Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Cherished for life - Leh Ladakh

I closed my eyes to avoid seeing what I thought might be scary,

The aircraft bumped along, gliding and narrowly escaping the nearness to the mountains,

But soon there was calm and I opened my weary eyelids to see a dream,

The lucky heaven clouds knocked at my window and snowy mountains surrounded,

The mighty Himalayan and Karakorum ranges bestowed incredibility to my eyes,

I was living a moment I wanted to have with me forever etched in my mind and soul!

View from the aircraft

I believe I am a traveler, a globe trotter but only in my head. Professional and personal assignments have pushed my passion to take a back seat. Yet the traveler in me is not pseudo though it is dormant and aspiring. As already indicated, I have not been lucky enough to wander the wonder streets of India and abroad, to the extent I desire to, yet life has not been completely partial or unrewarding. I have to confess that I had my share of moments, which are painted like nature’s magnum opus in the cores of my heart canvas. The master strokes of the most wondrous artist, i.e., nature have created epitomes of serenity inside me, an insignificant part of which I captured through my novice lens and a significant part I captured in my traveler heart.

I and my husband Avishek are not a very quarrelsome couple, but when it comes to travelling we beg to differ. I wanted to honeymoon in Maldives, but he insisted to visit the backwaters of Kerala, I gave in to his choice. So next year after exploring the Aravalli ranges in Mt Abu, I rekindled my desire to see the Arabian blueness but again he had a different plan. He said Leh Ladakh is the holiday destination. After quite a heated discussion he managed to inculcate in me a burning desire to behold the cold desert and so he won again. But this is one failure, I will cherish throughout my life and living.

The mountains summons

We boarded the flight from Delhi Airport early in the morning, excited and enthralled. It was not a long flight, but my patience was running low. I wanted to behold the incredible. Here I want to mention of my habit of google searching meticulously before going to explore any new destination. Hence it is no rocket science to guess the reason for my never fading enthusiasm to see one of the most exotic locales of not only India but the world at large. But just before landing, the aircraft entered a seemingly never ending bumpy route, traversing through the narrow gaps between the mountains that stood strong to welcome us. But as they say, incredible destinations are always reached via dangerous roads. At the end what we saw, was the jaw dropping view of the highest ranges in the world, snow-capped, majestic and shinning in the nearness to the mighty sun. A view to die for, a view to live for! This trip to Leh Ladakh is embedded with moments and memories that took my breath away and will be cherished forever.

View from our resort

Frankly now when I look back and recollect my collected memories, I feel amazed at the beauty that this place offers. And it is difficult to find out, where to start from! The first day is more for acclimatization to the enhanced altitude, unrest can be devastating. Breathlessness and asphyxiation are common problems. So the actual vacation starts from day 2 when your body has adjusted to Ladakh’s beauty and adversities. We had planned our trip through Make my trip. They had assigned a car for us, with two other couples of the same age group in it. And it is worth mentioning, that those four are amongst the best of our friends now, true it is, when they say destiny makes friends for you! Day 2 morning was heavenly. The resort had the awesome privilege of viewing the snowcapped ranges. After a quick breakfast of coffee and bread, we kick started our explorations.

A beautiful monastery

Way leading to magnetic hill
A bit of photography

A relaxed Afternoon

Ladakh is a part of the state of Jammu and Kashmir, which is known for its Islamic influence. But Ladakh is strangely influenced by Nepali or Tibetan culture. With exotic and colorful monasteries, complimenting the rough landscape of the cold desert and noticeable army impact everywhere, it definitely stands apart from other travel destinations across the globe Leh is a small town, with a lovely local market, where you can get souvenirs; it has many restaurants with noticeable number of foreign tourists flowing in every day. 

Souvenirs Displayed in the Market

Colors all around

However the best parts of the trip was yet to come and it surfaced with our rendezvous with the highest motorable road in the world, Khardungla pass. Covered with snow in the month of June, when most of the country faces heat waves, Khardungla pass stands tall at an altitude of 5359 m above sea level. The winding road to this destination has mind boggling scenic beauty, which smoothly answers the question, why India is incredible.

Me at Khardungla Pass

All of us in Khardungla Pass
(Bhagyesh, Priyanka,Nilesh, Shalaka, Avishek and I)

Rivers Indus and Zanskar meeting

A mesmerizing Buddha Idol
The school of 3 Idiots fame

Me and Avishek

The next, cherry to the cake was out trip to Nubra valley and champing there overnight. I really lack words to describe my first encounter with fairy tale land. With snowcapped mountains around and sand in between, Nubra valley is nature’s excellence. With double hoofed camels and the slow humming as the stream water flowed past, we had a wonderful camping experience. Sometimes you tend to wonder at the creator’s craft, and this was one such moment.

