Happy Anniversary…

By Hiren | Filed in Personal

For the reasons I still cannot figure out (maybe I was once again in an “aa bel muje maar” mode”), I thought of annoying my wife. Since the time we got together, I have nurtured a secret wish of throwing such a punch line that leaves her dumbfounded or rather speechless. With this in mind, I sent her an e-mail once right when she was sitting next to me post-dinner with a subject “A message” and the following picture in the body of the e-mail:

1743-if-you-were-my-husband-i-d-poison-your-coffee-if-you-were-m-big

She was reading some complicated article and as usual ignored my e-mail. I therefore coaxed her to open the e-mail while secretly congratulating myself over wining this time. How naïve I was when I was imagining a halo of victory around my head! When my wife finally opened the e-mail, I was almost smiling from cheek to cheek gloating in self-satisfaction. However, contrary to my expectations, she did not even look at me and resumed reading the godforsaken article and simultaneously replied that:

  • Firstly, the picture is not applicable to our case as we are already married whilst the picture says “If you were my husband”

 

  • Secondly, the rebuttal of the man in the picture is fallacious. When the woman says “If you were my husband”, it is illogical on the part of the male to reply “If you were my wife”. This is because for the argument to proceed, the woman has already raised a presumption of marriage. He should have rather said “In that case, I would drink it”. However, the very fact that you sent this picture to me shows that your sense of logic is as good or rather as bad as the man in picture!

 

  • Thirdly, for the sake of argument, if I hated you as much as the woman in the picture, I would never poison your coffee. In fact, I would ensure that you live as long as possible so as to enable me to drive you to the wall every living moment of your life!

 

  • Lastly, if you were ever to drink a poisonous coffee, I would ensure that before you do such stupid act which I am sure you would do sooner or later, you have written a Will bequeathing all your property to me. Further, I would not let you drink the coffee till the time you wrote a proper suicide note affixing the blame on yourself or any other family member besides me.

She finally looked at me and gave a short mischievous smile and thereafter started reading the complicated article again! She then told me, I knew you wanted to annoy me! Please come up with something intellectually stimulating next time!

Why don’t I learn my lessons! She is a WOMAN! To add to my misery, she is a LAWYER! And the icing on the cake is that she is a BENGALI! It is a deadly combination, to say the least! I don’t stand any chance of beating her in any argument whatsoever! Not even 0.000001%. And I now humbly admit that it was stupid on my part to even attempt to annoy her!

You might be wondering why I am narrating this incidence out of the blue. Well, it is my second wedding anniversary today! Contrary to the normal perception that males do not remember their anniversary, I very much remember the date! Even if I suffer from amnesia, this day will be etched in my memory. In fact, I even remember the time when we got married and my wife has a failed memory of the same… ;-)

We had a simple court wedding in the morning with a reception thrown in for many in the evening. I still remember how there were 17 people in the small office of the Magistrate (not including the court staff) trying to fit in, be a part of the event and click photos from various angles…

Happy anniversary BIWI!

I know she would want me to come one with some complicated one liner which I absolutely do not understand to express the depth of my feelings towards her in the most poetic way! This is because bongs do not understand simple things. Rather, things make sense to them only when they get complicated! However, I hope my wife may have forgiven me after two years of our marriage for me possessing a simple mind. If she hasn’t, then she should as I never held a grudge against her for being logical or intellectual or whatever ;-).

It is said that opposite attracts! I use to use this line while trying too woe any girl in college. However, little did I image that this line will come to haunt me throughout my life! I and my wife are poles apart! To name a few characteristics:

  • I am a true blue fun loving practical Gujju whereas she is a hardcore non-practical, super-serious highly intellectual bong. Its East meets west!

 

  • I am unusually tall (6 feet 4 inches) whereas she is unusually short (4 feet 11 inches).

 

  • I hate reading! In fact, I feel positively suffocated when I see a lot of books around whereas she is always drowned in the ocean of literature.

 

  • I believe in keeping my bed room messy and disorganized whereas she is organization personified! The easiest way to irk her is to not keep a thing at a place which she has allocated!

 

  • I would watch Sit-Coms to while my time whereas she would prefer watching some documentary on discovery channel which absolutely makes no sense to me!

These are just a couple of characteristics. I would like to narrate one incidence that occurred prior to the point in time when we started dating. We all went to my wife’s (then just a friend) house. At that time I had not asked her out, however, I was still toying with that idea. As a typical bong, she took all of us to show her library! As I wanted to impress her, I told her that “I am now getting into the world of literature as I do find reading fascinating”. (Just imagine a Gujjju getting into the word of literature…the idea itself sounds hilarious ;-)) Honestly, I was feeling queasy and giddy looking at the sizes of the books! I saw the happy expression on her face! She pulled the carpet off my feet by saying, “That’s great, why don’t you pick up any book that you would want to read” Nevertheless, to impress her, I started scanning her library to find the thinnest book that I could lay my hands on. I finally found one and pulled it off immediately and declared that I would certainly read that book! I saw the mischievous expression on her face as she saw through my façade! She asked me last night about whether I liked that book and all that I could do was smile back at her and say “Certainly” ;-)

How she accepted my proposal is still a mystery to me! I genuinely believe that she might be having some complicated reason behind it which I definitely would not understand! I think she was intellectually experimenting! May be our marriage is some kind of an lifelong anthropological study for her wherein she is trying to decode how simple minded creatures exist ;-) I am sure she is maintaining a diary on her observations ;-)

As far as I am concerned, for me, I can only express my feelings in simple terms and to simply put, two years down the line, I am a happy man as my wife has started watching Sit-Coms to while her time, in fact she enjoys watching them every now and then and she can watch any of the shows from any episode and I have finally entered into the world of literature, (if reading Chetan Bhagat would be termed as “literature”…I am into literature…big time ;-))

And I believe that this is what marriage is all about! Meeting each other half way and finding the middle path! I have found my path and I must admit that I have a super intellectual guide to accompany me ;-) My destination is my journey and I must admit it is the best journey that I have ever undertaken till date!

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY MRS. RATHOD ;-)

With Love,

Your Husband,

Mr. Rathod.

 

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There is a well-known saying that that life is what happens to you when you are busy making other plans! The moot question is how well you receive the plans which destiny presents to you? What if destiny’s plan is completely out of sync with what you anticipated it to be? What if destiny suddenly makes you a part of a voyage which takes you to a new destination every day? What if your life becomes so intertwined with the lives of hundreds of people whom you meet that you make life altering decisions for those who come to trust you with their future to such extent that a single wrong decision could make or mar their lives!

