Sunday, December 30, 2012

Smart Guy With Just A Phone

NOTE: This article was written by me for Whackk(

You know that one tiny little strand which holds your life together while bonding and structuring your entire universe? Chances are you're not thinking about what I am thinking, because screw love, I was talking about that smartphone you own and in a 33% probability, are reading this on.
This article is not to vent about how cell phones have become a vital part of our lives nor is it about how its proximity to certain parts for a prolonged period causes infertility.No sir! This is an exhumed narrative of how I met my phone after a week,and the 7 things I observed in those 7 days. Ain't it Quite smart of me right? If you noticed, this sentence had 7 words, CONSPIRACY, if you ask me!
Anyway, for the rest of this to make sense, here's what happened : I am an owner of a Blackberry Curve 9360 who's trackpad malfunctioned and took a week to repair. During this period, I was using a Nokia Supernova 7210 without the Internet facilities activated. In all honesty (probably not), I observed the following in the hopes for a Nobel. Alas, the rejection letter from Stockholm still hurts.
All that aside, here are my notes:

1. The most obvious-no distractions

Okay this is straight out of "Mother of a Teenager" by Frustrated Mom (surprisingly untraceable author, I wonder why). Guess all our parents weren't lying when they said that a mobile phone is pretty distracting. For the first few days, my eyes inadvertently kept searching for that blinking LED notification as I hopelessly awaited my phone's arrival. So, first thing first, NO DISTRACTIONS while you do anything. No more missing out on that awesome scene because you were replying to an important email, finally a half-hour study session runs one lap without interruption and such similar joys.

2. Rediscovering the joy of calls

With the rise in mobile internet, app-based smartphones and of course, a homo sapiens' busy little life, cell phones are used for all purposes except calling. It starts with that tiny pang of saving time as well as money by Whatsapping instead of calling and before you know it, your last dialed numbers differ by dates. My point remains - calls are super fun,and it's way more amazing to laugh together with your friend over the phone rather than sending a "=D"

3. Twitter de-addiction

Not everyone has this particular issue,but about 500 million worldwide do. The super addictive micro-blogging website has taken the world by a mighty roar, and has many on its hook (I still can't get #uberawesome to trend). Yet, Twitter is something that requires constant updates, mostly through a mobile device. So when I lost my phone and used a replacement without internet, this marijuana like website finally let me off the hook.

4. Bring the iPod and those books out from the closet

In their lure for more markets, mobile phone manufacturers have started bundling almost everything into a cell phone. The most disastrous things being the music player and e-book reader apps. Not that there's anything wrong, but they've rendered the iPods, MP3 players and the thing that hurt me the most, books redundant. Not that it was a complete overhaul yet when I heard Cat Stevens on my iPod while reading my musty old tome of Jeffery Archer's A Prisoner of Birth, the feeling was way better than reading it on my screen with some lousy sound I try to pass off as actual music.

5. Escaping that disease where you think your phone rings all the time

Ringxiety is the syndrome when you think your phone is ringing when it really isn't.Needless to say, all of us suffer from it and somehow this week rids you of it! No medication, completely free and no side-effects!

6. Conversations are REALLY interesting

Ever paused your important-than-thou (yes I make up words,I'm aware of that) text-chat and lifted your head to join the dinner table conversation? Yes, a world of information exists outside the internet too and almost everyone has something to say (not that it may be sensible, I mean HELLO RAKHI SAWANT!) Conversations around you are more interesting than anything else. So I spent this week eavesdropping on aunties complaining about their kids, nodding at uncles speculating the next day's Sensex trend and fighting with people over Imam's latest Big Boss outburst.

7. The Internet's back where it belonged

Lastly and in a not so cliché way,the least stupid observation - The Internet was originally meant to be an inter connected network of computers to access information and consolidate knowledge.With the emergence of mobile phones, WiFi capable MP3 players, Kindles etc the focus shifted. Deny it as much as you want to, but a website ALWAYS looks, functions and dazzles better on a computer screen rather than the miserly screen of your mobile.
A week later, I got my Curve 9360 back and I was back to my old ways, ignoring all these observations I noted. Yet, the only tiny hope it gave me that my teacher reduced my insult phrase from "mobile mein ghuse rehte ho" to "bas phone pe gappe lagate rehte ho". Yay for me!

Sent on my BlackBerry® from Vodafone Javascript Disabled

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Dongri to Dubai By S Hussain Zaidi-A Review

Okay first thing first. To truly enjoy this book, whenever you’re picking up this book for the first time, hum the theme of Once Upon A Time In Mumbai and then you’ll be ready. Ready for something really awesome.