Tents in Nubra

Awesome Landscape

Double hoofed Camels

The best was yet to come; my majestic blues was yet to cast its magical spell on us. The travel to Pangong Lake was a journey of wonders, the mountains and terrain changed color now and then, from hues of grey to green, we saw it all. And there were yaks, horses and streams of freshly melted ice, to enhance. But I was impatient, I wanted to see my majestic blues and yes finally I saw it. In the vicinity of grey looming mountains, a patch of Prussian blue was evident. And as we approached, we saw the extravagance in totality. The best moment of my life, so far! I stood spell bound, trying to imbibe as much as possible this beauty so majestic.
Pangong Lake

Pangong Lake

Meal by Pangong

The trip to Ladakh was memorable because it was one of its kinds. An incredible proximity to untouched nature and experiencing it with like-minded fellow travelers! What else goes to etching never fading memory lines? I guess Ladakh gave me the “Jio Khulke Moment” when I had spread my wings to experience the never ending stretches of blue, I had felt much more alive!

Aritra Chakrabarty Sengupta
Picture courtesy: Avishek, Nilesh, Bhagyesh, Shalaka, Priyanka and me

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Sharing is Caring

“Oh my God…it was a tiresome day,” complained Arushi. “My boss was really on my head, he was just waiting for me to return from my vacation, sadist!”
“And this traffic, it takes a toll on your patience,” started Aniket. “I don’t know how you manage to drive so calmly.”
“There is no way out….maintaining calm saves the anxiety….otherwise I would die of it one day….you know my travel route, right?” said Arushi.
“Offcourse, why the hell….everyone has to come and stay in this city,” remarked Aniket.
“Huh! The reason is same as yours and mine,” mocked Arushi. “Oh! I so need a steaming cup of coffee.”
“I too” said Aniket. “Darling….”
“What? Don’t you remember we had decided to distribute household chores? Please Ani…atleast today….see how tired I am!” pleaded Arushi.
“But you make the best coffee in the world Aru…please…”Aniket sugar coated the demand.
“Offcourse, you know what? Our mentalities are still the same…age old! Like every other day….I will make coffee and you will relax…”walked off Arushi to the kitchen. This was there regular story, though both were professionally as busy, the household responsibilities always laid on Arushi’s shoulders. Aniket just said but never worked towards sharing that load.

Sounds similar? Ok, here’s another for provoking your memory.

I am tired

“Aniket, Aniket….please come….it is very late already….the dining table is laid,” shouted Arushi. “Oh God, I think we need a 24X7 domestic help, it is very tough for me…what do you think Ani?”
Aniket while walking towards the dinner table from the bedroom “Aru, do you have any idea how much they charge? We already have a domestic help and cook, which is digging a hole in our pocket.”
“But……..” started Arushi.
“Ok, we will sleep over it,” Aniket cut the conversation off. “Aru, it is the same cabbage every day…after long days of work…our bodies demand nutrition, I guess.”
“So why don’t you get the veggies…it is not my sole responsibility,” remarked Arushi.
“My mom, look at her….she works day and night…..without complain. And you, with all the help you have….you only know to complain,” Aniket was angry.
“Your mother does not work or drive…..her only concern is the kitchen. How do you expect me to remember the vegetable stock and the presentation together….God damn it! I am not a machine….” Arushi had tears. “Do you really think that men and women are equal? While I am doing everything that you are doing, or your father may have done… expect me to do what your housewife mother does as well?”

You never understand me

Another familiar conversation isn't it? Is it not thought provoking or alarming, that with progress we are teaching the females to work hand in hand with males, but are we teaching the males to share the household responsibilities too? Today’s working, modern man, wants a self reliant, working partner to share the economic load but is he prepared to cook, dust and clean if required?

Sharing is caring. And marriage is a burning example of sharing, sharing space, love, emotions and good and bad times. In this era of crumbling relationships and adultery, I believe in this institution whole-heartedly. I believe that this institution is the backbone of uniqueness of the Indian society. With the ever increasing influence of the western world in our lives, we tend to forget ourselves and culture, which I firmly want to hold on to. But one thing must be remembered and appreciated, holding on to culture does not necessarily imply, clinging on to the age old social taboos. To me progress is perpetual, it only accelerates, never to retard again. Think of the process of evolution. Don't you think, progress, modernization are all alike evolution? Ape man has evolved to be today’s modern man. But evolution was enlightenment of body and mind both and hence should be the progress that today’s world sees. From mobile phones to IT boom, today every aspect is touched in lightning speed, but has our minds evolved too?

