Show me life.

Daily Prompt: Stranger in a Strange Land.
What’s your favorite part about visiting a new place — the food? The architecture? The people watching?

What draws me to a place is, life. My hometown is a three hours drive from Agra. Any time someone visits us, we often make a small trip to Agra and Fatehpur Sikri. While most people vouch for magnificence of Taj Mahal- a testimony to timeless love, for some reason I have always been more inclined towards Fatehpur Sikri- the Mughal capital during Akbar’s reign. From where I see it, Taj Mahal symbolizes death, tombs of Mumtaz Mahal and Shah Jahan loomed by ubiquitous obscurity and a queer lull. A disturbing tale of Shah Jahan cutting the wrists of the craftsmen who brought the marvel to existence so that the splendid architecture never be reproduced, doesn’t befit my idea of a perfect tourist location.
Fatehpur Sikri is like a glimpse into Akbar’s life. The architectural splendor reflecting in the Buland Darwaza, Akbar’s homage to his lord standing upright in the from of Moin-ud-din Chisti’s Tomb, Jodhabai’s palace (well I don’t know if there was a Jodhabai or not, but it is every tourist guide’s delight to introduce one, to the kitchen in the palace where apparently she cooked vegetarian delicacies for the emperor or the acclaimed temple where she worshiped), the palatial Panch Mahal, the Pachisi Court where the courtiers gathered to play a game akin to Ludo and Birbal’s palace with large sunshade to which one is acquainted with witty tales of Akbar- Birbal. A striking feature of Fatehpur Sikri is the ingenious techniques for ventilation, water supply and to spread scented air into the library.
My fondness for Fatehpur Sikri can be largely attributed to the fact that life existed there once. It comforts me to know that these are not simply standalone architectures- people have led lives in these structures, formulated strategies, worshiped and often engaged in recreational activities. Where I stand today is perhaps the same spot where Tansen might have played for the courtiers or when I pray in the Dargah, I know that it is an allegory of Akbar’s unwavering faith in the Lord.

So for me, the thrill of visiting a place lies in familiarizing myself with the life that once breathed within the arches, minarets and domes.


How they made me feel blessed

Daily Prompt: Opposite Day.

If you normally write non-fiction, post a photo. If you normally post images, write fiction. If you normally write fiction, write a poem. If you normally write poetry, draw a picture.

 I am posting two photos that I clicked a while after my birthday. These are basically the cards that hold a very dear place in my heart. I don’t know how do people actually choose greeting cards- the look vis-a-vis the thought. But I think cards/letters have a distinct appeal in reaching out to someone.

Heart Warming Message

Greeting Cards

They say for every occasion there is a card,

Holding within, a message to touch someone’s heart.

What perhaps, could be better

Than pouring your heart onto a letter;

Of making someone feel your loving embrace

Simply because written words are hard to erase.

Be my Walter Isaacson, Anyone?

Daily Prompt: Your Life, the Book.

From a famous writer or celebrity, to a blogger or someone close to you — who would you like to be your biographer?

Thinking of a person to pen down my biography is hard, in fact, for me the more pertinent question is, whether or not my life will make an interesting read? Because, trust me living this life is not the most thrilling experience at times. And if actually someone is going to take the trouble of chronicling my simple life adorned with very complicated sentiments, then it better be worth for someone to flip those pages.

Now, I don’t know who the author of my biography can be, but it is imperative that the person knows me in and out. Someone who is aware that when I am stressed, there are wrinkled lines on my forehead. Someone who knows that it is possible for a girl to not be obsessively in love with chocolates let alone like them.  That when I like a movie and I refer it to someone, I look forward to their feedback as impatiently as if I were the director.  More importantly, the person should be well acquainted with the intricate mechanization of my brain. Even when some 10-15 pairs of footwear dazzle my wardrobe, I might give up on an occasion  or give myself a complete look of disdain in the mirror for the lack of perfect shoes. And my shoe fetish is something which is entirely incomprehensible for my mother herself, apparently, from whom I have inherited it. Or that I can sit and cry as I read through the chapter on Dumbledore’s funeral and calling it insane mourning over a fictional character is not going to lift my spirits. And that letting go off grudges is an art I shall never learn- that once someone hurts me hard, I can never revert to square one.

