Vibing with SRK of Zero

It was a much anticipated multi starer featuring King Khan, releasing on the Christmas weekend and boasting of some slick cutting edge(supremely expensive) VFX. What could possibly stop it from grossing 300crores or even enter the 500crore club?!

But alas the reality is here for us all to see. The movie released in December of 2018 and almost two years later (we’re in the second half of the year already!) SRK has had no release and hasn’t signed on anything either (there are rumours of Rajkumar Hirani stepping in to revive King Khan’s career (oh the irony) but at this point, it is, for most part ‘conjecture’).

But what am I trying to get at? Well, while making the movie the makers of course gave it their all. And that is all one can do from their end. Invest and surrender yourself to the project, with all the faith you have, giving it your all and then some more.

For who can predict the outcome? Definitely not the best trade analysts in the business. For as we saw, despite it all (best director, massive publicity, Khan Khan patch up and two stunning co actors), despite the glorious career and majestic heartthrob status – it all came to naught.

Sigh. That is EXACTLY how I feel.

Wait up?! why am I vibing to SRK???

Lets backtrack a little.

Let me explain. I strived for a decade, single minded-ly focusing on my dream of being a radio jockey and hosting a show on air. You know how it is, “itni shiddat se maine tumhe paane ki koshish ki hai, ke har zarre ne mujhe tumse Milane ki saazish ki hai. Kehte hain ki…agar kisi cheez ko dil se chaaho to puri kayanat usey tumse milane ki koshish mein lag jaati hai.” And it did happen! After numerous struggles, auditions and never hearing back, it FINALLY happened! I landed a full time show that I hosted Monday to Saturday at a leading radio network in the country (India).

And I did well. Even if I say so myself. I loved every minute of it and the love from the listeners was a good yardstick to measure my growth and the popularity of the show (check out the RJ page on this blog itself). Fast forward to three years later. Realization seeped in with each passing day that there was a difference between work and workplace and that difference mattered more than any of us ever account for. Despite living the dream I wasn’t happy or contented. I couldn’t afford to continue that way as it affected my demeanor and eventually the show. I would never make that compromise, not for my listeners and hence bid adieu to that office. Definitely one of the hardest decisions in my life.

What came next was equally harder. Unbeknownst to me or the world there was a pandemic brewing that would soon disrupt each of our lives. My plans of completing my MBA, exploring and learning on our international immersion in Singapore (it was to happen at NUS), returning and looking for work that I loved to do, all while hosting gigs were all erased with a swirl of a wand. Poof! Evaporated into nothingness.

The consequence of this was that my break has now extended to seven months and my job hunt…well…I’ve diversified and applied to various roles, most of who I never hear back from. And if I do it isn’t favorable. Fair enough given the current scenario and my niche background. I’m accepting and adjusting to this reality.

What I haven’t been able to come to terms with, are the patronizing folks who come across my profile and choose to not see beyond my last designation. ‘Coz of course there is nothing more to a person, not skills that could be transferable to other roles and fields, not the fact that I’ve up-skilled and literally done a whole MBA from ISB nonetheless and definitely not the fact that a person is waaaaay more than the one aspect you choose to focus on!

No my rant isn’t over yet. It’s worse when said patronizing person happens to be a fan and ardent listener of the show. And that has happened multiple times now. People end up recognizing me from the show and then want to know how an RJ ended up applying at their firm. I’m going to spare you the details of that pity cum fan boy call. I’ll tell you this much though – that conversation crushes me. It’s hard enough to give up this celebrity persona I worked so hard for and come to terms with the reality of the pandemic. I didn’t need the salt sprinkle on my wound.

And somewhere I’d like to think SRK and I are these kindred souls who despite all the fandom, success, hard work and status are sitting home, not doing what we love and enjoy the most, not being able to practice our craft, which isn’t just something we enjoy and are really fabulous at but something that others love us for as well.

Image courtesy – Apb news

Well until I can find something to get behind (for that is when zero becomes valuable), I shall attempt to stay afloat and be a sunflower who always tends towards the light.

Image courtesy – country living magazine

PS : Thank you for making it thus far. If you found yourself rolling your eyes at this self aggrandized rant, I’m sorry. I assure you I usually try to be a lot more positive but job seeking is a frustrating adventure sport sans the adrenaline rush. It wears you down and it doesn’t help having a niche skill. Not in this economy anyway. If you’re sailing in a similar boat, my heart goes out to you and I hope it gets better soon.