I am not very conversant with the evolution of man and how both the genders survived the rough tides of life. But sources indicate that there was a time, when females ruled, they were respected and regarded. However gradually with the increase of physical strength males took to ruling spree and females lost their supreme power. However, I do not have the details of this changing process. But what I know is, progress continued, though this time it was confined to the worldly things. Males continued to dominate the society and females drowned in the dark trenches of disrespect, crime, humiliation and objectification. However time and mentality changed though slowly and women started to walk out of the dark dungeon and showcase their qualities. Today a man and woman, literally walk hand in hand and witness the illumination of advancement together. But has the society at large really accepted this equality, or is it just something nice to talk about?

I am myself

As I already pointed, today’s woman is capable of being the bread earner, but has the man come over his large ego and learnt to know the kitchen? Couples like Aniket and Arushi are representative of this change in society. While it will be unfair to generalize but the reality is, that males like Aniket are in abundance, who still nurture an inside full of social stigmas camouflaged by their modern pretending exterior. But as a modern, working wife, I believe that sharing of responsibilities beautify the relationship in ways more than one.

Just need your help at times

Firstly it is a gesture of love and care. When your partner makes you a cup of coffee after a long day and plants a loving peck on your cheek, the coffee tastes heavenly. This is mutual for both the genders; afterall we all love to be pampered. Moments like this etch never fading memories in our marital life album. Moments that remain with you, moments that grow old with you!

It is so easy when we work together

Secondly, it is needed to appreciate and respect each other’s physical limitations. A woman is neither a slave, nor a machine. She is as much blood, bone, mucous membrane, muscle as the man is. Then is she not entitled to the luxury of feeling tired after a mentally and physically exhausting day in office? It is a man’s responsibility to share the household chores as she balances paying the bills at the end of the month. An understanding of this fact, increases mutual respect and hence strengthens the bond.

Thirdly, it teaches children the equality of status of both men and women. Besides they learn to share and behave more rationally as they grow up, which makes them self dependent individuals.

Lastly, what I believe is the viscous circle of love. When you share, you care and hence you evoke love. While working together or after finishing work, you get more quality time with each other and hence you love more.

Finally, I believe that we have come to an era of complete equality. And the bliss of marital life goes strong only when both the partners know to respect each other’s individuality and love each other too immensely for ego to raise its monstrous head. So keep loving and keep sharing because SHARING IS CARING!

Cheers to our bond of sharing
“I am writing for the #ShareTheLoad activity at in association withAriel.”

Aritra Chakrabarty Sengupta

Monday, 27 April 2015

Marriage - An institution based on mutual respect

“You know what? You will never understand me!" sobbed a pretty girl talking to her husband. "What matters to you is your family, their prejudice and norms. But I am not a puppet!"
"Really? Then what do you expect me to do? Hold your hand and walk out? Mummy is correct about modern girls...they are so self-centered." complained the furious husband.
"I never asked you to do that. I just want your family to accept me the way I am. A modern independent, working woman who dares to be opinionated. I am never going to ill treat them or disrespect them I just want them to respect my existence and not treat as a show piece." retaliated she.
Neil and Niki had married after 4 years of being in love, Neil was from a conservative Marwari family while Niki was an independent minded Punjabi girl who believed in her existence and was self-reliant. They knew of their difference, but Niki believed that she could bring positive change to Neil’s otherwise retarding take on the society and its norms. On the other hand Neil thought that marriage and settlement would change what appeared to be radical thinking to him. But nothing changed except their relationship, their love. I do not know what happened to them, whether they lived together and continued their journey with each other, or did they quit, I simply have no idea.
The reason why I suddenly thought of a situation like this, is a friend of mine. She has always amazed me, with her thoughts, her struggles and her wins. But a failed marriage is a huge burden to carry and our societal taboo, never allows us forget our past. In all dire situations, she succeeded, a school and college topper, a modern woman with modern thoughts. But she failed to establish a happy household because her partner suffered from bourgeoisie, he believed that a woman has no right to be opinionated and should concentrate on daily household chores. What happens around in the world should not be a concern to her more than what has to be prepared for lunch. Strange, we all live in the same society but nurture such diverse thoughts. While at one side women and men are equally traversing the path of progress and on the side women are behind the shadows and veils of illiteracy, inequality and violence. But my friend dared to be different, different from most of us and had decided to raise a voice. She left the retarding environment, took to legal separation and continued studies. But the question, which started bugging her soon was, what next?
In this society of hypocrisy, can she be alone forever? Or should she remarry? But then how? A divorced woman cannot expect more than a divorced man in our society when it comes to arrange marriage. And falling in love is scary to her now. What should be her next step? I want your precious suggestions.
Aritra Chakrabarty Sengupta

Wednesday, 22 April 2015


An awesome video for sure

It was just by chance that I happen to see this video on you tube and instantly wanted to share. It showcases the basic most human instinct “being judgemental” and wanders on those untouched realms of human psychology which we often want to avoid. Come on! Who would like to admit that he/she is judgemental, and that his/her judgments are often based on physical appearance, dressing sense or sense of addressing people?  But the reality is, we all judge and that too based on things which are no parameters for judging someone. And this sense is stronger when it comes to the fairer sex. If her boss drops her home, she must be dating him. If she is not married away as per Indian standards of age for marriage, there must be some issue with her. These judgements are innumerable and often wrong.

