Moderately Tough Days

Some days I feel very motivated and I get up and I get shit done in just a matter of time.

I say to myself, “I can do this. I’m capable, I’m strong.” And I get up from my bed and I actually get it done.

In that moment l, I feel like I can do anything with just a bit more efforts and thought.

‘ I’ve done all the tasks that have been piling up and stressing me out since weeks, I’ve cleaned my room, I’ve caught up with all my deadlines, now I can do some hobby stuff. I could read, or I could sketch, or I could paint. ‘

Then there are these moderate days, when I feel just okay, but lazy.

I do just the necessary stuff and lie on my bed and read or watch some episodes or surf mindlessly on the internet, waste my time. These days don’t count as living, they just pass.

Then there are these terrible days. These are the tough ones.

This happens every once in a while when I’m feeling the most shitty about myself.

Mornings are the toughest — I don’t feel like getting up, I lay in bed for an extra hour knowing that today is going to be extra tough to go through. I get up, brush and eat, only because I’ve been starving since the moment I woke up (probably ’cause I lay awake whole night).

I spend the day feeling even shittier as I’m forced to go through daily monotonous tasks but I don’t feel like going out or dressing up or even taking a shower.

Even though I know, I always remember that there have been and will be worse days. But these moderately tough days are just unavoidable.

These are the days when I get the most of my reading done. I like to call it ‘power reading‘. (The way they call it ‘power yoga’)

I’d be numb to the outside world but I’d be overwhelmed on the inside. I’d be the most vulnerable, the most fragile piece of shit on this Earth. Say one word and I’d undergo a mental breakdown leaking streams of tears and runny nose.

I’d still be strong, but I’d be vulnerable. It’s kinda confusing.

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Moderately Tough Days

SCHOOL

“School” शब्द जब जुबान पर आता है,
तो सबसे पहले ज़हन में Kabra School की तस्वीर आती है।
11वीं 12वीं वाली तो convent school नहीं,
बचपन वाली Kabra School याद आती है।
ज्यादा बड़ी नहीं थी हमारी classes,
पर हाँ, इतनी बड़ी जरूर थी कि सबके लिए जगह हो सके,
Free period में benches के बीच वाली जगह में slate और sharpener से cricket खेलने जितनी जगह जरुर हो सके।

Co-ed थी हमारी school,
लेकिन लड़का-लड़की में भेद-भाव नहीं था
हमारे यहाँ,
आपस में झगड़ा होता था, तो सबको बराबर ‘डुक्के‘ पडते थे।

कोई sitting arrangement नहीं था, पर seats सबकी fixed थी –
आगे बैठने वालो को पीछे जाना मंजूर नहीं था,
पीछे वाले आगे बैठना नहीं चाहते थे।
बैठे भी क्यों?
पीछे बैठकर teacher के PJ पर रावण की तरह हंसते थे,
हर हरकत पर lame comments पास करते थे।
आगे वाले बेचारे sincere थे,
पर exam time में बहुत काम आते थे,
Notes इनके होते थे लेकिन उससे पढ़ाई पुरे class की होती थी,
Back benchers के पास होने में, teachers से ज्यादा हाथ इनका होता था।

Photocopied notes से पढना याद है?
End moment पे, ” important questions बता दें यार कुछ नहीं पढ़ा” याद है?
Sir, एक answer बता दो, pass हो जाऊंगा ”

अच्छा वो Sir याद है?

Durgesh sir की मार याद है?
Bhati sir की गुस्से से लाल आंखें,
उनकी वो hockey stick याद है?
Manoj sir की unpredictable फटकार,
S.N. Sir के taunt याद है?

Jugal sir की‌‌‍‍‍ sanskrit वाले गाने,
(जो हम आज भी नहीं भूले)
Sumer sir की high-class English,
Ramdev sir का लोहे वाला हथौड़ा याद है?
Inder sir की programming classes,
Pushpendra sir की मारवाड़ी भूल गए क्या?
अच्छा, Gaur sir का वो रुतबा याद है?

Each and every teacher deserves a mention in this.

Baliya miss की चिकनी चुपडी बातें,
Aakansha miss की गुस्से वाली डांट,
Neelu ma’am की 24*7 वाली मुस्कान,
Mehra miss की childhood stories,
Sankhla ma’am का लहजा,
Nisha miss का गुस्सा,
Jha miss का खौफ,
Pushpa Sharma ma’am की sanskrit classes,
और Najma ma’am का games वाला period.

क्यों? भूलें तो नहीं हो ना ये सब?

