Tamasha - the show, we are all part of which, every moment of our life

Tamasha - the show, we are all part of which, every moment of our life.

I am about 8 months late in watching the movie Tamasha, starring Ranveer Kapoor and Dipika Padukone and Piyush Mishra in lead roles. 

But it was worth watching the movie on Saturday evening. I am really happy that I made this choice.

I happened to visit GTB Nagar (close to D.U. campus in North of Delhi). The place sells everything that a struggling individual might be interested in.

I bought a few DVD's that I have been wanting to watch but couldn't do so because of poor time management and priority setting in daily course of life.

Though, when I came home, I realized that my DVD player is broken long ago! 

I unhesitatingly knocked doors of couple of neighbours, until I found one who could copy the movie from the DVD to a pen drive.

After a few hours spent in this relentless effort of running movie on my laptop, I finally finished watching it, lying in the comforts of my bed, sipping tea.

The movie makes you ponder upon the lines that I have been thinking since I left my corporate job - Is the race we are running blindly worth participating? 

What are we trying to prove, and to whom exactly? 

Why  does everyone seem so happy in a most futile ways of living?

What is it that I am not able to find? And is it just me who is after that?

In a distinct town in outskirts of France, Ranveer and Dipika meet in the opening scene. They don't introduce each other, because as he says, it would make us tied to each other in some way. Let's be strangers, without the fear of being judged, known, familiar.

In my recent solo trips to small towns in Himachal Pradesh, I have been thinking on the same lines. 

Is an introduction necessary at all for two individuals to connect?

Do your name, vocation have to do anything with who you are? Or rather, what you are!

You may be an investment banker by profession, and an artist at core of your heart? Which of that introduction you would like to give me, or does it even matter?

I am thoroughly enjoying its lead song that goes as -

Pal bhar theher jao... 

Stay here for a moment. As one moment is enough if we have played it right, on the drama-stage of this little-life!


I am thinking to have a very productive Sunday. I am gonna do exercise to cut on the extra calories I have taken up in last few weeks (or I guess months); catch-up on all the national news I have missed; clean-up my room, and by extension the entire house; arrange my wardrobe; organize my work-table; and so on and on and on. I have basically a list of a hundred things which I have not done in time immemorial, to finally undertake this Sunday! Hurrey!

I kept thinking about it for an hour or so, taking a sip of late-night Saturday tea, having a glimpse of some tv shows, listening to my favourite songs, I dozed off a little late as opposed to my plan, and woke up after midnoon on Sunday!

"Well, exercise - I can do tomorrow! Let me start with cleaning room. Oh no, but it will be almost evening if I start it now. Let me just decorate it a little. I have spent entire year gaining calories. Now it's high time I start losing it. Hmm"

"Okay, so I will just put some pictures of yoga-poses, healthy life-style rules and diet-chart etc to remind myself of it everyday. Ah, how can I take the print-outs. My printer ink has run out. I need to order one."

[Opening laptop- last night's show has been resumed. After watching it for 15 minutes, I remind myself of shopping the printer-ink.]

[Another 30 minutes have passed by browsing around.]

"Okay, finally I have cracked the best deal on ink this time. Patience pays!"

"I am so hungry. I am gonna cook something. I will watch tv while cooking and eating."

[About 2 hours have gone on I-don't-know-what]

"I want to take some rest now. I have been working for so long. I need to catch-up on some serious news stuff!"

[Another 30 minutes spent on skimming through the paper]

"Ah, now I feel this strong desire within to write my thoughts that have aroused from reading"

[Opening laptop; few catch-ups on social media and blogs. Another two hours have gone by. I have not written anything yet.]

"I must get up and take bath. It's almost dinner time now! Huh!"

"Oh, what will I wear tomorrow at work? I was supposed to clean my wardrobe and get some clothes ironed." 

"I am just gonna hit the bed now. I have meetings to attend, can't be late to bed on Sundays. Let me manage with this mess until next Sunday. It should be sorted afterwards." 