To an average Mumbaikar and to a certain extent, to an average Indian, the names Dawood Ibrahim, Haji Mastan, Chota Shakeel, Chota Rajan, Vardhan etc are fear-inspiring. Most of us are really not aware as to why this effect happens, and that is what this book deals with. In the bluntest of terms, it is the history text book which all schools should make compulsory.

Dongri to Dubai is a 378 paged book which simply demands to be read with precision.  Dealing with a delicate matter such as the history of Mumbai’s dreaded mafia is tough, but Zaidi’s experience and deep networks are clearly evident as he takes you through the rise of crime in Mumbai. Starting with the very first instance of accosting in Dongri, the book details the rise of the different gangs and syndicates in the six decade history of mafia in Mumbai.

The X-factor of this book is that the coherent, clear and concurrent narration along with hardcore facts, actual conversations and personal incidents (Hussain’s  work as a crime journalist yields rich dividends for the reader) help in establishing already suspected theories. For example, it’s a popular theory that Bollywood was and most probably controlled by the underworld. Exactly how this power is wielded has always been shrouded behind grim nods and clinks of wine glasses. Dongri to Dubai offers the eyes of an observant unbiased journalist to understand that.

Also, Zaidi has masterfully exploited the explicit need of “flow” in historic narratives. Most books dealing with such narrative themes fail in this regard, but not this one.  Each gang, each leader, each police officer i.e each involved member is established with his or her intent, purpose and motive.

Lastly, this may be a strictly personal observation, but the book is very informative. At least it was to me. I cannot speak for the entire crowd, but most people are painfully dumb when it comes to knowledge about the deep underbelly of Mumbai. Although it is deeply entrenched in our life, and finds nuances in our daily life, most Mumbaikar’s knowledge about the Mafia is left rotting in unknowing reverence and fear. For example we all know Dawood’s brother was assasinanted in Prabha Devi years ago by a rival mafia gang. But why? How? Most are unable to answer those questions. Dongri to Dubai equips you with that.

So this book goes without a saying, into the must-read category. I have always believed that the best way to learn something is by converting it into an example or story. This book weaves the non-fictional account of Mumbai (then Bombay)’s mafia into an extremely detailed narrative which reads just like fiction. So go and read this one!

Like: Informative, Chillingly accurate and detailed, Well laid out, Interestingly well linked theories

Dislike:  None, this book is perfect

Click here to buy from Amazon or Flipkart

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Who am I?An Indian Teen's Identity Crisis

NOTE:This was the article I wrote for the What's My ID Contest for Youth Ki Awaaz. I won a Nokia Lumia 710 and an internship with them. Here's the picture :

Nokia Lumia 710 Won By Siddharth Gupta for What's My ID Contest for Youth ki Awaaz

As a seventeen year old teen, I can confidently say I’m an Indian who is astonished by India daily. With the second highest population in the world, the only way of describing us is “we’re everywhere”. Some rejoice by this unique factorial, claiming it to be a bright prospect for the country’s future. But what I, and most of today’s youth sees, is a situation of identity crisis. A situation that doesn’t look good at all.

Today, every child, by the sole act of his birth, acquires multiple tags, which already define him before he or she can logically think. When a foreign dignitary visits India, the first lesson they learn is of our cultural integrity, but they never learn of our inhumane and excruciatingly complex divide. May it be on the geographical distribution of states, or of the language rolled off their tongues, we have a nasty little intuition to immediately separate each other out. It’s interesting to note that most of the geographical and language issues are simply banal. Consider this: at the time of our independence, we had 15 odd states which today stand at 28. Looking at certain separatist movements, we may see an increase in the number. But the point that stands out is that over time, fragmentation, re-merging of areas, division etc stops mattering because over the years, the only common link geographically between people has remained that of belonging to a common nation- India.

Moving on to the touchy issue, caste based discrimination. It’s not that we are not trying to move past it. With each passing generation, the emerging youth of India has slowly worked towards making it a figment of history. Unfortunately, our social stigmas and laws haven’t caught up. As a child when my mother taught me equality, I often thought “How can I say XYZ is equal to me when he gets a reservation in educational institutes, government jobs and many other such similar offerings while I don’t?”

Bringing in the gender divide, I slightly start feeling disgusted. For a nation which claims to believe and worship in a goddess, we are simple brutes. As a staunch advocate of equality among women, I simply find myself in dearth of a true identity, because associating myself with any of them highlighted here, causes a revulsion in me.