I am not keeping well for sometime, and was not just in the mood to write a blogpost. Was suffering in a non-creative limbo, afterall when cold, cough and fever monsters happen to squeeze away your creative juices, but else can you expect. I wanted to watch Kalki’s recent “Margarita with a straw”, but my health did not permit, so instead I got hold of this video. And I don’t know what magic worked and I immediately wanted to write about.

Are we in the era of tabloid journalism? I happen to bump over this term when Shobhaa De, happen to grace Karan Johar’s famous gossip show “Koffee with Karan”. This smart mouthed lady, who had made her appearance with Vijay Mallya on the show, had indicated that in India we are about to enter an era of tabloid journalism. As in, journalism which is specialist in sensitizing and selling! See recently, Deepika Padukone’s “My choice” was all over social media, or the twitterati about Anushka Sharma’s presence in Cricket World Cup’s semi final match, this social uproar was no doubt instigated and multiplied by the media, quite knowingly I suppose. But when videos like this one, comes up, it never gets its deserved share of limelight and I hence wanted to share.

I mean, clearly a video like this, suits the hour. In a country like ours, which is actually developing and getting more and more westernised each day, this is important. It is important, to let time and situation help judge a person, rather than his/her illusionary looks or habits. A girl who dances in a dance bar, may be doing it to sponsor her father’s medical expense or may be for her pocket money, don’t judge. Similarly a friend who heavily comes down at you at your faults, may be a better person than a hypocrite diplomat, don’t judge. Just don’t judge unnecessarily, give yourself some time before you tag someone as “looser”, “Snob” or “characterless”. And to avoid being judgemental, you must come over yourself and know your flaws, and also know to put yourself in other’s shoes. But whatever it is, I thank Kalki Koechlin and the entire team for making this one, no doubt her efforts did not draw mass attention but she did her bit, which is commendable. Nothing  is as great, as spreading positive energy in this world of negativity.

Aritra Chakrabarty Sengupta

Monday, 20 April 2015


Earth is calling video

Ladies walk for miles to fetch water in the scorching sun in Rajasthan villages

Water, the source to life

A cloudy sky in a barren land is like a hope to continue living

As she looked up at the sky devoid of any iota of cloud, the piercing sun rays hit her eyes mercilessly. “When will it rain again, mother? Will I ever be able to quench my thirst fully? Will the basil plant ever grow in our little balcony again?” asked the freckled child. “Keep praying my child, God will answer your prayers someday” assured the unsure mother whose face was withered and cracks appearing similar to mother earth. Seated in a desert in Rajasthan, the mother and child looked up at the sky and tried communicating with God, and finding ways to please him. Up there, God too looked at their faces and wept, his children were thirsty but he had lost all means to quench the same. At this point I remember Tagore’s famous quote;

“Trees are the earth’s endless effort
To speak to the listening heaven”

The world around us is said to be progressing, but how? Is it on the expense of denial of a good life to our future generations? With the looming menaces like global warming, climatic change, forest fires are we really not at the threshold of undoing all our efforts to building this modern world? Whatever the case may be, I just want to remind you that the time to introspect has passed, now its time to act. Instead of just voicing, it is high time we start practicing. 

Counting the last moments, thanks to Global warming

However I strongly believe that the first step towards any movement is spreading the awareness of its significance. And the most powerful tool in doing so is the youth. What is the graveness of the situation that the world at large is facing? Are we on the verge of extinction and Earth on the verge of transformation to a planet like many others, devoid of life? Topics like Global warming must be a part of the curriculum in schools and colleges. Different drives to inculcate correct habits in children should be started by institutions and families alike. When your child wastes water, show him/her the picture of a thirsty child and explain to him/her the significance that even a drop has in the thirsty soul’s life. This was just an example, a radical change in outlook will not come radically, and it has to be gradual infusion of knowledge and information, which will lead to mass enlightenment. But awareness must not be restricted to the growing ones; it has to be omnipresent in all age groups.

I am thirsty

If I ask you “Are you still taking printouts of your account summary from ATMs?” How many can proudly say NO? I doubt the percentage. Do you know that it take 12 trees to make one ton of 100% non-recycled newsprint (Info source- Google)? And do you know that deforestation is the major contributing factor to Global warming? Be judicious yourself and teach people to be so. Stop abusing the Earth by wasting paper and leading to cutting of more and more trees. Knowledge is not only for executing office jobs and college assignments, it has a bigger use. In this era of online availability of all information, government should impose restrictions on misuse of paper.

