Saturday, September 15, 2018

7 days to lose a girl

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This shall pass too

Over a thousand souls followed her on the paths that she trod. She arrested every man's heart at my office that it beat only her name. Things were different before she stormed into my life.  I desired a normal life with happiness and mirth. I should admit that at times I've prioritized money more than happiness.  The urge to earn money had consumed me over the period of time. This story happened over a course of 7 days. 7 days of anticipation, hope, love and a disaster.  She came, she mesmerized and left me broken. This is not just another love-hate story but a story of hope that was stolen from a guy who truly and madly loved a girl from his office. In these 7 days, he befriended her, loved her and lost her forever.  Pinky, his 12-year-old niece was his advice maven who  played a significant role in fixing and destroying his love life. She played a role of a  dating website in his affection craved life. The little demon under the guise of an angel cajoled him to do things that eventually shortened his love life. 1 day is enough to impress a girl, 2 days are enough to get her along, 3 days are enough to win her heart and just one day is enough to shatter everything.

It was a balmy Wednesday morning when the Cupid, an uninvited charlatan decided to trick me. 

Day1 - Wednesday - 6th June 2006.

Project deployments are no less than a wedding ceremony for Engineers like me. It is an important day of our life. After an ambitious 6 months of designing, coding, and testing, we were all set to release our baby into the production. Yes, projects are referred to as babies in the corporate life.  No new issues were reported in the first of kind production sites which brought a big smile to my Engineering manager's face. For days, he would not let his depression seep through the Engineers under him. I was his trusted go-to man who gave me the complete freedom to manage the team and the product development. Two important events happened in my life that day.  My Engineering manager promoted me to a Project Manager role after my impressive performance in the last fiscal year.  Well, the second event had somewhat impacted the next upcoming week of my life. Yes, the day 1 of the 7 days had begun. 

Raghavendran, my Engineering manager had summoned me to his cabin. As I peeped through the transparent glass of his cabin,I saw a charming woman of around 27 amicably conversing with him. 
"Who is she?" my mind aimlessly drifted apart.
Could she be the new HR manager, I thought to myself. 
Raghavendran caught me shamelessly ogling at the girl.
"Ashwin, what are you doing there? come in," he said and I obediently hearkened.
"Meet Ashwini Singhal, the automation engineer who would be joining our team," he said. She smiled at me and  greeted me, "Hello sir!" 
"Call me Ashwin!" I retorted.
"Introduce her to our team and explain her the different modules that she would be automating," Raghavendran explained.
"Is the workflow manager going to be under the scope of automation," I curiously asked him to impress the newcomer. 
"I think so, why don't you discuss," he replied and we left his cabin. 
She was walking ahead of me. I witnessed her long hair neatly braided to her hip. It was swinging like the pendulum of a clock.  I then introduced Ashwini with the other testers and developers in my team.  At a closer glance, I witnessed her brown eyes and her arched eyebrows.  Her eyes possessed a charm and it looked attractive due to the heavy application of kohl and the mascara. I admired her as she spoke to each of my team members. Her smiles certainly killed me and I could feel the Cupid's bow piercing through my heart.  She had a sharp chiseled nose and any man would fall for her long lips that were painted red. A complete bunch of joy she was! And my soon-to-be package of happiness. I stared into her eyes as my ears bypassed her voice. "Ashwin! Ashwin!" she called.
"Hey, tell me." I recovered quickly trying not to distract myself because of her beauty.
"Where is my seat?" she asked.
There was a vacant cubicle next to mine and I asked her to use that.  That act of mine could have surely broken many hearts in my team, of course, the guys!
I sent her some documents to read and asked her to get back to me in case if she had any questions.  Although she was an integral part of my team, we both were reporting to our Engineering manager while the rest of my team reported to me. That gave her special privileges. Maybe!
I was shamelessly smiling like crazy as she was going through the documents. I was discretely leering at her. 
It was the first time I was meeting her but my heart had sensed my cravings the moment I looked at her for the first time.  Apart from clearly her doubts, we spoke for hours about ourselves.  She was slowly getting comfortable with me. That was some skill that I possessed. Born to impress, I would brag about myself. Of course, secretly!
My older sister from Washington was in India for her vacations.  I hugged her the moment I saw her. Di was my favorite and my best friend from my childhood days. 
"Now stop hugging your old grumpy fat sis and focus your attention to your cute sexy niece," I heard a soft voice from behind.  The little girl stood there with her arms crossed and she grimaced.
"I'm not impressed, mamu!" she announced.
"You have to be," I said and hugged her. I loved my niece Pinky the most. 
"I love you, mamu!" Pinks planted a  kiss on my chin. Everyone called her Pinku while I called her Pinks.
"My sweet little angel, even your mamu loves you," I said and continued, "I was desperately waiting to meet you."
It was a perfect Wednesday for me. Lots of unexpected events unfolded that day.

Day 2 - Thursday - 7th June 2006

That day I left for office quite early.  Never in my life, I was so excited to go to work! Maybe this is why they say that life veers upside down after a woman steps into your life. And Ashwini was the woman in this case.
"Ash bro, good morning, " a colleague of mine greeted me.
"Look I am telling you for the nth time not to address me, Ash,"  I brusquely told him. 
"Do I look like a kid who catches weird stupid pokemon or do I seem to you like a burned charcoal?" I asked.
"Chill Ashwin!" he said and left for his cubicle.

"Hey, Ram," I called him and continued, "Good Morning to you." I smiled at him to which he glared at me. I had clearly ruined his morning. My team members looked at me while I was exposing my cruel side at him.
I was eagerly waiting to see Ashwini and she didn't make me wait long.  She arrived thirty minutes hence.