Harsha ma’am की drawing classes तो याद है ना?
Poonam ma’am की प्यारी प्यारी बातें,
Pramila ma’am की गालियाँ याद है?
(Hint – “खच्चर”, “गँवार”, “अक्कल के अंधे”)

Junior classes वाली –
Sunita ma’am, Parihar ma’am, Batra ma’am याद है?
Science वाली Dixit ma’am को तो नहीं भूले ना?
Chancal ma’am की drawing tips और Prerna ma’am के sanskrit hacks याद है ना?

अभी भी ज़हन में teachers की तस्वीरें घूमती है।

नाम लेते ही वो शक्ल सामने आती है,
teachers की, दोस्तों की,
वो uniform, वो bag-bottle, cartoons वाले tiffin याद आते हैं,
कभी magnet वाले, कभी soft toy वाले,
Calculator वाले, कभी maze, puzzle वाले pencil box याद आते हैं।

जिन चीजों पे हम रोते थे, उन सबपे अब हँसी आती है,
कभी मुर्गा बनने की punishment,
कभी दोस्त से लड़ाई,
कभी exam में दस में से दो नम्बर कम आना,
तो कभी classes shuffle होने पे partition जैसा drama
8वी-9वीं के बच्चे थे हम,
पर teachers के खिलाफ ललकार
स्वतंत्रता संग्राम वाले जोश से लगाई थी हमनें।

जिन बातों पर ठहाके लगा कर हंसे थे,
उनके बारे में सोचते ही nostalgia के आंसू
आँखों से निकल आते हैं –
बिन मतलब की लड़ाई,
कभी बिना joke वाली हँसी,
कभी किसी का Tiffin गायब करना,
एक इंसान को दस बोतलें एक साथ भरने भेजना,
Green room में समोसे share करना,
Recess में एक-दूसरे को भिगोना।

Games period में घोड़ा चमार खाए खेलने से लेकर Badminton के scores गिनने तक,
Landline पे phone करने से लेकर Facebook, insta पे request भेजने तक,
Birthday पे chocolates बांटने के लिए साथ ले जाने से Cake smash करने तक,
Annual function पर photographer से solo photo खिंचवाने से लेकर 2-3 घंटो के DSLR photoshoot करवाने तक।

शायद कितना कुछ है जो बदल गया है,
और बदलना भी चाहिए, बदले क्यूँ नहीं,
पर हम सबकी यादे तो वही की वही है,
ये तो कभी नहीं बदल सकती।

जब 10वीं pass करने के बाद Kabra से निकले थे,
सबने वादा किया था एक-दूसरे से,
Contact में रहेंगे, मिलते रहेंगे,
मगर शायद हालात ने सबको इतना बदल दिया है
कि कोई एक-दूसरे से बात तक नहीं करना चाहता, मिलना तो दूर की बात।
Reunion का वो promise उन दिनों की ही तरह past बन गया है,
कभी सोचते हैं हमारी school जाकर teachers से मिले,
लेकिन वहां गए तो पता चला पुरा staff बदल चुका है।
ना दोस्त मिले, ना teachers,
बस उन दीवारों से, उस मैदान से,
उस stage उस computer room
से ही थोड़ी गुफ्तगू कर आए हम।

ताज्जुब की बात ये है,
वहां जाते ही ऐसा अनुभव हुआ,
जैसे पुराने छोडें किसी घर लौट आई हूँ।
और दीवारों से बचपन की यादों की महक आ रही है,
हवाओं में दोस्तों की हँसी सी सुनाई देने लगी,
और farewell पे बहे आंसुओं की सौंधी सौंधी खुश्बू आने लगी।

(अगर कुछ महसूस किया हो तो नीचे एक comment जरूर छोड़ दे।)

SCHOOL

तू

ये जो तेरी आंखें है,
बिन बोले ही सब कह जाती है
इक पल जो इनमें झांक लूं
इश्क़ के सागरों में गोता लगाती हूं मैं

ये जो तेरी हंसी
ये मुस्कान
ये जो होठों का यूं घुमाव हैं
तेरे गालो के इन dimples में
ज़िन्दगी के सबसे हसीन लम्हों का इक दरिया है

ये जो तेरे बाल हैं
ज़रा बिखरे – बिखरे, तंग – तंग, घने – घने
जिनके बीच से मेरी उंगलियां यूं होकर गुजरती है
मानो मखमल की परत में ख्वाबों का रूबाब हो

ये तो तेरी उंगलियां
धीमी धीमी चाल से
टेढ़ी मेढ़ी हरकतें करती हैं,
कुछ यूं पंख की तरह सिरक्ती, खिसकती
सांसों के हिचकोलो में घूमती है

सांसें……
ये जो तेरी सांसें है,
कुछ नर्म – नर्म सी, कुछ गर्म – गर्म
कुछ धीमी – धीमी, महकी – महकी सी,
मेरी गर्दन की सूक्ष्म त्वचा पर
चाहत की आंधी छोड़ती है ।