“Do you own a car and proudly ride your exclusive mean machine to office?” When you get down of that illustrious piece each morning, you must be feeling very proud right?  But have you ever thought how much carbon foot print you increase by avoiding car pooling? Have you ever introspected, that you are snatching the basic rights of living for your future generations? Believe me showing off social status, personal comforts of time etc will appear insignificant when the crisis will near us more. Your societal influence will be better showcased if you act as a better citizen. Infact I believe unnecessary, usage of vehicles and buying the same should be restricted.

Carpooling, is the right way

“After shopping for 1000s of rupees in a shopping mall, how does it matter to pay 5 rupees more for the plastic carry bag right? But if you are charged 100 rupees for that, yeah now that’s a real concern, isn’t it?”  Common, can we really call us educated?  Can’t we see the actual reason why plastics bags are chargeable these days? Plastic pollution is one of the major environmental concerns that we are facing currently. It is hazardous for humans and animals alike. But it is worth remembering that humans are using it and not animals. Click on the following link for more information: PLASTIC POLLUTION

Plastic pollution

Sometimes when I sit back and relax, I feel amused at the greatness of the creator who has created this world. When you feel thirsty it has water, when you feel de-shielded and the sun takes your breathe away, it has trees to give you shadow and calm your wandering soul. From snow-capped mountains to stretches of deserts, from lush greenery to the unknown depths of the sea, each part is mesmerising and bewildering. Nature can. be beautiful, calm but can be menacing as well. And humans, supposedly God’s most wondrous creations, are calling that wrath of mother Earth. Though all natural calamities are not avoidable, yet the frequent surfacing of different destructive faces of the earth, tells a story. It tells us “Earth is calling” it is calling out aloud to stop this abuse on her and appreciate her greatness. Greatness that nests all of us in its safe haven of serenity and tranquility! It is time we take these signals seriously and do our bit to save our home, which is the Earth.

I am thankful to Green Yatra for giving me this opportunity for penning down my views on the subject. And congratulate them for their noble efforts. What I wrote is only a bit of what we should do, introspect yourself each time while you use natural assets and work towards affecting the environment. Be judicious and don’t be selfish, let the human race continue to live and achieve different milestones, even when we have unified with mother Earth. The wonderfully creative video, made by the Green Yatra team is incorporated at the beginning of my narrative.  For more information about it, click on the link below: GREEN YATRA.

Aritra Chakrabarty Sengupta

Monday, 13 April 2015

Touch of LOVE

When fragile and colorful butterflies fly in the stomach,
The heart beats follow a mystic rhythm unknown,
When the angelic smile embraces lips all along,
Unaware precious time is flown.
When the sparkle in eyes is brighter than ever,
The companionship with majestic moon intensifies,
When tear rolls out with diamond shimmer,
Skin hypersensitive, heart rebellious and all worldly rules it defies.
When presence of an unknown desired one makes heart skip a beat,
The serene air smells rosier and the sky adorns a color more blue,
When feelings like hunger, thirst or sleep struggle to impact,
Just remember that you are blessed to be living love, a feeling so true!
 Aritra Chakrabarty Sengupta

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Gadda da Vida- A Restaurant Review

“As the soothing breeze flow past,
As the moon looks down,
As your jaded self finds perpetual peace,
The eternal movement of the waves is the crown.”
Aritra Chakrabarty Sengupta

Eating great food is good; what if the food treats your eyes as well as it does your tongue, better right? Now what if great tasting and yummy looking food is served in an overwhelming ambience, best, isn’t it? I am sure it is! My friend Samriti always praised the sea facing restaurant in Hotel Novotel in Juhu called “Gadda Da Vida”. And finally yesterday night dinner, was set with Arabian Sea in front and Live Music in the background in that restaurant.

The ambience was really awesome, the sky was clear and stars were shining down on us, the small stretch of clean beach in front was a lively scene to behold. Unlike the usually overcrowded and dirty Juhu beach, the beach in front of “Gadda Da Vida” is astonishingly clean, with families congregated to spend a night in the awesomeness of Arabian waves caressing their feet. The sea breeze was cool and soothing, contrary to Mumbai April temperatures. The sitting arrangement is good with sparse lighting, live music and decent crowd. I ordered chicken tarts in creamy white sauce and Novotel Special Mocktail, while my friends Samriti and Ankush ordered pizza, veg nuggets and veg kebabs. The food was good and served warm.

