Archive for December, 2014

Sex! Saying the word alone is enough to make half of us Indians look here and there to make sure no one heard it. From our childhood we’re taught thousands of moral values and sciences and what not. But no one tells us anything about the one that shall not be named until we reach class 10 to study that infamous chapter on reproduction. While we have people who advocate sex education in schools, we also have people (and in a greater amount) who think about it as something wrong against our culture. They probably forget that it was us Indians who wrote the Kamasutra.

You must be wondering why all of a sudden the bug is talking about this. Should I stop reading this blog at work or at least tag it NSFW! Well, at least a few of you must’ve wondered. And that’s exactly what’s wrong with the way we grow up. Something so casual becomes such a big taboo. Don’t worry, the bug is safe, in fact I’d say you recommend this to your manager too. No? Well it was worth a try.

Coming back to what I was saying. How many of you think Pre Marital sex is okay? In my experience, 50 percent girls, 10 percent guys and 110 percent parents think it is absolutely wrong. Since I first heard someone saying that it was wrong, I’ve been wondering why. Does it cause some king of abnormality within us that post marriage sex won’t? As much as I know, being a virgin is not an eligibility criteria for any kind of government or private job, neither does it disqualify anyone from playing any sport. So why is it so hyped? Why in so many societies pre-marital sex is considered a crime! I’ve heard different opinions on this, ranging from valid to utter senseless.

As an example, few of the reasons given by girls who think pre-marital sex is wrong referred to the emotional attachment. According to them, once you’ve done it, you get emotionally attached to the other person in a stronger way. Considering myself a zero on ten in understanding female psychology, I’ll say this reason might hold. But I believe that sex isn’t something that you need to be attached so strongly to someone. It is definitely an important part of that relationship but withholding it just because you don’t want a stronger attachment fearing you might get ditched, what does that tell you about the relationship? One more reason, and the most common one was, saving myself for someone special. I only have one question for people with this reason. What if you have to take a divorce and the next person you meet is actually ‘the one’? Surprisingly, I also have known some guys who don’t think pre-marital sex is okay. Which is weird because males, in general, are emotionally less complex and they find it easy to keep the physical and emotional part separate. And also we’re desperate and as they say, we just want one thing. Well… they say it! Generally the reason guys don’t find it okay is either they see others doing it but not themselves, or they’re still living in that patriarchal world where males rule and having a virgin wife is like a right for them.

Personally, I don’t get it. I could never understand the reasoning when someone a) takes an interest in anyone else’s personal life and judges them on the basis of who they have sex with and when! And b) thinks that getting involved physically with someone will change anything post marriage. In the second case, maybe it will, you two will be more comfortable with each other and chances of the marriage going all the way will be more. Taking the Indian parents’ logic in loop and then thinking of the same, which one do you think is better? 1. Sleeping after marriage with someone you just met or 2. Sleeping before marriage with someone you love/like/find it okay to be involved with.

This is something that could go for pages and we can’t reach a hardcoded conclusion. There’s always fors and againsts. But if you see the scale, I guess the logic in fors surely outweighs the againsts. I can only say that one shouldn’t force his/her opinion on someone. Even if that someone is your own son/daughter. The world is evolving. Sex isn’t a taboo anymore. There’s billions of people in the world and that gives you a billion reasons to why people do it. For me, pre-marital sex is just as normal and just as okay as post marriage. As long as you have your partner’s comfort and consent and it isn’t forced. I can’t stress enough on the last line folks, keep it in your pants.

Now here’s something for you guys, the awesome writer Poonam Uppal’s book, a passionate gospel of true love is now available on Flipkart. You shouldn’t be waiting if you liked what I wrote above. Check it out: http://www.flipkart.com/passionaate-gospel-true-love-mystical-story-english/p/itmd9ybcf9qm7sca?pid=9788192105109&ref=665a3878-5c80-4a50-b0a3-c20af207cfd7&srno=t_1&otracker=from-search&query=poonaam+uppal+

One thing I failed to mention in the article (Thank you, Vitasta) was that no matter what your principles say and what anybody else makes you think, it is important to practice safe sex, whenever you practice it. Having or not having pre-marital sex may be up to you but you need to make sure that you’re not destroying your or someone else’s future in that. Don’t fall prey to your urges and get STDs, use protection.

