Not free, this is the price you pay for your selfie obsession

The selfie you take on your mobile, is not free. Selfie obsession is a form of psychological disorder that psychologists worldwide are concerned of. The mobile camera revolution that brought a front camera was taken well by the younger generation as it made taking self-images so much easier. There was a time when taking a selfie and posting the same on social media and getting instant likes was a craze among the youth. In fact, even India’s Women and Child Development Ministry (WCD) has also created a campaign called ‘Selfie with daughter’ to promote ‘save the girl child’ campaign. US president Barrack Obama’s selfie once taken Twitter on storm.

Taking selfie and posting them on social media was such a craze that certain mobile manufacturers specially cashed on the same craze and brought mobile phones specifically for taking selfies. There is one mobile brand that has even separated cameras for taking self-image and a group selfie. However, psychologists have warned that this obsession of taking selfies shows a form a psychological disorder.

The term selfie denotes picture of one’s own self. This is very useful in today’s world of lonely people and sole travelers. Selfie stick is another innovation that has made the job even easier. Now a photo can be shot without any help and with better clarity and angle.

The Selfie Disorder

Psychologists say that one’s selfies obsession comes with a greater price as it denotes self-obsession. In their ‘Dark Triad’ study, Paulhus, D. L., & Williams, K. M has studied Narcissism, Psycopathy and Machiavellianism along with self-objectification and found that such people are manipulative in their dealing with others.

To understand how selfie obsession and posting them on social media denotes psychological disorder we need to understand certain psychological terms. ‘Narcissists’ are those who are highly obsessed with themselves and always need to be admired by others. They have a sense of superiority. Pasycopaths are those who lack empathy for others and want to take the hardest revenge. Machiavellianism is manipulating others without trying to understand others’ needs.

Fox, J., & Rooney, M. C. have tested the correlation between Dark Triad and Selfie obsessiveness in 2015. This study revealed that both narcissism and self-objectification were associated with spending more time on social media and with more photo editing. Posting a lot of selfies on social media was associated with both narcissism and psychopathy.

One interesting fact that came out in this study was that people high in psychopathy didn’t care much about editing their selfies online. Researchers felt that was because they lacked self-control.

There are other psychological studies that showed that people high on self-esteem may be associated with narcissism and those who are low in self-esteem, they do self-objectification. These people tend to not only edit their photos but always try to look good to others.

Another study showed greater Facebook use may be related to narcissism and low self-esteem. Some researchers in Poland has found a distinction in selfie posting behavior and narcissism. According to them women who post more selfies may be admiration seeking people.

So you understand that the selfie you take on your mobile actually come with a higher cost associated with it. This is related to your mental health concerns. However, researchers have so far only found moderate correlation between selfie obsession and psychological illness. They say that more research is needed in this area to establish these facts with good statistical significance. So, until that happens, don’t blame your friends for their selfie obsession. We still need to be cautious about that.

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How being Indian helped my family

It was 2006 when my grandfather diagnosed of diabetes. He used to drink moderately but his chain smoking was said to be the cause.

Since ours was a joint family where my uncles lived with us, we were always self-reliant. Everyone was available during emergency situations. Though we were very upset of this, we were confident that he would be cured by best of medical access that we had.

Initially the treatment started with local doctors and soon he had to start going to Kolkata for better treatment. Doctors curtailed his smoking and food that increased blood sugar levels. Apart from this, he needed to take insulin injection daily.

Four years have passed like this when in 2010 we realized that his situation was not improving but deteriorating with age. By then he had developed heart problems, eye problems, and knee joint problems. He was more than 80 years of age and these came with additional issues.

By that time, we had already started expecting his death anytime. It was painful for us as well. Being asthmatic from an early age, his heart problems added to his painful life. I still remember those nights when he used to wake up and gasp for breathing. Soon he would start feeling very hot and sweat all over. None of us could withstand those sights and some of our family members started praying for his death, too.

This was the time when in April 2010 one of my cousin sister got married. Her in-laws were ardent followers of Ayurveda and Naturotherapy and great follower of Baba Ramdev. Her father in law suggested we visit Baba’s healing camps to see if this could be cured.

Food
Patanjali Swatwik Ahar

It was difficult for us to wait for a camp in Kolkata, rather we decided to visit the Patanjali Ashram in Haridwar and accordingly in Nov 2010 we landed up in Haridwar.

Our aim was to be in Patanjali Ashram for two weeks and get the healing done and then continue with the medication and treatment at home. Truly speaking none of our family members expected complete cure but we wanted alleviation of pain.

Steam Bath
Patanjali Water jet center

In the ashram it was a completely unforeseen diet for him. Bitter Gourd juice, Gurmar leaves, bael were some of the herbs he was given. There were other herbs and vegetables added too but I don’t remember them now. What I remember is he was forced to get up at 4:30 every day and go out for brisk walk and pranayama sessions in the morning. After morning pranayama and yoga session his diet included fruits, leafy vegetables, sprouts etc. Something that we could never follow in home.