Events: On ground to online

Over the weekend I had the opportunity to host #Abhyudaya 2020, a fest organized by the PGPPro (the equivalent of an eMBA) students of the Indian School of Business.

Being a PGPPro student myself, this was an absolute honor and privilege. Not just to have so many people, cohorts, faculty and the school trust you to seamlessly pull off the event virtually but also to be interacting with CXO level leaders personally.

Usually the fest is hosted at one of the cities where PGPPro is offered (Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Hyderabad). Last year was the debut edition and it was held at Delhi. This year it was to be held at Mumbai but of course covid had other plans. So we had to adapt and decided to take the fest online. The organizing committee rallied all the forces and the first ever e-conclave came to be. Abhyudaya 2020 became a two day event with the theme “Building your plane as you fly”. It really epitomized what each one of us was going through – trying to power through and move ahead despite all odds while simultaneously adapting and fixing every day challenges.

It was an eventful evening: front-end for the participants and attendees, backend for the organizing committee and I.

I was SO frazzled because of tech glitches, my laptop crashing, being completely disconnected from the audience and had no idea what was actually happening on the platform end. Being used to audience energy, reading the room, their expression, vibes and applause..sigh..all of that was missing.

Here it was just me, all by myself, speaking to my cellphone held together with bands since the tripod was flimsy. Yes, adapting to the situation, thinking on my feet and applying mahaa jugaad when my laptop was giving up on me. I also had my classmate on constant tech support using any desk to monitor my laptop.

That’s some honest behind the scenes for you.

Despite all that, every time I was given my cue I’d muster all my courage, put on a bright smile and power ahead hoping it was all playing out okay for the audience on the external platform (aka Dreamcast who are really onto something fabulous here)

Powering through all the challenges had a massive payoff!

Listening to these leaders Sunil Kant Munjal,
Madhusudan DeshpandeTarun KatialSwarup MohantyUnny RadhakrishnanSnigdha Ghosh RayNachiket Deshpande & Pankaj Rai
with their diverse experiences and knowledge was such an honor and privilege.

They didn’t just speak about the pandemic, it’s affect on business & how they coped but also about the various upheavals around the globe, the human tragedy that was exposed & personal experiences that have worked for them. That really is the biggest learning. To lead with humanity and empathy.

Some moments and words that have stayed with me were when Unny Radhakrishnan mentioned the #Blacklivesmatter movement, when Nachiket Deshpande had a presentation that was adapted to our theme complete with animation for each slide and a speedometer that moved as he proceeded from one topic to the next. The effort and attention to detail immediately struck a chord! His thoughts on how to have employees bond when they can’t have water cooler catch ups or walking conversations with colleagues on breaks were so valuable.

When I was listening to Pankaj Rai speak about networking and role modelling I didn’t realize that was exactly what I would end up doing by the end of his address!

He spoke about (and these are just SOME of the many gems he shared):
– being a go-giver (why must you always have the pressure of being a go-getter anyway)
– self leadership (stay true to your purpose)
– strategy: while projections are great how about you plan and build your idea of the future and in essence all of us are strategists!
– Identity: it’s not what you think of yourself but what others think you (but hey isn’t that branding!)

He also addressed me and referenced something I’d said earlier – way to connect effectively immediately! What a masterclass!

Now to gear up for day 2 of the e-conclave!

Class of 2020

This week has been incredibly hard, most of us might be feeling that way given all the news updates.

I’ve been downcast through the entire lock down as our classes, international exchange program and impending graduation were all affected (subsequently future career prospects as well). One tries to stay up-beat and get through a day at a time, consoling ourselves that this is all beyond our control and there’s no point fretting in the face of forces that be. 

No alt text provided for this image
No alt text provided for this image

But this week…well this is the week we would have successfully completed our MBA at The Indian School Of Business.

