Saturday, December 31, 2016

God bless you and Wish you a Happy 2017

If you asked me for my New Year Resolution,
 it would be to find out who I am.
 - Cyril Cusack.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

I will not delete this blog

This blog always helped me to unravel myself. Without any inhibition, I jotted down everything - my confusions, apprehensions, aspirations and what not. I hardly resorted to a second person narrative. I have been truthful to this blog just like I am truthful to myself.

Many a time, I had begun posts without even knowing how I would end them. Surprisingly, in the end, they revealed to me innumerable things which I was unaware of myself. The blog always helped me to evolve as a person. Since, I became busy with my work, updating blogs also decreased. But never did once, I thought of deleting it. It had already become a part and parcel of my life.

Just a few days ago, I had this strange feeling that I shouldn’t keep this blog. Why? Because for the first time, I felt I was at peace with myself. So many things happened in my life that I started looking at it with a different perspective. It was a surprising revelation at all levels.

 A lot things changed both professionally and personally. The once redundant life started overflowing with energy. Suddenly, there was no confusion, apprehensions and aspirations. Why no aspirations because I started living at the moment. Everything was so clear that I began surprising myself at all levels.

I went short of topics to write. Hence, came the question - Why should I update this blog? Then there came another question - Why should I keep it? Because I never filtered my thoughts and I never tried to be politically correct. Whatever happened in my life, it was all there in the blog. So I thought it’s time to stop telling everyone about what’s going on in my life and then one day, I decided to delete the blog.

Thankfully, something happened in my life (Not that big but changed my perspective again), the very next day that I backed out from deleting it.

In life, you might be in search of so many things - love, career, fame. If you are hardworking and lucky enough, you can get everything. You might be surrounded by people who understands you in and out, but still there remains a part of yourself only you can understand. I tried several times to open it up to the person who understands you the most but in vain. I really do not know how to do it. Perhaps, only you can see that part.

It is this small part of yours that pushes you to strive for the better. This small part is going to remain with you till the end.

So I asked myself “ How can you delete this blog that has helped you to understand that ‘small part’ of yourself.”

Pic Courtesy :

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Have you ever reached that moment when you can't recognize yourself ? I did

Bangalore Diary Part 4
September 1, 2016

For many years, I knew what I wanted to do with my life. Everything seemed hunky – dory. But then came a point when life stopped, just like that....... I shocked myself by stopping to recognize me. I have always been my best friend. And one fine morning, she was gone and left me to grope in the dark.  And that could be scary – VERY SCARY.

I always knew that being on the brighter side of life was a Herculean task. But I hardly left no stones unturned to make my life better.  I could easily identify my flaws, earlier. The process of rectifying them made me a stronger person. And, one fine morning, I just forgot how to do that. 

Whenever, I looked at the mirror, I could not recognize the girl in there. That might be the reason why the reflections never got registered in my mind. Another way of putting it is : “I don’t like the girl in the mirror. Because she is so lost and that’s not me.” 

Then, one day reality struck like a thunder bolt. Even the strongest woman could get tired of being strong.

I started thinking of all those personality development quotes which once made me strong but in vain.

Then came the next realization - “I was acting strong.” 

I mean…I was not in fact strong but acting as if I was strong….. Oh My God…..

 After so many years, to be precise 12 years, I shut myself in a room, switched off all the lights and started crying and crying.


Pic courtesy :

Monday, July 25, 2016

Her Houses

Bangalore Diary - Part 3 
July 25, 2016

It was 2 am in the morning. And we were watching the movie ‘Apartment 143’. She told me about it then.

 “I used to get scratches all over my body…. just like that. I always felt a presence as if someone was watching me. Surprisingly, this is the only house which has spared me from such an experience.”   What surprised me was neither did I disbelieve her nor was I scared. And it was not so me.

Why did I believe her? I did not know and I was so sure that she was not lying.

Her work took her to many places. She had to live in a huge Bunglow, while working in the remotest corner of Bihar. “I was only using one of its rooms. A man would come and prepare food. But he was not staying there,” she says.