Identity. The word itself resonates a feeling of unity, of oneness and in true essence, describes the individual persona of each person. Sadly, as an Indian who is still in his growing years, I’ve discovered that I have multiple facades, multiple descriptions associated with me. Why, is a question I’m yet to answer, because the search goes on. In India, you never have a single identity. It’s always a concoction of many different ones. But whatever the potion may be and whoever may be the brewer, one thing is apparent and crystal-clear. Something is wrong, and we must change. I hope we change. Soon, Fast and Now Javascript Disabled

Things Puberty Teaches You And Things It Really Doesn't

This is a guest post by Alaric Moras or commonly known by his pen name, The Observant Lefty.Now I asked him to write a bio for himself,and well the result was hilariously awesome!Here it goes

"Alaric Moras is a 17 year old writer who has interned at Youth Incorporated Magazine and The Times of India. He is the owner of the blog: and is presently completing his Second Year of Junior College, (SYJC- ARTS) in Saint Xavier’s College, Mumbai. He is most known for his writing, and lack of any other talents thereof. When he isn’t glued to his computer screen, he spends his time reading and studying, (the last activity performed three days or fewer before upcoming examinations).

Alaric chooses to speak in a dialect of his own creation, consisting of Hindi, English and Konkani melded together, with the suffix, ‘ness’ added to most verbs. He also writes for The Xavier’s College Xpress. His highest aspiration is to an editor at a world renowned magazine. He presently resides in Santacruz, Mumbai, India."

You can find his blog here . Also,here's his Twitter handle @alaricmoras (

I was pleasantly surprised when I was asked to write for The Standing Coin's one year anniversary and that SidG would think of me as one of the writers he knew who could perform this task in the first place. The Standing Coin has won numerous blogger awards, been mentioned in countless magazines and newspapers and is probably one of the most viewed blogs in Mumbai today. To me, it has become a sort of entity in itself, even managing to capture my rabbit like attention span and wielding an enormous following. Therefore, having my thoughts set against the shadow of such a giant is a hard task, but I will try my best.

Since I was told that I could write about anything that suited me, I choose to write about things that I feel I've learnt over the course of my teenage life. Here are some of the insights I've gained that I want to share with you all.


1.) Kissing does not make babies. It can, however, lead to chapped and sore lips and a variety of blemishes across your face. None of which I've experienced. Forever Alone is fun.

2.) Saying "yo" every three seconds will get you laughed at. Inventing your own words and using them freely however, doesn't. "Me-ness" and being yourself is always fully and completely appreciated. Plus, it's fun to be crazy.

3.)Being treated like a child by your parents never gets old. Relish the moment and know that for those two people, whatever you do will never make them hate you. Unless, ofcourse, you don't clean your room and wash behind your ears.

4.) Relationships are like glass. When you break them, they... Well, they break. And someone will get hurt. Chocolate and peanut butter, however aren't glass-like at all. Indulge and let yourself go. And most importantly, they will always love you in return.

5.) Touching members of the opposite sex is permitted. Not a lot. In moderation, of course. Like alcohol. Try keeping it at once or twice every 30 minutes or so. Safe zones are the non smooth areas. Just saying.
6.) Fitting in with the crowd makes you fade into the background. Always try and be yourself. Unless you like tasting human flesh. Then, try and be something a bit more normal.

7.) It's called an 'embarrassing itch' for a reason. But that's where powder comes in. Jai ho, Johnson's Baby Powder! No, seriously. Don't leave without it.
8.) Don't idealize things, relationships and people. Take everything as it comes and realize that life doesn't always have to be structured and defined. Everything can just BE.


1.) Tying your shoe laces. I kid you not. When you're twelve, this seems like some great new insight that turning thirteen will automatically impart to you. You learn it like everything else.

2.) Resisting bubble wrap. Face it, people: You are, and you always will be addicted to the goodness of bursting that little air pocket.

3.) How to say "no" when aunties bring out the sweets. When faced with gulab jamuns, rasgullas and jalebis, do not EVER think maturity will set in. In the face of oily loveliness, all of us are reduced to children.

4.) How to eat chips decently. Lays, Pringles, banana chips, whatever they maybe, we will always be animals when we consume them.

5.) How to wink cheekily without looking like a rapist. You thing growing a bit taller and having fuzz on your upper lip gives you swag? Sorry to burst your bubble; it really doesn't. You will still look like you are a wild sex offender if you wink randomly at the ladies. Unless you are George Clooney.

6.) Grow the parts of yourself you want to and in the right order. No matter how hard you stare in the mirror, screw up your face and try to grow the parts of you that you want to grow in the right order, it will not happen. Trust me. I speak through lots of experience.

7.) Get rid of the imaginary talking voices. You kids out there who've watched Foster's Home and lived with Imaginary Friends, don't worry. They'll never leave you, mainly because they fade into a host of annoying and whiny annoying voices in the back of your mind. And they have names. Shut UP, Charlie, I'm trying to concentrate here, God!

8.) Be the star of everything, always. No matter how cliched this sounds, you will always be popular among your own friends and you never need to work to be a people pleaser. You're a great person, just the crazy, insane way you are.