No alt text provided for this image
No alt text provided for this image

All this while watching folks graduate online, next batches being on boarded online and feeling so sore about this uncertainty that engulfs us all. So much has been said about the ‘Class of 2020’ and as I look at my fellow batch mates, they fill me with pride and hope as we all try to bravely put this behind us and rally around organizing our fest virtually for the first time ever

No alt text provided for this image

And I guess that is the essence of being human, the trait that the Class of 2020 epitomizes : to be resilient & hopeful in the face of all odds. Cheers to this tenacious lot and for all the challenges we are going to vanquish 💙

Can’t wait to be back in class with ya’ll 😄

No alt text provided for this image
No alt text provided for this image

Feed My City

Its been exactly a week since Feed my city hosted a live concert on YouTube to raise funds. A unique initiative that brought together CXOs from across the globe, jamming from within their homes, in a bid to raise funds. These funds would go towards feeding the migrant and daily wage workers who had been the worst affected in the midst of this pandemic.

What started off in Bangalore has now spread across five cities (Noida, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai and Bangalore) and Feed my city has been at it every single day clocking over 3 million meals to date. And while they run the show on ground, the good people on the internet help to keep this momentum going. What is also amazing is that some of these folks working behind the scenes haven’t actually met but thanks to technology have been collaborating and coordinating this mammoth task! Equally amazing are the performers; Videos came in different parts of the world, some featuring their kids and pooches, some had the artist multi tasking (singing and playing various instruments), while others had original songs dedicated to corona. All in all a heartening effort to ensure we reach out to as many displaced folks as possible.

Personally, I signed up for this over a phone call (I mean who needs convincing for this cause right?!) and was so moved by the initiative and stories that pour in everyday from on ground. After all that time of sitting home, scrolling on social media and feeling angst at how our workers were being treated, I finally had a chance to do more than contribute online, a chance to make a larger impact! It helped that I also saw alumni from my college (ISB) leading the way and performing at this fundraiser concert. I remember on the day of the shoot I was fasting and everyone around me was so concerned but it made me realize that I knew what time I could eat (and even count down to it and prep for it) but there were lakhs of folks at a disadvantaged situation who had no idea when they would have their next meal. So much for ‘all Indians are my brothers and sisters’, repeating it every morning at the school assembly but never actually looking out for our fellow citizens. But now more than ever we need to inculcate a sense of community, one that goes beyond our circles and gated societies. Our well being is dependent on them and even apart from that this is basic humanity isnt it? and that is why Id request you drop by and even check out the concert here :

Thankyou for being patient and sticking it out until here. Here is a smiley face for you!

Solo traveller

Done to death, right?

Well try it for yourself and you’ll be joining in the clique too!

Ive never been one to follow the trends or simply go along with something coz its ‘cool’. So no this isn’t one of those posts.

That said, it’s just SO much easier to head off on your own without having to worry about another person and accounting for their comfort, preferences and dislikes. Selfish? Maybe. But hey you gotta love & live for yourself first right?!

Not that I ever imagined myself jet setting off to a location solo. But here is how it happened: one of those million flight company promotional emails landed in my inbox (think “Airfares starting from Rs 737* on major airlines!” “Annual sale is here. Fares for domestic routes at Rs. 737 only. Hurry, book now!” I’d like to know how both of them arrived at the same price). It was a particularly slow day and I had been wishing to get away from it all for a while (don’t we all! I bet you’re longing for a holiday right about now) and that is how in a moment of inspiration I did something I’d never done before! Yea cue the thumbs up ad – aaj kuch toofani karte hain!

If I had to ask my friends if they were interested in joining in, decide on a location, discuss prices, wait for them to get permissions/approvals, fix dates, plan itinery; basically in the time you’ve taken to read this I had booked my tickets! See how much easier it is?

I almost couldn’t believe what id done. It was a first for me. I booked tickets five months in advance for a week in Delhi. I’d never been there before and thought why not?! You’re probably thinking, ‘single girl in Delhi, for a week that too she’s never been there before? Sure shot recipe for trouble.’ But no! I had the most brilliant time! Planning my trip on my own, doing the research and making the bookings, finding my way to all the places and figuring one day to the next: the thrill and independence of it all is unmatched. Yes, I kept to myself and carried pepper spray for the first time in my life but in those unknown crowds I found myself.

