Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Stay-at-home dads and gender equity in household.

Let's start off with a rather shocking piece of information :
Researchers from the Juan March Institute in Madrid studied data based on relationships of 4,561 middle-aged US couples
They found men who do more traditionally 'feminine' chores have less sex
It suggests that gender stereotypes linger in the home and that women may see men doing ‘feminine’ jobs as less sexually attractive
But a study looking at younger couples found the opposite is true  And according to a more recent study, men who embrace their 'feminine side' around the house have more satisfaction in the bedroom than those who stick to ‘manly’ chores like cutting the hedge and mowing the lawn.

Another one-time Nielsen India study on Indian households supported by Ariel, has found that while over two-thirds of Indian women feel, there exists inequality at home, between men and women, Indian men believe laundry is a woman's job. Two-thirds of women feel men do not help with household chores, a sentiment also echoed by men as per the 5-city (1000 person) survey conducted in Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Hyderabad and Bangalore in November 2014.
The survey says 70% of married Indian women feel they spend more time on household work than with their husbands. What displays a clear case of women undergoing greater stress as compared to men is the statistic that 85% of working Indian women feel they have two jobs, one at work and another at home.

But the numbers are progressing. A study conducted by different NGOs stated that in 1989, 32% of men and 26% of women thought that it was a man's job to earn the money and a woman’s’ job to look after the home and family - but in 2006 only 17% of men and 15% of women agreed with this.

So what can an individual make out from these statistics? Yes! Even though, we have our own thorns on the rose, but we are evolving as a society. There was a time when Hindu widows (sati) were burned with the deceased body of their husbands, and girl children were killed after birth. But we are moving forward in the direction of a better future. Those filthy rituals are long gone. We now talk about gender equality and feminism. We are headed for a better tomorrow. But then again, you can't clap with one hand. If women are matching their shoulders with men in each and every felid, what are men doing towards gender equality?

Meet the Agnihotri family. Like most of the middle-class families in India, there is just one breadwinner in this Pune based family too. Arundhati, 46, works with the Life Insurance Corporation of India, is the family’s sole breadwinner, while the husband runs the house. Atul Agnihotri is the most famous stay-at-home dad of India. After they were called in the famous TV show  Satyamev Jayate, hosted by the perfectionist of Bollywood, Aamir Khan.
 "Yes, I am dependent on her for money. Till date, I haven’t been able to buy her a gift in   the materialistic sense of the word, though our biggest gift to each other is our      contented life together. She manages the finances of our home, and she saves for the  family." - said Atul.

The Agnihotri family with Aamir khan.

And not only Atul, but there are several other examples of stay-at-home dads in India, such as Gautam John, Mohit Satyanand and Samar Halarnkar. And all of them are absolutely okay to depend upon their wives for the money and take care of the child, as well as all the household chores by themselves. And the number of them are increasing day by day.

So we can say, that yes, we are moving forward. And with every passing day, household chores are coming up onto the to-do list of men too. A happy wife, a happy life, as they say. So guys, man up, pick the broom, and start sweeping your wives off their feet once again.

“I am writing for the #ShareTheLoad activity at in association with Ariel.”

Tuesday, 28 April 2015


She loved mountains,
He loved her.
So he travelled to the mountains with her,
Forgetting what he loved: seashores.

He loved poetry,
She loved him.
So she recited him his favourites.
Forgetting what she loved: prose.

She loved to sing,
He loved to play the guitar.
And they performed together.
That’s where their love found its lost meaning.

Mighty Thoughts : My inception in the literary world.

It was just a regular day, I was getting ready for college. Just then, my phone beeped, it was a call from an unknown number.
"Am I talking to Sayantan Chatterjee?" The voice from the other end asked.
"Yes, it's him." I replied.
"I have a shipment from you. Please collect it, I'm waiting near the college" He said.
I rushed to the college, and collected the shipment. 'Sent from Mumbai' it was labelled. I tore open the wrap, jut to find out four copies of the book, that  I was waiting for from the last year, Ever since the day I received the mail, declaring me, alongside other twenty five talented authors, as selected for this anthology, I was anxious to lay my hand on the paperback. 
And when I did, the feeling was magical. I can't describe the chills that you get upon seeing your words imprinted on the pages of a book, that is widely available throughout the nation. 

