An unfinished story

It was a hectic and tiring life crippled by mundane daily work. I felt tired. My mundane and boring life gave me energy only to eat and sleep on weekends. When most men go out with their families, I felt better by sleeping my day out.

It was a lazy afternoon. After a heavy meal my eyes were automatically shutting down. I tried reading a novel lying down on my sofa.

I did not know when I slept off. In my dream I saw I was in a BIG warehouse of abandoned goods. It was completely dark and no one was around. I could see an old teak wood table at one corner under a Fluorescent bulb.

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A 5-6 years child was writing something in his small diary. I was not able to see him as he was turning his back to me. I was curious to know what he was writing in the abandoned warehouse at that hour of the day. I snatched the diary from him. It was written in Bengali –

“Today, Nilu didi was sad. She was hiding behind bushes all day along. I know Golu was the main culprit. He might had again fought with Nilu di. I don’t know why pinku or Chi Chi don’t scold him. I will ask mom not to give any food to Golu today. He is very naughty.

But the problem with mom is she won’t understand. She will give food to everyone. I have seen, this morning Nilu didi didn’t eat that food. Sad, mom still gives food to everyone.

One day I will punish Golu. Yes, I myself will punish him. When I am a BIG man and can hold Golu in my hands, I will throw him away. I myself will go into the bushes and find out where does Nilu didi hide at times. I will…”

I recognized my handwriting. I recognized the story written in my childhood. I noticed those torn pages, blue ink mark on the cover page and those reddish pages. This was a notepad thrown away by my father. I picked it up in my childhood to write my diary. But how did this child get it?

I looked around to find the child. But he was nowhere to be found. I got scared. Hurriedly came out of the warehouse, scared and sweating like hell.

For those who do not know Nilu didi, she was a fish in our aquarium. In my childhood I used to play with her and others in the aquarium. It was fun. Nilu, Pinku were names given by me because of their colors. Golu was a fish round in shape. All of them were my friends and I wanted to write about them but could not finish my story.

When I woke up from the afternoon nap I was all drenched in sweat. There was a power cut in my house.  The mid-summer Kolkata heat had forced me to wake up. I hurriedly went to our attic. In a long closed dark room we kept all our discarded things. I rushed to the heritage teak wood table at the corner. It was not neat, there was a pile of other unused stuff on the table. I searched hard in the books and finally I got my diary. My little old bunch of childhood joy.

It was a challenge for me to complete the unfinished story. I was emerged in those sweet childhood memories when Ravish, one of my long term friends called up. Among many exciting things what we planned together was a trip to Goa and after that trip I could finish my incomplete childhood story. The remaining part of the story goes like this –

“I will explore the world where Nilu didi belonged to and take on eye to eye with all those who were like Golu.

Today, after 35 years I went into Golu’s world. Not the makeshift world of home aquarium but the real world of marine aquarium thanks to Mojhi.com. During our Goa tour a boring and unfit person like me tried his luck in scuba diving in Goan beach to experience the real thrill of the marine world. The world that belonged to Nilu didi, Pinku and Chi Chi. It also belonged to Golu but I didn’t know real marine Golus are beautiful and hard to find in Indian marine life.

In this real world aquarium, sharks are the Golu dada. But divers say it is not easy to find sharks in Indian sea shores. The divers who do find them are luckiest ones. My Scuba trainer in Goa told me that he saw sharks only two times in his diving career.

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Image from Mojhi.com

Even though I knew swimming, there were many in my training group who didn’t know swimming. Actually scuba diving do not need swimming knowledge and one do not need to be very fit either. So thanks to Mojhi.com when I met people who could take me to the real world of Nilu didi and Golu mastan I felt great. I explored flora and fauna and checked inside the beautiful marine bushes to find Nilu di’s home.

I didn’t know that there are so many wonders awaiting me in their homes. I realized probably Nilu di used to enjoy that ravishing world rather than being afraid of Golu dada. I learnt real Golu dada of marine life is not that dangerous. I promise, try Scuba diving in Goa once and you will write your own complete stories of amazement”.

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The best curator

Gone are the days when we had to visit places to curate stuff for our need. Now the things that we wish to buy are available at our fingertip in our drawing rooms. When many of our purchases are moving to online buys, many of us are also turning to websites that can curate products of our need from different websites. Zap Store is one such website and our job is made easy by this site by comparing price of different online stores and giving us best deals available online.