All these questions started running in my mind off lately. This is because I completed four years in the field of foreign education counseling this month! And I must admit that I am unable to come up with any adjective which could describe my journey in the most appropriate manner. When I unknowingly took a plunge into this profession, I had no idea that I would be influencing the lives of so many wonderful people whom I would come across. I also had no idea that I would myself get so deeply influenced by merely being a part of these wonderful people’s lives. However, I did not share this feeling when I actually started off into this profession. I, on the contrary, grudged my stars. I thought that my stars were hopelessly faulty. I felt as if the whole world was conspiring against me with the simple objective of shattering my dreams! I found myself in a whirlpool of incidences which I simply couldn’t make any sense of. I did make plans! A lot of them! Plans like any other youngster who aspires for a better life! But life had other plans for me! I did go to US for my masters in Industrial Engineering! Those two years in Clemson were without an ounce of doubt the best years of my life and I wanted to settle down in US like any other engineering graduate. I do not think I was asking for too much from destiny. But I guess destiny is like a woman’s mind. You will never really be able to completely decode it. I came back to India because I lost the most precious man of my life, my father! It’s his birthday today and I still miss him badly! I did want to go back to US but couldn’t go back! After I returned from US I went through a lot of painful incidences for no fault of mine and for reasons I still am unable to fathom! I found myself being drowned in a whirlpool of pain! It was at this juncture that this profession happened! I can confidently say that this profession was an angel in disguise which pulled me out of the whirlpool of pain and acted as a savior! When I started off with counseling in the year 2010, I hardly had any idea about the finer nuances involved in the art of counseling. I did not take up this profession out of conscious choice! I never received any formal training for it! It just happened to me! And I must admit that it is the best thing that has happened to me until date! A lot of well-meaning people did question my choice of taking up counseling professionally! Some of the questions use to be like, “If you have spent 20 lakhs in your MS in US, why don’t you take up engineering job? Why are you wasting your degree? Why are you not joining some MNC? Is this what you truly want for yourself? What is your aim 10 years down the line? Will this help you achieve the standard of living you were aspiring for? To be frank, I did not have a conclusive answer to any of these questions when I started off into this profession. I did try to get engineering jobs but nothing right was coming my way. 4 years down the line I can now figure out why engineering jobs did not come my way! My dreams were shattered back then! Subconsciously I wanted to reconstruct my dreams! And the only way I could do this was not by taking up some technical job! It was my dream to have a good quality education and a quality life! The only way I can see my dreams being fulfilled was by helping my wonderful students fulfill their dreams! I feel as if a broken part within me being repaired when I see my student getting an admit in a good university! It gives me immense joy when their VISA gets approved! Trust me, the joy, excitement and enthusiasm of my students is infectious! I feel that I have succeeded when I see any of my students getting a dream job which they aspired for! I live my life through their dreams! And I now have the answers to all the questions posed to me when I started off in this profession. The answer to the above questions is as follows:

If you have spent 20 lakhs in your MS in US, why don’t you take up engineering job?

I admit I did spend a large amount for my MS in US. But the natural corollary to it is not that I should take up an engineering job to recover my expense! I took up a profession which helps me guide students in a manner that I ensure that they spend their money wisely! An engineering job would have prevented me from playing a larger role which adds meaning to my life and the lives of people around me. I am by no means advocating that you should take up a profession which is out of sync with your degree. But I am certainly advocating that you should try your level best to take up a profession which lends meaning to your life. The money that I spent for my US degree would be recovered by me, though not soon but at some point of time in near future for this is just a tangible sum. But the worth of the intangible returns that I am reaping by guiding students correctly cannot be measured in monetary terms! I use my US experience to guide my students correctly and that is the biggest return on my investment!

Why are you wasting your degree?

Am I? My students can answer this question better! It is my degree in US which helps me take a correct call for my students! When I have to help them make a choice between two conflicting universities, the experience that I gained in US is the one that I put to use! A simple “thank you” from my student after they get their admit is a proof of the fact that my degree is not a waste! My degree is not a waste because I am making use of it for greater good and not simply bettering the lot of myself or my family!

Why are you not joining some MNC?

I am not joining any MNC for the simple reason that I would not get to be a part of such a wonderful voyage! Trust me, the joy that you feel is without any bounds when you see that you have played a role in fulfilling some one else’s dream! No high paying job would give you that kind of a satisfaction!

Is this what you truly want for yourself?

Yes! 4 years down the line I feel that this is what I truly want for myself! I truly want my students to succeed! My students are a part of my value system! They are a part of me! They influence me at many levels! I truly want to be a part of their lives and their dreams! I truly want them to be successful and I want to be a part of their success stories! I live my life through their dreams! Each year when a new batch enrolls, I get to be a part of new hopes, new visions and new dreams! Each year when these students fly successfully, I feel as If my hopes are being fulfilled, my vision is being achieved and my dreams are coming true! Can you really ask for something better than this? :-)

What is your aim 10 years down the line?

My aim 10 years down the line, rather as long as I am living would be to continue doing what I have been doing! I would want to be a part of my students lives for as long as I live! This is what I aim and aspire for!

This is not to say that counseling does not have its pitfall! Anxious students call me all the time! It does take a lot of effort to calm them down, to motivate them, to ensure that they make correct applications, select proper universities, perform well in their GRE/TOFEL and other entrance exams, help them with their RECOS and SOPs to the best of their ability, arrange for finances, confidently appear for their VISA and fly safely! But then, this is what gives me the kick! The fact that I am there for them when they need me the most!

I take this opportunity to thank each and every of my wonderful student for allowing me to be a part of their wonderful lives! I wish each and every one of you great success and good luck! I would also like to take this moment to thank everyone who has helped and supported me all through this vision and mission of mine… :-)

Love you all….. And wish to help many more to come… :-)

P.S.: Happy Birthday Dad… Missing you everyday…

Nice

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“A vote is like a rifle; its usefulness depends upon the character of the user.” – Theodore Roosevelt

 

Go Vote Election 2014 Download

I have always had a feeling that I am taking a risky voyage in the sea of cynicism right from the time I could comprehend politics, the attitude of the folks around me as regards the participative democracy, and whether, if at all, we can make difference, if any. As election time is around the corner, I feel that the voyage is passing through the furious sea storm of cascading detachment towards civic responsibility, and the rising wave of cynical attitude that would drown the ship of democracy and consequently the nation. The person whom I miss the most during the times of Elections is my Father… When he was alive, he used to go to vote the first thing in morning and I used to walk up to the polling booth along with him and just enjoy the feel of elections till the time I turned 18 and post that I voted in every single elections while I stayed in India. After coming back from the US, I have again voted in the local election conducted and I have never refrained from my right to vote. My father used to take a leave on the results day and follow the news channels right from the morning and by afternoon used to make his own analysis of the newly formed government. To be honest, my first lessons in politics, elections, government were from my father. 2014 is one of the biggest elections of India which is working on a very high budget and the parties are coming up with various marketing and campaigning strategies and his insights would have surely been an added value for me…

With the Congress talking about reforms, BJP talking about the change and AAP which is a new party talking about corruption, each one is providing an exciting preview of what they wish to work on and what they wish to achieve in the next 5 years. I have made up my mind on the voting but a conversation between two of my well educated friends is the reason why I am inspired to write this article. The other reason being that, if through this article, I am successful in inspiring even a single individual to vote, I will have the hope that the winds of cynicism would pass away leading to the calming of the sea and the consequent safe voyage for the ship of democracy. Whilst I do read in the newspaper that there is a 60% turnaround in voting; at the cost of sounding pessimistic, I still ask the question as to what prevents the remaining 40% of the populace from exercising their franchise? I will reproduce the conversation between my two friends. For the sake of privacy, I would call them Hope and No-hope

Hope: Hey, so whom are you going to vote for?

No-Hope: Yeah right! As if I have nothing better to do…

Hope: What? What do you mean by that? I am sure that you have a lot of better things to do, but by no means is it the question of comparing voting with your other “so called other better tasks”. You talk about enrolling for the army; you would fight for your nation on the borders but you will not take two steps for selecting the right candidate who would ensure that we do not have to fight for our day to day needs! I recall the quote of Bill Vaughan who said that “A citizen of America will cross the ocean to fight for democracy, but won’t cross the street to vote in a national election.”

No-Hope: Oh really? And I recall a quote of Ambrose Bierce which goes like that “Vote: the instrument and symbol of a freeman’s power to make a fool of himself and a wreck of his country.”Enough of your lecture! How will my one vote make a difference? Even if I do cast my vote, what is the guarantee that the rest of the uneducated lot would select the absolutely non-corrupt, non-biased, secular, honest and good candidate? What is the guarantee that such candidates are contesting elections at the first place? It is all about money and power, isn’t it? I am not fooling myself and I advise you that you stop fooling yourself as well!