About the book :

The anthology “Mighty Thoughts” comprises of 26 short stories written by different authors from all around the nation. The basic idea about the compilation of Mighty Thoughts is inspiration. As its name suggests, all the stories chosen for this anthology are solely chosen for one objective and that is to motivate our target readers with mighty thoughts. The blurb of each stories are as follows:

It’s All About You

Akash Shrivastav and Shruti Pareikh

“It’s All About You” is an inspiring story of a doctor. The doctor, Shashank Grover, is highly acclaimed for he had saved the life of a Bollywood actor suffering from ‘Lymphoma’ or skin cancer. The doctor is invited to a television show where emotions overcome him and he starts narrating about his dark childhood.

School Without Walls

Arpit Agarwal

“School Without Walls” is a humourously inspiring tale of two school children who dare to dream” and open a school without walls; a school for those couldn’t afford education.

Pomegrenate Nirvana

Dr. Roshan Radhakrishnan

The story “Pomegrenate Nirvana” is elucidated as a conversation between Sid (a Welsh person) and Renjith (an Indian fruit juice owner). Sid expresses about each of his problems to Renjith and Renjith calmly answers each of his questions over a glass of pomegrenate juice.

It’s the Thought That Counts

Elora Rath

The story starts with Avni, a news reporter who hurried up for her meeting with Manasi Goyal, an owner of ‘Spandan Foundation’, an orphanage which housed 1,300 children. Avni let out her frustration and rebuked her mother, Kavita as she tried to feed her with extra breakfast. She hurried down the stairs and got inside the taxi without looking back at her. Kavita, on the other hand, was deeply affected by the loss of her husband and raised Avni with much care. On her duty, Avni came to know about Manasi’s struggles, personal loss and the value of relationships.


J Alchem

In this story, Sameer receives the Public Welfare Award for Education sector and steps on the dias to receive his award and speak a few words. He is overladen with emotions and his memories flashed back to the days when he used to sell water pouches in railway stations. On a lucky day, he came across Massarrat, who offers to teach him for water pouches.

Finding Myself

Jonali Karmakar

“Finding Myself” is the story of a differently abled girl, Nisha who seeks the alliance of Rakesh, her younger sister’s private tutor. The story lays emphasis on individual dreams and responsibilities.

Slavish Sin

Kshitiz Sudhakar

Riya’s father had committed adultery, which finally led to the double murder of her parents. This was something which she never imagined in the worst of her nightmares. Now, Riya was left with no option other than to take up the cudgels for saving the reputation of her parents. She touched the weapons by which her parents killed each other and took the blame on herself. 

The Beggar

Mohan V Raghavan

The Beggar is a surprising story of a common man, Arun who was travelled across a train to buy medicines from another station for his ailing son. When he boarded the train, a beggar came across and asked him for some money. The story describes the human instinct which lies deep inside everyone’s heart.

Learning is the Daughter of Repitition

Vivek Jha

The narrator’s team had won the basketball tournament and was celebrating their victory feast at a restaurant. At that point, a shy eleven-year-old boy came at the restaurant along with a basketball to have an autograph. The narrator gave an autograph and went back to enjoy with his friends. Ever since that day onwards, a shy boy continued to look at the narrator play from his hiding. What happens when the narrator comes face to face with him?


Rahul Ramesh

“Inspired” is a story about a powerful business-magnate who owned more than a hundred paid slaves. Once, he came across a lucrative opportunity to build a mall in the place of a slum and therefore, decided to act upon it. The people begged for their lives but the narrator just laughed at their helplessness, avoided their plight and moved on. It was then, the narrator undergoes a sudden change of heart. How does it happen? And how does he inspire?

A Break Up Story

Leepi Agrawal

This is a youth-based story which sends the motto “Time is the biggest healer”. The story is about Nikita and Siddharth. Siddharth was a struggling musician and Nikita never cared about him, though he loved her.

When The Sun Sets

Swathi Shenoy

“When The Sun Sets” is a story of a girl who dreamt of having an Olympic Gold for India in Figure Skating but in a tragic accident, she lost one leg. She did not stop dreaming and as she looked at the sun setting in the horizon, she thought of giving a last chance. She had to lift one leg and skate either way. It was difficult but she dared to dream once again.


Sayantan Chatterjee

The story “Kisalaya” shows the truth of all old age homes. The inmates of “Kisalaya”, an old age home were made to wear uniforms like boarding or a jail, dirty rooms with dark green fungus and there was a field where the old men never played. Instead, they levelled the grasses with the lawn-mowers. The narrator, amidst all these revelations, happened to meet a couple, Mr. and Mrs. Banerjee. He learnt about the dismaying story of theirs but was thrilled to see how they lived in the oldage with enthusiasm.

