Only Americans feel pain?

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I’ve been living in Mumbai for the past 27 years of my life. My brush with terrorism began in 1993. As an 8 year old, watching my dad shave off his french beard was an indication that something was terribly wrong. I can never forget that fear. And I was never allowed to.

Riots. Bomb blasts. Trains. Buses. Cycles. Taxis. Dighys. Hotels. Bakeries. Restaurants. CST. Dalal Street & Jewellery Markets.
You name it and we’ve seen it all.

And over the years, there is still no guarantee that I could be on my way home and not be a victim of ‘terrorism’. People love shoving the ‘resilient Mumbaikar’ angle in my face. I’m not buying that either. Cos we are not resilient. And I’m not proud in saying this, but we are all a bunch of immune assholes. Nothing really affects us anymore. NOTHING.

Not a girl getting raped on a Borivali Local. Or a mother & daughter asking for help in the middle of a busy road in Jaipur. Yes, the Delhi gangrape & Keenan Reuben cases were an exception. They sparked heated debates & protests. And then what? Does anyone know what’s happening? We still do not have a special task force in place to tackle further terrorist activities. Victims haven’t got justice/ compensation yet.

And then, there is an extremely opposite reaction. That of the west. They faced a terrorist attack in 2001 – that could match up to about half of what we have faced over the years. But they acted like the world was coming to an end. They created a ripple effect – wherein they perceived every Muslim to be a terrorist. And the movie New York (starring John Abraham) gives you a fair idea of the ordeal that people went through. They victimized themselves to no extent.

And now, the Boston attacks. Where 2 children died. 100 injured. Many more scarred. Pssshhhh! This article is really something. (read: http://edition.cnn.com/2013/04/15/opinion/granderson-boston-safety/index.html?sr=sharebar_facebook)

Trust me, I am not justifying anything or taking away anyone’s personal loss. I do condemn the attacks in US. What I can’t digest is their ‘hyperbole’ reaction. Are they the only ones affected? Why is my entire FB timeline mourning their loss? Why is the media hyping it up too?
Weren’t there bombing in Palestine / Iraq/ Afghanistan too? Violence in Kashmir? Aren’t there bad things happening all over the world, to everyone? What makes them so superior? Wasn’t there mindless killing by Bush too, following the terrorist attack in 2001?

I think they are a bunch of overacting wusses, who thought that they had eradicated any trace of terrorism with their world class security. And now, they are gonna overact even more. Some may argue that their methods helped keep the terrorists away for a good number of years. But then they have a whole lot of freaks running amok in schools, shooting innocent children. Or even gurudwaras? What about that??

While US over-reacts, India downplays the whole thing. None of them are any good.
I just want the scales to be balanced. India should borrow some of the ‘extra concern’ that America dishes out to it’s citizens.

Should be a fair world then, no?

Walk of Fame – take a bow, Zena!

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It was a nice, breezy Thursday evening. A mid-week holiday, thanks to Gudi Padwa. That day also marked a milestone in our lives. And Bandra was the place to be. So with mom, sisters & friend in tow, we headed to Bandstand, just to chill out and watch the sun set over the endless horizon. My mom, a total movie buff, spotted the walk of fame, created by TV stars and decided to pose with the actors; and that had most of us in splits.

We hear a calm, sweet voice behind us, coaxing shy passerbys to click pictures with the star figures. She even told them how to pose. The signature poses of Dev Anand, Shammi Kapoor & Yash Chpra, standing next to his director’s camera.

Her name was Zena, a senior citizen – short and kind-hearted, with an infectious enthusiasm. She wasn’t associated with any ALM group, or the UTV group. She was just an avid movie lover, and decided to make our very own ‘ desi walk of fame’ as famous as its Hollywood counterpart (she beamed with pride as she said this)!

I was overwhelmed with her gesture, and wanted a pic of her – next to the stars preferably. She replied that she never clicks pics herself. As we left, she asked us to come by next month – a brand new statue was gonna be installed – that of Superstar Rajesh Khaanna.

The next time you want a piece of Bollywood nostalgia & an interesting conversation, head over to Bandstand and pose your heart out. And do give Zena a huge shout. She is the real star, shining bright on that ‘Walk of Fame’ :)
xoxo

 

(PS: here is my mom, the ultimate drama queen in my life :P)

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Book Review: F?@K Knows ~ Shailendra Singh

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What the F?@K?!!
That’s exactly what I felt when I read this book.

There were many reasons for this reaction. To start off, the name itself was so intriguing that I had to sign up for this book review. (I did however push the deadline to submit the review due to work constraints & the author’s advice to read it one chapter at a time. Apologies, Blogadda!)