ये जो तेरी आवाज़ है
कुछ मीठी सी, कुछ सख्त
कुछ परेशान, कुछ फुरसत वाली
हर मर्ज की दवा है ये
क्या सुर क्या संगीत
कान तरस जाते है इक तेरी आवाज़ सुनने को

ये जो तेरे कांधे का सुकून है
किसी नर्म बिस्तर, मखमली चादर,
किसी शुष्क तकिए से भी ज्यादा
किसी तंग रात की तनहा रजाई में
इक तेरा कांधा ही तो है
जिसके लिए मन तड़प उठता है ।

तेरा प्यार…
ये जो तेरा प्यार है,
कुछ सुकून सा, कुछ बेचैनी भरा,
कभी इश्क़ मोहब्बत सा, कभी तड़प तलब भरा,
इस प्यार की कुछ आदत सी पड़ गई है हमें
इस इश्क़ मिजाजी का आलम कुछ ये है जनाब
की तू नहीं होता तो तनहा रातों में हम
तेरे ख्वाबों से ही इश्क़ लड़ा लिया करते है ।

तू

Book Review #30 – College Days

Title – College Days

Author Devayu

Publisher – Pandora Box Press

Blurb
A loser engineering student is motivated to start a video game company by an ambitious girl who will be leaving India forever. Few Details: 1) Proxy: Filled for five friends but forgot one’s own 2) Viva: Smoked and drunk but still cracked it 3) Group Discussion: Topic- ‘Woman on the Top’ 4) Dropout: Still invited as a motivational speaker at his college 5) Engineerzoned: Too good for a girl.

Review

The cover page of this book is designed quite cleverly and does its job about right. It is simple, decent and beautiful. The colour combination chosen is bright and pleasant to the eyes.

The book justifies its title in its journey of over 200 pages and the story is as entertaining as it can be.
Characters like Chinu, Neil and Baba stay with you and they are the most perfectly crafted characters in the entire book, in my opinion. I praise the author for the lucidity of his words, but the language needs improvement.

Though the pace is kept up to the mark in the first few chapters, the story starts to get dragged in the later chapters and the characters that I liked start annoying me a little bit.

However, the plot of the book is strong and with a little more effort this book could’ve been a great success.

Anyway, I’m upset that I kept this book waiting for over a month and now this book has a special place on my shelves because of the events, characters and stories it carry.
Also, I loved “My father and mother met at an IIT, kissed at an IIT and slept at an IIT…” That was kind of exhilarating.
I found the ending great.

Ratings
Cover – 3.5/5
Storyline – 3.5/5
Language – 3/5

Overall Rating – 3.5/5

Final Verdict: If you’re new to reading and love to read a fresh young adult novel by a budding author, you can pick this one up.

You can buy your copy on Amazon.

Book Review #30 – College Days

Parde ke peeche kya hai?

As a part of our sociology curriculum, in the class a few days ago, we were debating on “Parda Pratha”.

Amongst us all, only one guy believed that Parda Pratha was indeed for our good. And debating against him, was about 7 of us.
He was so stubborn and arrogant that he wouldn’t even listen to what we had to say. He would only keep repeating what his ideologies were –
1) no lady doing Parda crossed her Maryada (modesty)
2) men didn’t need to do Parda because “Maryada auraton ki Hoti hai, Mardo ki nahi”
3) Parda is important to show your respect towards elder men in family/society
4) if women go way too bold, it’s only because they are not taught about and reminded their Maryada.

I know these ideologies are twisted and crooked. We kept on trying to make him understand, debating but totally maintaining our calm. No matter how many arguments we put up against his, he’d stick to what he thought was right. (or what he had been conditioned to think was right.)

What could we do? After a certain limit, he lost his cool and started threatening us. “You think you can brainwash me into thinking what you’re saying is right? Fight me!” We decided to give up and let him be.
What is worth a thought is that seven of us together couldn’t convince *one* guy, who was just our age, to change his opinion on Parda system. Now imagine it on a bigger scenario. Imagine all the ladies out there fighting against Parda, for their rights. So many men AND women out there, such few supporters. How could this probably be possible?

This is heartbreaking.

Parde ke peeche kya hai?

Book Review #28 – Aravan Head

Title – Aravan Head
Author – Aravind Narsimha
Publisher – Inspire India

Blurb
A politically driven criminal syndicate tries to steal a valuable ancient artifact, The Aravan Head, from a very old temple of the transgenders in Hijravan. Police officer Arya foils the well planned attempt. The incident unfolds a deadly secret that connects to a series of mind-boggling crimes which points to an unlikely person of tremendous authority in the political & business circles of Mumbai. With his friends kidnapped, his own people involved with the criminals and himself facing departmental enquiry, Arya is strangulated from all sides. Meanwhile in Delhi, 4 college girls, fed-up with the canteen food, hire a cook. While they expect an old, typically professional person, they are in for a great surprise that leaves them sweetly shocked. But the surprise is short lived after a beautiful transgender arrives at their bungalow revealing secrets that baffle them. Unfortunately the lives of the 4 girls become a nightmare along with that of the transgender. Did Arya arrest the main perpetrator behind all the crimes? What dangers did the Transgender bring to the girls? Did they survive the deadly situation they were pushed into? What price did Arya pay to win?