The Monkey and The Moon

Pritesh Chakraborty

The story begins as a lecturer enters the class quite late and begins a tale as there was not much time for the bell to ring. Between his stories, the student narrator either dozes off or gets diverted and begins listening to the tale which simply puts the desperate attempts to reach the incredibly high white orb. The lecturer leaves the tale in the middle and leaves it upto the students to derive the conclusion. The story teaches that we all have weaknesses, in the form of monkeys, and what we desire to achieve is the moon or glory.

My Pain, My Success


My Pain, My Success is the story of life and struggles of a girl called Kavya who had managed to overcome the obstacles of the step motherly and barbaric attitude of her uncle and aunt, an unsuccessful marriage and a life in lows to a life she dreamt, with her lover Yuvraj.

Desire to Live and You Can

Nainika Gautam

A lot of inquisitive, half hearted students were sitting in the hall, waiting for a guest speaker to come on stage and deliver an inspirational speech. As the students joked amongst themselves, the guest speaker came up. The guest speaker started off telling the tale of Muskan, a child who was brought up by her parents like a princess. One day, when Muskan was eight and had gone to the park, her mother was called by a person who said that his husband had suffered from an accident. When the mother returned, she found that Muskan was lying on the ground and had become a victim of child abuse. What happens next? How did she become an inspiration? Who was Muskan?

The Journey of Realisation

Sreelekha Chatterjee

Kunal had boarded the train back to Kolkata and he desperately wanted to escape from his worthless life. While travelling in the train, he came across Vimla, a cheerful old woman with a distressed past. She offered sweets, tried to strike a conversation many-a-times, but failed. What was Kunal’s reaction? What happened when they reached the destination?

If There is Love, Here it is, Here it is…

Shalini Roy

The story “If There is Love” is based on a true story. It speaks about the belongigness of a differently abled couple who were victims of the Gyaneshwari Express blast which was caused by the naxalites. The couple elucidates how they met each other when they were in agony, supported each other even though they knew that their limbs were missing, and still found a perfect soulmate.

What is Success?

Sunayna Pal

Pachu, a little kid, locked himself in a room inside and sulked because it was for the first time, someone defeated him in a race. He did not want to eat nor did he want to see his grandmother. The grandmother arrived and entered into his room, respecting his privacy. She also managed to make him giggle. Meanwhile, the mother decided to eavesdrop on them. The grandmother continues to explain him about success and persuade him to come out of the room to have some food.

Rule of the Wicked

Vinay Chitturi

Evil hearted and notorious, Sekhar was the ruler of the village and his words were followed without a single objection from anyone. Rather, no one dared to object. He was in a pensive mood as his wife Kamala was about to give birth to a baby. He wished for a male child, and that was what he got. Later, he came to know that his son, Amar, was a cripple. He was infuriated and wished to slay his son but time healed and later, Kamala gave birth to Prathap and Shakun. Will Prathap and Shakun follow the footsteps of Sekhar or will they betray him? What will be the role of Amar in all these?

The Heroes

Prity S

“The Heroes” is a story which potrays the real life inspiration around us. An accident takes place and Macy, the lady doctor had to bring in two bodies in which the chances of survival for one of them wasn’t enough. Unfortunately the one who could not be saved was a soldier. What happens when the life of the soldier is lost? What are the reaction of his parents?

Blind Dreams

Sandeep Sharma

Blind Dreams is a half-extract of a girl suffering from cancer. The story speaks about a novel which she reads and gathers courage.

It’s My Life

Prachi Priyanka

The story “It’s My Life” describes about the pains of old age faced by a person when he moves abroad. In a new land, he yearns for the warmth of relationships and the necessity for freedom.

The Burnt Letter

Subhasis Das

The Burnt Letter is a satirical romantic tale of the son of a Zamindar and the daughter of a Sajori (one who dresses up the bride on the wedding). The story throws a light on to the limitations of human thoughts.

Born @ 35

Meghna Gupta Jogani

Born at 35 is a story of a woman who found that her identity was lost somewhere and began her journey to become a bestselling authoress.

