start with Thailand or Bangkok, but India is a definite NO. But this enrages me. After all, this is my country I am talking about. Don’t I have the right to feel safe here, irrespective of the time and the place? If this is not true, we really need to think about this and we need to think hard.

This has to change. It’s high time now.
  

"About the author"

I am an Indian female, have crossed a quarter of my life (assuming I am going to reach the maximum average age of humans without being consumed in the zombie apocalypse ) without knowing where am I heading and I have learnt the definitions of Geek and Nerd by heart.  Apart from that, I am a Software Developer by profession (Yes, I know every other person is…and I agree I am not contributing anything extraordinary to the humankind). I love to read and spend most of my salary on books (for which I have to face regular rantings from my parents). I have recently discovered that I love travelling (come on, its not like I am 50 and I just discovered I am single!) but I am still searching for some guidance  to fulfill my crazy travel ideas.

Stolen By Your Love

By Shreya Sudesh

I wonder why
I keep searching
For your face
Amongst those in the crowd.

I ponder why
I catch a hint
Of your fragrance
Amidst the throng of people.

Maybe its because of the
Times we spent
Together… separated from the
Hustle and bustle of life.

Or maybe its just
The love I still safeguard
Within the deepest chamber
Of my heart… for you.

Your essence still
Enfolds me within
Its warm and invigorating aura
Never to let go…

I only wish
I could steal you away
From God’s Isle, Heaven.
And keep you with me forever.

PS: This was a poem written as random thoughts struck me. But later, I dedicated it to my Late Grandma .

Date A Girl Who Loves Food (version 2)

Anonymous

While you wait for your plate of Chaat at your regular road side eatery, do you see a girl in front of you who’s telling the Bandi wala exactly how to make her Chaat? See the way she asks him to put in a little more Chili powder and not to put in the curd? She will almost jump when he’s about to put curd in it. You will get impatient because she’s taking a real long time doing that. And you’re hungry. You will never know what she has been up to till you taste what’s in her platter.

If you have the courage, go ahead and ask her out. After she’s done eating. Before that, she won’t realize you exist, and are talking to her. If she obliges, let her choose the place because you won’t be disappointed. If you are new to the city, and she likes you, she will probably take you to one of her favorite joints. She won’t take a look at the Menu , she knows what’s served best at that joint. If she asks you to try something, do it. You will be glad. Observe a pattern at all her favorite eateries. They won’t seem like great places where you could go to, regularly. But there’s a lot to it than what meets the eye.

She’s the kind of girl who’d make you walk a mile through by lanes on a pleasant Saturday evening to get a bowl of ice cream. Or make you drive for 40 kilo meters for a cup of Irani Tea. She’ll say it’s worth it, because the place really serves good ice cream or tea. The under lying fact that you don’t realize is, she wants to be with you during the whole time. She’s making a memory every time she takes you out to a new joint you’ve never heard of in spite of living in the same city as her since years.

She’s a peoples’ person. She has A LOT of friends, everywhere. Don’t be surprised if you’ll are eating at that road side eatery where you’ll first met, and she asks the Bandi Wala how his kids are doing. She knows every manager who has worked at her favorite restaurant. She knows their family and she addresses the waiters by their first name.  She exudes a genuine love for people and that comes from her love for food.  You don’t have to bother about reserving a table at that swank new fine dining place. An old friend of hers whom she has probably met twice has already done it for her. You will realize it’s easy to fall in love with her.

She’s not the kind who’d get into fits of arguments and fights. When you come back home and are yelling at her for no reason, she won’t say a word. She’d silently get into the kitchen and make coffee. She’ll accidentally put in more whipped cream into one of the mugs. She’ll let you have that, not because you’ve had a bad day, or she loves you. It’s because she’ll immediately label herself selfish if she doesn’t do that. She’ll take you to the terrace, wait till you finish your Coffee, and then gently ask if something went wrong at Work. You won’t remember what had happened, but will be left with pangs of guilt for having yelled at her in the first place.

Hold her hand when you are with your friends. She won’t think twice before she kisses you in front of them. It will take your boys precisely ten minutes before they start treating her like their kid sister. Don’t be worried, they will gang up against you. Play along. Know for a fact, people fall in love with her fast. Don’t let her cook while you throw a party. She will get riled up and ask you a million times if the food tastes okay. For her, every meal is a reason for a celebration. She believes Life is too short to eat bad food.