At the beautiful Humayun’s tomb

At the India Gate

At The Taj Mahal, Agra

The next solo trip happened when I had a show in Bangkok. It was the perfect opportunity since the event company took care of the flights and stay until the event. I asked for the return tickets to be booked for a week later and used that time to explore Bangkok, Phuket and Phi Phi islands. It was my first passport stamp ever and I was practically mad with joy. Imagine clear blue waters, clean pristine beaches, a good book or two and yes that is what heaven looks like my friend. I booked on airbnb on the go and planned the whole thing on my own and despite the language handicap I managed to find my way and do my own thing. At Phuket I even rented a scooter and rode around the island taking in all the beautiful shades of blue as I went from one beach to another. I saw people riding in their bikinis as well. It was all so liberating.

First time flying abroad!

Riding around in Phuket
At the Chatuchak market in Bangkok

Hmmm it was all so peaceful…I can see it all play out in my head all over again ❤

Oh and in case you’re wondering where did all these pictures come from? Well I always find people kind enough to get pictures of me☺

Well I can’t wait to go off on another trip all by myself but here’s my advice to you: don’t think about the funds, the leave approvals and the other hundred reasons not to go. That’s always going to be there and until you actually go you won’t realize that you could make it happen. Beg and borrow also if you must as money can be earned back but don’t keep that experience waiting! So as clichéd as it sounds – Just do it!

The time I got lost in a mall

No this wasn’t back when I was 5 years old. In fact it happened this very year on my maiden visit to Delhi.
I’m sure you’re wondering in this day and age how I managed this..Well read on…
Now its no surprise that Delhi has terrible traffic right, so when my friend picked me up from central Delhi and we headed to Ambience mall in Gurgaon, I conveniently fell asleep in his car. There is only so much radio listening I can do amidst never moving traffic that too during the peak hour in the evening.
I reckon I must have slept off for a little over an hour when we finally made it to our destination. I was groggy yet excited to have actually gotten there and happily got off at the entrance and made my way to the mall while my friend went off to park his car.
Spot the missing bit yet?
Anyway me being the incorrigible shopaholic I am, the sights and smells of the mall invigorated me and I headed off with vigor to hit as many shops as I could!(Delhi NCR’s largest mall? Challenge accepted!)
Initially I was too preoccupied with all the stores to miss anything but after a while I was like, “wow…this guy is taking so long to just park and get here! Let me call him and find out where he is.”
And that is when panic set in! I couldn’t find my phone no matter how many times I turned my bag inside out and I had no other way of contacting my friend! At a complete loss of what to do next I made my way to the concierge desk and explained to them that the situation I was in.
They calmly offered me their phone and asked me to use it to call my friend. But here’s the thing: I didn’t know his number! They gave me judgmental looks and asked for the car number and description but I drew a blank there as well! More judgmental looks followed. They probably thought I was making this all up or probably hooked up with someone right there!
But here’s the back story: this friend of mine (let’s call him A), was a friend through one of the events that I did for him in Bangalore. Post that we’d kept in touch on snap chat and when I did finally go to Delhi, we met for the first time. Gosh, now you’re probably judging me too! No man! Absolutely no romantic liaison whatsoever. People do just exchange generic snaps as well on snap chat you know…as hard as that is to believe!
Anyway this explained how I had no clue as to what his car number was or his cell number. And yes I can be daft like that because I didn’t even remember the make or model of his car.

That’s me and A chilling after the happy ending to this story!

 Coming back to our story: there’s me feeling hopelessly lost in this gigantic mall (really it is gigantic, they have buggies to take you from one end of the mall to the other!) and a judgmental pair of concierges at a loss as well as to how to help me out. Yeah we did make quite a few announcements calling out to A to report at the enquiry desk but to no avail. In the meantime I kept looking at all the shoppers being ferried in a buggy with my heart sinking further with each round that damn buggy took. Also at times like these, brain has to go into overdrive and imagine the worst possible things! While I was pretty sure I’d dropped my phone in the car while I’d dozed off, I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how I was going to find A and get my phone back(iPhone that too!). I kept picturing scenarios where I’d have to find my way back to my hotel, get back to my city and connect with common friends who could then put me on to A so he could courier my phone back to me. And what would he think of me until such time??? He’d think I stood him up! Or I decided to disappear on him for some inexplicable reason! (Not like we were on a date! But still…) Why didn’t I think of calling my cellphone? Well the brain isn’t known to function rationally at such times!
Dejectedly I hung around, my eyes scanning the mall hoping A would turn up looking for me…and just when I was starting to give up and figure out a way to get back to my hotel, my brain lit up! I quickly headed back to the information desk and asked to use their system, logged into Facebook and messaged A multiple times! (Did I hear you sigh? Like finally! The girl uses some common sense!)
Thank god he was online! He messaged back saying he was chilling at a coffee shop at the mall! Relieved I ran up there (quite like they’d do in a Bollywood movie, que background music)
I reached there only to find A chilling like the coolest cucumber there is! In his words – “Arey I thought you were busy shopping yaar that’s why you weren’t answering your phone”
Just how?!! How can guys be this calm?!
What happened next? Headed to the parking lot and retrieved my phone from his car. Needless to that, I didn’t care much for shopping or the mall!
We just made our way to cyberhub and slayed it there!
And well what else can I say? Thankyou Mark Zuckerberg! Facebook ki jai!

