Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Yes to Gender Equality , Yes to Progress

           It was 6.15 am, 7th March 2016 in Bangalore and I was rushing to the airport to travel to Chennai on work, it was usual till about 7 am that I finished my check-in and then sat down peacefully near gate No:4 to await boarding. I spend my time on most occasions answering to emails, but this time happened to pick up the newspaper that was lying on the seat next to me.  Started to glance thru the usual news and the masala that lingers in the human brain for up to max 72hours where a given topic is beaten to death by media, be it Mallya’s lavish lifestyle or the overnight hero born in JNU. On the 5th page there was a small article that caught my attention .It was about a recently held art exhibition and a short note on the painting that was exhibited of a beautiful woman called NANGELI. Does anyone know who she was? I beg pardon my ignorance, but I did not know. For the people who do not know, must be wondering why this exceptional mention. NANGELI was a brave and beautiful woman who lived about 200 years ago in a village in Travancore. The law that existed then was that women had to pay “Breast Tax” if they wished to cover their breasts from public view. She sacrificed her life by cutting off her breasts in protest to this law/tax. With her sacrifice and death this tax was annulled.

       Aghast!!! is what I felt when I read thru the article. The woman inside me boiled with rage. The rebellious feeling gushed into me and I could not help but repeated thoughts kept going back and forth and was really pre occupied, while the boarding announcement was done. I boarded the flight and my usual self would have been to take a quick nap as soon as the flight takes off, but I was not getting a wink of sleep this time as my mind was super active just thinking again and again  “how could they”. While these thoughts continued to hit me, the woman in me, came in front to reflect and ponder why did this happen at all and what has changed today. Was it the environment, the people, or the culture and practices that were to be held responsible? Is it the gender itself to be held responsible for not having more women like NANGELI to stand up for the due rights and dignity of women.

     On one side as I read such articles and get pained by History, a matter of small solace I get is from what has changed from then to now. The journey of a woman has seen progress in various measures.. There is an effort to invest in oneself to equip with skills complimented with opportunities to excel in various fields in this fast growing environment. In the Urban sector there has been a paradigm shift in women excelling in almost every field standing equal if not more competitive in the whole race of the battle of the sexes. Women are entering areas which were once treated to be only a “Man’s Job”. She stands tall breaking new barriers and myth each day. Be it the woman to go to space or to drive an auto rickshaw in the narrow roads of Mumbai. Be it standing on the frontier to protect the country or winning a beauty pageant with her beauty & wittiness. Every single field she is making her mark. On the other side Rural women are making progress but at a pace far lesser than the urban sector. There is lot more investment that need to be done to bring in true empowerment. It is also our obligation as women to be part of this change and support women in need. Education & Actions led plans can only bring about this change. I always feel and have said in the past with the power of the  3 A’s that is Ability, Agility and Adaptability a woman has  the talent to multitask most effectively when compared to her counter part of the opposite gender and hence the need to  continue to invest time on herself and follow her dreams is a must. Whatever we do , there needs to be focus and our understanding must be more than skin deep! . While I write and talk about women and what they need to do, it is critical and vital that there is an encouraging support System. Woman must be seen as the backbone of society and not as competition that needs to be put down. Progression of Women will only enable progression of a nation!!

     We need an eco system that strongly believes in the fact Yes to Gender Equality –Yes to Progress.

      A little deeper on this is a short blog I had written, which you could read from the below link.

     In my view true empowerment would be the day when we don’t need to scream our lungs out to be treated at par or differently. Frankly we do not need any governing bodies to give us a Quota as a gesture of their “Kindness” which only tends to reassure us of our “weakness”. With the changing times and grit in women increasing multifold, there are and will be many NANGELI’s who will live immortal and continue to Rise & Shine. 

We as women must act responsibly as our worth is a direct reflection of our actions!!! 






Sunday, March 6, 2016

Woman..... Rise & Shine

"Yatra Naryasthu pujyathe, Ramanthe tatra Devata"

Meaning -Where women are worshipped, there the gods rejoice or it also means where women are honored , divinity blossoms there.

As the above powerful Sanskrit verse written many centuries ago goes, the women were placed in high esteem which clearly articulates their importance in the cycle of life and trust me nothing has changed even today.

March is here and Women’s day is round the corner. While from the day I as a woman got to understand about this day, a thought always came to my mind. “Do we need a singled out day?” to celebrate womanhood. It’s an every single day celebration for a lifetime. But I began to realize that having a special day would surely make every woman take a moment to just stop and look back at the time gone by. This could be a moment for us to pat ourselves on our back, appreciate other women around us for their achievements and of course an implicit thanksgiving to all those people around us who have supported & encouraged in making us whatever we are today.  With the fast changing times the role of a woman has been significantly changing. From the early years of envisaging a woman being a typical homemaker, today women juggle around with multiple hats of being a home maker & a working professional.  In my experience, the top three skills that a woman needs that can enable her are

-----The art of balancing.

