Enough of Double Standards

Photo (c) Bjorn Rudberg


Enough of Double Standards

Words 100

“Belated happy birthday!” Shipra greeted Deeksha.


“How did you celebrate?”

“We didn’t. We are still in mourning.”

“Oh I am sorry.” Shipra offered her condolences. “Last year too you couldn’t celebrate as your father-in-law was unwell.”


“It must be over six months since he passed away?”


“Yet your husband attended his cousin’s wedding last week?”

“It wouldn’t have looked nice if he hadn’t gone.”

“So only you’re expected to mourn?”

“That depends.” Deeksha said. “As I am integral part of their family, they made sure I participated actively in the wedding festivities soon after my father’s death.”


Written for the Friday Fictioneers – a story in 100 words or less. Thanks to Rochelle for hosting the challenge and Bjorn for the photo prompt. To read the other stories inspired by this prompt click here.

#QOGUIN Series

Hello and welcome to my new venture – #QOGUIN Series.

Puzzled? Curious? Interested? Intrigued? Well I hope so! Anyway here’s the thing, while shifting houses I seem have to misplaced my muse. Probably off on a vacation which I deserve – but then there’s no rest for the wicked. And since I cannot seem to stay away from blogging either so I hit upon a compromise. I can finally hatch an idea that I have been incubating for quite some time – share some Quirky Odd Good Ugly Intriguing News from all over the world. Perhaps some stuff thrown in from around my tiny world as well.

So, are you game?

I’m not sure if it is going to be a weekly, monthly or even a regular feature. Ahh well we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it right? Hey, here’s an idea? Why don’t you join in? Surely you have something non-fictional to share? Just make a post and drop your link here whenever you’re ready – no rush, no rules. And to prove that I would like to make an earlier post A Salute to the Wall as the first in the series 😀 And all the other positive news that I may have posted earlier, will hunt them out and list them in a dedicated Page.

Today’s article for this series is on underage driving which, as most of us are aware more often than not lead to disastrous consequences. Children, especially in certain Indian Metros are notorious for going off on jaunts, motor racing and stunts late at night and are a danger not only to themselves but also the others. Fed up with repeated unfortunate and countless such incidents, in 2015 the traffic police in Bengaluru threatened to imprison and confiscate driving licenses of parents of underage children caught driving. In fact, scores of parents were booked. But they got off after paying a fine. Finally last month, the Hyderabad police cracked down on errant parents and arrested 69 such irresponsible parents of these daredevil (I’m willing to bet) boys.

This bit of news gave me a lot of cheer and hope. I now wait for the day when parents of daughters who commit suicide and are forced to suffer atrocities at their in-laws are also arrested.

If you wonder at my extreme reaction, perhaps you might like to read my article on Bride Burning, a call to action and my long running fictional piece (most of which is drawn from real-life) – Moonshine.

Thank you for visiting, I am happy to play hostess after a long time 🙂 Do let me know your thoughts and look forward to reading anything interesting – the good the bad the ugly – that you may have to share.

Have a wonderful weekend.

You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete. -R. Buckminster Fuller

WPC: Moo Point

Here’s my third and final re-post for the Daily Post a story in pictures. Hopefully I shall be back with fresh content soon. Thanks for your visits and patience. Have a wonderful day.

Stories and more

One sunny winter morning, we set to explore the Kolkata suburbs. Err well actually, the boys were on the lookout for a suitable place to reconnect minus the usual noise of their own ‘inhibitory’ pathways. And I, being blessed with no such inhibitions, tagged along for some possible photo ops. And voila there unfolded right before my phone camera a live drama.

brunchThe ladies were out for a bit of a munch at brunch

gossipPerhaps share a few confidences away from the old hag and other potential eavesdroppers.

dangerOh but wait – what was that? Danger!!!

retreatTime for a graceful and disdainful retreat – the leading lady led the way, while a tardy youngster grabbed a mouthful for the road.