Hope: You make a wreck of your country only when you do not exercise the right to vote wisely! Have you heard the quote of Aeschylus “In the lack of judgment great harm arises, but one vote cast can set right a house.” You may never know! That one vote might be yours! Your vote can just set the house right! You are concerned about the guarantee of the uneducated people casting their vote the right way! But after listening to you, I can guarantee you that educated people like you are worst then uneducated people. They at-least cast their vote. They are at-least attempting to make the process work. They are at-least trying to set the house right! You talk about the background of the candidate. Have you done your homework? Have you checked the list of the candidates standing from your area? Have you done their background check? Are you generalizing from your past experiences? People have given their lives to secure the right to vote! Here the right to vote is served to you on platter and you are throwing the plate away! This is one area of your life where after the fact of death that equality is guaranteed! Your weight carries equal weightage as that of a CEO or MD of an MNC! There is no discrimination whatsoever! So why not exercise? Why not try? You always complain about your rights being violated, about your rights being deprived! Here no body is depriving you of your rights to vote, except yourself, by not voting!

No-Hope: Okay fine! Let me think about it! I am burdened with too many issues at this stage to be concerned with one more!

Hope: Sure! I am happy this conversation has at-least got you thinking. But remember, if you take a cynical stand once again, and do not exercise your right in its true spirit, your issues are only going to multiply in the next five year and you will be left with nothing but regret about not casting your vote.

I was a silent spectator to this debate. I am sure there will be millions of parallel debates happening on this topic all throughout the country. I also wish that all these debates end with “HOPE” having the final say! GO AHEAD AND VOTE. AND REMEMBER THAT YOUR DUTY AS A CITIZEN DOES NOT END WITH VOTING, IT ONLY BEGINS!!! Your 1 vote will decide the future of the Country for the Next 5 YEARS!!!

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I have been born and brought up in Mumbai and since 1985, I have seen various changes around me but recently I was going through an article which described Mumbai in the pre-independence era when it was called as Bombay. I don't feel like writing a lot about it but this pictorial representation will talk a lot about Mumbai back then… Yes then, when our grand parents were a part of Mumbai (Bombay) and they have told us the story of the Bombay during their times… :-)

Churchgate Station in the Year 1910...

Churchgate Station in the Year 1910…

Churchgate Station in the Year 1930....

Churchgate Station in the Year 1930….

Apollo Bunder... Now known as Gateway of India...

Apollo Bunder… Now known as Gateway of India…

Asiatic Town Hall...

Asiatic Town Hall…

Ballard Pier which was a Railway Station back then...

Ballard Pier which was a Railway Station back then…

Yesteryears Frontier mail departing from the  Ballard Pier Railway Station...

Yesteryears Frontier mail departing from the Ballard Pier Railway Station…

Kalbadevi Road... Looks quite busy even back then...

Kalbadevi Road… Looks quite busy even back then…

Vintage Mumbai...

Vintage Mumbai…

Till 1930, trains used to run till Colaba Station as compared to the Churchgate Station today...

Till 1930, trains used to run till Colaba Station as compared to the Churchgate Station today…

Colaba Reclamation.... Pleasant....

Colaba Reclamation…. Pleasant….

The Beauty of Cuffe Parade...

The Beauty of Cuffe Parade…

The very famous Oval Maidan in the year 1875...

The very famous Oval Maidan in the year 1875…

Gowalia Tank...

Gowalia Tank…

Queens Road...

Queens Road…

Marine Drive in the year 1930... Buzzing with traffic 83 years ago...

Marine Drive in the year 1930… Buzzing with traffic 83 years ago…

VT Station... Now known as CST Station... This beauty is intact even today...

VT Station… Now known as CST Station… This beauty is intact even today…

Another view of the VT Station...

Another view of the VT Station…

Walkeshwar... The hub of the Business Community...

Walkeshwar… The hub of the Business Community…

Wilson College... Unfortunately, I see the crowd missing... ;-)

Wilson College… Unfortunately, I see the crowd missing… ;-)

Steam Engines at the Parel Shed... Inspiring for any Mechanical Engineer...

Steam Engines at the Parel Shed… Inspiring for any Mechanical Engineer…

Local Train at Elphinstone Station in the year 1930... Look at the Number of Rakes... Its a 3 Rake Train....

Local Train at Elphinstone Station in the year 1930… Look at the Number of Rakes… Its a 3 Rake Train….

And this is Dadar...

And this is Dadar…

Bombay Central....

Bombay Central….

The infamous Bhayendar Bridge... ;-)

The infamous Bhayendar Bridge… ;-)

Parsik Tunnel, Thane...

Parsik Tunnel, Thane…

I am sure you all must have enjoyed this pictorial representation of the Old Bombay… If you have any more Photos of the Old Bombay, feel free to share with me. I'll add them to this post.

Hiren Rathod.

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Its been a long time since I last wrote something on this site and I was going through my old mails to look up for some inspiration and I stumbled upon this mail… I read it twice, thrice and I thought of uploading it on my blogpost. I thought of

editing some parts of it but realized that this is something which can’t be altered even a bit. Read the poem along and let me know your views. This is not written by me, but I completely agree with each and every word written in it…

 

My 1st Love…

 

I was a just-born and she was Twenty-Five,
Though we were we, we were one.
I would cry out in Latin and she would respond in Greek,
I would learn nothing but she never got tired to teach.

I was surrounded by monsters eager to pull my cheek,
but they would vanish the moment I was wet and weep.
She would come running and hold me in her arms,
as if I had won the contest of the charms.

Now I was able to walk and chew,
hey, I was two.
I and she could now understand each other,
I was her everything and she needed no other.

I would try to walk and fall down,
But knowing she was with me, the fear of getting hurt was now gone.
We still could not converse that effectively,
But she would understand my needs so easily.

I could now roam about free,
because now I have turned three.
I was ready to join a new world,
My academic life was now gonna mould.

She would dress me as best as a prince,
but when I would come back, she would need at least an hour to rinse.
I was now able to talk,
I was a ferry and she was my dock.

I still remember the child, whose shirt I had torn,
Hey buddy, I have turned four.
I now came home a little late,
Nevertheless finding her waiting at the gate.
She would hug me and carry me in her arms;
it felt like flying through the farms.
We now did the homework together,
I would spoil the home and she used to work.

Years passed, and now I was fifteen, and with each year I would forget to lean.
I wouldn’t care for what she said, because now I had become mean.
She would ask me to study for a good future,
but I was busy in a different culture.
Now I had many she’s in my life,
I dreamt of having one of them as my wife.

I changed a lot which she did not teach,
She would try to hug me but I was out of reach.
She still waited for me at the gate,
but I would look at her with utmost hate.
She would be awake till late in the night,
because I wasn’t home, I was in a fight
She had so much to scold, but she never did say,
hoping to find me better the next day.
Time went on and now I am grown,
lost in the world of my own.

I and she, between us have a river;
I have left her for my career.
When I was young, for me, she sacrificed her ambitions,
but I don’t care, I now have my own mission.
I am not with her now, I am in a different city,
She is so old now but I don’t even pity

She needs me now but I am nowhere to find,
in the race for appraisal, I have become blind.
In a few years from now, I will be two;
there will be in my life someone new.
Then I’ll forget even to bother,
I am her son and she is my Mother.

Please never forget your first love, i.e.

Your Mother……

I am sure people will have same emotions as what I had after reading this 1… Feel free to comment on the same…

Hiren Rathod.

 

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Train Diaries…

By Hiren | Filed in Hiren Rathod Personal, Memories

This is an apt time to write this post as the rail budget has just come in and there are many discussions and conclusions coming up with regards to the same. Well, this post is not about the rail budget but this one is about all the interesting disc

ussions (weird as well as normal) I have heard in the local train so far.

