Tag Archives: India

Someday I dream…


My dream

Someday I dream, that they could dream too.
Of going to School like me and you.
Of wearing a proud uniform,
in bright white and blue.

Leaving behind the pots and pans.
Leaving behind the fields and farms.
Leaving behind the kitchen fire,
or collecting firewood until they tire.

or baby-sitting their tiny brother,
or serving food for their farmer father.
or carrying water on their head,
while their brother snores on the bed.

And when they dream of Chalks and slate,
their mother bangs them,
for an unswept floor, an unwashed plate.

Or sometimes when,
they have grown big and tall,
they are sent to the towns,
to make money for all.

Sometimes as maids in a rich mansion,
or an object for Man’s consumption.

Or sometimes made a Mother,
when she herself is a child.
taught to endure pain,
when she should have been unbridled and wild.

Made a Doll, to be played by the world,
when she should have played with a doll.
Given nothing by the world,
while the world takes away her all.

Naughtiness, laughter and childhood too,
She has grown up,
before she grew.

Someday if She could hold the pencil,
in her frail hands.
Someday then, walk to school,
through dusty hinterlands.

Someday, if a book she could read.
Someday, if the world paid her heed…

Someday I dream, that they could dream too.
Of going to School like me and you.

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The Poem is inspired by my Visit to a Tribal Village in Odisha, called Malidoliamba.
The pictures shot me with pangs of pain, while I shot them for my Post-Graduation Theses.
Some of which I shared with you above.

PS: Literacy rate of India pegged improvement at 74.04% in the 2011 Census. But gender gap in literacy pegged at a high too of 17%- male literacy rate 82.14% and female literacy rate 65.46%. While there is only a 17% gap in statistics, the real attitudinal gap will weigh greater than 70%.
This is reflected in all the other arenas. A high Infant Mortality Rate of 47 per 1000 live births. And an equally shocking Maternal Mortality rate of 212 per 100,000 live births.
And this terrible truth reflects in the demographics as well. A Sex Ratio of 940 females per 1000 males and a still lower Child Sex Ratio of 914 females per 1000 males.

This is the story of the missing girls- Missing even before they could be found…
Someday I dream they are all found.
Someday I dream they find their dreams too.

As I write this on the Children’s Day,
I Dream…
Someday, they would all know,
that they have a Children’s Day.
Someday.

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The Homeless of the Palace


Home is where the heart longs to be even after seeing the grandeur of the world outside.
Home is where there are the few people who love you, within the walls inside, even though there are million better people in the world outside. Home is where there is freedom, confined behind the bars of love, respect, trust and belonging.

Many people in this world are without a House- sleeping on streets on cold winter nights, couching under polythene sheets when it rains, rolling on dusty footpaths in scorching summers… Yes there is Pain. But there is Freedom too.
For many others, trapped within the four walls of the mansions of their masters- it rains fear. And Life is an endless winter-cold, dry. Life is a footpath which people trample by.

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This story is of two such children who unfortunately have such kind of a Home- Bubbly and Chutki. Bubbly is a black eyed, black bodied 15 year old girl. Chutki, who was so small when she came that nobody remembers her real name. For her mini size, they call her Chutki.

It is Raina’s Birthday, the daughter-in-law of the majestic mansion. There’s a cake being cut, snacks distributed to the guests. Raina feeds the cake to every member and calls out for the two girls. Fear gripping them, they run away.

An hour later she watches them eat fragments of the cake, in the kitchen crooks. There is ice cream too but the expensive porcelain bowls are noticed to have been misplaced. The father-in-law takes out his slippers and lashes at Chutki. The mother-in-law does the balancing act. She asks to lash Bubbly too…
The two celebrate their birthdays there…the price for being born as orphans and to poor parents is very well paid. They will never blow the candles, where life has rubbed off their flames. They will never cut Birthday cakes, where life cuts them each moment with its injustice and irony…

Raina regrets, why had she ever gifted her father-in-law those Slippers… Why was it even her birthday!!
The midnight party ends. Raina looks at the two who haven’t shed a tear. Their eyes are ice-white and cheeks and ears blood-red. They lick the quarter scoop of molten ice-cream fast, before that too is taken away and flung into the sink.
Raina’s conscience melts into guilt. She cannot revolt, cannot protect, cannot love them too. She cries into the night wondering how they never cry.