retreat2Feeling brave, I ventured closer. She gave me a beady glare – No interviews or autographs please. I have other urgent business to attend to – she trotted off on…

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A Love Story in Pics

The Daily Post this week invites us to share a visual story. I am busy shifting houses (now that would tell an amazing story but that’s another story for another day 😉 but since I can’t seem to keep away from the blog world, I am re-posting one (from August 2016) which some of you may have seen. But I think it is worth a revisit. Feel free to disagree and move on! 😀

Stories and more

The other day I spotted a pair of geese:

1A GOOSE.jpg

Excited, I moved in for a closer shot:

But no matter how much I tried, the goose just wouldn’t let me click his mate. It honked and glared and pretended to be interested in the distal most piece juicy stem.


Can you beat that?

The typical Indian male I supposed and walked away (or at least pretended to but the goose wasn’t that much of a goose – it wasn’t buying or budging).

Until I really walked away. That’s when I noticed:


She was injured or ill and he was merely trying to keep away an opportunistic predator.


Blessed to witness such a rare and precious sight.

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A Salute to the Wall

In times where it is commonplace to talk of bringing down walls here is one Wall that we could do with more of. If you are a cricket buff or from India you would know of whom I am talking about – Rahul Dravid a cricketer par excellence.

Rahul in his heydays was known as the Wall for his stolid reliability and patience to spend hours and hours at the crease despite all odds. Although he has his own self-deprecating theories about why he was named so.

He retired from cricket in 2012 and could have easily been a wall and rested on his laurels. But the Wall is just a sobriquet. He’s a doer. Given the opportunity he accepted the coaching the Indian Under-19 cricket team.

And worked his magic.

They won the 2018 ICC World Cup early this month. Celebrations, jubilation, accolades and cash prizes rained down. The BCCI announced cash rewards for the coach (Rs 50 lakh), team members (Rs 30 lakh) and coaching staff (Rs 20 lakh).

The Wall took objection to this announcement.

Why the discrepancy? He expressed his displeasure.

Excuse us but how much more money do you want?

No! Why should I get so much more than the rest of the staff?

What?! Err…that’s the norm. In any case, they can’t be given as much as you.

FINE. Then I’ll take less and we’ll share it equally.

The BCCI had little choice but to bow down to this hitherto unheard of stance.

To reiterate, as it is difficult to believe that some one would actually do such a thing in today’s time and era of each one for himself, Rahul Dravid took a Rs 25-lakh (or nearly a $ 40,000) pay cut just to ensure parity in incentive to all support staff. Now every member of the coaching staff including Dravid will get Rs 25 lakhs

Rahul Dravid has shown that the shelf life of a sportsperson maybe short but a gentleman lives forever.

May his tribe grow and prosper.


This is my submission for the monthly We Are the World Blogfest which seeks to promote positive news.

Do share your views, opinions, suggestions and positive news.

Wishing you all a wonderful colorful and joyous Holi and a super weekend.


Are You Complicit?

Complicit has been adjudged the word of the year, as it is the most searched for word online at Dictionary.com. The article is an interesting read and gives a comprehensive overview of some of key events of the year 2017.

After the 2015’s unbelievable word of year and the depressing post-truth in 2016, I find myself quite enamored with complicit.

Complicit according to Dictionary.com means “choosing to be involved in an illegal or questionable act, especially with others; having partnership or involvement in wrongdoing.” That means I can safely exclude me you and most others. So why would I ask if you (or I) were complicit? I mean we have not chosen to be involved in any illegal act have we?

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines complicit as “helping to commit a crime or do wrong in some way.”

Choosing is an act of commission but in some way is a more loose/vague phrase and may include an act of omission as well. And that is what complicity is all about – omission or as Dictionary.com elaborates: “Or, put simply, it means being, at some level, responsible for something . . . even if indirectly.”