That’s me, A and some spirited Dalli (read Delhi with the dilli swagger) strangers slaying it at Cyberhub.

Keeping up with make up : my new found(ation) love!

Whoa look what we’ve come to! My very first post about makeup. I’m venturing into this territory that was hitherto alien to me. So yes all your feedback is welcome.

Now back to business.

From being absolutely averse to makeup, I first used lipstick at the age of 20, to now breaking my bank for makeup products (yeah I have about 9 MAC products currently and those definitely didn’t come cheap) it’s been quite a ride.

                                                    Check these MAC beauties out ❤

It all started off when a friend gifted a MAC voucher for my 23rd birthday. I then saved up for one of their makeup classes. I thought it was a great deal since the amount you paid for the class you could redeem for their products. Alas, the “makeup artists” weren’t half as excited as I was about the class. All they cared about was force selling their products. And that is how I got strapped with super thick full cover foundation I didn’t need. What’s worse? They have about 4 different varieties of foundation but couldn’t be interested in informing or educating anyone about it. This isn’t even a one off. There have been other similar instances. So here is a tip: meet the person before the appointment, see if you’re comfortable with them and if they’re pleasant and patient by nature. Unfortunately for me the person I’d met and decided on wasn’t available when I actually went in for the class.

Makeup haul
MAC + Sephora + Benefit + Urban Decay

                                             Notice the huge difference in prices?

The hoola matte bronzer from Benefit is available for 29$ in the USA but to order it here in India you would pay upwards of Rs5000/-. The Urban Decay pallet would cost you Rs6299/- on in India but almost half the price on Sephora USA. Even better? It was on sale! So I essentially spent just Rs1942/- for this gorgeous product. Also the packaging is to die for!

There are many many examples like these. I got the Benefit ‘they’re Real’ push up liner for a whole thousand rupees cheaper. They also offer size options, so you could get a smaller size for even lesser! Also the MAC face and body foundation here is Rs2450/- for 50ml but at the same price you could get a 120ml bottle in the USA. If you’re looking at getting the customized 15 shade eye shadow pallet you’d save thousands ordering it online on the USA site.

                                                               USA makeup haul

Now how to get these to India? If you happen to be travelling there or have friends/family that can bring back these goodies for you, you’re a lucky person.
But if like me, you have none of these options available to you then follow what I did. I used A friend recommended this site after much research. And yes it actually worked! You register with them, they give you a local address for US or UK. You ship your order to them and they in turn ship it to your India address.  Easy peasy! They’re also pretty responsive on email and phone so I kept checking practically every day. On the price front they have a minimum cost of Rs2000/- even if the package weighs less than a kilo. Luckily for me they had a festive discount of 40% so I paid Rs1248/-(including tax).That amount was prepaid. On arrival I had to pay the customs cost of Rs551/-. Still a decent price to pay to receive my package safely.Also don’t stress in case you don’t own a credit card like me, SOFU accepts debit cards and now so does Paypal!

I guess that sorts out your concerns.
Happy shopping lovelies!