 There’s a dense woods nearby.  “I used to hear muffled voices. And these scratches….. I was sure that I had not hit upon something to get those. It all felt sephulchural,” she says.

 Maybe, I was so shaken (not scared) by the whole thing that I did not want to hear anything more on the topic, that night. Besides, the fact that ‘Apartment 143’ was based on a true story was lessening my self confidence to sleep alone in a room. 

Adding fuel to the fire was her boyfriend's remark “When you concentrate on something sharply, you can attract those elements towards you.” I might sound frivolous …But I did not want to invite any such elements that night. I had to switch on the light to sleep.

But the whole conversation excited my curiosity and I asked her the next day.

And she began her story.

Let me tell you, it was not an unusual story. You might have heard lots of such similar stories. But what hit me was the sincerity with which she told the whole story.

Though a Keralite, she was born in Manipur. She was then an only child of her parents. They were living near a dam which was being constructed. Her father was working in the electrical wing associated with it.

She recollects “I used to sleepwalk when I was a child. It was dangerous as I was living near the dam. While sleeping, either my father or my mother would tie a rope on my leg which was tied to them. But one day, I even managed to hoodwink that. Thanks to that someone who spotted me on time.  The habit gradually faded after a point. '” 

Years flew by. She came back to Kerala to do her post graduation. Since the college was away, she had to stay in a hostel. 

There, she met that blue eyed girl. She was one of her room mates. “Something was disturbing her. Her relationship with a guy had gone sour. He was blackmailing her with some of their intimate photographs. She was depressed to the core but confessed to me after a promise that I would not tell it to anybody. But I could not keep my word because she went missing one day,” she reminiscences. 

They searched her everywhere in the hostel but in vain. 

Two days after, their warden informed them that the blue-eyed girl had reached her own house. 

Next day,she was sleeping in her hostel room along with other roommates. It was late midnight and she felt the blue-eyed girl was standing in front of her. She was wearing a white churidhar with blue polka dots on it. 

She was asking amidst sobbing “ Njan paranjirunnathalle arodum parayaruthennu,” ( I have asked you not to talk about it to anybody). And what followed then was a loud scream. 

“I saw her. She was right here wearing a white churidhar with blue polka dots on it,” she told her room mates who were wide awake by then. None of them believed her.

After a year, a police van arrived in their hostel. They wanted to know about that blue-eyed girl. “ She had committed suicide. They showed me her photograph. Dead…wearing a white churidhar with polka dots.”

“That was just the beginning. I had a break from such experiences when I shifted to this house.”

 After that I never got a chance to talk about it.  Though we are always together, I often forget to ask her.

Pic courtesy :

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

That house

Bangalore Diary - Part 2
June 15, 2016

That house added a new chapter in my life. But it was not my house. That’s why I used the word ‘That’.

There was a tree in front of it. Someone would always hang a small garbage bag on it and there was another one with a few dry leaves here and there, on the opposite side of the road.
 It reminded me of Samuel Beckett’s ‘Waiting for Godot’ where Vladimir and Estragon waited endlessly for someone named Godot. Their unending wait was portrayed by a tree with full of leaves slowly transforming into one with a few.

I wanted to touch those trees [the trees in front of that house :) ] but forgot to do so. There was a flat nearby and on it’s walls grew the creepers, which set a perfect background for a romantic tryst.
The street used to be deserted. Pigs, cows and bulls roamed freely. Occasionally, you could see some people taking a minute to bow and touch those cows and bulls in reverence. The bulls’ horns were too sharp that I would wonder what they would do if the animals went berserk.

From the street where ‘that’ house stood, take a few turns left and right, and then you would arrive at a main road with an array of activities - street vendors, shops, people, Paani Puri waalahs’, a temple, a women selling flowers in front of it etc etc.

 But ‘the house’ was not mine.

Interestingly, everything surrounding it had left an indelible impression on me. Perhaps, that house would be the first one in my life which absorbed only my pleasant precious moments. It might have wanted to take in some of my agonies but I had none to offer at that point of time.

I would not disclose what those moments were or whose house was that but to share a realization that you did not have to make something your own to love it and cherish it.