Visit her on a hot Sunday. She’ll scoop out some tasteless vanilla ice cream , put honey and roasted nuts in it while you watch 27 Dresses cuddled together. She’s happy with her bowl of vanilla with strawberry syrup. You’d be overwhelmed when she falls asleep in your arms. When she wakes up, tell her you kissed her. It will make her blush. After a while, she’ll kiss you back gingerly, only after she has stolen a spoonful of ice cream from your bowl. That’s because she knows strawberry and honey isn’t a good combination.

See how she savors a glass of water like a man in a desert? She’s thanking God for that drink of water when she closes her eyes. See that glint in her eyes when she has her chocolate. It will look like the best darn thing in the world. You will eventually fall in love with everything she loves. Oh, she has peculiar tastes when it comes to food. Have you heard of a Mars Bar Sandwich? She’ll make you one on a jobless day.

When you get serious, take her to meet your parents. You will be appalled to see how she bonds with your Mom. You will never know what they’re up to. Understand that you are the subject of their talk. She’ll find out what you like to eat and your memories as a child through teenage. Somewhere at the back of her mind, she knows all your favorite dishes. When the time’s right, on a special occasion, she will cook them for you. That smile on your face is the one she’ll never forget for the rest of her life. Oh and your Dad? He will never stop raving about those sugarless cookies she made for him.

On a dance night out, she will have the audacity to tell the bar tender to season his nuts well when she doesn’t like their taste. If she gets too impatient, she will go to the other side herself and teach him a trick or two in exchange for a cool flair trick. Dance with her. Music is another one of her passions. She will not have a care in the world when she’s dancing with you. She’ll steal a glance at the bar later during the night. More people are nibbling at the nuts, now. She is content. On a cloudy day, take her out on a drive with her favorite brand of Belgian Dark Chocolate. Make sure you drive slowly over puddles when it begins to rain. Splashing people with dirty water will only make her frown. That is the last thing you want on a day like this. Let her lick the melted chocolate off your fingers. It’ll make her giggle like a child. At that moment, you know you’ve found yourself your woman.

When you are out of town on a work trip, the number of times she says “What did you eat?” will surpass the number of times she says she loves you. If she knows the place you’re in well, she won’t hesitate to talk to local friends there and ask them to take you to some place even they didn’t know existed. She finds beauty in small things. She’ll relish her Crème Brule exactly the way she loves her Kulfi. Feel lucky when she tells you you’ll have covered all her favorite joints in the city. Wait for another surprise. She will be full of them.

Notice that she’ll take more time mixing a morsel of rice than she takes to make her hair. Don’t bother waiting up for her to feed you. You will remain hungry while she’s trying to mix the curry to perfection. If you are patient enough, you will experience bliss, all of it on your taste buds. Your girl knows exactly what you need. Food, or otherwise. Years later, you will realize the extra whipped cream in your cuppa was deliberate, every single time . With her, there are no accidents. Because a girl who knows her food knows her life.

Date A Girl Who Loves Food

By Sahil Mehta



Walk up to that pretty girl. Ask her out for a cup of coffee. Let her order first. If she can’t up make up her mind or goes for the first thing on the menu, then she’s probably not the one.

The girl you’re looking for will be choosy. She’ll take her time ordering just the thing to suit her mood. Be patient. If she’s out with you, she must like something about you. Or she wouldn't have chosen you. Don’t try and help her, don’t rush her. Enjoy that moment. See her eyes make a rainbow of expressions as she debates with herself. Take in those surroundings, that moment. It might be the start of something special.

At the end of it, when the bill comes, insist to pay. Let her know you like her.

Ask her if you may take her out to dinner sometime. And if you haven’t screwed up completely, she’ll probably say yes, if only for the meal. Here’s your second chance.

Take a risk here. Suggest someplace small, quiet and not necessarily popular. Watch her face. If it reflects disappointment, then let her see yours. She probably expected to be taken somewhere grand and lavished with attention. That’s not the girl you want to be with.

The girl you’re looking for will be excited. Excited at trying somewhere new, with someone new. She’ll appreciate your thoughtfulness at not taking her somewhere so expensive where she can’t pay and spend the night feeling guilty. She’s also testing you, your judgment. She’s trusted you enough to lead her. Remember that. She’s trusted you, and you must not break that trust.

