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There’s a reason why we learn to read before we learn to write. As a writer, we’re expected to read other writings. We can choose not to, and that still doesn’t make anyone a lesser writer.

As a reader, we can disagree with the content – but surely we can’t criticize a writing or the writer. So, it’s either agree, disagree or ignore.

Can’t stop anyone from writing. That’s taking away the basic ‘freedom of expression’, which is everyone’s favorite three words, in India these days.

But how about writing lines that pry open the basic fabric of our constitution? Instead of burning papers, perhaps we should just criticize like mad. But remember, that not everyone criticizes by writing. Neither can writers take the moral high ground of being better people because they criticize on paper. All kind of people, at every level, are allowed to criticize in whatever way they find suitable.

So I take deep offense when some journalist, like Barkha Dutt or the very articulate Congress man, Shashi Tharoor – ridicule those who may not be educated enough to do it in a certain way and use a different language or process of criticism. Do they really think only the English -speaking people (with the correct accent) have the copyright of ethical protests. I have seen more lies coming out of the intellectual class than many others!

And yes, I am talking of criticism, not threats.

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Goodies for the festive season

Lend an ear

Gift your time

Save energy, your own and the world’s

Give a blanket

Share a cup

Borrow sugar

Feel for the blind

Have a conversation

Absorb hurt

Spread butter  better laughter

Warm up to a stranger

Hold hands

Expect nothing

Stay at one place, longer

Sizzle your ego

Treat everyone right

Stuff the hungry

Pace more

Slow down

Do some of the above.

 

 

 

 

 

Hold on

When the games stop, life begins

It hits you hard, it makes you think

Makes you wonder, if games were all you had

And all you wanted anyway

Those wonderful laughs, those flirtatious hands

Some loving voices, some beautiful faces

Those friendly bruises, some refrains

Cover them well, those memories should stay

In some dark corner, allow them to fray

Run your fingers on those edges from time to time

Remember those careless thoughts, those half-baked dreams

To know what you chose to let go and what you didn’t

Turn to go back, if you must

But only to stay there forever

Do you have the courage, or the will?

The need? – A thrill?

Else grow you will, hardened by the days

Hopes measured in reality

Loving those who care

Grow as I have

Probably, the only way

 

On the roads again

I’ve known her for a year. We frequent the same crossing. She moves from one car to another, and I push my way between them. I’ve said ‘Namaste!’ to her every working day that she has knocked on my window.

But the day after Deepawali, I decided to burn some prejudices I’ve been hostage to, in my social upbringing. Previously, I never would have (and probably no one else would too, given a choice). Transgenders, asking for money on the street, were always to be avoided. They, as per others’ expectations, often resorted to preposterous acts hoping the shock would empty some pockets. Many have found other ways of living and are being slowly accepted in. Its a tough transition. 

She: *knocks on the rolled-up window*

Me: *Namaste* “Happy Diwali!”

She: *walks off as usual* *turns back on second thoughts* “What did you say?”

Me: *rolled down the window* “I said, Happy Diwali”

She: “That’s okay, but how about giving something?!”

Me: “You know I never give money like this”

She: *tried a smile* “You really are a miser, you know”

Me: *laugh out* “I am. And usually, broke”

She: “You won’t take this car on your death bed, you know” *Scowls and walks off*

Next day

She: *knocks on the rolled-up window* *peeps in* *shakes her head, rolls her eyes* *walks off*