All posts by Shilpa

About Shilpa

A full time IT professional who recently found solace in writing too !!!!

Two worlds apart!!

It was the same old taunt again. Tina was fed up with having to deal with it again and again. It was the hundredth time she had explained things to her sister Veena but then she never understood. She just couldn’t think of a way to put things straight. She sat in her room gazing at the stars outside. She loved the view from her room, the beautiful sky and the lovely stars shimmering away. She felt a comfort which she didn’t feel anywhere else, a comfort as cozy as a mother’s lap to lie on and forget everything in life.

She kept wondering what had changed over the years. They had always been friends rather than sisters even though Veena was a good five years elder to her. They had a lovely childhood growing up in the picturesque Shimla. They both had been toppers all the way. While Veena chose to stick to her love for literature, Tina chose to study medicine in Bangalore and went on to become an accomplished neurosurgeon.  In course of time, Veena had got married to a man of her choice and moved to Bangalore. She had two lovely kids now.  The sisters were beyond happiness when Tina took Veena to show her new house. It was a beautiful villa. Tina handed over the keys to her sister and requested her to stay with her. Veena was besides herself with pride on the accomplishments of her sister. She moved in with her sister much against the wishes of her husband. Her husband had to reluctantly follow her. Tina had a hectic work schedule which often involved late nights.  Veena never complained. She looked after her like her own child. It was a perfect family or so it seemed.

Tina’s neighbour was a not so well to do family. The lady of the house was a mean lady who was jealous of the accomplishments of Tina who was almost half her age. She had wanted to become a actress during her younger years but was married off much against her wishes. The unfulfilled desire in her made her vent out on people who were successful. She slowly befriended Veena and started sowing seeds of jealously in her too. Her statements like “You are living on the leftovers of Tina, She is only showing off her wealth to you” made Veena uncomfortable. Veena was a simple lady not aware of the devilish ways of her neighbour but the strong statements of her neighbour had infiltrated into her mind. Veena’s husband saw this day in and day out and tried to reason out with his wife but she would not hear anything against their neighbour. After all, she was showing her the right way.

All this made Veena irritated and the irritation turned into jealously and anger. She started to pick on every single thing of Tina – her daily night routine, her expensive clothes, her car, her house, her income … just about everything. The anger was vented out on Tina everyday. “Can’t you come early?” “Can’t you maintain some sane hours?” “I don’t know what work you do that you have to stay so late in hospital. I also work but I am home at 5pm or is it that you don’t want to help me with the household work?” If Tina got anything expensive for her nephews, they were thrown out with the taunt “I know you are filthy rich and we can’t afford these things. So, don’t try to showoff to us”. Tina just couldn’t understand what had gone wrong with her sister. Her sister had no need to do any work in the house. There were a good number of helps to do the household work. Tina had never asked her to stay up late. She only wanted to be near her sister and her family. After all, they were the only family she had after her parents death and she dearly loved her nephews. They were her bundles of joy. Whatever she got for her, she thought it was her right over them. Veena’s husband saw the same drama day after day. He knew who was at fault and decided it was high time he moved his family away from Tina so that everyone was at peace. Veena was easily convinced this time. Tina was in tears when Veena’s husband told her about this. He made her understand the need to do this and Tina agreed with the hope that things would be sorted out soon.

The loneliness at home started to drive Tina mad. Tina could not figure what had made her sister so jealous of her. She started to spend all her free time at the hospital. In short, she had become a workaholic but beyond that it had affected her personality. A once cheerful person, she now went about her work mechanically. She had mood swings that her colleagues found difficult to deal with. One moment she was her normal self and the other she was raging at everyone. Her friend at work, Pia could understand her situation and was worried this may have adverse effect on Tina. She decided to talk to Tina’s sister and see if she could amend the situation. The meeting however turned out to futile. Veena was adamant on not meeting Tina.  Pia was left without an option but to leave things to time.

Jealously makes or kills a person. In the right way, it may induce a person to achieve new heights but in the wrong way, can turn a person’s life into ruins.

Butterfly Butterfly!!!