Pic Courtesy : / Google

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Miss YOU and THOSE days

Diary 6/13/16

I was writing incessantly for the past five years because I was a journalist. Hence, I never felt the need to update my blogs, frequently. I started my first blog to learn writing. But as my job offered a lot of space for writing, I hardly bothered to update it, regularly.  

Apart from this above mentioned reason, I always felt writing at home a bit tedious. I could never figure out the reason for long. Now, I understood what was preventing me from writing.
I never had a ‘Table and Chair’ to write comfortably. During my journalism days at Kerala, I stayed at houses with minimum furniture. There might be chairs but not a proper table. 

Without a table and a chair, you would end up in your bed with your laptop/netbook.. Sleep can invade you soon. After sitting uncomfortably for long, you would want to lie down. Then, the laptop/notebook would be on your belly. Your head would ache and it can soon destroy your concentration.

One fine morning, may be today…I realized that I missed many things by not being active in the blogs.

I started two of my blogs 7 years ago. I was active for three years. When I pondered over those days, I could not believe that I was secure amidst so many insecurities when I was writing there. I never went out seeking friends for I had many from the blogging world. Never once did I suspect of their genuineness. It was their inspirational words which made me think for the first time that I also could write. I used to spend hours in front of the computer reading others’ blogs. Many lives just unraveled before me and it was a pleasant experience. I came to know a lot about the other world. When it was Christmas, New Year or Halloween, those blogs would look absolutely fantastic. 

I never ever felt that they were miles apart. You would get genuine responses from them. I remember putting up a post where I said I was not able to write. Anne Gallagher, who has now become a renowned writer, told me this :

“Speech is silver, silence is golden, then thinking must be platinum.
Here's something to think about and then write...
It was a dark and stormy night. The trees swayed in the whistling wind...
Now you finish it.

Oh!…How I miss them.

I would not have become a print journalist, had I not interacted with them. 
If you ask me if I ever had been nostalgic, my answer would be a ‘ NO’. Because, each day came with a new experience and I never had to look back. But if I really want anything back it, would be those blogging days where I felt the bloggers were like a family. We used to encourage each other by giving them awards and linking their blogs. Is that custom still in place or is it that I could not see it as I was on a hiatus.

I want to come back – blog and write.

Pic Courtesy : Google/pinterest...

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Salem.......An Experience

I am sharing a small write up which I wrote for CRY- child rights and you, the organisation for which I work. Every new joinees will be taken to a project which is funded by CRY. Hence, I got the opportunity to visit Salem People Trust (SPT) at Salem, Tamil nadu. It was a hell of an experience. My write up would be small for an experience like this. But still I have tried to jot down some of the still afresh memories .

Please do take time to read this small write - up.

Salem is at Tamil Nadu, a South Indian state.

Here it goes.......

I met little Meena during my project visit to a village called Kuppannoor at Salem. Female foeticide, bonded labour, child labour, child marriage, untouchability- you name it, the village has everything.

I do not remember when Meena started holding my hand. I stayed in that village with my team for about 5 hours and she did not leave my hand even for a minute. My hands were profusely sweating and the little girl was wiping it with her soiled dress, then clutching to it as if she never wanted to leave it.

When she was convinced that I would not leave her soon, she asked me in Tamil “ Nan ungale akkannnu koopidalama” (“Can I call you Akka?” Akka is sister in Tamil). Overwhelmed with emotion, I told her “Yes, dear”.

She was one among those many underprivileged children in the village who were denied education. Belonging to a bonded labour family, there is a huge chance that either she might end up being a child labour or could be a child bride. But on that day, she was not aware of what is in store for her. I cannot ever forget her smile and those big eyes with hope.

Meena, you will always be in my prayers.

Shockingly, some grandmothers in the village were just 33 years old. Besides, many had been forced to undergo female foeticide.

The dalits of this village belongs to the Arundhatiyar community, considered as the most inferior group among dalits. Majority of them are under bonded labour for a meagre monthly salary of Rs 300 for many years. For outside world, they were untouchables, but I assure you, they make the best tea and will serve it you with lots of love.

The children at Ponmalai nagar village again amazed me. Sans any facilities, they were a bundle of talent. If given facilities, they could challenge any privileged child.

