Monday, December 31, 2012

'Like' effects

These days we are so much dependent on social networking sites that it's very difficult for us to imagine a life without them. Life still looks better for people born before mid 80s, but the generation after that has been brought up with such things around them.

These days, wherever I go, I see people posing for pictures, get at least 100 clicked so that they have at least 30 odd pictures to upload on facebook. They want maximum likes on their pictures. The same gang will only comment on those pictures. They will discuss what they were doing when the picture was clicked, laugh, comment and be happy.
Next outing, repeat the same thing again.

Come to think of it, have you really enjoyed the place or shared enough laughs there? Or were you busy smiling and getting yourself clicked drinking, smoking, sticking your tongue out and making funny faces? That's fun too, but doing only that every time is a bit too much.

I am blessed with such friends too. But not all of them are like that thankfully. Some gatherings are full of pictures while during others we don't even remember that we should be clicking pictures. Yes pictures are memories, but what's the point of not creating the memory because you want to capture one?

I have nothing against those who upload each and every picture on facebook. I just don't believe in that concept anymore. Number of likes on a picture doesn't change my life in any manner (even though I get plenty of them), I like to change my pictures often as I get bored of my own face in same set up. 

Anyway to each one's own. The year ends, and the new one begins in a few hours. No I don't have/keep any resolutions. I am happy with my usual boring life. A lot happened in the last two months though, many things worth writing about, many things I felt strong for, I felt angry about and I was happy about. But I will write about some of them. Hope you have a good year ahead. Come to think of it, all the years are the same, right? To me at least.

Happy new year!

Monday, December 10, 2012


It has been more than three years since I started blogging. And it has been a wonderful journey for me so far. I have had more good experiences than bad ones, I have met more good people than bad ones, I have been praised and ridiculed. But those were the things of the past when I used to blog regularly. I was kind of popular and many people read me. Even when I used to write a pathetic post, or just plain rants, they read me and left comments.

There was one particular incident when someone wrote a post about me bashing me and my blog, my writing, my readers just because I had written some rants and got a few comments. She was shocked to see that and misquoted and misinterpreted me. But she was quite sensible subtle in her post and thus she never mentioned my name - real or pseudo; which happen to be the same. But recently I came across some incidences where other bloggers wrote some defaming posts about their fellow bloggers.

Not only on blogs, these days, people abuse others on various social networking sites like facebook and twitter too. Without knowing about the consequences of such comments. Well they are not entirely unaware about the consequences, for such things go viral pretty easily and quickly. When Bala Saheb passed away and a girl from Palghar posted one negative remark about the bandh due to his death. One of her friends liked the post. The next thing they knew that they were arrested for doing so. Just a facebook status got them arrested. At times we don't take the internet very seriously, but it can put you behind bars. One should be careful about what he/she posts on internet, whether it's defamatory or not - make sure before posting and before it's too late.

Thus this post. It is about defamation - its meaning, what amounts to defamation and what are the legal provisions available when someone posts defamatory content about you or gives a defamatory speech. In India, Defamation has provisions under Civil as well as Criminal law. Defamation is one of the few offences for which our Judicial system has covered most of the loopholes, making sure that the wrong doer doesn't get away with his defaming statement/s about others with the intention to harm their reputation and/or hurt their/others' sentiments.

Defamation - Meaning and Definition: Whoever, by words either spoken or intended to be read, or by signs or by visible representations, makes or publishes any imputation concerning any person intending to harm, or knowing or having reason to believe that such imputation will harm, the reputation of such person, is said to defame that person. In other words, it means any intentional false communication, either written or spoken, that harms a person's reputation; decreases the respect, regard, or confidence in which a person is held; or induces disparaging, hostile, or disagreeable opinions or feelings against a person.

There are, however certain exceptions to the above mentioned definition. Some acts mentioned herein below do not amount to defamation. They are:

1. It is not defamation to impute anything which is true concerning any person, if it is for public good that the imputation should be made or published.

2. It is not defamation to express in good faith any opinion whatever regarding the conduct or character of a public servant in discharge of his public function.

3. It is not defamation to express in good faith any opinion regarding the conduct or character of any person touching any public question.

4. It is not defamation to publish a substantially true report or result of a Court of Justice of any such proceedings.

5. It is not defamation to express in good faith any opinion regarding the merits of any case, which has been decided by a Court of Justice, or the conduct of any person as a party, or the witness or the agent, in such case.

6. It is not defamation to express in good faith any opinion regarding the merits of any performance which an author has submitted to the judgement of the public.

7. It is not defamation if a person having any authority over another person, either conferred by law or arising out of a lawful contract, to pass in good faith any censure on the conduct of that other in matters to which such lawful authority relates.

8. It is not defamation to prefer in good faith an accusation against any person to any of those who have lawful authority over that person with respect to the subject matter of accusation.

9. It is not defamation to make an imputation on the character of another person, provided it is made in good faith by person for protection of his or others' interests.

10. It is not defamation to convey a caution, intended for the good of a person to whom conveyed or for public good.

Thus, the articles written published in newspapers, or the reports shown in news do not amount to defamation if they are stating the truth. Newspapers and news channels, i.e. our media has rights to even publish about an ongoing case. They, however cannot publish the likely verdict before it's out. They cannot give their opinion about the likely verdict too. Further, they have to publish the judgment verbatim. If they do not follow any of these rules, it amounts to an offence.

Remedies for defamation are available in Civil as well as Criminal laws. Civil remedies are available under law of torts. In Torts, defamation is of two types: Libel and Slander. Libel is any Defamation that can be seen, such as a writing, printing, effigy, movie, or statue. Slander is any defamation that is spoken and heard. When a suit is filed under Civil laws, there are two reliefs that the person who has been defamed gets - Damages and Injunction. Damages can be for the amount of loss the defamed person suffers due to defamatory statements by someone and/or other damages which are more like a punishment to the person for making defamatory statement/s, the amount of which is decided by the jury after examining the case.
Under Criminal law, remedies are available under section 500 of Indian Penal code. Whoever defames another shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both. This is a non-cognizable that is to say a bailable offence.

Section 66A of Information Technology Act, 2000 talks about punishment for defaming someone using computer as the defaming source. Any person who sends, by means of a computer resource or a communication device,

(a) any information that is grossly offensive or has menacing character; or

(b) any information which he knows to be false, but for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience, danger, obstruction, insult, injury, criminal intimidation, enmity, hatred, or ill will, persistently makes by making use of such computer resource or a communication device,

(c) any electronic mail or electronic mail message for the purpose of causing annoyance or inconvenience or to deceive or to mislead the addressee or recipient about the origin of such messages

shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and with fine.