Grinningly yous,

The Observant Lefty. Javascript Disabled

Of K.F.C and Kids,A Day I Smiled

This is a guest post by Sridevi Nayak who is fondly called Sridu.She's a bookworm like moi and is from Karnataka.She's currently pursuing MA in Mass Communication.You can find her blog here . Also,here's his Twitter handle @sridu_n (

Recently, I had visited K.F.C. restaurant with my 17-year-old sister. As usual, I asked her to place the order since there were many people in waiting line for their turn to come up. The restaurant was swarmed with the people. Whilst my sister was busy panning her eyes in the bulletin menu that hung up right in front of the customers, I was lost in thoughts to the engagements that needed my attention soon after we feed our stomach. Suddenly, my thoughts were disturbed by a small kid who nudged me and went ahead to join his father who was in the reception counter to place their order. I assumed he must have felt intimidated with huge number of people. The little boy with red shirt printed with the cartoon of Sponge Bob, went to his father to enquire about status and availability of the chicken wings and his favorite beverage. He spoke to his dad as if he was mad at him for not getting back to the table with the order. Later he looked at me adjusting his spectacles and apologized for rushing towards me before. I smiled and accepted his apology. I held his tiny hands with mine and asked for his name and his school that he attend. He took a deep breath and with a serious tone, he replied his name, which I have forgotten now and he studies from the school which is well known in my hometown. He studies in the same school where I studied and he put me into a nostalgic mode. I started reminiscing my school days and was wondering how small the world is. We meet people and somewhere we might be connected, and this connection helps us in smiling. In the meanwhile, my sister was done with the order at the reception counter and I had to bid a farewell to the kid. He obliged saying it was a pleasure for us to meet. I was stunned to see such mannerism from a little notorious boy. He later rushed towards his seat, hugged a girl, and planted a kiss on a girl's cheek who I presumed to be his sister. I continued with my sister narrating the whole event that just happened a while ago. We both later returned home but I was still enthralled with the way the kid spoke to me at the end of our conversation because I have never interacted with any kids except him in such manner. Usually kids run when you say bye but this kid was different, he spoke like a gentleman speaks. I am sure, when he grows up, he will surely be a fine man for his behavior. With this assurance, I slipped into a deep sleep to conquer another day filled with more surprises to come on my way. Javascript Disabled

Don't Try To Discover Your Passion!

This is a guest post by Deepak Mehra fondly called Nicky.Deepak Bhaiya is simply put,a rockstar.I have never had the opportunity to show him off, so today I will.He's one of the coolest guys I know.He works at Citibank and is married to another of one of our guest post writer today,Moushmi Mehra.All my life,I have looked up to him and he and his family,actually it's even my family, has always been there for me.So,cheers to my mentor and the real superhero!Also,here's his Twitter handle @nickymehra (

Don’t try to discover your passion

Wait, what!? That’s crazy! Should Sachin Tendulkar have been a banker? Lata Mangeshkar a marketing executive?

God no, but I’m not saying don’t follow your passion. By all means, please do. If you already know what lights your fire, then you might as well stop reading this post, as may those who don’t believe in the concept of following your passion to begin with.

But read on if you are like I was (and scores of others I know). Frustrated and disillusioned because you’re worried you’re in the wrong train altogether. Acutely aware there are those blessed souls who know there isn’t another train they could even think of boarding.

What passion discovery process is not
Nobody is born with a special gene that pre-determines passion right at birth. False are the beliefs that our ‘true calling’ definitely is out there; close by, yet unseen by us, just waiting to be discovered… we just don’t know how to see it.

Passion is discovered thanks to (one or many of) a curious mind, willingness to do your best in whatever you’re doing (which opens doors you’d never even known existed), a visit to a museum, chance meeting of an excellent coach and mentor at Shivaji Park during childhood, or perhaps while watching a show on Discovery Channel. To be sure, exceptions to the genetics rule do exist (somewhat). Lata Mangeshkar probably wouldn’t have made it to the pinnacle of her profession without being blessed with that voice to begin with. But again, not every person with a good voice is a great singer or even passionate about singing.

The potent formula of discovering passion
The ‘true calling’ of the Sachins and Latas of this world poses as ‘inevitability’ and ‘prescience’ in our minds – taking them away from the reach of us commoners. In reality this ‘true calling’ is a fortuitous yet potent combination of

  • luck in something you really care about,
  • while being ready to seize the opportunity when it matters and
  • having the courage to follow it and persist, even if the going gets tough.

Poetic untruth or boring truth?
An adage that’s always served me well is ‘don’t seek a complicated explanation when a simple one exists’. We’re too prone to creating dramatic, coherent yet untrue stories in our minds from sparse data points. Instead, take a few moments to think things through and come up with a comprehensive picture which stands up to scrutiny.