It was such  a beautiful day. Kini was happily running about in her garden playing with her pet dog romeo. She hated the rains. Rains depressed her. She loved the warmth of the sun, the brightness of the day and the constant chatter of birds. Her house had a beautiful garden where she could spend the entire day playing, singing, reading books and laughing away to glory at Romeo’s antics. Now, Romeo was a super excited, super playful dog. He just couldn’t sit idle and when he came to the garden, he was always busy running behind the bees, the birds and his own tail :P.

Kini left romeo to run behind his fantasies and took to her drawing book.  She could hear Romeo barking away to glory. She dimissed it as Romeo’s usual chanter.  A few minutes later and Romeo’s constant barking had become an irritation. Whatever had caught his attention, he wasn’t prepared to leave it. Kini got up and went towards him, admonishing him all the way for behaving in such a rude manner. But when she got there, Romeo’s fantasy caught her fantasy too. It was a big big ugly looking butterfly. The ugliness didn’t matter so much as the size. Kini had never seen such a big butterfly. She stared at it for a moment and then something struck her. She slowly tried to pick the butterfly but right at that moment, it flew away. She ran behind it, Romeo in tow.  The next 20 minutes were spent in trying to catch the butterfly but all in vain. The butterfly was giving her a tough time. Tired, Kini sat down right opposite to where the butterfly was resting now and kept staring at it.  This time the butterfly had a change of mind and came flying and rested at her feet. There was a twinkle in Kini’s eyes. She picked the butterfly and went running inside the house to show to her mother.

Her mother was also delighted on seeing the butterfly but told her “Kini dear, now be a darling and let her fly away. She too needs to go back to her family and her ma”. Kini say “Ma, please let me keep her for some days and then I will free her. I want to show her to my friends. Everyone will be so surprised”.  Kini’s ma said “I wouldn’t like you doing it but if it pleases you, then keep her but few days means few days only”.  “Thank you ma” Kini said and went running to her room.

She brought out a big glass jar from the storeroom and put the butterfly inside it and closed the mouth of the jar.  She made holes on the top of the jar so that the butterfly could breathe. Till now the butterfly had been still but finding itself free, it tried to flap its wings but the jar was just as big as her wings and there was no space for her to move. Sad, she hung to one side of the bottle and flapped her wings. Her eyes kept following Kini who was so excited about informing her friends about her new found discovery. Within  a few minutes, her friends from the colony started flowing in. Now everyone wanted to touch the butterfly but Kini wouldnt allow them to do that. The butterfly had become her prized possession.

She began to carry the butterfly to school, to tuition and everywhere else she went. Romeo was long forgotten. Romeo continued in pursuit of newer fantasies which he made sure he wouldn’t show off to Kini. Hurmph, how could she disregard him when he had been such a loyal pet for the past 3 years. “Bad girl Kini” 😦 😦 thought Romeo but what to do he still liked her. He thought that she would give up her fantasy for the butterfly soon like her other short lived fantasies.

Kini was however lost in her butterfly world. She had named her Miss.Che Che and talked to her a lot. The butterfly would just blink her tearful eyes at her and say nothing. Her ma’s few days had turned into a few months and Kini was least interested in giving freedom to her butterfly.  Her ma kept reminding her everyday but Kini kept evading. Her exams started and both Miss.Che Che and Romeo were forgotten.

On the last day of her exams, Kini returned home dancing as it was two whole months of summer to enjoy. She kept thinking of all the wonderful things she could do.  She went into her room and took the jar in her hands. She was telling Che Che about all the things they would be doing during the summer holidays. Out came Romeo out of nowhere and leapt on her. She lost her balance and the jar fell on the floor breaking into a thousand pieces. Che Che was free, she flapped her wings and then just flew away without looking back.

Kini cried the whole day. Romeo leapt on her and licked her all over the face and made the most cutest face he could. Kini smiled at him and out they went into the garden. Kini was back to her drawing and singing and Romeo to running behind his tail 😛 :P.

Are we all not like Kini? Running behind small time pleasures and leaving behind the things which have actually given us true happiness. Think about it!