When you get there, let her make the first move. If she reaches for the menu and goes off on her own, then it’s not working out. For she doesn’t completely trust you, and probably never will. When it comes to those moments of uncertainty that all couples eventually face, she’ll think about herself before she thinks about the two of you.

Your girl will hand over the menu to you, and let you call the shots. Just for today. She’s an independent young woman but she’s letting you show her a good time. She’ll expect you to trust her the same way as she takes you on trips to her favorite places and try her favorite dishes. Return that trust and she’ll fall for you.

When the bill comes, see if she makes a move for it. If she does, let her pay half. A relationship is between equals. If she doesn't, then its money well spent to know that she’s not what you’re looking for.  

This is a girl who’ll stick with you through the thick and thin of it. She doesn't crave attention, she doesn't need the expensive flashy things. She’s happy with just the essentials. Good food, and someone to share it with, everyday single day.

Take her somewhere for dessert. Take a walk, share a banana split, and fall in love.  

You’re nearly there. Go out a few more times with her. Let her take you to all her joints. If you listen carefully, you’ll hear what she’s saying to you. She’s making you a part of her life. She’s adding you to her favorite memories. Each of those places has a special significance for her; all of them have a story, and now she’s given your part in those stories. Ask her those stories over your meal, and get a glimpse into her life. Tell her your stories.

Date that girl. Date that girl who loves food. Date her, because after that honeymoon period ends, when the realization starts to dawn that you aren't nearly as similar as you thought initially, you still have something in common. A love for good food.

Date her because when you two fight, over silly insecurities, all you need to cheer her up is call her over for dinner and cook her a meal. It doesn't matter if you can’t cook. It doesn't matter if you botch it up. She’ll know that you care. And she'll stay back to help you with the dishes, because she cares about you just as much.

Date a girl who loves food because when she’s upset about something and about to go into her super binge mode, she’ll call you to join her. She won’t cut you out from life. She'll eat and rant away to glory at the same time, and you'll know exactly what she's thinking.

Date that girl cause when you’re feeling down or tense or stressed, she’ll know not to ask questions. She’ll put a hot a plate of your favorite curry in front of you and watch you eat in silence. And you’ll feel your worries ease off.

And that’s only for the hard times.

Date a girl who loves food, because when you’re super happy and excited, and want to celebrate, she’ll be equally enthusiastic. Date her, because she won’t dampen your spirits by complaining about calories and weight.  

Date her because she enjoys the different flavors of life, just as she enjoys them in food. She’ll be game for something new, always. There’ll be a spontaneity to her. And she’ll make sure that every moment counts.  

Date her because you’ll figure out she’s feeling particularly intimate tonight just by the amount of spice in the food. Date her ‘cause  even when she wants to be pampered, all she’ll want is that exotic flavor of ice cream, that she can share with you.

And date her, because even though you might be miles apart in everything else, at the end of the day you still both need to eat. And she knows that nothing makes a meal quite as enjoyable as the company of someone you love.
............................................................................................................

I've been meaning to write this for almost 6 months and you can attribute some of the rawness and abruptness of the article to my anxiety to finally get it out. This article along the lines of a series of articles on the net titled "Date A Girl Who..." . Ever since I came across these, I wondered what would be that one thing in a person that would really matter to me. Books, music, traveling are all great but at the end of the day, food is what makes it for me. 

Ekalavya

By Shashank Chepuri

The Devil was waiting to make his move. He was standing on a railway platform with the air of a hunter waiting for his prey to fall in his trap. As he waited patiently, he couldn’t help but think how much he wanted to quit the job. Lately, his job had become too predictable and boring. His performance in the recent times had reached the zenith, leaving all the competition behind. He really missed his dear friend, The Archangel. 

There were times long long ago when the Angels and Devils used to compete with each other. Those were the times when The Angels used to earn a well deserved victory. The Devil still dreaded the days when Ravana, the king of Devils, was slaughtered by Ram, who was called The Archangel. It was the most embarrassing defeat the devils had ever faced. Ever since, the Devils were trying hard to take revenge. Their attempts were never successful, until recently. 

Since the last couple of decades the battle had become one sided. Off late, there was no competition from the Angels. It was as if the Angels had gone into a deep slumber. They needed a wake-up call. The Devils had become too bored of victory. They needed competition. The Devil recalled his last and most talked about victory on 16th December 2012 wherein a 23-year-old female was beaten and gang raped in a bus in which she was travelling with her male companion. 

Where were the Angels then?’ 