My note would be incomplete if I didn’t mention Jayam who have started bringing real change into this downtrodden community. Through her, the community has already started witnessing change.

The post was originally published here

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Bangalore Diary - Part 2

 So, I joined an NGO which deals with child rights. Now, this is a surprise detour in my life. Not in the wildest of my dreams did I think, I would land up in an NGO. I work in the media wing.

Sometimes, destiny has a strange way of fulfilling your dreams. Five years ago,when I joined a newspaper, I thought journalism was my calling. To prove otherwise not even a single incident has happened all through these years.  But to my dismay, one fine morning, it has ceased motivating me. 

Going to office became a tedious job. I felt like I was repeating myself.  There were time, I even doubted, is the life asking me to take a step towards marital bliss. I am not against the institution of marriage. But leaving everything which I fought for, just like that did not make any sense to me.

 I decided to move out of Kerala. I landed up in Bangalore. I joined an organization which dealt with news. But that was really distant from ‘ real journalism’.
Even before, I started off from Kerala, I had a strong feeling that this particular job was not something, I would stick for a while. But I have to go to Bangalore and needed a job to live. So I took the plunge. And all my apprehensions got confirmed once I joined the organisation. Every day became a tedious one and I quit the organization. For the first time, I felt, I do not want to do journalism anymore.

 I attended many interviews….content writer, copy writer..But that never excited me and maybe because of that I never got through.

Those days, without a job in a new city really made me think what I really wanted from my life…

There were so many things in my life which I was clasping to my bosom like a treasure. I listened to my heart and it said

 “Shalet, those were not the real important things. You are holding them holy all through your life just for nothing. Come out of those norms.”  

I realized I wanted to travel and write.

 Where will that lead me?.... I do not know.

Will there be a career growth? ….. I do not know. 

What will my parents say? Just throwing away a job like that and doing something which cannot guarantee anything materialistically…… I do not know.

I do not know and “ I do not care.  And I started feeling light. Is that what you call truly liberated.

 Then I asked me again --- “What I want from my life?”
I need an affordable roof, some money so that I could travel. Where to begin?

 The most suitable place is Kerala - my own state. ( Kerala lies at the south of India).  This might not sound a great thing for many of the travel writers out there. But for a person who is yet to know her state is a great thing. With no job and little money, I felt confident for the first time and I was all set to take on life.

 And then came “the surprising detour”. I have already applied to the same NGO for a vacancy in their media advocacy wing and they asked me to appear for an interview and a written test. To my surprise, I was selected. 

And the first thing they asked was " Are you ready to travel?" And I was like " Really"....

“ I have to Travel”. …Did you hear that? Yes Yes…..

And I also have ample to time to take up my individual journeys also. Hence,once, I settled down, I am all set to Travel….

This is my travel blog  --- Diary of a budding Travel Writer
 If you are interested, please do visit...

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Fathers taking a selfie with their daughters is not going to change anything

Have you ever wondered why some people just cannot be themselves in their own place?

I mean...the place where one was born and brought up.

I will elaborate.....

Years ago…to be precise, when I was about 18 years, I got enrolled myself in a public library. It was just a stone’s throw away from my house and my college. Nearby is the famous Kerala Sahitya Academy. I could have easily gone and spend some time, there. But I never did.

Whenever I used to go there, I was always accompanied.  I had to wait till my father takes a leave so that he could accompany me. Thankfully, we could, then keep books for one month. Otherwise, I would have been forced to cancel my membership.

My father would wait at the entrance of the library. Because only members were allowed inside and I could see him signaling me every minute to make it fast….( Make it fast …and that too in a library).

Things have not changed, even now.

I am a journalist and have been working and living alone for more than nine years. Still, I am not allowed out of my house in my home town, alone. Why so?

 They cite a very logical reason – You will always remain our little girl…I am happy being one. But I do not understand why the little boy always becomes a big man; even though he will be years younger to you.