In addition to change in diet there were some other therapies that he had undergone. These included hydrotherapy and mud therapy. He liked that massage with mud and hot water jet treatment the most. Therapists told us that both were for removing his body toxins and improving blood circulation.

Patanjali Mud Therapy
Mud therapy

My father and I accompanied my grandfather there so we used to attend the pranayama and yoga sessions as well. We thought of learning some of the Asanas ourselves and practice them for a better living. As Babaji says often, some of these Pranayams like Kapalbhati, Anulop-Bilop and Bhastrika Pranayam can cure any disease and I still practice them daily.

After coming back to Kolkata we found significant improvement in grandfather’s life. We all became very happy and relaxed after his cure. But we could not follow the Ashram diet for long. It was very difficult for the city dwellers like us to continue. But Yoga and Pranayams kept him healthy for long. Soon he could stop taking daily dose of insulin as well.

After that he lived for exactly three more years. My grandfather passed away in early 2014 under normal circumstances. The lessons we learnt from traditional Indian therapies taught us how to live healthy and relaxed life throughout. Today, I have made it a yearly practice to visit Patanjali ashram and rehears the good habits that traditional Indian lifestyle teaches us.

Indian culture and traditions can help us win any adversaries. Even German Airliner Lufthansa realized that. This TV commercial tells us more on why we should strive to retain that indianness that is very close to our hearts –

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Vive la vida en grande

grand-hotel-kolkata
Image courtesy – The Oberoi Grand

It was a hot summer morning in Kolkata. I was married just two weeks ago and it was time for me to leave for Chennai – my workplace with my newly wedded wife. It was a lot of excitement and suspense ahead of us. Both of us were thrilled to share a new life away from our parents. For me it was a lot of added responsibility in a not so known city.

That day we got up at 5:30 am. We had to be ready for departure by at least 7 am to reach airport by 8. We had more than 7 luggage with us. I have booked our tickets six months in advance in January so we just needed to land up at Kolkata Airport.

Our flight was at 10 am. Main concern for us was the number of bags we were carrying and we didn’t want any delay.

After struggling with the small mountain of luggage and the nearly not functioning two trolleys at Kolkata airport, we finally reached the Air Sahara counter by 8:30.

I was pleasantly surprised to find the counter empty except one single staff. Lucky me, I thought. When I approached the counter with a print out of my air ticket in hand and showed that to her, she was looked at me as if I were a ghost. Well, it is worth mention here that my wife was very beautiful at that time and as a newly-wed she was wearing some gold jewelry too. In short, she was looking ravishing and I couldn’t tolerate another woman ogling at her.

Soon my misconception about that weird look has gone as she clarified that Air Sahara had suspended their Chennai operation six months ago.

Now it was my turn to give her that weird look back.

Surely enough my wife was even more nervous and I knew that her jewelry had added to her concern. The Air Sahara staff informed us calmly that we needed to go back home. I started fighting with them as we were not informed about the suspension of their operation and demanded they did book us in an alternate flight.

The staff claimed that they had informed every person and clearly I was not informed. So they asked me from where we came and I told them that we came from a village. Well, I had to tell them a lie as otherwise they would have sent us back to our home in Kolkata. I thought they would then be forced to give us another flight quickly, which they did but it was only in the evening that day.

We were not sure how to spend the 10 hours, one male staff of the airline approached us. He helped us to keep our luggage in their office and leave with him. They were giving us an accommodation for the time.

Soon, we were seated in a luxury sedan and heading towards The Oberoi Grand. We were soon heading for a royal treat.

There were very less formalities at the reception and soon we were in a honeymoon suit. Both of us were very amazed with this unexpected treat. ..and Our honeymoon started.

In the room, we first made a few phone calls to our family members informing them that landed up in The Grand and they were happy at the unexpected turn of events, too.

Soon we were very hungry as both of us took breakfast very early that day. So we didn’t want to waste much time before we headed towards the restaurant.

As soon as we arrived there all eyes were on us. People easily understood that we were a newly wedded couple. Some people wished us and some others just smiled from a distance. It was a celebrity like feeling.

We were given two different choices of menu that included alcohol menu. We were not very sure if there was any restriction in food, so we wanted to restrict our choice. After a lot of dilly-dallying and maneuvering through tongue twister names, we decided to order two fancy named pizzas. We could not utter the name, just pointed at them while ordering. We were almost dying in hunger so ordered two pizzas first with a thought that we will order something else later.

My heart almost came out of my mouth when one pizza was delivered. It was a real shocker. It was jumbo pizza that we had not seen before. Our hunger was almost dead by then. Canceling the order was not possible so we had get the other one packed for night.