PS : I’d love to hear of your experiences and your favorite products! Feel free to connect 🙂

Aspirational Aam Aurat

While cruising along in the Delhi metro, taking in the swarms of people hustling around like ants and generally indulging in my hobby of people watching, I realized how each one us individually are actually so common place – the same routines, the same work woes, the same traffic woes, and it goes on. Very very few of us actually do something unique that sets us apart from the hordes of humans elsewhere. And you would be kidding yourself if you said you don’t relate to this – tell me if you don’t face the same work place, colleagues, and horrible bosses’ issues? Or EMI, loans and financial issues? Or even melodramatic, sometimes exhausting family ties?

But despite all of these causes that have the potential to bog us down, each day we awake and hustle about our lives reaching office on time, attending endless meetings, sending numerous emails, establishing contacts and networks, getting on con calls despite all the network screw ups, achieving numbers and targets, exerting ourselves and even pushing ourselves trying to achieve something, trying to get closer to our goals or dreams, trying to get better with each passing day and in general fulfil our destinies and maybe even tap that elusive bubble of joy we call happiness.

And this realization gave birth to the name of my blog. Im pretty much just like you but what makes me unique are my aspirations and ambitions that drive me to work harder each day and not give in to excuses or exhaustion. And hey who knows? This aspirational aam aurat might just end up being someone who everybody will claim they knew at some point in time. Coz who doesn’t want a piece of success right?

So my aspirational aadmi & aurat keep hustling and keep at it coz every moment you do, takes you closer to whatever it is that you sincerely desire.  

#thehustlelife #aspirationalaamaurat

Guy in the car

How often is it that we come across a cute stranger during the course of our day? – Almost every day.
How often do we manage to make a connection with said cute stranger? – Almost never.
How often does the connection with a random cute stranger be reciprocated? – Never.
15th February, 2013-It was like any other day for me with the exception being the absence of my bike. This meant that I was dependent on the various forms of public transport – autos if I could afford the fare or buses. As usual I was already running late for college therefore I hailed an auto and set off. Unfortunately I couldn’t do the same after college as I had to meet a friend who stayed too far away for me to even contemplate taking an auto. Hence I found myself waiting for a near-empty bus to arrive and swiftly manoeuvering through a throng of people in an attempt to grab a grimy seat.
I can be quite optimistic when I wish to be and this was one of those days. So instead of cribbing about how sorely I was missing my bike I found myself enjoying the pleasant weather and taking in all the sounds, sights and people- grateful for this day that broke the monotony of my every day routine. I tried to recall the last time I had travelled by bus and realized I hadn’t done so in a really long time.  All in all it wasn’t a harrowing experience as bus rides generally tend to be during peak hours.
After having successfully reached my destination, met and spent time with my friend it was time to make the last bus ride home. Luckily for me, a direct bus to the bus stop near my place was available but since it was infrequent it tended to be very crowded. In the bid to catch a seat I let quite a few buses pass and finally my patient waiting paid off – joyfully I hopped on and parked myself on a window seat.  What was to follow next was probably a rip off from a b-grade regional film and my wildest ludicrous dreams, certainly a novel experience for me.
Now as most of you are familiar with, peak hours are when everybody is heading back home after a tiring day at work. The consequence of this is jam packed roads where crossing a stretch of two kilometres which would normally take around five minutes now takes around half an hour. But never in my life have I ever been so grateful for bottleneck traffic jams. As the bus was crawling on I happened to glance out of the window and spot a group of guys in a white Maruti Swift. Nothing uncommon about a white swift, but what did catch my eye instantly was the TN registration number plate (TN 8356 – at least that what I think it was) and the drop dead gorgeous cutie in the passenger seat. Okay okay nothing uncommon about that either, I agree, but what happened next is certainly no everyday occurrence. He looked up and caught my eye and believe me when I say this- I’m pretty sure there was some connection there, like a mutual understanding of having checked the other person out. I distinctly remember, he was wearing a plain white shirt (ah the understated elegance of a plain white shirt) and I was wearing a dark blue shirt. So well, the question on your mind is, what happened next??? Sadly, nothing much – they did try to match pace with the bus and we did play peek-a-boo, I suppose the mutual interest was pretty obvious to both parties concerned. What makes me so sure that he was interested? – Well, I caught him rolling up his window, blowing on the glass and trying to trace digits (of maybe his phone number). And I seriously contemplated getting off the bus and trying to hitch a ride with them, just to see if this attraction was worth anything or it was just a figment of my over active imagination.
I’m sorry to disappoint you dear reader, you read so much and come to the end only to be let down…what happened next was that we lost each other in a traffic signal and needless to say I’ve never seen him since then. After returning home that night I tried hard to trace the car/owner details by the registration number but to no avail. The memory of his cute face diminishes each day and that is why I write this post, in the hope that he or one of his friends in that car, happen to come across this post and fate is generous enough to unite us, even if it is for a brief moment – just enough for me to answer my what if? A question I ponder over in my moments of brief, extreme solitude…


