Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Good Bye 2015

Hey Friends!!

"Talk Talk mein" completes two years today.

And it is also time to say good bye to another year.

One often wonders what is so great about a year ending . Or a year beginning, for that matter. True enough. Any day to the same day of the next year is one year. So every day is a new year day. Every day is a year-end. Every night is new year's eve. Every dawn is the first sunrise of a new year. Nice thought, isn't that?!!

So, going by this logic, let us enjoy every day of our lives as if it were the new years' day. Let us look forward to new beginnings, new joys.........a brand new life......

........just like every evening is new year's eve -  a time to collect, recollect and reflect. Be grateful for all blessings in life. Express grief and process it so that it doesn't hurt so much.

In 2015, I saw my brightest days.... and I saw my darkest days. I spent hours of darkness lying in bed, fighting the pain and the emptiness gnawing within. I spent time in the spotlight when my first book was released. I relocated to a new country, trying to find my way through its winding lanes. I left loved ones behind....I found new friends. The pain sometimes dimmed, the pain sometimes crippled.

Yet here I am. I survived another year. And how does it matter whether it is new year's eve or new year's day.......after all every day is the end of a year and every day is also the beginning of a new one! Thank you all for being a part of this year of my life!!

So, here's to sugar and spice (cinnamon roll with raisins)......and everything nice.....and cafe au lait !!

(c) Shubhrata Prakash

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

New Additions : A guest post by Amit Shankar

Dear friends,

Today I am posting a write-up by renowned "writer" Amit Shankar. Amit Shankar is the best-selling "writer" of books like "Flight of the Hilsa" and "Cafe Latte".  Do visit his website at

New Additions

"I want to be an author." He said
"A writer you mean? Who is stopping you?" I quipped
"No, I want to be a good published author." He narrowed down.
"Name the Noble winning author for the year 2014." I scanned his face.
"Try remembering the one who bagged it in the year 2013." I offered assistance.
"Well, I want to be one who is famous and rich." He spilled the beans, finally.
"So why be a writer at all?  Be a businessman, a politician, an industrialist, a mafia, for that matter even a pimp or a hooker." The cynic in me was rising
"But being a famous author is easy."
"And who told you so?" I was curious.
"Well, we all know it. Spend money on online and PR, befriend the owners of book chains and suck up to the lit fest owners."
"And writing?" I was getting angry.
"You think any of the top ten selling authors can write?" He looked into my eyes.

I had no answer.

Days after this conversation, I was discussing life in general with a friend of mine--writing, future, reading list etc. I was sharing how lack of social and PR skills could impact a writer, with me being the casing point. I was also sharing my experience how scandalized I felt being part of a literary board which also had marriage photographer and cocktail circuit, page 3 pseudo-journalist, to name a few. 

We had a hearty laugh accompanied by long conversation. Like any other conversation with her, this one also gave me something new—some food for thought. Though this food took away my appetite, as I was not ready to accept the articulation of our conversation.  

Was I over reacting or just being old fashioned? How could literature change so much or was it the need of the hour? Too many questions were on my mind. 

I logged on the Google and Facebook--the ready reckoner of this age. It took me less than thirty minutes to confirm my worst known fear. For sure, there was a cartel that was controlling the ‘product life cycle’ of writers. For sure, there were authors who were living off these cartels.
Harmonious and convenient co-existence.
‘I publicize you and you do the same,’ ‘I put you on boards of other lit fest and you do the same,’ being the only mantra. Like any other cartel the names were the same.  Omnipresent and omnipotent. Handful of them on all boards, panel discussions.  Most of them have made being on the boards of lit fests their full time occupation. Their email signatures shamelessly announce their fancy tags and how powerful they are within the lit circle. 

Still not convinced, I Goggled the biggest and the most coveted lit fest of  this year;  Times Lit Fest. Don't take my word, please check the list of so-called authors presents there. Some of whom they have hired to be on the panel to judge stories and to mentor young writers don't even know to write themselves. The list starts with mediocrity and ends with the same.  Look up the panel and the panelists. You will have the same names. Needless to say, all of them mediocre and a by-product of networking culture. As a nation are we bereft of talent?

With a self-published title to credit—fiction or poetry, these 'high on fest, low on talent' writers are to be seen everywhere--Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and every single online channel. There claim to fame? Well their affinity and allegiance to the lit fest owners, journalists and high and mighty friends. If sources are to be believed the “Lit Casting Couch” has been laid and is being used.