Explanation: For the purposes of this section, terms "Electronic mail" and "Electronic Mail Message" means a message or information created or transmitted or received on a computer, computer system, computer resource or communication device including attachments in text, image, audio, video and any other electronic record, which may be transmitted with the message.
Our laws accept electronic mails as an admissible evidence against a person accused of defamation. Our laws safeguard us. We just have a misconception that our Judiciary is not capable enough and thus we publish any content anywhere without thinking about the consequences. But that is not true. Yes, it takes time to get justice, but with time, if more and more people are aware about their rights and the consequences of their actions, things can improve. 

Phew! Our laws are indeed very extensive. One point has so many provisions, we should know how to put them to use. Rather, to avoid the legal complications. Yes it's a long post, and if you have are reading this, then my efforts were worth. And if you are reading only this, then remember this: I am a lawyer and I will help you if you ever need any legal help. Not for free though. Free material is written above. Laziness costs a lot you know.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Simple times

November was one crazy and busy month. Work, lectures, travel and everything. Now trying to rest as much as possible as I am really tired. When you are outstation, you do not realize the amount of stress you take. But once you are back home, in your space, you realize how tired you feel.

And there is a reason for it: I was supposed to reach home on 29th November, but thanks to Air India (I didn't have any other option but to fly that airlines), it took me 17 hours to reach home instead of 6! I spent 14 hours at the airport. And that was too stressful. But I met a couple of Canadians at the airport, thus didn't realize much how the time passed by at Amritsar Airport that has just a small food stall and nothing else. From Delhi to Bombay flight was from the International Airport, thus it was not too difficult to pass my time there too.

Instead of reaching home at 8 pm, I reached at 9 am the next day. Unlike my few friends, I am not scared of flights, thus the travel time went in taking well deserved naps. I was so tired that I vaguely remember what I ate in the flight and went back to sleep immediately after having tea. I WAS tired.

After the trip, it's been even more hectic. Work back here has piled up, health has not been so good thanks to the extreme climate changes. Not that I am unwell, I just feel exhausted too soon, and which is not good for the workaholic me.

At such times when you look back and think about life, the simpler life that you lived more than a decade ago, you feel happy remembering that, but sad too as you cannot live that anymore. I was sitting outside a movie theatre yesterday. In front of me, there was a group of four girls. They would not be older than 14. Each of them were carrying a 10 Rs note. They bought one burger from Mcdonalds and four of them shared it. They were happy and content after eating that.

Immediately after that I went for a quick meal with a friend. I had Lasagna and some wine there. And we were talking mainly about work. It was a very delicious meal, but I was not as happy and content as those girls. I didn't have friends snatching away the fork and finishing that plate within five minutes as if the food will disappear if not eaten really fast.

Fancy life, easy life, convenient life - that's how it is now. But somewhere in my heart I miss that simple, mobile phone free, internet free life. 

PS: I clicked the picture of those girls, but then thought against posting it. I am too popular you see. I don't want people to recognize them and they in return wanting to sue me for this.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Bombay - the dead city

Just a day after my last post, Bala Saheb Thackeray passed away. I was in South Bombay then, and I live in suburbs. The moment we got the news, everybody panicked. Everyone was scared, and the sole aim was to reach home safely. People took whatever transport they could find and rushed. Within fifteen odd minutes, cabs started refusing to take passengers. Within one hour, each and every shop was shut. It looked as if the city was dead and not a person.

I would have really appreciated this if this bandh was not out of fear. Even I panicked. I left town the moment I heard the news. From Colaba to home on a bike, we took longer routes and avoided Sena areas. Thankfully we were on a bike as it was easy to navigate through traffic. By the time we reached Bandra, it was almost dark. We decided to take the link road route as we know quite a few people there. Thus if there was any problem anywhere, we could have gone and stayed there. 

Now, I have never ever seen Bombay THIS dead. It was more than an hour since they declared that he was dead and almost all the autos and taxis were off the roads. There was little traffic on the roads. In some areas, even the street lights were turned off. The worst thing was when even medical stores were asked to shut down. I saw a few people asking petrol pump guys to shut down too. 

Bombay has been dead since last evening. Not a single shop is open anywhere. Rather, let me put it this way - not a single shop is open anywhere officially. If you go in the market, everything is available, at a higher rate and at the back gate. What's the point of such a bandh? Bala Saheb Thackeray always aimed at the welfare of middle class marathi manus and today the same marathi manus is paying double the price for basic necessities.

Bala Saheb loved Mumbai. And the same city is being terrorised by his followers on his death day. We had to pay a higher rate for milk as my niece is young and she needs it. That too it was of pathetic quality. Thankfully nobody is ill. I don't know how we would have managed that situation, for mom falls ill frequently. Niece is allergic to smoke and dust, she is recovering too post Diwali.

Yes it's a bandh day. No restaurants are open, no theatres are open, even cable TV has been forced to shut down. Thankfully internet is working. And I hope it keeps working even after I publish this post. There are rumours of Bombay being bandh tomorrow too. Which I doubt will happen, but you may never know. And I hope my 15 day bandh prediction in the previous post doesn't come true either. I hate to see Bombay dead. It's good busy and shining, in traffic and crowded. It's dead when it's dull. And I don't like it. 

Hope to see the normal Bombay soon enough.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

White collar terrorists

Can you ever imagine a standstill Bombay? If not then visit this city when something happens in the Thackeray family. Bala Saheb Thackeray has not been keeping too well. He was on life support system. When the news channel flashed that he was critical, riots started in various parts of Bombay. In my area, most of the shops were shut down yesterday, only the medical stores were open (thankfully), there were fewer vehicles on the road, not much traffic.

That was not all, Shiv Sainiks visited restaurants and theatres and asked people to vacate those places as their leader was fighting for his life. How could people enjoy normally? How could they smile when Bala Saheb was struggling for each breath? Thankfully he is out of danger now and stable. I dread the day he dies. Looking at Bombay's state when he was critical, I won't be surprised if they declare a Bombay Bandh for 15 days when he dies.