As of now, I do not think that I can enlist an individual to be my biographer but if this much information seems intriguing to you and you can pen down my tale in a witty yet poignant fashion, then feel free to drop a comment.

On a bidding note, if I were to die today and someone was to write about my life, then they could title the book as ’20 and never been in love’. Just something that struck me while I was writing this piece.

The fateful evening when we left for Chandigarh

Daily Prompt: Earworm.

“Bas Babaji ab aur excitement mat dena is raat main..bilkul boring bana do is raat ko” (Oh God, no more thrill/excitment for tonight. Its time for this night to get Boring.)

When I first saw Jab We Met, little did I know that some five years later I would find myself in a situation akin to Kareena Kapoor- missing train followed by an ongoing series of contretemps. This post is an account of the same and from now on I will refer to me and my friends as,

  • Ms. Google Maps- an unchallenged clarity with ways
  • Ms. Optimist- always looking at the brighter side
  • Ms Quiet- she absolutely loathes road travel
  • Ms. Blogger- Me

Last December the four friends had planned a short trip to Chandigarh after their exams got over and as the fateful day drew closer their exuberance had found another level. Imagine, from a fat ‘Democracy and Governance’, book all they could gauge was perhaps the title itself, because their brains were busy planning about Chandigarh. With a smile reaching the either corners of her face and sporting her brand new three-inch wedge sandals (partly because she still had not grabbed a chance to wear them and partly because she was having trouble fitting them in her bag), Ms. Blogger walked down  to her college, from where she was to depart for the New Delhi Railway Station. At this juncture she had committed three mistakes, something that the night will make her regret

  • the wedges
  • a white sweatshirt ( I know right, what kind of nutcase wears white while travelling?)
  • they were running a little late (Not late per se, but she is someone who reaches the station an hour prior to the departure)

Tucked in a cab, all of them were happily chit-chatting, a sight straight out of a Suraj Barjatya movie, sans the music of course. A midst the banter Ms. Blogger poked fun at Ms. Google Maps. Had it been any other day she would have been all “right back at you”, instead that day she chose to be quiet and angry. Right then the cab driver took a wrong turn. Ms. Google Maps pointed out that he should have taken a left but since she was angry and he was very confident, she gave in.

After some 25 minutes later as they stood close the Yamuna Bridge, the driver sheepishly admitted that indeed he had taken a wrong turn. 11 minutes on hand and Delhi’s notorious traffic and ubiquitous red light signals, they had the insurmountable task of reaching Central Delhi from East Delhi.  Caught in the middle of Ms Google Maps rebuking the Cab Driver, Ms. Optimist living up to her name and affirming that miracles happen and Ms. Quiet praying for some heavenly assistance and at the same time resolving that she will never hire a cab, somehow they did reach the station with like 60 seconds left for the train to depart. They hired coolies, surrendered them their humongous four bags and ran madly from the 16th platform to the first platform (of course, our Ms. Blogger was bare-feet holding  her wedges in  hand); only to see the train departing.

Now it was time for them to assess their options, they couldn’t go back to the hostel, would have been plain depressing. Next hiring a cab- four girls on 300 km ride alone in a cab is perhaps every parent’s nightmare in India.  Thus leaving them with the only alternative of taking a bus. Taking an auto to Kashmiri Gate would have been complete foolishness given the miserable traffic in evening, so they walked down to the 16th platform from the 1st platform and then to the Ajemeri Gate Metro Station. If you look at the Metro Map, you would think Ajmeri Gate to Kashmiri Gate is like a cakewalk but it awaits you with so much more in store- jam-packed coaches, oxygen exuding a stink of sweat and you move in and out with a mob absolutely with no sense of direction.