And therein lies the strength and beauty of the word – in its connotation. Simply looking the other way could make you complicit. It is a word that that ropes in everyone standing on the sidelines, it points fingers, grabs us by the collar and demands to know: Why are you silent? Why are you COMPLICIT?

Complicit brings to the fore what we have always been taught since school: “Forget not that the grossest crime is to compromise with injustice and wrong. Remember the eternal law: you must give, if you want to get.” Subhas Chandra Bose

Yet like all lessons this too needed to be brushed up and reiterated. And we need to be shaken out from our stupor, our chalta hai attitude and speak out. We are a certified argumentative lot so why don’t we speak out more?

It is time that we stood up and be counted. Be that ‘faceless’ society in whose name today honor killings and other atrocities against women continue to be committed. It is time to stop blaming the victim and call out the real perpetrators – her parents for being responsible for dowry deaths and bride burning.

It is time to call them out, shift them from the victim category and lump them along with the killers. Why are only in-laws being booked? Why not the parents too? The in-laws can demand, deprive, torture and murder the bride only because her parents are complicit. If they weren’t, then they would have taken her away at the first instance of threat and injustice. With an assured safe house, no girl would feel the need to commit suicide or strangle her own daughter.

But unfortunately, not many parents do that, do they? Once she is married, their responsibility ends. They have done their duty, fed her clothed her, educated her, gotten her married and sent her off with due pomp and ceremony to her real home, her paradise on earth. They are more than happy and relieved to be free of their burden and more than ready to reap the benefits of their good karma.

Wait. What if there is trouble in paradise?

Well what could they do? They were poor, old, incapable and bechare. They didn’t make the rules the society did and if everyone could follow the rules so could she. It was now time for her to pay her parents back for their sacrifice, do her duty, be the ‘good girl’ and shoulder her own burden. Silently.

Besides, if it was her destiny to be an educated, qualified six-figure earning 21st century slave, what could her parents do except shed unhappy tears, keep fasts and pray?

Fiction? No. Just the unpleasant, painful, disturbing reality of many a woman in India. One that we prefer to look away from, blame her and think of other safer comfortable things. But like Luvvie Ajayi says in her amazing TED talkLet’s get comfortable with being uncomfortable.

While skydiving she realized that “comfort is overrated. Because being quiet is comfortable. Keeping things the way they’ve been is comfortable. And all comfort has done is maintain the status quo. So we’ve got to get comfortable with being uncomfortable by speaking these hard truths when they’re necessary.” Like she says, “And in a world that wants us to whisper, I choose to yell.”

As do I. If aging infirm parents can sue their sons and the government mobilized to enact a law that makes it a legal obligation for children and heirs to provide better and safe living conditions for them why can’t similar provisions be made for daughters trapped in unhappy marriages?

Well, why are you so silent?

Are you ready to call a spade a spade or if you like fairy tales, call the naked emperor naked?

Are you going to speak up? Stop existing in isolation? Take sides? Make a difference, and leave the world a little bit better than it was?

 Or would you prefer to be complicit?

 Your choice, their lives.



The Misconception

“Sia!” Lalit couldn’t believe his eyes. But it was her.

“Arent you going to let me in?”

“Sorry.” He held the door wide open.

Sia’s pencil heels clicked ominously on the marble floor as she swished past him.

Lalit stared after her. Something wasn’t quite right. Why had Sia sought him out after so many years? Frowning, he followed her in.

“It’s been a long time.” He waved her to a seat. “Twenty years right?”

“Nineteen years.” Her voice was crisp and curt.

“What would you like to have?” he asked automatically.

“Nothing, thanks. I haven’t come here to renew our acquaintance.”

“Acquaintance?” Lalit looked at her. “Was that what we were Sia – acquaintances?

“Call it what you will.” She shrugged coldly. “It doesn’t matter.”

Irritation overcame Lalit. “I wonder at your gall. You barge into my home after 19 years and you don’t even have the courtesy to be polite.” He looked up and down openly assessing her. “If your sartorial splendor is any indication you have clearly gone up,” his lips curled, “way up on the social ladder. Didn’t you learn social norms on the way?”