(This is my third post in the series of Radio One articles.)
“You’re listening to 94.3 Radio One Namma hundred percent Bollywood music station. I’m MJ Zeishah and I’m MJ Akanksha, your quick heal Radio One College champions from Jyoti Nivas College session 2011 ab meri bari he and you’re listening to the Namma Radio One top 10 and on this week’s countdown on position number 10, 9 and 8 we have…”
Ah these heavenly words have been forever etched in my heart and mind by repeating them every single week over a span of three months. Why? Because that is how long our contract period was as we had won the Radio One College Champions season 2011. Yes, despite losing the overall championship the previous season we had hope in our hearts and faith in our skills to be courageous enough to participate again. This time over it was smooth sailing and I experienced fulfilment and contentment of epic proportions after our recording session. The consequence of which was our victoryJ by ‘we’ I mean myself and Akanksha of course. I can safely say that this feat would be unimaginable without her.
And so began our 3 month stint at radio jockeying where every week on Sunday afternoons between 1 and 2 we would count down the top10 songs of the week. The only stipend being the excessive joy and experience I gained out of this episode of my life. Easily one of the best things to have happened to meJtry as I might to put into words my feelings at that time it would be grossly inadequate. How can I explain to you the joy that I feel when I know that I am bringing a smile to so many people who I do not know and might never see? Knowing that so many people are listening to my voice and smiling, singing along or guffawing at our stupid jokes? Knowing that so many people while tuning in are proudly exclaiming ‘listen to this girl, I know her’? The rush of being ‘on air’ and simultaneously reaching out to hundreds maybe even thousands of people? Transmitting to them through the medium of air all my feelings of foolishness, excitement, exhilaration and contentment- it is a high that no drug can procure.
But like all good things come to an end our show did too. Fortunately it was only the show that came to an end not the experience, feeling or memories. And therefore to be an RJ/MJ continues to be a cherished dream of mineJ a lot of people who know me are completely confident I will achieve this dream and their faith is largely what keeps my ‘chin up’ as one of my mentors said “if not in yourself believe in people who believe in you”. And that is exactly what I intend on doingJ– and hopefully someday my voice will ring out loud and clear again over the air waves.
P.S. At a recently held media fest we walked away with the first place in the RJ contest. It was judged by a popular RJ from Fever104 fm.

