Changing hours

In the dense forest, she waited, to see her last smile.

They had been waiting since a very long time for the doctor to arrive. The telephone lines had been disconnected and the transportation facilities had been cut off due to the heavy rains.

Prachi is a 15 year old girl who lives in a small town near Gangtok with her mother Manju. She had been to school till standard 2 as her mother wanted her to study but, after her mother’s illness she left the school and started working as a maid in a haveli for money. Her mother is suffering from cancer and needs to be operated. Prachi’s dad left them a long time back as he didn’t want any daughters.

On her first day to work , for the first time she saw the beautiful snow clad mountains and the Himalayan valley.

On reaching the haveli she heard a lady shouting “Isn’t there anyone in the house who can get a glass of water for me.” Being afraid she took a glass, poured water and went to the lady. On reaching her room, Prachi realised that she was sitting on a wheel chair, near the window trying to see the mountains. On seeing her, Prachi’s anger turned into sadness. She felt sorry for her. She went closer to her and said “Dadi, here’s your glass of water. Do you need anything else.” It was the first time she had met her.

Dadi on seeing her asked whether she was the new maid. Prachi replied a yes sweetly and asked Dadi whether she needed anything else.

The other day Dadi again called Prachi. She was eager to know why such a small girl was kept as a maid in their house. On being questioned Prachi replied “My name is Prachi, my mum is sick and needs to be operated and I am working over here for money.”

On listening to this Dadi replied “What about your education, darling.” Prachi answered innocently that she wanted to study but could not as she had to earn money.

From that day onwards Dadi started teaching Prachi Maths and English.

Everyday Prachi used to cook something special for Dadi and after lunch Dadi would help her in her studies. Many a times they would talk on random topics like the beauty of Himalayas, beaches, countries ,Indian history, jobs, novels, movies etc.

With each passing day they became closer. Prachi got a friend in the big haveli and Dadi felt like she had got a daughter

Dadi even insisted Prachi to give her board exams, paid for her education and Manju’s operation. The day when her board results were out Prachi went running to the haveli to tell Dadi about it. On reaching there she saw a large crowd. She became nervous and ran inside to see Dadi. On reaching her room she saw Dadi sleeping on the bed, unconscious. She wanted to cry, go near Dadi and ask her to wake up. She wanted Dadi to be happy on seeing her results but she did not wake up.

Prachi was now sitting near the old lady, holding her hand, wishing for something good to happen. She waited to tell her that she loved her and was grateful for the love and friendship she had offered. She wanted to tell Dadi that because of her efforts in getting her a good education, she need not do dishes at anyone’s home and could earn for herself to be independent. She knew that she had no other option than to wait but, she even knew that her wait would never come to an end

Aren’t we the same?

We always wait for the correct time or the right moment which we feel never comes.

What are you waiting for?

Want to buy the jacket which is costly according to you? Buy it, if you know how to spend, you’ll even know how to earn.

Love a girl? Go and get her before it’s too late.

Tired of your job? Quit it and find more ways to earn happiness rather than money.

Afraid of dancing, in front of the crowd? Don’t be, wear your dancing shoes, play your song and dance, as if no one’s watching.

So stop waiting, let your heart speak for you and start doing the things you love.

- By Drashti Trivedi ©2014

Freedom

She woke up in the morning with tears in her eyes, heart suffering from pain and her mind thinking about just one thing……

How to get away from the place where she worked? How to get away from a place where she was betrayed for love………………How to get freedom.

Nafisa was a beautiful girl who lived in the town of Al Bastakiya with her parents. At the age of 16 she was sold to a sheikh named Miller Carter who owned bars in Dubai.

Since Nafisa was new to the place and the work profile she was asked to serve pizzas and drinks in the bar. In the morning she would be given sessions where she would be taught how to serve drinks to the customers’, keep them satisfied and make them your clients. She loved learning math and English but Miller did not allow her to learn the languages.

She did not know what her dreams were nor did she know about the world outside the bar.

One day Miller gifted a nice dress for the evening and asked her to wear that and come to the bar. Being unknown what destiny had planned for her life she went to the bar. She was shocked when she came to know that tonight she had to go a on a date with a rich gentleman who had bought her for the entire night and hence she need not serve drinks to the customers.