The sound of the approaching train brought the Devil back to the present. He became aware of the surroundings. He scanned the people who flocked looking around the train for his next prey. 
An evil smile materialized on his lips when he found her. 

*** 

As the express train arrived at a station for its brief halt, passengers rushed out and into its already packed coaches. Gayathri, a 21-year old girl, just managed to get into a compartment. She was holding on an air bag, which served as her only luggage for her travel. She held the bag with her left hand and held on to a supporting rod with her right hand. As the train accelerated ahead, she suddenly got pushed by the crowd. She panicked and lost her grip, and she was thrown out of the speeding train. 

The bluster of the train muted the thud of her fall on to the ground more than a meter below. Gayathri shrieked with pain when her back met the ground. She was knocked senseless. 

A boy who was standing on the footboard in another compartment of the same train couldn’t believe what he had just seen—a young woman in a white Punjabi suit lying next to the tracks. Meanwhile, gasps and screams emanated from his compartment. 

The boy immediately raised an alarm by pulling the emergency chain frantically. The train screeched, and started decelerating. But it seemed to him as if the train was taking forever to stop. He couldn’t wait for it to halt.

The boy scanned the compartment hoping to find someone willing to help him in rescuing the girl. But nobody volunteered. Everyone was afraid of getting involved. All wanted to know what had happened; all were curious to catch a glimpse of bleeding body and unconscious mind; but no one wanted to come forward and help. All were inactive; all were weak. They could think, but could not feel. They could reason but could not empathize. They spoke in a language devoid of intent. All they cared was to catch their respective glimpses; to consume their daily dose of sheepish whispers and sterilized conspiracies.




The Devil feasted on the scene. The boy was alone. No one was willing to get out of their busy schedule and help the damsel in distress. Everything was going according to the Devil’s plan. 

Unaffected by the people’s response, the boy pushed his way towards the exit of the train. 

The boy took a deep breath and closed his eyes as he jumped off the train. His rubber slippers did little to protect his feet from the sharp edges of the rocks. A burst of pain shot up in his ankle as he landed on the ground. The pain, however, was not strong enough to weaken his vigour. He gasped for breath as he stood looking for the girl. 

He found the girl lying by the side of the tracks around 50 meters away. The rocks (which are usually found between the tracks) had greatly damaged her spine. Her hair lay intertwined with the rocks, which tried to invade her profusely bleeding scalp. The adulterated red streams irrigated the geometrical disparities on her face. Her right hand stretched diagonally towards the track with her thumb resting against her palm; curled like an infant flower bud afraid of daylight. Her left hand, with which she earlier held her luggage, was now smeared in blood. Her luggage lay 10 feet away from her, hidden in the shrubs. 

Gayathri was slipping into unconsciousness. As a child, she had always wondered what death would feel like. She knew she would experience it someday. 

It can’t be today. It can’t be now”, she prayed. 

‘Don’t worry, you will be fine’, the boy said. It was as if the Angels’ had answered her prayers through the boy. They were the last words she heard before blanking out. She hoped for hope and trusted the voice. 

The boy looked around. No help was in sight—they were alone somewhere between two stations. 

The Devil’s plan was immaculate. The boy alone could do nothing. Devil knew that he would have to give up eventually. 

But the boy had no intentions of giving up. He lifted the 50-kilo Gayathri cautiously and made his way across the tracks. He crossed through some shrubbery, and followed the direction of the sounds. 

The Devil was impressed. This boy earned the Devils attention. For the first time in a long time, the Devil was actually challenged by a human. 

I should find help at any cost’, the boy thought. 

All you can find is trouble. Yes, that is what you will find. And if you choose trouble, I can offer you a wide variety of it’, the Devil laughed. 

As the boy reached the road, he found new hope. A hope that the girl could be saved. He started asking for lifts. No one cared to stop. 

‘She is injured,’ the boy implored motorists who drove by. 

‘Please help me take her to a hospital’, he cried aloud. 

Tears started rolling down his cheeks. He couldn’t make out if the tears were due to the pain in his legs or for the girl he was carrying. 

As the boy cried, the Devil laughed. It could already smell its victory.

*** 
The 21-year old Gayathri Narayan had her marriage coming up the next week. Like any other Indian girl, she awaited a dream wedding. The wedding was just the icing, indeed. The fact that she was marrying the man she loved was the real cake. She was very happy the way her life was shaping up. She felt like princess. It was as if the whole world was conspiring to please her. 