Some days she wakes up at 6 to see them being lashed with a broom or a ladle or a lock , for an unclean floor, an unironed saree, or for simply giggling like ‘illiterate and uncultured’ brats. She cannot decide what good literacy or culture might have done to them. She was literate and cultured and so were her in-laws- one was the heartless perpetrator the other a coward, passive passerby…

She hugs them when they are alone,praises them generously, gives them little hair-clips and trinkets, laughs with them, slips candies into their palms each day…They hastily swallow it for fear of being caught, sometimes even being caught and lashed once again…

Again the candy has choked Bubbly’s throat and she has choked the tears somewhere behind her eyes, acting as if it was all a common affair. No guilt, no pain- like the killing of a mosquito.

Raina says, “Bubbly! Look there are many children in this world who donot have a house, who donot have clothes, who donot get to eat even twice a day. So atleast you have all that…Don’t you think so?”… speaking as if they have ever complained. The coward in her conscience, pacifying their hidden pain.

Bubbly smiles with her bunny teeth ajar, “But Didi we donot eat too, when we break the glass tumblers.”

Raina tries to smile. God is kind enough to put these Iron birds in this Golden cage. Had they been birds of glass, they would have shattered just like her.

PS:
According to the latest Education for All (EFA) Global Monitoring Report from UNESCO, there are 57.8 million children who are out of primary school globally, and India with its 1.4 million children out of school, is among the global top 5 worst performers.To put it simply, worldwide, 1 in 10 children are not in school.With an officially estimated 12.6 million children engaged in hazardous occupations (2001 Census), India has the largest number of child labourers under the age of 14 in the world.Nearly 85 per cent of child labourers in India are hard-to-reach, invisible and excluded, as they work largely in the unorganised sector, both rural and urban, within the family or in household-based units,or as domestic helps which are generally out of the purview of labour laws. They are nothing but Bonded labour, because no child will willfully surrender his/her childhood for money whose value he/she is too young to understand.

Ever thought? a child labour becomes a labour first, and a Child never!

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LOVE. Lost and found.


A Hindu married a Muslim,
And two sisters grew in the womb,
Little then did they know,
They will build each others tomb…

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ● ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ● ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ● ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ● ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

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Borders are like birds,
They will fly wherever they want to.
Nations are like clouds,
They will drift wherever they like to.

But people are the skies,
They will have to stay back,
To witness all birds and clouds,
Good-bad, light and dark.

Soldiers, wars, battles, gun fights,
Matters trivial, wrongs and rights…
One after the other, shot after shot,
The opportunity for love- lost.
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Mountains, rivers, valleys and snow.
What do we fight for,
Do we really know?

We are warring over the Indus,
So much blood, so much loss!
Diplomacy determined, treaty after treaty.
But let’s sign just one for, only water and humanity

Long back the two sisters separated,
From a womb- beaten, exasperated.
The blood evaporated,
In the two lands devastated.
But their love reverberated.
Somehow it was fated…

Across fences, across borders,
Across politics and Army’s orders.
Across Namaste and Namaaz.
Singing stories of sisterhood,
That once was…

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Nations emerged, religions evolved,
The hatred remained, but the love too revolved.

Across Diwali,Holi or Eid,
Connections emerged from deep beneath.
Untying knots, tied by cynics,
Uniting hearts, broken by fanatics.

Why haven’t we learnt anything from,
Your Ammi and my Mummy,
Who were Mothers with a big heart?
Why do we build  such Narrow Nations,
Where love breathes its last?

Why can’t we prize peace,
Over guns and grenades?
Why can’t we silently separate,
But yet not part ways?

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Long ago, A Muslim married a Hindu,
And two sisters were born,
To tell the world a story,
With so much to learn.

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PS:  I grew up learning that nations could be friends or enemies too. And that nations could love and hate, just like you. And this brought along the story that  history had to tell and with it so many notions of good, bad, ugly…hostile or friendly.
But who were the nations? Were they not the people who lived in them?
And how can nations hate, when their people loved each other?