Well, if it is all about networking, scratching back and balls, why bother to term the jamboree as a lit fest? Call it anything you like. Maybe Moronic Circle, The Suck up club and the list could go on. 

An interesting story to share. There was this lit fest owner, giving some deep insight into the world of literature and how the time has come to salvage it. “Have you read Svetlana Alexievich or Alice Munro?” Needless to say the expression said it all.

There is another hot and throbbing market for these “Hot Authors.” They have started conducting writing workshops that promises to make you a best selling author in one day. The dichotomy: None of them have managed to sell more than three hundred or four hundred copies. I am not even discussing their writing skills.

Feeling a little dejected, I walk to my bookshelf and pull out Vikram Seth. The title is immaterial so is the chapter or the page. I know I would read a page, then a page by Rushdie and wish the day when I could write as them.

And yes, the two words that started it all and ought to be added to the new version of lexicon were Lit-Mafia and Lit-Pest. Made for each other? Don’t blame me but my friend who started it all.

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

The so-Uncomical Nights of Bittu Sharma

While on the subject of TV, my rejection of all things "Saas-Bahu" was known to many. Some implored me to watch "Comedy Nights with Kapil" for "clean wholesome family entertainment". And I committed the sin of believing them. Life came back a full circle. Bittu Sharma and his inanity failed to impress me : the purist in me, as well as the feminist in me. It made me wince, it made me cringe and it made me feel grateful that I had retained some common sense in not asking my kids to watch it in the name of "clean, wholesome, family entertainment".

Kapil Sharma and his comedy nights thrive on misogyny. It is unbearable to watch the way he makes fun of his wife and in-laws. Is that why he is so popular? Because making fun of their wives and their in-laws is considered the favourite past-time of most Indian men? It seems most likely. Fifty percent of the jokes circulated on social media are about wives. Most of this fifty percent is also about in-laws. And the phenomenon is not uncommon in the West either. Jokes about men fearing their mother-in-law visiting them are quite common but funny too. Why men in the West get away with mother-in-law jokes is because of their social and family structure, and hence the jokes are, well, actually just jokes. 

However. in India, where women and their parents are always looked down by the husband and his parents, such a situation is given social sanction by such widely watched shows. In real life Indian society, the groom's parents consider it their divine right to demand and get the right dowry (read price) for their son. Brides are burnt for not fulfilling the never-ending demands of their in-laws. Bittu Sharma repeats ad nauseum the theme of his wife being bad-looking and not bringing any dowry. This is socially irresponsible to say the least. That it leads to further degradation of the social status of women is the greater harm such shows bring.What is disgusting about Bittu Sharma's treatment of his wife and in-laws is his male arrogance which is reflected in his absolutely condescending behaviour towards them. He doesn't dislike his wife because she is better looking or better read than him. He dislikes her because he thinks she is too bad to look at and didn't bring anything as dowry. He looks down on her as if she were something the cat-brought-in. The same goes for the in-laws too. And that's not all. His wife puts up with it. She may protest but she stays on the show. So, the message being sent out is even if the husband ill-treats the wife and her family, they may protest, but they must put up with it, because they don't matter. Their feelings don't matter. They better be used to it.

Many may defend him saying it is just a comedy show. Oh really? Crack a joke at someone's religion and see how riots spring up. Here you are demeaning an entire gender, which comprises about 45 % of the population, when ideally it should be 50 %. This skewed population ratio has a direct relationship with kind of ideology Bittu Sharma represents: women are to be made fun of, women are second class citizens. They are supposed to look good and bring sufficient dowry with them. Good looks and dowry. Nothing else matters. Not their education. Not their personality. Not their emotions and feelings. Not their economic or social productivity.

Hence, it is difficult and humiliating being parents of a woman, or girl child. And riots don't happen because such shows reinforce the social mores which say that women are inferior to men and it doesn't matter how they are treated. Most women's parents too believe the same, and hence keep quiet though their hearts may be bleeding within. Just like the wife and her family on the show.

As for "clean, wholesome family entertainment", even "some" is not clean, what to say of the "whole". And as for "family", well, have a look at Bittu's family.The married but flirtatious Bittu, the horny Dadi with her corny dialogues, cross-dressed men with crassly-dressed double entendres, the embarrased guests, the beautiful "temptations" visiting Bittu............they make one sit up and say, "Kya hai yeh?!"

So much for "clean, wholesome entertainment". Those who love it may continue to do so, but beware of the harm you are bringing to society, and especially your children, by giving them a crass, skewed view of society in general, and women in particular. And tomorrow when your daughter is treated like Bittu's wife.......don't say you weren't warned.

