A Message to the Saffron

Why did you become
The colour of hatred?
And, of separation?
And the colour of sovereignty?
Aren’t you one, among the three?
When did you decide
To shine alone, bright?
And when did you decide
To march ahead, alone?
When did you decide
To transgress the sacred text?
When did you become, so adamant?
When did you decide,
To fuse other colours?
You were beautiful
Saffron White and Green
Who gave you the power
To control the diversity
The diversity which meant richness
Of culture, of tastes, and of colours
Why did you decide
To do away with them?
Isn’t the world beautiful?
As it is?
So many colours
And so many shades
And you were among them..
How horrible would it be
If you paint the world with yourself
And how suffocating would it be
To live in a monochrome
And just let that be…

# Dear saffron bearers, it’s high time we upheld the one common religion, our Constitution.


Eid al Adha aka Bakrid

It’s lockdown here. What best can we do to switch on the celebration mode? Here we go!

One, plan and prepare a good meal. Planning is integral in cooking up a good meal. You need to have the ingredients atleast 2days before. Last minute rush never helps. One tends to miss out a few of them. I went for a simple North Indian muslim cuisine this Eid. Chicken Karahi(a Pakistani recipe), Tandoor Butter Naan and Qiwaami Sewayin as the dessert. A little trick for those dealing the kitchen world single handedly. While preparing non-veg dishes and desserts. Prepare them a day before. So that the spices fuse beautifully with the meat. And in case of dessert, the Maawa and other taste enhancers which we may use, play well into the mixture by a nights time. And the taste of these, become, I bet, four fold.

Two, get the house cleaning done. Basic cleaning. And keep your sink and kitchen clutter free. I bet you will be in an elevated mood and energy whenever you are up to try something new.

Three, groom yourself. Go for that age old ubtan and home made face and body scrub recipies with items easily available on your kitchen shelves. Do a good basic pedicure. A head massage. Coconut oil and aloe vera gel come in very handy almost every where.

Four, henna your hands. And on your kids hands. Boys enjoy too. It’s the most innate portion of the whole Eid celebration thing. For girls especially. Even if you feel you are too grown up for these. Ditch those thoughts. You are never too old for anything in this world. And the thought itself will light you up from inside.

Five, have a gooood calming bath. Preferably with hot water. Scrub your whole body clean. May be with some music on.

Six, prepare for your Namaz. (I am not a religious person though. But this is a part of the Eid routine, we were accustomed to, since very young). And, this actually makes you feel good.

Seven, dress up well. Clean and new clothes. Subtle make up. Colourful glass bangles. Some other basic accessories. And you are good to go.

Eight, wish everyone an Eid Mubarak! In your social media. To your neighbours. Feels good. Share your dishes with them. Spread happiness. And love!!!



Imperfection is a work of Beauty!

My journeys in the private buses of Kerala to my college were the time I looked forward to in the whole day. Sitting in a corner window seat and observing around used to be like life saving medicines for me. They never failed to have a calming effect on my mind. More like meditation.

It used to be a good 30-40 minutes journey. So I used to have plenty of time to brood over. My day at home. My crush at college. The young and handsome lecturer who recently joined our college. And within a week’s time turned into a heart throb. And then as a break, I observe people around. Look outside the window. I used to wonder at every sight. The elephants along with their mahouts on the roads. God! How do they manage such big creatures. Wont they harm them? How do they manage to feed those big stomachs? The way they used to defecate. Man! Such big dumplings! Are they good as manures? Do they stink? And what if those flies sitting on them go and sit on the snacks in that tea stall nearby? Ugh! The car that just passed by, did it take away a portion of that shit in it’s wheels? Then, I ll watch the fisher women going about with their daily businesses. The way they dress. How do men look at them? How do they manage those staring eyes at them? Well they manage by hurling a good number of abuses at those men. Local business women are very strong by the way. Hardened by life. Then, i observe the bus conductor’s hurry to sell the tickets before the commuters get down. And the driver’s rashness while driving. The sweet romantic malayalam songs that he used to play along and move his steering wheel to the tunes. The framed pictures symbolizing secularism arranged neatly in the front. Then there is this stealthy exchange of glances between lovers. The way the loverboy protects his girl from unwanted groping. The new faces getting on board at each stop. I wonder what all work they might have hurried through before leaving for work. I try to observe the struggles written on their faces filled with fine lines. Then as a jolt from my wonderworld, I smile at the non stop chattering of my friends. That used to be a welcome air in the mornings on my way to the college, daily. Because each day was so different.