The concept used by Zap Store is social selling concept. Buyers create their online zap store profile by collating products from various online stores and their followers buy products based on these information. One can also share the product information on Facebook with one’s friends.

Social sharing

To create a profile on the Zap store, one can either use one’s FB credentials or signup with the site using email and phone number. After signing up one is asked to select products of one’s choice from the available categories –

Pick category

One needs to select at least five categories to begin with. Icons on the website are self-explanatory and one can pick and choose their categories according to their preferences.

Products are compared between several online stores including the following which gives us a sufficiently reasonable data to compare and pick products of our choice. This comparison in a way ensures that a buyer from Zap Store gets only the best deal available online–

Choos brands

What makes it more rewarding experience for a buyer is the reward points one get once a purchase is made from one’s zap store. The website displays the reward rates like this –

Reward

One can create a store by selecting products from Zap and share on social network. The website provides very simple navigation with two tabs – Social and E-Commerce. Social tab gives selected products from the Zappers in the social network of the person. The e-commerce tab gives selected products that one wants to buy online. This depends on the categories one select while creating one’s zap profile.

The E-commerce tab also gives best offers on various products. One can pick and choose from those products. If one likes any product one can share the same in social media. The website also gives easy sharing options on computer browser and through its mobile app. Instructions available on the site shows how easily one can be a social media referrer of a host of products.

I have selected some products and created my own store of a few products that I found suits my choice and need. My store has products that I need the most now. You can visit my zap profile (https://zapstore.com/s/parthasadhukhan) to have a look –

My zap store

Even though the website has a good concept on social marketing and a very easy navigation to help anyone browse through products of one’s need, creation of the store and comparing prices from various e commerce sites are still not perfect. For many products I did not find comparison between more than two sites. Also I felt that categories listed on the website are very few. In our daily life we need more categories and I hope that those will be added soon.

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I am making my own store for the #BestZapStore activity at BlogAdda in association with Zapstore.

The photo that captured me

My Pic

A picture says a thousand words.

But to make a picture speak thousand words we need an expert lens behind.

That is how photographer Supranav Dash has captured a warrior here and tells a story that touches many lives.

But why is this picture so special?

What does a half dressed, tired, half asleep man in a neatly organized, well ventilated but hardly furnished flat signify? Why is there a tiger above the man? Why is the tiger coming out of the photo frame? Why is there a flower vase in one corner and why is hardly any furniture seen in the house?

This photo captured through a professional lens signifies the life and story of a warrior. A tiger reborn out of his consistent fight with a determination to bring about a social change. The tiger in the man comes out of the set prejudices of being within a frame and thus coming out to show his presence. The tiger is looking above signifying the progress and vision of change that it has in its eyes. The flower vase signifies peace and all that is beautiful in life. The warrior is tired and may be half asleep in this frame but his beautiful dream is all about a positive social change.

The well ventilated and well-lit house depicts a bright future envisioned by the warrior. The neat interior of the house depicts the clean lifestyle with bare minimum necessities. This sacrifice of luxury items is an important trait of any warrior who wants to bring about change.

This picture also shows no trace of any other family member in the house. Depicting the man may be living alone there. In fact, that is how his life story goes about. Once a family man with a kid he now lives alone after divorce and separation from his wife. His wife took away the furniture and other luxury items from home and now he is living alone. But this solitary life did not bring loneliness in his life. He performs all his daily household work and also takes care of his professional life.  Other than this normal life of a simple Indian man he also works for the welfare of other Indian men and boys. He consistently thinks about different ways to fight against the gender hatred created in the society in the name of feminism.

This picture not only tells us a story about Indian divorces but this also shows that not all solitary lives need to be in deep depression. This is not a mere picture. It is a story that gives us a hope, a hope that can change many lives.

That is why this photo touched my heart, inspired thousands including me other than the fact that photographer Supranav Dash had in fact captured me in this photo.