Once they reached Kashmiri Gate, Ms. Blogger realized that her feet had been tormented enough and all they wanted was to feel the flat surface, so the wedges went straight into the bag, where they rightfully belonged that day. They found the ticket queue for Chandigarh volvo bus and gaily stood there thinking that all their turmoil had perhaps come to and end. A while later they took notice that the queue wasn’t moving ahead, Ms. Blogger walked down to the front and inquired about it. To their utter horror the tickets for the 7:30 volvo had already been sold out and the next volvo was scheduled for 10:30. Five minutes later they were all sitting in a local bus. The thing with local buses is that as far as your room heating/cooling whims go, you are at the hands of Mother Nature, they are claustrophobic plus noisy and often they don’t befit the image of a safe journey that an Indian girl’s parents foresee.

In a tiff with her parents over the ‘unsafe’ travel choices, Ms. Optimist had lost all hope (something which is a rare sight with her) and engaged herself in filling out an internship, which had to be sent by midnight. Ms. Quiet had finally chosen to break the silence and make it a little clearer that she abhors road travel.  And Ms. Google Maps was somehow trying to contain her qualms (again a rare sight) and in her mind was thinking about the delicious home cooked food she was being bereaved of, for another five hours. Ms. Blogger was worried about her sore feet, amazed at her parents for being totally chilled out on listening about the day’s mishaps and suddenly as she sensed the contraction in her throat- she realized that she was going to fall ill and her medicines were kept safely in her cupboard.

A little farther from the Delhi Bypass, the bus hit a car,  yes it did. While Ms. Blogger painted a mental image of the four of them stranded on the highway, thankfully the driver settled the whole issue amicably.

Halfway through, the bus took a short halt near a dhaba primarily for the passengers to stack up refreshments. Ms. Google Maps and Ms. Quiet got coffee and chips for the four of them but none of them realized that they were travelling without water. As the engine roared and the bus moved ahead Ms. Blogger and Ms. Optimist dropped their coffee cups on themselves.Ms. Optimist suffered in pain- a pain so strong, which neither water nor cold metal nor chilling winds at the onset of North-Indian winters could appease. And about Ms. Blogger, her agony was not caused by the burns. Remember the white sweatshirt, anyone? A huge coffee stain on the right and the sweatshirt looked white on one hand and a biscuit like shade on the other.

As she sat helplessly in the middle of  Ms. Optimist who for once had no bright side to look at and Ms. Quiet who thought that the road travel was the root cause of our predicament,  and facing Ms. Google Maps who was caught between strengthening hunger pangs and a search for cold objects (for Ms. Optimist’s help), Ms. Blogger repeated the same lines, that she had once heard Kareena speak on the 70 mm screen, “Bas Babaji ab aur excitement mat dena is raat main..bilkul boring bana do is raat ko.”

Much Ado about Nothing

Daily Prompt: Keep Out.

It was just another morning. Ananya gets up in the morning, she sits on the edge of her bed and gazes out of the window constantly caressing her hair. As a daily morning ritual she hunts for her phone to check her blog stats and then abruptly she recollects the moment when she fell asleep. It was 3 a. m. and she was logged in on her wordpress account, pretty content with what she had just written- reading and re-reading the piece- basking in the glory of her fairly good penmanship, no penwomanship (if it’s a word). And just then she fell asleep, logged in on her brother’s laptop, leaving her blog window wide open for him to see.   She thinks hard if it was a dream or she actually did something so despicably foolish. Six months of misery-using chrome in ‘in cognito mode’, sitting down to write once after her family has slept and not uttering a single word bearing a connection with blog/wordpress- all for this day when her freelance writer brother who apparently can weave words together like beads in a string has access to her blog. Yes she  has never been quite open about her feelings, not even with her family and she has time and again resorted to blogging to lift the weight off her shoulders but what is the point now when her ‘wiser than thou’ brother has read it all- her obsession with television, her discontent with life, her ‘not so pleasing’ opinions about marriage and her slightly lower self worth.

Instantly she turns back to face her brother and gives him an intent look. He meets her eye, smiles and says “Good Morning”.

She give him a halfhearted  smile and thinks, “So he is going to act like nothing happened at all, wait for me to bring up the topic and once I do that he is going to mock my writing style or that little something I scrawled about irresponsible journalism in our country, saying how I was trying to feign intellectualism and eventually grilling me deep on that. Only when those tears well up in my eyes, then he will quit, apologize and make it up to me. Yet he will never resist from bringing up the blog time and again to pull my leg.”