The mesmerizer

The beautiful inner thought

The feeling unscathed

The mind in a whirlpool

The uneasiness unmatched

The fingers crossed

The body like a bird

The gush of fresh air

Purely divine

The tranquilizer

The poison

The adrenaline running deep down within

The touch of a feather

The flower gentle on your face

The cool breeze within

The turmoil

The possessive me

The scars unhealed

The passion

The path not tread

The distances unknown

The wretched me

The stinging pain

The agony

Love, the rainbow

Love, the sunshine

Love, the high

Love, the low

Love, the magic lore

Love, the love to fall for!!!


The phone rang. I eagerly picked up the phone and listened to the person on the other side. I was shocked… I hadn’t expected this. I was sure about getting this right. I cried the whole day. My mother’s consoling words wouldn’t help. At that age however, I didn’t have the maturity to understand that such things didn’t matter much. It was my 10th board exam results. I had been a topper throughout school time. 10th exam results used to be the most awaited occasion in our small town and I was sure about getting in the first 2-3 ranks. But it happened otherwise, my mom’s colleague had called to inform that I was no where in the rank list. My marks shocked me even more – a just pass mark in Hindi and English grammar. I felt I had let down my teachers and one of them being my mother. The reason was even more heart-wrenching. We were outsiders and not localites. No outsider could come in the top ranks of the rank list. This in-spite of the fact that my parents had educated so many of them for almost 30 years and yet we we got penalized for no fault of ours.

Moving forward by some days. My mom was sick and had been hospitalized. My aunt took me to a prayer meeting telling we will pray for your mom’s well being. I was shocked to see the crowd and above all the atmosphere where everyone seemed to be shouting instead of praying. I never knew this form of prayer. People crying, howling, crying for the holy spirit, the preacher shouting that a John has been healed and a Peter has been cured of his mental illness (In a group of thousands of christians you will find at least one John and one Peter). As my cousin rightly put it, “I don’t need a preacher to tell me to love my parents and brothers. Its inborn and I will always do”.

Moving forward by 2 years. It was engineering admission time. Counselling sessions were going on batch by batch. I entered the hall. Everything was a smooth process and I soon got my admission card. I came out happy as a bee as I had got admission in the branch and college I wanted. I was just looking at the admission board of my college. The open quota in my branch had been closed with me although I belonged to BC quota. Why? I had no idea.

Three different events and three different circumstances but left me pondering. One case I didn’t get what I wanted just because I wasn’t a localite, next case a religious sentiment was used to influence me in believing that a prayer meeting could cure my mom something which medical science couldn’t achieve and third someone in the open quota had been denied admission to our college. In earlier times, people of the upper caste oppressed the people of the lower caste. Now its vice versa. In the name of quota system, truly worthy people are denied college seats and jobs. Is it necessary?

I can pray for my mother to get well but I can’t refute the fact that its finally medical science which will save my mother. There are stories galore in our religious books of various miracles but its just the faith which keeps us going. I can only pray and think everything will be fine but I can’t control whatever is going to happen to my mom.

We say we have become modern in outlook and we are practical but are we really so? Doesn’t caste, creed really creep into our mind at some point of time or the other. In all the above situations, whatever I went through had been done by well educated people living in the modern society.  We are modern in flesh not in thoughts. We are biased, caste and creed matter to us, we live on our own terms thinking we are doing the right thing without thinking about the implications, religion takes precedence over medical science and we have combined all these with practicality due to which practicality has lost its meaning. We have many aunts and uncles who still think love marriages as taboo, girls wearing short skirts as immoral people, girls going for higher education as wrong as they wont get married and still say we are modern. What an irony!!!

By doing all this, what do we gain? Are we making the society a really better place for the future generations to live in and more primarily is it a better place for us to live in, are we really passing on true Indian values to our future generations, in short, are we right in being biased towards caste and religion? Our actions unknowingly affect many people. Stop and think!!!

“Jaago Mohan Pyare Subah ho gayi hai!!!”

And so you are back to India…..How do you feel?

This is a question everyone poses to me from the day I have come back to India. I really don’t know what I am supposed to reply to that. For the moment I say “Its fine but the traffic is bad” but has being 3.5 years away from my country really changed my view point about my country.  Lets look at what has changed between my going to Japan and back.