However, just like we boarded the same bus daily, a set of twins used to board the same bus too. Both were girls. And they were in our batch. And the talk of our class. Because they were entirely non identical. They dint even look like they were siblings. While one was a perfect epitome of beauty. The other was not. I often used to hear my friends pitying the not so good looking one. The beautiful one would dress like she ruled the world. The plain jane one would not. May be the result of her crashed self esteem. I really used to get so intrigued in them. Especially the not so good looking twin. Whenever I saw them in the bus. I would get lost in my thoughts. How the plain jane would be feeling. And what if I go and strike a friendship with her? What can I do to make her feel good.Hope she finds true love in her life. Does the beautiful one treat her well?

Once during one of my routine observational activities, I saw this not so beautiful twin sister standing in front of me with sun rays falling on her face. And they fell exactly where they should. Creating the right amount of highlights And contours.And she looked like a dream! And I just gaped at her beauty! Man! She looked so beautiful! And the whole time in bus I just gazed at her. Wondering is she even aware how beautiful she is? Shall I compliment her today? And the whole day I dedicated myself to slowly allow the eureka moment to set in.

That imperfections do make a person more beautiful. That they do their bit in making a person more attractive. Because they are unique. And thats what makes one unique in the first glance. I realized that day that I should be actually proud of my imperfections and flaunt those with a confident smile and kind eyes!


Dear Rhea and Rehaan,

With due respect to each one of your journeys, I wish to address this letter to my daughter and my son, when you may face certain heartbreaking situations in life where you may find yourself still struggling to handle the void created because your beloved is no more a part of your life. Those loved ones who never really were there in your lives.

It may be true that you spent lovely moments together. It may be true that you had a “once in a lifetime experience” with the one. It may be true that the two lovers might have dreamt of a beautiful future together. But, it is also true that the person left you, maybe, under the pressure of situations, or however genuine a reason you may find to justify the action. The bitter truth remains the same. The person left you when the only person you wanted in your life was him or her.

Let’s do an experiment here. Imagine a role reversal. The situations around you and your lover are exchanged. But the intensity of love in each of you remains the same as in your original forms. I want you to ask yourself, that, will you, under any circumstance leave your beloved’s side. On the contrary, you will be ready to challenge death itself on its face to be with your loved one, if I am sensing the intensity right. Then why couldn’t the person?There is actually never a TRUE answer to this question.This, my darlings, will give you the strength to get up. Shrug off self pity. Work hard on your battered and worn out self worth and self esteem. Forgive or if possible forget the one. Because when you forgive or try to forget, YOU LET GO, which ultimately frees you of the burden you are carrying within yourselves still. And then, pull yourself out of this emotional mess. And put yourself back on to the tracks of your life. And the most difficult part can be, that you may be in this process all alone. You need to DECIDE. You need to TAKE RESPONSIBILITY for YOUR well being. You need to ACCEPT yourself.You need to LOVE yourself. Because that’s what I have always tried to teach you by example..

I suggest this because I want you to learn that such heartbreaks should not stop you from living a truly wonderful life! I want you to not strangle your inner wonderful selves to yearn for a person back into your lives who left you! I wish to teach you not to degrade your hard earned self worth so much and cover that up with this subtle unwanted coldness. I want you to embrace life as it comes with open arms! And become a better version of yourselves with each experience, be it good Or,bad. I suggest this because, this is what your mother has learnt, that after each heartbreak, this is the only question I find asking myself post the numerous self pity episodes I go through. Answering it makes your heart bleed. It will take time to heel. But you need to face the truth. Give yourself the time and space to RECOVER. Be kind and understanding towards self. Be nurturing towards self. And not let the distaste of past mishaps linger in your overall personality. Nurture yourself my baby. You have just this life. Live it to the fullest. LOVE WILL FIND YOU WHEN YOU LEAST EXPECT IT.That doesn’t mean you close yourself. Be naturally in tune with your inner selves. Always.