What I fail to see is, why should others stop celebrating when one leader is ill? Shouldn't it be a personal choice? Some people have a problem when younger generation celebrates Valentine's day, they have a problem when you are out on Diwali day, enjoying a quiet dinner with family. How should Bombay people function then? We are more scared of our political leaders than the terrorists. I make my plans after watching the news, and I am sure most of the Bombayites do the same.

It's a sad state that we live under fear all the time - fear of life, fear of death, fear of attack, fear of natural calamity, fear of humans and gods. And we still step out of home and call it spirit of Mumbai or whatever it is called these days. Because we have to survive. Just to get beaten up by one of those nutters who is hitting people as they stepped out on the day their leader was hospitalized, or their auto was stopped and autowala was fined as that leader sneezed thrice! And we live in a democracy.

I have always been proud of my city. Even post terror attack, or train bomb blasts, people resumed their normal lives in no time. Yes there was anger even then, but how pathetic and sad it is when you feel terrorised by your own people. It's not just sad or pathetic, it's suffocating. It makes you hate the best city you have lived in so far. There is no hope for improvement. One mafia goes, another one comes to rule. Children, nephews, grandchildren - everyone knows and wants to enter politics. And spread terror. They are white collar terrorists. They terrorise people and are still respected and followed. And they still get elected, again and again.

I hope they remain immortal and healthy forever. That's the only way we can live peacefully.

PS: Hope they don't kill me because I called them white collar terrorists and not saffron collar terrorists.

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Strange people!

I do not remember the last time I opened "New Post" page, and that's saying something. As usual, busy times, crazy work and party schedule all the time, and I have been helping a few people start a blog. Thus, I have not been finding any time to blog. Talking about irony!

A lot has been happening on personal and professional front, but nothing significantly new that requires blogging. Nor have I felt like writing anything even though so many things happened which could have been blog worthy, but since they were not happening in my life, I didn't bother to write about them.

Every now and then I am reading about more and more cases of Domestic Violence. A little known fact is that most of the people think that it is limited to husband beating up his wife, but it also includes any physical harm by anyone who is family.

With digital media evolving, way too many social networking sites are around. And most of the people who have internet access are on almost all these sites. And once you are there, you kind of get an idea about what's happening around you even before others get to know. People share news and views from around the world, post interesting links and exchange information. But the same platform is abused too.

Not the first time that I have witnessed such an episode, but it surprises me every time I come across it. Girls blog/tweet about how their guys physically abused them. They even mention about how they were beaten up, what did that guy do exactly, how they wanted to file a complaint but couldn't and such things. What I fail to see is what's the need of going public about your sufferings? Before social networking sites too, people faced these problems and dealt with them accordingly; then why the sudden need of going public about the whole issue?

No I am not against going public about it, but do it only after you are over and done with that. After you have taken an action against the person doing so. And if you have not taken any action, then explain/mention why you didn't do so. Come out with the whole truth, mention all the important aspects of the situation instead of posting stuff that will gain you sympathy from others.

It's too easy to sit and enjoy the show, to come across as a victim, to have people around you standing with a box of tissues; but difficult part is to take an action. It requires guts to mention the wrong doer's name (who usually happens to be the husband) in front of the police due to society and family pressure.

And not all men are the same. It's funny to the extent of being utterly foolish when you blame the whole species for an act of one man. Yes, many are losers, but not all of them. 

It's a matter of time before the law officially passes about making social sites content admissible as evidence in the court of Law. Not that they don't consider that right now, but IT Act is yet to incorporate facebook/twitter/linkedin to the list. I won't be surprised if the next amendment has a clause specifically about social networking sites.

So, on the scale of one to Neha, how angry and frustrated are you right now?

PS: Ignore the header. It's there just because I didn't want to have a funny URL for the post.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Faltu Gyaan

Someone recently pointed out that I have been writing a lot of philosophy on blog. The reason is simple - I don't have to think and write when I am writing faltu gyaan on the blog. It just comes naturally. Now isn't this a good term? This better be the header of this post and new label from now. I be a genius.

I have been writing same kind of stuff or taking part in contests. No I don't have any reason for doing so. I write whatever I feel like writing. At times I express what I feel about certain things under contests/reviews hood. But you have got to be smart enough to understand that.

Yes, no philosophy or personal post. This will be a general post. Something I used to write in those early days of blogging. Those times when I travelled, I looked at everything from a blog's subject point of view. People to things to surroundings - everything was worth writing about. I used to blog about whatever I observed. I used to observe to write. 

Then time changed. Blog became more of a personal space. And I started writing about my thoughts. Observations still continued to happen as it had by then become a habit. But this blog became more of a ranting zone. So I decided to write a general post today, which has become a kind of philosophical too. Rather a ranting one.

So the topic is - plagiarism. I have been reading a lot about it everywhere. Blog posts are copied, tweets are copied, photos are used by people without permission or giving credit to the original photographer, designers copy the outfit designs, softwares and movies are pirated and what not.

I have even written about copyright laws in one of my previous posts. I had mentioned the legal provisions regarding that and what protection the author had. But I am surprised about one thing. I know stealing is not a right thing to do, but unless you are going to make money out of it or someone else is making money out of it, making it a life and death issue is foolish. Yes my posts have been copied too and I asked them to give me credit at least or remove them from their site. They removed the posts. That's it.

At times some lines, some status messages get copied too. I have received some things written by me as an sms. And I take that as a compliment. It was anyway a line. I was not going to use it anywhere. Some people copied it, some took the pain of sending them as sms forwards and tada. I am happy even if it doesn't have my name at the end of it.

When I was in school, I had written a poem for school magazine. It later on came on a very popular website then - It didn't even have my name, but that was the happiest moment of my life - to see my poem being published on a popular website. Internet was new then, and kind of not too common. So it WAS a huge deal.

Plagiarism is wrong, but you will have to face it. If you are too sentimental about your work, publish it in a private blog and be happy. Neither it will be read nor stolen. Yes I like to give faltu gyaan for free.

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Of headaches and heartaches

I guess this is a season of sadness. So many people I know are going through a rough phase in their lives - some have serious health issues, some have family problems, some have financial crisis and some are heartbroken. And some people are not in any of these situation, but are the ones who patiently listen to whatever the other lot has to say. 

No it's not obligatory to listen to rants, but we are one selfish specie. We think about us too. We know that some day or the other we will need people too when we feel low, and we will need them too. Or we will need them when we want to share happiness. We stay around with people for one simple motive - we need them. If not now then some other time.