2007 2010
I complained about the traffic in India *No Change*
Life used to start very early in the morning as I had to catch the 6:25 bus and ended very late almost around 10:30 or 11pm as I was a fresher to the IT industry Life still starts very early in the morning but thankfully ends a little earlier by 9pm or so as I am no longer a fresher (Being in the same team for 4 years really helps 🙂 )
I complained about auto drivers taking more than the meter showed. *No Change* 

(Subway charges in Japan are more compared to the auto charges. The starting fare is 100 yen)

I hear metro is due to be started. Only time can answer this question.
I complained about the corrupt officials *No Change* 

Probably what I miss here is the sincerity and efficiency with which work is executed in Japan. No government office overcharges or takes under the benches. Everything is systematic. You need to fill the form and pay the minimal fees and goverment officials take care of the rest.

There were K serials at that time Now, there are A,K and S serials
Vegetables sold at lesser prices than in Japan Vegetables are targetting to reach the prices in Japan
Vehicles emitting pollution are visible everywhere The vehicles are still there but seem a little lesser these days
I totally love Indian food *No Change*
I wore salwars *No Change*
I barely spoke in hindi as I didn’t have many north Indian friends I speak in hindi only. Tamil has taken a backstage. I do speak but maybe not as much as hindi.
I celebrated only christmas and easter I celebrate every Indian festival
Every other road is dug up for laying cables or sewage or for laying road. *No Change*
Bikers dont follow signals *No Change*
Traffic jams are the order of the day *No Change*
I dont like the garbage thrown on the road *No Change*


So, as you can see most of the things related to India, in my perspective have remained unchanged. And am sure many of you may have the same perspective as well. So, does staying away from the country really change your opinion about the country. I really wonder. This place has been my home for almost a quarter of my life. I have lived across the country, seen people from different cultures, met people with different viewpoints and seen completely opposite natured people. I grew up in a small town, moved to the big city. I learnt to be strong willed and achieve my dreams. I made the best friends, friends whom I know will always be there when I need them. Then how can moving to a new country alienate you from all these things, how can it alienate you  from the country where you were born and brought up? Yes, I have heard many people complaining about India once they are back from USA or any foreign country. Why do they do so? One answer could be they become used to the facilities, the cleanliness, the systematic processes in the foreign country and get irritated on seeing the confusion which confounds most of our government offices. But I am also sure that anyone who was born and brought up in India and has not traveled to any  foreign country would also be in the same state.

For example, to get myself an ID card in Japan it took me precisely 30 minutes of form filling and paying the required fees. I just had to go back on the designated date and collect the card. No haggling over officials, no agents, no back-door fess, nothing. But in India to get the same ID card, its like a big achievement.  So, naturally when you see such a good thing in a foreign country, you only wish that India were like that. There is no egoism involved in this. Its just a pure, simple thought wishing our country were also like that.

Of course, I do agree there is a section of the “foreign-returned” crowd who seem to make use of their “foreign returned” status every now and then. These people have never belonged to the country. They are like nomads settling wherever they go and not rooting to any place. But the larger section like me who have seen the best phases of their life in this country, travelled in the heat and dust to school and college, ate road side snacks, bargained on the pavement shops, stood in long queues for tickets, giggled away to glory with friends in the canteen ever like the stiffness of people in foreign countries. Probably never. During my stay, I couldn’t make a single Japanese friend. Their culture and lifestyle never appealed to me. I couldn’t bring myself to mingle in a society which looks a facade. Of course, I can’t apply this rule to each and every one there and this is just my opinion. Some may differ on that.

Life goes on wherever we may stay. Staying away from a place doesn’t mean we lose our fondness for the place and staying in a place doesn’t mean we become attached to that place. I still long to go back to the place where I was born and brought up but circumstances and the situation there prevent me from doing so. However dirty, unclean, non-systematic this country maybe, its still my country. This perception will never change whichever place I might be. My roots may have been shaken for a small period of time but I have not been uprooted from this place.  It will take another tsunami to uproot me completely!