Before I begin this post, I want you to take a look at this picture.

It fills my heart with joy to see a 9 year old writing this well. But apart from that, what I could see in this little note is how happy she was. And why wouldn’t she be? She’s having a time of her life with her family. These are the things she’ll cherish when she’s a grown up and get happy looking at what a lovely childhood she had. You see, that’s how much effect a few good holidays can have on the children.

Have you looked at what kind of a society we have become? The one where a kid getting 89% is looked down upon because his classmate got 90, the one where we discourage playing football because we don’t see a good future in our country for that field, the one where kids are loaded with heavy bags and lengthy courses to be carried round the year… don’t you think after going through so much, our kids need a break? As much as I hate little kids who cry throughout a movie or a flight spoiling it for others, I strongly advocate that parents should take their kids out for holidays. In the busy life like we have, parents don’t get to spend enough time with their kids, resulting in distances and communication gaps. Holidays can be an amazing way to mend those gaps and fill your little ones with creativity, not to mention have a timeout yourself.

Now I am not in a position to give any parenting advice but as you can see, what I said above is as simple as two plus two… everyone knows that’s five… or four? Well, I am not very good at math. I wish I had many holidays when I was a child! The best part of being a writer is, you can appreciate the power of imagination. For instance, I can already imagine how a holiday of me with my kids will look like. A city filled with beaches and a week of absolute fun. A package full of learning, fun and bonding. A time when they’ll get to see new things, explore new places and meet new people. Then maybe another holiday in a city like Paris. Watching the beautiful Eifel Tower up close and looking at the amazing skyline of one of the most beautiful cities ever! Already imagining, are you? Take a look at this, these are all real experiences. Looking at what these kids have written, I can see that there is hope after all. http://membership.clubmahindra.com/TeddyTravelogues/index.html.

Teddy Travelogues is a really cool portal where you can see the first hand experiences of the kids in their holidays. Reading a few, I felt like going back to my childhood!

Before I go, here’s one more.

Thank you Indiblogger for this opportunity. It’s amazing how these little experiences can be life changing. If you have a kid, I’d definitely recommend taking a look at these travelogues and planning a holiday. Life is all about having fun, right?

This is something that happened a few days back. I was walking and a guy came from the opposite side, on his bike and almost ran into me. A few things where I can definitely say he was wrong was that he was driving above the said speed limit, he was driving on the wrong side and more importantly, he was driving on the footpath. Now this isn’t something very strange or new, this happens every day in the busy and populated cities like Pune and Bangalore.

Road accidents are a primary cause of deaths in our country. Every day thousands of people become the victims of someone road rage and stupidity. What we fail to understand in our over-confidence that we’re smart enough not to die, someone else may not be that smart, and that if we make a mistake, someone else might have to pay for it. And this is just a beginning to what we can say is one of the most haunting sides of our country. Road safety, something we learn when we’re kids and conveniently forget as we grow up. I remember asking a very simple question to a group of my friends once, ‘Which side of the road should we walk?’. Now those of you who said left, are definitely not right. Sadly, more than 80% of my friends gave a wrong response.

This post is dedicated to The Nissan Safety Driving Forum., and the amazing job these guys are doing to promote road safety in India, something we desperately need. There’s definitely a lot of scope when it comes to improvement in safety standards and security measures we can take on roads. Here are a few things I think are really needed to improve road safety.

First, a little something about NSDF in their own words:

The Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., conducts the Nissan Safety Driving Forum (NSDF) in India as part of its safety driving promotion activities. The program began as an annual activity in 2012. In its initial phase it covered three main Indian cities – New Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai – and since then has gradually expanded to several additional cities across India.

This year, NSDF would reach 8 new cities – Chandigarh, Jalandhar, Jaipur, Vadodara, Nagpur, Chennai, Mangalore and Kochi. The overall reach and engagement levels have phenomenally grown and NSDF has effectively reached close to 2 lakh citizens. It continues to stay committed to its core objective of promoting safe driving behaviour in India.

Batman-nissan

I believe in the concept Nissan very ardently promotes, Safety begins with me. So I’ll keep my points strictly to what you and I can do as individuals to improve road safety.