[Preparing my bed]

"I am thinking to have a seriously productive next Sunday. Oh, but I am not in the town that day! Then probably next-to-next Sunday! After-all I have now this note to refer on any Sunday I get some real free time." 


For now, I am just waiting for that one Sunday!

In the meantime, one serious tip - Don't wait for any Sunday. If you have any mess to clean, Do it NOW! 



McLeodganj, Dharamshala, Himachal Pradesh, India

These days solo-travelling is on the cards. Facebook is swamped with photos of people going to hill stations, in India or abroad. Boasting of their journeys, taking cool-selfies, sharing stories is the heat of the moment! So taking dip in the same flow, I thought I should take the honor of sharing some stories of my journey too -

A very rare kind of internship this summer gave me the opportunity of solo-travelling to rural and urban North-India. Well, now I wonder what exactly does it mean -"solo travel". Haven't I been already going places on my own. Or does my boy-friend or someone else accompany me everywhere? Where exactly does the "solo-travel" start from? My entire family drops me to Delhi airport where my flight to JFK is awaiting - and where my entire paternal or maternal families come to pick me up at the JFK airport - can be called some solo-travel stunt? Huh?

I read many articles on solo-travel off lately, to enhance my own understanding of this term. And to my surprise I found out that I have been solo travelling since twenty years now. My papa has never been 'pro' when it comes to 'picking' or 'dropping'. He often used to tell me that who would accompany you in the US when you go there. And now it seems he was right!

So it turns out to me that my first visit to Delhi almost 6 years back was a first serious 'solo-trip'. Nobody came to pick me up at the busiest New Delhi Railway Station. And that continued on and on. Since then, I have solo-travelled to my hometown almost a hundred times in last 5 years.

However, my recent trip to Mcleodganj, a small town located in the narrow-high-hills of Himachal Pradesh, is a most memorable solo-travel stunt so far for me!

In north of India, if a woman (an unmarried one) travels alone, it's a different experience altogether. You have to be careful of just so many things. People judge you; they ask you non-sensical questions (are you single? what have you come here for? what kind of work exactly?); etc etc

An Indian girl in foreign or a foreigner girl in India probably would have much better experience. But an Indian girl in India travelling alone is a curse to bear! From the taxi-driver to the hotel manager, from children to oldies- all look at you with some strange look in their eyes - a look I couldn't understand what it pertains to. On my way from Dharamshala to Pathankot, the TTE asked me, where are you going to from Pathankot? I gently said - "How on earth is that your business?" Well, he might be a genuine person trying to genuinely help me for I-don't-know-what, but that's how it is. They take the liberty of asking you personal questions even more so when you're alone! My best friend suggested me that I could act like a pregnant woman, as I already have swelling tommy to support that stance, and could take advantage of being less-judged, less-harassed, or less-horrified etc.

Nevertheless, I won't say that I had only bad experiences. I met some very amazing people on my journey - from a doctor-family in the train to a struggling-family of two brothers in Pathankot to solo-traveller Navneet. On my way from Delhi to Pathankot, I learnt a lot of stuff about Power plants because of my conversations with this sweet guy Navneet who kept talking about his work and personal life experiences as if were old friends for long time. He later helped me to get to my bus to Dharamshala.

On my way back to home, I had to spend a couple of hours in Pathankot to catch my connecting train to Delhi. I chose to roam around the market than sitting idly at the platform. I happened to arrive to a small shop that sold women's accessories of all types. My little conversation with two brothers, who run that shop, made our bond so strong that they both came to drop me to my train and waited there with me until the train left at 11:30 p.m.! It felt as I had some relatives there to see me off and take care of me in the best possible manner!

In last one month, I have travelled to more than 10 cities across four states of India -from the west coast of Mumbai to North-Valleys of Dharamshala, it was an experience worth relishing. Putting up in a cottage, facing the mountains, feeling the rain and reading my favourite Ayn Rand to myself is something I am going to remember always!