"Hey Ashwini, Good Morning!" I greeted her.

"Hey Ash!" she smiled and said, "Good Morning to you too."

"Ash?!" had clearly annoyed me but my heart had helplessly forced me to curve my lips into an animated smile.
"My friends call me Ash!" she said and continued, "It is such a sweet name." She said with a smile on her face. She always looked beautiful with a smile. My heart had already accepted the way she was.  My next task was to find out if she had a boyfriend.  In this social media frenzy world, all girls had a guy to chill out with. Somewhere my heart wanted me to believe that she was single.
"You know what?" I asked her.
"Even my friends called me Ash!" I said, smiling at her. My team members laughed sheepishly. I remember my colleague from the other team, Ram listening to this when I uttered those words.
"Nice shirt, Ash!" Ram said and left for the cafeteria. I couldn't complain much.
Two hours later, I asked her out for tea. I had to make the most of it and had the most difficult challenging task of finding her if she was single.
"I love chai's and the tapri chai outside offices are too good," she said and asked curiously, "Do we have a Tapri here too?" 
"Of course we do," I said and continued, "Shankar is famous for his tea." 
I and few of my team members were regular customers of Shankar. While the others would drink tea and I would smoke Marlboro light. 
Shankar raised a cigarette stick as soon as his eyes grabbed my attention. He failed to notice the lass with me. 
"Shankar, God knows why do you do this to me every damn day," I said and asked, "Do I really look like a smoker to you?" 
"Sorry, bhaiyya! confused ho Gaya mei,"  he apologized.
Ashwini was watching all this as she stood next to me and sipped the chai. 
"Ash! that's okay if you want to smoke then I am completely cool with it," she said and continued, "I can wait near the gate until you are done smoking."
"See, his stupid act even convinced you that I'm a smoker," I said to her.
"Oh no no, I didn't mean that way!" she said, "And I am sorry!"  She smiled at me.
"By the way, what's your last name?" I asked her. 
"It's Singhal!" she replied.
"Paradoxical!" I said and continued, "Your boyfriend must be cursing himself."
"Well, my last name actually justifies my current relationship status," she said and continued, "No guy had the guts to ask me out for a date." 
My heart skipped a beat as she uttered those words. A billion butterflies started fluttering inside my stomach as I confirmed that she was single. 
We sauntered outside the campus for a brief period.  
I reached home at around 9 that evening. I had my dinner with my Di and my niece. After that, I headed to my room. That time was dedicated to the stalker in me. I quickly logged into facebook and searched for Ashwini Singhal.  She looked gorgeous in all her photos. I couldn't believe when she told she was single.
My little munchkin Pinks was fidgeting with her iPad next to me.

Uncle and Niece
Image source

"Mamu, do you have any girlfriend?" she asked me.
"Why do you ask me that?"  I asked her.
"Tell me first," she said.
"NO," I answered.
"Then why are you stalking this girl on facebook?" she caught me red handed.
I didn't see that coming. "She works with me at my office," I told her. 
"Well that doesn't give you the rights to stalk her," she replied. The last thing I didn't want was to get embarrassed in front of a kid. 
"Well, I like her!" I admitted.
"Let me see her properly." She pushed me and grabbed my laptop. 
"Well she is just okay looking," she said and continued, "Not as pretty as me." She winked.
"I concur with your statement," I said to which she said," My future aunty is actually very beautiful." 
"And her name is Ashwini?" she confirmed.
She laughed and said, "Ashwin and Ashwini matches." She burst into a sudden laughter and my sister downstairs asked me if she was alright.

"Relax Pinks!" I told her to chill. 
"Ask her out, mamu," she said for once.
"Is this really going to work, Pinks?" I asked her. 
"Well if you don't tell her up front that you like her then how will you know if she is interested in you," she said. 
"Well, my boyfriends tell me directly that they like me," she said.
"What?" I asked, perplexed, "You have a boyfriend?" 
"Yeah!" she confirmed.
"You are just 12,"  I said.
"So what?" she riposted.
"United States of America I see," I said and continued, " Good going Pinks."
I should have been ashamed of myself that at 12 my niece has a boyfriend while at 29 I didn't have any girlfriend. 

"But how can I know if she likes me or not?" I curiously asked her.

"Let me talk to her," she said.

"That's never happening, "I said.

"Mamu, please... I am bored sitting at home," she pleaded.
"So, you'll ask me to introduce you to my friends?" I confirmed.
"I mean your prospective girlfriend, my future Aunt," she said and winked.
"Not happening!" I said to which she blackmailed me. "Well let you momma and my momma meet her then!"
"Fine, I will plan something and maybe we could meet tomorrow," I said to her.
This tiny brat had a pivotal role in my life at least for the next 5 days. Helping others was her passion.  "With great powers, comes great responsibilities, love helping others but I am not Spiderman," was her Orkut and Facebook bio. At that tender, I used to play with my friends in the nearby garden and kids of this generation have iPads, Playstations and don't know what not they have!
Pinks wanted to be the architect of my love life but handing over my love life in the hands of a 12-year-old was not a good idea according to me but I was a daredevil too!

Day 3- Friday - 8th June 2006

That day Ashwini looked beautiful in the Indian attire. She was dressed in a blue Kurta.

"Hey good morning Ash!" she greeted me and said, " You are looking good today."

"You are gorgeous too," I smiled.

