Dear Diary, Featured Posts, Stories

Not Just a Dog

He is breathing slowly through the air mask. There is a window on the eastern side of the room and the sunlight brightens the bare walled white room even more. Little dust particles float quietly in the air. I pour myself a fourth cup of coffee out of the flask. I look at my phone.

0730 hours. Srinagar. 6’Celcius.

I move my attention to the view outside the window. The room is on the ground floor and a slew of Army Trucks line up in front of the Military Hospital . My heartbeat shoots up and I hold his hand tightly which has a glucose drip attached to it. I turn it around. Even the palm has cuts.

The doctor in charge arrives for the morning round. I move away. A fair stout man, he wears a smile. I try to remember his name from last night but the memories are hazy.

Any progress , Doctor?” I am earnest and he gets it.

He is still unconscious. But his body is responding well. Why don’t you go freshen up lady, there is ample staff here.”

Alright. Thank you. I shake his hand.

 

I walk back to the hotel. I throw myself on the bed . I fall asleep in a split second. I dream of a hand full of cuts and bruises moving on my body. I open my eyes with a start. I take a bath,  order myself a sandwich and head back.

He is sitting up on his bed in anticipation and turns expressionless on seeing me. Somebody must have told him of my arrival, I deduce. I look at his face clearly for the first time in bright light. The two eyes are deeply sunken in the head. I feel a tug .

 

You were the last person I expected to see here.” he speaks slowly.

I keep quiet and place my bag at the side table. I occupy a corner with my chair and a notebook.

  “I heard you arrived last night and seeing the flask and your eyes, I presume you haven’t slept. How caring of you.He turns his head sideways towards me. I notice the tinge of sarcasm in his voice.

The Hindu has sent me here. I am a war journalist remember! ” Yes. I am on work here. I try to convince myself.

And here I thought you had come for your injured ex-fiance. Begin. That way you can leave earlier.

So, first of all the country is thankful that there were no casualties. It is..” I am interrupted.

Who said nobody died!  One of our soldiers was martyred.

I move through my papers. I crosscheck. “But my source is the DGMO . No human casualties.

As I said one of us died. Does he have to be a human for making sacrifices for his country?

 I don’t understand. I think you are still in shock. Maybe we should talk later.

  I am a Fauji lady. I fight where I am told and I win where I fight. I am in peace after yesterday. Not in shock.

Lets rewind the clock then ” I settle down with my notebook.

 

We were receiving inputs about the infiltration for a long time. As soon as we got the go from the top, our unit was assigned the mission.”  I see him drift into the narration.

Ten of us belonging to the Para Special Forces crossed the border around 0200 hours yesterday along with two sniffer dogs – Shera and Kaali. We were tasked to eliminate the infiltration camp beyond the LOC. These camps are nothing but just house the terrorists take on rent from locals to house militants. We were lucky that the area had scarce population. Snow had been falling all night. Everything was white till the horizon . There had been mist formed during the night covering the entire area almost to the ground. You couldn’t see a foot in front of you. We covered the camp from all sides, took our position and started firing. We were not expecting much resistance at that ungodly hour. But soon we were receiving retaliatory firings.

Was there a breach of intelligence?” He doesn’t seem pleased with my interruption but soon chivalry overcomes it.

Seems plausible. They seemed ready. It was hellish. Raining deadly fragments and splinters, wood, and metal down on us. But we fought.  I was assigned to one of the 30-caliber machine guns with Captain Arunabh Kumar. Shera and Kaali were with us. I hope you remember when I was sent on the two month training at Meerut Cantt with the dog squad. The time I surprised you at your office?” He finally gives his classic side smile.

a-dog-with-a-sentry-at-a-post-near-loc-in-poonch_by-rahul-singh_ht_11102015

Jaagruti.org. Picture is for representational purpose only

 

Ofcourse . With three dogs. And then we went on a ride to the lake with them. Boy ! could they swim! You know how much scared I am of dogs but still!

They were fierce but loyal to me. I was training and bonding with them. Even then I didn’t leave you alone with them. Did I? I am not like you.” I focus on my notebook. I cannot look into those eyes full of language.

Can we go back to the incident?