I guess that's where we want unconditional relationships at times. There are people you need, but you might not be able to give that back when time comes. Or maybe that's just a matter of convenience for us. Who would not like a friendship or relationship with no strings attached? But one does tend to get attached at some point in time and the same unconditional relationship becomes complicated.

Relationships are about understanding more than arrangements. When you don't expect anything from a person, you should ask yourself where you are really attached to him/her or not, for expectations are a part of affection. You want to talk to the person, or you want him/her to leave you alone - well that would be expectations too right?

We have weird ways of showing our misery. Some people cry, some just go underground, some get drunk and talk, some don't talk at all. A friend recently blamed another friend for his break up with a girl two years ago. This girl is getting married to someone else. When he got to know about it, he suddenly realized that he still had feelings for her. I guess it was convenient for him to pass on the blame to someone else, but the other person was really hurt. When we are in pain, we don't realize what we are talking about. We say things without thinking and it may leave an everlasting impact on others.

Anyway, talking about me, I used to get a headache when I was low. That kind of took away all the opportunities to express what I was feeling, for I used to be down with a headache. Even now when I am slightly stressed about work or life, I get a headache. 

And it's good to blame it on age. I am going to be 30 by this year end. I can't believe I have lived for 30 years already. It seems like such a short period. There is so much I have done already and still it's not even 1% of the things I want to do. There is still a lot of time, but if 30 years can pass without my realizing much then I am sure the next 25 30 years will pass too.

I think I should make a to do list.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Almost a review

Blogger has new interface. Which is as pathetic as any other new interface social sites come up with from time to time. We whine about that initially and then forget about it until the next change. But the biggest disadvantage of this blogger interface is that I no longer feel like visiting my dashboard. Each and every feature looks so very confusing. I just cannot identify the blog posts anymore. The only good looking aspect is 'new Post' feature. The page gives me a feel of a paper. It's good to write here. This is almost a review. For this, Blogger should pay me or something.

In other news, I have finally shifted to an android phone after using blackberry for around two years. Not that I was unhappy with blackberry, but it was almost dead. I anyway don't use mobile phone much. I rarely call up people or text them unless it's urgent. If it wouldn't have been for my mother, I would have deactivated my phone by now.

And I saw Barfi. I had seen the hype around it and I didn't want to have any biased views for it before even watching the movie. So I saw it on the first day, second show, alone. And I am glad I did so. It was a treat to watch - awesome performances, simple story, though slightly long. But it didn't drag. Even though I saw it alone, I didn't get bored. I think I am in love with Ranbir Kapoor.

It's been hectic at work too. After the lazy monsoon, it's now time for extra lectures and meetings. Two new batches, some very interesting students, new clients, new places - many things are happening at the same time. Weekends are busy too. Earlier, I could never digest the funda of going out on weekends. I used to find it weird when people made weekend plans religiously, and went out every weekend. And it's still not a very common and popular thing in India. But it's addictive. It's been almost a year since I have been going out on weekends. Now one day at home and I become restless. Sigh.

November, January and February are travel months. I am going to be visiting Delhi-Agra, Muzaffarpur and Udaipur for friends' weddings. Another trip to some other location for a vacation might materialize too. Yes, like most, we are good at planning stuff too. But seldom something gets materialized. And they have always been the last moment plans. 

I talk on my blog. It's almost become a personal log. The only missing thing is two words in the beginning of the post - "Dear Diary".

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Conceit and Conceited

Warning: This is a long and boring post. It doesn't have anything that will interest you in all probabilities. It's not even funny. It can't be, for I cannot write humour. Or maybe I can. People call my style of humour "Dry Humour". Usually not many people understand that. Thus it's a convenient term for people like me who like to be funny but are not really funny. Am I making sense? Do I ever? Haven't I lost you as yet? If not, then you might as well read the post!

A few days ago, someone told me that I was too self obsessed. It was more like a reminder than a realization for me. I am self obsessed to a greater extent. And I have said this on blog too. My status updates make it obvious as well. But so what? What's the big deal about it?

No big deal so far as I remain sane. In order to prove my superiority over others, I don't ridicule them. And I know too many conceited people who pull down others just to prove themselves the best among all. I am too impatient to deal with such sorts, but some people are too close to you to even ignore. I have dated extremely conceited guys. There came a point where I was known as a jerk magnet. I got this title a year ago, but I have been one since the time I started dating. I just never realized this or never wanted to accept it - either ways, that's how it has always been.

No, I have not been unlucky always, but on most of the occasions. My biggest problem has been that I cannot say no. I am that crazy, stupid, hopeless romantic minus the romantic bit who does anything and everything for the person she loves. And that's a very easy thing to do if I am with a simple person who is not a self proclaimed asshole. But me being me, I have usually ended up falling for an asshole. Not that I complain, for I don't think I can survive with a nice guy anyway.

Things go out of hand when one falls for a narcissistic asshole. Yes, I am narcissistic too. If you are lucky, you are friends with me on facebook. Yes? Then go and check my status. That shows the height of narcissism. But I do it purposely at times. Just to annoy some people. Attention seeking acts are more than the purposefully annoying ones, and there is no doubt about that; but I have never been an extreme narcissist.

Now, after encountering a few people (friends including) who had the extreme narcissism symptoms, I did a bit of research on this. And it turned out that there is something called as Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). I read the symptoms and I could identify with those with respect to few of the people around me. And I was surprised to know that it was not something very rare. Not too usual either, but these people were not difficult to find. And what's worse, they were too conceited to even listen to someone who wanted to tell them that they were flawed, for they could never believe that. They were just perfect according to them, and that was their disease.

I have never ever written such a personal post here. But there are days when you want to vent out. You just want to write whatever comes to your mind. And this topic has been playing on my mind for years now. But I never thought of writing about it. I just started to scribble something random here, and while talking to you know who, I thought of this quote: "Some relationships don't work because both of them love the same person." and wrote the post.

If you know someone who suffers from NPD and that person happens to be someone close to you, especially your partner, then God bless ya!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Mind wanders

It's surprising how the mind works. At times I don't even realize the kind of stories it creates without my permission and control. The stories are hopeful and shattering at the same time, but they are stories, created when mind is idle, or when it's too occupied to even think or make sense. Still it manages to create them, almost mechanically.

Don't try to find any logic in whatever I have written. It's one of those blabbering moods. I want to talk a lot right now, but I don't know exactly where to start and what to talk about. There is a lot to say and nothing to express. Or maybe it's the other way round.