Usually, in IT companies Friday is supposed to be the fun day. Seldom people feel like working. And in a young team like mine, my team members would leave early on Fridays.
While talking to her, I expressed my nieces' desire to meet her.  
"But why would your niece want to meet me?" she asked curiously.
She happened to ask me about the most beautiful woman I'd met till date and I took your name and that caught her attention.
"Well, thanks Ash but I don't think I am pretty looking," she said and blushed.
"I would love to meet her too," she said and asked, "What's her name?" 
"Pinky Sethi but Pinks to me!" I smiled.
"Are you free tomorrow?" I asked her.
"Yeah! why?" 
"Let's go for Mission Impossible III," I said and added," I will bring Pinks too!"
She packed her bags and said, "I would love to meet Pinks and how do you know I love Tom Cruise?"
"Well,  I guessed so and should  I change my name to Tom Cruise," I said and winked at her to which she smiled.
That day I left my office early.  Ashwini lived in a PG in Kalina. 

"Mamu, is she meeting the great Pinks?" Pinks asked me as I entered my home.

"Yes," I said to which she giggled. 

"So you are taking two girls for a date tomorrow," she said," You're one lucky dude, mamu!" 
"Dream on, kid!" I said.

"If not then I would inform this to your Didi and your mommy," she glared at me.

"Whatever!" I said.
Pinks instilled huge hopes in me. I never thought I could impress a girl and maybe express my love for her but now with Pinks support, I soon envisioned Ashwini as my girlfriend. Saturday was going to be the game changer. 

Day 4 - Saturday - 9th June 2006

They say, to fall in love, luck is essential. But not everyone is lucky enough to find the love of their life.  Cupid strikes his arrow when you least expect it.  Ashwini was the chosen one for me, at least I began to think so. 
"See you guys in 10 min." Ashwini texted me. We were waiting outside the Cinemax with the tickets.

(To be continued...)

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Friday, September 14, 2018

Boyette, Thompson Warn of Cyberattacks During Hurricane Florence

Raleigh, N.C. – State Chief Information Officer Eric Boyette and State Chief Risk Officer Maria Thompson are urging North Carolinians to be cautious of cybercrime before, during, and after Hurricane Florence.

Cybercriminals take advantage of natural disasters such as hurricanes to solicit personal information illegally and to take advantage of vulnerable infrastructures, disaster victims and volunteers by phishing. Phishing is when a criminal sends out an email, text message, or even a phone call pretending to be a reputable and legitimate source in order to obtain personal information such as credit card and Social Security numbers.

“Be cautious and stay vigilant,” said State Chief Risk Officer Maria Thompson. “Let’s ensure one disaster does not lead to another.  Phishing threats are real. Cybercriminals will use every tactic in their arsenal to deprive citizens of their information and ultimately their financial assets.”
Beware of the cyber attack during the hurricane Florence

Take these steps to prevent being taken advantage of by cybercriminals:

1. Carefully look at email and web addresses since cybercriminals will make them look as legitimate as possible, often using variations of spellings. The URL may have a different domain, such as .gov instead of .net.
2. Do not click on links in emails from anyone unless you know and have verified the sender of the email.
3. Take time to look at the sender’s email address. Do not click on any links until you are certain the organization is real. Check the organization’s website for its contact information and use sites such as to verify a charity organization.
4. Make sure all of your anti-virus software is up to date and you’ve enacted the anti-phishing software provided by your email client.
5. Phishing emails and phone calls may also try to pose as official disaster aid organizations such as FEMA. A true FEMA representative will never ask personal banking information, Social Security number, or registration number.
“We all need to be mindful of the value the data we have and use every day,” said Eric Boyette, State Chief Information Officer and Secretary of the Department of Information Technology. “Too many people are vulnerable during natural disasters and it is imperative to take necessary precautions to protect yourself. Think of it as preparing an emergency kit for your personal data.”

Date: September 14, 2018
Contact: Maggie Bizzell
              (919) 616-4801

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Thursday, September 13, 2018

Hurricane Florence and the Funny Facebook events

Hurricane Florence has been the talk of the town.  Due to its high intensity, it has the threat to destroy many cities across the east coast. The Governers of these eastern states have already declared a state of emergency in their respective states. My home state of North Carolina is on Hurricane Florence's hit list along with the other Carolina. So, the situation is already tense and we can already see the lull before the storm in front of our eyes. We haven't seen sunshine today and it clearly indicates something alarming. Though the hurricane Florence got demoted to category 2 today, it is tipped to strengthen as it goes deep into the inlands over the Carolinas. But instead of panicking because of the fear instilled upon by the hurricane Florence, some fun lovers have got to Facebook to destroy the hurricane.  Check these fun events that are happening over these days. 

Well, most of these individuals who have posted their views in this group appear to be students from the Duke University but yes some of their posts are too funny. Check it out for some fun. Ya, let's take hurricane Florence and push it somewhere else. 

Though the event name indicates that it is a fun event but the discussion there seems like some musical event is about to happen. People can be crazy at times. Unfortunately, I don't have a saxophone so I can't blow my saxophone at the hurricane Florence. Moving on to the next. 

Well, President Trump was widely criticized for this act at Peurto Rico where Hurricane Irma and Maria had destroyed it. Puerto Rico is no longer the same because of these twin hurricanes. President Trump was throwing paper towels at the Puerto Rico folks instead of talking nice. Anyways, moving to the next event.

Of course, everyone thinks twice before hearing something during the moment of crisis such as storm and other natural calamities. Fake news can be very dangerous at times. So as per the event creator Brandom Smith, yelling fake news at the hurricane Florence can certainly scare it and it will go back to the Atlantic ocean. Yeah, right! 

