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~ (One of the winners of the #TaxPledge Activity at BlogAdda)

So, I had this really crappy knack of skipping mails I didn’t like. Those that seemed unfamiliar, strange or out of the world were instantly sent to the trashcan with a single click. The habit persisted. Well, till the day Kanu called me for ITR.

Source: www.taxshax.com
Kanu and I had studied from the same college. Since we had started working, we barely got time to talk to each other. We were not exactly bosom friends, but we were on good talking terms. However, with the hectic schedule, different projects, separate teams and diverse managers to report to, our first year of work life was a tough rope to tread. We met up occasionally on lunches and went for brief walks but the free spirit in us had been clamped to some extent.
“Do we have to mail it as well after filing it?”
Kanu asked, calling me on my office number.

I was sorely tempted to ignore her question and tell her I had no idea. But then something stopped me. I didn’t want to sound like a complete daft. After all, what is it that Kanu knows and I don’t?
“What are you talking about?” I asked.
“IT returns…form 16…income tax…what else!”
The words buzzed about in my head for a while. A frisson of panic started creeping up. Why hadn’t I known this before?
Before I could say another word, she continued, “See the mails sent on 27th of last month. And the ones before that, where they ask you to file your income tax returns.”
Oops. Where were those mails? Gosh! I hadn’t sent them all to the bin, had I?
I couldn’t have been more stupid!
“But they came under a heading that seemed pretty much like those health care mails sent by the company!”  I protested feebly.
“Either ways, you should always check the content before deleting anything.”
Her voice was reprimanding but her words were too true to be refuted.
Somehow the arduous task of going through the mails seemed gargantuan to me. Nonetheless, now it had to be done and now I had no mails to read since I had deleted them already.
“Just send me the mail, will you?”
“Right away. Fill it today. It’s the last date.”
“And what if we don’t?”
“They ask you for it during your visa application process. It is also required in loans and the like…It’s important, bro.”
That must have been the final nail. I was suddenly in a flutter. The returns were supposed to be filed by EOD. Throwing caution to the winds, I abandoned what I was doing at that point and went into overdrive. I quickly sifted through my ‘trash folder’.
My form 16 stared back at me.
“Really simple. Just fill in the details now.” The guy in the next cubicle advised me.
Well, I am not the best form filler on earth. In fact, I am quite the lazy type. And the congestion on the site made it worse.
“What do I do? The site takes ages to load!”
“Well, you shouldn’t have waited till the last day.” My colleague shrugged and went away.

I had started sweating now. The site stayed stubborn, unloadable.
And then, I found it. H&R Block. Cropped up in a hasty Google search. It said you could simply upload your form 16 and get the whole thing done and over with.
I swallowed in relief.

I had managed things at the last moment, thanks to H&R Block. My ITR blooper just fell short of becoming a full-blown one. That day, I pledged to file ITR on time. And well, H&R is always ‘handy and ready’ to help!


 I’m taking the #TaxPledge to file IT returns with the easy Income Tax efiling option from H&R Block at BlogAdda.


“…And suddenly we see
that love costs all we are
and will ever be.
Yet it is only love
which sets us free.” 

Happy Birthday Maya Angelou…
Dedicated to the phenomenal woman

www.gazinggirl.com
The birth of a thought,
The dawn of an era,
The lines of a woman,
A phenomenal woman.
Freeing a caged bird
From the clutches of prejudice,
Defining love and loss
On her own terms
A life so glorious
As to move the dumbest stone to soul-stirring speech.
Ideas so powerful
As to turn a flickering flame of light
To roaring fires of creation,
Stark simplicity dripping with wisdom
Denser than the densest metal.
Wielding the pen with finesse and feeling,
She stands tall in the hearts of people,
The halls of power,
The gardens of love…
Revolution she was,

Inspiration she is.