For starters any Mumbaikar will understand the importance of timings like 8:42, 8:48, 8:57, 9:03 etc. People from outside Mumbai, these are some important train timings during the early morning rush hours in Mumbai. If you reach at the station at 8:45 for and 8:48 train, you are safe, but if you reach at 8:46, try thinking of some other train. Such is the importance of a single minute while catching the train for work/college.

Once you are inside the compartment of the train, you are bound to hear endless about stuff which you might not even have thought about in life. I have been travelling in train for over 12 years now and I have been a traveller in both the 1st class as well as the 2nd class compartments and I have observed that the discussion topics are the same, only the language is different. You’ll get to hear Hindi in the 2nd class and some sort of sophisticated English in the 1st class compartments.

When I was in college, I and my friends have discussed various stuffs in the train and have had a laugh about it too. Most of our topics revolved around girls (you expected anything else???) and all of us would end up thinking, “When will we get one???”

Maximum of the train discussions heard by me have been related either to cricket or to politics. These two are the favorite past time of Indians. People tend to dissect both these issues with their own limited knowledge about the same. A Gujju Uncle will very proudly say “Sachin e barabar shot nahi maaryo… Ene off par ramwu joytu hatu pan e leg par maarwa gayo…” (Sachin didn’t hit a proper shot. He should have hit on off side but he played it on the leg side). Every time India plays a match, next day, we listen to all the experts sitting in the train who think of themselves as the Bhogles, Shastris, Boycotts, Chappels etc. of the world cricket and they dissect every game such that if the players hear them, they might commit suicide. The discussions after the 2003 World Cup Finals, 2007 T-20 Finals, every IPL game, 2011 World Cup Finals have been endless and people with limited or minimal knowledge talk about cricket as if they have been playing for over 20 years now. The best thing here is that irrespective of it being a 1st class or 2nd class compartment, the flow of abuses has been consistent in their language.

Next favorite topic comes out to be politics. Vastraharan of all politicians becomes a national sport when in train. Talks which describe the election results to be shocking and the minister’s policies are bullshit are a norm in the trains. The share bazaar kings in the train talk as if they are the Finance Ministers of the country and whatever the FM does is against them. For them, the CMs of some individual states are like Gods and they respect them more than the PM of the Country. People will get their respective language’s regional paper in the trains and discuss as per the writer/editor’s viewpoints not understanding the fact that there are times when the editors do try to enforce their views into you. Also, the way the Gujjus in the train discuss the share-market makes us feel that they must be millionaires with what they do.

Next we move on to Bollywood. All the latest affairs described in Mumbai Mirror, Bombay Times, Navbharat Times and Gujarat Samachar are discussed in the compartments. Some discussions gross out so much so that some of the leading ladies as well as the small time actresses are signed of as Prostitutes by these middle class gentlemen in the trains. The gossips spread out quite fast in the compartments and again here, the half-cooked knowledge becomes very dangerous.

I don’t like to pry into anyone’s personal life, but some discussions (especially on phones) get so loud that you have no option but to hear them. I have seen many break-ups happening over the phone in the crowded compartments. I have also seen some new relationships starting their new phase of life in train. Some of the best conversations which I have heard so far need to be mentioned here:

A college kid was trying to convince his Girlfriend and was apologizing to her profusely for some mistake which he had committed and in that process everyone around him was having a good laugh as his conversation was absolutely hilarious and to add to it, he was loud. He used words like ‘Sweetie’, ‘Shona’, ‘Darling’, ‘Honey’, ‘Munchkin’ etc. in the same sentence. I was thinking that the girl might die of diabetes with these talks… He was telling her how he couldn’t meet her the previous day as he had some family obligations and he would more than make up for it today by taking her for a movie with corner seats. He was about to get into more details and the signal broke as the train was approaching Bandra.

Next instance is of a Bong guy dating a Bong girl. The guy was roughly 26-27 and he was a working professional and he was talking to his girlfriend using very refined Bengali language. Most of the people around him couldn’t make out what he was saying (loudly) but I could understand little bit of Bengali and the gist of the talk was that he was trying to explain her how she should be ready to adapt herself in the new world and how she should keep her rigid beliefs away. One of his lines which were hilarious at that moment was, “Ms. ________________ Mukherjee, if you are stubborn, I am much more stubborn than you and I am not going to listen to whatever crap you say…”

Very recently, a guy was talking to his friend who was about to get married to a guy whom she was dating since quite sometime. This guy in the train was trying to propose her and convince her to be his Girlfriend but the girl at other end was telling him that she is getting married soon. To this, the guy in train said something which blew my mind off… He said, “I am keeping my FB status today as Mere TBGF ki shaadi hain…” She asked the meaning of TBGF and he said, TO BE GIRLFRIEND!!! Luckily I had to get down soon as I was unable to control my laughter at that moment…

Some guys were discussing Bigg Boss and Porn in train and 1 guy said, “Biwi ho toh Sunny Leone jaisi… Wo pati ke saath saath, mehmano ka bhi khayal rakhegi…” When I discussed this chat with Mr. Avinash Veer, his lines were simple, “Loka kahi sudhrat nahi… Udya boltil Baajuwalya chi bayko asawi Sunny Leone saarkhi…:-|

Once while I was travelling in a Virar Fast train from Dadar-Dahisar during rush hours, there was good amount of pushing happening from the door, i.e. my frontside. I stand tall at 6’4” and the uncle behind me must be in his 60s and was short at 5’7”. Basically my ass and his stomach were at the same level. He started yelling at me from the back to stop pushing. I explained him that the pressure is coming from the front. He again yelled at me the same thing to which I very politely replied the same thing again. Now he was trying to act oversmart and show his age, so he went around again yelling at me. This time I was pissed and I too shouted stating that the pressure is coming from the front. He replied, “Mujhe laga Pressure toh Peeche se aata hain… Tu aagese kahase nikal raha hain???” I was pissed and I retorted, “Uncle, Pressure peeche se agar aaya toh yaha pe meri GAAND and aapka PET, 1 hi jagah pe hain…” He was left speechless and the compartment was left in laughs… :P

I have also seen college kids bring their female friends as well as girlfriends into the gents’ compartment of the trains and I have seen some of them fighting too. I just wonder, why don’t they do it somewhere outside and why do they have to create a spectacle in front of everyone???

There are many more instances, but than this is not a book. I discussed all these instances with a female friend of mine and she narrated some of the hilarious instances which she encountered in ladies compartment which are described below:

Ladies compartment is a live telecast of Ekta Kapoor soap opera. The concept of “train friend” is very rampant amongst ladies. These females are like your soul sisters who reserve a seat for you, get dokhlas and farsans for you, hears you out when you feel you are the only tortured soul. Once this friend of mine was standing at a smooching distance from another young woman in a crowded compartment and this lady, so it seems, was in an outright romantic mode. My friend had no other option but to bear with her… She was talking on a phone with her lover and this is the way the one sided conversation proceeded in marathi… “Sanglita na ‘love u” ata kiti vela mhanu…” “Luv u.. Luv u… Luv u”. Then there was a long pause after which she said… “Chal… Halkat” Then again “Love u.. Love u.. Love u”…. This thing went on for 30 good minutes… Post which she hung up and gave a mischievous smile to my friend. Another common topic is “boyfriend”. One train ride from Churchgate to Borivili and you would know the history! The worst are the post break up fights. Often a lot of girls cry in full volume and fight with their boyfriends calling names. Like in one particular conversation, one lady, in the middle of howling blurted out on phone.. “You dog… You are a real dog…. Not like a sweet pet dog… But a street dog.. Fit to be on street… ua ua ua… U snake… U r a real snake.. Not a harmless small one.. But poisonous one… Can’t believe I got fucked by a creepy swine like u”. This lady, so it seems, forgot that she was in a second class ladies compartment, surrounded by women from middle class background.. Another most favorite topic amongst working women is “boss” and “mother in law”. Married women periodically bitch about bosses and mother in laws… One more incident when a friend of mine entered a packed ladies compartment at Bandra with her group of college friends. There was lots of rushing and pushing and a lady shouted at these girls and asked them to stop pushing. The rush was evident and the pushing was justifiable yet the lady went on cribbing. To this, my friend gave an excellent reply, “I love pushing and feeling women in crowded trains..” The lady was left speechless and the compartment burst out laughing. Even if you are without books and music system, the drama in ladies compartment keeps you fully entertained. ;-)

Mr. Dinesh Trivedi came up with an excellent rail budget and the rail travelers on the next day agreed with Mr. Trivedi more than what his other party members did. This was also a great topic of discussion. Recently after the great Sex Scene on Indian TV (Bade Ache Lagte Hain), many people discussed the same with details the next day and some went to the extent of telling what fun they had with their partners following the episode.