Well, heard of school party and pool party but Hurricane Party's are the new cool kind of parties. Let Hurricane Florence punish the eastern coast but the party must go on! This is the about me of the event.

"THAT'S RIGHT !! THURSDAY NIGHT HURRICANE PARTY !!! Beautiful downtown Graham !! Join us for a fun night filled with lots of surprises... yummy dinner...great live music and.... well...… glasses and glasses of delicious HURRICANES !! Umbrellas are not required but strongly encouraged! Let's all RIDE OUT (the night before) the storm TOGETHER !! Eric and Lisa Kyle will be crankin' up around 7.. We'll be ROCKIN' !!"

Well, the PIVOT here is the reference made to the Show Friends. Check out the video here

This is the second Hurricane Party group that I bump across today. This is fabulous and checks out the about me of this group.
"Florence looks like she is pretty set on coming our way. schools are canceled and the Mill Music Session is sadly postponed! Don’t let Florence ruin your entire week though. Finish getting prepared, get your batteries and your water and your gas and make sure your family is ready, then don’t just sit around and wait... come to hang out with us as we turn Wednesday into a Friday before the storm comes! We will be doing $1 off all draft all day! We will provide the snacks!"

PLUR expands to Peace Love Unity Respect which is a set of principles that is associated with the rave culture. Check this event

Well, I would definitely want to be a part of this party.

I am sure this must be created by some hardcore trump haters. Well, I don't know how the Florence would react to such an event. Good Luck Hurricane Florence.

"This hurricane needs to cut it out, and Cosgrove is just the guy to tell her." reads the event description.

Some core group of folks wants this Hurricane to cry. Check out their event description."Hey guys hoping we can get a big group of Florence and the Machine fans together to play her music really loud to make Hurricane Florence really sad and cry and quit being mean. Will provide refreshments and free hugs!!! Hope to see you there for this good cause"

Well, will hurricane Florence go away if we pretend we can't see her? Wow, logic!

Yeah, why not! Florence is an obedient schoolgirl right?! Well, all the best at pointing finger at Florence but I hope she listens to you.

Duke is a popular university in  North Carolina and as per the latest hurricane trajectory, the hurricane Florence is anyways not hitting Durham. So stay cool and let's not make her think about Durham

Well, let's grab some free paper towels after the storm

Another funny event

Pre-Party? Oh yeah! Never underestimate the storm baby!

"There can only be one" is the about me of the group. Hurricane Florence or the Florence Welch.

You surely want to see the end of the world, don't you?

"If fire doesn't work I'll throw more fire... if that doesn't work, guess its time to take a nap." that's the event description. But either way I don't have a dragon and I'm definitely going to take a nap all these hurricane days.

"Hurricane FLorence is a bit upset. Let's do our best to calm her down before she can make a landfall in North Carolina."

Well, Hurricanes are designed to be destructive and not calm down lol

Another funny event related to the Hurricane Florence

Yeah right. Hurricane Florence would be easily intimidated.

haha. Bruh, no Bruuh

Good one

For a change, some group of folks wants to welcome Florence

"YEET as loud and hard as you can at Hurricane Florence. Let's show this sky wind hole who's boss. YEEEEEEETTTT!!"


The event description is hilarious.
"Come on down to myrtle beach and pull them dicks out for Hurricane Florence! I don’t know science real good and stuff but I do know that NO woman wants to be around that many thirsty ass dudes with there dicks out! So Y'all come on down here and do your part and let’s save the world! #DicksOutForFlorence"

Jesus is sad

No Bruh, never do that for God sake.

Free Scuba diving lessons at the Crabtree Valley Mall in North Carolina

Which one do you think is funny? I believe that it's not right to joke about a serious storm like Florence... If it takes offense then it may destroy all of us for sure ;) Don't worry!

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Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Nawazuddin Siddique Superhit movies

Nawazuddin Siddique Superhit movies

Walking down the stairs, I witnessed my dreams crashing in front of my own eyes. I was summoned by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and was asked to vacate the United States in  5 days.  My visa extension case was not approved and as a result, my American dreams got nipped in the bud.  I had packed all my bags and I saw Ashwin, my best friend from the MS days standing in the hall with both my bags.  He was my trusted confidante and I am sure he would miss me the most.  I was supposed to join my Indian company after reaching India. 

"Machha, take care of yourself da," Ashwin Ravikumar, said to me with a strong accent. 
"Of course, I will!" I said.
 I had a direct flight from the Newark Liberty International airport to the Mumbai International airport. The best part about flying in a direct plane was that you could sleep the entire journey without having the trouble to board and deboard at intermediate destinations.

"I will miss you da!" Ashwin said.
"The feeling is mutual, Ash!" I retorted.
As I stepped outside, I saw him running into his room.  He quickly came out with a DVD.
"Machha, tell me your favorite actor name da," Ashwin asked me.
"Ughh? for what?" I asked. 
"Dey machha, tell me da,"  he requested.
"Nawazuddin Siddique," I said.  He quickly scribbled something on the DVD and dropped it into my laptop backpack.
I didn't actually read what he scribbled but whatever he did would be right. I believed him and trusted him a lot. 
I hugged him for the final time before leaving for Newark. 
I boarded the United Airlines flight in time.

I reached the Mumbai airport at 8.50 PM the next evening. I was so happy to step into India after 5 years in the USA. I saw my kith and kin standing outside at the arrivals.  I was thrilled and exhilarated to see my family. I ascertained that they would have missed me the most all these days. Now, it was my duty to spend some quality time with them. 
"Machha, I reached India da," I whatsapped Ashwin.

