Monday 5 am 2011: “You really need to get up sleepyhead, she is here, and you don’t want to miss that!” I wake up with my eyes still half closed. I tell my grandma that no I don’t care, I want to sleep, and also one boring radio program doesn’t really mean that she is here. My grandma not relenting picks me up, makes me sit up and puts the radio on full volume. For my grandmother Mahishasuramardini – a two-hour radio program signifies the arrival of Durga Ma.

Tuesday 10am 2015: “Mom why didn’t you wake me up early, I missed the whole program”. Mom looks at my red angry face in disbelief and then shrugs and says, “Since when were you interested? Anyway even I gave it a miss this time”. I get ready to argue even more and threaten to tell grand mom, only to realize that she wasn’t here with us in Mumbai, and without her, the radio program simply didn’t matter. As I sat down to have my breakfast, my thoughts went back to my old, wrinkled and grey haired grand mom.

Monday 9am 2011: I see her hunched back sitting on that stool, she is making those sweets. I still don’t know what they are called. The whole house smells festive, it’s almost like Durga Ma is just at the door. The fresh flowers fill up my nostrils as the light autumn breeze enters through the windows.  Grand mom has just taken a bath, she smells of her jasmine soap and her white wet hair falls till her waist.

Being from a zamindar family, but grandmother took pride during this festival, after all in the earlier times Durga Puja was a festival meant for the zamindars. The courtyards used to be covered with intricate rangolis (alpona), as marigolds hung from every corner of the house and the smell of the incense stick just made the whole atmosphere more welcoming.

I once had the opportunity to visit my village and was able to witness what Durga Puja actually is. It is not about how popular your Puja is, or how beautifully you have decorated your house or how lovely your idol is. No, it is about a feeling, it is about celebration and mostly it is about being together with the whole family.

Durga Puja was celebrated since the medieval age. Pandals were non-existent. It was just the few members of the family and the idol. The priest used to belong from the household. The idols used to be erected by a member of the household itself. It wasn’t about the feast or the quality of the food, it was about the worship. It was about staring at the masterpiece of the carved hour glass figure like Goddess, and just immersing oneself into the chants. Rituals were simplistic- giving Anjali was a must, and as an unwritten rule women were meant to wear white sarees with red borders.


I am jerked back from my lovely thoughts as my eyes are drawn towards an advert on the newspaper – ‘Does your pandal have what it takes to win the award? Well, then what are you waiting for, nominate your pandal’ I close the paper in disgust, as I realize how much has changed. The festival is not about the worship or togetherness anymore, it is about profit. It is a business. A business fueled by people’s desire to see something grand. A simple pandal doesn’t suffice anymore, it has to be the largest something, or made out of something unique or out of the blue to attract crowds. Once a place for socialization, pandals have now become places to bump into people, stand in lines, push and curse strangers, just to get that perfect picture to show off to the less fortunate, who weren’t able to do the same. It is not about standing in front of the idol and admire the craftsmanship anymore, it is about lining up for eating in front of the numerous stalls. The typical folk songs have been replaced by the need to pull crowds thereby, shelling out huge amounts just to bring some popular Bollywood singer. My mind goes to the innumerable hoardings and banners that I have to cross just to see one small idol. How frustrating it gets!

Anjalis, white sarees with red borders, listening to the radio on Mahalaya have now all become insignificant to this generation. Already my house doesn’t smell the same, the flowers don’t exist, the songs have dried up and my grandmother isn’t here anymore to make those mouth-watering sweets.

A feeling of sorrow clings my spine, as I wonder why I never listened to the program before. Now, so much has changed, and all I wish now is for a time travel machine just to go back in time to enjoy the Puja as it should be enjoyed.


‘Inside the envelope was a single page write up; it was really simple, no hidden meaning could be derived from it.

He was fired. Now, he was a single father, with no job and no money. He kept staring at the sheet of paper like it was some kind of a sacred scroll, the words etched on the page did not make sense to him, yet there was nothing on it that was difficult to understand. The company had gone bankrupt, they couldn’t afford to pay him anymore. In such a case this was the most logical thing for them to do.