  1. To begin with, follow the three simple rules, or what I call them, Lifelines.

    A. The audience poll: You know what the audience says? Never cross a red light. NEVER!! You know why? Because more than yourself, you’re causing a trouble for the audience, i.e., the other people on the road. Once you break a signal, other may follow suit, you will disrupt the traffic and create a havoc. Sometimes, even a single speeding vehicle on the green light will hit you hard enough to switch off all the lights!

    B. The Phone-a-friend: Simple, never phone-a-friend when you drive. Nopes, not even the hands-free. When you talk, you tend to concentrate on the subject instead of the road causing abnormal speed changes and disturbing other drivers. And same goes for drinking. If you call any friend right now and ask him what’s the one thing he’s seriously consider before letting you drive, I can bet his answer would be to see if you’re drunk or not. Trust me, DO NOT drink before/while you drive. Nothing good can come out of it. I know you’re the experienced legend who won’t make a mistake but even a slight delay in applying breaks may become fatal for some poor innocent soul out there. You may not care about your life, but you also have no right to take someone else’s, right?

    C. The expert advice: Every expert, yes, every single one of them, has this to say, “If you don’t wear a helmet/seatbelt, your chances of receiving a serious injury practically multiply. Imagine hammering a coconut with all your strength. Now imagine the same but this time the coconut is in a safe-box. I guess I conjured a decent imagery right there for you.

  2. Once you’re up to mark with the three rules, one thing is for sure, you’re almost 70% safer than an average driver in our country. Most of them fail to do the basic things like following the rules! I know I made that number up but to think about it, I might only have under estimated it. So what next? Well, get yourself acquainted with the rules. At least the important ones, unless you’re a professional driver in which case ALL of them! Here are the important ones: http://www.delhi.gov.in/wps/wcm/connect/doit_transport/Transport/Home/Traffic+Rules+And+Regulations/Rules+of+the+Road
  3. Did you know that every vehicle has an optimum speed limit with which you can save almost 30% fuel and drive safely? Sure you did! The point is, why you still didn’t follow it? I’d never understand what difference would driving at 80 kmph make in a 16 km ride when you could drive at 48 kmph and reach in 6-7 minutes more, considering the traffic. It’s basic math. Are you bad at math? Being a professional, I can say that in most jobs, 6 minutes don’t make that much a difference. And it’s definitely better than never reaching.

    Credits: Wikihow.

  4. Now getting to the innovative part. We could all preach on how to do what and how everyone should follow rules. That’s not it. A major part of our responsibility is to make sure others do that too. Spread the word. Use the social media. There is a good chance that your friend who is browsing twitter while driving will stop doing that once he sees your tweet. Jokes apart, I personally think that people these days read more Facebook than newspapers. Probably you could teach them a thing or two there.
  5. Innovating part version two. Helping the government. Many people may find it surprising but there’s always a feedback box in Government websites. Use it. Tell your state traffic administrators what they could do better. Talk to the traffic police. Be an aware citizen. You get where I am going with this, right? Shelling out 200 Rs. to save yourself the calamities of wearing a helmet is plain stupid. You’re spreading corruption and stupidity both at the same time. Get a proper freaking receipt, it won’t cost you as much as you think.
  6. Last, but not the least, drive safe vehicles. Don’t just research the mileage and cost, check your car properly before buying. Make sure it is perfect according to the safety standards. Check out the Nissan Quality, https://www.nissan.in/innovation/nissan-quality.html and see how every vehicle they make is custom made for your safety.

Making the roads safer for you, Nissan.

Now that I am making it too long, I should end it. But with a simple message. I won’t tell you your life is important. You know it better. But mine is. And I’d hate it if someday I or someone like me dies because someone else was driving recklessly. So for my sake, for your friends’ sake, drive safely. Have a good safe day! 🙂

The reply.

Posted: December 14, 2014 in Fiction, Issues
Tags: , , ,

“How many times should I apologize for what happened? Don’t you see any other way?”

“I am afraid not.”

“Well… try to, I beg you! I’ll confess everything, I’ll go to jail! You’ve got to trust me over this.”

“Sorry, I don’t have time for all that.”

“I’ll give you money, whatever amount you say. We can make this work, think about it rationally!”

“No.”

“Can you at least speak more!? Tell me what I can do… Is there anything else in your mind apart from a no?”