If you're traveling solo or in-company, don't forget doing one thing - having FUN!


Message to Bollywood from 'Batman Vs Superman - Dawn of Justice'

Watching a hollywood-fiction-sci-fi movie is always a pleasure for Indians. You see, it's something our Bollywood miserably fails to offer us at home. Yes, I know we have Ra.One, Krrish-series, but let's keep comedy movies aside for keeping the discussion to the point!

The recent Batman and Superman combo appearance on screen got me thinking more and more on these lines. The appearance of an ugly, deformed, non-living, yet alive, thing, from the planet of Superman, was a good treat to eyes! The background's loud sounds, coupled up with heavy rain, made everything more dramatic and filmy. But Indians love drama, so the movie is going housefull in metro cities here.

I sometimes wonder why can't Indians have movies on Nagraj (Kind-of-Spider Man), Super Commando Dhruva (No-replica-available), Doga (Iron Man), Parmanu (Atom Man), Shakti (Wonder Woman) and so many more from our childhood favorite comic producers Raj Comics.

 I even have in mind who should be starred on these roles. I believe Hrithik Roshan can do the role of Nagraj well, as his face has a natural similarity with the former, and I think he is quite "available" for taking new roles. Also, given his "only" famous series Krrish, Indians will accept him for the new role quickly. For Shakti, Deepika Padukone would suit best, but in case she doesn't have a date free, Anushka might get a chance. For Dhruva and Doga other bollywood stars can be starred. But let's please keep SRK aside this time, and make it a serious sci-fi, fiction movie instead of comedy.

Hoping to see one Indian version of these movies in coming years!!!!


It's horribly cold in Delhi, and we are told to carry not a lot of sweaters as there is a pleasant weather in Jhansi, Madhya Pradesh (MP). All of us are excited. Though, I am not a big fan of company-outings, but I have agreed to go on this retreat. Basically for two reasons: First - it's compulsory! Second - I am sure it's going to be a different experience for me.

So, here we are - at the railway platform - a group of close to 100 fellows of Teach For India, along with 30 odd students selected from all over Delhi, to accompany us in our Mid-year retreat of Jan-2016! It is an entirely different momentum that one can feel in the air, when all of us are together - at one place. Fellows from all walks of life are ready to create another chapter in history.

I am, as always, feeling indifferent about the trip.  However, I look forward to the different activities we are going to do in Jhansi and Orchha.

Day 1 -
As soon as we step out at Jhansi platform, we get inside another bus eagerly waiting there to take us to Orchha. I knew this is going to be a hectic day! How could I forget what happened in the training-institute in Pune! For all the beauty, I loved the institute, I never loved the part that I had no real time to enjoy it! "God - I shouldn't have come", I kept thinking to myself.

After reaching at a dharmshala-cum-hotel, we have an hour long break; and then we would leave for Taragram - a developed, fully-furnished, kind-hearted and welcoming village in heart of India.

TARAGRAM - There is something very different in its air. I have never been to a place so peaceful before in my life. Everyone is working, busy in mundane tasks of life - yet nobody seems to be running in any race, as we do here in Delhi. It's clean; it's pure; and it has a soul that I wanted to meet always. There is creativity; there is culture; there is technology; there is labor; and above all, there is peace!

We explored different work units of Development Authorities (DA), a semi-govt. organization that works for the development of Taragram, since 1996. The Arts-and-crafts unit, I found most amazing. I could not believe the handmade items I see at most costly shops in Select City Walk mall are created in the streets of a village, unknown to us all.

After a quick visit to all four units of DA, we have left for a visit to another nearby village - Mandor. They say it's the largest village of MP, but I didn't find it very advanced or developed. However, I see that DA is working great there. They are running literacy programs for women, and also enabling their people for employment. I hope for more development for the largest village of a state, but I need to realize that wherever they are right now -however small it may look to me - it's a great achievement for them. They have come a long way, from being nobody to being an entrepreneur today! Salutes!