It is very tempting to say Sachin met coach Achrekar because he was simply destined to become a great cricketer and leave it at that. Where’s the intriguing story (initially at least) in saying he was just lucky to meet a coach who just took a keen interest in a promising youngster? Where’s the drama in saying putting in those hours and hours toiling under the sun, perfecting his technique made him ready to seize the opportunity when it came knocking? And finally in acknowledging that it was just his courage to follow his passion and persist in the face of a society so punishing towards an individual trying to pursue sports (acutely more so back when he debuted) which completed the potent formula?

Fatalist not
If luck has such a big part to play, am I saying I advocate fatalism and trying to discover our passion is completely beyond our control? Absolutely not! There’s still a lot that we can and should do. Among several others: maintain a curious mind, be ready to visit new places, meet new people, expose ourselves to diverse perspectives, read good books… Basically, create as many valuable experiences for ourselves as possible. In doing so, we maximize our chances of becoming aware of our interests (easier said than done), while making ourselves ready to seize opportunities as they arise – and they do for everybody. Combine this with courage, and we have a winner!

Don’t worry, be happy
So stop fretting over discovering your passion, wasting precious time and depleting vital energy. Start living a million diverse, enriching experiences instead, so that fortune may be allowed to do its magic on somebody ready to discover his passion!

This post was inspired by an article from HBR, which can be found here. Javascript Disabled

The Pursuit Of HappYness

This is a guest post by Moushmi Mehra .Moushmi Bhabhi is married to one of our guest post writers today,Deepak Mehra.She's the most recent member of one of the families I love the most,but she,like all of them is simply AWESOME.Beside all other things,I love her for one particular thing.She gifted me one of her favourite books,which has now joined my list as well.The book taught me a lot,change me and made me whatever I am. In fact,it continues to do so.The book was The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand(LINK). So here is an enthralling post by the person who changed my life,simply with a book. Also,here's his Twitter handle @MoushmiMehra (

I recently quit working at a software company. Reason? I fortunately realized that I wasn’t enjoying it as much as I would have wanted to after all. Thought of using the time at hand now to begin a long-postponed quest - answers to my questions about a rather elusive, much hyped topic Happiness! No I don’t wish to emulate Gautam Buddha, Mahavir and the likes.. well just yet.. but have struggled with these questions way too long for my comfort. My priorities so far, albeit mistaken priorities, allowed an at-best half-hearted attempt to find these answers. The result, quite obvious, I struggle to date.

They say, don't seek a complicated explanation when a simple one exists! How very true! I began my search by looking for books, articles, people.. anything under the sun that would give me even the slightest hint to what happiness really is? Of course I would need a lot of material to really understand the concept of Happiness I thought. And how wrong was I!

I was lucky to stumble upon a series of talks by an organization called ‘Brahmakumaris’. I occasionally listen to them on TV, mainly one Brahmakumari (BK) Sister Shivani who I personally think is a wonderful orator. Lucky for me, this series was by her.

I remember the first time I saw her on TV. Her attire gave me the impression that this is yet another Swamini giving hard to follow talks on morals, ethics.. all those heavy topics I have hated listening to. But hearing her speak just once changed my impression completely. She had me glued to the television and how? By speaking in extremely simple language, yes, but more importantly, talking sense; sharing thoughts and ideas to deal with situations that are extremely easy to digest and seem to be doable by laymen. So anyway.. with a lot of hope I started listening to all the lectures one after the other and boy was I shocked to hear what I did.

Firstly, what is happiness? Happiness, she says, is a state of being stable; not excited, not thrilled, not laughing all the time, not a temporary sense of pleasure; a state of being at peace with oneself; a state dependent only my own internal being; a state completely in one’s own control.

Our happiness is in our control? What really? That is not possible! Personally, I have always felt happy only let’s say when I achieve something.. be it a material possession, the great score on a test, when someone says something nice to me. But I don’t seem to play the central role in any of this; I don’t seen to be the do-er. These are all external events which may, may not happen. I therefore may, may not be happy. Isn’t it? It depends on my luck and fate?

She demystified her statement by saying that it is me who makes my happiness dependent on these events. I create a thought in my head, if event A will happen, then I will be happy. Fortunately if event A does happen, I will be happy. But for how long? This will be a temporary state because very soon I will decide to be happy next only when event B will happen.

Whoa! How very true! I began rushing with the lectures a bit. I was too intrigued by now. More and more questions started popping in my head. Why are we subjecting ourselves to such pockets of happiness? Can we actually be happy always?

This was answered in the very next talk. A very fresh perspective.. I am a happy person already she says; irrespective of the situations coming my way. We just chose otherwise.

For example, many of us have the tendency to blame others for our unhappiness. To this she said, we have no control over what others are doing but our reaction to it is our choice. If we give a person the power to hurt us, upset us then we need to take the responsibility for it because we are letting that person disturb our state of mind. Alternatively, if we decide to accept people around us with their fallacies and decide to not get affected by them, if we decide to be at peace anyway, we would retain complete control over our happiness.