There are times when you are not in mood to write anything, and at times you want to write but you don't find right words to express what you are thinking about. At such times you come across something written somewhere. It might be a quote or a write up or even a picture. It's easy to share such things, but when it's a blog post that you have liked, merely sharing a link of it doesn't serve the purpose. You want it on your blog too. I wish a Re-blog option was there for blogger as well.

Like this image. I can always upload it here and share. But I would prefer to re-blog it from the original source just to maintain its essence. It would be much more meaningful to share the first ever post created for this image. It might have been a blog post converted into an image, or a letter - anything.

And I wish I could re-blog this -

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Road trips

It's been a good period for me as far as travel is concerned. I visited Goa last month. It was my third trip to Goa, so the destination was not something I was looking forward to visit, but it was a road trip, and I love road trips especially during monsoons when the roads look more beautiful with various shades of green all around them.

I was with two more friends in our car, a lady driving. So all those who think that ladies cannot drive should meet my friend. It was one of the best roads trips for me for various reasons - I have rarely travelled on ghats during monsoon. Lonavala trips no longer fall in the road trip category as thanks to the Express way, you don't get to enjoy the ghat section. But the roads are beautiful nevertheless. And I did visit Lonavala using the ghat route as it was a bike ride. But more on that, later in the post.

Coming back to the Goa trip, while going to Goa, we took the old goa route. It was a single lane road at most of the places. I have travelled on that road a lot of times for business trips to various parts of Raigad. But this time, I got to travel through the ghats after a long time. Thanks to Monsoons, we not only came across lush greens all over, but even a few waterfalls. Here are some images:

Road to Goa - one of the best patches that we drove on.

Waterfalls en-route Goa.

Goa stay was very relaxing too. I was resting most of the times. The resort was beautiful. It had a private beach and other amenities that you would prefer when you go for a vacation to rest. While coming back, we took the Kolhapur route. It had only one ghat - Amboli ghat. Rest of the route was express way. But those twenty minutes on Amboli ghat left me with unforgettable memories of the ghat.

This was the road that we drove on for twenty odd minutes. There were some 25 odd waterfalls on this ghat.

Another trip was to Lonavala by bike. Again, it's a different fun to travel on ghats on a bike and in a car. You cannot compare both the experiences. I don't click much when I travel as I prefer to enjoy the journey more than capturing the memories. I like the memories more in my head. But I do have a few pictures of that trip, one of them is going to be my favourite for quite some time after the one I posted above.

You can see me too in the mirror. This was the road for sixty to eighty kilometers one way. While returning, it was pouring. Again it's a different fun to get drenched in rains when you travel by car and by bike.

Yesterday I went to Kolad for river rafting. That was one great experience too. One of the best outdoor activities I have done. But more on that, some other time.

Good life, huh?

Monday, August 13, 2012

About Passion

One of the most difficult questions for me to answer has to be - "What are you passionate about?". I start thinking about my life from the beginning, things I enjoyed doing, things I overdid at times, got bored and moved on. But there has not been a single thing I can do anytime and anyhow. Many people have some passion in life, and at times more than one. People are passionate about adventurous activities, music, painting, riding, photography, travelling and hundred other things.

But don't these passions restrict you? Say if you are passionate about one thing, then in your free time you will prefer to do only that thing. You may not even explore other things. Your concentration will be solely on the ride, or photography. You may not randomly take a halt at the place and for a change not click any pictures, but capture the feel in your mind. It may be a totally non-photographic location, but you may miss out on its beauty as you were looking for one all along. But well, photography makes you happy thus it may not be a loss to you.

Anyway this passion thing is beyond me. I fail to understand how someone can do the same thing again and again. And when I read about passion, I think others think that I am foolish not to have one. Like this quote by E. M. Forster that says. "One person with passion is better than forty people merely interested." And Hugh Hefner said, "I didn't want to repeat my parents' life. I saw in their lives a routine and a lack of dreaming, a lack of the possibilities, a lack of passion. And I didn't want to live without passion."

I somehow do not believe that you have no life if you do not have any passion. Lack of it gives you more opportunities to try out other things more frequently. Or so I think. I love travelling as much as I enjoy photography. But I forget to click when I see a breathtaking location. At times we decide to go for a drive to a far away destination, but end up spending time at a dhaaba and come back. We decide to go for treks and river rafting but we end up spending our time elsewhere. And these experiences are usually more memorable.

In a way if you see, I am passionate about randomness. Or maybe passion and random are oxymoron. Who cares so far as it keeps me going. And when you are blessed with like-minded people, these things become ten times more enjoyable. Lack of passion becomes a blessing. We make a plan and leave within hours. And that plan is not only about our passion. It can be something as silly as a house party or some drive on ghats during monsoon. There are days I spend working without any holiday, and there are hours I spend reading books. And some days I spend doing nothing. I have tried my hands at painting, music - singing as well as playing instruments, dancing, acting in plays, writing scripts and what not. And I am grateful that I never found a passion, or I may not have known so many things.

Whoever said that people who lack passion don't have a life. I bet these scholars would have been sober when they wrote these quotes.

Monday, July 30, 2012


"Love is never logical..feelings aren't logical..We don't even realize sometimes what someone means to us..You realize the effect that person has on you when a single line written by him makes you cry. Again and again. Whenever you read it..It's strange, impractical, unreal, almost impossible; still existent."

I left these lines as a comment on one of the posts written by Guria. I happened to read the post and my comment there again. At times, such things help you realize how you felt a few months back when you were in a similar situation like now. How did you handle it, how did you vent out. It's as good as reading your old posts.

It has happened in the past too when comments became posts. When I have something substantial to add to a post, I write a comment that is longer than the post. At times I write the whole post on that topic. Blogging helps you think. It makes you look for logic beyond your usual understanding. It doesn't really make you a writer, but it makes you as good as one.

Thus, write what you feel like. Whatever you feel like. Without bothering about being judged or ridiculed. It will help you know and understand yourself better. It doesn't matter how often you write, but if you are regular, it is definitely going to help you more.

Philosophy! Sigh!

The great fall

I miss this place. Blogging, reading, commenting, ignoring, whining, ranting, cribbing, bitching - everything. I have not seen the dashboard properly in days. Earlier I read blogs on phone, but now even that's not happening. There is no motivation as such to blog as life is very much normal. I am not too scared to lose my readers too as I don't have many left. And after this long break and not reading others, I may lose the remaining readers too. Sigh!