His opinions matters and mine just ignored. Why you have to rebel all the time for your rights? Now, I understand “ fathers taking a selfie” with their daughters is not going to solve the problem ( It was a campaign started by the Prime Minister of India)

I believe I have handled my career and life to the best of my ability. If not, I would have ended up in the four walls of any house. And I am sure; I would have gone berserk.  (I am notorious for throwing tantrums….)

I am somebody who has also reveled in the thought of unraveling ‘me’. It is the greatest mystery I have ever encountered.

The little child inside me just bounces and bounces while discovering those deep hidden desires of the heart. And each time, I evolve and become a better person.

But it all goes for a toss when I am in my home town. Why so? Even without my own knowledge, I start behaving as if I am bound by the society. I laugh, cry, talk and behave according to the norms.

 Forget about ‘Thinking’…My head is all blocked. Nothing sensible would come out of it. Instead of a voice, various voices start to speak. You feel like you are back to square one

When you are out of your place, you are just ‘You’. You are nobody's daughter or sister or niece and you are not bound by the society.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Bangalore diary - Part 1

Finally, I am in Bangalore. After 34 long years, I have managed to come outside my state - Kerala.

Just don’t remain a ‘ frog in the well’,

There is a wide world outside, some of my well – wishers have advised.

And, here I am…Out of the safe cocoon…. ( Was I really in a safe cocoon? We will discuss it some other time.)

To be honest,  I am yet to start seeing this world…I mean the place where I live now. I did not feel like ‘exploring’ Bangalore. Buildings all over with rarely any greenery to spot gives me head aches. For the time being, it is just office to hostel and vice – versa.

Though, the place has lot of restaurants, it hardly beckons me. Perhaps, I do not enjoy outside food, any more.

I live near a Mall and I went there twice. It is all crowded unlike the malls in Kerala and I felt claustrophobic.

Talking about people whom I met here, some are likeable and some not . Hey! It is the same in Kerala also.

And I have come across some staring eyes here. I was surprised because many who encouraged me to go to Bangalore said I would n’t find anything of this sort, here. …I said ‘staring’ and not ‘ Ogling’.

Whenever, I step out of the hostel, I wrap a scarf around my face. I thought I was preventing myself  from exposing to pollution. But, in course of time, I realised it gave me a sense of security….  From What?.....I really have no clue. Even after I have toned down, I do not want to take it off.

This place gives you a strange sense of anonymity that it can really scare you, sometimes.
I am happy inside the hostel once I am done with my work.

Knock….knock….I have also come across some real gossip mongers. The difference is you don’t hear gossips in your language.

There are a few things I also like….

Unlike Kerala, Bangalore is chilly and you get uninterrupted supply of hot water. Hence, I could enjoy hot showers twice a day. For the first time I felt, bathing has immense therapeutic effect. Besides, you need n’t be bothered about the dress you wear as you have to wear a sweater or a jacket to protect you from the cold.

My point is not to make negative remarks about the place. But all these above mentioned characteristics of this place made me think what makes a place likeable.

I think it is just a sheer 'Sense Of  Belonging' and what gives you that?

I will always be attached to the place where I am born. That is a bond made from birth. Then, what are the other things.

Now, to write more on that, I really would have to strain my brain…. ( Ok…I racked my brain for about 10 minutes…But nothing came out of it. I mean, I just did not get a clear picture to write about those things which gives a sense of belonging).

For the time being, it is a feeling for me – a feeling which only you can understand. There is no point in being somewhere, where you have no sense of belonging......

PS : I would like to remind you that it has been just 25 days since I arrived here. And there exists a high chance that in the days to come, I might tell you those things which really made this place dearer for me.

Friday, January 15, 2016

 I stay near this Mall.

Except a single upload, I haven't posted anything, this year. Maybe, I wanted to take it slow.

I wanted to tell you that I have shifted my base. Now, I am in Bangalore. It's been around 20 days since I reached here. And having a hard time adjusting to the new environment. Do not feel like making friends. But feels like eating Kerala food.

 After 5 long years of staying alone and cooking my own food, I have got a room mate as I am staying in a PG which is almost like a hostel with 80 inmates. In my place, it is just four or five girls in a PG. Thankfully, there are no such restrictions which makes your life horrible. But I will have to shift my place after February as my office will be shifted to some other place.