Its not like he is a mean brother or that he is not supportive but what scares her is his incorrigibly sardonic wit- something which has often led to disheartening conversations.

She gets up from the bed and decides to let things be. But then she is curious to know his opinion and her helplessness is driving her crazy. She engages herself into her daily activities but nothing helps her suppress the anxiety.

Some fine three hours later- of pacing up and down in the balcony, imagining fictitious conversations adorned with his sarcastic remarks and thinking if she could ever switch off her brain- her brother is leaving for some work and as she stands on the door to see him off, he kisses her on the cheek and says, “By the way, I never knew you could write so well, some brilliant posts you have got there on your blog. Makes me feel proud.”

As the words sink in, she has trouble believing what she just heard. She smiles, glad that her brother liked her writing and how stupidly she was imagining quite the contrary. So much of trouble and mindless thinking for what? Perhaps for keeping her aloof from his appreciation and she immediately pens down a piece about the same concluding with a quote, ‘Life is what happens to us when we are busy making other plans’.

P.S. Honestly, when I started this blog a month ago I did not want anybody I know, to read it. Precisely because I had doubts if I will be able to pen down posts worth reading but I have had my own share of surprises.

The Mighty Mighty Brain!

Daily Prompt: Barter System.

One look at today’s prompt and instantly I am reminded of my 10th standard Economics textbook where an entire page was devoted to the topic how Barter System was eventually substituted by the Monetary Exchange System. Alas, textbooks never again were that simple or sleek.

Coming to the point now, I have a few skills under my sleeve that can help me  to fend for myself in a Barter System. Firstly I am excellent in Accountancy so I can possibly offer Book Keeping as a service. Next I can teach well and any society is in perpetual need of teachers regardless of the system of exchange. And lastly I am a pretty amazing counselor or a peacemaker. Depression, distress, envy or animosity are as imminent truths of life as birth and death, thus as far as I can see counselors will never run out of demand. Though pretty soon I am might end up in a counselor’s office, one of my previous posts pretty much vouches for that.

Think of it, three skills and one would conclude that I am going to be a success story in a barter system. Unfortunately that is far from the truth and I am going to tell you how that will happen. I will sit down and THINK. You know there are people in life who day dream- imagine being immensely successful even before they take the first step towards embarking on a new venture and then there am I who worries that eggs will break even when they have hatched.

Just when I am all prepped up to be a Book Keeper, my highly opinionated brain has something to say.

“Book keeping, undoubtedly you are quick and proficient, but how far can it take you. A cobbler will never draw up accounts or what entry are you going to pass in your chef’s book

‘ Book Keeper’s A/C      Dr.

To Honey Chilly Potato A/c’

That profession is going to be lame, don’t you think so?”

A little disheartened initially, I will decide upon teaching. What are the odds that teaching can go wrong? And then I will spend the next two hours perhaps gushing about how I have always enjoyed teaching and I could have never chosen a better service to offer.

My brain, having a little difficulty in taking in all the exuberance, will then pass a verdict on teaching also.

“Teaching huh! You think there are no teachers out there;  besides haven’t you heard of XYZ. Nobody can match his/her dexterity in teaching so before you go overboard with your teaching plan its time to face the reality- you are an Amateur- and its time to dig up another skill.”

Not with much left on my hand, I will then resolve to become a Counselor. But then again my brain can’t shut up.

“Counseling, Ha ha.. For someone who spends half their time excessively worrying about the smallest of problems and the rest counting the hair that fell off or the pounds gained owing to the stress aren’t you being too naive in pegging yourself a counselor. ”

And finally with nothing to offer, I will spend my entire life wondering, why was I not blessed with a better talent. Excellent craftsmanship, prolific writing skills or a melodious voice- any one of these and I would not have spent a troublesome second pondering about survival in the barter system.

You see, that is the power of Brain. No matter how skilled you are, you are going to land nowhere if your brain has nothing better to do but deter you.