Like I said, life is too normal. Well at least it was until three days ago when the great fall happened. On Friday evening, I met a very close friend for dinner. We had awesome Malvani Food for dinner and then went to Bandra bandstand. Now, thanks to the kind of alcohol mixture that happened post dinner and the sea breeze playing its part too, I went on the rocks to check whether it was too slippery to go near the sea.

I had a heavy bag on my shoulder and in that tipsy and trance mode, I reached the first rock half way and slipped. It didn't do any major harm, but I am bedridden thanks to the stiff back and shoulders. What a way to spend the weekend. It was a pretty funny scene for people around me at that time. We continued drinking even after that and one friend got totally sloshed. She created a huge scene in a mall. Way too embarrassing to even mention here.

But at the end of it all, including the fall, we realized that we did have a lot of fun. It's that feeling of forgetting whatever shit you did last evening, behaving like a bunch of crazy teenage girls, singing our lungs out, how you realize who your true friends are when they stand by you without facing any embarrassment - it's priceless. No this isn't the first time that I did such a crazy thing, but this is certainly the first time after reaching and crossing mid 20s and now I am almost 30. It feels unusual, weird and even embarrassing to an extent, but fun.

Now that I am kind of bedridden, all my friends are coming home to meet me. One even gifted a Glucon D packet as I am unwell. Yesterday they took me out for lunch and then movie, took care of me, pampered me. Everyone has been asking me how I am feeling - ah I feel important all of a sudden.

At times attention, weirdness and embarrassment feel so good!

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Don't call me!

Last few days have been weird. It's one of those phases where you have a lot of work, but you lack concentration due to various reasons. I have a lot of work in hand, but I end up doing just 30% of it by the end of the day. And I work all night right before the deadline. I am kind of used to working this way - finish a draft in one day, or review it and edit it within five hours and such.

But this time around, it's different. I am not able to work at all. Drafting a document seems like a huge task. Blame it on the gloomy weather or just laziness - work is not happening. And that's not a good sign. When you ain't able to do the very thing that keeps you sane, you are in trouble my dear friend.

Blogging is not happening either. I forget to log in here. When someone asks something or talks about blogs, I remember this space. I have not read any blogs in a long time. Looks like I am turning old. Life hacks I tell you.

And I have realized a weird problem that I have. I don't like talking on the phone. I am a very talkative person otherwise. I can talk all my life and still don't lack topics to talk about. But when it comes to talking on phone, especially those random useless talks when someone calls you up casually. Ugh, it's pathetic. How can people talk for hours with someone is totally beyond me!

Even today, when someone calls me up and if that happens to be the first call to me from that person, it takes me some time to answer the phone. I become very nervous. And that's so unlike me! I cannot talk to people casually. Thankfully most of my friends know that. When I call up someone, I say directly why I called. I cannot initiate small talks. Thus I prefer to talk in person or on messenger so that I can work too simultaneously. But talking or chatting on phone would be the last thing I would do.

I can handle client calls, at times they last for 30 40 minutes to an hour, or more. But it involves work. I don't have to ask them how are their children or what did they have for dinner. I can talk about law and work all the time. Again, I prefer it in a personal meeting rather than on phone, but well, that's not possible always.

There is no special term for this phobia. It's just called phone phobia. People do have it. It's not uncommon or unheard of, but not too common nevertheless. And I cannot say that I am phobic. I can comfortably talk to the person after two to three conversations with him/her. Talking becomes easier after meeting the person.

Anyway, people waste time on phone. It's the worst possession that I have. People abuse it, and misuse it. Your problem really, just don't give me a casual call and talk just to pass time or to know how many times I ate through the day. Let's meet and treat me for lunch/dinner instead. Thank you very much!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Writer's block huh?

I happened to discuss about writer's block with a friend the other day. She is a novelist and has been facing the problem of writer's block. She tries to write, but somehow ends up staring at the screen, the story is not developing the way it should and such other excuses. I would call them excuses as I have never really given a serious thought to "writing" and thus I never faced such a problem. Even on blogs, I write whatever is there on my mind; but for her, it is a serious business.

Still, my mind was not ready to accept the fact that someone could face something like a writer's block. I mean, if you want to write, you write. You do not as such require any particular topic and/or reason to write about. Come on, write about writer's block! Can it get any simpler?

And then I was thinking about those who make their living out of writing. Journalists, columnists, script writers, play writers, stand up comedians - writing is their bread and butter. They cannot afford to have such silly things as a block to come their way of business.

Anyway it would have been useless to argue with that friend as maybe she would have thought that novel writing wasn't really same as writing blogs or short articles or gigs. It may require intense thinking. Yes, maybe. I do not know. I have never been a novelist. But again, if you make your living out of writing novels, you work on tight deadlines, will you still let such blocks come in your way of earning or survival? Again, I wouldn't know.

Forget a storyteller, I have read about writer's block on blogs too. And it's surprising. How long does it take to a blogger to write 300 words? How difficult it is to write about one topic or combining two-three topics in one post when you can't write more than one paragraph about that particular topic? So many things keep happening around us - politics, bollywood, controversies, calamities, social issues, funny incidences. If nothing is there to write about and still you want to update the blog, post pictures. One or two pictures with their story is sufficient too!

Thus I call writer's block an excuse. Excuse not to write something at that time, excuse for laziness to think about something creative, or just a plain excuse. When the deadline is hovering over your head like a sword, you automatically churn out content. When the deadline is months away, the so called block takes over.

And we are quite used to blame everything on our emotional state. Fight with husband/boyfriend/mother/friend and whoever, and your mind gets blocked on its own. I have seen people write sad and depressing posts, dark poetry and even suicide notes during such times. And all these things fall within the brackets of the block.

I guess the whole block business is beyond me. I have never faced it and I don't think I will ever face it so far as I continue writing, if nothing then about rants. And rants never get over. You have at least 20 things to rant about every day. All you need to do is to pick up the interesting ones and write. This ensures audience too.

Now if you still say that you face writer's block, then I shall disown you!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Confusions and Decisions

Yet another post will not start with yet another definition of life. This has been a kind of common trend for me these days. I keep writing about how good/bad/boring/easy/sad/difficult/weird life is. And even while writing, I talk! Yes I write as if I am talking to you. This is how I converse. And it's all the more weird. Who talks on blogs? We write. But I talk!