I never could understand the “facts” that history presented.
I never could understand the “acts” that present demanded,
but yet had to be drawn from history.
Couldn’t we just start fresh- reset, rewind, unlock and clear our mind?
Shed the burden of the past?

And then one day, I was fortunate to meet the people, whose nation I had so long known. It struck me then that, had I known that there could exist a love unknown? I met Maria Imran here. We instantly fell in love with each others thoughts, and perhaps with each other too.
Two people-from two religions, from two nations, from two lands, across one border, from one womb of time.
Both were devout patriots, both religious. And perhaps that united us more than it could have divided. Gradually the bonds grew stronger, until I had fallen in love with this tiny part of Pakistan, yes in  Maria Imran.
She had written a piece about me and I had been overjoyed, overwhelmed with tears. I had wanted to dedicate something to her, but never found my words worthy of her. Yet, today on Eid, I thought of gifting her this, my love.
To,
Meri Pyaari Maria.
Hope you like my Eid gift.
The stories that we knew, weren’t that true.
But we have begun new stories now…and hope these would turn true.
The rest of our story waits to be written with time.
Until then , I Believe,love is lost.And found.

With love,
From across the border.
Pamela

My Inexpensive Love.


“What is the worth of your salary,
Its not money but misery!

You never take me shopping,
You never buy me things.
You never pamper me,
never with diamond rings”

Well I always want to buy the world,
For this girl I love.
But when she looks at the price tag,
She is a complacent dove.

The greed is vanquished,
while she shortens her wishlist.

And pulls me away from those pretty shoes,
So that she could come home and merrily abuse!
“Ooo you didnt buy me anything again!
You take me shopping, always in vain!”

Today I shall take you to the market,
all wishes I would grant.
I wouldn’t glance at your wishlist,
wouldn’t listen to your rant.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

We’ll go to Lajpat Nagar
and roam all day long.
We’ll drink coffee from the same mug
and I’ll hum your favourite song.

Oh really!When did you become like this?
This side of you, I did miss!

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Hey listen!
How do I look in this Patiala?
and did you notice the kajal I wore?
See my shoes are torn now.
And I don’t like this wallet anymore.

If I don’t cross the road carefully,
Please don’t scold me like before,
Nothing in this world can hit me,
If you hold my hand & shove me ashore.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Hey look! There sits a mehendi wallah,
lone, dejected and very sad.
Nobody has time for cheap mehendi
Gucci and Guess make girls glad!

Lets make him happy,
Lets be happy too.
Lets get a mehendi,
on My palms- only for You!

Behind the veil of distress
shines a smile on his wrinkled face,
The mehendi wallah with a twinkle in his eyes,
Asks this girl for the affordable price,
“50 or 100 or 250 Madam?”

“What’s the price of beauty?”, she says.
With your happiness,
I grant my million wishes.

Together they chatter,
As she chuckles and chokes.
Laughter radiates,
and draws all other folks.

People queue up to put a mehendi too.
I am proud that she’s my girl,
NONE can have her- not even few.

A moment later the beauty is revealed.
the wounds of anguish as well healed.

The beauty, beyond words.
In her hands,
in his eyes,
in my heart,
in the God,
who gave me a gift so nice.

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Returning home as the dusk fell,
and the colours rose.
on her palms,
and her cheek’s glows.

My pocket unspent and heavy,
my heart spent and dizzy.
With Thankfulness to that Lord.
For this Girl, who showed me God.

Seen the price tag,
Known the price.
Never knew The value,
of life’s little surprise.

My inexpensive Love,
That was little of Price,but Priceless.
My inexpensive Love,
That bought me, all the world’s Happiness.

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I would have gone away,
knowing the price and not the value.
If I hadn’t been lucky,
to know YOU, to Love YOU.

If Ignorance is Bliss. It has to be This!


In a country like India, a Twenty Point program is a sine qua non for all planning and ‘Pursuit of Happiness’. So when today I suddenly noticed how unhappy I was with my awful awesome Life, it struck me to have my Twenty point program as well.