Miss You, Rival

Shreyan Laha

Miss You, Rival is a story about Aniket, a boy who was frequently compared with his neightbour, Trisha for his bad grades. The board results were out and Aniket scored half marks of his rival, Trisha, had scored. He retrospected upon the lost time which he idled while playing the guitar and thought of attempting a suicide. As he was about to take the step of ending his life, Trisha called him and ordered that they had more plans. The two chattered and spent some merry time in an empty space and suddenly, Aniket was shocked to find that she was not around. How Aniket gains inspiration is purely petrifying…

You can support us on our Facebook page, And you can buy the book from here. 

Sunday, 26 April 2015

The Missed Calls

Riya was surfing through the channels aimlessly. When you have a big house like theirs, and your husband is always busy on business, all you are left with is the remote of the TV. And no one better than her knows how boring it may turn out to be. Sometimes she regrets marrying Sameer. But at that time it seemed like the right thing to do.  She was lured by the materialistic properties that Sameer had. Big house, big car, and lots of money. The arrange marriage sounded like a great deal to Riya. Little did she know that all of these comes with a price.

An eagle swarmed into a large snake as it hissed away, turning good 360 degrees, and jumps on to the bird and bit it on the neck. After a lot of hustle, the bird died out of poison. A ridiculously interesting show was up in the Discovery channel. Riya leaned forward to watch the same scene, but this time in a slow motion. Oh! How she wished she could turn  360 from this marriage, go back into the past and stop it from happening but alas, she doesn't have the furious instinct or the courage to do so.

'Ring Ring'......'Ring Ring'. Their land-phone buzzed. 'Ring Ring'...'Ring Ring' , it buzzed again. Riya lazily walked upto the table and just when she was about to pick the call, it disconnected. A missed call on the land-phone! How strange, she thought. Sometimes the extra sophistication around this house irritates her. In 2015, who has a gold plated antique land-phone apart from Sameer? This piece of crap doesn't even has a Caller-ID! Now she won't be able to call back whoever was calling.

She came back near the sofa, where she was sitting before and turned on the TV. Some bollywood hero with his shirt open, flaunting his eight packs, was advertising for some deodorant.

'Ring Ring'...'Ring Ring' the phone buzzed again. Riya jumped off the sofa and hurried to the table, but as before, before she could pick the call up, it got disconnected.

After ten minutes the same thing happened. And this kept happening for the next two hours. 'Ring Ring' ... 'Ring Ring' , a call comes to their telephone, and before she could pick it up, it disconnects. For the first few calls, Riya thought it was just a coincident. But it can be coincident if it happens for two or three times in a row, but eleven times straight can't be a co-incident! She was freaked out.

"Ring Ring"...."Ring Ring" the phone buzzed again, for the twelfth time that night. Riya was so frightened that even if the AC was on, she was sweating like an ice-cream out of refrigerator. At a point she thought she'll call Sameer at let him know about this. But she refrained from that, and went straight to  her bedroom and locked herself inside, but she could still hear the phone buzzing all night. She fell asleep later in the dawn.

The sound of the doorbell waked her up. Knotting the belt of his night gown, she walked up to the door with sleepy eyes. She opened the door to find out two gentlemen, wearing a blue uniform. "We are from the telephone company" said one of them. Wait! She didn't even tell anyone about last night. How did they know?
"Your husband called us a week ago, we're sorry, the cable you had was very old. It tore off the pole, we detected. We are here to change the wire." said the second man.
But that didn't make any sense! How can the phone be dead for days, when  it was the phone that kept her up  all night? A cluster of chills flew down her spine. Her face turned red, for the sudden gush of blood, and in the next second it tuned pale yellow. She was having a panic attack. All she could hear was the echo of the land-phone ringing. 'Ring Ring'... 'Ring Ring', it buzzed.

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.

This week’s WOW prompt is
– ‘Hero, Missed Call and Discovery

My first WOW badge, Thanks BlogAdda

Friday, 24 April 2015

Carpe Diem!

The other day, I was just browsing through the internet. Site to site, wandering aimlessly. To sum up, wasting my time. Just then I stumbled upon this video in Youtube. Some guy named Harlem Elvis was saying something about 84,600 $ per day. I was intrigued, naturally. So I played the clip. And one minute and four seconds later I was awestruck. Never in my life have I been more inspired in just 64 seconds. And what he said was so simple, so easy to understand, but yet so powerful. I was moved to the core.