Train-ride becomes a great source of entertainment as well as a good source of information provider and every Mumbaikar will agree with me when I say that the Railways are the lifeline of Mumbai not only for commuting but also for some daily source of entertainment… If you have not traveled by the Mumbai Local Train yet, I suggest you to do it atleast once… During RushHours!!! :D

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This is an apt time to write this post as the rail budget has just come in and there are many discussions and conclusions coming up with regards to the same. Well, this post is not about the rail budget but this one is about all the interesting discussions (weird as well as normal) I have heard in the local train so far.
For starters any Mumbaikar will understand the importance of timings like 8:42, 8:48, 8:57, 9:03 etc. People from outside Mumbai, these are some important train timings during the early morning rush hours in Mumbai. If you reach at the station at 8:45 for and 8:48 train, you are safe, but if you reach at 8:46, try thinking of some other train. Such is the importance of a single minute while catching the train for work/college.
Once you are inside the compartment of the train, you are bound to hear endless about stuff which you might not even have thought about in life. I have been travelling in train for over 12 years now and I have been a traveller in both the 1st class as well as the 2nd class compartments and I have observed that the discussion topics are the same, only the language is different. You’ll get to hear Hindi in the 2nd class and some sort of sophisticated English in the 1st class compartments.
When I was in college, I and my friends have discussed various stuffs in the train and have had a laugh about it too. Most of our topics revolved around girls (you expected anything else???) and all of us would end up thinking, “When will we get one???”
Maximum of the train discussions heard by me have been related either to cricket or to politics. These two are the favorite past time of Indians. People tend to dissect both these issues with their own limited knowledge about the same. A Gujju Uncle will very proudly say “Sachin e barabar shot nahi maaryo… Ene off par ramwu joytu hatu pan e leg par maarwa gayo…” (Sachin didn’t hit a proper shot. He should have hit on off side but he played it on the leg side). Every time India plays a match, next day, we listen to all the experts sitting in the train who think of themselves as the Bhogles, Shastris, Boycotts, Chappels etc. of the world cricket and they dissect every game such that if the players hear them, they might commit suicide. The discussions after the 2003 World Cup Finals, 2007 T-20 Finals, every IPL game, 2011 World Cup Finals have been endless and people with limited or minimal knowledge talk about cricket as if they have been playing for over 20 years now. The best thing here is that irrespective of it being a 1st class or 2nd class compartment, the flow of abuses has been consistent in their language.
Next favorite topic comes out to be politics. Vastraharan of all politicians becomes a national sport when in train. Talks which describe the election results to be shocking and the minister’s policies are bullshit are a norm in the trains. The share bazaar kings in the train talk as if they are the Finance Ministers of the country and whatever the FM does is against them. For them, the CMs of some individual states are like Gods and they respect them more than the PM of the Country. People will get their respective language’s regional paper in the trains and discuss as per the writer/editor’s viewpoints not understanding the fact that there are times when the editors do try to enforce their views into you. Also, the way the Gujjus in the train discuss the share-market makes us feel that they must be millionaires with what they do.
Next we move on to Bollywood. All the latest affairs described in Mumbai Mirror, Bombay Times, Navbharat Times and Gujarat Samachar are discussed in the compartments. Some discussions gross out so much so that some of the leading ladies as well as the small time actresses are signed of as Prostitutes by these middle class gentlemen in the trains. The gossips spread out quite fast in the compartments and again here, the half-cooked knowledge becomes very dangerous.
I don’t like to pry into anyone’s personal life, but some discussions (especially on phones) get so loud that you have no option but to hear them. I have seen many break-ups happening over the phone in the crowded compartments. I have also seen some new relationships starting their new phase of life in train. Some of the best conversations which I have heard so far need to be mentioned here:
A college kid was trying to convince his Girlfriend and was apologizing to her profusely for some mistake which he had committed and in that process everyone around him was having a good laugh as his conversation was absolutely hilarious and to add to it, he was loud. He used words like ‘Sweetie’, ‘Shona’, ‘Darling’, ‘Honey’, ‘Munchkin’ etc. in the same sentence. I was thinking that the girl might die of diabetes with these talks… He was telling her how he couldn’t meet her the previous day as he had some family obligations and he would more than make up for it today by taking her for a movie with corner seats. He was about to get into more details and the signal broke as the train was approaching Bandra.
Next instance is of a Bong guy dating a Bong girl. The guy was roughly 26-27 and he was a working professional and he was talking to his girlfriend using very refined Bengali language. Most of the people around him couldn’t make out what he was saying (loudly) but I could understand little bit of Bengali and the gist of the talk was that he was trying to explain her how she should be ready to adapt herself in the new world and how she should keep her rigid beliefs away. One of his lines which were hilarious at that moment was, “Ms. ________________ Mukherjee, if you are stubborn, I am much more stubborn than you and I am not going to listen to whatever crap you say…”
Very recently, a guy was talking to his friend who was about to get married to a guy whom she was dating since quite sometime. This guy in the train was trying to propose her and convince her to be his Girlfriend but the girl at other end was telling him that she is getting married soon. To this, the guy in train said something which blew my mind off… He said, “I am keeping my FB status today as Mere TBGF ki shaadi hain…” She asked the meaning of TBGF and he said, TO BE GIRLFRIEND!!! Luckily I had to get down soon as I was unable to control my laughter at that moment…
Some guys were discussing Bigg Boss and Porn in train and 1 guy said, “Biwi ho toh Sunny Leone jaisi… Wo pati ke saath saath, mehmano ka bhi khayal rakhegi…” When I discussed this chat with Mr. Avinash Veer, his lines were simple, “Loka kahi sudhrat nahi… Udya boltil Baajuwalya chi bayko asawi Sunny Leone saarkhi…” :-|
Once while I was travelling in a Virar Fast train from Dadar-Dahisar during rush hours, there was good amount of pushing happening from the door, i.e. my frontside. I stand tall at 6’4” and the uncle behind me must be in his 60s and was short at 5’7”. Basically my ass and his stomach were at the same level. He started yelling at me from the back to stop pushing. I explained him that the pressure is coming from the front. He again yelled at me the same thing to which I very politely replied the same thing again. Now he was trying to act oversmart and show his age, so he went around again yelling at me. This time I was pissed and I too shouted stating that the pressure is coming from the front. He replied, “Mujhe laga Pressure toh Peeche se aata hain… Tu aagese kahase nikal raha hain???” I was pissed and I retorted, “Uncle, Pressure peeche se agar aaya toh yaha pe meri GAAND and aapka PET, 1 hi jagah pe hain…” He was left speechless and the compartment was left in laughs… :P
I have also seen college kids bring their female friends as well as girlfriends into the gents’ compartment of the trains and I have seen some of them fighting too. I just wonder, why don’t they do it somewhere outside and why do they have to create a spectacle in front of everyone???
There are many more instances, but than this is not a book. I discussed all these instances with a female friend of mine and she narrated some of the hilarious instances which she encountered in ladies compartment which are described below:
Ladies compartment is a live telecast of Ekta Kapoor soap opera. The concept of “train friend” is very rampant amongst ladies. These females are like your soul sisters who reserve a seat for you, get dokhlas and farsans for you, hears you out when you feel you are the only tortured soul. Once this friend of mine was standing at a smooching distance from another young woman in a crowded compartment and this lady, so it seems, was in an outright romantic mode. My friend had no other option but to bear with her… She was talking on a phone with her lover and this is the way the one sided conversation proceeded in marathi… “Sanglita na ‘love u” ata kiti vela mhanu…” “Luv u.. Luv u… Luv u”. Then there was a long pause after which she said… “Chal… Halkat” Then again “Love u.. Love u.. Love u”…. This thing went on for 30 good minutes… Post which she hung up and gave a mischievous smile to my friend. Another common topic is “boyfriend”. One train ride from Churchgate to Borivili and you would know the history! The worst are the post break up fights. Often a lot of girls cry in full volume and fight with their boyfriends calling names. Like in one particular conversation, one lady, in the middle of howling blurted out on phone.. “You dog… You are a real dog…. Not like a sweet pet dog… But a street dog.. Fit to be on street… ua ua ua… U snake… U r a real snake.. Not a harmless small one.. But poisonous one… Can’t believe I got fucked by a creepy swine like u”. This lady, so it seems, forgot that she was in a second class ladies compartment, surrounded by women from middle class background.. Another most favorite topic amongst working women is “boss” and “mother in law”. Married women periodically bitch about bosses and mother in laws… One more incident when a friend of mine entered a packed ladies compartment at Bandra with her group of college friends. There was lots of rushing and pushing and a lady shouted at these girls and asked them to stop pushing. The rush was evident and the pushing was justifiable yet the lady went on cribbing. To this, my friend gave an excellent reply, “I love pushing and feeling women in crowded trains..” The lady was left speechless and the compartment burst out laughing. Even if you are without books and music system, the drama in ladies compartment keeps you fully entertained. ;-)
Mr. Dinesh Trivedi came up with an excellent rail budget and the rail travelers on the next day agreed with Mr. Trivedi more than what his other party members did. This was also a great topic of discussion. Recently after the great Sex Scene on Indian TV (Bade Ache Lagte Hain), many people discussed the same with details the next day and some went to the extent of telling what fun they had with their partners following the episode.
Train-ride becomes a great source of entertainment as well as a good source of information provider and every Mumbaikar will agree with me when I say that the Railways are the lifeline of Mumbai not only for commuting but also for some daily source of entertainment… If you have not traveled by the Mumbai Local Train yet, I suggest you to do it atleast once… During RushHours!!! :D