Let me talk about the header. At time I really surprise myself. Being a girl, this should have been one of the first ten posts I wrote. But it's never too late. Even if I am late by 200+ posts. Really? Have I written more than two hundred posts in three years? Have I been so jobless, way too talkative, without people around me to listen to my rants or just addicted to blogging - but yes, I have written way too many posts. And I remember most of them. Anyway most of them are on similar lines. I have spoken about the same topic in different manner - yeah I can be super genius at times when I really want to.

And I digress again. I should stop writing headers for my posts. And just number them. Rather I should stop bothering about the connection between the header and the content. Anyway, coming back to the topic - I am a very confused person when it comes to simplest things of life. I create it for me in my head. The most difficult decisions come by easily. There is no confusion in there.

I know the reason too. Easy things in life don't require too many factors to consider, and they don't have too many people involved. This I can take my own time to analyze all the factors around them. Doing or not doing them doesn't really matter in the short run. But it may matter in the long run. This creates confusion. Difficult decisions are usually about people and us because of people who matter to us. If we matter to them equally, then there comes no question of the decisions. But when we realize that we do not matter to them, it's time we realize that we have to take a stand. It may hurt, make you miserable; but it will help you at the later stage.

At the end of the day, it's not only about who matter to us, but how much we matter to them too. You will find many people who will listen to what you have got to say, to give you advice, but to be with you forever - not even closest of friends stay around. And that brings us to decisions again. Should we become close to them? Or just be friends, meet them, spend quality time and get busy in our respective lives?

Confusion. Decision. Happiness. Sadness. Selfishness. And a few more topics to rant about. If only life was as simple as its spelling.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

I breathe sports

When I was around two years old and didn't understand much about tv, I used to cry whenever family switched it on. I would rather call it howling. And it was weird, for the moment the channel played commercials during the break, I used to become quiet and watch the ads with a lot of interest and concentration. The moment any serial/movie/match started, howling started too.

As a great relief to my family, this phase didn't last long. I started ignoring television like every other thing one dislikes. I never watched any cartoon or a serial. Grandparents always forced me and my brother to watch Ramayana and Mahabharata. At times I watch Mogli and Potli baba ki as brother used to watch those series, but that's about it. I never developed any interest in the television programmes.

The first complete series I ever was I dream of Jeannie. And after that - bewitched. There was a reason for that - to avoid tuitions. I hated studying. Well, who doesn't. But I was way too lazy to study anything. And for that purpose, I used to pay attention in the class so that I wouldn't have to read the same thing again at the time of exams. Studying one thing and studying the same thing again in tuition was an absurd idea. And doing homework was never ever an option - forget compulsion. I was always punished for not doing homework in school.

Thus I had practically nothing to do the whole day especially during vacations. Somewhere in late 80s, one of those summer vacations when I was in my home town and didn't go to visit my maternal grandmother, I happened to watch a tennis match. I asked my neighbour about the rules and how it was played. I found it interesting as well as confusing. But it was any day better than those headless serials and cartoons. This is how my tennis following started.

I was too young then to even know that one has to have favourites to enjoy the game even more. When I learnt that, it was Samprass Era. He was on top then, winning everything that came his way - except the French Open title. I was never a fan of world best people. I always preferred dark horses, for I considered myself to be one too. Thus I started following Agassi. I will cut the crap short about my followings after that in men's and women's tennis, but my current favourite is Nadal. No, not because he wins, but I fell in love with his game when I saw him play in 2003 or 04.

Being an Indian, your love for cricket is as natural as taking first step or saying those first words. I don't remember which sport I started watching first - Tennis or Cricket; but the order really doesn't matter. I love both equally. My love for cricket was so much back then that Dad and I used to watch even the test matches between Zimbabwe and Bangladesh. And that annoyed mom a lot. We even used to watch the repeat telecast of the matches India won!

In late 90s, I started following football. It started with watching English Premier League. It started with Manchester United. They taught me football. I learnt each and every move, rule, foul watching them play. That made me support England too in the world cup. It was for players and not for the country that I started supporting England. I swore by Beckham, more for his game.

And today I see so many people follow and support these games. And they call it men's forte. I just smile at them, for I know how much I have seen and known about these games. Each and every technical detail to players' bios - everything. But that's fine. I laugh at their assumptions secretly, I don't fight. It's useless to. But when a discussion happens about a game or a player, after knowing about what I know about the same, they do get that I know more than they had assumed I'd known.

These days I can't watch each and every game, or follow the seasons, but I try to watch as much as I can. I try not to miss the crucial games. Online streaming has made life much easier. I can switch the tabs while working, and my uninterested family doesn't have to bear with Euro 2012 matches too. Sports are the only thing I love to watch and follow. I can watch matches all day if given a choice.

Such a long post. Ignore it, it's going to be boring for you anyway! But it has to be here for my love for sports; for I breathe sports.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Posts I am proud of

It's been months, or probably years since I took up a tag. But when I read this particular tag on Destiny's Child's blog, I couldn't resist it. It was so wonderful just to remember the posts that would fit under each head. Even though I was not tagged there, I randomly picked it up just to go back in the memory lane yet again to pick up the posts. So here is my list of the posts closest to my heart. Though all the posts are, but some become extra special.

1) Your most beautiful post:
It has to be Beauty of thoughts. After writing this post, I had felt so good about it. I had written about words in this post - what they mean to me and how I live them.

2) Your most popular post: 
I would mention the first fiction story that I wrote - The Ultimate Painting. It came at the time when I had fabulous fiction writers like Guria, ZB, Karthik and a few more all around me. They appreciated this story which was a bonus for me. Even today people remember this post. Thus it for sure qualifies as THE most popular post.

3) Your most controversial post: 
Let's Communicate wins this award hands down. This post created so much of controversy. Unnecessary one. People missed out on my point completely and started their own fight in the comment box. This post happens to have received maximum number of comments too. But it's still not the most popular one.

4) Your most helpful post:
I have written plenty of posts on legal topics. And at some point in time, they may have been useful to people. But I would include my post on Domestic Violence here as the most useful post, for it has been used at many places to spread awareness. Part 1 and Part 2 - both the parts have been proven equally helpful.

5) A post whose success surprised you:
Again, one post wins hands down and that is Hidden Identity. Even today people read this post and I get comments on it. It even happens to be the post that has got most number of indi votes among all my posts. It was one of those random observational posts that I had written and it became so popular that if it was not for this category, I would have included it in the most popular post category. But I wanted to include 7 different posts for this tag, thus it gets a place here.