"Take every day and take every moment and make something of it. Make something positive.” Harlem says. This got me into thinking. What am I doing with my share of 84,600 seconds per day? Am I spending it wisely? Or am I wasting it? And the answer that I found lying secretly deep into my heart was frightening. I was wasting the most of it. But then again, when you're in your early 20s, you don't think about wasting time or things like that. All you care about is the fun you're getting out of it. Right? And believe me I was having a lot of fun wasting my time. May be I was not doing something productive every moment, but I was doing something positive.
Everyday I steal time from my routing to have some self-time. To thank the universe for bearing my burden, to thank my family for always being there for me, to thank my friends for being the hush of wind of the sail of my life and for being the anchor of my boat, when needed.
And I try to do my part. To be always there for my friends and family, in joy and sadness.
I like to live my life with no regrets whatsoever. Do whatever I like, whenever I feel like. Never hurt anyone knowingly. Make my own choices and live up to them. Set goals for myself and work hard to achieve them. Love and to be loved.
These little things, no matter how small or tiny they sound makes me a better man. And the happiness that comes out of these is incomparable.
And to know, that whatever life throws at me, I will always have these beliefs. I will always have my morals, my values, and the teeny tiny moments in my life that will cheer me right up. This feeling is what makes big occasions unnecessary, making me want to enjoy the moment I'm living in, to seize the day.

"#CelebrateLifeAtIvy by owning a dream home at Ivy estate, an 85 acre estate with 34 acres of greenery and open spaces. Join the 1600 happy families already living here. Check out this walkthrough video and decide for yourself. "

Crash the Pepsi IPL

IPL : Cricket doesn't get any better than this, does it?  And what more exciting than the thrill of your favourite player hitting an over-boundary, is enjoying it over a bottle of Pepsi.
And to add to this overwhelming experience, this season, Pepsi brings you "Crash the Pepsi IPL" contest. You can make it own advertisement and submit it to Pepsi. And if your ad got selected, it will be shown on TV as official Pepsi ads during this IPL. And to judge your ads, a heavyweight jury is created consisting of Ranbir Kapoor, Gautham Menon, Anuja Chauhan, Pritam and Ruchira Jaitly, Senior Director Marketing, PEPSICO INDIA. So bring out your cameras and start shooting.
Meanwhile, let's go through my picks of the videos that are already submitted and creating a ripple of joy in viewers' hearts. 

Lets start with a rather cute one. I found this ad much loveable. I really am happy for they just found someone with 'similar interests', if you know what I mean.
Speaking of cute, This ad features a cute girl with a cute dress, but a really straight forward approach. Did she wanted me to 'drink it' ? I don't know. Maybe I will think upon it over a glass of Pepsi. Just saying.
When I saw this ad, I was kind of expecting a cheesy boolywood line such as "Ekeli larki khuli hui PEPSI ki tarah hoti hai" , but rather than such a uncanny line, what did guys delivered was purely unexpected. They brought out the other side of the game. 'Gentlemen's game' it is called for a reason.
Look at this guy. The only reason he is up in my list is because of the bizarre resemblance of his script and the Honey Singh song 'Breakup party'. This add would have been far up on the chart if and only if he could record Honey Singh singing 
"Aaj maine breakup ki party rakhli hai 
 Subah se ek botal PEPSI bhi peeli hai".
No pun here. This one is flawless. Let's drink to our national drink, Cheers!

So with no more 'Verbose' let's admit that with just a computer and a brilliant mind, a simple ad can be created which can win millions of hearts. This deserves to be aired.
Just when you think you've seen it all, you'll come across this ad and you'll fall in love with it. Well this has to be the best one for me. It is apt, technically correct and witty. And after all these ads if you're still in a jeopardy of whether to participate in  #CrashThePepsiIPL or not, I would tell you to do it. And do it 'abhi'.

Check out the #CrashThePepsiIPL videos & participate in the activity at BlogAdda.

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Found & Lost

Find me,

Where the dawn sheds the light,
Where the soldiers refuse to fight.
Where the earth kisses the sky,
Where a mother sings a lullaby.