Saas, Bahu and other Dramas

A still from Zindagi Gulzar Hai
Picture source: Google, YouTube.
I have stopped watching soap operas. In other words, the never-ending "Saas-Bahu" sagas. In fact, I stopped watching them a decade ago. And I think that's the greatest service I may have done to my intellect in the last decade. The slow unending stories, the unbelievable and extremely tortuous intrigues, the ghastly make up, the garish costumes, the artificially artificial sets, the three times action re-re-replay of scenes, the three times close-ups of expressionless faces - faces so made up that even the actors may not recognise themselves when they look in a mirror. Remember Rohini Hattangadi being made-up by Sridevi in the famous scene in "Chaalbaaz"? Well, now you get the drift.

And so it was quite refreshing to see some contemporary Pakistani "TV Dramas", as they are called. Most of them have first been telecast on Hum TV, and are now being beamed in India by Zindagi channel. The dramas are actually, well, dramas. Most of them are based on novels or stories, and actually have something called a "story", a "Kahaani" which is not unending like "Kahaani Ghar Ghar Ki". They typically wind-up in 25-26 episodes. Even Saas-Bahu intrigues end, and the vamps and villains are visualised just like ordinary people, and not demi-demons, if such an expression exists, as on Indian TV. Remember Urvashi Dholakia or Sudha Chandran? Or so many others of their ilk, who would put even Radhey Ma to shame. And despite their various short-comings, these Pakistani dramas manage to capture one's imagination.

Of course, Indian television did not always belong to the "Kyunki Chhaas Bhi Kabhi Dahi Thi" variety of nonsense. I remember seeing some wonderful stories in the '80s and early '90s. If there was a "Humlog", or a "Buniyaad", or a "Nukkad" in the '80s, there was a "Phir Wahi Talaash" in the early '90s. The list is endless. Even upto the late '90s, we had beautiful adaptations of stories like the one of Wuthering Heights called "Samay", starring Pooja Bhatt and Aly Khan. The 2000s sounded the death-knell of meaningful dramas on TV. The novel gave way to the banal. The sensible to the inane. The realistic to the garishly artificial. And drove way art from TV forever.

Pakistani dramas and their popularity in India are not a new phenomenon. One still remembers pirated video cassettes and the beeline people made to watch them. Tanhaiyaan, Ankahi, Dhoop Kinarey, and the Indo-Pak drama on Star Plus called Tanha. Of course, all scripted by the great writer, Haseena Moin. Marina Khan was a household name, and people loved her Meg Ryan-ish import as well as her impish on-screen characters. Even the stand-up comedy "Bakra Kishton Par" was funny - actually funny.

Now, in 2010s, the old has given way to the new. Now, it's Zindagi Gulzar Hai, Humsafar and Daastaan, which rule the airwaves and the hearts. And now there is Fawad Khan, and Mahira Khan, and Sanam Saeed who are the current heartthrobs. And Haseena Moin has been replaced by Umera Ahmed as the czarina of scripts.

Of course, people say, they get repetitive after a while. Yes, formulas do tend to get stale. But as of now, one gets to see faces one can recognise. Like on Indian television in the '80s and '90s. People with acting skills. People who could emote. Not lipsticked men and kohl smudged women, who all look the same. All painted with the same foundation. Maybe Indian TV has managed to fight and win one battle that all anti-race and anti-colour activists have not been able to - the battle of colour. Or shall we say, all is fair, and lovely, on contemporary Indian TV?! 

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Gilded Mornings

(c) Shubhrata Prakash

Hi folks!

Greetings from Bangkok!!

 After a long time, I'm back to the blog. Well, I shifted, in the meantime, from India to Thailand. And due to some mean times, I could not post anything for a very long time. Shifting was a pain, but after seeing the beautiful Siam, it became a sweet pain.

Indeed, Bangkok is wonderful. One of the best things about Thailand is how the Thai people have managed to embrace modernity without giving up on their traditions and ancient culture. Moreover, they welcome people from all over the world with open arms and a warm embrace.

I haven't seen much of the country yet, but be assured, I shall often be writing about this wonderful country, and an equally wonderful city, again and again.

Meanwhile, Gen-Nex is safely ensconced in school. The school time makes it imperative to wake up at 5 am each school day. And it is still dark at 5. But after they leave, I see the beautiful sun rising every morning and casting a golden glow, which glints off the glass of the semi-skyscrapers opposite me. The dark glassed ones look more copper-gilded than golden. Here are pictures of the same.