Lootera-The fault in their Stars

Lootera: 3.5/5

Lootera is an age-old story that has been time and again depicted on the silver screen, however what makes it stand out is the sheer brilliance with which it is executed. Pakhi (Sonakshi Sinha), a Zamindar’s daughter finds herself instantly drawn towards Varun (Ranveer Singh),a man she hits while driving. To her surprise, Varun turns out to be an archaeologist hoping to discover a civilization and seeks her father’s assent to carry out excavation on his property. Over dinner, he sways her father with his knowledge in arts and literature and not only gains his assent but manages to become their house guest as well. What follows is a dainty love story set against the exquisite Roychowdhury Haveli and the picturesque landscapes of West Bengal. As the couple stands on the precipice of getting engaged, the looming question is whether Varun is actually the person that Pakhi fell for and if their love is strong enough to endure the contrasting idiosyncrasies of their worlds?

There is not one character whose portrayal is flawed. Both Ranveer and Sonakshi deliver the best performances of their careers as two individuals belonging to different worlds, both equally stubborn yet passionately in love with each other. Sonakshi who has spent a good part of her career playing Dabangg’s beau, actually takes the viewer by surprise with her splendid characterization of Pakhi. Adil Hussain does an excellent job as Pakhi’s protective father and a Zamindar who believes he is the wronged one-in the face of Government’s anti feudal policies. Vikrant Massey is adorable as Ranvir’s witty friend and devout fan of Dev Anand.
Amit Trivedi’s mellifluous music is spell binding and aptly complements the story line. Vikramaditya Motwane does not disappoint after Udaan but yes Lootera could have been pitch perfect had the story been a little less predictable and slow.

Watch Lootera for it will embark you on a poetic and mesmerizing journey into the by lanes of love.

The good, the bad, the ugly- Decoded

Daily Prompt: Mirror, Mirror.

Mirror of Erised shows one, a reflection of their deepest desires. In the muggle world, a mirror may not reflect our innermost desires yet it reflects our innermost emotions. Haven’t you wondered that it is the same face and still on some days it is pretty and on others ugly, one day the reflection exudes charm and on  the next you are nothing else but gauche. Our disposition influences the image standing right in front of us. Take for instance the contentment of finishing a rigorous half an hour workout makes you believe that those love handles and saddlebags have started vanishing and the moment you indulge yourself in chocolate cookies your guilt induces you to see an image of adipose bulging on those legs. The volatility of our emotions introduces us to the different ‘us’- self obsessed, kind, shallow, popular, witty, sarcastic, egoist, altruist, etc and each facet has a shelf life no longer than the transient emotion persists within us.

And sometimes we see what others want us to see. The day your relatives tell you that you are a spitting image of your mother, you can’t help but notice the resemblance while you are looking in the mirror. The day a friend compliments your hair, instantaneously they transform from a wobbly-bushy mass fixated on your skull to lustrous locks. Hence, we are all slaves of our mind.

When I look in the mirror, I see the frame of my mind staring back at me.

Reminiscing the Joy of Fiction

Daily Prompt: From the Gut.

For today’s daily prompt, we are to write about a recent incident when we had a hearty laugh. Instead I chose to recall a few moments from some of my favorite novels that made me chuckle. Have a look.

#1. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

“Show yourself!” Snape said, tapping the map sharply.

It stayed blank. Harry was taking deep, calming breaths.

“Professor Severus Snape, master of this school, commands you to yield the information you conceal!” Snape said, hitting the map

with his wand.

As though an invisible hand were writing upon it, words appeared on the smooth surface of the map.

“Mr. Moony presents his compliments to Professor Snape, and begs him to keep his abnormally large nose out of other people’s business.”

Snape froze. Harry stared, dumbstruck, at the message. But the map didn’t stop there. More writing was appearing beneath the first.

Mr. Prongs agrees with Mr. Moony, and would like to add that Professor Snape is an ugly git.

It would have been very funny if the situation hadn’t been so serious.

And there was more. . . .

“Mr. Padfoot would like to register his astonishment that an idiot like that ever became a professor.”

Harry closed his eyes in horror. When he’d opened them, the map had had its last word.

“Mr. Wormtail bids, Professor Snape good day, and advises him to wash his hair, the slime ball.”