"The USA misses you da, ;-) " he replied back.
I was quickly settling down.  We had visitors every day at home who came to meet me. Some were friends while some were my relatives!
It was one of those when my nephews and nieces were at my home to visit me. I had lots of visitors at my home that day in the form of cousins. My 11-year-old nephew's curious eyes grabbed the attention of a DVD on my laptop back. I was in my bedroom working from home. I had sought special permission from my Indian boss so that I could work from home because of the terrible jetlag.  Eventually, I slept for some time.
My 11-year-old nephew called my other nephew and nieces. 
"Let mama sleep," my younger brother silenced them. 

"But chinna mama, see this DVD!" My oldest nephew said to my younger brother. They referred to him as 'chinna mama'. Chinna in Tamil means small and mama was referred to uncle. 
"Nawazuddin Siddique superhit movies!" My brother read the text written on the DVD loudly.
"I think its a movie DVD," he said. 
"Mama came from America and must be tired," my brother said to my nephews and nieces and continued, "Let him take some rest, okay!" 
"Let's watch this movie," he said and took them to the main room. My Uncles, Aunties and my other cousins were seated in the main room. My mother was busy narrating my American journey to them.
My brother inserted the DVD into the DVD player and played the movie.
"Monamour!" read the title of the movie.
"Whose movie is this da?" My uncle asked my younger brother.
"Nawazuddin Siddique's, Chithappa," he replied.
"Directed by - Tinto Brass!" read my brother. 

"Never knew Nawazuddin also acts in Hollywood da," My cousin said to my brother.
"Anna, I think its an old movie," my brother replied to my cousin.
"Dey Thambi, isn't he the guy who acted in movies like Jurassic Park and the Life of Pi?" My other cousin asked my brother.
"Ayyo Akka, that's Irrfan Khan that you are talking about," he replied to my cousin.
"Now, let's watch the movie guys," he said and silenced everyone. 
Everyone in the room was busy watching the movie.  The first 15 minutes of the movie didn't show the presence of Nawazuddin anywhere.
"You sure, this is Nawazuddin Siddique's superhit movie," my cousin curiously enquired him.
"I think that actor is him," my brother was referring to a character that was heavily covered in makeup.
That character soon removed his clothes and the actress was lying naked on the bed. She beckoned him and the guy reached her bed.  He grabbed her from behind and cupped her succulent breasts.
"That's definitely not Nawazuddin!" One of my cousins said and shooed away all my young nephew and nieces to the other room. 
My brother forwarded the scenes and there were too many steamy racy sex scenes. He shut the DVD player and there was deafening silence for a few moments.
"Raghav!" my mother screamed at the top of her voice. She had clearly lost her cool. I jumped out of my bed and went to the main room. 
I saw shards of the DVD on the floor. My father had destroyed the DVD.
I saw raised eyebrows and few bemused pairs of eyes. I was caught in a fix! I knew I had to answer many questions.
"Ashwin, I will kill you the next time we meet!" I said to myself.
How embarrassing it is, I thought to myself as I confronted my parents in the other room while my cousins were busy discussing Nawazuddin's acting skills.

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Monday, September 10, 2018

A woman's body is a temple

Ab initio, faith has played a prominent role in human lives.  I am stunned to come across a multitude of religions across the several countries of the world. My job lets me trek the globe in pursuit of fascinating things for my fabulous viewers like you. I am Dick Johnson, Numero Uno travel and award-winning video producer of the Discovery Travel channel. After traversing the breadth and the length of Brazil, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, and Mexico, I am here to expose my global audience to the Indian culture. After the success of the season 1 of my TV show 'Being Dick!' I am here to shoot the essence of India. 

Throughout my stay in India, I shall present you with the various things that constitute India. Together we are going to witness awesomeness! Right now I am traveling to the Vaishno Devi Mata temple which is a Holy Shrine in India and a popular pilgrimage. Vaishno Devi Mata is considered to be the mother who fulfills the wishes of all her children and this child from San Fransico, USA is going to bow to the mother to see my dreams come true.  The holy cave of the mother is located at an altitude of 5000 ft from the base camp and I have already walked 6 km and 6 more to go to see the mother.  There is one thing I love about Indians and it is their love for their faith. Here people of all religions live together in unity and Indian men respect women and women are treated and respected as a Goddess here! Isn't that incredible about this country. As I walk, I see thousand men and women walking along with me. This is so exciting and new to me. India indeed is incredible! As I walk, I see young children selling flowers for the mata darshan. 

Millions of people visit the Vaishno Devi  Shrine every year making it the most popular shrine in the world.  I witness several Indian fans of mine trying to befriend me throughout this journey. I have never considered myself a friendly person but today seeing the amount of love being showered upon me, I have started to believe that love is a universal emotion. Finally, after 2 hours, I near the mata. This is so new to me! I can't believe I am doing this in India though I longed to do this! 

As a part of my visit here, I shall be interviewing random people and converse with them about their country and what all changes they want to see in their country.  Vaishno Devi mother is surely going to bless my show making it successfully once again, I thought! As I walked inside, I witnessed the sight of a young man of around 30 witnessing the darshan. He joined both his hand and closed his eyes.  He must be having a big dream for sure, I realized! He opened his eyes and looked at the goddess mother.  He smiled at her. It was an amazing sight to see. I captured all these moments in my camera.  I've never seen such respect for a religious deity ever in my existence of 54 years.  I started to have a good impression of him. A man who can love the Vaishno Devi Mata will surely respect other women! Bravo, let's catch the guy! I and my crew quickly follow him from behind.