The phone, supported by my hand, was stuck to my ear. A monologue had been going on for about half an hour. The worst part was I had to pepper the conversation with appropriate responses at appropriate moments. I took the phone away from my ear and the volume decreased. I heaved a sigh of relief. But then before the one at the other end could make out that I was missing, I quickly brought the phone closer. I managed to make out a few syllables and grunted in response. The caller was no less smart. She wouldn’t continue unless she received a confirmation of the fact that I was clued in on the conversation. I had to employ my greatest powers of concentration and multitasking, and ultimately succeeded in giving myself a headache. By the time the caller had her fill and finally took pity on the poor being that is me, I was reeling under conversational duress, if that is even a term. The #impact of it was such that my mind was heavy with heaven knew what. I felt as if I was undergoing lobotomy. Although I have never had to undergo any such procedure (thankfully!) I assume the feelings would be quite similar, like that of a drill boring into your brain, deactivating and weakening your gray cells.

www.nytimes.com

Is it that easy to disarm people and spoil their ability to think and reason? Is all that is required is concentrated babble or focused balderdash? In that case, we have much to fear from long-winded calls, blaring loudspeakers, cacophonous music, uproarious gatherings, tooting horns and whatever comes within the perimeters of noise pollution. That call I had just been liberated from was not at all unfriendly; on the contrary, my dear unassuming guileless friend was merely recounting her experiences of the day before. However, my arrant disinterest in her affairs sort of contributed to an effect that amounted to psychological stress. That one call had managed to ravel my nerves and entangle the wires of my sanity, thus manifesting itself in a splitting headache and a lasting allergy to any long conversation, ( by long conversation, I mean one that is a conversation only by name and is actually a monologue gift wrapped in a paper with conversation written all over it )

www.twitter.com
It is like a vicious circle, someone bores and jars you with their constant nattering and your cells respond to the stimulus by throwing a similar verbal missile at someone else, thus continuing the chain of conversational torment. I was actually pretty shaken by the #impact that a phone call with a good friend had had on me. Is it the electronic equipment that’s worsening things or would a face-to-face conversation have the same effect? But I remember having two-hour conversations with my best pals and enjoying every minute of it, hoping for the call to never end. However, this call was not just a wake-up call but a wake-up-and-bang-your-head-on-the-wall call. I realized it was so because I didn’t get to say anything on the phone. She talked and talked and I listened. And that is not what a conversation is about. It is about listening to the other person as well. The word conversation begins with ‘con’ or together. Unless we listen to the other person, a conversation will easily turn into a drilling grueling soliloquy like a lecture except the former will have nothing to offer in the form of value or comfort. I decided then and there to listen to the person I talk to before I speak, instead of waiting for him/her to finish so I can start speaking. After all, we have been blessed with two ears and one mouth for some reason. I suddenly had new-found respect for the ones who work at customer care centres and BPOs. Those guys must be ready to kill at the drop of a syllable.

#Impact #TataZicaMarathon 

This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.

Some people create history with a single act of theirs. And some with a single book. Harper Lee was one of the latter. A humble tribute to her.

www.ndtv.com

The only author to win a Pulitzer Prize for her first and only novel- ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, she was named after her grandmother Ellen (she was named ‘Nelle’ –Ellen spelled backwards). Her first novel that secured her place among the literary stalwarts – ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ was loosely based on her own life and the kind of goings-on she saw in her neighborhood. Her father, a lawyer had once defended two black men accused of murdering a white storekeeper. Both clients, father and son, were hanged. That apparently was a watershed moment in Lee’s life. The #impact of that incident and its gravity pressed on her young mind, turning the tomboy in her into a deep thinker. And that’s how she gave us TKAM.  

www.wikipedia.org



“I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.

These words of Atticus Finch in TKAM never fail to strike a chord within me. True, true and a hundred times true. To stand up for something you believe in. When there is no one on your side but you. That’s courage. You go ahead anyway. That is it.

She had started writing the novel as a series of anecdotes. Though the piece was brilliant, her first draft was not accepted by the publisher. Eventually this first draft or ‘Go Set a Watchman’ was fine-tuned to ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’, which went on to create records.  