That day she decided to give her parents a surprise visit. Gayathri was looking forward to having supper with her parents, and a long phone chat with her fiancé. But now she lay drenched in blood on the highway. 

The boy, who was carrying Gayathri, had a very different story. The dark and lanky youngster was from a nearby town. He was an unemployed high-school dropout who’d recently come to city looking for a job. He had spent his morning giving an unsuccessful interview for a job at call center. As he boarded the train home, he pondered his future. But, all he could now think of was saving a stranger’s life. 

*** 

Just when he had begun to lose hope, a tempo-truck pulled over and its driver, a middle-aged man who spoke Punjabi, stepped out. The man helped the boy lay Gayathri down in the back of his truck. 

‘Let’s take the girl to The City Nursing Home’, suggested the driver. 

When the vehicle lurched forward, Gayathri stirred and her eyes fluttered open. 

Gayathri’s eyelids gently rolled up to reveal her light blue eyes and as they came down again, she managed to take a fleeting glimpse of the sight in front of her. She saw a silhouette of a man, standing against the setting sun. He was holding a stick to support his aching leg. It looked to her as if Lord Ram himself was standing in front of her, protecting her from death. She felt like a baby which was taking refuge in its mother’s womb. She felt safe. 

She started a silent prayer but couldn’t complete it as she lost focus and rolled back into the darkness. 

The Devil saw a similar sight. The boy reminded him of the Angels. As the driver helped the boy to lay Gayathri into the back of the truck, the Devil felt nostalgic. It was turning out to be another Ramayan where in Ram and Hanuman come together to save Sita and vanquish the evil lord. The Devil was terrified. 

‘Check her for the mobile-phone. Try and call someone from her contacts’, the driver suggested to the boy. The boy obeyed. He called a contact which said “Bhaiyaa”. It was the contact of the girl’s brother. 

Gayathri’s cousin was wrapping up his day at his software job when his phone rang. The voice on the other end of the phone informed him of Gayathri’s accident and asked him to come to The City Nursing Home as soon as possible. 

‘I’m on my way’, he said, as he rushed towards his motorcycle. 

Gayathri arrived at The City Nursing Home minutes later. Dr. Avasthi conceived the urgency of the case and admitted her immediately to the ICU. As Gayathri was being taken into the ICU the boy was asked to fill the application form. His hands shivered as he filled it up. 

The Doctor asked the boy to hang around until Gayathri’s family arrived. That’s when they noticed that the driver, having done all he could, had slipped away with his truck.

Oh, I couldn’t thank him!’ the boy thought. 

Gayathri was still unconscious. But her X-rays showed that although the injuries looked severe, they were not fatal. There would be no lasting damage, but Dr Avasthi believed that she could have bled to death had nobody helped her. 

When she finally opened her eyes, her cousin and fiancé were by her side. She couldn’t find the boy who saved her. 

‘Where is the person who saved me?’ she enquired. 

‘He is not here. He had to leave for his town’, her cousin said. 

She just nodded and fell asleep again. 

*** 

In a few days Gayathri made a full recovery. She was amazed to learn of the manner in which she had been rescued. She enquired more about the boy. 

Her cousin said that he had thanked the boy and offered him money which he promptly refused to accept. 

‘I can’t imagine what would have happened to you if he hadn’t been there,’ he said. 

‘I think it’s astonishing that a stranger would jump off a train and risk his life for me. We can never repay him’, Gayathri said. 

The Devil sat in the same room silently. He was outplayed. He was left defeated but was not disappointed. The boy proved that Humanity was still not lost by all. It was scarce, but it did exist. And as long as people go out of their way to help others, Humanity shall prevail. Perseverance of Humanity is biggest weapon of the Angels and hence the biggest threat to the Devils. 

The Devil was about to leave when he heard Gayathri enquire about the name of the boy. As the Doctor looked into the application form to check his name, the Devil waited for the answer. He needed to know the name of the boy who defeated him. 

‘Ekalavya…His name is Ekalavya’, the Doctor announced. 

The Devil then flew out of the hospital already conspiring for the next disaster, hoping that at least the next time, this trait called humanity, would not cause any trouble in its well laid plans. 

Source : fineartamerica.com
As the Devil left, Gayathri smiled and closed her eyes; visualizing the boy’s silhouette and silently completed the prayer which she had started in the truck.

(Based on a true story...)