It was almost dawn. We had killed four of them . Suddenly someone yelled. “Look out behind you.” I turned around and I saw a group of men coming out of the mist. Without thinking, I grabbed the 30-calibre, swung it around, and started firing. The men were approximately three feet in front of our positions. We killed about ten men and captured two. Some of the enemy made it to our positions and we had to fight hand-to-hand. Shera and Kaali too dived in but one of them managed to flee. I suffered a bullet shot on my shoulder. Captain Kumar received deep cuts on thighs . Even Kaali had been shot. But we had to trace that fleeing enemy before retreating back. We had less than half an hour. Shera picked up the scent and, hot on his trail, moved with speed and stealth for approximately one kilometer across the mountainous terrain. I followed him.

  He traced the militant in a hideout where he had succumbed to his injuries. The operation was complete. I was wondering about the mist when I felt the tip of an LMG on my neck. There had been one more hiding in the vast snow. He made me throw my 30-calibre.

I didn’t want to die facing my back to the enemy. I couldn’t die before I proved my blood. I whistled Shera.  Shera leaped on him while I swiftly turned back trying to gain control over the LMG. We struggled but being hit with a bullet I was losing my strength in the cold. He eventually threw me away. Shera kept tearing through his pants but the enemy kicked him and shot him at one go. Now he aimed straight at me. I was prepared this time. To face death with courage. With my chest facing the bullets.

He pauses suddenly . The kind of pause when you remember something which you are trying to avoid. Looking for words in their orphanage.

Nobody can love God better than when he is looking death square in the face and talks to God and then sees God come to the rescue.  Shera leaped on the enemy again  but shot again. However this time I had  grabbed my 30 caliber and fired . And I kept on firing till he fell on the ground with fear and pain on his face.

 I dropped my gun. I looked at Shera. A hero had fallen. I removed my fatigues , wrapped it around him and carried him back to our base in my arms. He was two years old. I fell unconscious as soon as I reached here. Even a fauji’s body doesn’t give up till the work is done.

There is a fond smile on his face.

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Model: Duggu ,  Proud Owner: Ishti Sharma

I saw Shera running and playing as a pup at the Dog Squad premises in Meerut, and I fell in love with him. It was instant. I went to my senior and requested that he be given to me. We had been together since. He was three-months old when he was given to me.

 Shera wasn’t responding well to the training and six months down the line, he hadn’t learnt much. I was upset and would break down during lonely nights in the barracks, but then I never pressured him. Instead I said, ‘You take your time. I want to see how long you wait before you start responding,’ and today we both share an inseparable bond. He gave his life for me, for his country. I am proud I trained him.

 You know a person can learn a lot from dogs. Shera taught me to live with joy and enthusiasm every single day. He taught me the true meaning of love which is selflessness and unbridled loyalty. He was a true gentleman and I hope to go to his heaven and not man’s.

I close my notebook and sit across him.

I hold his palm with the glucose drip attached in my hand , bring it close to my lips and kiss it gently.

I look into his deep black eyes and murmur.

  Let us get our first dog together.

 

 

This post was written in collaboration with Second Home.

Second Home provides pet sitting for people travelling out unable to take their pets along. The pets receive the same love and care here as they get at their home. For more information visit their Facebook Page:  https://www.facebook.com/SecondHome007

 

 

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Dear Diary, Featured Posts, List Posts, Uncategorized

50 Things I Don’t Care About

 