A woman has the unique power of the three A’s Ability, Agility & Adaptability to handle multiple things at a time. She manages her home as well as her work and can excel equally in both. The art of balancing is not a technique to be learnt, but it’s just inward looking and making those little tweaks or tuning to our actions we do that could give us a stress free life to a large extent. We cannot run behind everything hence focus on what matters most should be very clear. In the busy work life it is important to find some personal space for just yourself too. You could do that by reviving your hobby if you have forgotten or just take a break at intervals to get away from the norm to try something different. Always keep that girl with a smile alive in you .

-----You compete with yourself.

Don’t stress yourself trying to be like someone else or tire yourself to be better than someone (which is also only an assumption). Trying to achieve that assumed goal is like running a race without an end line.  Remember you compete with yourself. Enjoy what you do and do things that you truly believe in. When there is passion in what you do, being the best is a given thing. Equip yourself, invest time in yourself and harness your skills in whatever you do and empower yourself. Have intermittent check points to do your self-evaluation and then try to raise your own performance bar inch by inch.

-----Be a woman of substance

Whatever you do , be sure that you go to its roots to understand . It isn’t what we say or think that defines us, but it is in what we do. You don’t have to take up everything that is in your action list. But those few that matter the most to you be it personal or professional your understanding must be more than skin deep!. Especially in the professional lives in the competitive world with the battle of the sexes , it’s your competence and substance in what you do that must rise and shine.

Always a woman acts her worth, and I am sure all you wonderful women out there have many secrets to share that make womanhood so beautiful. In your own way do take that time out to help other women who need that support today and truly standup for women empowerment to make this world a better place. Wishing you all a very happy women’s day.





Sunday, February 14, 2016

Dil ka chakkar...

अर्ज़ किया है... हम्म हम्म... ज़रा तालियाँ हो जाए.. :-)

यह दिल किसने बनाया
बनाया तो क्या सोचके !
आजाता है किसीपर
बिना किसीसे पूछके !
हस्था है कभी तो कभी यह रुलाता है !
और तो कभी यह सोच में पड़ जाता है !
इस दिल की घेहराइयों को न समझा है कभी और न समझेंगे भी कभी !
पर सच तो यह है की यह यूँही नहीं आता किसीपर कभी !
आही गया दिल तो कुछ भी करने को हो जाता है राज़ी
लेकिन इस दरमियान में कभी वो हार जाता है बाज़ी !
दिल तो दिल है मानेगा नहीं
और यह तो सुदरेगा नहीं
जब तक है जान इसे दडकने दो यूँही !

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Perfect Strangers to Comrades

As this bug of riding has bitten me severely for a few weeks now, I set out on my next escapade to Yercaud Hills with these fabulous women bikers again . This time the group had new set of bikers with a few of them from the past trip. I set out in the morning at 5 AM from home and reached our first meeting point at 6am. We then started on our journey being led by Malavika , Sweeping by Sindhu and it was Sam , Anu and me in between reaching our next pit stop for breakfast at krishnagiri. We had breakfast at Krishna Inn , where I also happened to meet my good friend Rajan and his family . We waited for DJ with some drama :--) and then moved ahead by around 8.45 am. Steady speed of about 80 kmph enjoying the lovely morning riding thru the highway reading all the signboards and the village names , we reached the next point for some amazing “ Degree –Coffee” that’s what it is called. Hot coffee served in brass cups. We later reached Salem and was joined by another enthusiastic biker Thiri, who travelled all alone from Pudhukotai ( hope I got the name right) which is a good 250+ kms away. We all then started our last leg of the ride up the hills, 20 hairpin bends.. counting each one of them, just waiting to finish the last one, so we could go take rest and have some lunch as now it was almost close to 1 pm and hunger goddess had taken over control of my mind, body & soul.  Thiri had made arrangement for us at a lovely homestay in the Mayfair Avenue. Truly a homestay that I have experienced in the many years.  Hot food, rice so hot that a nice facial steam could be taken  ;-) … and same goes with the rest of the food.  DJ being kind enough to serve all of us ..  Filling lunch and time for a power nap.. We then left for a sight seeing… sorry sight riding by 4 pm .Boat ride at the lake and then to an uphill temple and then a Columbus ride which just made us feel.. childlike . I am sure DJ enjoyed the most.. ;-) .. sorry we enjoyed the most seeing DJ. We then got back to the homestay by 7 or so and then night food was getting ready.. . Bonfire lit and time to relax ,chill & yakking around and discussion topics covering 360 degrees of the world and as the night set deeper in, it was also discussions on “Bodhi Tattvaa”.. too ;-) .

It just made me wonder a few hours ago some of them were just names on the whatsapp group and nothing beyond that and here we were hours down the line talking as though we were long lost buddies catching up years after. All of us from different facets of life, different cultures and none of them really bothered to know what baggage of life you carry ,  but just bound by the one fact and that  fact being “the love of riding “  and this passion for riding making us from being Perfect strangers to Comrades”. I think that is what journeys do… no matter where, who ,when  & how.

We started next morning more relaxed. Set out to see a few more spots and some crazy onlookers either clicking pictures or taking a video making us feel either great or weird .. We finally reached Electronic City junction by 5.30 pm and bid adieu to head back to our normal lives beckoning us. I came back Via my favorite NECE road , and it was just flat 40 minutes home.. my long time dream and best timing so far.