This Is Not The End

Diary of A Teach For India Fellow 

by Pranav Sukhija


The year 2013 is already turning out to be quite eventful for me and my bunch of 40! Not only did we excel in our end of year exams, we also put forward a stupendous showcase event in our classroom for ten delegates from Teach For All. They were here in Delhi for an educational conference and I volunteered to host them in my school and classroom, hoping that this chance will allow my kids and I to do something really special. We organised a carnival-themed event which had something for everyone. The kids led stalls inside the classroom and demonstrated some of the stuff we did in the last academic year such as making bookmarks, painting diyas and improving reading comprehension through games. The mehendi stall, which was led by Ishrat and Mariyam, became especially popular among the ladies. 

Centre for Civil society, a think-tank based in New delhi, partnered with TFI to organise a three-day seminar on public policy (ipolicy) for TFI fellows. I was chosen to be one of the participants of this seminar. The three days were spent reading, listening, thinking, debating and discussing policy-based solutions to solve socio-economic problems. Some of the sessions like “Why is India Poor?”, “Tragedy of the Collective”, “10 Principles of Sound Public Policy”, among others, were particularly interesting and made me question my views and beliefs about the role of government and market in the society. The session on Right to Education Act was designed for us to spot out the loopholes in the policy and recommend appropriate changes. It was particularly interesting to note how the government is forcing private schools to reserve 25% of their seats for poor children but is not doing much to improve the quality of teaching in government schools. A lot of things the Act talks about such as formation of school management committees, etc. don’t get implemented. The seminar answered some questions I had but left me with many more questions to think about. 

The kids are done with their fourth grade exams and are now moving to fifth grade. I am working hard these days to carefully plan out the first unit of the new academic year. This first unit is the only one left for me to spend time with my students. I find it rather eerie to come to terms with the fact that my fellowship is coming to an end. When I look back at the time when I first met my students and compare it with now, I see a massive difference in their abilities, attitudes, values and mindsets. But it is not just the kids who have changed. I have changed, too, and I know that if it weren’t for the lifetime opportunity the fellowship provided me, I wouldn’t have gained so much in the last two years, both personally and professionally, as I did. I am happy to know that a new fellow is going to replace me in my classroom and my students will still have the opportunity to experience excellence in education. 

The fellowship may be getting over but my association with TFI and all the amazing people I met in the last two years is not. I will keep supporting the movement in whatever ways I can, wherever I may be going to from here. The journey seemed long, rocky in parts, but with the help of my friends, I reached my destination. But the end point also marks the beginning of another journey and I am equally excited about what knocks my door next.  

Like I said, this is not the end. Just another beginning.


Of Stories And Their Importance

by Hamsini


We write to make ourselves heard. We write to comfort ourselves and write down the thoughts that swirl in our heads. That’s all well and good. We need those happy-go-lucky stories that amount to nothingness they keep us sane and safe.

There are so many books in the market right now that are filled with stories; stories that mean nothing. They’re filled with stories about BITS boys falling for IIT girls, engineering colleges, women who can’t make up their minds; bad English and slaughtered grammar. Most of these authors wish to pen down the best days of their lives: their college days.

But the people who need to write their stories, they don’t. The people who have faced suffering, loss, grief and pain—real emotions—they don’t or can’t write. But their stories are the ones that need to be told; they are the ones that people need to hear about and learn from.

I heard this quote recently: Those who forget history are condemned to relive it. Instead of amalgamating a style similar to that of the west, we need to talk about the essence that is India. We need to bring out the real stories that people live in everyday. We need to tell everyone these stories because that’s the only way we will not repeat our mistakes. The good books, the good stories; they live through and through, and people don’t need to know the alphabets to know of them.

This is not to say that books about urban chick-lit timelines are not good. Essentially all stories are the same and they all serve the same purpose. That makes sense, yes. But are some stories more important than the others? How do we rank their importance? How can we prioritize them and say that one is better than the other? Who has the right to say that one is better than the other?

We all grow up with our own, unique frames of reference; essentially, we’re all screwed up and we have our own baggage. And we hear and assimilate stories that we relate to, that somehow touch us for reasons unbeknown. But only when we go beyond our own frames of reference and move on to other issues—new territories of which we know nothing about—we grow as people.

So the next time you pick up a book, pause and look around to see if you want something new. You don’t know what you might be missing out on.