This seemed very very comforting. Easier said than done I thought. But then it occurred to me. What if I repeat this to myself day in and day out.. I am a happy being. My happiness lies only in my hands. Is it possible that it will become part of my system? It is just about changing a deep rooted belief system at the end of the day, isn’t it? If so far we have convinced ourselves that happiness is external, can we spend the rest of our life convincing ourselves that it is in fact internal? I am sure it won’t take so long.. but even if it does, doesn’t the thought of moving in this direction itself contribute to our peace of mind?

I haven’t completed the series yet but picked up some huge pointers and tips already.

To be happy, be in the present moment. When I heard BK Shivani say this I was like.. not again!! To give you a background to this reaction, I have read quite a few self-help books (all in the attempt to find my answers mind you) and they all insist that one must be in the present; in the NOW. I never really understood why. But listening to these lectures I realized that I have convinced myself that I am unhappy in the present moment, well more often than not. A very natural outcome is that I start doing one of the following:

I fleet to the past. I start thinking of happier times when the situation was not like the current one. For some time this takes my mind off the present and gives me a sense of pleasure. But for how long? Very soon I am back seeing the present right in front of me.

Another reaction is to start imagining a future when the situation is not as bad as the current one. Again, for some time this takes my mind off the present and gives me a sense of pleasure. I am thinking of how life will be one day and I begin to feel very very “happy”? But for how long? Very soon I am back seeing the present right in front of me.

Let’s try a brand new outlook. What if I could look at reality right in the face, decide that it will not bog me down and deal with it like a man? Do whatever it takes to set things right NOW and be at peace, be stable, be happy NOW? Just take a moment here and think about this. Is it possible? Can we try and do this for lasting happiness instead of deceiving ourselves into temporary pleasures of the past and future?

I am convinced that this is not simple on the face of it but.. only because it is not a way of life for us yet. But the day it becomes? I think managing to do this even once will give us enough motivation, courage and strength for future trials and tribulations awaiting us. I see it this way, dealing successfully once with a tough situation at hand will build enough mettle in me for the next one down the road, similarly for the next situation and so on and so forth!

This seems like a technique to everlasting happiness to me and it seems too simple! Funny thing, just to be sure, I started second guessing this conclusion; I tried hard to see flaws in these deductions - a common attitude with my generation I guess. But couldn’t find any. Could you? Javascript Disabled

The Vogue Around

This is a guest post by Shalina Abhale.She's a fashion enthusiast from Mumbai and has written for publications like The Education Times. Also,here's her Twitter handle @mykaleidescope (

Fashion has always been my one of my 'Great loves'. Fashion plays the role of that power in my universe which is capacitated to elevate me above all the miseries and troubles of this oh-so ungrateful world. It has this numbing effect on my rational mind, which mind you, is quite the horror for the bank balance, but the equivalent joy for the wardrobe. For instance, say I'm upset over something . So , I try diverting my mind by glancing through the latest vogue . Voila ! There it is ! All those arguments seem so trivial now. There are much larger problems in this world than a mere misunderstanding. Look Look Look !!! Drool Drool Drool ! The much coveted , much adored, much loved - The Lady Dior bag ! How I wish I could come into an inheritance from some 98 year old great-uncle who has been kind enough to leave me with a fortune! How I wish I could get my hands onto some magic lamp with a genie who'd get me that Dior bag in a jify. How I wish I could be the editor in chief of Vogue , the next Amy Vintour! How I wish.......... Do you see the magic a a Dior bag or, pair of Luboutins can work ? Yes, this is precisely how fashion comes to the rescue .

'Coco Avant Chanel' - One of those movies where English subtitles seem so redundant. Having watched the movie a little more than 6 times, Coco Chanel's biography reinforces my faith in humanity! How else would a chanteuse go on to become one of the greatest fashion designers, this world has ever seen? Maybe it was her talent; maybe her quick wit; maybe her simplicity; maybe it was everything - I could never figure it out. Coco Chanel's greatest contribution to the world of fashion happened in an unusual, a rather tantalizing style - Madame Chanel was repulsed by the garish, extravagant gowns, women wore back then. So, she decided to go against the tide. Imagine a high society party with a champagne fountain and ice sculptures, where women are dressed in feathers hats and layered gowns and silk gloves, and then, imagine a bold Coco Chanel taking everyone by storm in a sharply cut, well designed black dress. And thus, came into existence the iconic 'Little Black Dress', or as we know it -the 'LBD'. One of the most potent components of the LBD was it's color. Yes, Black - the color of mourning, the color of darkness and despair , had now become the color of chic and style.The LBD was a revelation in itself-it was simple, stylish and, stunningly sensuous. It was a wake-up call for all the designers of the 20th Century, whose designs were along along the lines of , 'the more, the better'. It was a revolt of sorts , a revolt against society's kitschy idea of beauty.