The next thing that intrigued me was the background of the author. We had common ground – ADVERTISING. And a sense of personal loss. There were many points that I identified with as I read the book, and his narrative was witty, humorous and extremely descriptive.

When I read the synopsis of this book, I told myself to get ready for another ‘self-help’ book wherein the author gives you all the gyaan that no one in his life ever paid attention to, or that he himself never followed. But right after reading the introduction to his book (read: how to read this book), I knew that this was gonna be fun!

Shailendra Singh has done a fine job of putting down his learnings, his experiences in the most humane way possible. His tone of voice throughout the book is very conversational and he treats the reader like his best friend. You don’t feel burdened with what he is telling you, the gyaan doesn’t bog you down. In fact, most often his descriptions of certain events are so vivid, he almost transports you to his memories. And you get exactly what he is trying to say. There are some moments in the book when he does go a little overboard with a few descriptions and you just wanna yell out “I get the point, move on already” – but those can be ignored.

He has cut out a few simple tasks for the reader – the F?@K It list (he will drive you mad to get this done – throughout the book), the Chi F?@K and Chi F?@K  po exercises (a must try) will make you wonder how something so inane can be so liberating! (Trust me, it is). He tells you to follow your heart throughout the book, and you will want to do just that. I’m just a few ‘F?@K its’ away from rethinking my career plan :P

There were many ‘aha’ moments in the book, and so many ‘what the F?@k’ moments too. A very good attempt for a first time writer. I am looking forward to a fiction novel from him now. That should be fun. But for now, get yourself some unconventional gyaan and F?@K Knows, you might discover a whole new world!

F?@K KNOWS

PS: if the answer to every question in your life is
‘F?@K Knows’, do yourself a f?@king favour & get your hands on this book! :)

This review is a part of the biggest http://blog.blogadda.com/2011/05/04/indian-bloggers-book-reviews Book Review Program for http://www.blogadda.com Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

#SoldierforWomen: honouring ‘real’ heroes!

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Soldiers for women. Such a noble thought. All I had to do was write about that one person in my life who stood up for me and protected me from ‘evil eyes’. My dad instantly popped up in my head, but I decided to dig deeper. I thought about all my friends, acquaintances, colleagues – strained my brains hard enough to think of that one person who did something extraordinary for me or any other girl. Even a small gesture would do. I was shocked. These were the only 2 instances I could think of. And both included strangers in my life.

#1

A crowded bus is the breeding spot for oglers and perverts. And women who stand in the aisle, waiting to get a seat, are easy targets. This incident occurred on a bus ride from Andheri to Malad. I was standing in the aisle, and the man standing behind me kept falling on me. Every time I turned to glare at him, he blamed it on the bumps from the speed breakers. I let it go, not wanting to create a scene. This happened for a few more times and I had asked him to move away from me. Citing lack of space, he stayed where he was and did something even worse. I felt uncomfortable when I realized that he was trying to feel me up, with his genitals. This time, I turned around a created a ruckus. Everybody stared and did nothing, except one man. He was fragile, he was old. But his eyes reflected an angst that could match up with any youth. He was watching all this from the past 15 minutes, and saw me getting increasingly uncomfortable. He had made up his mind to do something about it, way before I did. He insulted the a#@%hole, gave him a sound thrashing and dragged him off the bus. And then made space for me stand, making sure that no one stood around me. I was amazed, filled with admiration for a man as gutsy as him. I was overwhelmed with gratitude. He was my soldier, especially when I hadn’t found my voice yet. I wish I’d asked him his name that day.

#2

October 20th, 2011. The saddest day in the history of Mumbai. When 2 young guys were assaulted to death in the most inhuman way, just because they tried to save a girl from eve-teasing. Keenan & Reuben – who became the poster boys for eve-teasing thereafter, had their guts spilling all over the floor just because they dared to stop an evil-doer. They were soldiers for the woman besides them.

About a year later, another very brave man – Mr Valerian Santos, father of Keenan Santos, does exactly the same thing that his son lost his life for. At the very same spot. A young girl protested a lewd comment by an eve-teaser, and he was beating her up. Mr. Santos bore witness to this all and stepped in to save the girl. The cops (beat marshalls) looked on and did nothing. And when Mr. Santos questioned them, he was roughed up too.

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(Read: http://www.mumbaimirror.com/article/15/2013021120130211113928532fcb47030/Cops-abuse-Keenan-Santos%E2%80%99s-father-for-confronting-pervert.html)

His son saved his girlfriend and lost his life. Valerian still stands by him though, and with this incident – he proved that real heroes are bred. I wish every parent teaches their son to be a #soldierforwomen, and not the reason for their distress. And soon enough, the world will be a better place.