“I never expected any sort of success with Mockingbird. I was hoping for a quick and merciful death at the hands of the reviewers but, at the same time, I sort of hoped someone would like it enough to give me encouragement. Public encouragement. I hoped for a little, as I said, but I got rather a whole lot, and in some ways this was just about as frightening as the quick, merciful death I’d expected.”
-Harper Lee (1964)
Every author’s fear and every author’s dream. Both quite extreme.

Harper Lee’s friendship with her childhood friend and neighbor Truman Capote was a well-known fact what with her assisting him in an article that eventually turned into his best-selling book ‘In Cold Blood’. The character Dill in TKAM was inspired by Capote. On the other hand, Lee has found her way into many screenplays and novels by Capote.

After her first, there were novels she had started working on like ‘The Long Goodbye’ and one about an Alabama serial murderer, but they remained unfinished. The release of ‘Go Set a Watchman’, essentially a prequel to TKAM in 2015 was brought about by Lee’s lawyer, Tonja Carter who while re-examining her safe deposit box, found the old manuscript for GSAW. Carter then sent the manuscript for publication and almost years later, Harper Collins came out with it in 2016.

Leading a private life, Lee died on 19 February, 2016 at the age of 89 in Alabama, where she was born and raised. One incident. One book. And yet, the #impact was worth a hundred. Hats off to her! Sometimes I wish the passing away of authors was given a tad more coverage on the tabloid and media.    

“Atticus said to Jem one day, “I’d rather you shot at tin cans in the backyard, but I know you’ll go after birds. Shoot all the blue jays you want, if you can hit ‘em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.” That was the only time I ever heard Atticus say it was a sin to do something, and I asked Miss Maudie about it. “Your father’s right,” she said. “Mockingbirds don’t do one thing except make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corn cribs, they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.”


Beautiful, isn’t it?

#Impact #TataZicaMarathon

This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.
A muted protest. Subtle symbolism. To show you that it’s here. And it’s here to stay. No more shall the likes of Alan Turing and Oscar Wilde have to veil their realities. The new age has arrived. Or almost. 

I woke up a few mornings ago, and as my crappy habits go, reached out for the phone. But distinguished from other mornings, this one was pleasanter. 
Why you ask?
No, not because of the 1000+ odd messages from 20+ odd groups awaiting me. I have no patience to scroll up, join the dots and try to figure out some odd ‘unfunny’ story amongst unrelated chats and inconsequential chitchat on the groups. And no, no sweet messages awaited me either. It was just that someone had changed a group icon and installed a new emoticon instead.

www.theguardian.com

I know it is no matter of vital importance but I am a sucker for emoticons. I still have a  soft corner for toys, bunnies, teddy bears, in short anything which reminds me of kidhood. I can still pass a day watching Cartoon Network or Pogo. Trust me, I can. But that wasn’t the #Fantastico part either. What made me rejoice and do a tango in my head was these –

Courtesy of my Whatsapp toolbox

Yes, these new batch of emoticons joining the WhatsApp bandwagon. Many months ago, I had found colored faces on WhatsApp looking at me. Faces, thumbs-up, fists and suchlike. From a dark-skinned thumb to a pale one, there were a couple of shades in between including a golden one. 




I totally loved it. No, it was not a fairness cream advert. Far from it. It was a choice. I so felt like raising a thumbs-up to those techies for doing this. 

Talk about inclusion. Talk about challenging stereotypes. Like Shrek did with the ugly ogre and fat princess. Perfect imperfections. Inculcating it right from the start. Princesses are not just fair. Like. Like. Superlike.  


And today I extend another kudos to them as I see newer emoticons – that of a girl-girl peck, a guy-guy kiss in addition to the regular guy-girl thingy. What’s more, there was a whole new family emoticon as well – a brood of two girls and their two kids, another of two guys and their little ones, all besides the regular guy and girl family.