ECHO-our newspaper

For most of us, our mornings begin with a cup of steaming hot tea/coffee and a newspaper. And after we are done updating ourselves about the events across the globe, the newspaper is put aside and forgotten. As regular as the sun, the newspaper never lets us down but we on the contrary take it for granted. All we see is a bunch of papers scrawling with black and white print, what we do not see is the immense amount of work that goes into the making of a newspaper day after day unfailingly every day. I didn’t either until I was asked to make one. As a part of the print course of our mass communication degree syllabus, we (the students) are required to make a ‘lab journal’, which in essence is similar to a newspaper minus the timeline and the number of pages and supplements.  We are put into groups and given four months’ time to accomplish this task. And of course aided no end by teachers and friends. Despite this, it was a mammoth task.
From deciding positions of responsibility, brainstorming for ideas, name and logo for the paper, deciding what to write, who to assign it to, where to place which article, reading and rereading each article umpteen times and being appalled at the quality of some of them, editing the articles, running around for quotations, fixing up appointments for interviews, learning to design the layout and spending countless hours at the printers, sadly cutting down on articles to make it all fit, dealing with the team’s lack of care or corporation and then to FINALLY watching the paper take shape, it is a roller coaster ride. Through all of this I’ve been happy, sad, proud, dreadfully tired, contented, frustrated, driven and at the end of it all empathetic and wise. The learning and experience I gained during the production of this lab journal was invaluable and made me wonder numerous times how the makers of our dailies function. The newspaper ceased to be mere black and white print; it is the excruciating hard work, sweat, toil, and genius functioning of a competent workforce.
Here is a slightly modified piece from the editorial that I authored and due credit must be given to everybody who provided inspiration for this article.
We live in a society which prescribes women to stay home, worship her husband and nurture kids. We spend most of our lives pleasing other people and catering to their needs. Debatable but true. Statistics show that girls are able to participate and excel in classroom activities until the sixth grade and from then onwards boys excel because of the girls inhibitions towards drawing attention to herself. Girls are brought up in a manner which forces them to be self-conscious and always be cautious about how they are perceived by others in society.
Something as simple as going out for a walk all by myself after twilight is not permitted. Who hinders me? The entire society! As soon as I decide to step out, my mother/father/brother will want to know why I wish to leave the safe confines of my home and venture out in the dark. Even if I manage to get past them I cannot the hungry glares and the comments of the roadside romeos and then if I see a dark road ahead I will take a diversion into a brighter road because I fear for my virtue.
History has exhibited this time and time again. The basis of the entire Western civilization rests on the fault of a single woman- Eve, princess Diana had to prove that she was a virgin before she could be lawfully wedded to prince Charles (we understand if the it’s the matter of pregnancy where the question of an heir arises but why the need to prove virginity?) and women writers had to take up male pen names for their works to be published or taken seriously. The word author signifies authority meant for the men in a male dominated society. If Madam Curie, who discovered radium and is the only woman to have won two Nobel prizes in multiple science fields achieved so much despite having children, imagine how much more she could have achieved if she had completely immersed herself in her scientific work. The psychologist Sigmund Freud said, “Libido is central to human existence”. He did not specify male or female existence then why does society differentiate? Why were women forced to wear ‘chastity belts’ during the middle ages?
What we face is not indifference but active hostility. Indifference can be overcome or ignored but hostility? What is even worse is the fact that it is put to us so subtly that it is almost impossible to rebel against; the rules of patriarchy have been around so long that we have gotten used to it. Even now a victimised woman is blamed as the provocation agent, most Indian movies only feature the women as arm candy, scantily clad women continue to be in the background of most music videos for no meaningful purpose and if a girl is caught involved in a romantic relationship she is almost immediately married off. Unfortunately these are every day scenarios. The path ahead seems dark and dreary but it is high time we took the matters into our own fair hands and dealt strongly with the consequences.


After the disastrous night of 2nd November (that’s when the radio one results were announced) I felt that everything had fallen apart and there was no point in continuing to exist. I don’t know if it sounds melodramatic, childish or silly-I hadn’t worked so hard for anything else ever before. From 9 in the morning to past 9 in the night every day of mine was spent at the radio one office working away at the links and developing them further. Mind you I wasn’t getting paid for any of this slogging either but that really didn’t figure because I loved what I was doing and I wanted to do it. It gave me a deep sense of satisfaction but when it all amounted to nothing-it was as though everything had come crashing down around me. I think the worst part of it all was not knowing why we lost out on the coveted title; there seemed no justification for it. That’s when I had decided that I would never set foot at the radio one office ever again-I had had enough after all.
Whoever said never say never sure knew what he was talking about. I really missed office; I didn’t care if I went there and did nothing except sit around. I used to spend my entire day there hence now my days seemed empty and I would be listless. Before long I found myself there (along with my team mate: it doesn’t seem right without her and I lack the courage to go alone) again. Yes it’s never going to be the same and the ghosts of the past still do haunt; I’ve never really gotten over the night of 2nd November.
It started off with visiting office because we missed it. This progressed to going to office for we needed help-as we are media students and that’s a media house. It’s now come down to going there ‘simply because’… :-). Still isn’t easy but time heals all. Although I still remember how hard it was for me to step into the recording studio because the last we were there was on the day we were on air. And even once inside I was restless to leave. Somehow the charm that the microphone held for me was not at work any longer; at that point in time when I was standing inside that studio all I could think of was ‘what if…’.But then it suddenly hit me that this was the exact place where we had created wonderful memories and work that I’m extremely proud of-all our links, our show, us on air the wonderful, wonderful ‘high’ feeling and the beautiful memoriesJ.
Theyre all mine for keepsJ