Being a twenty-nothing myself, I jotted down some of the ‘facts’ I believe to be true.
And I would be utterly obliged if you did too. 😀

Because howsoever it may be a cliche,
I can’t deny that Ignorance is Bliss! 😉
So in search for that peace,
I started off this piece…

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1. I am unemployed By choice and not by compulsion. I am a Software Engineer with hardwired intent to master in Humanities. Hence a Post Graduate in Human Rights Law and a Post graduate in Sociology too. I am just a PhD away from teaching at Oxford 😛
This is frictional unemployment. Even globalization couldn’t  find me a suitable role profile to match my excellently erratic back ground! Shame on it!

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2. I have always worked hard. All that I have achieved is a direct consequence of it. All that I have not- Blame it on my Luck.

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3. I am not a cry baby. Courageous people reflect their true emotions. I am courageous to cry 24×7, without worrying about your tolerance levels.

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4. I am not fat plump. I am healthy. But If you are not convinced, you  should know..My clothes shrunk, I didn’t expand.

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5. If you still think I did! My recent increase in diameter and circumference are directly proportional to my dedication for my Husband. He cannot lose weight, so I am catching up. Indian women are epitomes of sacrifice.

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6.My husband is tall.
I don’t wear heels because they are bad for my back bone aaand I think Elephants are cuter than giraffes.

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7. I can buy clothes, cosmetics, shoes, bags, accessories… and the world. I am Rich.
But I don’t buy them. Not because the “housewife-allowance” is meager to me. But because I hate the culture of consumerism. 😛

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8.I am beautiful. I was born to feature in fairness lotion ads. But Hard work and  the Tropical Sun tanned my modelling prospects 😛

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9. I am a good cook. I like what I cook. And more importantly, I can eat what I cook. My husband eats in his office cafeteria because he is fond of fast-food more than his wife.
Sometimes I accidentally cook well mess up. It’s because while I cook, my MIL (Mother in Law) instructs, My SIL (Sister in law) OVERsees and like you know- too many cooks spoil the broth!

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10. I am not lazy.
But All I make is salad  and oats because- I like to eat healthy, Live longer. Also its the best way to censure unnecessary expenses and growing tumm
ies ( there are 5 of them, including mine)

Funny picture of four panda bears eating bamboo together

11. I am a master of all trades, jack of some more. Singing, writing, painting, gardening, cooking(under improvement),dancing(to my in-laws tunes)… I do it all!!
I am famous for nothing specific though, because I am yet to decide, which art I would like to be famous for.

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12. Especially, I am a prolific poet and a terrific author. But nobody reads my blog (inspite of zealous requests) because- Every successful artist is rejected a trillion times before being inducted into the Hall-of-Fame. I am no exception!

F.A.ME – Forever Away from ME! huh!!

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13. I cross the road with difficulty. But I can ride the scooter, drive the car, manoeuver the MiG and sail the ship.

I have the confidence. But so does my father. He is confident that it would turn out be an expensive affair. ( My last accident cost him Rs 25000— 5000 for an artificial tooth, 20000 for the braces. It was a scooter accident and the scale of damage was limited to one tooth. On a larger scale, with a larger vehicle and all of the 32 teeth… oops! perhaps I would rather agree than pay 32 x 5000 + 25000 !!!) 
Oh my God! I wish I were a dentist. They bite a hell lot of money on your bites! I might try pursuing that someday too 😉

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14. I am not slow- in reading, reacting, reflecting, reaching…
I finish 40 when you flag off 400 because- I am a perfectionist. I believe in quality, not quantity. Mind It!!!

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15. I am usually a silent, tacit person who doesn’t speak unless the need arises. It’s not my fault that the need arises so very often.

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16. I am an amicable soul. People don’t like me? It’s because they are Jealous! Now,who wouldn’t!! 😉 😛

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17. I am a little too angry, impatient, unpredictable and emotionally turbulent sometimes. But don’t you think it can be a Genetic disorder? Now that’s called Manufacturing defect! 😛

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18. Despite this my Parents love me more than Honey, their Pet dog.

(My nick name is Rocky and her’s is Honey. In India, 99/100 people assume, I am the Dog and  she’s the daughter! x-(  )

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19. I am not worried or desperate. This is just a prolooooonged bad phase.
After every dark winter comes a bright summer.
(and I would certainly be alive to witness it without being frozen to death! Hoorray!)
Until then I would wait and meditate.

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20. I am not Greedy. All I want is everything.
God!! Is it too much to ask for?

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