Subtle. Sensitive. Powerful.
You see how intelligent this is? Symbolism is that powerful. Minimalism can be this effective. It takes just an idea, nothing more. Just an idea that can transform ideologies and make you think. Beautiful, isn’t it? Oscar Wilde would have been proud. #Fantastico, I say!

It has been 11 years since Brokeback Mountain created waves in Hollywood and won a string of Academy Awards. Since then, we have had our own adaptations and versions of gay rights. I Am, Aligarh, Angry Indian Goddesses, Margarita with a Straw etc. created a new strain of cinema at the box office. Among Bengali movies,  Rituparno Ghosh’s creations like Arekti Premer Golpo, Memories in March and Chitrangada brought about a revolution in cinema regarding sexual orientation. Then there was Naanu Avanalla…Avalu in Kannada that had the actor Sanchari Vijay winning the national award for playing a woman. In the Malayalam film Mumbai Police, Prithviraj is shown having a secret gay past. Shridhar Rangayan’s film Yours Emotionally has explored homosexuality in a different way, exploring the lives of older gay men.

Michael Kirby, a distinguished former Judge of the High Court of Australia and a former President of the International Commission of Jurists who delivered the 2013 Tagore Law Lectures, themed ‘Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity — a new province of law for India’ had publicly shared with the world that he was both homosexual and HIV positive. The effect he had was electric.

Soon enough, Section 377 was decriminalized. Although now we are at another point and many changes are wanting, there is no stopping the world of art from blaring out the truth. We have Shab and LOEV coming. Change is here. Slow perhaps, but sure. Queer is not queer anymore. It’s #Fantastico. The changing icons tell the story.

#Fantastico #Zica #Tata #Impact #TataZicaMarathon


This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.

If music be the food of love, play on.

www.hypnotherapists.org.uk

The words rankled in her mind and painfully clutched at her heart. She quickly started the engine and put the car into gear. She couldn’t stop his voice from echoing in her head. He used to quote Shakespeare whenever she asked him if her #music bothered him.

“You know, my parents used to get fed up of my constant playing. From the guitar to the harmonium to the violin, I would try my hand at everything. And when you don’t know how to play something, the #music that results is just plain horrid! I remember my parents would shout and protest about my unearthly practice timings- sometimes at the crack of dawn and at times, in the deepest nights and then finally beg me to stop.”

Saying so, she would start giggling and he would pull her close to him, take her hands and kiss her fingers one by one.

“You can play as much as you like, as badly or as well as you like,” he would say, making her heart leap like a frog out of a well.

“You haven’t heard me practice, you have only heard me sing. When I practice, I practically bray.”

“Your voice is #music to me. And if #music be the food of love, play on.” That is when he would quote the Bard.

It had been two years, a mere two years since they had met and known each other. It didn’t take them much time to realize that it was a forever thing. And it was during that period that her #music had jumped up many levels. It is often heard that when in love, the art and the #music in you takes a boost and suddenly, life attains a rosier tint. That is how her passion had seen refinement and she had come up with one of her best pieces that had helped her bag her first contract.

Life seemed as if it had finally fallen into place. He was sure that she would make her mark as a great singer in the playback industry.

And that very day, she saw it. Parked in front of her house was a sleek and shiny thing. The #Zica stood there, proud and modish, cute and classy. She had squealed at the sight.
“Oh my God! What is this?”  
“It’s yours,” he had said simply, handing her the keys.
“You are such a total blockhead! You don’t seriously mean it! It is not even my birthday!” she had cried, thrilled and disbelieving at the same time.
“It’s a big day and you always wanted a car. Now go ahead and drive!”