On another note, my book of poems titled "Ink on Water" is available in select Crossword stores. It is also available on Amazon and Flipkart. Do remember to order your copy and enjoy reading the book with a cup of chai...or coffee....or whatever...!

So, the recently converted expat's ink shall continue to flow. Or should we say, the keys shall continue to tap?

(c) Shubhrata Prakash

Monday, 27 April 2015

My First Book of Poetry : Ink On Water

(C) Shubhrata Prakash
Releasing on May 10, 2015 at Ahmedabad Management Association, Ahmedabad.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

The Sea

(c) Shubhrata Prakash

They say I am the sea
I get pulled by my father, the Sun
I get pulled by my lover, the Moon
I keep oscillating between the two.
They say I have no will of my own.
They say that’s the law of nature.
I can never be free.
I shall always be bound by the Sun and Moon
The churning rod in my own churning
Between the two loves of my life.

They say I am the sea
Always fickle, always whimsical
Always even hormonal
Sometimes I wax
Sometimes I wane
Am I really sane?
They say I don’t know my own mind
They say I can’t be left alone
That is why I am kept chained
To all my sea sisters
All kept linked together
Bound by the Sun and the Moon.
Of course, they are men.
They know their minds.
They know how to keep waves of women under control
Waves of infinite water….some of it even our briny tears
We - the sisterhood of the seas.

They say I am the sea
Okay that’s what I am.
But have they forgotten my depths?
Have they succeeded in binding me?
Can they ever capture my fist in theirs?
Ha..ha..ha..all they will have is sand
They can have some shells too
Crabs maybe?
But they can never have me.
My father and my lover may try to keep me in check
But when we sisters turn to our Mother Earth
She cannot see our plight
She quakes with anger and cries tears of lava
Can you quell the curse of a mother ?
A mother gives her daughters so much power
That the energy scares all men.
Free of the Sun, free of the Moon
The sisters rise in rebellion
The sister seas rise so high that no man can control them
For they all run for their lives
To escape the tsunami of waves of our anger.
And when the anger dissipates
Man rues the day
When he called woman the sea

Ye men
Who think they control the seas
Through men like themselves
The Sun and the Moon
Never ye forget
That there’s Mother Earth too
Who sets her daughters free
So, when ye go mad with thy powers
Think of the Earth
And her free daughters.

(c) Shubhrata Prakash

(From "Ink On Water"......coming soon)

Monday, 20 April 2015

The River

The River

(c) Shubhrata Prakash

I am not a river
Bound by the corsets of muddy, sandy banks

I am not a river
Forced and confined to stay within the flanks

I am not a river
Admired in my babyhood for sprouting out of the earth’s womb

I am not a river
Fulfilling romantic fantasies when I fall in a spray like fresh blooms

I am not a river
People lusting after my youthful curves winding along valleys

I am not a river
When mature giving water, power– people their needs daily

I am not a river
When ripe just used by men for breeding

I am not a river
Trout and hilsa and rohu; and for crop feeding

I am not a river
Used and exploited; often bound and dammed

I am not a river
Often dirtied with garbage and sewage and shamed

I am not a river
Weighed down with bridges, tanks, steel; and with fear I shudder

I am not a river
My heart speared with boat oars and ruthless mechanical rudders

I am not a river
A burning place for rotting human flesh and even waste molasses

I am not a river
Where my lungs and breath are choked with consuming pyres’ ashes

I am not a river
Which is admired in youth and exploited in maturity

I am not a river
In old age distributed and thrown into the sea in obscurity


I am not a river
I am a real woman

Yet why do I feel that
Our lives seem so common?

Everything a river faces, mostly I too face
So am I too a river, though a different race?


(c) Shubhrata Prakash

(From "Ink On Water".....coming soon)

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

R-Day Parade, Dummies and Others

Image courtesy :
On Monday, after a long gap of not watching stilted polity, I sat down to watch the Republic Day parade. There were rains. There was the POTUS, the FLOTUS and the Lotus on our PM's head (gear). So generally something fresh all around. And an ideal time to introduce the R-day parade to the younger generation.

But do you think it is easy to move our Gen-Nex when there is a parade of Doraemon, Pokemon, Motu-Patlu and Ninja Hattori marching down the Rajpath of the TV screen? Well, in case you do, please visit our home. I can promise you a free dinner!