“I thought me not speaking up was the thing you liked the most about me, what happened now?”

“Listen, I am sorry, I know I was cruel and what I did was wrong, disgusting, and heinous… but how is this going to solve anything?”

“Funny you should ask that. Because for me, that’s the only solution.” Her grip on the gun got tighter, she took her hand towards the trigger and pulled it. He had only raped her, it was the world that killed her soul. This, was her reply.

Facing your fears.

Posted: December 14, 2014 in Competition Post
Tags: , , ,

Fear, the dictionary defines it as “An emotion experienced in anticipation of some specific pain or danger (usually accompanied by a desire to flee or fight)” and technically, that sounds complete. But there will be a thousand more definitions coming out for it if you ask that to people around you. What is fear? Is it the same feeling that you have when you’re about to cheat in a test? Or the one when a barking dog looks towards you in a dark street. Is it what you feel when you’re about to propose a girl way out of your league or is it that look on your face when you see 23 missed calls from your parents? Just like love, fear too has different shades. It’s a cocktail of nervousness, ecstasy, pressure and self-consciousness, and only when you feel it, you know the importance of the event you’re about to face.

Fear is like a necessary evil, you need it to win it and only when you win your fear, you can win in anything else. Have you ever seen an athlete nervously shaking right before he’s about to take off in a 100m sprint? I guess no, that’s because he won his fear when he practiced that thing day and night. And this is what it takes, to face it and tell it that I am not scared. People have different kinds of phobias, mental situations where one has a fear of something, from an imaginary ghost to a simple notebook, anything can trigger a fear. Sometimes the fear is purely irrational, while sometimes it is things that normal people can’t even imagine. I, for an example, cannot even imagine jumping off of a mountain like the guys in this video. And the thing is, even they couldn’t, until they faced their fear, laughed at it and went for it.

People who don’t understand Tamil, I am sure you will know the very famous line “Darr ke aage jeet hai”, that’s like an anthem for most of us. I am the kind of person who likes to face his fears, may it be anything that I have to do, just the fact that I am afraid it may hurt me won’t stop me from doing it. Of course it is easy to say when it’s someone like me who lives a pretty normal life and doesn’t have to face any challenges regularly, but I believe we all have our little challenges in life. My biggest fear is water. Well, I am not hydrophobic but I do get scared thinking about seas or the fact that at some point in life, I may need to swim into that! When I was 13, my father (who happens to be a good swimmer himself) wanted me to take swimming lessons. The first day I went near the pool, I am pretty sure my heart skipped a beat. And that is when it was barely 4 feet deep. As the coach said, “Only the low self-esteem fishes would swim in such shallow waters. What are you afraid of?” Well… Drowning, slipping, not being able to come out, choking and did I mention drowning? I wanted to say all of that… But I asked myself, what if there’s a flood and I have to swim my out to life. Would I use these excuses then? Now as much as the chances of a flood in Jaipur were close to zero, it worked for a 13 year old shit scared mind. I entered the water and what hurt the most was its coolness, not the depth. I soon learned the basics of swimming and entered the deeper pools. I am not really proud of my swimming skills but I suppose I can be proud of the fact that water doesn’t scare me anymore. Since that day I’ve been to so many beaches and did banana boating in the Arabian Sea too! My next target is scuba diving, or at least put an Instagram pic in the suit… erm… well, I didn’t say I am more mature now! I wouldn’t say I emerged victorious against my fear, but I did beat it in the first bout.

In closing, I’d just say that fear is nothing but our own mind wanting to continue with its inertia of rest. Unless you apply the external force of your self-confidence, it will stay like that. I am not making that up, this is all science, right?

Thanks to people at Indiblogger for the chance 🙂 Now go like the mountain dew page, you already know those guys are awesome! 🙂https://www.facebook.com/mountaindewindia

1,200,000,000. Those of you who didn’t get confused while counting the number of zeros might have guessed, the number I just gave is the approximate population of our country. When we say that India is developing, we look at the 50 million people who are well to do and can live a good life, but to think about it, the 50 million, as big a number as it sounds, is just a small fraction of our population. What about the rest of us? There are people who can’t afford a car, then there are people who can’t afford any vehicle, then we have people who struggle to manage the basic necessities like food-shelter-clothing and then we have people who can only dream of having 2 meals a day. The sheer numbers of the children who sleep every night without a proper meal are disturbing. The only time they see a plate full of rice is their dreams. And that makes me think, what are we doing wrong? What is something we can do, given the oh-so-busy life we all have, to make sure that the kid you just imagined, would get to eat enough so that he can be the future our country dreams of.