When she returned back from her work in the morning she locked herself in the room and cried. She cried for being touched by someone she did not love, she cried for the pain her body got, she cried for not getting the love and independence that she craved for, she cried for the sex which she was forced to have.

From that night, it became mandatory for Nafisa to go out with random clients on a date, have sex, come back to the bar and hand over the money she earned to Miller. She no longer felt the pain her body was suffering from. With each passing day she felt her soul to be dying. She did not have any friends to whom she could tell this. She started cursing her parents for selling her.

She wanted to run away from the bar but did not have courage to do that. One night when she returned back from work she saw Miller waiting for her at the door. While Nafisa was handing over the money to him, he took her in his room, tore her clothe and raped her. She protested but his power and strength was more than her screams and anger.

She could no longer bear the humiliation and slavery she did for him.

She decided that for the last time she would go to the bar and agree to the owner for the money she needed to run away. She went out for her last date looking gorgeous took the amount she was offered in return of her body and came out from the hotel.

With all the courage she had gathered she decided not to go back to the bar and ran away from there.

She ran away in the search of freedom.

- By Drashti Trivedi ©2014

Magic

When was the last time you went to see a magic show?

25th October 2002.I shall never forget this day in my life.

I was a girl who believed in magic. I believed that magic happens only in fairy tales.

It was a cold winter night. It was our annual day and I was to perform in an event called the “Magical show”.
I had reached the auditorium in time. Our group was going to perform 5 magical tricks which were “Floating match on the card” , ”French drop” , ”Magic sand” , ”Bill in lemon” and “Dagger head box”. We had rehearsed our magic tricks many times. I thought that the audience would love our performance and appreciate it. I reached the changing room and found all my friends there. Wearing a satin crimson colored costume we reached the stage and got arranged at our specific positions, waiting for the event to start.

Suddenly, I could smell something burning. Looking through the corner of my eyes I could see fire behind me. My dress had caught fire from the oil lamps. I was terrified. Our performance had started and I didn’t know what to do. My dress was completely in flames. Immediately I ran backstage, in between the show. One of our teachers used a fire extinguisher and doused the flames. I had suffered from severe burns on my back. I was taken to a clinic and given first aid.

That night I cried a lot. I was cursing magic and was telling that I’ll never perform on stage, nor in any magic show. Seeing me cry, my grandfather asked “Aanya, what is magic according to you?”

I answered trying to wipe my tears “Magic was, what I, was going to perform today”.

On listening to this he replied “No, magic was you running for your safety. Magic was your teacher saving you from the flames.

Magic touches your life everyday dear , you just need to understand it”.

If magic touches our life every day, what is magic really?

Is it what Harry Potter learnt at the witchcraft school Hogwarts? Is it the kiss that sleeping beauty received from the prince that broke her curse?

If yes, why don’t we see magic happening to us?

Magic is something that touches your heart.

It is the smile showing all your white teeth when you see yourself in the mirror. It is the cold winter night, a small walk and a soft ice cream. It is finding the last toffee left for you in your refrigerator. Magic is the wait for your Christmas gift in your socks.

Magic is a feeling that makes you believe for something good, that makes you believe in you.
We all are little magicians in our own fantasy land that we build while dreaming of magic wands, fairies and a few witches .YOU just need to believe that even you can perform small magical tricks that can change your life.

You just need to believe that YOU ARE A MAGICIAN.

- By Drashti Trivedi ©2014

Friends

Power puff girls, Angels, Besties. These might have been your group names during your school days, a group of peppy girls in short skirts or a group having class toppers wearing big glasses always found with their heads buried in books. What about a group named “MOTUs”

This is what identified Fatima, Aashima, Riya and Dwiti, who have been friends since last 7 years.

Fatema is a bold, fun-filled girl studying dentistry. She’s tall, and has a tattoo on her hand saying “live laugh love” written in Chinese. She loves making friends. You’ll find numbers of an architect, doctor, lawyer, engineer, CA, teacher, painter, fashion designer, cook, tailor, lab technician, compounder, street cleaner and they are all her friends (thanks that her dog does not have a cell number otherwise she would have saved that too!). If you are searching for any number, you will get it faster from her than from Justdial.

