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Life's Short, Make It Count!

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When I was younger, I'd often fear a lot of things - fear of the creepy alien from Koi Mil Gaya, fear of writhing snakes (actual snakes and human snakes), fear of not living up to expectations and...
Fear of dying.
I remember when I was eight, I'd huddle closer to my mom, while sleeping, and would often cry thinking about what would happen if I die. 
Would my family be crying for me? Would my friends stop playing at all? 
Or would they promptly replace me with a super-awesome new kid who'd be so smart and perfect that my people would forget I'd ever existed in the first place?
But as the years passed by, the pile of homework and the burden of getting a career sorted got larger and death just got sidelined to news like "Oh, did you know, so-and-so-passed away?"  
But it all changed a couple of weeks back, when a grand uncle of mine passed away, all of a sudden.
A month ago, he was fine - as hale and hearty as a horse.
And suddenly, he got a stroke, got hospit…

The Importance Of Empowering Young Girls

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Coming from a patriarchal country like India, one would expect that I was also raised with the ingrained belief that the female gender is worthless for everything except nurturing the family. 
But thankfully, I was raised in a progressive household, where women had an equal say in all the important decisions. 
My family, instead of moulding me into an ideal bhartiya naari, brought me up to be driven about whatever I do and stand up for my beliefs, no matter what the detractors said.
My role models weren’t the stereotypical bahus in the Indian soap operas, who would be perpetually wearing ten coatings of makeup, heavy clothes and jazzy jewellery and still managed to devote their entire day to the kitchen in a palatial house that ideally should have dozens of maids. 
Instead, they were strong women, who lead their lives successfully, regardless of the problems they had. Some were young mothers facing the challenges of raising many kids on their own in an unknown area, some were working…

Joys Of Life

For many,  Joy is fame - To be recognized,
To be considered worthy, not lame; 
For them, Joy is to be surrounded, By throngs of admirers, And to be a living legend; 
But for some, Joy is the family ,  who loves unconditionally,
And supports wholeheartedly;
For many, Joy is wealth, A means to endlessly flaunt, Their material laurels; 
For them, Joy is to display, How better are they, Than the rest of the world;
But for some, Joy is the emotion, Attached to simple things,  Gifted with loving intention;
For many, Joy is influential connections, A means to show, How powerful they really are;
For them,  Joy is the arrogance, That they can get anywhere, Without hard work, by simple means unfair;
But for some, Joy is in old friendship, Etched with loyalty and love, Tinged with fuzzy, warm nostalgia;
Nowadays, for many, Joy is a envy-worthy social media feed, Filled with an intent to brag, Not an intent to reminisce;
But for some, Joy is in the delightful memories,  Just important enough to be …

The Joy Of Being A Reader

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"You really want to buy another one of those? Again?" My mother asks, her normally serene voice laced with a tinge of irritation. 
I nod eagerly, my face lighting up like a Christmas tree. My hands are tightly clutching the new bundle of joy, ready to be explored and (later) smelled. My mind's already wandering, imagining the exciting adventures I'll embark on with this. 
"You have too many books already, Ammu!" She snaps irritably, breaking me out of my reverie. "Plus, your cupboard is full already! You still haven't read those classics! Are you really, really keen on buying this?!"
She expects me to take a deep breath and place the book back on the store's shelf. She expects me to say, "Oh Mamma, you're right. You're absolutely right. How could I be so fiscally irresponsible? I promise that from now on, I'll be a perfect child and donate the rest of my collection to my various cousins scattered over the country."
B…

Truth Is, We All (Mis)understand Each Other Very Well

“It is a truth, universally acknowledged, that misunderstandings are sure to make a grand mess out of things.” - From the ultimate classic novel on misunderstandings, Pride and Prejudice You know what’s the root cause of the most destructive wars and disputes?

Misunderstandings.

You know, the time when you say X and the other person interprets it as Y and then they botch things up until everything is broken beyond repair.
The saddest part is, there is no way of knowing that misunderstandings are about to happen. There are no formulas, no reconciliation statements, nothing.
There’s no way you get an alert on your phone or mail, saying, “MISSION ABORT! MISSION ABORT! THIS PERSON THINKS YOU ARE CONVEYING EVERYTHING IN THE WRONG WAY!”
Misunderstandings, to put it simply, are like rising volcanoes. There’s no process, no system. Boom! They just happen.
And you know what the worst part is?
You really cannot control how the other person chooses to interpret your actions. You really have no w…

The Gigantic Terror Called Public Speaking

Today's one of those days, When you've forgotten everything, That you'd memorized all night long,
You're worried that everything would go wrong; 
Today's one of those days,
When you'd rather stay in a cage,
With a poisonous, ominous snake,  Than stand in front of dozens on a stage;
Around you, are people lounging about,
As cool as cucumbers,
And here you are - Crippled with fear, struggling to remember; 
A shaky breath you take,
Pursue your lips, toss you hair,
Trying so hard to fake,
That you're an undaunted winner;
But all that false bravado falls,
When you see the first contender,
Enters the podium,
Clears his throat and stands tall; 
And then anxiety slithers in back,
Like a poisonous python,
Wrapping around you,
Making your insides go slack;
You see the first contender talk,
With flamboyant gestures, incredible voice modulation;
Seeing the audience,
It's sure he's won the adulation; 
And then, here you are,
Still trying to calm down,
Your thoughts running like a…

The Hypocrites That Are "Feminists"

When you take the effort to Google the word feminism, the definition, “Feminism is a movement to uplift women to same level as that of men” is sure to crop up.
And I’m very sure, the first question that’ll pop in your mind is, “Hey, isn’t feminism the same as equality, then? Then why is it called feminism? Why isn’t it called equality, instead?”
This is because, my dear reader, women haven’t reached the same level of equality as that of men. Which is why, it is called feminism.
When the movement kicked off in the 20th century, feminism seemed like the ultimate concept for female liberation — bra burning, not adhering to the standards mandated by the society… Ah, these rebellious ideas seemed so cool, so thrilling, eh?
But now-a-days, feminism isn’t about equality anymore.
It’s become this fashionable word that so many people wish to associate themselves with, just because they happen to be under the misguided notion that women are superior to men and also because they want to feel in…