Thoroughly moved and pleasantly surprised, she got into the sleek and zippy #Tata #Zica that stood stylishly in front of them.
The breeze had never felt sweeter as she drove the #Zica all over the city, loving the feel of the steel beneath her feet, the smoothness of the steering, the plush seat hugging her back. She felt as if she was a five-year-old who had been given a free permit to an amusement park. Instinctively, she had landed a kiss on his cheeks drawing stares from the traffic police at a red light.
But then it is probably life’s purpose to remind us that forever is just a delusion.
And so like a flash of lightning, it had happened. When the news of the plane crash reached her, she had dismissed it. It took her a week to accept that her fiance had been in the plane.

All of a sudden, she found that she was alone. He had gone. Left her as suddenly as he had come into her life. The dream life, she had just gotten used to, had shattered like a million shards of glass. She had been left stranded, bereft, completely alone. Without him, she felt like a cipher.

Since then, a mad restlessness had caught hold of her. She could think of nothing but him. All through the subsequent days, she could do nothing but drive madly on ahead. The #Zica felt like the only connection to him- his gift, his love.

The #Zica moved to her commands while her mind followed a path of its own, her eyes raining tears. She let the winds whip her hair into a mess. She let the speed go up to 120. She could hold it no longer, she had to let it loose. His words rang on in her head. Her lips began to move of their own accord, words issuing forth, words buried deep within her, #music trapped in the confines of her being. The notes of her grief rang loud and clear, trying to drown his voice in her head.  

She parked the car at a spot they used to visit together. Opening the door, she let her legs dangle out of her seat and began to strum the guitar. For many hours, she played and sang, the #Zica her sole companion in her solitude.

Her second contract came a few months later. The #music went viral. But she had lost all sense of ambition. All she now cared for was the car that remained a symbol of their love and all the memories of him that had accrued during their happy times together. Now it was just her, the #music and the #Zica, wallowing in his memories.

#TataZica #Music #FantasticoZica #TataZicaMarathon

This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.

I saw her on the big day. I had heard she would be there. Guys were raving about her, acting frantic. All butterflies and excitement. The way it always happens. There is always a new entrant. Somewhere or the other. And excited whispers are the usual precursors to the debut. I was used to it all. There were always newbies and always the wannabes looking for hot freshers. But this time there was some extra stir. You ask why?
Because
A) It was to be a debutante – a SHE than a HE  
B) She was supposed to be from among us and most importantly,
C) She shared my initials.

My peers couldn’t stop lionizing her.
“Incredibly sexy.”
“Just too hot.”
And worse-
“She is a Z. too!”

I blushed a deep blue, if that could ever be possible.
B. had taken it upon himself to cause me as much chagrin as possible.
“You seem to have a straight claim on her, you sly Romeo! Or Zomeo should I say?”
He tittered. Somewhere within me, old flames flickered.

“She is just like V.” A. said and my head immediately jerked up. 

V.’s name had caused a current to pass through me. While A. kept on about the new-one-on-the-block Z.- her amazing figure, her mind-numbing capacity, her charm, her oomph factor, her sex appeal, I had already lost interest. I was transported to my days with V. 
B. and A. both knew about her. I know A. was just trying to help, trying to make me forget about the mishap and create some interest in me, make me feel alive again. But she would never understand. And I was determined not to be affected. No one could be like V., no one. Whatever A. or B. may say. Whoever this Z. was, she was nothing compared to what V. had been. V. had been the only one. My only one. There would not be another like her.

V. and I had grown close together. We had met in the factory and our love had blossomed in the expo. I still remember courting her in multifarious showrooms. She was beautiful- purely angelic. There was no one like her. 

So, perhaps it was not just fate that she had to go first. I had expected it. She looked better, she was better in almost all aspects. I knew between us, she would have her first shot at employment. That was not what had caused me the shock. What had destroyed me was when a week later, she had been brought in, seriously injured and almost beyond repair. For days, she was operated on. Specialists came and tried but to no avail.

They couldn’t save her. V. perished and with her, I had plunged into an abyss of despair.
It had been a year since I had confined myself to the darkness of the factory. I had lurked in the recesses of the showrooms, praying not to be seen, not to be chosen. I no longer wanted to live. I wanted to be in the factory with her, with whatever had remained of her.