“You mean hypocritical norms? I leave that to people like you.” She looked back at him unflinchingly.

“Look who’s talking!” He was quick to retort rather bitterly. “You were the one who strung me along and then dumped me for greener pastures.” He felt a perverse pleasure as she flushed.

Sia narrowed her eyes. “I didn’t marry money if that’s what you are trying to hint at.” The flush was of anger not shame. “I am a successful business enterprenuer if you please. Not that it’s any of your business,” she completed disdainfully.

“I don’t understand.” Lalit shook his head bewildered. “What is your problem? Why are you bitter? And why come here, that too after so many years? This is not a social call is it? So let’s get it over with shall we?” He got up and went to the bar. He poured himself a shot of whiskey. As an afterthought, he turned to her, “Drink?”

The briefest of hesitations, before she nodded, “Vodka, if you have. With soda.”

Lalit was taken aback. Sia certainly had changed. The girl he had known was a giggly, chatterbox quite full of herself. She had also been very straitlaced and prudish. They had had their first lover’s tiff because she had smelt alcohol on his breath.

“Sure.” He handed her drink and raised his. “Cheers.”

She took a big gulp without responding or allowing him to clink his glass to her.

Irritation faded and now curiosity was almost killing him.

“So,” he said a bit facetiously, “what can I do for you?”

Sia stared into her drink which was almost half finished.

“Sia.” He prompted. “You know, I do have other things to do beside sit here and entertain you? In fact,” he looked at his watch, “I have a dinner date for which I must be leaving soon.”

“I know,” she said abruptly.

“You know?” Lalit was surprised. “How come? Have you been following me by any chance?” He settled back comfortably in his seat, “A bit late in the day to be jealous Sia.”

She threw him a withering glance. She put down her glass. “What I want from you,” she said carefully, “is to cancel your dinner date and promise never to see that girl again.”

Lalit was stunned. This was totally unexpected. What business was it of hers? What cheek. Anger bubbled up within him. “And why the hell should I do what you want me to do? You dump me at the altar, vanish without a word of explanation and now you coolly walk in and demand that I reschedule my life as per your wishes.” He hadn’t raised his voice but the fury was very much evident in his tone and taut stance.

She sat silent, watchful.

Taking the moral high ground, Lalit continued to vent, ticking off one by one on his finger, “I am of age, I don’t have an irate wife in the background and my date is of age too.” He note of challenge in his voice. “Perhaps a bit young for me but what right have you to interfere in my personal business?”

“A bit young?” Finally the icy control snapped and her voice rose to a crescendo. “She is barely 18 years of age and you are 50! It’s…it’s disgusting.”

If looks could kill, he would have been ash by now. But somehow it just served to just put his back up. “You mistake, I am barely 45, you are the one who turned 50 this year.” He laughed mirthlessly. “How could you forget your pet peeve? You were 5 years older to me.”

He got up to make another drink for himself and brought her one too. “Isnt it ironic, back then you refused me because you were older to me and now you pop up from nowhere just because the girl I am dating is younger than me? You amaze me Sia. What possessed you to believe that I would let you be dictated by you?”

For old times’ sake. It was clearly written on her face. But it was gone in a flash. She bared her teeth. “What I am wondering is how a decent guy could stoop so low as to trap an innocent…”

“So you do think I am decent? By the way, what is your interest in Riya? Is she your daughter by any chance?” He tapped his chin. “But Riya told me that she was an orphan. Poor thing I feel quite sorry for her, such a tragic, lonely childhood.” He looked at Sia. “The orphanage she was in,” he shook his head, “it’s criminal, some of the things that go on there.” He deliberately left it hanging.

Sia paled and her cheek bones stood out in sharp relief. Suddenly she looked old, very old and defeated.