We the sensitive ones tend to put in, our all into a relationship. It is but the rarest qualities and our biggest strengths. Is it not? Why not spend that energy on someone worthy of so much love? Reconsider your decision of waiting for the person to return. See it as a red flag. Because that is simply not meant for you! You don’t have that much time left here! Life is beautiful. But short. You dont want to die mourning. You very much deserve all the wonderful things in life. Because you are, a beautiful soul… Is it not?
(Love, Ummi)


A Recent Sensational Suicide

Sushant singh rajputs self chosen departure poses a question to all of us. Those who run after their passion to satisfy their souls. Of course that is a hunger belying which, we die a dissatisfied death.

Death… A peaceful sleep which one endures either being content or with reluctance.
The deceased guy was a motivating figure in Instagram. A normal person with a handful of crazy dreams. But what caused him to go extreme forgetting those pulse pumping wishes?

Enter, Loneliness.
Even introverts fear loneliness. Solitude is bliss. What about loneliness. People glorify solitude. What about loneliness. Loneliness is nothingness. Loneliness is solitude extended.
A question pops in my mind. Being a person who advocates personal freedom and space and pursuing ones passion. After a point why does all seem meaningless. Then what is it that we want most in life… To keep ourselves sane…to keep ourselves empathetic..To keep ourselves content.. It’s love its care it’s concern it’s companionship.. Which comes from that one person who truly matters, who shares your madness, who shoulders you when you are heavy, who doesn’t care about anything else when you really need the one.

Love. Was a different concept for me while growing up. Fuelled by all the bollywoodism we imbibed on our way to adulthood. Then slowly came the realization. What is love. Is their anything called eternal love. You are lucky if you have found the one. Fight for that love. Treasure it by your side. Guard it ferociously. You are sure to die a content death.

So what is life after all. Pursuit for a content peaceful death. And when can you be successful? Only when you achieve a content peaceful death. The biggest achievement for any mortal. Oh… What an irony.

The Ladies Compartmen, Thiruvananthapuram-Guruvayoor Intercity Express

Train journeys always give me the time to do what I feel I am best at, without any interferences. PONDERING. Haha!

Intercity… The train which almost became a second home to the newly homeless me. I had recently shifted to my parents home along with my kids. And I continued to go for work from there. Since it was far away, around 9hours to and fro, I preferred this train. This train. Which offered the much awaited “me” time to ponder over my my suddenly hustling life, on the way it has turned out, on the way ahead, on my daily office activities and so many other things.

At start, it was fun. Rushing to board the train in the mornings. Spot and rush to a free seat. It’s on first-spot-first-sit basis! Thanks to the general train tickets. Spend the day in office. And then rushing back to spot and fix your ass in the first free space you would find. That became a routine. And slowly I found myself carrying my diary along. Just to scribble things. Topics varied from points regarding my ugly and dragging divorce battle, my day at office and my thoughts on life. Too vast but yet limited. Because that was all trending in my life during those days. And when I just got fed up. I would shut my diary. And look around.

Ladies! Are always a treat to the eyes. I never get tired of watching them! So many colours around. There seems never a moment of boredom there on. The morning hours inside the ladies compartment used to be packed with energy. Constant chattering. And laughing. Sharing breakfasts. Self grooming. All kinds of activities. When ladies meet, it’s a sight to behold. In Kerala, people have the habit of taking daily head baths. So wet heads all around. The morning air happily doubling up as a natural hair drier. Colourful sarees and salwaar suits around. It was to be a different world altogether. Ladies being free for sometime of their day. Beautiful was their camaraderie! By the time their stops arrived. They would be ready! To take on the world. Like Queens. Who mean serious business. All the chirpiness used to just vanish. As if the ladies compartment was the bearer of that secret aspect of their personalities that no one else in this world was aware. Not their parents, not their partners, not their offsprings! Something, just they shared with the ladies compartment of Intercity Express!