And so I have been here for a year, brand-new, unemployed. Perhaps whoever looked at me understood by the looks of me that I was a lost cause. It actually came as a surprise to me when I was selected to go for the expo. It was usually for the new entrants. But I guess I was still new or unused in any case…

***

I was with my kind, next to B., who was next to A.. I was trying to block B.’s constant rant about Z. and her killing features.
“How many times do I tell you that I don’t want to hear about this damned Z.! Will you PLEASE FOR MAN’S SAKE STOP?” I cried, my temper at the nadir of my patience level. 
B. and A. piped down immediately.

www.rediff.com



And then it happened. 

I saw her. 

Z. She had been put on a pedestal and I had to turn slightly to look at her. 
Something flared within me. I looked elsewhere. But the picture wouldn’t go. Her #impact was unnerving. She was pasted on my mind. There was something unique about her, a freshness, a vibrancy, a certain brio in her that set my fuel on fire. It popped into my head the instant I looked at her. I just couldn’t get at it. What was that word? I scrambled around for it. What was it?

This new Z., a part namesake of mine, was chattering excitedly. My heart lurched unexpectedly. She was just so full of life, so very bubbly and perky and…#peppy, yes! That was the word! #PEPPY! She was #peppy, young, zippy. She was full of zest. That made me smile. #ZEST, shit, she had in spirit what I had in name.

www.cardekho.com


I looked at her for a long time. She was surrounded by eager onlookers, ogling eyes, desirous faces. Some of them were her future drivers and some of them were my silly lovesick companions. Okay, I must admit Z. was pretty. She was young, stylish, smart, beautiful, zippy, #peppy…yes…#peppy obviously! Her infectious energy and enthusiasm had imbued me with a strange feeling.

The next few days saw me chattering animatedly with her. She was nice to talk to, a #peppy chirpy soul, a lovely compatriot. A. and B. couldn’t stop giggling. B. was definitely singed to his metal skeleton. Fumes would probably emanate if his bonnet was opened and checked. I smiled to myself. I was Z.’s best companion as of now, leaving B. and the rest green-eyed. If I now went to them, I would be teased like hell, I knew.  

Being with Z. was so invigorating that I was almost afraid of falling for her.
And then it happened. What I had always feared. She left.

One fine day of the expo, someone took a mad liking to her and she was sold. My panes were beginning to gleam with tears as the ribbons on Z. shimmered. 

Despite myself, I had fallen for her, knowing it was highly probable that she would go. She was the star of the show. It was her launch, after all. And yet, I had the imbecility to fall in love. 

Again.

The ribbons were cut and she was driven away, leaving me stranded, empty once again.
http://madeofgreat.tatamotors.com/tata-zica-social-center
Epilogue:
“I want this one. It looks sturdier, you know.” Mrs. Gupta was telling her husband, pointing towards the blue #Tata #Zest.
“So you don’t want the new #Tata #Zica?” Mr. Gupta queried.
“Obviously I like the #Zica but I think it’s more suited for Rahul. Why don’t we give it to him?”
“You sure you want this one?” Mr. Gupta’s interest had now shifted to the #Zest.
“I think so, yes.”
The salesmen had now predictably begun to extol the virtues of #Tata #Zest.
In another world, four cars waited with bated breath to hear the verdict of their futures. #Aria and #Bolt looked on while #Zest and #Zica were endlessly debated and discussed.
“I think we better take both of them.” Mr. Gupta said and signed a cheque while four souls nearby rejoiced.
The outcome of it all was that both the cars found their way into the Gupta garage.
The end of the expo saw #Aria and #Bolt waving the new couple off to a blissful life. They were glad that #Zest had finally overcome his grief over #Vista.

Some love stories do end on a happy note. Like the #peppy #Zica with the bold #Zest.


#PeppyZica #ZippyZica #FantasticoZica #TataZica #TataZicaMarathon

This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.

