Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Pieces of a Broken Mirror

We are two shards

Of a broken mirror

Fragmented, with jagged edges

Reflecting each other and the world

Clear yet unclear

Seeing the old

Reflecting the new

We come with our baggage

Of the past we belonged to

All that we have seen

All that we have shown

We fit together

Yet we don't

Do we pierce life

Or does life pierce through us?

Our rough edges almost as is

In symmetry, in sync

Yet so different, so unlike

We have both witnessed our share

Each different from the other

Yet so starkly alike

We connect in pain

We connect in sorrow

But we'll advance in joy

For a better tomorrow

The Conflicted Mind

There are two thoughts
Conflicting, tearing me from within
In two different directions
To be or not to be
One of the eternal questions 
Of life and life beyond death
Of death and love beyond death
Do I wish to be alone in sorrow
Or sorrowful in a crowd
Look here it comes again
Another one of those depression bouts
I wish to come out of its grasp
Break free from its leash
Holding me back, holding me tight
Controlling my thoughts
But at times each effort rots
It pulls me down
To the abyss of hellish feelings
Influences and confuses
All my dealings
Will I be able to pull myself back?
I guess, like I always do
But the route to it seems hazy
My will seems reluctant and lazy
I need you to call out to me
I may or may not come
But it's comforting to know you care
No matter how crazy it gets
You shall always be there
Will you, won't you?
I guess, time will tell
Until then glorious seems the thought
Maybe that is what will help me sort
The muddle in my mind
To get out of the grind
All that matters right now
Is to know you're right behind
With a supporting hand
And a comforting smile
Leading the way
To take me ahead in life
Another mile ...

Tuesday, July 8, 2014



There are chances we take
Certain choices we make
Some turn out greater than imagined
Through some only regrets we rake

One is treaded upon quite gladly
We had wanted this one oh so badly
We sweated and cried, struggled and got fried
Our tears and sweat made the victory gleam bright

Days passed..turned into months
Experiences and moments were amassed
Lots was learnt lots was passed
Some gave joy while through some gloom was cast

Friends were made friends forgotten
New bonds built while some became rotten
Memories left scars that served as reminders
Some unresolved emotions soon became binders

Time passed as it always does
Monotony and drudgery made everyday quite a fuss
What once gave joy now felt tasking
Glories felt fake in which we were basking

Eyes and mind wandered in search of something fresh
The life state of others seemed more attractive
Picture perfect memories sealed and delivered
On those other moments our eyes and minds lingered

This path now felt strange, unwelcoming
What we had chosen lay ignored
Would the other path have been happier and more becoming
What if, what could have been - insecurities roared

Had the other path been chosen 
would we have the same joy
As we see with others
And wistfully we sigh

We realize then suddenly
Our mind plays games
Had the other path been chosen in fact
Our insecurities would have remained just the same ....

-Aastha Katyal

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

I See...You Saw!


There’s something I see…a lot of things actually
It’s all of what you saw, but a lot differently

I see a highly qualified, intelligent one with dreams and wishes
You saw someone who’ll wash your clothes and do the dishes

I see a beautiful, generous and compassionate soul within
You saw an overweight, or short girl who will never fit in

I see someone who chases after what she believes in with all her might
You saw someone who reaches out for much more than she can bite

I see someone who’s strong, independent, advancing at a self-assured pace
You saw an opportunity, a wily woman you hope to beat, to ‘put her in her place’.

I see a woman confident of her body and herself
You saw a ‘slut’ who rightfully belongs on a domestic shelf

I see one who’s got a charming, eloquent way with the words
You saw a smooth talker, rubbishing away all her efforts

I see one who extends herself beyond domesticity and carves out a niche
You saw she crossed her ‘limits’ and needs to be put on a leash

I see she’s a people’s person, mingling and making friends galore
You saw she’s ‘loose’, without morals, close to a ‘whore’

I see she’s fearless, tough against the tide
You saw and pushed her down with all your might

I see one who’s a lioness, fighting for her rights
You saw she’s ‘dented and painted’ and so must give up the fight.