Hiren Rathod.
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Well, I am writing a new post after a very long time and today is an apt day to do it because it is Valentine’s Day today – the day of Romance. Mr. Avinash Veer has been taunting me since a very long time as it has been ages since I wrote my last post and he even asked me if I have put up my domain name for auction. Well, I have been quite busy and mostly lazy since past couple of months to write something new. But today is Valentine’s Day and what better occasion to write about love???

This post is not about the History-Geography of Valentine’s Day. When, How and Why it was started is something which you can just Google and find every relevant (as well as irrelevant) information about the same. You will find 1000s of webpages with different information on the start of Valentine’s Day. I am writing this post to publish my views on the occasion called as the Valentine’s Day.

While I was in school, our principal used to conduct surprise Bag-Checks during the period of Valentine’s Day and Friendship Day. School authorities thought that these were the times and students should be kept in check so that they don’t go out of line and study well. I still remember the visuals when a guy was checking a girl’s bag (guys were not allowed to check girls’ bags) and he found a pack of sanitary napkins in her bag and he was flaunting in the class asking questions, “What is this, What is this???” He received an earful from the seniors later on but I felt disgusted at the act.

I have grown up watching Yash Chopra and Karan Johar movies where they have used the concept of Love, Valentine’s Day, Friendship Day etc. to make and sell their movies. I always wondered about the specialty of the day as I never had a girlfriend back then. I also read and watched news which said that certain political party workers have black-faced some couples, they have barged into different restaurants, gift shops, etc. to show their protests against the western culture. The point here is that I have grown in a mixed environment where I have seen pros and cons – both of Valentine’s Day and personally I am not a big fan of the concept called as Valentine’s Day. Called me old school or call me cynic, but I see the concept being popularized mainly by Greeting Card companies and the Gift Shops to increase their Business. You go to the rural parts of India and no one cares about Valentine’s Day. The husband in a village of India will say, “Ye kya Valentine’s Day laga rakha hain TV pe??? Hum toh humari Biwi se jab chaahe tab PYAAR (Sex) kar sakte hain… Koi special din rakhneka zarurat thode na hain???”

The trend of Valentine’s Day is more of an urban trend and the college kids use this day often to make out/hang out with their better halves of that period. I always made it a point to reach home on time or early to keep my parents thinking that I am still a decent boy. But, they are my parents and they know me better than myself and they used to understand my tricks. I have seen many couples fight on this day specifically as their partners expected a better treatment from them. The point here is, this day is considered to be so special that everyone tries making some special arrangements for their better halves but people spend hours planning, preparing, arranging, hiding, spending for the special moment and in the end they end up spending couple of hours together just admiring the efforts taken. My point here, why don’t you try spending the time with your better half trying to make him/her feel special just by being there for them rather than making the elaborate plans?

Another issue here is that, my favorite restaurant which has all the time and space for me on a normal weekday is jam packed on a Valentine’s Day. They make me wait for more than an hour and after that their service is slow and food quality is not that great. The traffic, the rush, the service, the lethargies amongst the people on this day irritates me to the core. The traffic on the roads and the difficulties in finding an auto or maneuvering your car through the traffic kills the mood even before it begins. And yes, not to forget the constant fear of some political party trying to ruin your evening or some uncle-aunty spotting you with someone and reporting to your place. Couples, whether married or not should not give so much importance to a day which can be technically celebrated everyday of being together. Not to sound too mushy, but don’t you feel that only 1 day in an entire year is kindoff a very short time to keep your better half happy??? Try to keep them happy all through the year rather than investing all on 1 day… I also see the radio stations playing love songs all day similar to the trend of playing patriotic songs all day on Republic or Independence Day… After a point too much of something starts becoming irritating…

All said and done, like every coin has 2 sides; this one also has 2 sides. While I have seen couple fighting, breaking up, ending things on a sad note on Valentine’s Day, I have also seen couple patch things up, ignite the flame again on same day. Couples who are going through a rough patch use days like Valentine’s Day and Anniversaries to take that extra step to make their loved ones feel special and rekindle their romance. Everything is forgiven on this day if the couple has been on a fight since a long time. People do take their time offs and go out of town to make a memory out of it. Eventhough the bosses might not allow for leaves on this day, yet people rebel and go out of their ways either to take a holiday or atleast a halfday to make their loved ones feel special. These are some gestures which still keeps the true spirit of Valentine’s Day alive.

If you ask me, I still maintain that I don’t believe in such days. Soon to get married and I always feel that if you feel like going out with your loved one on any particular day, go ahead, and don’t wait for any special day to come by. Sahi maza toh isme hain ke jo Shaadi se pehle bhi roz Valentine’s Day mana sake aur Shaadi ke baad bhi roz… But this is not an ideal world and yes we might need occasions like a Valentine’s Day or a Friendship’s Day or any Anniversary to float our boats in the future…

I heard a very funny line some years ago which I thought of using here (without any ulterior motives)… Love is blind but marriage is an eye-opener… Actually Marriage seems to be an eye-opener according to many of my friends who are married whether it be Love or Arranged Marriage… ;-)

This post is for all broken hearts, mending hearts, lovely hearts, brave hearts, weak hearts everyone who can connect to love or can think of falling in love someday sooner or later… May the stupid Cupid strike you sooner rather than later…

So to all the couples and singles who are desperately trying to get hooked, grass is always green on the other side but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy what you have right now… Happy Valentine’s Day!!!