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Advice that mattered

Dreaming Kid
Kids have thousand dreams, but most dreams die premature

All kids live in a world of dreams. In their dreams rainbow has more than seven colours, clouds can take them to other galaxies, stars are blinkering angels that invite them to play in the ground of blue sky. In their dream world kids can speak with animals, get messages from birds or hear music in trees nodding their branches in the rhythm of air. These dreams are awesome because these create great inventions. If we did not dream we would not have achieved so many difficult feats.

But can we achieve everything on our own, without any motivation from others? Many our dreams get suppressed under piles of responsibilities and huge pressure from social norms. That is the reason we see good sportspersons ending up in being salespersons, good painters writing software codes for a living and good photographers ending up in Engineering jobs.

When we see our dreams can’t get us big money or have little acceptance from the society we live in, we let them die immature. Dreams die only to create thousands more unless we settle for those socially accepted and rewarding ones.

When asked about their dream of future, kids choose a profession that gives money, ensures pride. That is how we inculcate our dreams. But not all dreams can be realized with ease. Some dreams can’t be acquired by hard work and without some natural talent. I had a dream that needed talent and I was not sure if I had any.

All my friends chose to be Doctors, Engineers, CAs, Pilots, Soldiers under the pressure of society. Even my parents taught me that if I selected any of the above dream, I could pursue any other dream that I might have. But their insistence was that I choose one from the above as my primary dream.

But our dreams can’t be contained within set social boundaries. The Beautiful mind wanders widely in search of happiness that these set dreams can’t provide. So even though I did let my mind fly high in my childhood and did try to pursue a dream that my heart wanted, that died unnatural death without the realization of my true potential. I abandoned the dream and punished my heart with a wrongful conviction that I did not have skills good enough to pursue my dream.

So in the marketplace called our “education system” where our dreams are traded everyday, where many of our true desires are thrown into the junkyard and where new man made dreams are created, I became an Engineer. In other word I became a new money making machine that could serve any industry and that was capable of providing for others. My secret childhood desire was buried deep inside my heart and gone into oblivion. The condition was such that I completely forgot that secret desire, my memories were washed away that I had ever pursued that dream.

But sometime life do give back unexpected rewards. In my case the reward came from a distant man who until then did not meet me. He recognized my talent and pursued me to follow that dream, buried under a pile of different expectations. From my emails sent out a self-help group, he identified my writing talent and advised me to pursue writing seriously. Initially, I was hesitant as I was not very sure about my skills. It reminded me of my buried childhood passion but I was not sure about the feasibility of the same in present age. Moreover, his request was to write about something that was not socially acceptable and was hated about during that time.

But I was always open for new challenges in life and I always believed that no good thing was ever achieved without any challenges; and if that happens, the achievement loses its value. That is why I have taken up the daunting task of writing for Men’s Rights during December 2012 the most adverse time Indian men could have in recent times.

Today I write poems, stories, fiction, shayaris, and what not for a highly debatable cause – Men’s Rights. Do men really need any right? My achievements in doing so, making the change happen in the society from a completely adverse situation in Dec 2012 to favourable situation today where even National Commission for Women and celebrities talk about men’s rights or misuse of women centric laws, makes me feel like a winner. Those 1000 rupees vouchers won for my stories give me more satisfaction than getting a much higher salary. Someone rightly said, money is a very lower level need of a human being. Self-Actualization is the need that can give us a meaningful life. I have achieved that through the advice of an unknown and distant man.

*The author also maintains the blog http://www.themalefactor.com

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I am blogging about my dreams and the people who helped make them true for the #AdviceThatMattered activity at BlogAdda in association with Stoodnt.

India in 2050

2050

“Hello Kalpana, wake up!!” Mihir’s voice did not hide irritation.

He did not know when did his wife Kalpana return. 4 AM or later. Last night she had to visit Batra’s house. Mr. Batra was alone there. His wife went to see Rohan, a college student who lives. Women in their locality like him. Some like Mrs. Batra openly express their desire about him. Women are very open about their choices today. They don’t hide their feelings. Guys like Rohan are really lucky bastards.

Mr. Batra fixed an all-night stint with Kalpana. Mihir knew about it. It was Kalpana informed Mihir about her plans for that night.

Kalpana is the mother of two. Both her kids go to school. Kalpana does not remember their biological fathers. Every night, after her whole night stint with her partners when she comes back home she does not remember anything.

Kalpana opened her eye slightly. Mihir was standing there in his undies.