I see she’s trying her best to selflessly manage two worlds
You saw she has no business to have another world

I see her struggle everyday to make a place for herself
You saw and decided there must be none of her self

I see her moulding a second brave one as a mother
You saw and stomped on the hope of another

I see them struggling each day to live full, enriching and rewarding lives
You saw and decided they deserve nothing more than to be mothers and wives

There’s something I see…a lot of things actually
It’s all of what you saw, but a lot differently!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Celebrating Republic Day

‎26 January is not about a holiday, or about certain vermin across the country abusing women's rights or about corruption or about useless politicians or about Modi vs. Gandhi! It's a day to celebrate those soldiers who do their duty to the utmost care standing in areas of -30 degree temperatures, going without food and even water for days altogether, ready to fight for a complete nation where they don't even know 98% of the people! It's a day to celebrate that army which does not dissent against the system, it is a day to celebrate those soldiers who lay down their lives leaving their families behind in order to protect those very people who crib and complain about the country. It is a day to celebrate people like my Dad who have stayed away most of my life, not watching me grow up and missing out on certain landmarks in my life just so he could do his duty, and serve his nation! So despite all the negativity going around and the wrongdoings that have been happening, I shall still respect this day and all those whom it attempts to respect!

So Happy Republic day! Be proud of your nation, whatever it is, however it is, and if you don't like it, be the change instead of just sitting back and complaining!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Jaunpur ka Ravinder

Extremely distressed by the news of the rape victim’s death, I walked out of office today evening and went straight to Bandstand – the sea calms me down; makes me reflective and happy. So I decided to give it a try again, to check if it could still permeate my state of utter frustration, anger and grief at everything going on around me, at the country I live in, a country I claimed I loved no matter what, at one point of time.
And so I went and walked, for a really long time. Turns out, my expectations were met indeed. I did come back a calmer, slightly happier soul, and the reason for this was one street vendor, Ravinder from Jaunpur whom I happened to speak to just by chance. I asked him where, pray, would I find a dustbin across the long stretch of the Bandstand promenade where a huge sign forbidding littering was put up, with no ambiguity whatsoever of its commandment. The irony was that not even a single, small dustbin was provided anywhere along the entire route. And thus, in response to my query, began the outpouring of frustration, probably pent up inside the guy for quite some time. I, henceforth speak on his behalf, mostly quoting him word for word, and thus explaining my reason to return home a calmer soul.
P.S. The language may get slightly coloured for a few people henceforth, but please excuse me for these are views of the man, and in order to remain true to his sentiment I shall quote him exactly.

            This is a chutiya place with chutiya people living around. They could make up an entire Bandstand but haven’t even provided for a single dustbin around the area. And so you see these huge houses, with rich people living inside? They don’t care whether people all around litter this promenade or not, but what they do care about are us poor vendors who are trying to earn an honest living. And thus, everyday, complaints are made, money is fed to the police who come around and pick up a few odd vendors from here, making sure they do not return, and thus shutting out an honest man’s way to support himself and his family. And then they talk of crimes being committed. Now, out of frustration and poverty if crimes won’t be committed then what else will happen? I try so hard every day to sell these peanuts, and chana jor garam etc. and ensure a decent income for my wife and me, but every day I battle the fear that today may be my fate won’t be with me. This government is a chutiya government. Laws are made not for welfare of people but just to harass us poor people, and for a show of authority. Why do you think criminals move around fearless? Because, the government knows that one gun totting criminal would do them and their “incomes” much more harm, than would a peaceful common man. And so they unleash their authority and ‘’laws’’ on the common man. He is supposed to adhere to laws, to respect them, while the chutiya government and the rich work hand in hand to ensure smooth, comfortable lives for themselves. Now take the case of that girl from Delhi who got gang raped just last week. The poor girl has passed away. But do you think the rapists will be punished? No way. Nothing is going to happen. Because this chutiya government only wants to save their backsides. When I have a son of my own, I am going to teach him the right way to live. I am going to teach him how to respect women, and be a good human being. Just the way my father taught me. You know how I got married? My wife was not getting a nod of approval from anyone else, for either there were exorbitant demands for dowry, or they had some or the other problem with her appearance, or they would just not bother to even reply back after going for a meeting. My father went just once to see her, for in my village the elders go and approve the girl, and immediately said yes. He just had one condition- there will be no exchange of any sort of dowry but since they insisted he agreed to let them give us whatever they sought fit, but within a certain limit. He did not ask for a single penny. That is the kind of lesson I shall impart to my son, when I have children. It’s so sad what happened to the girl in Delhi. But these things happen every day and will happen till this chutiya government continues to not care about us common people.

This is the anguish and frustration that got unleashed from this common man of India. And it was extremely satisfying to see that there is still a man around who thinks like this. To be colloquial, here’s someone from a “lower social strata” of society who can think more progressively, clearly and sensibly than more than half the ‘’cream of society’’.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Open Letter to the Delhi Woman CM

Dear Chief Minister of the national capital, Delhi.