Thanks to them for gifting me the lovely evening. Not because of exotic food, the food was good though, but for irresistible ambience “Gadda da Vida” is a great visit and must too. Afterall the essence of Mumbai is the sea and if luxurious ambience serves you food with a great sea view, it is just the best to chill out with friends and family. Though some seats require a minimum billing of Rs 20,000, but most of them are economical to five-star standards with a cover charge of Rs 1,000 per person. I personally feel, a little improvement on the condition of the couches can make the time spent more comforting. But overall the massive Arabian greatness makes it up and makes the time well spent.

"Gadda da Vida"

Aritra Chakrabarty Sengupta

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Congratulations to Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli

Anushka Sharma

It is not male chauvinism, definitely not feminism, its only and only about humanity. Actually I read I lot of articles and news on this topic and had decided I had nothing more to add. But today seeing the pictures of Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma together in Kolkata Airport, inspired me to pen down a bit of my heart. I guess we know what I am talking about. Yes the infamous portrayal of social taboo and superstition through venting of poisoned emotions on Team India loosing Cricket World Cup Semi Finals. You know what, I write to pen my heart and paint with words my emotions, my traumas, my fears and myself. I write about social issues with the idea of reaching to atleast few. But when this whole episode was burning electronic and print media, I was absolutely disgusted to even write about it. I thought this was a topic which deserved minimal attention.

But today I am writing, not for anything else but for congratulating Virat and Anushka for finding the guts to face the irrational world of their haters. Common! In this century of progressive thinking, while we burst our lungs shouting, education, enlightenment etc, we actually are bound with the fetters of prejudice and superstition. I believe the people who tweeted of Anushka as Panauti (unlucky) for India, are not part of any progressive thinking bracket. Afterall it is only lack of education that binds people to such retarded thinking process. Please people, I understand your emotions attached with cricket but targeting one relationship or one person, cannot change the fact the Aussies had bowled us over and that was only because of bad performance of the players. It was just not their day. The presence or absence of anyone cannot ruin a game of 11 players.  And pointing a nasty finger to the personal life of a girl, who had gone to cheer her boyfriend, is just too ridiculous to be accepted in a civilised society. The sexual innuendos, the demeaning stuff actually does not only exhibit the lack of respect for women but also lack of humanitarian instincts. It was painful to see even women joining this stink, have we forgotten the many incidents that took place in rural India on the basis of labelling women unlucky. What is the difference with us then? If we can openly tweet insinuating the sexual life of a couple and citing it as the reason for the bad performance of the guy, if we can openly tweet and label someone as unlucky we are nothing better than those ignorant villagers.

Anyways I congratulate both Virat and Anushka for giving it back, for coming out with flying colours amidst the hatred of many is commendable. It is exemplary as well, and tells us never to bow down in front of baseless bourgeoisie. Nothing is more important than self respect and an attack on that has to be combated and that too with conviction. Your being together with each other at that time and openly coming in front of everyone in Kolkata airport for IPL, shows not only your love but respect for each other as well.

Anushka and Virat at the Kolkata Airport for the IPL

Aritra Chakrabarty Sengupta

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

A musical night and more – Arijit Singh Live

It’s been a little more than two years in this city of lights and dreams, Mumbai. Yet I have never had the opportunity of a being a part of any live concert (sad face) before this Sunday (happy face). My husband Avishek and two of our closest buddies accompanied me to the rendezvous with the musical sensation, Arijit Singh. 
Happy to be heading towards music
The Yo pose!:-)

Frankly thanks to the lack at the organizer’s part, initially I was disappointed as unknown and kind of very ordinary singers started singing. Along with one of the dumbest host (a stupid lady in pink) ever seen or heard of. But thankfully the torture ended as soon as Arijit took the stage at around 7:30 in the evening. And what an end to that tormenting phase, “Kyunki Tum hi ho” echoed through the soothing wind that flowed past the 10000 people gathered to have a musical evening.
Nilesh, Shalaka,me and Avishek

I have always been an ardent fan of Arijit Singh but hearing him sing live was an altogether different experience. Truly a music maestro of this generation, silky voice and high in skill, a complete natural on stage. His ease with the art is commendable, no doubt he is currently one of the best in tinsel town. Without apparently trying to make the audience shake a leg, he completely bowled them over with the pureness and tranquility of music. As he moved from one romantic number to another, the ambience was as if painted with the different hues of love. It was overwhelming to find everyone, including us sing with him in monotone. Arijit Singh is a singing sensation back in Bengal as well, so I expected him to sing at least one of those numerous hits. Though he did not sing much, yet he did sing one line of a famous Bengali song, “Bhebe dekhecho ki tararao jeno alok borsho dure”. It felt as if the mystic rhythm floated across from a distant star and echoed through my veins like an electrifying sensation and unified with my heart. I believe the same was experienced by all bongs as this song is very close us. The serene experience continued till ten in the night and as expected he ended with “Kabira”, driving the entire crowd crazy.

