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 add..post 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.

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…

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.
NOT A DAMSEL IN DISTRESS
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.

MY MUMMA STRONGEST

While I sit at the table,trying to pen this piece at a late hour of the night, I take a moment to word my thoughts.And while I tame my myriad thoughts into coherence I can hear the sound of her breathing.Peaceful and rhythmic,in-out-in -out and just listening to that in the dark quiet of the night I feel a deep sense of comfort and belonging.

I know it sounds alien but you see she is ALL I have in this big bad world…and though i’m 18,unconciously i’m still that toddler who needs to be reassured that her mother is right there beside her.She is ALL i’v had since I was five…
No Ido not have a father, noI don’t remember uttering the words papa or dad~its a pleasure i’v been denied for no apparent fault of mine.My mother has not only been my mother but also my father.The protector,the sole earner,the man of the house,the homemaker,the teacher,the emotional supporter,the cheerleader…ALL these and MANY more roles she has carried out with aplomb.Hence I say “MY MUMMY STRONGEST!”:-)

I have,like many others,accepted and come to terms with the harsh reality but sadly society cannot digest this.Where my mumma ensured I NEVER feel the absence of dad(by giving me the best of everything and shaping every aspect of the individual I am today),society and people who I called my friends ensured that this fact was well rubbed in.Please let me tell you-its hard enough without having you make me feel abnormal because frankly speaking IM NOT! and NO! I do not need your sympathy.If anything,IM MIGHTY PROUD-of my upbringing,myself,my mother.

So when I hear things like,”Oh you’re a single parent child na…”,”you know what its a good thing you dont have a dad…”,”these single parent kids na..they’re always a little…” or worse of all,someone with both their parents around says,”even im a single parent kid,sympathise with me also!”. I do not know what they mean by such statements, they may mean nothing at all but thats pointless as its all been said and done. And it wrenches my heart which bleeds for the father I never had, for all the notes I wrote to a non existant papa, for all the pain mumma endured, for the baby who had no shoulder to sit on, for the emotional upheaval mum went through, for all the torture I put her through…as a foolhardy teenager in my bid to be strong,independent and bold like her.
And now…every movie we watch together,every picture we take together, every conversation of ours and ALL the advice that she passes on to me-I hold close to my heart and cherish.My only regret being why did’nt this realisation hit me earlier?!?

But like my mother always tells me~’whatever happens happens for the good.You may not understand that now but you will some day.So for now untill then just accept it’:)

BLOGGING

I’m not a computer person,i’m a pen paper person.So give me that personal diary and I can fill in the pages without blinking twice.But to type out posts for this blog,where it is going to be on the WORLD WIDE WEB, for the WHOLE WIDE WORLD to see and judge is not my glass of frappe(not a cup of tea as I do not drink tea but then I do not write blogs either:-P)
So after putting in a LOT of ‘serious’ thought,the lazy person that I am,I had’nt yet gotten down to any ‘serious’ work until this moment BUT thank god for spontaneity:-D And thank god for my teacher who even at the end moment does not forget to remind me,”zeishah,you need to enjoy this fun excercise and not look at it like a daunting task”.Also like my wise friend quipped,”your work is to go with the flow and write for the love of it and not care whether people like it or not because while some will like some will not.Hell! some may not even understand it BUT thats not your problem”
So not caring for the ‘TRPS’ or followers:-P here goes my brave attempt at blogging…