Aashima is smart. She loves challenges. There was a time when she used to fail in her physics exam and today, she is doing Masters in Applied Physics. She loves brands. Ask her about the latest sale of clothes by Versace or about Elle’s new shades of lipsticks and nail paints. You can even talk to her about Tiffany’s diamonds, perfumes of Tommy Girl or Hublot’s watches. She knows it all.

 Riya is a shy girl. She has a perfect figure and is very pretty. She’s doing research and is interning with one of the pharmaceutical companies. She loves reading. She has her own set of principles to live a simple life.

 I am Dwiti. I am a graduate in Engineering.

“Dwiti, where the hell on earth are you. You were going to reach here before an hour and where is Aashima? Why is she not receiving my call?” yells Fatema.

I put the phone on speaker and answer “Aashima is driving……. sorry we were finding cheese cream. I can’t listen, there’s lot of traffic. Reaching in 15 minutes.”  I lie. Aashima and I are trying to find cheese cream checking out all the stores in town.

We reach Fatema’s house after an hour finally collecting all ingredients. Tomorrow is Riya’s birthday and we are planning to make a red velvet cake having chocolate and cheese cream icing for her. Fatema welcomes us, but is quietly expecting whether we have got anything for her to eat. She gets tired cleaning, washing and drying teeth of patients the whole day, just managing to eat 2 burgers and a sandwich.  

Excitedly, she opens the bag full of ingredients and sees butter, corn-flour, baking powder, chocolate powder, cheese cream, bottle having red edible color, eggs and bill. Her eyes turn wide open when she sees the bill. Forgetting her hunger she says “Are you kidding me, Rs 700 only for cake ingredients? Dwiti, I’ll kill you if you don’t bake the cake properly.”

 I am the head chef for the evening. My hobbies include learning new languages, dancing salsa, gardening, taking tuitions, going to gym, cooking etc. My hobbies keep on changing every month just like my crushes both being unpredictable. I learnt baking eggless cakes but, a red velvet cake was something new. We Google it up. A small advice: if you ever need help in solving a problem – be it a math puzzle, finding a place on map, proposing a girl or cooking, God Google always helps.

I start mixing the ingredients, trying to be careful. Aashima is breaking the eggs and Fatema is helping us by playing some good music from her playlist. She wishes to help more. She has learnt how to boil water recently and so decides to make Maggi (as she is hungry). We finish mixing batter and pour it in a heart shaped container. The batter tastes perfect – since it has proper quantity of butter, sugar and chocolate powder. Fatema is scared about the proportions of baking soda. With her eyes, she warns me neither is her kitchen insured nor her oven.

We put the batter inside the oven for the baking process, set the timer for 40 minutes and start talking. Strangely, we find better topics to discuss then blaming the Prime Minister, being jealous about Ranbir Kapoor’s new girlfriend or the sky rocketing onion prices. We talk about the latest sale in town, parties, road accidents, boyfriends, gym sessions, kisses, clothes, beer (how to get beer in a state where alcohol is banned) and my crushes like the handsome football player to the sexy looking writer.

Suddenly the room is filled with a strange smell of barbecue grill without vegetables. We rush in the kitchen. The oven looks like a devil dressed in black flames having a red burning face with heated golden teeth. We had forgotten to keep a check on the watch. Feeling guilty I look down like a small kid staring the floor innocently after eating chocolates.

We take out the mould and see it turned into a cake with the upper surface burnt. We check it to realize it’s unbaked from the bottom. We turn the cake up-side down and keep it in the oven. After 20 minutes the devil oven again cries out. We take the cake out and notice the red colored, soft batter baked into a black-brown color cookie for a big sized gorilla.  

An advice for making a burnt cake look pretty and edible which even God Google might not be able to give you : Spread the cheese cream on the upper surface, pour chocolate syrup on the borders of the cake making the heart shape look elegant, use rolls and colorful toffees to make it look tempting and write a big “Happy Birthday” on it. That is exactly what we did. According to the Tradition of birthday there’s a new rule formed. The rule states that you cut the cake at midnight. Not wishing to break any rules we leave for Riya’s home. It’s dark outside.