They say only heartless people can refrain from loving flowers, music and babies, and true it is. The love for music was felt so warmly on Sunday that I have decided never to give a miss to any of Arijit Singh’s live concerts in Mumbai. Arijit if you are reading this one, please sing at least one stanza of any of your Bengali hits, in your next concert, it will be an awesome experience for bongs and non bongs alike. Singers like you make singing meaningful, loved and treasured. Though we paid for tickets, yet thanks for the experience as no money is enough to buy a piece of peace.
Arijit Singh Live- Kharghar (5.4.2015)
pic courtesy google

Aritra Chakrabarty Sengupta

Set my vocal chords free

“The pen is mightier than the sword”
Edward. G. Bulwer-Lytton

Right from the beginning of our existence on the earth, our parents have taught us to be honest, peace-loving, social beings.  We grew up thinking, that the world is filled with people who think and act like we were asked to. But as reality syndrome struck us, we realized that what we knew is only partially correct. While there is no dearth of compassion, but a huge part of the society is engulfed by dogmatism and aversion. The realization was hard hitting to the childish hearts. But again we took the shock and the cruel blows of bigotry with hope that this extremism has to end.  Someday, Sometime! But that time never came. The wait never ceased to exist! Yet we maintained composure, afterall violence cannot kill violence, it can only instigate more, making the extremists invincible. They curbed women powers, they curbed general safety and much more, but now they want to curb our basic right, the right to voice our thoughts. Is it acceptable? No!
While in India the recent nullification of Section 66A of the amended Information Technology Act, 2000 was done to prevent the reining of vocal and expressional independence, our neighboring nation has become a threat to the ones with independent thinking. They say the pen is mightier than the sword but in Bangladesh the increasing toll of hacking bloggers and writers to death speaks a different story. The cruel machete slaying the independent thinkers to pieces, takes the whole world by shock. With the recent incidents of religious extremists killing Arijit Roy, an US based writer and blogger and Washiqur Rahman a young Bangladeshi blogger has left the world and especially the world of bloggers in whammy.
We say we are progressive, but where is the progressive thinking? I don’t want to judge the correctness of the religious beliefs that the extremists conceive, actually I don’t care. But how can they snatch the right to speak from the ones who dare to think differently. Each and every human has the right to choose his belief, which comes from his outlook and experience. That can never and ever be enforced. And no one has the right to! A country if deprived of vocal rights, is a dumb country in every respect and growth is never a possibility in such a scenario. As development comes with enlightenment and enlightenment comes with education and with education people tend to become opinionated. Besides a nation like that is like a grenade, with the seething desire to express burning in its core, and when it explodes it reduces everything around to ashes.
So if the extremists and their extreme ways continue, hundreds of Arijits and Washiqurs will rise from the ashes like a phoenix rises from a wreck and then the butchers will not have enough knives to slay heads off.

But we do not want that, we only want peace and tranquility, an atmosphere that inspires a writer to write about beautiful things and not about the wrongs of the society. But if there are wrongs there will be braves to voice them and no strength in the world is invincible enough to stop that upraise.  However this anarchy has to be addressed by the government to establish and enforce law and order. This hooliganism cannot be allowed to curb the liberal thinking of the ones who have the guts to think differently and conviction to be vocal about it.
Aritra Chakrabarty Sengupta

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Saans-Bahu Relationship and the cliche

Women Empowerment

Today we talk of Women Empowerment and demand an equal status for both the genders. We want to swipe off the cliché thinking of it’s a man’s worldNo, no more! It must transform to a world for all. But then when we mouth so much of protest to get to a reformed society, don’t you think it is high time we women introspect a bit? And I believe it is also a part of empowerment and enlightenment together.

Talking of woman, one thing has always appeared intriguing to me and that is the cloud of discomfort surrounding a mother-in-law and daughter-in-law relationship. As if it is one dreadful thing, every female is uncomfortable about. But my question is why? To all my readers who are daughter-in-laws or mother-in-laws, can anybody quench my desire to get a breakthrough through this untouched, unspoken subject of human relationship and get a proper answer? I am waiting and eagerly. In the mean while, why don’t I share my opinions? What say?
Me with my mother-in-law

The good news is, I am a daughter-in-law but the bad news is I share a lovely relationship with my mother-in-law and hence my eagerness intensifies. I, in my experience could not actually get a proper answer. I believe we have our share of disagreements and misunderstandings like any normal relationship, then what is the fuss about? What is different? I will answer my own question, stats show that more domestic violence towards the bride is done by mother-in-law than husband. And the reverse is also true. Why this hatred, why this aggression?