And then I would board the evening train after a seemingly long day at office. Tired and drained. Just wanting some sleep. But to my surprise, I used to find the same energy there. The compartment filled with chittering and chattering. But the activities were different at this time of their day. Some would be into knitting. A group would be into prayers, reciting Hanuman Chaaleesa or some other hymns. A group would be just discussing their day at office. Their mean colleagues. That vamp in office. The boss’s favourite. Some would be doing some sewing. Some would be cutting vegetables for the next day. Finding happiness in those restrictions! Happily adjusted. And I would wonder! And marvel! At the energy of a wife! A mother! I would wonder, when they reach home does anyone even care to flash a loving welcome smile? Ma why don’t you take rest? Dear, how was the day? Can I make you some tea? And I wondered at these beautiful souls around! How without a hint of the enormous exertions they allow on themselves, they are always up! On their feet! to serve their families! And how maybe the Ladies Compartment would be their secret energy booster to take on their mundane lives!
(Love, Simi)

The Proud Greys

I have grown up seeing Pappa meticulously and patiently dyeing his hair black. I used to love playing his assistant as I mentioned earlier in one of my posts. I admired seeing him groom himself. This was a monthly routine which was a tedious one those days. The messy dyes had to be carefully applied lest it dyed the skin it comes in contact with as well. Leaving you with no other option than to flaunt those stains confidently!

When I had learnt all the tricks, and I was confident enough, I started offering my help to Pappa, to carefully dye his hair black. And I enjoyed doing that. Years on. I got my first grey when I was in 6th standard. And then they became 4 strands when I was in college. And I actually did not mind those because they were never visible at one glance.

Years later, the numbers seem to have skyrocketed. And I lost count. To my amazement, I started admiring them. And I have no reason. I did not like the idea of colouring my hair. The good lady in the beauty parlour where I pay monthly visits always expressed concerns about how it marrs the beauty of a lady. Still, I would say, let them be Chechi(malayalam word for elder sister). Let people accept me with this. I like them this way. And she would smile. I felt they simply made me look and feel beautiful. Effortlessly. I don’t have any better explanation for my love for the greys. And I decided I won’t ever try to cover them up. They are a part of my identity too. Although I get lots of suggestions from friends too, that they should be coloured, they look horrible, makes you look so old. And I am like. Uhm..but I love them. Let them be there. I am fine with them.

However, I do follow a good hair care routine. Oiling thrice a week. Massaging my head. All kinds of natural hair packs once in a while. That actually act as stress busters. The benefits which I feel are prominent. But I really won’t like to part with these. They make me. I love highlights, though once in a while. Just to flaunt my rebellious way of life. Last time I went for red and copper brown ones and I loved the look. Red, copper brown and my very own addition of ornamental silvers. Haha! So many colours! Next time I vowed to myself that I will go for blues and violets.

I believe in things like ageing with grace. You already have enough plastic around. Let’s be original. Again, it’s totally a personal choice, with due respect to those who differ. I have always believed in embracing myself as I am. I believe in being happy in my skin. That, I consider as one of my strengths, I feel proud of. As I grow older, loving myself and loving my teeny weeny fIaws become more and more effortless. To all those who have anxiety issues regarding their bodies, I wish to say, Stop! There and then! Your body listens to you. The more you fret, the more you become grumpy and the more your body responds. Try being kind to yourself first. Work towards a healthy you. Feed positive thoughts to yourself and to your body. Own it. Embrace it. Nurture it. It will listen to you. I feel changes in looks should be incorporared only for fun and not to hide ones natural selves. Let that beautiful inner glow double up as an attractive aura!
(Love, Simi)

My Indian Loo…

Haha! Let me introduce (for some) and re introduce (for yet other some) the loo system we follow in our country. We are in an age of using constantly upgraded versions of the European closets for carrying out the most essential activity of a day.

When I was younger, and when we visited our village during our summer holidays, the system that people had in Kerala, was that of a small space very much outside the houses, with walls made of beautifully interwoven coconut leaves. The standard Indian loo has two foot rests and a hole. So we bend our knees. Squat and sit. And carry on with the task at hand. While later on. This transformed into a pakka space with brick walls. Which was far more comfortable. Those were the times when most houselholds used this style of toilets. Either inside their homes or outside.