Finally we reach her place after a drive of 15 minutes and wish her. She’s happy to see the cake. It looks perfect. We feel satisfied for the efforts after seeing the smile on her face.

Last night I didn’t bake my first cake perfectly but, I baked a perfect relation having 4 friends, 3 cups of trust,2 spoonful patience,1 pinch of anger and the unlimited sweetness of love.

Friends….

You’ll find them when you wish to watch a cartoon, when you are shopping for your ball night, when you fight with your parents, when you go for your first date, when you fail a test, when you try out the latest collection of clothes.

We laugh, we cry, we share, we care. Our life looks complete being with them.

This is dedicated to you if you have been a shoulder to share a tear (even if you don’t have a clean hanky in your pocket), a hug to warm the heart (provided the heat is from a heater without flames) if, you have been a friend.

- By Drashti Trivedi ©2013

Colors of happiness

Navin is a 12 year old boy who lives in Jaislmer with his family. He is a student of Rajasthan government school at Pokhran – the test site for India’s first underground nuclear weapon detonation. He wakes up at 5 am daily to help his mother get drinking water, gets dressed for school and reaches bus stop by 7 am. He hates going to school. He returns home by 4 pm. In the evening he goes to the sand dunes and sells water and food packets to tourists. His only dream is to be happy.

Once he came to know that there is a renounced saint at Sonmarg in the Himalayas who could solve all problems and make people happy. He was excited in meeting this saint. He felt that if he went to meet this saint he would be happy. He ran away from his home to be happy. He somehow managed to reach Sonmarg after a tiring journey of 5 days. He found the place to be really beautiful and magical. He could now understand why this place is called Sonmarg.

The valley turns into a rich golden color showing a new world free from pain, sadness, misery covered in pure golden threads of happiness and joy reflecting a paradise created on earth by the magical touch of the sun rays. He reached the saints cottage in dirty torn clothes. The saint opened his eyes and asked him to enter the cottage. Navin felt good, he now knew that he would be happy.

The saint knew magic and had learned about the stars and the planetary movements. He could read Navin’s mind and hence agreed to teach him how to follow his dream, how to be happy. He asked Navin to paint a task each day. Once he finishes it, he would be taught a lesson. This would be practiced for 5 days. On the 6th day he would take Navin’s exam and on passing that he would teach him to be happy. That night Navin slept feeling blessed.

On 1st day the saint asked him to draw something that represents white. Being confused he drew a river assuming it to be River Ganga. He taught him that white represents peace. He told him that any work cannot be completed without combing all the elements of hardwork, patience, practice and hope. 

 On 2nd day the saint asked him to draw something that represents yellow. He drew a big circle colored it with yellow and defined it as the sun. The saint taught him that it represents the brightness which lights up the entire universe. He said it is for the power, knowledge and courage you have. He did not understand anything. He felt disappointed learning about colors.

On 3rd day he was asked to draw anything representing red. He was sad. Without thinking much he drew a heart. The saint saw the sadness on his face but, he knew what he was doing. He told Navin that the color represents love, compassion and friendship. It represents loving yourself in order to love the people around you and the world. It represents the warmth and care your parents give you. It represents your friends who might hurt and insult you for your own good. It is also the color of forgiveness. On listening this he started missing his parents.   

On the 4th day the saint asked him to draw something that represents blue. He knew that his 6 days were about to get over. He now knew that he was not far away from his home, parents and his small world. Dreaming about how to go back home he made a few strokes of light and dark blue. He was not bothered about the shades. He took out his entire frustration and covered the paper with whatever drop of blue was left in his palette. On being asked by the saint what he had painted he felt ashamed not knowing what to answer. The saint told him that it represents the waves of the ocean which can never be controlled or tied like our mind having numerous thoughts. It represents the truth which makes us do good deeds when our heart is hurt and the mind is thinking wrong.

On the 5th day the saint asked him to draw something that represents black. Being confused and disappointed he left the paper empty. On being asked by the saint why he had not completed his task he answered “there’s nothing to draw with black.” He said it represents darkness which cannot be drawn. There the saint explained him that black represents a new beginning. It represents a new day after every dark night. It represents hope after a lot of disappointment. It marks the beginning of every new lesson in your life. That night he slept thinking what to answer on being questioned by his parents.  