So, our best efforts bore some small fruit and the kids' TV got tuned to the National Channel "Door-se-Darshan". But sitting with their parents? Beneath their standard. So undignified. So what if one is in primary school and another in pre-school?! Even if they are not teenagers yet, one day they will be. And teenagers, even future ones, should never be caught doing anything below their royal standards. Like watching TV with parents. Or spending time with parents.

One departure from the usual protocol is when we go out shopping. To correct that a little - when "I" go shopping and my husband and kids tow after me. To kill time they have devised a game whereby my husband has made the kids believe that all the mannequins, whom my kids call "dummies", are part of a family. Often, time is spent working out family trees of the dummies. And the kids also believe that at night, when the shops close down, the dummies come alive and move about. This is how "smart" parents keep their kids from running all over the store and may be toppling over a dummy or two. So the time Mummy spends shopping is spent happily playing hide-n-seek behind the dummies.

Back to the R-day parade. With scowling faces and ill-concealed grace, Gen-Nex was watching the parade. Satisfied about having done our patriotic deed for the day by making two future citizens see the light-and-might of our great Republic, we walked away.

In a while two pairs of footsteps were running up the stairs to the lounge. Before I could ask what happened, our elder one piped up. "We were watching TV. There was a dummy in a jeep. Mummy, suddenly the dummy came alive and put his hands to his head like a salute!"

I was in splits when I realized that the absolutely still Lt Gen standing to attention in an open jeep seemed like a mannequin to the first time R-day parade watchers. And, like they expect the dummies in stores to come alive and are perpetually scared imagining the scene, they were quite scared when the "dummy" on TV came alive too.......

So what helps keep boisterous kids occupied in shops and sometimes even helps not-so-sleepy kids immediately get under the covers and sleep soundly, turned out to be quite a laugh on R-day.

And what dummy did you think I was talking about on R-day?! Well he was there......this R-Day too...!

Monday, 19 January 2015

Coming Alive

Copyright (C) Shubhrata V Prakash

It’s been a while and I haven’t written.
Not put pen to paper.
Not put fingers to keyboard.
Not thought.
Not felt.


It’s not that I haven’t thought or felt.
I have been tutored by times, by circumstances, by people to keep quiet.
See, but not speak.
See, but not feel.
See, think, but still……not express.
I’m trying hard to break free.
I’m straining against the chains.
I’m fighting to keep alive.
Keep my senses alive.
Keep my spirit alive.
Keep my soul ….alive.
But, can I? will I? dare I?
For I feel dead.


I’ve felt a wisp of wind over me lately.
Wisp of wind and spray of water.
Of elixir.
Felt or wanted to feel.
It’s worked.
I’m waking up.
My spirit is getting stronger.
I’m feeding my soul now.
No past hurt is going to change me.
No one or nothing is going to change me.
I’ve kept quiet too long.
Not anymore.
Hey world, do you hear?
Not anymore.
I’m coming alive.
I’m coming alive again.

Copyright (C) Shubhrata V Prakash

Monday, 12 January 2015

Book Review of "Pashu" written by Dr. Devdutt Pattanaik

Copyright (c) Shubhrata V Prakash

Mythology is in. Has been "In" since Dan Brown's "The Da Vinci Code" recorded phenomenal success and sales. In fact, Brown's own "Angels and Demons", which preceeded "The Da Vinci Code", gained recognition only after the latter's success. Mythology in India was a theme just waiting to be exploited. Except for the Amar Chitra Katha series, there were few takers for mythological books, especially in English. Truth be told, there were very few Indian writers in English in the decades prior to the 2000s. 

What opened the floodgates for mythology post 2000s were two unrelated and serendipitous happenings -  The Da Vinci Code and Chetan Bhagat. And both happened around the same time. So we have many successful Indian authors who have written on books around mythology. Ashwin Sanghi, Shatrujeet Nath, Amish Tripathy are some very successful writers in the genre. Even Ajay Pandey has used mythology in his debut book, "Resonance". However, the works of these authors is in the genre of thrillers based on Indian Mythology.

One Indian author, who has been writing books on mythology only as a form of story-telling of mythological tales, is Dr Devdutt Pattanaik. Yes, he is an actual physician, who later, turned leadership consultant and mythologist. And he is the one credited with writing on Shiva, which inspired the much-watched and much-appreciated TV series "Devon ke Dev: Mahadev". One of his latest offerings comes in the form of "Pashu - Animal Tales from Hindu Mythology". I first laid my eyes on this book with its lime-green jacket, covered with beautiful indigenous-style (mostly tribal) illustrations, when I was "haunting" my favourite haunt - Crossword. I picked it up and realized what a treasure it was for making my children acquainted with animals in mythology.