He clutched the paper tightly almost afraid to let it go. He walked down the road bustling with people on their phones, wearing their Armani suits power walking with a burger or donut in their hands. He had hated them once, he always felt that they were arrogant people who only pretended to be busy to look important to others who did the very same thing. He always found it funny, how people tried to look powerful to people by wearing or doing certain kinds of things, yet people couldn’t care less and yet those same people who did not look at others believed that others would look at them, so they acted the same way. It was like a cycle of delusions. However, today all he wanted to be like them. He looked at his watch, it was almost time for his Namaz, but today he didn’t want to. He did not feel the presence of God today.

He kept walking aimlessly, trying to make sense of what was happening. He tried to come up with a plan, but he knew even the wisest couldn’t come up with one. He looked at his watch again, it was time to pick up his children from their school. School. He wondered if he could afford to send them to school anymore. He had break it to them………’

“Ah! Say George” came a voice, the script writer looked up from the page, put his pen down and looked directly at the balding man. His soulful blue eyes looked straight through the man, urging him to continue.

“Well, did you finish writing it yet? Remember, we have to release this film by this year.”

“Don’t worry director. I will be done in a day or two”

“Good make sure you tick all the boxes. You do have the list right?”

“Let’s see, I have a man middle aged, who is a brown Muslim and also a Pakistani immigrant living in America, and he is a single father with no job and is now poor”

“Excellent. George I can already is it. I can see the Oscar in my hand. I mean our hands not just mine obviously. You certainly have ticked all the boxes. Now get back to work”

George picked up his pen again ‘He went to pick his kids up. He looked at his two sole purposes to live and said, “Listen, Dad has a little surprise for you…”

“Oh and George, make it based on a true story. Come to think of it, you already have. Good that you made our protagonist a Muslim and not a Black, these days it apparently sells more, also it’s closer to reality now. Yes, now no one can keep us away from that coveted golden statue”


Before starting the article I would like to apologize to all my readers for not updating the blog in forever. I would graciously blame it on my college. But from now on I do plan on being more regular 🙂 now back to the article.



I have always believed that we have been brought into this earth by an external force many call it as god to beautify this little house. It is like we are visitors or elves sent by the caretaker or owner. Yet, it seems over the years we have become a little too comfortable in our man made homes and have stopped venturing out, or even put in a little effort to contribute to the beautification of this house. We have somehow consciously made the decision to sleep on our couches and cuddle in our blankets. The memes also seem to glorify our lack of curiosity by telling each individual meme consumer that are not alone, we all are equally lazy, thus normalizing the situation. Like herds we can see that majority are lazy and we keep behaving like that herd. We decide not to step out of it and actually be something different. For some reason we just want to ‘relate’ as if ‘relating’ to strangers on social media gives us some kind of validation. We have reasoned with ourselves that it is too dangerous to go out of our comfort zones, we the human kind, which once flew to the moon and built aircrafts, have now altogether decided to stay in our make belief caves

The dreamers are lost in their 9 to 5 desk jobs, the fools with unachievable ideas have masked themselves with dull, and unoriginal ideas and the travelers are lying on their beds, afraid to step out. Anything that doesn’t fit into our perceived comfort zone, is deemed impossible to do even if we have to travel a little or do something out of the way we curb and refuse to do it, yet, we call ourselves the age of development, technology and ideas.

We have grandeur ideas, but no one is willing to peruse and chase them. We believe in letting things go, yet we should be the ones to hold on as long as we can. We should hold on to that impossible task, we should run, chase it down and pursue it with all our might, till we have given our best shot and, only then should we think of letting go.

This generation has been privileged to get everything on a silver platter. It claims of being open minded tolerant and liberal but does nothing to prove so. We all are arm chair activists who rant on social media, because that’s easy. It’s easy to share posts and comment on them. After all, it can be done through our phones while sipping a hot cup of coffee at home. Where is the challenge in that?

I too am guilty of the same as well. I am guilty of complaining if I have to travel another hour extra for an assignment, but I plan to travel the world. I am guilty of cribbing about going to ‘too many parties’ yet I feel left out when I am not a part of the pictures on social media. And I am guilty of ranting about it, while doing nothing to change it. But the one thing that I am not guilty of is not trying. Once one tries or the slight effort is made, then half of the battle is won and that’s what we need to do. We need to face our fears and challenge ourselves and most importantly accept that we do not know how to do a task, only then can we learn.

As Churchill had once said, ‘Do something that you fear everyday’ and that is exactly what we should be doing and one should always remember ‘the individual allows for everything that the world does not’ Are you up for the challenge?

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