6) A post you feel didn’t get the attention it deserved:
I believe Herd Mentality is one of the posts which I would have liked if it was read by many. But I had lost my popularity by the time I had written it. No complains, for it was about my personal opinion on popular issues.

7) The post you’re most proud of:
The post I am most proud of is a post called Hidden. I had written it for Guria's blog, and later on published it on my blog. This reflects me, you and every single lady. We have played at least one role mentioned here. And I could bring out all the sides of a lady in one post - I am so proud of myself for that.

I feel that all the blog owners must take up this tag. It's just amazing to write about your favourite posts. Do take it up. And I specifically tag Guria, Insignia, Shilpa, Saroj and whoever leaves a comment on this post.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Life is weird

Life is weird. Things you are sad about right now will make you laugh at them tomorrow. Things you are happy about will soon seem as if they never existed. And we move on. At times slowly, at times pretty fast. At times pretending to be strong, at times faking the weakness. At times feeling bad about something we ought to do, at times taking others on a guilt trip just for the sake of proving oneself right.

And then we write about it. With bitterness, or sadness, or even with a relief - but we write. For the record. For laughing at us tomorrow or for smiling. Or maybe just to live the emptiness all over again.

Just the other day I was discussing about mood swings with a friend. I asked him how it worked with guys. Girls behave as if they have a birth right on mood swings. And how easily we blame it on PMS. It's at times the easiest and safest excuse, for many people do not understand that mood swings can be without any reasons. And my friend admitted of having those too. But he said that he could control his mood most of the times. Especially at work place. At home, his moods were more than visible - especially the irritated ones. Ah well!

All of us have different ways to handle a situation. Some people prefer to talk it out and reach a solution, some disconnect completely just to get the hold of the situation, some show anger, some cry. But that's about us. In the process of making ourselves stable, we forget that the opposite person may not be able to take your action in the right manner. You have to disconnect to make things normal, while he has to talk it out to keep things moving in the right direction. Even while doing good to others, we tend to become selfish. We assume so many things about so many things including what gives happiness to people who matter to us. And we lose it all in the bargain. Who is wrong here? Or who suffers in the end?

But again, it's life. And it goes on. Today we are crying about something, tomorrow we may not even remember it, for it may not really matter to us then. Or maybe we find better things. Or maybe we just remain stuck there in the same emotions even tomorrow.

Ah, life is weird!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

And I write

Writing is an addiction. A good one that is. And when you have a personal blog where you write your thoughts, your opinions and everything that going on in your mind. You ain't scared of being judged, for your friends already know you and readers don't really get what you are trying to say.

There are times when you are low and you write. There are times when you are too happy and share that with the whole world. There are times when you are lonely and writing becomes your companion. And there are times when you don't have any reason to write, yet you do.

I have heard the stories of the letter era. When people wrote to each other. It used to take a week to fifteen days for a letter to reach. A mother waited for her son's letter, a girl for her soon-to-be husband's letter. In the movies they showed how the heroine cried while writing the letter to the love of her life. Tears dropping on that old piece of parchment, spreading the ink, making it difficult to read. I used to laugh at it initially. Then my grandmother told me her stories, mother shared hers. I started developing emotions and sensitiveness towards such things. Instead of laughing, I started crying after watching such scenes.

By the time I was of the age when I had relationships, e-mails were a pretty new phenomenon. My first ever letter was an e-mail. Sadly I lost the account too and the e-mail too. But I vaguely remember writing a super sentimental mail which was "inspired" by several movie dialogues that I could twist enough to make them sound original. I remember paying a good 60 rupees for the cyber cafe access - which was equivalent to my college meal money for two days.

And now I blog. About everything. These entries stay here as a reminder. Of my thoughts and my mood. My highs and my lows. They remind me of people I met and people I lost. Some came along while some left behind. The thing that made me happy last year, made me very sad this year. How strange life was back then. How difficult it seemed then. And now when I look at the same life from this point, it seems less difficult, rather not difficult at all compared to the current life.

And every time I think I have written a lousy post. And after a year, the same post seems so awesome. Every time. The current time is difficult and bad, the same time from future seems easy. Isn't it all in our minds? And I digress again from the main topic. Wait, was was it? Ah, no not really digressing.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Passport office ordeal

Today was THE legendary day. It was expected to be a kind of day I wanted to remember and be proud of. And I secretly wanted it to be the judgment day too in my favour of course, but alas! 

I had an appointment at the Passport office. My passport is still valid, but I have changed some personal details and for that I had to reapply the passport. Like I mentioned in the earlier post, this time around I didn't want to go through an agent and pay him the bribe money to get my work done. Thus I wanted to make sure that I had all the documents they ask for. I was carrying two documents extra for each proof.

The reporting time was 2 15. I reached there by 2 just to be sure. I don't know why I had thought that I would be the only person for that slot as they have been so particular about the appointments and schedules. I saw a long queue outside the gate at two. Thinking I was early and fully prepared, I asked the person to let me in. And there was the first shocker waiting for me. He asked me to stand in the line. Since I was early, I readily did so without any arguments.

Now, there were some 15 odd people ahead of me, and 5 more stood behind me in two minutes. I realized that I wasn't a VIP who was allotted this time-slot for the appointment. I was one of many to be submitting my application.

I entered in, got the security check done, stood in the token line for five minutes. There were a few young people standing ahead of me. After good five minutes, I was informed that I was in the wrong queue. That counter was only for senior citizens. I told him that nobody in that line was close to being a senior citizen and I was in fact the senior most there. It didn't work. These people were the ones who were accompanying their parents/grandparents.

So I moved to the next counter. A right one this time around. The lady on the counter checked my application, verified the documents, checked everything. As I said that I was well prepared. And then came the catch - another shocker. I was asked to get an ad published in one National and one Local newspaper. I asked them why they had not mentioned it in the list of documents? They said that they had the power to ask for any documents; even the ones which ain't mentioned in the list. And their decision was the final one.

So yes, in spite of all the precautions and preparations, I came back - empty handed. I had to fill up a fresh application, take a fresh appointment and visit the office again with all the documents. Yes, too much hassle, but still better than the agent route. And the bribe route. I will visit the office a few more times, but I will get this done myself.

Ah, how boring of me!