So, today you have Dolce& Gabanna sprucing up the LBD with a tinge of neon , and there are have Falguni and Shane 'spiking' it up in a very goth-meets-punk way , and then, there is Christian Dior's charming rendition of the same. It is mystical how one woman's dress has become the world's sketch board. However, there will be only one Coco Chanel and only one classic ' TheLittle Black Dress'. It would be ignorant to say that the LBD was a fashion statement - The LBD was a revolution in the world of fashion; it was one of those heirloom pieces your grandmother presents to you one fine day, one of those pieces which will last an eternity.

Unlike the delightful LBD,which no sane person can go wrong with, there is one concept that very few people seem to get right - The infamous Colour Blocking. Personally, I fear color blocking. I love the concept of color blocking - the fact that a hot pink satchel can break the monotony of an LBD- but when you go wrong with color-blocking it goes beyond the label of a fashion Faux Pas. One becomes a walking , talking fashion disaster! Although, one of the most expressive styles till date , color blocking has been imbibed in a very half-baked manner.A popular notion : Colour blocking is about teaming two contrasting colors together and, watching them work their magic. No! That is just preposterous.Colour blocking is a state of mind - it acts as a facade , provided you play it right. Otherwise, it is just a classic case of colour-gone-mad! Just recently , I was an appalled witness to a rather shocking case of color blocking gone wrong - Zebra print and neon orange. Breathe Breathe breathe…Oh hell, I'd rather not exist at all!

I was terribly disturbed when I looked up 'fashion' in the dictionary and, found this - 'a popular trend, esp. in styles of dress and ornament or manners of behavior'. Fashion is more than a 'popular trend' . Fashion is refuge,confidante, a mirror; it is almost an emotion in itself. It opens one up to the various avenues of this one-dimensional world. It is quite the joy, actually!

'Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only.Fashion is in the sky in the street,Fashion has to do with ideas,the way we live , what is happening.'

P.S : Congratulations 'The Standing Coin' , Siddharth Gupta's beloved brainchild ! :D Javascript Disabled

Sacred Sorcery

This is a guest post by Paloma Sharma.She's one of the most wittiest,sarcastic,political and satire loving blogger I've ever met.She's one hell of a writer and blogs at her own blog Going Bananas(LINK)(LINK TO THIS POST). Also,here's her Twitter handle @PalomaSharma(

Ensnared am I
By the midnight locks,
Tangled in their luminous darkness,
And tighter and tighter
When they close around my neck,
That is when I truly breathe.

Appalled am I,
Filled with aching wonderment,
Of such cruelty disguised
Under honey colored eyes,
And their heartless enchantment
Leaves me to fend for myself.

"Do not mock me so!"
"Do not plague me so!"
Unheard, vexed and tantalized
This slovenly wordsmith must realize,
That you are the idea,
That I am enslaved to.

Colorless, the world is,
Its naïviety is surprising,
It has turned dull and repulsive
Out of jealous despair,
That it couldn't compare
To you.

What might you be?
An incubus? A dream?
A product of sacred sorcery
Arisen from ash and rosary?
This infidel's sanctity
Lies below your pedestal.

Who am I
To malign your halo
And liken your name
To that which is wordly and cheap?
Yet, the fault is not mine,
It is you who remains peerless.

"Do not possess me so!"
So ruthlessly do not mesmerize,
The mightier you are, the smaller am I -
An illusion spawned by my mind,
So I cut loose to salvage my pride,
My actions, so futile.

Lost am I,
Bound by the leash of my ego,
Seeking separation from my source,
But where am I to go?
How do I remove me from your entirety?
Alas! I am imprisoned.

Yet, nothing contains you,
Nothing controls you,
Nothing else liberates me,
Be kind
Have mercy
Do not undo my bonds.

That light you are,
That blazing glory at the other end
Of the dark tunnel I'm running in,
This unending black passage,
Perhaps I will never cross it,
Perhaps I will never burn in the flame.

Yet, I run,
I try,
Desperate to make it
At the cost of everything.

I kneel,
I bow,
I submit, I submit, I submit. Javascript Disabled

Section 66A,the mystery of Indian Internet Governance- A QnA with Saikat Datta

The all round criticism and outcry at Indian Online Governance and the controversial Section 66A of the IT Act need no introduction.But, as a blogger, I thought it to be prudent to hear about it from someone who is mainstream and affected by it. Presenting Saikat Datta,Bureau Chief,DNA New Delhi. As an active twitter user(@saikatd) and an important figure in the media, I thought he is the perfect person to talk to about this.Here's the QnA

1.As a prominent member of the fourth pillar of Democracy, what's your definition of free speech?What does "freedom of expression" constitute in your dictionary?