( Winner of the #KnowYourRights activity by BlogAdda )

A rustling of skirts,
A squeeze much intended,
A derogatory word,
An unwanted touch.
She feels nauseated,
And tries to forget,
Hoping that it would never happen again,
And yet it does. 
Again. 
And again.

Does that story sound familiar to you? Someone groping you from behind or nudging you provocatively? Someone clasping your breasts and making bile rise in your throat? And the bad memories just keep piling up. That, sadly, is the story of every girl growing up today.
Delhi is termed as the rape capital of India and not a day goes by when the pages of the newspaper are not bespattered with incidences of horrendous sexual abuse. From the Nirbhaya tragedy to the infamous Kolkata nun rape to countless assaults on six-month-olds to sixty-year-olds, the extent, means and ways in which such execrable crimes are committed make one question the humanity quotient of such human beings.     

And that is why it becomes all the more important for us to assume a stance of-as Mad Eye Moody famously put it- ‘constant vigilance’. You must have seen that amply-bearded man screeching ‘Sansani’ on ABP News, right? If not, please go and hear him once. If someone touches you on any part of your body which makes you feel uncomfortable- even slightly so- that kind of voice should start shrieking in your head. A large red bulb should start blinking and tocsins should start ringing in your mind’s room. Because then it is occasion to be alarmed. It is time to not cloak the matter but to react. This is precisely why we need to report the wrongs.

You should report the matter
  1.  Simply because you are uncomfortable. Do not think too much or try to ascertain whether your reaction is justified and not too harsh. If you feel abused, let people know. Trust your instincts. Raise your voice.
  2. Because the perpetrator needs to know that he/she will be exposed. Whether it is a stranger in a bus or some uncle in the house, he/she must be brought to book. Do not worry about offending anyone. Do not think about anything except that you were  assaulted and you must let the assaulter know that he/she will not go scot-free.
  3. Reporting the crime will not demean you or sully your name in any manner. You will only be seen as the brave one who had the courage to come up and fight. There is no shame in bringing crime to light.

It will help your physical, mental and emotional health and you will realize that people are there to support you. Each case that’s reported increases the chances of prosecution and brings it one step closer to resolution. You will be able to break the evil chain and lead a better life. It will help you rebuild your self-esteem and bring you closure and peace of mind. To carry an ugly memory, something which has scarred you for life through no fault of your own, is not what you deserve. You, fellow human, have all the rights to report a crime and ensure that the guilty gets punished.

Knowledge is power. Know your rights.

Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize winning global movement of 7 million people committed to defending people’s rights.
‘Know Your Rights’ is an initiative by Amnesty International India to inform people of laws, procedures and individual rights so that we are confident to act.



“I’m writing this blog post to support Amnesty International’s #KnowYourRights campaign at BlogAdda. You can also contribute to the cause by donating or spreading the word.”
Mala took a long deep breath. The day looked young and fresh, the sunlight falling in patches over the bushes that littered the park. Back in her village, she was wont to rise up at the crack of dawn to fill the water pitchers, cook the morning meal and then bask in the glory of the day. She especially loved the mornings because the skies looked freshly washed as if the sun had bathed them in effulgent shades of blue and golden yellow. When they moved to the city about three months ago, for the first time she had been exposed to a sky garbed in various shades of grey and white. Naman had landed a job in the city and they had decided that it would be best for them to move, especially as it would provide an atmosphere conducive to the learning and development of their new-born baby. The little fragile bundle of joy had been made to part with his loving grandparents and their cozy village life, and brought to the city to settle and grow.