giphy

  1. What my stars have to say about my love life.
  2. How you keep your clothes neat and tidy and I do not.
  3. Game of Thrones.
  4. If or not you think I am rude just because I didn’t give you a nod at the wedding.
  5. Kejriwal v/s Modi Debate.
  6. Coke Studio.
  7. The Eye Liner.
  8. Your love and cravings for beer.You are so cool and happening.
  9. How Batman is the greatest Superhero .
  10. The shower with your boyfriend. Eh, really? 
  11. Nail-Art.
  12. Yo Yo Honey Singh. (Yeah but that phenomenon is dead already)
  13. The Pout.
  14. The IIT Tag.(Sour Grapes)
  15. How much of a romantic you are all because you “read” Erotica.
  16. If I am a dog person or a cat person.
  17. The Agony Aunt-sy question answers on Quora. Here. And some more.
  18. How your husband, your family, your children, the sky ,the earth , the sun and the moon ..failed you.
  19. Paulo Coelho. And how the Alchemist changed your life.
  20. Your Instagram feed telling  for the umpteenth time that you are in a relationship.Yawn.
  21. The Internet Lingo.
  22. Football.
  23. Your “religion” status for the week. Agnostic. Gnostic. Atheist. Pantheist. Pagan. Nauseating.
  24. Stand up Comedy.
  25. Why you can’t talk to women because you studied in an all boys’ school .and NDA. and IMA.
  26. Crop tops.
  27. Arnab Goswami.
  28. How classy, the colour black ,is.
  29. Your reason for breaking up. Looking for nirvana ,you said?
  30. Roadies.
  31. WhatsApp. Viber. SnapChat. Hike. Line. WeChat.
  32. Coffee Mugs.
  33. Your amateur photography.
  34. Organic Chemistry.
  35. Your opinion on women.
  36. Your “no-filter” look.
  37. Tinder.
  38. Your yoga and meditation routine.
  39. Maggi.
  40. Your healthy breakfast of Pakodas fried in olive oil.
  41. Anything Subramaniam Swamy has to say.
  42. Student Politics.
  43. Momos.
  44. Your oh-not-so-hidden jibes at your ex in your whatsapp status.
  45. Birthdays.
  46. Splitsvilla. 
  47. The reasons for your crush on EVERY OTHER GIRL you see.
  48. That Che Guevara t-shirt.
  49. The #Long Hashtag.  #iAmLameAndLazyToUseSpacebar
  50. The rule to blog regularly. OBVIOUSLY.

Inspiration for the list you ask?  This which led to this. Happy reading!

 

 

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Featured Posts, Stories

The End of the Beginning

 

spicysaturday

 

The blog post was selected by BlogAdda as one of the best for Spicy Saturday Picks edition dated February 13 2016. You can have a look at:

http://blog.blogadda.com/2016/02/13/spicy-saturday-picks-february-13-2016-indian-boggers-blogadda

 

He was mysteriously warm. Everything that was his, radiated warmth. His fingers on my bare skin felt like sunrays. My sun had arrived out of the clouds.

“How can anyone be so warm even in this chilly weather?”

“It is easy. I am hot, you see.” Even his smile hugged me.

My heart felt tingly and high in my chest. For a second I felt like a baby in a womb. Nothing mattered. I held him close to me with my eyes closed, my hand in his hair, wondering if anything in my life had ever been this perfect and knowing at the same time that it hadn’t. I was in love, and the feeling was even more wonderful than I ever imagined it could be.

“I love you.” I took a deep breath.“ I am astonished at this intimacy. Who would have imagined, we of all people, to fall in love.”

“I always knew this would happen. This is the place I have dreamt with you. This is where we belong.”  He looped his arm around me and kissed me, his mouth lingering on mine, teeth grazing my lower lip, making me shiver. He tasted of honey. I couldn’t remember how long it lasted but when I let go off him, I missed it already. Continue reading

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Dear Diary, Featured Posts, List Posts

Wish List

There is a Chinese proverb which goes by- ” Be careful what you wish for” . I was reading a blog and suddenly got this idea as why should not I create my own wish list . New Year is coming soon. Its always good to know what you want to do ,otherwise life will keep giving you surprises of its own(which is actually fun for the time being). But alas in the long run this strategy fails. When you are on the death bed this attitude leaves you with regrets.

This is the dilemma : ‘To Plan’ or ‘To Go with the Flow’. As always I’ll quote Buddha here” The Middle Path is always right. ” Whenever you choose the extreme of anything, its bound to take you in the wrong direction. Not Studying for 20 hours is bad, studying for 20 hours is even badder. To sit around and wait for things to happen is bad , to plan for every minute thing of life is badder. Toh bhola bachcha kare toh kya kare? Continue reading

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Featured Posts, Speeches and Essays

Is Cinema a Reflection of Society

I sent the essay for an essay writing competition organised by Competition Success Review. I couldn’t win it but got my photograph and name printed in the category of “Consolation Prize Entries”. They sent me a lot of ball pens , a book titled “How to Succeed in the IAS interview” and a certificate. Hope the essay helps.