Politically Incorrect


the Best of Pragyananda Mishra



# Vampires are blood honest. Unke irade NECK hote hain

# In the world of symbols its only the + which enjoys a Sumbhog ;)

# Fowl-Mouthed: Blurting out obscenities at the first serving of a Chicken dinner after a break of many days

# Way too much vampire stuff on TV. Those Neckromancers !

# Its Maha Shivratri today- Rise to the occasion with the Big Bhaang Theory!

# I salute the woman - One who, generally speaking, is generally speaking ;)

# A main-course at a gala dinner ends only with a inter-course late night ~ wise guy

# A very happy birthday to Uday Chopra. 
The only Director turned Actor turned Director turned Producer turned Extra

# The more you study the harder it is to convince your grandmother about your career path

# The Fund Raising of an orchestra is always a Band-Aid

# A Voyeur’s eyesight is tuned at the Peek Efficiency ;)

# Shoplifters are the few ones who have a Gift of the Grab

# Fight till the last strand of black hair. Dye Hard !  

# Dressmakers, catering to a pregnant clientele are Mother Frockers

# Bharat Bandh coincides with Jiah Khan’s birthday. Poor girl, she is Nishabd today !

# A swimsuit hottie is a girl worth wading for

# There are always few special ones. The Testimoanial types :P

# Arranged Marriage: NewlyWed
Love Marriage: KnewlyWed
You choose !

# A barter over sea food is a Squid-Pro-Quo

# Climbing up a train is difficult for fat people. 
Uncles, for decades have tried to Up the Aunty at those places ;)

# Sleeping with girlfriends since 1903, A Teddy Bear has seen it all.  #HappyTeddyDay
#Lingerie salesmen are Negli-Gents

# In spite of my protests my friend went for installing 6 aquariums in his new house.
It is a house of gill repute now !

# Pickpockets are the greatest optimists. They believe that every crowd has a silver lining ;)

# My MBA friend’s relationship with a hotel maid is not working out. Apparently she is more of an expert with spread-sheets !

#What do you call a share trader who is also a humorist?
.A Laughing Stock

#Sheldon, of late has become better. He is now an Amyable person

#Every Pandit is a Hymn-atwala

#Ageing has its own pitfalls. One is the loss of the never-say-dye attitude

# Quantum Physicists, on completing their work breathe a Ψ of relief

# Cricketer’s dilemma at food : Currydor of Uncertainty

# Lost my shoes at the temple. Thank God, I found there exists a sole-mate for me

# A frog’s mother always opposed his son venturing out to the open. 
Little did the son understand that she was always the WELL-wisher ;)

# In a text conversation ‘Awwww’ is the answer to Life, the Universe and Everything

# Ancient Romans as portrayed by the TV shows were an altogether different generation.
 They were the Gen-ITALIA ;)

# Indian Protester : AAM ADMI by day, SPAM ADMI by night

# The Cunning Linguist got a score of 96.69; Forget MBA he would be a Lay-man for life ;)

# With Butter and Pickles, North Indian food is always a delightful Ghee-motional Aty-achar ;)

# Hindu weddings prove the existence of an Altar Ego

# My friend is on track to become a fantastic orthopedist. His favorite topic is the Cast-ing Couch ;)

# Balding Lions hate Mane-o-pause

# Police Dogs are an Epitome of Conscentration

# Savitha Bhabhi would surely be having a good time. It’s world Aunty-Corruption day !

# Zoroastrians make the thriftiest of friends. The Parsi-monious type ;)

# FDI has to be something right. I was opposing it and got splattered all over by an IDF defender

# Donald Duck broke up with his girlfriend. His condition was best described as LackaDAISYcal

# Minding the pupils is a squintessential teacher’s worst nightmare

# Batch parties make celebrities. The Lager than Life type you know ;)

# Its Bal Divas. A reminder to look after the receding hairlines ;)

# Classmates: Morons
Special Classmates: Proxymorons

# The private browsing icon stands for Cognito Ergo Sum ;)

# Any one got a DVD of Ra.One ?
Let’s burn it and celebrate Dussehra ;)

# While conversing with a boy, 65% of all girls begin replying with a ‘no’ 
Stay awake.......It is their aNOmaalous behavior

# The spell checker went for a blood test. He had a tough time believing the report. He just could not get over the Type-O ;)

# Electrical Engineers are the only people proud of their current affairs ;)

# I am innovative and a risk taker when it comes to consuming and ordering lobsters
In other words I can become a EntrePrawneur some day !