“It’s 12 pm sweetheart, wake up”, Mihir said. Saira was clinging to his neck. Mihir could have invited her last night to stay together.

Slim, petite Saira looks gorgeous in her nightdress. But today she wore only piece of cloth around her waist. Probably just wrapped around something in haste as their night stint would not have gotten over.

Kalpana’s children Sayan and Riya had gone to school already. Poor fellas, don’t get proper attention from their mother.

Kalpana wakes up and prepares to freshen up.

Their maid had prepared tea already. She just needed to warm it up.

“Saira, how was your last night with Mihir”, Kalpana asked loudly.

“Oh, it was fantastic, Kalpi”, Saira Replied. Mihir used Viagra though.

“Viagra, oh god..Mihir you are only 48, why Viagra from now? Why don’t you see a good doc?” Kalpana complained.

“I will, honey”, Mihir shouted. He added “actually Nayantara aunty had spoilt my desire”.

“Don’t blame it to Nayantara, Mihir. My dad says she has all ingredients to liven up a dead man. You probably have become worse”. Kalpana’s reply was full of sarcasm.

“Well, I gotta go out. Have a date with Pinky today. May not come back tonight. Hope you will be there when Sayan and Riya comes home”. Mihir asked Kalpana. He was almost ready to go out.

“What time are they returning?” Kalpana asked.

“May be around 3”.

“Ok”.

 

The big wall clock sounded sweet melody three times to tell the world that it was time for the children to come home. The school vehicle was in time. Kalpana was ready in her best attire.

Ding Dong!! It was Sayan and Riya.

Both children were very enthusiastic to see their mother in a sexy satin dress.

“You look sexy Kalpi”, Sayan rooled his eyes as he commented.

Riya only looked at askance to her and said, “mom, give me 5000 bucks, we are going to booze tonight”.

“Sure dear, but don’t be late at night. Mihir and I will be out whole night, so you guys need to take care of home”, Kalpana said.

“Again, mom. So where are you going tonight”, Riya asked.

“I will be with your Jatin uncle. He is alone tonight and invited me for spending one night. So be like gooood girl, okay?”

…….

…….

Welcome to 2050 India. Completely liberated from all clutches of oppression of patriarchy, where women are liberated and when our sexual fantasies are not only limited within adults. Check out a completely liberated India.

Male and Female Prostitution is legal today.

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To my oldest friend

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Dear friend, today in one remote corner of my mind, I remember you my oldest friend. Not that it was a compulsion but it was inevitable. You may find it little artificial as it is just before the Friendship Day. Why is such a day celebrated? If friendship is such a treasured relation then why do we need a special day to remember our friends? Aren’t the friends supposed to be in our minds all the time? Then why do we forget them so easily or why can’t we keep in touch with them regularly?

Today, our busy lifestyle has forced our relations to take a backseat. You know that we don’t even talk to our mother daily. We have become so busy. While we work in cities far away from our hometowns, we even don’t get a chance to take care of welfare of our families. In cities like Kolkata, where I belonged to, jobs are scared, so we had to migrate to other cities. This migration has taken us away from many – including our most precious relations.

Relations are made and are broken or gets faded with time. Some faded relations still keep coming back during most lonely times or at some special moments that make those memories precious. Sometimes these memories keep reminding us about how unique and different the relation was.

As humans, very often we set expectations from a relationship and when the expectations are not met we get frustrated and the relationship becomes sour. Probably our childhood relations are best in that perspective. These are made without any boundaries, without any expectations, so these become precious and divine.

There was love, there was hate; there was sadness, there was happiness, there was joy, fulfilment and mother’s scolding. Our meetings most of the time were secretive; because for my mother it was unwarranted. Really, elders never understand what a child mind undergoes. I had no reservation in me when I extended my friendship to you, I am sure you too didn’t have any. But why were our mothers like that?

My mother used to think that you or your family members might harm. Oh! I forgot ask you ever about your family members. Who all you had in your family? Did you have any family? I have never seen them with you. Or probably I had seen but could not recognize them. For me, only you were different and everyone else from your group was same. You might have seen my mother, brother and father as well – didn’t you? Did they look all the same to you? I guess not.