Cinema  is  the  beautiful  combination  of  art,  literature  and  science. It  is  rightly  called  the  art  form  of  the  20th  century.  Art  and  literature  are  reflections  of  life  and  they  present  the  moments   of  life  vividly.  On  the  other  hand,  science  studies  man  and  his  world.  So  cinema,  a combination  of  these  three,  invariably  presents  man  and  his  life  in  society. In  Natyashastra, Bharatamuni  declares  that  art  is  the  search  for  truth.  The  aim  of  life  is  not  different  and  hence  cinema , society  and  life  are  closely  related. Our  life  and  its  principles  are  influenced  by  time  and  the  changes  occurring  in  the  society .  Cinema,  like  other  modes  of  media , is inspired  and  influenced  by  the  society  and  it  portrays  it  colourfully.  A  glance  at the  Indian  films  produced  recently  confirms  to  this  fact . The  changing  trends  in  films  reflect  the  changes taking  place  in  our  society.

Bollywood  aptly  reflects  the  transformation  of   the  Indian  psyche  from  a  post-colonial  pastiche  of  politeness  of  the  1950s  to  the  confident  global  Indian  of  present  century. Shammi  Kapoor  initiated  this  transformation  during  the  50s  and  Amitabh  signalled  through  his  on-screen  activities  that  Indians  have  been  changing  in  their  thought  and  behaviour.  The  new Indian  could  also  be  seen  in  ‘Dil  Chahta  Hai ’.  Suddenly  it  was  cool  to  be  cool.  For  decades, Bollywood reflected  the  angst  and  agony  of  struggling  India . What  started  as  a  catharsis  of  the  castrated  has  now  ended  in  the  metamorphosis  of  the  mutilated . Along  with  the  heroes, villains  have  also  changed  faces  on  the  screen.  From  the  cruel  zamindars  to  antagonist  rich fathers   of  the  heroines,  from  deadly  smugglers  to  anti  Indian  Dr. Dangs  and  Mogambos ,  from  corrupt  politicians  to  new  age  monsters  like  terrorists,  Bollywood  has  portrayed  all  those  characters  which  Indian  society  has  endorsed  as  villainous  and  anti-social.  The  new  age  heroine  is  also  revengeful  and  strong  like  Anjam’s   Madhuri  while  heroines  of  early  days  were  epitome  of  beauty  and  elegancy  like  Vijayanti  Mala  in  Sangam.  From  colourful  ‘Mela’  dances  and  ‘Nautankis’  to  sizzling  item  numbers  and  discotheques,  from  Holi  Celebrations  to  Valentine’s  Day  Proposals  all  these  represent  slow  westernization  of  our  society.

Fifties  were  the  years  when  India  tried  hard  to  leave  a  mark , when  song  like  ‘Mera  Joota  Hai  Japani’  would  be  sung  in  faraway  lands  of  Soviet  Union,  China,  Turkey  and  Africa.  During  the  decade , cities  were  attracting  rural  masses  for  employment.  But  concerns  were  also  being  raised  about  the  cultural  decline.  In  that  sense,  ‘Mother  India’  and  ‘Do  Bigha  Zameen’   brilliantly  portrayed  the  rural  scenario . After  all,  it  was  not  very  long  ago  that  Mahatma  Gandhi  had  said  that  real  India  lived  in  villages.  In  1957,  Pyasa , a  treatise  on  individual  struggles  in  post-independence  India ,  hit  cinema. The  film  directed  by  legendary  Guru  Dutt  was  rated  as  one  of  the  best  100  films  of  all  times  by  the  Time  Magazine.

After  Independence,  it  was  early  60s  when  India  had  to  look  for  solutions  to  its  numerous  problems,  Manoj  Kumar’s  celluloid  adaptation  of  Lal  Bahadur’s  slogan  of  ‘Jai  Jawan  Jai  Kisan’ through  his  film  ‘Upkaar’  underlined  the  sacrifices  which  were  expected  from  the  sons  of  the  soil.  Chetan  Anand’s  ‘Haqeeqat’  chronicled  the  saga  and  valour  of  soldiers  who  lost  their  lives  defending  the nation.  The  story  of  ‘Guide’  was in  more  than  one  way  the  story  of  an  Indian  who  didn’t  know  which  road  to  take  till  the  end.