My children are still at the beginners' level when it comes to reading. In this day and age, I find Amar Chitra Katha losing out to the Chhota Bheems and Doraemons. And I find it difficult to "read out" from an illustrated comic. So "Pashu" was an ideal solution to the problem of making my children familiar with some mythology. The book hasn't failed me. The children are deeply into it. We read a few pages every night. The font type and style are ideal for reading, even by 7-8 year olds. The language is simple enough to be understood by the same age group. The illustrations are simply breath-taking. All animals - snakes, birds, fish, cows- have tribal motifs on their bodies. Females are adorned with bindis, jewellery and even plaited hair. Even the occasional human form one encounters in the book, is similarly motif-ed. And the illustrations have been credited to the author himself.

There are tales about Timi,Vinata, Kadru, Surabhi, Sarama and Surasa, and their respective children - fish, birds, snakes, cows, tigers and demon-forms. There is Nandi, Naga-loka, Deva-loka and so much happening all over. Long and winding tales have been simplified. Since much of mythology has references to sex, and the conception of various species of animals, it is interesting to see how such concepts have been de-sensationalized, and simplified, for children to read and understand. The same treatment has been administered to violence and blood-shed as well.

Overall, a very interesting read for both children and adults. There are so many mythological stories and characters in it, which I had never heard of, and I have been an Amar-Chitra-Katha-guzzling kid, if there was any! Highly recommended to all parents of children between 5-15 years of age.

Friday, 9 January 2015

2015 AD : Another "Happy" "New" Year

Copyright (C) Shubhrata V Prakash

Hey folks!

A very happy 2015 to everyone!!

A new year brings with it lots of new hope and new cheer. But, ultimately, it is only an adjustment in I don't take it too seriously....and of course, nothing much has changed so far. 

The first terror attack of the year has already happened. Debates about cartoons, tolerance, freedom of speech and expression, how much satire is too much satire, comparisons with the movie PK, then more debate, more is all the same. So what's new about the new year? Nothing, I would say.

North India is reeling under a severe cold wave. Here I am sipping my adrak-chai (ginger tea) in the sun and giving my Facebook friends a virtual sunny wave. Again nothing new.

Sanjay Dutt was granted a furlough to celebrate the new year and its eve. Of course, the rich are privileged, even if they are convicted felons. The poor spend new year's eve on the pavements under freezing skies, wondering how to keep themselves alive to see the light of the new year. Again, that's not something new.

The Indian cricket team, or Team India as we have become used to calling it (the assumption being that no other sport has a Team India), is doing miserably at an away series. What's new?

This blog, like all of Indian media - print, electronic, social or any other - is incomplete without the above references to Bollywood and Cricket. Nothing new again.

Time for Uttarayan. A little boy has already fallen prey to the deadly Manjha. People have got wire frames fitted on two-wheelers to escape the manjha and the deathly curse it brings. Emergency measures are being taken to treat injuries to humans and birds. And yet, we are not ready to think of a safer way of celebrating our festivals. We are not ready to "sacrifice" even a teeny-weeny bit of fun from our festivals, even if it is at the cost of other human beings. Who says that fun is more important than the life of a five-year-old boy? And those of other victims? Again, nothing new.

After Uttarayan, the marriage season will be back. Nobody wants to "sacrifice" on fun, loud music and dancing. Ok. But no one wants to pay for the use of a party place for the song-and-dance either. So the poor neighbours must suffer the assault of deafening music, and the inconvenience of road-blocks and traffic jams. After all, we are guaranteed freedom as a fundamental right. So who cares what is right? Nothing new again. 

Alas, if only the new year actually brought something new with it - like a new way of thinking? Caring about the rights and comforts of other people, e.g.,? Celebrations in non-threatening, non-intrusive ways? Traditions modified to suit modern, urban living? Marriages that get over in a few hours, instead of days, and with less "conspicuous consumption"? We are not in the starving pre-independence India, after all (at least those who read this blog!). People actually DOING something, instead of arm-chair activism on Facebook and WhatsApp? "Awareness" is not brought about by adopting a symbol but by actually talking to people about whatever you want to make them aware of.

Or actual "World Peace"? Instead of the parodies in various international events, including the Nobel Prize ceremony. 

Who knows? Perhaps, the old is familiar, and hence, comforting. And people seldom like to move away from their comfort zones. 

So, I hope, at least 2015 is happy, if not new. That would be more than what many can hope for.


(The picture shows the flower of a pomegranate tree, taken in a friend's garden)