The Tradition

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Dear Vishal,

It took a lot of mental cajoling to sit down and pen this letter. You would ask me why? It is our little Valentine’s Day tradition after all to write letters to each other. So, here I am.  As I begin writing I can almost picture you flashing that crooked smile of yours. How you know that you can always escape my wrath by the sheer power of your gooey grin!

Today, I wonder how Time on its ‘winged chariot’ flew so fast. Time is indeed fickle and leaves us forever wondering about moments which could have been relived, actions which we could undo.

You always tell me to live in the moment and I being an incorrigible pessimist smirk away to glory. But, I am learning to unlearn things and turning a new leaf.

I am sure you would like the ‘new’ me. You have always been the wind beneath my wings and I am forever grateful to you for that.

Forever team V &V

********

Vaani folded the piece of paper which had little poppy flowers imprinted on it. The red flowers seemed to be engulfing the words making a kaleidoscope of sorts. She sighed and rambled laboriously towards the living room.

There he was, smiling at her. The crooked grin tugged at the farthest corners of her heart yet again.

“Happy Valentine’s Day”, she said and slipped the letter on the mantelpiece where a metallic frame showed a man in an olive green uniform.

Instantly, she thought of the many love letters which lay undelivered, unread and some even buried in the abyss of grief stricken hearts because for some men the love for one’s motherland came first.

She closed her eyes and an errant tear trickled down her eyes.

 
This was first published here: https://artoonsinn.com/2019/02/13/the-tradition/

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Posted in love, Short Story, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Do We Need To Push The ‘Desh-Bhakti’ Button?

 

uri capI happened to have a cursory glance at one of the reviews of the movie Uri. It stated with a hint of sarcasm and said that the movie attempts to push on our emotional and ‘desh bhakti’ buttons.

This got me thinking. Why suddenly being patriotic is considered a taboo? Why expressing your ardent love for your motherland often earns you the label of a jingoist albeit erroneously? With these questions looming large in my mind, I saw the movie Uri.

Uri: The Surgical Strike is based on the Indian Army’s surgical strike on the POK. The surgical strike was a retaliation in response to the attack on the Army Brigade Headquarters in Uri in September 2016 where 19 soldiers were killed ruthlessly and more than 80 were injured.

The movie clearly belongs to one man- Vicky Kaushal.  From the reticent lanky boy in Massan to the confident, gutsy soldier in Uri, he seems to have come a long way. The way he becomes the character is spell binding and he never ceases to surprise me. He as Major Vihaan has almost carried the entire film on his able shoulders with just the ‘right josh’. Kirti Kulhari as an Indian Airforce pilot convincingly played the part and being a defense brat herself I am sure she would have blended in the role effortlessly. Yami Gautam was impressive as an Intelligence officer.

There has been some dramatization and you can gauge that, but given the subject one can let it go. The portrayal of army men is on point. The constant struggle of the fauji families wherein they grapple duty and family life is truly delineated and so is their zest for life. What I liked the most is the way Army officers are depicted. They are unassuming, focused and are doing their jobs oblivious to the chaos and clearly not yearning for any larger than life praises for their acts of valor.

As I sat in the theatre, the crowd cheered and applauded – not because a button of patriotism was pressed hard, but because they felt one with those unknown, nameless soldiers who lost their lives – they felt mighty proud of those faceless group of soldiers who went on to risk their lives for their country. So, I ask what is wrong in bringing forth these fervent emotions of patriotism ? Weren’t these emotions running high when our ancestors fought for the elusive freedom?

Uri, you have my heart !!

 

 

Posted in movies, opinion, Pop culture | 2 Comments

My Tryst With Beauty!

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What is beauty? As I sit pondering over what truly defines beauty, I cannot help but dive deep into the labyrinths that I meandered through the thirty plus years of my existence. The truth is that the concept of beauty has had different connotations for me at different stages of my life.

When I was an unassuming, starry-eyed school girl, I remember being smitten by the very idea of beauty. I found myself being confounded by the fact that the so called ‘beautiful people’ were looked at by the society at large with rose-colored glasses. Yes, at that young an age, I could gauge that the pretty girls of the school were looked at with a hint of envy by the other girls and the boys gazed at them to no end.

For a naïve thirteen year old this was probably the first tryst with beauty and the hoo- haa around it. I was not unattractive so to say if you come to define by the societal standards of beauty. I was fair and thin and reasonably decent looking.