Meanwhile, our Pa, was very strict about forming regular daily habits in us. Hence he would wake us up at 5 in the mornings. And the next thing we did was to spend time inside. Believe me Or not, the position was a comfortable sitting one, apt for letting the mind wander free. And that, became a habit hence. I was this kid who was always fascinated by the sound of flowing water. The smell of walls when they were wet. We had mosaic walls in our toilets then. Since, we could spent considerable amount of time inside, I used that time to draw on the walls with wet fingers. Write my prayers to the God on them. Sing Bollywood songs exactly like the actual song(atleast that is what I felt!). Enact out the dialogues of some films with same emotions. (Again, that is what I felt! ). I used to think about my friends. Talk to myself. All this while actually doing the task which I was supposed to carry out inside. And after I am done. I used to leave the place in a trance. Happy. And content. And that space became a spot which I looked forward to, each morning.

As I grew up, I ended up just singing and enacting out movie scenes and then again the self conversations. I ll imagine myself to be some important person and I ll give interviews as we used to see in the television those days. But still I always enjoyed the time inside. When in hostels, where we are supposed to share the loo, I used to go in the early mornings when most were asleep so that, again, the uninterrupted me-time (chuckles).

When I went to live in the house where I was married off to, for the first time, I started using a European one, because of no other option and it was then that I realized the importance of the Indian closet. One, I missed that squat sitting position terribly. Because I could sit comfortably in a raw position and I could just let myself get lost. Here, we sit. Like we sit in the chair. Gives the feeling similar to that of the outside world. Where we put on a facade on our emotions. And it greatly effected my imaginations. And thoughts. Which I missed.

Things changed when I moved out. Shifted to another house. There! I found ‘my’ Indian loo. And as if the old me returned. I love the place. Now as I grow older, I see most of my colleagues having issues with their digestive system. What all diseases. And so I included one more routine. I sit and I thank my body. For taking care of me without any effort from my side. I feel grateful and I appreciate my stomach. And then, I get lost….The movie songs….The enactment of scenes….The interviews….Maybe reproducing some of the tiffs I had in office, and imagining of better arguments which I could have offered in place of those lame ones….I think about the kids….How they have grown up….And what more needs to be done… And then the winding off ritual… Reminding myself of the tasks to be done on that day. And then I walk out as if in a trance…

# Some activities should never be forgotten just because you have grown up. Always nurture the child in you. Helps you to be an original version of yourself. And love yourself more.

यह कैसा वाला प्यार?

खुद को खोकर
किसी को पाना हुआ
तो वह ‘पाना’,क्या पाना हुआ?

सपने तो तूने
उसी उसके साथ
और वही अपने साथ
पिरोये थे ना?
फिर वह, वह क्यों रहे
और तू, तू क्यों नहीं?

बात तो तभी बने,
जब वह थोड़ा तेरे लिए
और तू थोड़ा उसके लिए
दोनो एक दूसरे की खुशी के लिए
अपने आप को बदलें

फिर यह कौन सा प्यार हुआ
कि तू तरसते रहे
और वह जैसे, रहम खाते रहे?
यह प्यार कौन सा प्यार हुआ?
यह तो बस, एक तरफ़ा प्यार हुआ!
हैं ना?

खुद से पूछना
लाज़मी है हर बार
कि खुद को खोकर
किसी को पाना हुआ
तो वह ‘पाना’, क्या पाना हुआ?

The Six Yard Wonder

Ever wondered
About the six yard wonder?
The Saree, as it’s better known
A gift from India
To the best attires
Around the globe.

Many a range of emotions
This piece of wonder conveys
To bring out the feminal
And the oomph so fatal
When you wish to feel desirous
Just allow it to play
The little game of peekaboo
A little skin here and a bit there
And voila! You are the sunshine
Whenever you wish to!
Or switch to being commanding
Along with some grace,
All you be needing
Is a little adjustment here
And a bit of modification there
And bingo! You nail it!
An emotion so motherly
If you wish to convey
Wear the saree your ma’s way
And see those twinkling eyes
Sparkling with hay!

It’s your will girl!
Blink of an eye, or whoosh of a wand
The saree serves, on your command!
And you see,
Yet how this plain six yard
Is still the most humble
wonder of the world!
(Love, Simi)

# Dedicated to my love for sarees, our traditional wear. How I wish to shout out to all women around, that they must try wearing one atleast once in their lifetime!