Freedom of speech means the freedom to anything is permissible under Indian laws and also tolerance for all views. The lack of any form of censorship, subtle or overt is abominable.

2.The very vaguely worded Section 66A has caused a lot of controversy pertaining to freedom of expression on the Internet.Being an active Twitter user, what are your views on it?

There is no need for such a section. There are adequate laws in force. The Constitution sought to enshrine fundamental rights. Our laws are now creating a situation where we have fundamental restrictions now.

3.In today's India, where the media,social activists and citizens are leading a revolution, where does freelance blogging figure?

I am not sure there is a "revolution" yet, but there is definitely a greater democratisation of news and information. This will ensure that there is a greater freedom of expression and more accessibility to information and its dissemination.

4.The media, on multiple counts has been accused of being biased or "stooges of political parties". How do you answer them?
There could be some truth is the media subscribing to some political ideology. Or even the establishment. But this has to be understood in a context. Are the people ready to pay for the news they seek? Unless and until you pay for news, how will news be free from commercial or political pressure?

8.Some advice to budding journalists or media personnel

I would say budding journalists should try and spend time learning and perfecting their craft. This is a fascinating profession where constant learning is a challenge and a source of unending joy. Finally, specialise.

9.Lastly, a word to The Standing Coin readers
Welcome to journalism. It always needs a few good women and men Javascript Disabled

The Reality Of The Queer Prejudice-A QnA with Harish Iyer

India is emerging as a nation.But unfortunately,our mentality,our society and the guarantee of freedom and human rights has fallen behind the pace.Although,judicially, the 2010 judgement was a landmark, but our minds have not broken past all of it.In a frank one to one,Harish Iyer, an openly gay person and queer community activist tells us his views.

1.There a lot of misconceptions about the current legal rights of the Queer community. What's the ground reality?

Section 377 of the indian penal code criminalised carnal intercourse between two individuals that was against the order of nature. This was quite ambiguous as "order of nature" could be interpreted in different ways.

This law was used against homosexuals as they practice oral and anal sex. The view was that sex against the law of nature was prohibited any sex that's non-procreative could be unnatural. Which is totally untrue.The Delhi high court read down section 377 saying that any sex between two consenting adult individuals in private is not unlawful. The key words are 'consensual', 'private' and 'adult'. It basically goes on to say that the state or the law has nothing to do with what two adults willingly do in their bedrooms.
Now the big doubt was - is section 377 only read down in Delhi. Well, since it makes an amend in the IPC, it would be valid throughout india. So if there is a section 377 case in say Bombay, the delhi judgement can be quoted here. 
It was never illegal to love in India. The problem was with making love. 

2.I would be blind if I say the prejudice is over. You constantly receive bigoted emails and tweets. Your take on this?
Some people are curious about my sex life. I think I must be doing something really well at that, that it makes them so curious and jealous :)
Well, on a serious note, yes prejudice does exist, and its time to look at people eye-to-eye. Every single person who walks out of the closet, is an inspiration for another.
I feel we like to "excavate" things that are hidden. I have nothing to hide, they have nothing more to dig. :)

3.Acceptance in conservative societies,including ours, is next to impossible. Especially in the older generations.How do you spread awareness about homosexuality?

Who said acceptance is impossible. I am in India. I am out to everyone right from my Gangu bai and rickshaw driver to everyone at work. They might not come out in acceptance like a typical Karan Johar flick, but they do have latent acceptance. Or rather have complete disregard for my sexuality, which is good.

4.Beside being an icon to the Queer community,you're an active social reformer. What's your current and next project?

LGBTIQ rights is just one of the battles for equal human rights. I don't know if I am an icon, I am but definitely someone who would not suffer in silence. Or for that matter watch something go wrong and be a silent bystander.
I act from my heart. And I don't meticulously plan my causes. I erupt whenever there in crises. Presently I am doing my usual sessions with survivors of child sexual abuse.

5.If you were to write a paragraph about yourself, it would read....

The man who Dreams a new dream, for the old one is now a reality"

6.Something you simply can't say no to

Facebook. (I'm a social media whore)

7.Someone you can't say no to
Hardly anyone. If I have to say no, I will say no.

8.As an blogger, what role do you think blogs play in current social dynamics?

They help you think. They seed a thought in your mind that no book could. They are personal. And they have a personality. Blogs are thought-influencing. Blogs are humans too.

9.Lastly, an advice to our readers.
Tolerance is the word. You need not like me. But you need to learn to co exist with someone who is different.
Thoughts become things. So keep documenting your thoughts.
Born free - blog free. Javascript Disabled