If  the  50s  represented  romanticism  and  hope  and  the  60s  were  marked  by  disillusionment  and  escapism,  the  70s  were  clearly  signed  by  rage  and  despair.  This  was  the  decade  of  angry  movement,  the  death  of  democracy,  the  decade  in  which  petrol  suddenly  became  a  precious  commodity  and  inflation  savaged  India.  The  ‘oil  shock’  of  1973  triggered  a devastation  bout  of  inflation  that  promoted  movie  makers  like  Manoj  Kumar  to  make  weepy  films  like  ‘Roti,  Kapara  Aur  Makan’.  This  decade  also  witnessed  the  entry  of  Amitabh  with  movies  like  ‘Zanjeer’,  ‘Sholay’  and  ‘Dewar’,  which  completely  redefined  the  image  of  the  Indian  hero.  He  portrayed  the  angry  young  man  who  is  hell  bent  on  changing  the  system; becoming  a  ‘villain’  in  the  process  of  that  helps  his  cause.  Of  course,  Indians  wanted  a  revolution,   but  were  not  ready  to  completely  destroy  the  old  system.  So  Bachchan,  the  rebel  would  be  routinely  killed  in  the  climatic  scenes.  By  and  large,  Indians  were  still  very  religious  at  heart.  Hence,  ‘Jai  Santoshi  Maa’  was  able  to  become  a  blockbuster  in  spite  of  its  release  with  ‘Sholay’,  movie  of  the  millennium.

In  the  80s,  India  faced  real  life  Mogambos,  while  new  frontiers  of  discontent  opened  up  from  Kashmir  to  the  North-East,  Bollywood  was  busy  experimenting  with  ingredients  ranging  from  science  fiction  to  Hollywood  remakes.

The  90s  witnessed  a  churn  in  politics,  economics  and  society  that  would  often  transport  India  to  the  very  age  of  despair.  Movies  like  ‘HAHK’,  ‘DDLJ’  and  ‘KKHH’  showed  an  affluent  actor-actress  pair.  Coming  to  political  scenario,  India  was  confronted  with  the  new  villain,  terrorism,  which  was  reflected  in  films  like  ‘Roja’,  ‘Maachis’,  ‘Sarfarosh’  and  ‘Dil  Se’.  Mumbai riots  and  bomb  blasts  were  acutely  painted  in  movie  like  ‘Bombay’.

In  the  new  Millennium,  the  world  came  to  terms  with  a  cocky  India  bulging  with  a  bare  chest  confidence.  Sex  was  no  longer  a  taboo  and  we  had  movies  like  ‘Murder’ ,  ‘Khwahish’  and  ‘Love,  Sex  Aur  Dhokha’.  On  the  other  hand,  masterpieces  like  ‘Company’  and  ‘Satya’  were  denoting  the  stronghold  of  underworld  while  ‘Ganga  Jal’  and  ‘Omkara’  showed  the  rule  of   bahubalis.  If  ‘Dil  Chahta  Hai’ ,  ‘ ZNMD’  echoed  self-assured,  cool  and  keep  smiling,  live-today  mantra  of  Indian  youth;  ‘Black’,  ‘Corporate’,  ‘Lage  Raho  MunnaBhai’  and  ‘Black  Friday’  vindicated  that  even  Bollywood  films  can  deal  with  the  complex  issues.  ‘Lakshya’  and  ‘Rang  De  Basanti’  depicted  the  maturing  of  the  young  Indians  ready  to  die  for  a  national  cause.  Thus,  one  can  say  that  a  movie  is  not  only  a  visual  treat  to  its  audience  but  it  is  also  an  account  of  the  societal,  economic  and  political  setup  in  which  a  person  is  living.