Women Empowerment!

There was a time when I associated women empowerment with riding bicycles. Then the association was upgraded when mopeds came. Then came the motorbikes and the cars. The vans and then the jeeps.

There also came a time when I associated women empowerment with rebelliously dressing up like males. I associated women empowerment with getting a boy-ish haircut. I considered women empowerment as beating up boys who just didn’t feel right and who meant harm. And also flawless use of class expletives just like boys.

Then came a time when I associated women empowerment with smoking and drinking alcohol. And with driving the length of the highways in the nights, going for nuitees, going on solo trips or just siting blankly at the beaches with a bottle of beer.

And I used to feel happy and a sense of some kind of achievement engulfed me when I did or rather accomplished all those. All those tasks which were associated with males, in general, in our society. Yet, the feeling returned. That something is amiss. I need to do more. Achieve more. Accomplish more. What more… Something more..one thing more needs to be done..to feel truly empowered!

I don’t know how many of us can relate to what I am saying. Because most of us may have already figured out or are yet in the journey of discovering the teeny weeny realities of life that matter a lot if discovered while still alive.

Happened to see a video. Two girls on a bike. Going places. Jumping and splashing water in shorts. And an adjoining message. Women Empowerment! This. I read this and just then something dropped inside me. Noooo! THIS! is not Women Empowerment!

Then what is it? Over years of struggles and fighting those demons. What I observe and what I concluded is that Women Empowerment is the whole hearted acceptance of the capacity you have as an individual! It’s just not limiting yourself to the imaginary restrictions put down by the society, with a lame justification that those are there to protect you, the women! And that comes from within. It’s a journey of discovering yourself. Making the most of your life. The way YOU want! Strongly believing yourself. And strongly believing that you deserve the best in life. The strong belief that reflects confidence. The confidence which lights up your beautiful eyes. The beautiful eyes which scream that you are ready to take over anything that comes your way! That strength of the belief that you are worth it!
(Love, Simi)


These days I find every Indian playing a Sherlock Holmes. If one wants to browse the internet, a hundred pop up suggestions appear from nowhere. Yes. It’s about the most sensationalized suicide of 2020.

Sometimes, I just can’t help but laugh to myself, loudly. (No offenses to SSR fans, please excuse if I cross the limits, but I do have a point here, do read on.). There are N number of news channels sprouting up out of nowhere and feeding on this news. There are personal YouTube channels with a whopping number of subscribers for just playing the detective. There are people who claim of speaking to the actor’s spirit. There are other small time actors who are basking in their little share of popularity and other assumably fantastic actors bashing everyone around waging their own personal vendetta, thanks to the melodramatization of the whole issue. It seems there’s a rat race between the executive branch of the government and the general public, the die hard SSR fans. Or to put it in a lighter sense, one is directly proportional to the other. And guess who does the job of fanning the wild fire? Our very own media, better known as ‘the fourth pillar of democracy’!

I wish to add that we do have a fundamental right, in this aspect, which goes like, “the suspect is to be presumed innocent unless actually proven guilty”. And I feel sorry when I see the estranged actor’s partner’s name being flung around in the whole of social media. I ask myself, is it not normal for the man among couples to provide for his lady love, if he so wishes? And I find it amusing how and to what extent the media is going to maintain their channels TRPs or views or likes or subscribes. I find asking myself, is it not our duty to be in control of our emotions and not grow judgemental till a final verdict is published? Is it not our duty to shun the nonsense playing around and remind ourselves about the ‘humans’ we have evolved as? Should we not be pouring positive support for the grieving family and wait patiently for a proper clearer picture to emerge out of the ongoing investigations?