Now we have come back to our hotel in Orchha. As a miracle, we have a couple-of-hours break to relax, or visit, or make friends. You see, every time we have a get-together at TFI, there is always atleast one person very interesting whom you meet, and you want to talk to, and you want to be friends with - no matter how cold and indifferent you are! And that's the beauty of our diversity.

We took a walk to the river side. Though it's not very fancy, but I like to hear the sounds of its waves. They ask questions that you have never thought about, and they also solve riddles that you could never elsewhere do. You have to just sit here, either alone, or in some nice company!

We come back to the hotel, and we have a surprise game-night. It sounds wonderful. We have a chance to vent our feelings and frustrations out here by role playing. It is fun, and we come closer to our groups by being our true selves.

Day 2- 
I am hoping for a great day, today. I had a good night sleep yesterday, after the game-night. We have come to know that we are going to a Gaushala today. I am really excited now.

GAUSHALA - We have various different activities planned for today. An amazing job by our program managers and retreat team! Of all the great things, I found fodder-feeding activity most attractive. I signed up for it, instantly.

It was great to go to farms, cut fresh fodder, break it into smaller pieces in a handmade chopper, and finally feed to the cows. Nothing in the world can beat the smell and touch of fresh green leaves, and the live experience of feeding the most sacred animal of all.
We have no idea where the entire day spent on. Hopping from one place to other, enjoying its beauty, and admiring its creativity and grandeur, we went to attend our last session of the day - India - of my dreams!

Many of us, including our kids, shared our unique idea of "India - of my dreams". I felt a little overwhelmed by the level of openness with which people came and shared. But I'm happy to be a part of discussion where we talk about India. It seems to be a lost word these days. We are too busy in our daily-life work, career aspirations, personal life issues, health, satisfaction, that we have forgotten our country altogether. We dream of going to US, to places that are holiday spots, that have bigger and better university, but we don't dream of our India anymore. Patriotism is the least talked about thing in our curriculum these days, I realized.

On reflection sessions, we are being asked many a times in TFI, "What did you learn about yourself in last (few) days/ months?" Here it has been asked again. I find this question always overwhelming, and sometimes annoying. How can you expect from someone to learn something about herself in one or two days? It seems to me only a formality sitting in those sessions and answering for sake of it. I came back home with a lot of thoughts whirling around my head, but no answers to any of them.

ORCHHA FORT- The rest of the day was ours. We went to the Orchha fort, and saw light and sound show. It was amazing to feel the history again, and to know the great victory stories of our ancestors. We had food in one of the tourist-restaurants, and some very nice time spent with some very nice friends.

Day 3 -
We are going to Taragram again today. We have to check out from the hotel here, and leave for Jhansi platform from thereon. We have a couple of sessions, and time to shop in Taragram. It's a relatively light and relaxing day. I am enjoying this part very much.

JHANSI FORT- We have a very small window between our train and Fort closing timings. We are rushing to see the fort. I am very happy that I didn't miss this great opportunity. It’s a privilege to witness a place which has given shelter to one of the bravest women of our country - Rani Lakshmibai, grand-daughter of Peshwa Baji Rao. It was great to learn about our history deeper, and explore it alive.

WAY BACK TO DELHI - For the first time in the history of TFI, our multiple generations are travelling in one train - alumni, staff, program managers, fellows and kids - all at one platform. We did a small demonstration of our kids' skills at the railway station.

One question has been occupying my mind all the time - is there anything I learnt about myself in last 3 days? Is it even possible to do so in such a short duration?

For some unknown reasons, I feel a lot more peaceful today. I feel proud to be a part of the movement that is working for the country, for our children, for fighting the crisis India is facing for decades now, for trying to eliminate the education-inequity!

All I know at this moment is that I am happy that I joined TFI; for there is a different peace and content in my mind at this time that I never had in my life ever befor