I am not sure whether you will even read this email, or even acknowledge it in any way or not. But as a worried citizen of this city, this country, and as a woman who is concerned for her own safety, and for the safety of her friends, family, and her own mother (for as you shall notice rapists that are animals claiming to be 'men' do not discriminate on the basis of age), I am writing this out to you to voice my opinion which is otherwise not given a forum in the state or corporate controlled media that we have today claiming to be the fourth estate of our so called democracy.

Yes, India is a democracy where all castes, classes, and everyone is supposed to be granted equal rights (hence reservation policies galore) and given respect by the laws, except for this poor creature called the woman. Women across classes and castes and social structures suffer the harsh, disgusting, appalling attitudes of men who think they are God's gift to earth and have the right to do whatever they please with whomsoever they please. And who has shaped such attitudes in them? Our patriarchal society, our country's callous laws, poorly structured law enforcement agencies, with no real authority (or even if they do, they don't seem to care much except for filling their protruding stomachs, chewing tobacco, and watching lethargically as the city continues at its own pace).

The frequent sentence given for rape is 10 years of imprisonment, or in certain cases the death penalty. In the capital city of a country which fights and debates over FDI but cannot claim to guarantee basics like food, water, electricity and housing to its own citizens, and guarantee safety to its women (read Honour killings, physical and mental abuse, and the worst of all RAPE), rapes occur at the rate of approximately 635 per year (as of 2012, according to a report in Hindustan Times, dated 18.12.2012). And this figure is probably only those of registered cases, known to the authorities; it does not even include cases where girls, and women are harrassed no end, till at times some of them even go to the extreme of committing suicide to end the painful misery their lives become. What claim does such a country have to call itself a budding superpower and make nuclear deals and debate over FDI on one hand, even as a girl, through no fault of her own, is brutally gang raped, and thrown out onto the streets of Delhi in the cold winter, half naked and in a degrading and horrific condition?

A rape is worse than murder. My biggest fear in life is not to die, because that shall just mean my misery and joys of this life, as I know them, are over. I do not need to suffer anymore. My biggest fear, my nightmare as a woman is to be raped. Because rape affects a woman mentally, physically, emotionally, and socially the most, since our narrow minded society with dogmatic ideas still tends to blame women for their predicament, and not those men who simply cannot keep it in their pants and do not have a strong enough value system to know right from wrong, humanity from torture. Women are blamed if they step out at night, if they step out early morning, if they are not clothed from head to foot in what is seen as ''proper attire'' by our country's distinguished leaders, if they so much as dare to say a word to any man who may be harassing them verbally, or if they take public transport to get home to their families. 

There is a complete and chaotic breakdown of priorities in this nation, which needs to be addressed ASAP or the country's social decline is not far. And believe you me, that does not make a country a superpower, however much you claim the GDP to be growing in numbers.

So first of all, keep castration as a punishment for rapists. Hurt them where it hurts the most. Only then, with such severe extreme punishments, will the future rapists be deterred. Death penalty and life imprisonment doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of what a heinous crime they commit. And do not say, what of those accused wrongly. We have a judiciary to make sure no one is accused wrongly, and even it that happens, there are even then murder and other such cases where wrong accusations lead to punishment. But punishment is nevertheless meted out. In Saudi, rapists are stoned to death publicly. That is the kind of humiliation and punishment such men deserve, not measly life imprisonments.

 Make stringent laws and ensure they are properly adhered to (try not completely curbing women's freedom, please, as you do so). Set up fast track courts for rape cases- a long drawn out battle for justice wherein again and again the victim is made to revisit the scene of the horrendous act that was done to her is more mental and emotional torture than we can even imagine. And please, please set up a non-corrupt, efficient transport system in this city. Do not say, there are autos because the auto drivers REFUSE to go anywhere if there is traffic, bleak hope of subsequent fare, too much distance, too much time, too much effort, basically refuse any fare that required them to ferry the passenger anywhere inconvenient to them, also charging exorbitant rates while doing so, not adhering to the meter system. Last I checked the public transport was to 'transport the public from one place to another' and not to give them extra headache and inconvenience. Half the time, people do not get transport, as was the case with this girl who waited to get an auto back to her home, for over an hour and a half, until ultimately she decided to climb aboard the fateful bus, that too late in the night. 

Please, I implore you to make this case exemplary, by providing prompt justice, and strict, severe punishment to the rapists so that this evil is curbed otherwise, the future is extremely dark and hopeless, full of anguish, fear, misery and possibly dissent, even.

A concerned citizen and a woman becoming increasingly paranoid for her safety.