Is the answer insecurity? I guess it is. When we think of a few generations back, the picture that comes to our mind is “Man going out to work, woman staying at home to raise a family”. Offcourse this scenario holds good to a great extent even today, but not as profoundly omnipresent as it was then. Today a girl gains education not to get a good groom but to aim great professional establishments. Earlier a woman would get married and try to get the meandering attention of her husband, because her social, economic and hence emotional security depended on him. Afterall he was the bread-earner. With time and age, the attention would shift to her son and all her activities would be centred to seek his attention and love. And then a new woman would enter into her son’s life and mark the beginning of a lifelong battle of gaining precedence over each other.

But then when we woman suffer from such emotional insecurities with each other, how can we stand and raise voice in monotone? Women Empowerment is not a fad, it’s a fight for reverence and it’s a fight for equality. And will not end soon, it has just began. So before we women, decide to voice our demands, we need to voice our insecurities and come out of it with élan. And this change will come from literacy and employment. As they say “an idle brain is a devil’s workshop”. Women need to channelize their qualities and indulge in productivity. Instead of giving business to the bullshit kitchen politics depicting “Saans Bahu Sagas”, and investing money in buying those embellished sarees and accessories, they should employ their virtues to build a productive reform in them. And once women are not centred around the kitchen, once they are self-reliant, scenarios can change. Because no longer will it be their prime focus to come to the good books of the men in the family, they will have a bigger horizon to spread their wings of life.

A still from some Saans Bahu Saga

So I believe the first step to woman empowerment is educating them. And reduce their dependency on others. The direct outcome will be a confident nation, where women will not be known for cat fights and domestic violence, but for their virtues as competent and confident humans. I know it’s a distant dream, but we can start in our own little way, by say, imparting knowledge to our domestic helps. If each of us strive, an outcome is inevitable. And then each woman will learn to acknowledge their position themselves and respect each others space and retain harmony.

Aritra Chakrbarty Sengupta

Friday, 3 April 2015

MY CHOICE and Deepika Padukone

Very recently Vogue’s Video on women empowerment featuring Deepika Padukone and other celebrities of tinsel town like Anupama Chopra, Zoya Akhtar, Nimrit Kaur has taken the social media by storm. “My Choice” a video (included in the beginning of my narrative) which strongly portrays the liberty of women to make choices, breaking off the social bourgeoisie fetters around her feet. I found the purpose of the video intriguing and essential. And the execution had panache.

True it is, the society has different set of laws for the different sexes. If a man comes back late from office every night or if his boss drops him home, eyebrows are never raised at his character. But the same may not be true for women. Today’s modern women has the capability of playing the bread earner for her family, yet her hard work is not always greeted with applause. Her family often returns her with apathy for her sacrifices. Whenever a heinous crime like rape, acid attack or domestic violence take place, a huge section of the society raise questions on the woman’s character instead of rebuking the offender. How long can we allow our characters to be judged by the length of our dress? How long a woman will need to prove her dignity to the society and why? It is high time, we fight back and take responsibility of our choices. Breaking ourselves free from the baseless laws of the biased society is the call of the hour! So this video was apt (not completely though) for a country which is plagued by the increasing toll of crime against women. We are not just a body, and are not just born to raise kids (although we love kids), we have our choices, which are truly our fingerprints- a message loud and clear! And I think, this is also a strong answer to the illiterate lawyers featured in “India’sdaughter” Documentary and other people like them.

Now coming to the video, which deals with a hard hitting, sensitive subject lacks somewhere. But where? According to me the visual impact was commendable but Deepika’s voice lacked the required flair. And as the perception depends on the combined effect on all your senses, while visually the video proceeds with élan our ears are not treated too well. And secondly while dealing with a subject as delicate as this, the choices cited should have been chosen with a little more sincerity. While I completely adorn the fact that a woman, should have the freedom of choosing her attire or making sexual orientation choices, I cannot completely deal with the choice of infidelity. An unwanted relationship should be given away with, but transparency is important in every phase of it. The purpose of women empowerment, is giving her a societal status that she deserves. It does not necessarily imply anarchy. We want an environment of peace, respect and opportunity for women to flourish. Our demand is not to do just whatever we want, our demand is to be respected in the first place. Our choice is to be ourselves, a doting mother, a loving wife, a compassionate daughter, a successful professional but above all a respected human, who is not judged by her hotness quotient, who is not judged by her size. And this radical change in outlook will not come by radical moves, it will come with slow spread of awareness and enlightenment. We definitely cannot choose to do things which we may not be wishing to be done to us.

Whatever it is, I congratulate Vogue and the people associated with this video. Though not flawless, yet it is the beginning of a change in attitude. A fight back for the retrospective and a pre plan for the evolving reality of bourgeoisie which instead of reducing is becoming more and more imminent.  
Aritra Chakrabarty Sengupta

N.B. Read what Hindustan Times had to say My choice.