Hiren Rathod.

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Happy to be SINGLE!!!

By Hiren | Filed in Hiren Rathod Personal, Personal

Today is her Birthday and I am posting this as a small gift to my sister. She is 21 and in her words she is single. Though I have my doubts about it, still I trust her when she says that she is single. So this post is about her experience of SINGL

EDOM.

Just recently, we both were sitting and finishing our dinner and with mom not around we were talking very freely about various topics under the sky and one such topic was if she is single or not and if she is, why is she still single??? I felt like I committed a serious offence by asking her this question as she went ahead to lecture me for almost an hour about the same and in the end I told her a ‘Sorry’ and switched on the TV to maximum possible sound just to nullify the effect. Later on when I started thinking, all her talks made sense as she is of the age where such types of things do happen.

Times have changed. There was a time when Love Marriage was considered as rebellious, now is the time when Arranged Marriage is given the name of lack of opportunity. So in such cases, if a 21 year old girl is single, it is surely looked down upon. But when I had a chat with my sister, her thoughts and ideas shook me very well and I liked d feeling that yes a girl at 21 can be single.

Following are completely her thoughts on being single which she shared with me few days ago:

“To be honest, I have no idea why I am still single… I have asked my friends this question a zillion times… And these are some of the weird answers that I received… Once your braces are out you will find somebody… So, I patiently waited for that day to come… It has been almost a month now & hello, there is not even a single guy asking me out… My entire dream sequence of turning from old Jassi to a hot new Jassi has come shattering down…

Looking at my disappointment, my friends suggested maybe because people think that I already have a boyfriend and I should start wearing a t-shirt with this slogan “SINGLE & READY TO MINGLE”. Seriously my friends are sweethearts… It’s one thing to be supportive and it’s completely different thing to give me weird suggestions and try to make me feel better…

Then finally I asked my brother and his friends for their views but let me warn you beforehand their suggestions are as useless as my friends. According to him I intimidate guys and he has this vision (or maybe a dream sequence) of my future boyfriend/husband asking him to go to a bar, to booze around in his company to maintain his sanity. My brother does not understand that, “mujhe sirf uski maarne main mazaa aati hai.” why on earth will I want to kick my boyfriend’s ass. Another friend of his suggested that I am too honest and boys don’t like it when they are told the truth, this again is something I can’t relate to.

But you know what I think; I already know the answer to my question. I think it’s ME who doesn’t want to be in a relationship and that’s why I am warding these people away from my life. I have seen so many relationships around me going sour that it has made my kind of cynical about the whole issue and moreover I have always been self-assured to discuss any of my problems with anyone. Boys have this constant need to be a knight in shining armor for the damsel in distress, even if it means they are being liked for their money or are a rebound guy. They have no problems with that. So if a girl is all needy & bawling like a baby at the drop of a hat for even a mention of her ex has many takers. But what about those girls who don’t have such problem or don’t like to share it with the world or is able to take care of themselves, what happens to these girls? Do these girls really get guys who are interested in them or end up in the just ‘friends’ mode. Guys always crib about the dearth of self-confident, happy women. The question here is guys are you ready to have a girlfriend who considers you to be just a boyfriend and not a savior.

Anyway this post is about me and not the guys… Do I really want to be in a relationship????????

Naaaaa…… I cannot handle the whole drama and fill up my life with explanations and questions and a constant need to look good. I am happy to just be me and enjoy my life with my girlies. After all ‘It’s my life, my rules.’ And how can I forget, I am “HAPPY TO BE SINGLE!!!””

 

So, these were her views and I had to listen to it for almost an hour. I am much relieved man now and all my assumptions are for myself. Girls at 21 need not be committed or be hooked to some guy. Frankly, if you ask me, I’ll say that the legal marriage age should be increased to 23 for both the genders. Who in India is mature enough to get married at 23???

Similarly, people should start getting into relationships after they graduate from college. Yes, we have seen love stories where they are childhood and they get married and live happily ever after. Well life is not so simple. I feel the right age to fall in love should be after 23 or 24 and till that time, I echo my sister’s sentiments of ‘It’s my life, my rules’ and ‘HAPPY TO BE SINGLE!!!’


Hiren Rathod.

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“India is land of Cultural Diversity…”

“Unity in Diversity…”

“India is land of Festivals…”

“In the heart of every Indian, lives at least one God…”

These are some of the clichés you must have read while studying in school. Every History

and Geography book must have described the diversity prevalent in India and how big India is and how every festival is celebrated in India with gusto.

Well, I personally have no grudge against any of the festivals celebrated in India, in fact I enjoy celebrating most of them, but I am irritated by the way it is celebrated and the way the festivals are used by certain section of our so-called society to show their power.

We count the year from January-December and the first festival that we celebrate is Holi which comes in the month of March. Holi is supposed to be a light-hearted festival and people enjoy the phase of end of winter and beginning of summer by celebrating Holi. It is a 2 day festival where, on the first night people burn the holy bonfire and on second day, they celebrate by coloring each other. Now certain sections of the society (called as local political parties) try to misuse the festival. Traditionally, these bonfires are burnt within the premises of a building/society but these people have brought it on the roads now. They burn the bonfire on open roads causing major disruptions to the traffic. I should mention the influence of drunken people on the roads at times like this which makes it unsafe for normal people to venture on the roads at nights…

After this, let me come to the favorite festival of all the local political parties and all the Aamdars & Khaasdars… Gokulashtami… In school, I used to enjoy breaking the matki in our building. I was the tallest guy around and always used to be the part of the dahi-handi gang. But now, they have made this festival as a commercial festival. Every corner of the road has a high-end matki with prize money in thousands and lakhs… They matki is 10 story high, 20 story high etc. and they use cranes to get the required height. Where do they set up these matkis??? On the middle of the road. So prominent roads like the highways, link roads, SV roads etc. are blocked entirely because of this. People try to leave offices early so that they don’t have to mess with the traffic, schools and colleges declare half day or are shut completely, so that even they don’t have to suffer. On this day, we actually see most of the hooligans on the roads drunk and riding their bikes (triple seat) and most of them stuffed inside the trucks making a pass at every women walking on the road or watching the festivities through their windows. The cops on the roads watch all this drama and still, they don’t take any action against anyone just because all these drunk drivers use the name of some local leader to get out of it. Again on this day, major portions of roads are blocked. And Lakhs of rupees are wasted on a single day.

Look at the Pandal...

After this we see celebration time with Eid & Ganeshotsav. Normally both the festivals come on same days. The sacred month of Moharrum begins a month prior to Eid celebrations. Here too people are out on the roads at nights creating ruckus and blocking certain parts of the roads. Moving on to Ganeshotsav, it is the favorite festival of most of the Mumbaikars. The pandals on the roads occupy more than half of the road width creating very little space for people to drive on. People start walking on the roads rather than the footpaths which cause many accidents during this season. And during visarjan times, the local political parties block both the parts of the roads and the traffic is completely disrupted behind it. People have no space to move and the frustration limits of the normal public is at its peak. I was stuck in traffic for more than an hour on the 10th day of visarjan. And after the visarjan, who takes care to go clean the beaches??? You can read the state of the Ganpatis aftervisarjan here (http://itsmeanagha.wordpress.com/2011/09/11/ganesh-chaturthi-a-different-outlook/)

Seriously???

Look at the flyover...

Similar things happen during Navratri too. The pandals block more than half the road width and the remaining half is occupied by the bikes and cars of the pandal authorities. If you try using the road, they ask you to take a detour which again increases your frustration levels. And when they do that, they do it with utmost Dadagiri as if he owns the road and you are committing a crime or trespassing his own property…

Where is the road???