But, the thing with beauty is that no matter how good you are, there is always going to be someone who would be better than you. And so I often ended up comparing myself with other girls. I distinctly remember this one incident wherein for a school play a pretty and tall girl was out rightly chosen for a part while I yearned to play the protagonist. It was then that I felt that life is unfair to you at times if you do not fit into the mold of what the world deem as ‘beautiful’.

But, life went on and like so many other things my notions and beliefs about beauty metamorphosed like the clay that twists and turns on the Potter’s wheel to finally become a sturdy pot. As I grew older, both in age and sensibilities, it gradually dawned upon me that beauty is not something which is an all pervading phenomenon. Just by dint of being pretty you could not be successful and happy.

There were a number of people who made me realize that our society has a warped up definition of beauty and it is time we redefine it. And yes my education and life experiences led me to believe that beauty is indeed skin deep.

My grandmother, who inspite of being dark-skinned and someone who wasn’t ‘beautiful’ as per the societal standards, unwittingly ingrained in me the first seeds of feminism and led life on her own terms. She had an infectious zest for life and was never apologetic about the way she wanted to live. In an era where women were mostly the shadows of their husbands, she was a politician who unabashedly spoke her mind. I remember at seventy five years of age, when my grandfather said to her, “We have lived a full life, now it is time to go”, she replied, “I am not going anywhere, aap ko jaana hai toh jao. Mujhe bahaut jeena hai abhi”.

I believe she is beautiful!

Then there was a colleague of mine, who was overweight and fringing towards obesity. But, she was never perturbed by her appearance. She would wear all sorts of clothes that she wished to wear and carried them with elan. Initially, people stared, some even sneered covertly. But, she was unaffected and gradually the obtrusive glares were gone. Later on she met this boy who fell for her, because he found her confident and positive. She made me realize that body-image matters and you should be comfortable in your skin, no matter what.

I believe she is beautiful!

Then, there is a college friend of mine whom I got in touch with recently through facebook. I reconnected with her after a decade and could not recognize her instantly. She had transformed completely from a lanky college girl to a woman who was ‘chubby’ and again not conforming to the societal standards of beauty. After I got in touch with her, I realized that my newsfeed used to be constantly brimming with her pictures. She was posting pictures of family outings, selfies constantly. I was amazed to see her in all these pictures, smiling from ear to ear, sans any of those ‘filters’ that the millennial resort to- to ‘correct’ their looks nowadays. She was there in her true form, just being herself. One day out of curiosity I asked her, “You click so many pictures of yours”. Pat came the reply, “I like being clicked. It makes me feel good”. She made me realize that there is no point fussing over your looks as how you feel about yourself reflects on your face which in turn makes you beam.

I believe she is beautiful!

Today, as I am a mother to a young girl, I am glad that now I know that beauty isn’t merely about looking beautiful. To be beautiful you ought to feel beautiful. And how does one feel beautiful? Believing in oneself is the first step to feel beautiful. I hope I am able to instill in my daughter this belief that to look beautiful, believe in yourself first. Thereafter, let your actions do the rest. And then indeed you would be a beautiful person, in the true sense of the word.

 

(Image Source: https://www.saturdayeveningpost.com/2013/03/norman-rockwell-girl-at-the-mirror/)

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

Today Naturals Salutes the Beautiful Indian Woman.

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Posted in feminism, parenting, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

The Typewriter #FlashFiction

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Kartik was having the time of his life. The waterfall was surreal.

As night drew close, he reached the small cottage. Tired, he immediately fell asleep.

The ‘tap tap’ sounds woke him up at an unearthly hour.

The next day, relishing his morning tea, he asked the manager, “Who was typing on a typewriter yesterday night?”

“Oh, don’t worry. A writer once stayed in that room. He was working on a novel, but one day he passed away”.

Kartik knew  aspiring writers were given enough lemons in their writing journey, but never did he know they persevered till afterlife.

Posted in Flash Fiction, thriller | 7 Comments

Wanderlust #100WordStory

 

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They reached the enchanting vale to find the gurgling waterfall as they soaked in the unadulterated jungle air. She held his hand lovingly”.

“Here is your tea mom”. Her daughter’s voice shook Seemita. Pushing her typewriter away she smiled. Life had given her enough lemons but could not dampen her spirits.

She and her husband were travel bugs, forever seeking out unexplored places. Unfortunately, a freak accident three years ago took him and left Seemita paraplegic.

But, one day, she realized that she could still satiate her ‘wanderlust’ and travel to places unknown. Ah! the joys of being a writer.

Posted in Flash Fiction | 4 Comments