I come across many organizations that do various things for kids to make sure they get to study and live a healthy life. And that, in my opinion, is one of the most important things that need even more serious attention from our government, right in line with stricter safety measures and well… lesser scams. Akshaypatra is one such organization, the name of which I am pretty sure most of the readers have heard. Their aim for an India where no child goes hungry and every child is educated. Tough nut to crack, I know, but I also know that with a support of 1200 million people, nothing is impossible. And who wouldn’t support this cause? Imagine a hunger free India, where every child is well fed and gets to learn just like a normal child from a well to do family would. What changes do you think there will be? No child labor, every kid able to read and write and demand his rights, no child sex abuse, a tending to zero crime rate in child trafficking, an aware India, a better India… sounds like I am advertising for a 3 BHK plot in heaven, I know, but it is achievable.

Long back, our first prime minister said that kids are the future of this country. He wasn’t wrong. But apparently there were more hungry kids back then, therefore their future became this kind of present where we still struggle with so many problems. I honestly believe that if we come together and take the matter into our hands, it is a matter of days when this problem is gone. I am writing this post to feed a child. This is just a beginning, a micro one at that. We can do more… a lot more. For starters, we could reach out to the government schools near our location and see if such cases are there. I am sure there are many who can spare a few thousand bucks and maybe shop one time less… trust me, that’s all it would take for you to sponsor a child’s meal for a full month. Doesn’t sound a like a bad investment, right? There are organizations ready to do the job for you, they just need your support. Physically, monetarily, with ideas, or with a combination of those, you could be the torch bearer to the change our country needs.

Here’s a video that ought to make you think deeply about this.

And oh, one more 🙂

I am going to #BlogToFeedAChild with Akshaya Patra and BlogAdda. Are you ready to do this?

I am not much of a traveler, although most of my friends are. I am the kind of person who likes to stay at home and read a book and go on the occasional vacations. The idea of travel does entice me, but in the past my experiences with travel and accommodations haven’t really been a pleasure. I feel that Indian tourism was in a strict need of reforms. Given that we earn huge revenues through tourism, I can totally say this feeling was shared by many. Then came a revolution and now we have a startup for practically everything. You can search for a place, see the directions, get a hotel, get a guide and everything at discounts. Still, what we lacked was something that minimizes your effort.

I had no idea about how popular Airbnb (https://www.airbnb.co.in/?af=3330229&c=IndiBlogger )was across the world before I came to know about it through Indiblogger . Seeing the amazing concept it brings with it, I am just embarrassed about my poor GK now. Erm… moving on… Let me tell you something about Airbnb. It is an amazing concept where you can search for your dream vacation and make it a reality at the least prices. It not only gets you all the listings in your area of interest, with the reviews and detailed pictures and verified profiles, you also get assurance that everything is safe and just what you want. Moreover, there are awesome offers and discounts! What else would an Indian mind want, right?

When I signed up, I saw this referral program where you can earn just for signing up and then I earn because you signed up. Cool, isn’t it? Let me do some self promotion here and get you the link : www.airbnb.co.in/c/schoudhary47?s=8 . Do sign up, not because I want the money, because I want you to experience an all new way of holiday enjoyment!

When I was browsing through the website, I couldn’t control but make a small wishlist of my own. Take a look. https://www.airbnb.co.in/wishlists/46632664. This wishlist has the top 5 places I want to visit someday in my life; Venice, because that’s a place closest to love for me; Madrid, because Cristiano Ronaldo set foot in that place; Wembley, well, since I was a kid, the Wembley stadium is one thing I always dreamt of going to; Shimla, I believe that’s another heaven after Kashmir in India, don’t you?; And last but not the least, Manchester, I guess everybody already knows the reason here but let me tell you the two words anyway: Manchester United!

So, isn’t the list awesome? And if you saw the prices, that’s totally affordable too! In case you feel like making yours, don’t fret, go ahead. It’s pretty easy and amazing. Good luck and happy holidays! 🙂