One pizza was so heavy for two of us that after finishing that we had to order a mocktail to help digest the food. The amazing taste of food, amazing warmth of the people around and the overall ambience were making us feel like a royal couple. We both were feeling very romantic.

Needless to say that after our lunch we didn’t want to go around the hotel. There was some invisible force that sucked us into our room and onto the bed. The royal experience also included our first royal sex in the honey moon room of The Grand.

I still wish if our love express could sustain longer but we were given a time to report at the lounge to be taken back to the airport. So we had no choice but to restrict ourselves.

Our waiting at the hotel lobby was made special by the warm greetings of the hotel staff and we wished the experience did not end there. But our car arrived soon.

This time it was even a higher end luxury car. I don’t remember the make now but I was not able to believe in my eyes when the chauffer opened the door and smiled at us.

As we were leaving the grandeur palace, someone whispered in my ears – “Vive la vida en grande”. I looked around, it seemed that The Grand was waiving at us and whispering those words. Vive la vida en grande – “Live a Grand life”.

Inside we were romantic again.

***

“I am blogging about my luxury stay experience for an activity at BlogAdda in association with MakeMyTrip

Magic of warmth

child-and-father

Tears rolled down his cheeks as he wept silently.

He realized, his daddy no longer loved him. His daddy was angry. His papa’s rolling big eyes, stubborn tough face showed him the terror. Little Piku knew he had done something that he always wanted to do and his parents have always restricted him to do. He was only two years old and only sometime ago he started running around. In his view their two bed room flat was not big enough. There were restriction too. There was one room that had been always restricted to him.

Little Piku never understood why that room was prohibited for him. He was allowed to peek inside the door while his parents worked inside. Whenever he tried to enter, either of his parents had prevented him or took him outside.

Running around, jumping on the chair or banging his tricycle against the wall were all allowed. Even relentless jumping on the bed and disturbing parents’ sleep in the morning was also allowed but not entering this room. He had climbed onto his small cupboard, he threw away mobile phones to his neighbor’s house, he pounced on his father’s laptop and taken out a key and was never rebuked so hard.

Piku never understood why access to that one room was prohibited for him. One day when his mother was sleeping in the afternoon, he got up early and tried to venture into this room. But his mama had kept the door closed. The latch was too tight for him to open. He tried hard but failed. Piku only wished he was stronger.

His parents called him a naughty boy so everyone else called him a naughty boy too. They never understood that boys were supposed to be like that – ever active, ever filled with energy, enthusiasm, joy. He also mastered some tricks to melt his angry parents. Just a tight hug, a light peck or a sweet sounding mama or papa would have been enough.

But nothing worked that day.

His papa was very angry with him and Piku really didn’t do much.

That day his papa forgot to close the door of that room tightly. Little Piku got a chance to sneak into the room when his papa was taking bath. Inside the room was a very different world. He silently pulled a small stool inside and tried climbing up when something fell down with a thud spilling his milk and breaking a glass.

His father was quick to come out of the bathroom and ran towards this room.

Yes, as a father I had to scold Piku hard that day because he had not only entered our kitchen but spilled the hot milk and could have met with a serious accident that we always feared.

When I came out after cleaning the kitchen, I saw him sitting silently on our bed. Face down, tears still rolling down his cheeks. He was really upset as I had never scolded him so hard before.

I went to him and gently took me on my lap. He started crying loudly on my shoulder while clinging onto my neck. The magic of warmth of his tender touch melted away all my anger.

***

Dear Zindagi

Dear Zindagi,

It feels great to connect with you at this crossroad of life. You are like an uncertain train journey for me, it has a start point and so far it followed different tracks to reach where I am today. You are still uncertain to me as I am not sure of my destiny.

I have started my journey with you four decades ago. As every train journey takes time to gain top speed, you were initially slow moving for me too. That’s is why, dear Zindagi I think you were awesome in my childhood. But once you have taken up speed like a real life express train you have hardly stopped. But this does not mean you had not stopped or slowed down at all. Those pauses were much needed breaks in my life. It was more like express trains stopping at railway junctions.

I remember that until 6 years of age you were very slow. At the age of six when I started going to school you took up speed. Still you were awesome. As it happens at the initial part of train journey we try to know our co-passengers. Everything and all strangers we meet in train brings a surprise to us and the same happened to me once I stepped out of my home. The world was new to me and I was trying to know every new friend or person I met. All of them taught me some lessons.