He finally gets to meet his friends who patiently wait for him outside. Must be an awesome group of friends I reckoned. My eyes were fixated on him. I was mighty impressed by this person. This is the man who can give my show a flying start to the season 2.  As I and my crew step closer, I saw these group of friends leering and ogling at the foreign female tourists. They were passing lewd comments at her.  The man whom I admired moments ago was the captain of this gang. 

"Bruh, look at her boobs.. so big!" he said to his group of friends and continued, "I wish I could bang her tonight... how awesome it would be no!"  I stood there stunned as I listened to the words he spoke. I was disappointed at the fact that my own eyes and my mind had deceived me. 
My entire perspective and perception of Indian men were defeated in a single second. I was visibly disappointed and decided to cancel the shoot. That was the worst day of my life! 

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Always Respect a Woman

Middle aged man talking to his son about always respecting a woman
Image Source

"Son, when I was of your age I used to treat every woman with respect,"  The middle-aged man said to his son.
"Why are you saying all this to me now?" the adolescent asked.
"Nisha spoke to me the other day and she is deeply hurt because of your words," the man replied.
"A real man should always respect a woman because of the multiple sacrifices she makes in our life through her different forms," he paused.
"A man who can't respect his own wife and abandoned her during her time of struggles has got no rights to talk about respecting a woman," the boy replied brusquely to which the man left for his room with a straight face.

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Saturday, September 08, 2018

The Hola Girl

22nd March 2010

My weak soul refrained from entering the cabin of my project manager that was filled with the acrid smell of tobacco.  

"Aao beta," he said after he spewed the tobacco spittings in his dustbin. It was inappropriate of him to exhibit such a behavior despite enjoying a managerial position in a top IT company. 

"Sir, you had called me," I riposted, my face displaying shades of disgust after what I had just seen. 
"Beta, I want you to work on the automation of the core components of our application," he said and continued, "I have already spoken to Rajan from the Apex Automation team."

"So, start researching on this, okay!" he said, pinching a small lump of tobacco out of his tobacco box. He yanked his lower lip and placed this lump between his gum and simpered displaying his tobacco stained teeth.

Clueless, what to say, I acquiesced to his demands and left his cabin. I had made several attempts to and fro from my cubicle and the Human Resources cabin for a project change.  People had warned me 2 years back that this Sigma Project only had an entrance and no exit. I gave a deaf ear to all their advises because of the young IT Engineer in me who was supercharged, pumped up and hungry for working in the corporate world. I had yielded to all his pressure because of the fucking 10% increment that he had promised me.  My work life was like a newly wedded bride who arrange-marriaged an unknown stranger and still displayed an animated smile to the world presenting her fake happiness.  That day I cursed myself for not being able to raise my concerns or voices to my boss. Indirectly, working on the automation project implied working late hours after completing regular office works. It was an additional responsibility.  

'FUCK,' I screamed at the top of my voice as I inserted the bike key into the ignition. 
"Why did I commit to his demands?" I screeched and cursed myself as I rode the bike on the sodden deserted roads. It was 11 PM. I had consumed the leftovers from the other day and that was the major disadvantage of staying away from the family and I was used to this life!

"Sample automation framework," I typed into the Google Search bar of the chrome browser.  At the same time, I heard a  chat notification on the Facebook chat.  "Heard, he nominated you for the automation initiative," Anamika, my best buddy from work had pinged me. 
"How do you know?" I replied.
"Rajan from Apex. Don't you know he is a radio," she said and I decided not to entertain her in the chat. I politely refused to acknowledge her. 
I surfed my facebook feed. 
"Abhishek Tyagi is with Garima Jain at Phuket," read one of the statuses and "Enjoying honeymoon'  was written under it. 
"FUCK," I said. People these days are so obsessed with social media these days, I thought and scrolled down. As I quickly scrolled down, my eyes chance upon the first profile listed on the Facebook Suggestions section.


Young, enigmatic, big eyes, arched eyebrows, cute nose, full lips, and an oval face refined her looks. She is such a delight to the eyes, I thought to myself. Her arched eyebrows had already wounded me and I stood there watching her photo like a defeated warrior even before knowing her properly.  I was astonished to see that we had 147 mutual friends. And then I confirmed that she must have been a blogger.  The crazy fact about blogging was that any random blogger would send you a Facebook friend request even if you liked their blog post just once. Adding and Accepting friend requests from unknown bloggers was becoming an integral part of my life. Without any ado, I clicked on her profile picture and glanced through her photo albums. NO, I was not being a stalker but my eyes never missed beautiful lasses like her.  I clicked on the 'Add as a Friend' button and continued admiring her beauty. A loud beep on my phone woke me up at 8 AM. 'Divyashree Sharma has accepted your friend request'  I read as she just stepped into my virtual world along with the others!
I wrote her a 'hi' to which she never replied. On further research, I realized that she was a published writer and had lots of anthologies and books listed under her Goodreads. A Plethora of talent she was! 
I tried connecting with her again but she never replied. To gain her attention, I even liked her recent posts and even commented on a few of those but she never replied.  My mind decided  to distract myself but somewhere my heart was still confident that she would talk to me soon. But how soon, even my heart wasn't aware of this! 

23rd November 2010.
'Divyashree Sharma has her birthday today. Wish her on her Facebook profile.' beeped my then-famous-expensive Samsung Galaxy S2 phone. 
That was Facebook's way of reminding people about their friends birthday. 
Though I had added her long back, we had not even interacted even once.  This was a perfect opportunity for me to gain her attention. I decided to write something unique that would instantly impress her. 
"Happy Birthday to you Divyashree, from your FAVOURITE Facebook friend :) " I typed on her Facebook wall. 
And I quickly typed 'Happy Birthday :)' on her chat and as usually she never saw it. 
Hours later I received another notification from Facebook that Divyashree had replied to my post. I was craving to see that but that was going to be a special moment in my life, I thought! 
"Thank you!!!"  read the reply.
"WHAT THE FUCK!" was my instant reaction. "Just a thank you?!" 
I decided to focus on other things. By then I had also completed the automation project and got promoted as a Senior Software Engineer. 