Films  like  ‘The  Day  After  Tomorrow’,  ‘Apocalypse  Now’  and  ‘My  Name  Is  Khan’  have  addressed  the  grave  issues  of  climatic  changes,  wars  and  political  tensions  which  need  immediate  attention.  However,  films  like  ‘Vicky  Donor’,  ‘Brokeback  Mountain’,  ‘Dostana’, ‘Salaam  Namaste’,  ‘Cocktail’,  ‘Kabhi  Alvida  Na  Kehna’  have  different  stories.  They  discuss  the  taboo  subjects  of  infertility,  homosexuality,  live  in  relationships  and  infidelity.  These  are  the  issues  of  our  time  and  whether  we  like  it  or  not,  we  have  to  address  them.

Impact  of  social  system  of  a  country  can  be  seen  in  the  cinema.  As  the  Indian  society  is  patriarchal,  so  is  Bollywood.  Women,  barring  a  few  odd  films  or  except  a  few  Vidya  Balan  flicks,  are  hardly  given  any  decision-making  roles.  They  are  either  put  up  as  exhibitory  objects –  that  again  is  restricted  to  the  younger  lot,  or  portrayed  as  an  epitome  of  sacrifice.  Whereas  in  Hollywood,  where  people  are  above  all  this-  movies  like  ‘Lara  Croft’,  ‘The  Iron  Lady’  says  it  all.  Moreover,  senior  actresses  like  Meryl Streep  or  Judi  Dench  enjoy  equal  amount  of  adulation  as  their  younger  counterparts.  Undoubtedly,  Bollywood  is  extremely  male  centric  like  our  society.  We  can  only  overcome  it  if  that  sexist  ideology  undergoes  a  change.

There  is  severe  criticism  that  films  now-a-days  alienate  themselves  from  simple  life  and  ground  realities.  Producers  and  directors  take  film  as  a  mix  of  dances,  songs  and  load  them  with  unnatural  situations,  false  projection  of  heroism  and  ill-timed  jokes  and  romances.  These movies,  devoid  of  skill  or  finesse,  also  represent  life  and  society  though  negatively.  The  anguish  and  protest  of  public  over  corruption  and  abuse  of  power  are  reflected  in  an  all-powerful  hero  who  fights  for  justice.  The  struggle  and  tension  of  common  man  is  portrayed through  him.  Absurd  jokes  and  artificial  comic  scenes  are  added  to  make  people  laugh  and  relax.  Common  man’s  insatiable  and  secret  desires  are  the  reason  for  vulgar  and  obscene films.  Here  also,  the  link  between  man  and  cinema  is  revealed.

Let  us  conclude  with  the  words  of  Don Dellilo  “Film  is  more  than  the  twentieth-century  art. It’s  another  part  of  the  twentieth-century  mind.  It’s  the  world  seen  from  inside.  We’ve  come  to  a  certain  point  in  the  history  of  film.  If  a  thing  can  be  filmed,  the  film  is  implied  in  the  thing  itself.  This  is  where  we  are.  The  twentieth  century  is  on  film.  You  have  to  ask  yourself  if  there’s  anything  about  us  more  important  than  the  fact  that  we’re  constantly  on  film,   constantly  watching  ourselves.”

Cinema,  ultimately  presents  the  man  in  society  with  all  its   virtues  and  vices.  It  may  neglect some  features  to  highlight  a  graver  one  or  vice  versa.  But  none  can  deny  the  fact  that  it  projects  nothing  but  man.  Commercial  films  do  this  nonchalantly  or  casually,  parallel  films forcefully,  but  with  reservation,  and  pure  art  films,  complicatedly  and  passionately.

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Dear Diary, Featured Posts

How do I describe this?

Everything is moving around me. People are talking. The fan above me is revolving. The birds have flown home. The sun has risen and set again. The earth is rotating. But the clocks. Damn it, the clocks.

I am staring at your letter. Your handwriting. Yours. I guess that is enough for me to love it, no matter how many words you chew in between. I hold the letter close to my face and breathe it in. Maybe it has some faint scent of yours remaining. I bring it close to my lips because the pen which wrote it was touched by you. I lie on the bed keeping the letter on my chest. Maybe that way the hands which folded it might save my drowning heart.

This is all I have of you. A letter. The only belonging. 

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