Harry waited for the blow to fall.

“So . . . ,” said Snape softly. “We’ll see about this. . . .”

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince

#2 The trio visit Fred and George’s Store

“That’s three Galleons, nine Sickles, and a Knut,” said Fred, examining the many boxes in Ron’s arms. “Cough up.”

“I’m your brother!”

“And that’s our stuff you’re nicking. Three Galleons, nine Sickles. I’ll knock off the Knut.”

“But I haven’t got three Galleons, nine Sickles!”

“You’d better put it back then, and mind you put it on the right shelves.”

Ron dropped several boxes, swore, and made a rude hand gesture at Fred that was unfortunately spotted by Mrs. Weasley, who had chosen that moment to appear.

“If I see you do that again I’ll jinx your fingers together,” she said sharply.

#3. The muggle Prime Minister meets the Minister of Magic

It was precisely this sort of behavior that made him dislike Fudge’s visits so much. He was, after all, the Prime Minister and did not appreciate being made to feel like an ignorant schoolboy. But of course, it had been like this from his very first meeting with Fudge on his very first evening as Prime Minister. He remembered it as though it were yesterday and knew it would haunt him until his dying day.

He had been standing alone in this very office, savoring the triumph that was his after so many years of dreaming and scheming, when he had heard a cough behind him, just like tonight, and turned to find that ugly little portraittalking to him, announcing that the Minister of Magic was about to arrive and introduce himself

Naturally, he had thought that the long campaign and the strain of the election had caused him to go mad. He had been utterly terrified to find a portrait talking to him, though this had been nothing to how he felt when a self-proclaimed wizard had bounced out of the fireplace and shaken his hand. He had remained speechless throughout Fudge’s kindly explanation that there were witches and wizards still living in secret all over the world and his reassurances that he was not to bother his head about them as the Ministry of Magic took responsibility for the whole Wizarding community and prevented the non-magical population from getting wind of them. It was, said Fudge, a difficult job that encompassed everything from regulations on responsible use of broomsticks to keeping the dragon population under control (the Prime Minister remembered clutching the desk for support at this point). Fudge had then patted the shoulder of the still-dumbstruck Prime Minister in a fatherly sort of way.

“Not to worry,” he had said, “it’s odds-on you’ll never see me again. I’ll only bother you if there’s something really serious going on our end, something that’s likely to affect the Muggles–the non-magical population, I should say. Otherwise, it’s live and let live. And I must say, you’re taking it a lot better than your predecessor. He tried to throw me out the window, thought I was a hoax planned by the opposition.”

At this, the Prime Minister had found his voice at last. “You’re–you’re not a hoax, then?”

It had been his last, desperate hope.

“No,” said Fudge gently. “No, I’m afraid I’m not. Look.”

And he had turned the Prime Minister’s teacup into a gerbil.

“But,” said the Prime Minister breathlessly, watching his teacup chewing on the corner of his next speech, “but why–why has nobody told me–?”

“The Minister of Magic only reveals him–or herself to the Muggle Prime Minister of the day,” said Fudge, poking his wand back inside his jacket. “We find it the best way to maintain secrecy.”

“But then,” bleated the Prime Minister, “why hasn’t a former Prime Minister warned me–?”

At this, Fudge had actually laughed.

“My dear Prime Minister, are you ever going to tell anybody?”

#4. Slughorn’s Christmas Party

“But I don’t think I’ve ever known such a natural at Potions!” said Slughorn, regarding Harry with a fond, if bloodshot, eye. “Instinctive, you know — like his mother! I’ve only ever taught a few with this kind of ability, I can tell you that, Sybill-why even Severus —” And to Harry’s horror, Slughorn threw out an arm and seemed to scoop Snape out of thin air toward them. “Stop skulking and come and join us, Severus!” hiccuped Slughorn happily. “I was just talking about Harry’s exceptional po-tion-making! Some credit must go to you, of course, you taught him for five years!”

Trapped, with Slughorns arm around his shoulders, Snape looked down his hooked nose at Harry, his black eyes narrowed. “Funny, I never had the impression that I managed to teach Potter anything at all.”