23rd November 2011
Me - Happy Birthday Divya <3 :)
She - Thanks!!!

23rd November 2012
Me - Happy Birthday Divyashree!  :-)
She - Thanks!!

23rd November 2013
Me - Happy Birthday Divyashree Sharma 
She - Thank you!

23rd November 2014 
Me - Happy Birthday!
She - Thanks a lot!!!

23rd November 2015 
Me - Happy Birthday to you
She - Thanks!

23rd November 2016
Me - Wishing you a very happy bday
She - Thank you!!

23rd November 2017
Me - HBD
She  - Thanks a lot!

During this period of time, I had seen several projects, many managers and many promotions. I got promoted from Associate Software Engineer to Software Engineer to Senior Software Engineer to Associate Lead to Technical Lead to Team Lead to Project Manager. ALL in these 8 years but one thing never changed and it was her trademark reply to my birthday posts on her wall - Thanks!!, Thank you!! and Thanks a lot!  She seemed different from the other Delhi girls. 
The funny part about this was that I even shifted my base from India to London.

One of those days, I was casually surfing through  Instagram. I was checking the Instagram stories. I saw Divyashree's story."HOLA" to which I replied 'Hola!"

Anyways, I never thought of getting any reply from her.
"Como estas," she replied. I was surprised initially and couldn't believe my eyes.
Me - Muito bem. Mucho tiempo Divyashree.
She - si. Muy Bien
Me - Todavia escribes?
She - Translate, please
Me - Do you really think I know this much? Lol
She - You were Googling it? Lol 
She - I was wondering.
Me - I have an inbuilt Google translator in my keyboard.
She - What's your name?
Me - Georgy
She - You are Indian?
Me - Yes, I'm! Mumbai Indian but living in London
She - I am from Shimla but studied in Delhi. Have you ever been to Shimla?
Me - No, but I've heard that its good.
Me - A land that shelters beautiful girls like you ought to be beautiful no ;) 
She - hahaha 
Me - Why does your face look shrunken from the last time I saw you?
She  - last time you saw me?
Me -  I mean in the photo. 
She -  I was just wondering what if you know me somehow and I am not able to recognize you.
Me - We are friends on Facebook 
She - Seriously? 
Me - Yeah and we have spoken before.
She - Really?
Me - I used to write happy birthday on your wall and you used to reply 'thanks' without a smiley. 
She - What's your Facebook name? and how do we know each other?
Me - We both had 147 mutual friends when I added you.  That must have got inflated to 500 today. 
She - Georgy what? 
Me - Bush! :P :P
She - Not funny
Me - Georgy PK
She - Oh yes, I know you!
Thank God! she recognized me! I jumped in joy. 

Me - What do you do for a living?
She - I am a journalist with the Times of India.
She - I moved to the mountains for peace. I love Shimla and I live with my family. 
Me - I bet you must not be more than 23
She - I will be 26 in a few months. 
Me - And when is that? 
She - You must be knowing that... birthday wishes :P :D
Me - Yeah, that's how I talked to you all these years through these birthday wishes.
She - Hahahaa ... I don't usually talk to people... I must be high on something that I did today. 
Me - Today miracle happened yar
She - but its good. We got to know each other.
That day we spoke a lot. I compensated for all the 8 years that I didn't talk to her. This talk was supposed to happen in 2010 but got delayed by several years. I was turning young once again. For some weird reasons, it never felt the same. I never garnered any feelings for her but I wanted to befriend her and that was what something I desired the most.

Me - Do you know Sagittarians like you and me are the flirtiest of all signs
She - I don't even know to flirt. Teach me
Me - Shame on you, Sagi!
She - Teach me
Me - Are you Google?
She  - No, why?
Me-Because you  got everything that I'm looking for
She - Your mum must have eaten a lot of spicy food when she was pregnant because you are sizzling hot
She - Hahaha, actually she did and I love spicy food.
Me - That's why you are hot :P
Me - I canceled my shadi dot com account the moment I saw you
She - I canceled my shadi the moment I saw you. Hahaha
Me -  There you go! Were you born on Diwali?
She - No. Is it because I lighten your world
Me - No, because you are a patakha (Bomb)
She -  Hahaha  you are as cool as a cucumber
Me - And you are as hot as my Coffee
Me - Where were you all these days? I wish you replied to me on 23rd March 2010
She - Damn, you even remember the day when you pinged me. Were you stalking me all these years?
Me - I have no time to log into Facebook and you talk about stalking.
Me - Can I tie your shoe?
She  - Why
Me - Cause, I don't want  you to fall for anyone else
Me - Do you sit on a pile of sugar or what?
She - What? Why?
Me - Cause you got a sweet ass
She - Oh God! that was a good one.
Me - Do you think we should know each other?
Me - I am blinded by your beauty and I'm going to need your name and phone number for insurance purposes.
She -  Divyashree is my name and know each other as in?
Me  - As friends!
She - Shit. I told my parents that we are getting married and you just broke my heart calling me a friend!
Me - Haha and who will give me your number? 
She - Mr. Pick up lines king, the number for what?
Me - For insurance purpose ;)
She - here it is  98###76##4
Me-Wow, Can I follow you home because my mother always told me to follow my dreams.
She - Hahaha, I am super drunk right now. Do you want to talk for a while?
Me - Now? It is 2 AM
She - I am gonna call you now.