Lose me,

Where you have to go with the flow.
Where machines are fast, people are slow.
Where heart aches, doesn’t love,
Where you put yourself on all above.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Will of Steel

When I first saw the nominees by the JSW, the first two names that striked my mind were Bhakti Sharma and Rufus D'souza. Ironically, in terms of age they stand in the two extreme corners of this competition. Bhakti, being just 25 and Rufus being 85 years of age. But what I noticed, the common thing between them, was their passion for what they love. One woman, trying hard to push the boundaries of herself. And one man who gave up every mortal thing in his life for a game. They both have this immense power of inspiration to give away. And the young generation will always be at their debt for doing something so incredible that many of us can only dream of. 

Bhakti Sharma

She hails from the deserted land of Rajasthan, yet she have successfully won the water, literally. At the of 25, Bhakti, on january 10th, 2015  became the youngest in the world and first Asian girl to swim in freezing water of Antartica for 2.25 km, beating the record of British open water swimming champion Lewis Pugh and American swimmer Lynne Cox. Sharma swam for 52 minutes, covering 2.25 km distance in the freezing waters of Antartica while the temperature was one degree. 
Bhakti Sharma has swum in all the five oceans of the world, besides swimming in or across eight other seas and channels. She was awarded the Tenzing Norgay National Adventure Award in 2010.

Sharma started swimming when she was just 2.5 years old. After having participated in many State and District Level competitions, her first open water (Sea) swim was a 16 km swim from Uran port to Gateway of India in 2003. Sharma was 14 years old that time.
Sharma is only the third person in the world to have swum across the Arctic Ocean, and recently swam in the Antarctic Ocean to become the youngest to swim in all five oceans, a feat which earned her recognition from Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Sharma's swimming career in just a little over 10 years is commendable and some major milestones include :
2006: Crossed the English Channel in 13 hours 55 minutes on 6 July at the age of 16 from Shakespeare Beach, Dover England to Calais, France. 
2006: Winning the Lake Zurich Swim.

Image src :


Rufus D’Souza (Santos Club, Cochin) is 85 years old and has been coaching for the last 44 years. Like most people, his love affair with sports began in childhood. However, unlike most people, he was lucky enough to turn his childhood dream into reality. In 1954 he captained the Travancore Hockey team and from 1960 to 1968 he represented Kerala in both football and hockey. The joy he felt playing sports motivated him to get into coaching once his own playing days were over. He chose to be a youth coach.
At the youth level, a coach’s role is critical as players rely on them for structure, inspiration and guidance. These youth coaches wear many hats, and teaching the sport is just one of them. Rufus too believes that his role extends beyond the Football field. He tells me that a good youth coach must inculcate the 4 Ds in children “desire to excellence, dedication to work hard, help them chart out a direction for their life and teach them discipline.” The sports field helps develop both an athlete and an individual. Lessons learned here are carried throughout life.
His distinction is in having played hockey and football with equal felicity for the State. Today, Rufus is known for his playing skills and also as a coach who has produced stars for the country. He is present daily on the Parade Ground, Fort Kochi, every morning training kids of different ages. No wonder he is popularly known as ‘Football Uncle’. Rufus is looking forward to the football extravaganza and places his odds on Uruguay this time. The game has been my life, declares Rufus.

Img Src :

"I'm voting for Bhakti Sharma and Rufus D'souza 's #WillOfSteel and blogging on BlogAdda to help him/her get felicitated and eventually enabled by JSW"

And I ask my readers to vote for them too.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

What it takes to be happy.

