Thursday, January 28, 2016

26 th January 2016

"67 year old republic. Oh really!" said my american cousin giving a bemused expression.
"Yes India is growing older but its young citizens are keeping her on toes."
By the time I had defended India's youthful ageing like an angry warrior we had reached Rajpath. The sun was glistening on the green grass sprinkled with the morning mist. 
"It isn't as cold as we had thought it would be." she said.
I had hoped against hope that the weather would treat us kindly and especially since this airy american cousin had landed down in the city, nail biting chill would have played spoilsport and given her all the reasons to complain.

We had reserved our seats and were sure of being comfortably seated, but even then to avoid a last minute confusion, I dragged her to the venue in the wee hours of the morning.

"Oh I thought we have cushioned seating arrangement." she complained.
"This is an open air event. Do you get to sit on padded seats during soccer matches in the US of A?" I asked visibly irritated by her snobbishness. 
"Ah ok! We'll manage." she said sensing the angry discomfort in my voice.
These american born confused desis. Ofttimes I wonder, whether they were all born with a silver spoon?"

The city had turned into a fortress with 50,000 police personnel and a whooping 150,000 paramilitary staff guarding the city. I had read in the newspaper that one police personnel was deployed after every twenty metres. With the recent Pathankot attacks, the government and security agencies were leaving no stone unturned to ensure that the city was nestled in safety.

The celebrations began with the chanting of the national anthem. This was followed by a posthumous Ashoka chakra award to Lance Naik Mohan Goswami who was martyred while fighting eleven terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir. I could see my cousin intently listening to the voice of the announcer reminiscing Mohan Goswami's  acts of daredevilry. Our brave soldiers are the only reason that we sleep comfortably in our homes and we must always be thankful to them for guarding our borders from the enemies of the state.
The first highlight of the day was the French army's 35th infantry regiment marching smartly in their uniforms. They were not stiffly marching much like our armed forces but yes most of the people present there were awestruck by their charm. There was also a french band named "Music of Infantry" that played tunes joyously as the crowd cheered them.
                                                       

                                    Picture credit: newsnation.com

Monday, January 11, 2016

Christmas Gift 24/12/2015

The delivery guy rang the bell
and handed me a black box
one that had kept me on my toes for many days
it's arrival devoured on my sleep
like a pregnant woman I stood guard.
My impatient fingers tore open the tape
sealing the objects of affection you had sent across
on an overcast winter evening,
socks to warm cold feet
eyewear to let my eyes build castles in air
diary with a message on the last page
scrawled illegibly with a pencil
thermometer to measure inner rage during a fever
postcard addressed to places that will look 
for me and you,inside a crowd of tourists
Christmas message that would someday be born
on a nameless street across Marine Drive.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

The BIBA ad-- Challenging some stereotypes while staying mum on the rest!

Every attempt at changing minds or challenging stereotypes is ridden with its share of criticism. That is what happens in our country mostly, where everyone has an opinion and a facebook or twitter account. Of times I wonder as to when we really be happy. Finding a grey hair in a black mane had become our favourite passtime, all thanks to the social media revolution. I agree that healthy criticism is very important, but should it always overlook the spurt of changes we are aiming to see in our society infected with patriarchal mores.

A few days ago while checking my emails I happened to come across this post, mentioning BIBA's new advertisement that was claiming to question a stereotype. The stereotype discussed here was the cooking skills a woman should posses in order to find a groom, whether that happens through her family or if she happens to make the call. 

The advertisement brings into picture a coy girl who is wearing over-sized earrings in an effort to bedeck herself and look pretty in front of the suitor arranged by her parents. Her worried father barges into her room where she dares to question him about how could she magically take a decision about how can she spend the rest of her life with a guy by feeding him a plate of samosas? The father gives her a stern cold look and asks her to come soon. Next, she is shown sitting impassively in her drawing room where her parents and the guy's parents are taking a decision about her future. I wonder what qualities were taken into consideration which inspired the groom's mother to give a green signal to Payal, the quiet shy girl who was shown to be the mute mannequin in this advertisement. At this instance, the father decides to take the matter in his own hands and tells them that they will be visiting their house soon. The guy's mother aghast at this idea asks why are they considering a visit? To which the father replies that his daughter wants to know as to how adept their son is when it comes to cooking or taking care of a household, so that they could give away their daughter.The mother laughs off the proposition by saying that her son can't even boil water and can only make noodles in a microwave. The girl's father apologetically conveys to them that their daughter can't live on noodles alone.At this juncture, the groom intervenes into the conversation and invites the girl's family to their house after ten days, trying to buy time to learn cooking. The frame closes with smiles spread on the faces of everyone present there.