She called me on my phone and we spoke for another hour. She had a typical Delhi girl accent and she sounded familiar to me. Our discussions ranged from how I added her, politics, work, blogs and whatnot. We were slowly transforming into good friends from birthday-wishes friends.
Me - Hey thanks for calling and chatting with me 
She - :) 
Me - don't you think I should get a Padmashree for teaching you so many things today.
She - dude, why do you need a Padmashree when you have a Divyashree hahaha 

Since then we used to talk to each other every day.  Just that she wasn't the same 17 year old anymore and I wasn't the  22 yr old anymore. Life had taken an unexpected turn. The then rude Divyashree had turned out to be my best friend. We liked each others company.
Somedays she used to ping me - "Why am I so attracted to you?"
"Attracted?" I replied.
"I mean why do I like to talk to you so much?" she questioned.
"That's because we attract the same energy ;)" I replied.
"Hahaha, I love you :*"  used to be her instant reply.
"I love you to moon and back :*" I used to reply.

We loved each other as friends.  This Hola girl remained my greatest friend ever. I adore her company and I will always be there if she needs anything from me. I also serve as her advisemaven whenever she wanted to talk about her relationships.  She had a stunning personality though she got angry like anything. 

During one of those days, to soothe her, I would write - "Forgiveness is a trait that only great people possess and I always saw you as a great woman." 

"Wow, I am angry on you but everything aside I love this line!" 

Late but never that late, I never realized that this hola girl would turn out to be my best buddy until I replied to her Hola.  Not to forget those birthday wishes and plain replies for 7 long years.  This girl had something in her! Such was my Hola girl, my greatest friend! 

In this life, we often come across many people and some of them play a cameo in our life while some stay. Some advise us, some love us and some help us in our growth. But there has to be someone with whom we gel well! Life is short and keep meeting amazing people. By this, I don't mean that you keep adding random people without knowing them or stalking beautiful girls or guys in social networking sites. Just Kidding!

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A Mighty Heart

heart to heart talk with an angry girlfriend

"Babe, things do happen for a reason," he muttered.
"Certainly," she said brusquely and continued, "But I can't forgive you every time."
"It takes a mighty heart to forgive people like you," she said, "Its time to break up."
"And thanks for forgiving me," he said.
"No, I have not!" she replied.
"Shut up! I am talking to your heart!" he replied.
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Thursday, September 06, 2018

Voice of Silence

Voice of Silence! Such a paradoxical phrase it is! You might be wondering how can silence have a voice. Yes, that's true! Silence does not have a voice and if you believe this then there can be no fool other than you.
voice of sin screaming hands mouth

Our system functions in such a way that it will honor your request only if you raise a concern. No one would ever come to know if something is bothering you. We all have an option of raising our voice but we chose to remain silent. Raising our opinions and voices are the greatest gift that we humans can ever be given. Democracy is the greatest gift for people of any country because our views are heard. Us Indians are risk averse individuals and we think about the different risks before commiting to something. We think thrice before making a decision. But in this process, we fail to understand that we let failure leak through the system and thus making it more corrupt. 

Many years back while I was studying in college, I saw a man bickering with a traffic police for breaking the rules. It was a clear felony. Instead of writing a ticket, the police was finalizing deals with him on the amount of money that the man needs to bribe him with.  There were many people who stood there and watched this melodrama as mere bystanders. It was a win-win for the police and the man but ultimately we all who stood and watched the scene were the real losers. And that's how we lose and keep losing several battles. We let corruption seep through our system. We need to clean ourself before raising fingers at others.  Looking at this scene, even other bikers may offer to bribe the policeman when caught! This is how it starts.  I was very young then and perhaps never wanted to seek inspiration from that event. It disturbed me to the core. 

And then I realized that it was how things worked. We were creating a corrupt culture that may affect the future generation. And then at some point in time, you will come across a scenario where you would find no honest person! 
We need to raise our voice if something wrong happens in front of our eyes. We have to try our level best to prevent such occurrences.  Don't be a sheep!
I am not sure if you know the story of a camel that used to eat thorns when it was hungry.  It used to taste its own blood and satisfy its hunger. Eventually, we all are going to be like this camel if we don't voice our opinions or remain silent.  

Consider the case of an office scenario. Generally, I avoid office politics and trust me sometimes office politics are entertaining. We get to see the true colors of many people whom we work with! A colleague whom we work with could be verbally abusive and aggressive at times.  You may have reported it but others may have not though they might face the same too! Because not everyone likes to open their mouth when it comes to things that matter the most.  When we don't report such issues, then the management thinks that the issue has been addressed and resolved.  You will be a loss here! 
Our leaders can't know how to fix problems unless they know about it.  But the challenge here is to find leaders that want to fix things and have the power and knowledge to do so! But sadly its a seldom sight! 

No one loses anything by embracing silence because you might think why should I raise my opinion when I can get the things to work through some other means but ultimately you are losing a lot! You are indirectly hurting many through this gesture of yours for your personal gains. Trust me, we all need to put collective efforts to fight against the corrupt system. And for this, the prerequisite is that we need to be vocal and voice our opinions about anything that is wrong. That's a must for a progressive system else watch your country going into the corrupt and the wrong hands. Silence is NOT golden! Never!
Speak up if you see something wrong happening or silently be a part of the wrongdoings! JUST SPEAK UP

This article is written for the prompt at the Indispire

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