From the start of my journey I noticed that whenever my track crossed someone else’s track either one of us paused for a while as it happens in every level crossing. Sometimes a passenger train coming from opposite direction but sharing the same track stops while another passes by. Pedestrians and other vehicles stop at level crossing to allow the faster trains to pass by. Sometimes trains are stopped at different stations to allow those vehicles. In my life too I have waited for others at different cross roads. There were people who waited for me too. Many of these people who waited at those cross roads didn’t even know me. Most of them I didn’t know. Still we gave way to each other to avoid mishaps. Probably that is your rule – dear zindagi.

A train stops at important junctions to refill essential supplies. Like dear zindagi you stopped when I passed my class X board exams. The three months gap I got before I got admitted to higher secondary education passed in a jiffy. It was like a long haul in an important junction. When my zindagi’s train started again it went in a direction I never thought of.

Some of other important life events where my zindagi stopped for a while. When my grandma died, when we shifted to a new house, when I got into engineering, when I got into a prestigious institute, when I got my first job, when I got married, when my child was born, when I got divorced – were all important cross roads. These were like stations where my life stopped for sometime to collect important supplies. These supplies were important life lessons I learnt.

Dear zindagi, you have many other similarities with a long distance train journey. Very often we look at you like we look through the small windows of train. So our vision becomes narrow. We don’t realize how BIG and varied the outside world is. Some of us keep the window closed and do not try to realize that there exists a large and mighty world. They think that the world is as small as they can see inside the train coaches.

Dear zindagi, sometimes our life’s train gets derailed and we meet with accident. In real life train journeys there is hardly any chance of a derailed train to come back on track, but you dear zindagi allow us to come back on track. If it gets derailed permanently we may lose your company for good.

Dear zindagi, you run on many tracks for different destinations. You change your course while running and I don’t know where you are destined to for me and I love you for that, because if I knew my destiny probably my journey with you would have been boring.

Please be awesome like this forever. Dear zindagi, I am yet to see complete you and I am loving this.

Yours truly..

***

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.

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.

***

To my oldest friend

wowbadge

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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Jungle Book – Some memories to cherish

Jungle book
Jungle Book in Cinemas soon

I remember Sunday mornings in my childhood days used to be fun. In those days in my childhood we had a TV in a neighbour’s house. My family did not even own a TV but that was not a constraint for having fun. We all brothers used to gang up in that house to watch non stop kids’ entertainment on Doordarshan. The only channel in those day.

The jungle book or the adventures of Mowgli was a thrill for us boys to watch on. Every time we saw him sustaining all odds in the fiercely dangerous forest among the deadly creatures we used to get amazed and learn a lot of tricks needed in life. But all of that went in our subconscious mind without us realizing the importance of Jungle Book characters that we can understand today.

Especially for me when I look back at the jungle book story Mowgli becomes my first hero. In that tiny age with his cute yet bold acts he had shown us the importance of valor that I can never forget. In my childhood I took him only as character whom I envied because of his free lifestyle. He was free with all deadly beasts that even our elders were afraid of. Everytime I saw him in action, I remembered myself in his position and imagined how even elders would praise my valor when I became like him. Well, that was all imagination, something that all kids are good at. I am not sure if that was what eventually made me a strong and daring person who could take on any challenges.

As I grown older I understood the significance of other characters of the jungle book as well. It became a mirror of the society we lived in.

The character of Baloo, the bear who gave Mowgli hard lessons of the jungle reminded me of those friendly mentors who came in touch of my life at different stages and taught me important lessons of life. It was not one person who did it to me like Baloo did to Mowgli but they all were Baloo for me. The reason this character may be favourite among many is because of his friendly and witty nature. Baloo did crack jokes at times.

Bagheera, the black panther was not my favorite. In fact, I didn’t like him though he was friendly with Mowgli. I was always fearful of him, his burning eyes used to create fear in me. However, this character today reminds me of the people around who may not seem too friendly in first glance but are not harmful or may be helpful as well. I know that my life would be a lot easier if I could identify them easily.

Shere Khan was painted as a negative character in the story but I still did not hate him. I am a Leo so I appreciated lions always. Except the meanness in his character a lion was supposed to be deadly for me and that was the challenge. I always felt that a meek and friendly lion who is like a cat should not exist. Mowgli was my hero because he could take on this deadly beast by his intelligence and bravery.

In today’s life we find a lot of characters similar to Shere Khan. Only difference is, it became lot more harder to recognize them. So I feel Shere Khan can’t be hated for teaching Mowgli the lesson of life the difficult way.

I am glad to know that The Jungle Book is back again for today’s kids as a movie releasing on 8th April. We have watched this series as a comic series on DD in ‘80s. It left lasting memories in us. It kept us busy on many weekends and left us thinking about Mowgli and his dangerous yet easy life. I am not sure how much of that imagination can come back in the lives of our kids today with the release of this movie, but I hope some of the lessons learnt from the characters will be passed on to those kids as well.

I am feeling like going back to those childhood memories again as the new version of the title track and Mowgli adventures coming to us very soon –

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