Review
The Aravan Head is a thriller which starts off really well and delves deep into several aspects of the Indian society such as politics, LGBT, corruption and other taboos.
These subjects are touched by exploring the story of an inspector named Arya who is on a run to solve many incidents.
One of the many things that I liked about this book is how the development of characters take place. The character building is nice and the narrative keeps hooked right from the start.
With the mention of Eunuchs, the author has dared to talk about a community which is still fighting to find a place in our society.
The cover looks amazing and this book I finished reading in three sittings which is a big thing because of my tight exam schedule.
Overall a good read and will stay with you for a time.

Ratings
Cover and Paper Quality – 3.5 /5
Storyline – 3.5 /5
Language – 4/5

Overall Rating – 3.5/5

Buy your copy here on Amazon.

Book Review #28 – Aravan Head

An Interview with Jyotika Teckchandani

Continuing with my fascination towards indulging in the thought processes of the upcoming authors, this time, I interviewed the author of three books from the Politics and International Relations domain – Jyotika Teckchandani.

Talking to her was an amazing experience. Witty, compassionate and humourous, her replies were prompt.

She talks about Gender equality, and gives her views on sensitive topics like Marital Rape and institution of Patriarchy.

Here’s a quick Rapid Fire round that I played with her through our session, asking several questions :

  • Your ideas on Feminism?

I don’t subscribe to any school of feminist thought. I believe in Gender Equality…And gender equality simply means equal  rights and opportunities for both the sexes.

  • Why Middle East?  

Middle East is the most central aspect of the global affairs.Since the development of oil and gas it has been the focus of the global politics. For the last 3-4 decades the issue of political authoritarianism, terrorism and gender justice in this part of the world has been dominating the global agenda .

  • Your Favourite Political Leader whom you think India needs today?

Jawaharlal Nehru-we need him today more because there is a greater internal and external danger to parliamentary democracy in India.

  • Your Favourite International Political Leader?

Golda Meir and Fidel Castro.

  • One quality which every political leader must have?

I think Inclusiveness…leader must be inclusive and  embracing.

  • India in 2030?

A robust economy with political authoritarianism and India will become a global power.

  • What is that  one change in Indian Polity  which is the need of hour?

Elimination of corruption from public life.

  • If not Political science, what else would it be?

It would be gender studies…. I really want to study in detail that why half of the humanity suffers  globally.

  • Piece of advice for the aspiring authors out there?

The only advice I have for them is  to believe in their unique potential ,set their goals and never give up. If you persevere, you will prevail. I am the living proof.

  • Your Inspiration?

Dr. Daisaku Ikeda.

  • your motto?

Never give up….Happiness and Effort are indivisible in life.

  • Biggest problem which is a hurdle to Indian women’s success ?

Institution of patriarchy…Its form has now changed from  private to public… 

  • Ways in which  Indian women can improve their situation?

Through education and participation in society.

  •  Marital Rape?

Common Sight in Indian Bedrooms…Very important to criminalize it.


Dr. Jyotika Teckchandani did her B.A. (Hons.) in Political Science from Sri Venkateswara College and M.A. in Political Science from Lady Shri Ram College, both affiliated to University of Delhi.
She received her M.Phil. and Ph.D. degrees from the Centre of West Asian Studies, JMI, New Delhi. She is the author of the book “ Islam and Gender Politics in Iran” and “State and Women in Islamic Republic of Iran: Khomeini  Era(1979-89)” and recently released Handbook of Political Science and International relations.
 Dr. Jyotika has contributed to a number of articles in academic journals of repute and newspapers including Indian Journal of Secularism, Journal of West Asian Studies, Quest International Multidisciplinary Research Journal, International Education and Research Journal , Journal of Social Science and Humanities Research, International Journal of Advanced Research, The Pioneer, The Quint, Hardnews, India Samvaad and wion, etc.


Link to her books-



Islam and Gender Politics in Iran- http://amzn.to/2gA5H6v

State & Women in Islamic Republic of Iran: Khomeini Era (1979-89)- http://amzn.to/2gFiQ1P

 

Handbook of Political Science and International Relations- http://amzn.to/2yG6RYS

An interview by-
Jahnavi Arora

An Interview with Jyotika Teckchandani