Life is a little calmer during Diwali though. The only thing that can disturb you is the sudden or the continuous sound of the crackers, the smoke which can cause multiple inhalation disorders, the rockets hitting you out of nowhere.

To all these activities, add the irritating sound produced by the loudspeakers which are a must for them to play loud music, announce the sponsors, felicitate some or the other leader. These loudspeakers run late into the night disrupting the peaceful sleeps of the ever running and ever working Mumbaikar…

This post is not meant to hurt anyone’s religious feelings or not directed at any individual. This is just an eye-opener for people who know what is happening around them but intend to keep their eyes shut all this while. I saw the youth of India supporting Mr. Anna Hazare for his cause, but I see the same youth indulging itself in all these activities which are not needed to celebrate the festivals. I was always taught to celebrate festivals at home with family and close friends, go out to visit relatives, take blessings from elders, have a great time. I was never taught to go on the road to disrupt traffic or burst a cracker outside the building premises.

Activists ban or condemn Valentines day or New Years eve celebrations… I’ll call these 2 events as lesser of the evils when compared with the state of the things above…

The most irritating part of all this is, when I discuss about the disruptions caused to the normal lives because of the above mentioned Faltugiri on the roads, I get a reply that you should not use the road during festival times. They say when you know there is going to be traffic, why do you venture out? My point to them, just because this people are all out there to disrupt the public life, I should not lead the normal life of mine & stay indoors all the while???

Some months ago, I heard a line from a friend of mine which says that, “Only 3 things can move the entire nation of India – Cricket, Bollywood and Religion…” I completely agree with this… In this case religion can surely move your Frustration levels up by several notches…

Yes, I drive a car regularly (daily) and I suffer because of all these activities, but so does half of Mumbai. If you don’t drive a car, you use public transport. Even they are affected by the same. If you have any females in your family or group of friends, you are going to suffer the same trouble. Already the rains cause enough potholes on the roads and these activities on the roads add up to it. Sometimes are wonder if there are more POTHOLES on the roads or more ASSHOLES on the roads???

 

Hiren Rathod.

Disclaimer: The author is sorry for any religious sentiments hurt by this post.

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NANI MA…

By Hiren | Filed in Hiren Rathod Personal, Memories

This post was long overdue. I was planning to write this one since May, but I never got the appropriate words for it. I used to start writing and stop it after writing 2-3 lines. It has been more than 4 months now and I am well composed to write thi

s post. This post is on my NANI MA as I fondly used to call my grandmother (mother’s mother for those who didn’t understand). Officially we don’t have her birth records but she was said to be born in the month of May in 1929. She passed away on 29th April, 2011. She was 81 when she left us all and was going to turn 82 in few days’ time.

She was not keeping well since mid of April and she was hospitalized immediately. She was on ventilator and my elder Mama (mother’s brother) who is a doctor himself was shocked and shaken for the first time in his life as he knew that this is not going to end well. He knew it is just days before she might pass away. But he held the family together and in a positive frame of mind. My Nanaji (mother’s father) is still alive and even he understood what is in store in fate but he too showed a strong face in front of my Nani and he cried like a baby after coming out. Everyone’s condition was the same. When I went to meet her at the hospital, she was without her specs, yet she could identify me and called me by the name she fondly used to call, ‘Hiru’. She told me to take care of myself and the way she talked I thought that she knew what is going to happen. 2 days after I went to meet her, I was in office on a Friday evening and I got a call which said that she is no more. I knew this was going to happen but still the shock was unbearable. I just kept quiet for few minutes, composed myself and informed my colleagues and left office for her place…

I have very fond memories of my Nani Ma. She and my Nanaji used to stay in Andheri and that was our home for almost every vacation during our school days. We cousins used to go there and enjoy a lot. She had many grandchildren (6 Granddaughters & 2 Grandsons). She also saw a Great Granddaughter before she left and played with her too. She used to enjoy playing with them. There is no harm in stating the fact that I was one of her favorites (some of my cousins might hit me after this) but I will openly state that this was the case. I enjoyed going to her place regularly. Some days when I thought mom would get mad at me for any mistake of mine, I used to call my Nani up and used to go spend a day or two with her. She always used to take care of my likes and dislikes and almost everytime I had the liberty to enjoy a nice meal at her place. She used to call all her children in the morning to get an update from them about their well-being and she used to enjoy talking on phone with most of her relatives. My Nanaji knew that this thing used to cheer her up, so he never complained about the phone bill. In fact, he used to remind her that she forgot calling some XYZ relative of theirs.

She used to become a kid with us kids. She used to enjoy playing cards with us. I can very proudly say that she taught me and my cousins most of the card games. She always used to have 2 sets of cards at her place and we loved playing cards with her. She was a competitive player and used to feel very bad on losing and used to enjoy winning any round of the game. She taught us how to cheat in the card games too. We also played board games like snakes & ladders, ludo etc. with her. She always used to call us to her place to play cards with us and to cook food for us. I remember one incident very clearly where I had too much of Dhoklas one night when I was a kid and I suffered from very bad acidity that night. I woke her up and told her my status and she started laughing as I was standing there in in front of her literally not wearing anything after my several rounds of the restroom (I was tired). She gave me an antacid which brought about instant relief and again shockingly I slept well, wearing nothing after getting relieved. :-(

She was an enthusiastic lady and a very meticulous lady. She used to plan things out well in advance. If there is anyone’s wedding or function to go to, she used to get the Saree ironed and matching blouse selected atleast one month in advance. She used to ask my Nanaji for his views and he used to reply in his own unique style. She enjoyed a lot during 2 of my cousin’s weddings and she remembered all the birthdays and anniversaries in the family accurately. She was also a very feisty lady and used to fight with all the vendors if they tried to cheat her. She used to bargain even for a single rupee and used to get the best vegetables and fruits around. She loved mangoes and she always waited for summer. She got mangoes from the vendors with a guarantee that they are going to be sweet and she actually used to fight and hit the vendor with the seed of the mango if they turned out to be sour. She was also an avid fan of non-veg food but she didn’t cook any at her place as she stayed in a locality dominated by Gujarati Jains and they hate the very smell of non-veg food. So, we used to take parcels for her from our place…

There are many such anecdotes which can describe her life and she lived her life to the fullest. I was very close to her and I went for my 10th, 12th & 1st year Engineering exams from her place. Even when 26th July loomed on Mumbai, I took shelter at her place as my college too was in Andheri, I used to go drop them both at station for their trains when they used to go to our native place, I used to go pick them up from the native place too by car as I loved driving and they enjoyed car rides… I just couldn’t take the news in when she passed away and though my face was tearless, my heart was crying, because I already started missing her. I was one of her favorites and she had done a lot for me. She had gone out of her way at times just so that I didn’t face any trouble in life. For me, if you ask, then I’ll say that she was the best. I was born at her place, I celebrated many occasions at her place, in need of strength I visited her etc… etc… etc…

I felt bad when I last went to visit her at the hospital because both of us knew at that point that she was not going to survive for long but both of us didn’t show it. She told me that she might not live long but she herself laughed it off and started guiding me on my life… Such was her nature that she was concerned even at the end…

On 29th April, 2011 when I got the news, I went to her place to arrange all the stuff properly so that we could start work on her journey for the heavenly abode next morning, I recollected all the fond memories I had of that place with her and I just thought that I won’t get those moments back. At the funeral, after my Mama completed the rituals, I told my Nanaji, “She and dad used to have good debates and discussions. Now she will join him up there and they will continue from where they paused…”

 

Hiren Rathod.

 

(P.S.: In the Loving memory of Late Smt. Hiraben Lalitbhai Patel. May 1929 – April 2011.)

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