Lalit felt a twinge of guilt but he stamped it down ruthlessly. He drained his glass. “Amazing how our past comes back to haunt us isnt it? This is poetic justice. You refused to marry me on some flimsy ground and now fate has handed me your daughter on a platter.” He laughed. “It would serve you right if I let your hubby dear on to the secret,” he gloated. “Bet the poor guy is completely in the dark about this dirty little secret of yours.”

“You would lose the bet,” she said evenly. “I don’t have a husband.”

He looked at her blankly. “But you don’t deny Riya being your daughter,” he said slowly. His eyes hardened as anger flared within him. “You have such double standards. If you are so concerned about Riya why didn’t you adopt her? You could have saved her so much agony and trauma. Let me tell you Sia, I am thousand times a better option than that orphanage.”

“Leave her alone God dammit.” Sia shot to her feet.

“I will not.” He grabbed her by the shoulders, “Sia please stop this act at once. Where was all your maternal instincts when you dumped her in the orphanage like an unwanted piece of garbage? And be practical for God’s sake!” He thrust her away. “You cannot go around warning the whole world to stay away from your daughter can you?”

“Not the whole world! Just you.” The words were wrenched out of her.

Lalit froze. “Just me? Why me? Just because I had a crush on you, which you by the way rejected, very cruelly,” his lips thinned, “almost pushed me over the edge -,” he paused. “Is that why? You think I am doing this to take revenge on you?” he was shocked. “But…but I didn’t even know she was your daughter.” He looked her up and down. “Actually even I cant believe it of you – Sia and a child out of wedlock. And to think I always thought of you as pure as your namesake.” He sneered. “No doubt you rejected me, but I respected you Sia. What happened to your so called engraved-in-stone morals and principles Sia? Or were you just waiting for me to leave?”

“I don’t know what you mean.” She sat down again. He took the seat beside her.

“Come on Sia,” he said leaning forward, “no doubt I was a fool back then but I am old enough to know better now. I can put two and two together.”

“If you can put two and two together, you would be the first one to back off!” Her eyes were glittering fiercely and her fists were clenched tightly.

Lalit stood up. “I have heard enough. It’s time for me to get ready. Please.” He politely indicated the door.

But Sia didn’t budge from her seat. “Not unless you call Riya and cancel the date.”

“Oh God Sia,” groaned Lalit, “Let’s drop this shall we? Rest assured I have no romantic interest in the girl.” He confessed wearily. “It’s her birthday, she was upset, so I offered, that’s it nothing more.”

“It could become something more.” Sia was wooden. “She has a huge crush on you.”

Lalit dragged a hand through his hair. “Fine, I will cancel the dinner. On one condition.”

Sia looked at him with trepidation.

“You go and tell her that you are her mother.”

“No!” Sia’s voice echoed around the room.

Lalit stared in surprise. “But why? She is clearly lonely. You obviously care for her…”

“I don’t care for her.” Sia interrupted him. “I don’t care where she goes, what she does, so long as she stays away from you and your family.”

“Hey! Wait a minute. What the hell do you mean, ‘me and my family’? What the hell is wrong with you? I don’t like to boast but let me remind you if my family had not stood beside yours when your father had the accident, you guys would have been out on the streets. If Dad had not given you the job…”

“Shut up.” Sia burst out. “I don’t want to talk to you anymore. Just stay away from Riya and that is my last warning to you.”

Lalit crossed his arms. “Otherwise what will you do?”

Sia glared at him impotently.

Lalit jerked his head towards the door. “Do what you want to do. Nothing, I mean nothing, is stop me from going on that date with Riya. And thanks for telling me that she has a crush on me. This time I will have my way with her.” He said rather crudely.

Thwack! Sia’s palm cracked against his cheek. Lalit stared at her shocked.

“Nothing will stop you is it? Nothing?” She was panting hard. She glared at him through bloodshot eyes. “Not even if I tell you Riya is your sister? Half-sister to be precise.”

The End

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