Another interesting question, which just happened to flash through my mind while doing the dishes, this morning, was, WHAT IF THE ACTOR WAS A FEMALE????? And all I remember was rolling over the ground laughing, loudly! Now, everywhere I can hear and read labels like “our son of Bihar”, “our son of India” and what not!? I imagined the scene which was to follow in India if the person were a female actor. Oh! She’s dead! Poor girl! Why did she go for a live-in in the first place? Might be taking drugs. Might be into prostitution and some racket. Hmm…small town girls coming to big cities and getting lost! And then there will be words of advice to the aspiring young female actors from all their family and extended family. See! This is going to happen if you chose this path! Hmmm… Was she pregnant??? Yes…That might be the reason. Girls these days! They are never grounded! (And mind you! Nobody will come up with the money laundering side of the case). The media will not follow the case. The parents of the girl would already have become an outcaste in the society. So why to go for a case? When this is the scenario we have to face? After all ‘we’ have to live in ‘this’ society only na? And it would have then become a forgotten story…. And then…the thoughts just faded away to re-appear in yet another spells of me getting lost…observing and thinking to myself…

The Bad Touch

This was the first time I was going to travel to my college on my own. I was supposed to do my graduation in Kerala. Ma had accompanied me for a week as a familiarization programme for me since I wasn’t used to travelling alone in public transport buses.

The algorithm was simple. That’s what I summed up from what Ma taught me. One, you wait there in the bus stop( easy way to spot the bus stop was, go right there where you find a gathering with a range of expressions on their faces, some in hurry and hence the tension, some blank and lost, and some just chirping happily). Two, you look for the boards on the arriving buses, especially the red and yellow buses, since they belonged to the state transport. The colourful ones with songs blaring inside were the private transport buses. I had  mastered reading enough malayalam by then, to guess the stop names on the boards by staring at the moving buses.The apt bus arrives. Now, third and the final step: ladies hop on from the front door while men, from the back door. (What!?!?) I remember myself asking, Is it written anywhere Ma? Ma would never care to answer. People do it this way here. Just do as I say. Would be her aggressive body language. And I would be like, how can you even think that I would accomodate quietly? What is the problem in my asking? Can’t you give me a proper logic to this? But I did follow her like a good daughter. I pacified myself that when I am by myself, I ll find out on my own. But still, all the way I would wonder with all the good education I have, am I supposed to behave like a dumb ass? And hense, the determined me did find out. And the revelation was a shocker.

My ordeal began when I deliberately got into the bus from the back side door. To my surprise I found myself in a sea of lecherous men! I clenched my bag tightly over my chest. And as I swam ahead, to be with my clan, which was my only escape from this hell now, I somehow had to make it. It was a 10minute drill. Hardened penises. Bum groping. I had the worst (and first)experience of my life. When I could not stand the abuse anymore I turned back to yell at whoever was behind me, and to my utter surprise, I found an old man who could hardly bear his own weight, was among one of the perpetrators. I yelled at him with all my frustration, Old uncle why can’t you men stay away??? In all my bewilderment.

The reaction of the others inside the bus was even more alarming. No one spoke up for me. Many laughed it off. Many didn’t even bother.And I literally scurried inside the crowded bus. And wriggled myself upto the bars behind the driver seat. There, near the ‘front door’, I felt safe.

It was hard to come out if it. Because the experience was something really scary. I was filled with thoughts of self hatred. How could they even touch me like that?

Only if my Ma had openly discussed the reality and the significance of the ‘front door’ of a bus in a woman commuter’s life. Only if I understood earlier, the way society ‘protects’ it’s women by allowing men to loom large and expecting women to be content in their restricted spaces.

Or will it be right to expect things this way…that only if the women, young and old would have been together in this. Only if the mothers would have taught their daughters to be wary but not accomodating. Only if the men were taught to respect women from their childhood. Then, the other witnesses would have probably reacted when I shouted. Then , the conductor and the driver would have probably taken the bus dutifully to the nearest police station to file an FIR,then, this, would never been one of the continuing stories of accepted crimes on women for generations.

Love Thyself..

The ones who don’t know how to love
Are the ones who have not loved, themselves

The day you decide to accept yourself
With open arms
Inspite of your blunders
Inspite of your crazy mind
Inspite of every shortcoming
Inspite of the criticism around
That very day you start loving yourself

You begin to grow
You begin to be empathetic
You begin to be kind
You begin to feel the love
And then, you strive to be a better person
To be able to love yourself more

And that my friend, will start a change.
Wherein you understand others
You forgive others
You let go of the negativity in you
And around you
And then you start
Loving yourself even more
And that love
Touches others lives too.
(Love, Simi)

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