I didn’t know your age when we met. It was not important to be friends either. We met and we continued to meet because both of us wanted to, because both of us found it enriching for our lives to meet and continue meeting. But you know friend, today I know someone’s age before I try to be friends with that person. We also know gender, religion, race etc. when we get into any relation. Well, some new age reformers may refute my claim, but believe me all these man made differences makes a lot of difference in our relations including friendship. Probably that is the beauty of childhood friendships. We don’t look for any gain from that relationship and because we don’t, we have most fulfilling and most rewarding relation in our childhood.

I was only five. My tiny legs were strong enough to run with you, my little hands were nimble enough to catch you, my brain was developed enough to understand your language. Btw, I have never asked you this as well – which language did you speak? You know what, I wonder how could I understand your language without knowing the same. It was surely not my language, my mother or anyone else in my home didn’t speak that language, I didn’t go to school that time so there was no questions of learning that language in school. It is amazing how I could still understand your language. I remember, I used to speak in my language – Bengali. You still could understand every single word I had spoken – how could you, my little friend? Hehe, silly me, I don’t even know how could I do the same and I am asking you this question.

I remember, that mostly we used to meet at the remote corner of our rooftop and under the big banyan tree near the crossroads. We used to share nuts and at times other fruits. Let me tell you that I didn’t like the stuff that you used to bring. I told you many times, but you didn’t listen. Probably you liked them very much like I used to like fish. Btw, did you like fish? I could never get a chance to get a fish for you. My mother and my grandmom was always around our kitchen. They had never allowed me to steal a fish from the kitchen, and my mom used to separate fish bones and give me only lumps of flesh. I was never allowed to roam around while eating, else mommy beating….hehe.

I don’t know how many days, weeks or months we were like this. I didn’t keep any record of this. Then my parents admitted me to a school. I was wondering if you were also admitted to a school by then, I wished you were.

Then our meetings became irregular. As I hardly used to get any time after my school hours. I didn’t go to any private tuition but my school friends who lived nearby used to take me to the high grounds to play. My parents also encouraged me to go with them. They spoke my language, they shared my emotions, they shared their friends with me and many of us became long term friends thereafter. But I never shared you with them. I never told them that I had a friend like you. Probably I was scared, probably I thought if they inform my parents, they would scold me. So I kept this a secret. You know, this was the reason why I could not invite you to my first ever birthday. But I went to the banyan tree with my birthday cake, I thought you would come. You didn’t.

Then our meeting frequency decreased. It was mostly due to my tight schedule. I saw you a couple of times when my father used to take me to school, you were hiding behind the big tree. Once I saw you on the boundary wall of Mitra’s. Even their son Blitu was my friend. Was he your friend too? I didn’t know.

One day I stopped seeing you. I didn’t know if you simply didn’t come or your parents had taken you some other place, like I shifted my house now to Bangalore. Initially, I thought you would come. I wished everything was well with you, I wished that your mom didn’t scold you, I wished your family members were well, I wished we would meet the next day, I wished….., I wished so many things.

You didn’t come the next day as well. Then I prayed to my god. You know we have crores of Gods. Lord Siva was my favourite. Lord Ganesha too. I prayed to both of them. When nothing happened, when you didn’t come, I prayed to Durga maa as well. Durga maa is the most celebrated God for us. We Bengalis go mad during her puja. Everything in Bengal changes, everyone becomes very happy. I prayed to her that she helped me find you, but she didn’t.

I cried a lot, no one knew why. I didn’t tell anyone. I was deeply sad, no one could help me. Probably, I was at fault. I was so busy with my school and school friends that I ignored you, probably I had taken you for granted. You never told me anything before leaving me.

One day I told my mom about you leaving me. You won’t believe my squirrel friend that she was happy. She told that you would bite me or harm me. I told, you didn’t – never, ever, never ever……She still thought it was good. She suggested I moved on with my other friends who were humans and who understood my language.

 

Squirrel
Squiky..

This Friendship Day, I remember you my oldest friend. After so many years I want to give you a name – “Squiky”. I don’t know where you are but wherever you are hope you are fine. We didn’t have any custom of taking selfie so we did not have one. In fact, we have no picture together. But as that tiny heart grew bigger, the memories of my sweet little squirrel friend is etched in my memories permanently. All the best “Squiky”.

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