“Yes mom, don’t worry! I will do just fine.” I said to my mother over the phone. Mothers are one odd creature, I tell you; they can be strong at times when everyone else is falling apart, and yet they can act paranoid when there is no logical reason behind it.
 I was shifting to Delhi, to join my first job, and she was reacting like I was going for a war to fight.
“Please double check, you always forget to pack your toothbrush” she said.
“Mom! I checked, it is there. I packed it. I’m going to Delhi, not to some extreme remote corner of the world, even if I had forget it, I’m sure they sell toothbrushes in Delhi.” I replied reluctantly.
“Still, what’s the harm of being extra careful?” she’d say.
“Okay mom, I promise I will be. But now, I really have to get going. I have loads to do.” I said, and hung up the phone after wishing her a good night.
The brown letterbox, which contained my joining letter was peeping through the chains of my overly packed bag. I took it out to reconfirm, for I was still in the trance of the news that I was placed, in this time of recession the IT industry was facing. “Tata Consultancy Service” the letterhead read. My hard work paid off, afterall that is what I wanted, to bag a decent job. I know I’m supposed to be ‘goosebumps’ happy, but strangely I wasn’t.
Not everyone is as lucky as I am. My life is a fairy tale for anyone who belongs to middle class family. But deep inside, I was never really happy. I always thought there are two types of people: One, who knows the key of happiness, who always, somehow, finds a reason or two to be happy. And the second bunch, who doesn’t knows the do-s and don’t-s of happiness. And sadly enough, I was one of the second kind.
When I was in class 10th, I thought, maybe scoring a decent marks in the Board’s exam is what it takes to be happy. Then in my +2, I thought maybe getting a good rank in the competitive exams of engineering and hence getting admitted to a good college is what would really make me happy. Then in initial days of college, I thought, maybe to steal the heart of the most gorgeous girl in the college would finally give me my desired happiness. And in final year, I thought maybe to bag the best job in the campus placement is the key. And as life went by, I did accomplish all of the above, but never really felt the thrill of ecstasy. The feel when hushing winds cherish your face after a stressful day, or when you smell the odour of wet soil after the first rain of the season, that kind of soothing thrill. I never felt that kind of happiness after achieving anything. Maybe I was too lost in the pursuit of happiness that I forgot to cherish it.
The heat of the burning cigarette-bud brought me back into the reality. I was so lost in the thoughts that I almost burnt my finger. Throwing the remains of the Gold-Flake, I rushed towards kitchen to arrange my dinner. People like me, who lived a major part of their lives away from their home, would understand the importance of cooking their own food.
Soon after completing my dinner I merged into thoughts again. I will be missing Kolkata badly. I have spent the best four years of my life here. More than the city itself, I will miss the people. Though I’ve been away from home, but they never let me feel like it. The majority of the people here are of the first kind: they always manage to find a reason to be happy. And among those happy faces, I will miss Aditi the most.
I met Aditi after finishing the first year of my college. I was no longer a ‘junior’. Finally I had the privilege of calling myself a ‘senior’. The sudden impact, it leaves you with, is incomparable. ‘Ragging’, or to be specific ‘intro’ is a tradition of most of the engineering colleges, and ours wasn’t an exception. So when the new batch comes to the college, the crowd outside of the actual college premises is noticeable. It was that time, when I first saw Aditi. A girl, dressed in a light pink Salwar Kameez was trying to make her way out of the front gate, and a bunch of my classmates, the new ‘seniors’ surrounded her like long-starved lions, asking her millions of questions. She was visibly uncomfortable. Sweat-drops slipped from her forehead and made the books wet, which she was holding against her chest so hard, that they were almost crushed. But somewhere between her light pink dupatta, and hazel brown eyes, I lost my heart. This may sound cheeky, but it was love at first sight. And the events that followed are history. How I rescued her that day, how we came to know that we belong to the same town, and then the series of dates and finally my proposal. Everything else fell into their respective places.
Now that I’m moving to Delhi, and she’s stuck here in Kolkata, I wonder how would be life there in Delhi. How would the people of Delhi treat me? And would Aditi miss me the same way I will miss her? Or will I be just like the old photograph that we never have the time to look again, or the necessity to throw it away?
This is why I hate expectations. Whenever someone expects something out of anyone, he will get hurt, in one way or the other. Destiny always finds a way to mess things up, to complicate things.
I still remember the day I left home for the first time. I had to shift here in Kolkata to pursue engineering. Goodbyes are awkward. But when you see your mother crying infront of your own eyes, you feel weak by the knees, and I felt that too. But she knew it is for my own betterment. I had to leave. She was sad and happy at the same time: sad, to see me go and happy to see me grow. I left. For the first few weeks she called me every now and then. The numerous phone calls never let me feel that I was away. But as days went by, the frequency of the calls decreased. And it stopped at one phone call per day. But that was okay, for I knew she is my mother. And the love of a mother for her child would not change at any circumstances.
Now I wonder, would that case be the same with Aditi too? Would she continue to love me, even if I shift to another city, 1500kms away? Or distance will creep into our relationship? Yes, she loved me; yes, she makes me feel special, but is that enough? Question remained the same.
I was insecure. It’s the nature of the world, we all are insecure about the most precious things we have. We always fear to lose them. And there is a saying, “Out of sight, out of mind”.  Thoughts of losing Aditi were covering my mind. I felt the real urge to call her right away. I looked at the clock. The digital font showed “11.45 pm, 14th September”. Most of the days, she calls me at 11 pm sharp. But it was quarter to twelve and phone screen still hadn't flashed the most beautiful name the phonebook contained. I was worried. But not because she didn't call me yet, but because of the thought, that I didn't even left the town, and the distance was playing its role. Was my nightmare becoming reality?
A familiar beeping noise cut me off my paranoia, my phone was buzzing. I hold the phone close to my eyes. It was an unknown number. ‘Who can call me at this odd hour?’ I was intrigued. I picked it up with a feeling of irritation.
“Happy birth day Shona!!!!” screamed a voice with utter enthusiasm. I was baffled.   It was when I turned my head towards the clock, I realized the screen read “12.00 am, 15th September”. In this hustle of packing and biding goodbyes, I forgot my own birthday. But there was someone who didn't.
“I love you so much”, the beautiful voice screamed again, this time with a lot of passion. That very sound of her vocal chords were enough to sooth my heart. And I melted like an ice out of the fridge. How could I be so mean? How could I doubt this innocent love? Few miles may part our bodies, but our souls were interconnected. We were so committed to each other that I couldn't live without her, and she couldn't breathe without me. Like I said, I am lucky. But not because I topped my school, or I got admission in a good college, even not because I had a job that pays me more than I deserved, but because I had Aditi in my life.
“Hello….. Anyone there??” she asked in a cute yet tensed tone.
“Yes, I’m sorry, I was thinking something… Thank you by the way.” That was all I could utter. I thanked her for being in my life. For making it the way it is – full of happiness.
And that day, while talking to Aditi, I realised the secret. I finally found, the key to ecstasy. It was not the pursuit that mattered, it was the moments which makes an individual full of happiness. It was never about the goal, happiness is not a destination, but the journey. Little moments scattered here and there in our lives, pick them all, and give them a stir. There, you have the recipe of happiness.
Just a moment of love, a feel of responsibility, a vive of selflessness, a pinch of hope….And a lot of expectations. That’s what it takes to be happy.