#5 I’ve Got your Number

“We’re playing Scrabble. It’s a nightmare.”

“Scrabble?” He sounds surprised.

“Scrabble’s great.”

“Not when you are playing with a family of geniuses. They all put words like iridium. And I put pig.”

#6. Can you keep a Secret?

A girl after getting drunk on a flight divulges every secret of her life in front of a complete stranger who later turns out to be her boss. Given below are some of his questions/remarks when he meets her in the office and the secrets that she had disclosed on the flight.

“How’s the coffee?”he asks pleasantly. “Tasty?”

(“The coffee at work is the most disgusting stuff you’ve ever drunk, absolute poison.”)

“That’s a big desk you’ve got there Artemis.”

(“The new desk just arrived and she just took it.”)

I told him about faking the A grade on my CV.

“Why not say we were discussing logistics? “he raised his eyebrow and closed the door behind me.

(“I still don’t know what the word logistics means.”)

Daily Prompt: A Mystery Wrapped in an Enigma- Curious Connect with Televsion

Daily Prompt: A Mystery Wrapped in an Enigma.

Each one of us have weaknesses. Uncontrollable rage, sexy Steve Madden’s or a congenital sweet tooth that doesn’t help those extra pounds. I also have one – I am a Television Addict- as much as I cannot study without TV.

When you have been a bright student all your life, most people like to assume that you don’t have a life beyond books. Oddly that doesn’t hold true for me. My connect with television dates back to the day when I spoke my very first word and that was a daily soap’s name. I have grown up watching television, narrating an episode to my mother while she looked at me startled and bemused that how her 5 year old remembers every dialogue with the exact emotion and expression. For the past 15 years, there has not been a show on Indian Television that I have missed.I can immerse myself into a show so deep that sometimes I ignore the fine line between fiction and reality. For instance I watched White Collar’s fourth season finale thrice to take note of junctures where Peter made mistakes and how he could have saved himself from getting arrested.

Most of you might think, what is wrong with watching television that I like to keep it to myself? Sadly Indian shows tend to have regressive plot lines and in school watching soap operas was considered tacky. So watching television became a clandestine affair.

While people switch on their televisions to kill time or take their minds off their lives I have not only seen shows but have also given them a deep thought. I am not dismissing the fact that majority of the shows on air have a very backward outlook but undeniably these are the shows that gross highest TRPs. Google Diya aur Bati Hum or Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai and you will understand my point. No matter how aggressively we advocate about women empowerment or caste/creed discrimination, people still hold on to their orthodox beliefs and customs.

I have a friend who firmly believes that one must always look at the bright side and drawing inspiration from that thought I would like to say that there have been some pretty amazing shows or some lovable characters in the not so good shows as well.  Hip Hip Hurray which telecasted on Zee Tv showcased the lives of 11th standard school kids. I think the show was ahead of its time because school affairs, ragging, drugs or live in relationships were never talked about in Indian homes during the 90s. Left Right Left was another path breaking show about Indian Military aspirants (until of course they came up with a second season). Radha ki betiyan kuch kar dikhayegi was a delight to watch every Monday because at least in a single show 19-20 year old girls had ambitions for their lives apart from getting married. I have sincerely followed Chandragupta Maurya week after week because it was difficult for me to take my eyes off Manish Wadhwa who evoked life into Chanakya. I made a mental note of every word he uttered- it was pure wisdom. And for a very brief period, Balika Vadhu was a very well conceived and executed show.

Yes, television has landed me in a few embarrassing situations as well. At a very young age I pointed out to my mother that morning sickness is a symptom of pregnancy (Neena Gupta’s show Saans) or a wedding night authenticates a marriage (Zee Tv’s show Amanat).

On a parting note, here’s another little secret. Sometimes I had other reasons that kept me glued to the TV screen namely, Abhay Deol’s dimples, Vikas Khanna’s humbleness (and the way he pronounced Aalu), Osh Kosh Bagosh Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht) or Sushant Singh Rajput’s O Re Piya performance in Jhalak Dikhla Jaa 4, all of which by the way make my heart waltz in air.