After having seen her husband off to work and cooked for the day, Mala had come down with her baby for a stroll in the park. As she walked onward, holding her son securely near her bosom, she remembered all those bits and pieces of advice that her mother and her mother-in-law had given her. 
“In our absence, you must give your utmost attention to the baby. The city is a wide strange land. You may not be able to find your way there. But you must take care of our babu.” They addressed their grandson as their ‘babu’.
In fact, hardly a few days ago, when Naman had made a call to his parents in the village, his mother had wanted to talk to Mala to ask about the baby.
She had begun by giving her tips,
“Don’t forget these handful of counsels regarding the care of our babu, especially his skin. 
Make sure you massage him daily with oil. His teeny-tiny legs need to be strengthened and his muscles need to shape well.
Make sure he sleeps on a pillow filled with mustard seeds! That will help his head shape up well.” 
Mala knew that such a pillow would only be found in their village and she had planned to bring back one when they went home this time. Till then, her lap would have to act as the baby’s makeshift pillow. 
“Don’t expose him to too much sun or excessive rain. Protect him especially from the heat and dust of the city. One knows only too well how bleak the city atmosphere is and how easily one can catch diseases. 
And once the baby starts sneezing, some doctor has to be consulted. Then rain down antibiotics and all those newfangled substances! No need! Prevention is better than cure. Why should a tiny divine creature be burdened with alien concoctions and spurious mixtures? Nature’s cure is the best remedy.”
Mala had nodded her way through the call. She was trying her best to care for her young son.
“Do not use corrosive substances on him. No amount of synthetic clothing or artificial substances. Use only the clothes we have knitted for him. Only the oils and the talcs we have packed for him…”
Mala could only agree. She had taken utmost precautions for her child. 
In fact, she had also fought with Naman, who insisted on using diapers for the baby. 
“But we don’t know if these would be good for the baby!”
“But Mala, they have been especially designed after adequate research. They are much better than cotton clothes, which can only absorb up to a limit. Try this!”
Their baby had started crying, as if on cue. Mala quickly hurried over and changed his clothes. It was a real task to change his clothes every time. It also eliminated the possibility of their going out on long trips in the city. 
“Just try it once. This one is really soft. This is my baby too. I wouldn’t want anything to harm his soft skin.”
Mala decided to listen to Naman. She took the packet from him. There was a group of lovely smiling kids on the cover. She took out a Pampers pad and dressed her baby up. She saw his distress change into a smile of comfort. In no time, he had started to resemble the kids pictured on the Pampers cover. 
“You see? This is the time we pamper our baby,” Naman smiled at Mala. 
Mala nodded. 
As she walked with her baby nestled in her bosom, she felt that she had finally found something safe and soft just right for her baby’s soft warm skin.

Pampers brings you the softest ever Pampers Premium Care Pants. Its cotton-like softness is #SoftestForBabySkin and allows it to breathe, thus keeping baby’s skin soft and healthy, and your baby happy. 

~This post has been written as a part of Pampers #SoftestForBabySkin activity in association with BlogAdda~



You talk about professional diversity? Today’s Google doodle might make your eyes pop out of their sockets if you haven’t heard of Hedy Lamarr before.

A film actress and inventor? A famous star and scientist?

You drool over bankers turning into writers or doctors doing MBA? 
Behold this woman who existed in the pre-World War I period and probably had more oomph and panache than the Kardashians and more grey matter than the scientists of today (no offence to any group of professionals). On one hand, Hedy featured in popular films including a controversial passionate scene in a movie and on the other, bored of her acting pursuits, she dabbled in applied science and came up with spread spectrum and frequency hopping technology to solve the problem of Allied radio communications’ jamming by the Axis. Although her technology was not used until the 1960s, the principles of her work are now incorporated into the modern Wi-Fi, CDMA and Bluetooth technology. And this work of hers led to her being inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2014.
From her image being used as CorelDraw software suite’s cover design in 1996 to her autobiography ‘Ecstasy and Me’ courting controversies, her life was something straight out of a bestseller. Sometimes tagged as the most beautiful woman in film and sometimes as the Hollywood star whose invention paved the way for Wi-Fi, she has a unique footprint in the history of the ones who carved their own path.
Talk about eclectic combinations.

Add Hedy Lamarr to the list of incredible women I look up to – check.

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