# There is always a vas deferens between birth control methods #Man-hood

# Happiest birthday Shane Warne. The guy who bowled men and balled women

# Vital Statistics is all about mean, maiden and mood. 

# Female sheep bitch about Ewefamism #Hey Ram !

# Spanish counter strike players propose by the following words…te ammo ;)

# A movie name for 
1. A dying torrent
2. A soon-to-be plant
3. An ageing Vicky Donor
Wake Up Seed !

# A serial kisser is a Kal-muaaahhh ;)


Be Safe

by Sahil Mehta


To put everything into context, it is twenty one minutes past midnight on a Wednesday night, or a Thursday morning. I have to leave home at 8:30 a.m. in the morning for work, and I really should be asleep. I feel sleepy too. I’m tired and I want to sleep. But I can’t. 

I can’t sleep because I’m scared. I’m scared of the nightmares that may come when I do actually close my eyes. You see, a female friend of mine was due to travel alone late at night today. And despite my telling her to message to let me know she had reached safely she hasn’t. And right now, I’ve got no fricking clue whether she’s safe or not. 

Or course, I shouldn’t really worry. She’s a bright, sensible and independent girl who’s probably done this before. My anxiety should not be taken as a reflection of her being careless or immature, because she isn’t. 
But I am worried. And I’m scared. Because, deep down, I know what can happen, and what does happen in this country. I wake every morning to headlines of rapes and gang-rapes. I look at these articles in despair and anger. I wonder what kind of animals would do this. And I berate the authorities and government for not preventing these hideous crimes. 

Today I’m feeling another emotion, something that the newspaper stories don’t me feel. I’m feeling the fear that thousands and thousands of Indian women and their families feel every day. And frankly I’m terrified. 
But it’s not just fear. It’s helplessness. I’m sitting here and typing this in the clear knowledge that if anything untoward does happen, I won’t be able to do anything. And perhaps no one else will even bother. 

It’s not one incident. A couple of days back my mom had a work dinner. She told me in the morning before work. As it would happen, the driver was on leave as well. She told me, and I completely forgot by the time I got back home at 8 p.m. Now, I’m used to mom working late. And I don’t usually worry because she’s in the office and the car and driver are right there. 

This particular day she wasn’t in the office, and there was no driver or car. So after a couple of hours I got kind of concerned. So I called her up. And her phone was switched off. I called, a little stupidly perhaps, repeatedly. And the phone was still off. 

I’m not going to get into details, but when she did return home I unloaded on her like I’ve never done before. It wasn’t her fault. But I still did. And while I apologized for it, if something like this happens again, I probably would do it again. If not for any other reason than simply because, there’s nothing else I could have done. 
I can’t really describe how worried I got then. But after today’s instance, when I look back at things, I’m a little amazed. I shouldn’t have to fell scared if people I know are not at their home or their offices. No one should have to live in the fear that some tragedy might befall their dear ones just because they aren’t in the confines of familiar surroundings. 

I, we, live in the world’s largest democracy. We shouldn’t feel like prisoners in our own homes. 
If you think I’m making this up, you’re wrong. If you think I’m overreacting, then wait until you have to go through this same thing, though I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. 

And then there is this one final thought. Why am I so helpless? I’m 23 years old. I’m reasonably smart, and passably strong. More than anything else, I’m educated with morals and values. I should be doing something. I shouldn’t let this environment of terror prevail! 

I’m pro harsher rape laws. I’m all for death sentences for extreme cases. But that’s not making me feel any less concerned about the safety of my friend and mother right now. If something were to happen to them, then I’d probably go into a mad killing rage anyway without regard for the law. But nothing I could do then would change what happened. And that thought sickens me.

I can’t go out patrolling the streets every night like a vigilante. I can’t be present at the scene every time a woman is harassed in this country. But perhaps collectively we can make a difference. 

And perhaps we can start by being more sensitive to women in general and stop saying inappropriate things. If you know someone going home alone, drop her! Wait till she’s inside if you’re dropping her. And for god’s sake, stop making a pass at every girl you see! 

I’m at a loss now. I’m not naïve enough to suggest that government should educate people about this. A. They don’t have the capacity. B. I don’t think people need to be taught how to act as humans, or atleast they shouldn’t. 

But till we can fix this disease in the society, I just want all the ladies reading this to be safe. And please do carry a pepper spray. It might feel like nothing to you, but it makes me sleep easier at night. 


 

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