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English Vinglish

85% is a not a bad score if you're from a state secondary board. I scored 85.4% in class X. Quite a decent score it is for West Bengal Board of Secondary Education. That too, Bengali medium.
I always wanted to study in an English medium school. But somehow, in our parents' belief, English mediums makes a kid spoiled and morally handicapped, Whereas if a kid studies in a good Bengali medium school, he will  learn about the values of our ancestors and will learn how to behave politely. So we: me and my elder brother were admitted to the best Bengali medium school they had in town. We were always good at studies, sports and everything. Many people told our parents that they should move us to an English medium school, that'll give us a better perspective of things. But our parents: they were blindfolded by their beliefs.
When we, me and my brother topped the school again in the class X board exam. We grabbed our report cards and went to our father. He was very proud of us. We wanted to give us anything we want. So he asked me -
"What do you want son? Tell me. Today, I will grant you anything you ask for."
So I turned to my brother, and as we had already planned out, we were ready to demand our wish. 
"We want to move out of the city Dad." I said.
He was utterly shocked. The red gush of blood flooded his face, and soon vanished, leaving a blank expression hanging down from his face. He was clueless of what we were talking about.
"Yes Dad. We want to move out. We want to prepare for engineering and we want to do it from one of the best schools that the Country has to provide. And it is not Bengali medium!" my brother spoke for us.
"What !!!!!" our father exclaimed.  "But how? How will you manage? You've only been studying every subject in Bengali up until now. How would you adjust?" he was clearly in dilemma.
"We will manage. I know we can. We can do it. Have some faith on us." I plead. 
"I don't know. I don't think that you can pull off this one." He said, still shocked from the gift I asked for.
"You have taught us enough. I know that we can do this. Please, we really want to do this. You have to understand." I exclaimed.
"Okay son. If you're saying that you can do it. I believe you. But remember one thing, there is no turning back. If you fail to adjust, you'll lose one year." Dad said.
"I understand. And I understand if i don't take this risk, I'll regret it for the rest of my life." I replied.
"I am proud of you. Both of you." My father said. A little drop of tear shined like a pearl from the corner of his left eye.

We enrolled ourselves in one of the best schools. It was English Medium. The first few months were very brutal. But we survived. And five years later, at present, me and my brother, both are in the final year of our engineering.
I always had a knack for writing. Being admitted to that school gave me chance to look at things from a different angle and to find my real passion. I have already written a story in a prestigious anthology, and currently I'm working on my first novel. And can you guess the language of the book? Yes! It's English.


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