Finally all the while thru the journey for the most part it was the roads, hills, lakes , fellow travelers , some good music and just me .. And my random thoughts…


Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Silent bird sings a million songs !!

A Silent bird

Sings a million songs,

With melancholy

And feelings strong.


A voice so sweet

But filled with grief

Waiting for that spring

With hope and belief


Singing the tunes,

Of the happy days gone

Waiting for that sunshine

For life be reborn,


Spring in life is the hope

For all who are alive,

But life brings harsh winters

And that is the Circle of life !


Mysteries of life !!

There are moments in life

Truly mysterious,

Unsolvable are its secrets

Like the heart of the deep ocean.


Indefinable are the reasons

No questions to fathom

Answers discrete

And thoughts are just random.


Heart doesn’t  seek to measure

The methods of life defined

It only wishes to treasure

That emanates unrefined


The purity of mind

Sanctity of the soul

Passion that can bind

Is truly to behold


Mysteries are secrets

Never to be solved

Its best left untouched

So life can evolve !

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

When the rubber hits the road .... Ah!!!!!

It was the month of October last year , was reading an article in Deccan herald Supplement. The article read “ The women on the machines “. A short write up on enthusiastic women from the Bikerni Club , Bengaluru who gushed out of their routine norms to try the exciting and the free spirited art of biking. Why do I call it art, you will get to know in the next few minutes if you are not bored and still reading this blog of mine.. J

Now coming back to what happened , post reading the article thru the day the whole thought and urge to do something similar kept me occupied. A little bit of flash back to my life.. just to remember that I rode a Luna first when I was in Grade IV , 10 years old and I took to my fathers Bajaj Chetak in Class IX .. but as life progressed with its many twists and turns,and a major accident leaving me badly injured made riding as a passion take a back seat .. The norm of life took precedence over my inner urge to just set free and hit the rubber on the road..

Coming back from work that day, spoke to Vinayak , my husband on what was going on in my mind. He suggested that I should reach out to the club and get myself to be part of the group.. Next day I was just doing that and was fast enough to be welcomed to the group .. and here I am now writing my first experience .. I think its all about timing and will of the super power to make things happen at a time destined..

At home we had an RE thunderbird for the last 3 years, but mostly being used by Vinayak and me riding shorts trips within the city , NECE road … due to the phobia of injury still haunting with confidence levels of myself and my people not being great L. I nominated myself for two trips of the club earlier but could not make it for both due to work .. the third one I was clear that I was not going to  miss .. come what may.. and there I was all set on the 10th Jan for  my first experience of a long ride ..

Morning 5.30 Am and Sunday… did not matter.. spirits were high .. got ready started from home.. still dark and barking dogs  running behind.. but was there at the said meeting point before time. .  We then moved on to our point 2 which was IPC… I did not know until I went there, which I am sure most of you would know that IPC is the Indian Paratha Company on NH 7 .. we reached there by 7.15 and waited for the others .. Weather was chill and still limited visibility .  Ordered for some hot parathas and Chai .. that was like heaven..  We then had our briefing session on what to expect, rules to follow during the journey, while I always understood the regular hand signals of riding, communicative signs were interesting to know and that is why I call it an art.. and then we started off on the journey with some happy smiling pics and selfies.. but with  butterflies still in my stomach roaming freely  screaming .. “ Can you do it ? “.

We started with about 60 Kmph and varied till about 90 Kmph on our onward journey. It took us about 2+ hours to reach Lepakshi . Few of us parked ourselves happily under the shade at one part of the temple while other enthusiasts went around the whole temple with a guide to understand the story of each of the pillars.. ( J ) kidding.. but really appreciate their patience as by now the weather was super hot in Lepakshi with the sun right above our head.. . We then headed to AP Tourism hotel, had our lunch with some spicy food and then decided to take the return journey with no breaks till we hit IPC again. From the time we started it was just focus with speeds varying.  Few of the rider were much ahead of me and I was trying to catch up with them with now my confidence levels slowing rising from the last few hours .. I started to accelerate to see at a point my Speedometer had hit 120 Kmph .. a sudden child like joy .. wondering “ is it me “… I continued the stretch on the same speed .. a feeling hard to express.. can I say liberated from my own inhibitions..  

We then reached close to IPC , to a Dhaba close by .. again some snacking time, introductions , debating on how the day went and understanding what could be done better.. basically expressing yourself on how the day went.. post which we all left to reach back to our homes …

Had a midway comedy too with the police with me and a few girls..  , hard to narrate though.. but the girls if reading this can have a hearty laugh..

At the end of the day , had it not been for these vibrant women I wound have still lived longer just thinking “ CAN I  “, WILL I “ and moved on with life.
Its more realizing your dream and releasing yourself from inhibitions to make way for living up to what you have loved just being there , doing it  and saying Ah!!!!

Just on another note.. this experience has also help trigger my blogs again.. let me do my best to keep this alive for this year.

have a fantastic year..