On his 6th day he had to give his final test but he wasn’t scared. He was missing his parents and was just thinking about going back home. He felt lost and confused. He no longer wanted to be happy. His test was to go to a place called Shankaracharya Temple located on the hills called “Takht I Suleiman” after collecting waters of the River Sindh from the glaciers of Sonmarg and offer it to Lord Shiva when the sun and the moon are aligned in the same line during sunset.

 He started walking towards the glacier to collect water. He was tired climbing hills. On reaching higher altitudes he saw the snow and remembered his first lesson of walking ahead with hope, confidence and determination. He collected water and headed towards Srinagar. He did not have money to reach there. He asked for a lift from a taxi driver. The driver was kind. On reaching there he thanked him. He realized about the blue color which makes you do good things. Climbing “Takht I Suleiman” was difficult. He was now exhausted. On reaching the temple he could see light of the sun that was providing heat and warmth to the people living in the cold and difficult weather of the Himalayas.

At the time of sunset when the Sun and the moon were aligned in the same line he offered water to Lord Shiva. He felt good. He reached the saints cottage after finishing his test. On reaching there the saint saw a smile on his face. He asked Navin to look in to the mirror. Navin saw his smile. He saw that he was happy. He realized that he was searching something which cannot be achieved or won. It was with him when he did something good. It was with him when he had listened to his heart even when things seemed impossible. Next day being happy he thanked the saint and left for his home. 

As the Chinese proverb states “Happiness is something to do, something to love, something to hope for.”

 If we talk about ourselves you would realize that even we are like Navin, always searching for happiness. Our life is like the blank paper that Navin used to paint. It can be filled with any color or a mixture of colors present in our palette of life. Happiness is not to be searched. It is to be felt. It is to be lived forgetting our bad past and forgiving the people who might have hurt us.

Happiness is to be celebrated.

- By Drashti Trivedi ©2013

Fashion

My world is all about glamour. It is about the Rs 93 billion Indian film Industry with large studios of the size of a city, about outdoor shooting at never-seen before locations, designer dresses, expensive make-up, fashion reporters and loving audience.  Everything that is and can be included in the glassy world called “fashion”.

My life revolves around actresses wearing rich silk gowns or models in designer dresses, sitting in their vanity van .I pity their life. They go to gym regularly, do yoga and eat salads just to stay in shape. Just imagine a life where you don’t get to eat pizzas, burgers or chocolate brownie just because you would become fat. I would call it a stupid boring life. I am neither a model nor an actress. I am Ritu Mishra. A tiny part of the 93 billion Indian film Industry. People call me the make-up girl.

Mysore, the cultural capital of Karnataka famous for its palaces is my hometown. My dad delivers letters, in simple words he has a government job and is a postman. He earns little. My mother is a housewife. She makes chaats which my sister and I used to sell outside the palace on weekends. My sister is 6 years younger to me and she wants to be a doctor.

I came to this city of dreams named Mumbai, leaving Mysore 3 years back. It is said that Mumbai has got everything to offer be it success, job, love, friends, autographs of film-stars or money and I was in search of the last thing called money for my sister’s education. Any one of the three things would have given me a job easily: Having a graduation degree, computer skills or a beautiful face. I am not educated, neither do I have any computer skills nor am I gifted with a beautiful face.

I found struggle trying to hug me as a small welcome gift from Mumbai. Learning new things was challenging and difficult. I started working at a parlor cleaning floors. During the free time I would learn about moisturizers, concealers and compact powder. I saw the techniques of applying bleach, doing eyebrows and facial. I started using face-wash and face-pack for my own skin. Girls laughed at me when I asked them the difference between eye-liner and out-liner. Maybelline, Revlon, Avon became a part of my life. I learnt giving customers skin treatments like skin, body and hand polishing. Skin and body polishing includes spa and body massage like deep tissue massage, Swedish massage, hot-stone massage, aroma therapy massage. My favorite being Aroma therapy massage where we make use of different oils like the grapefruit oil, sweet almond oil, eucalyptus oil and rose water with a few more raw herbs, wish someday I could afford it for myself.

Few of the staff members were really friendly and cooperative. They would listen to all my doubts and answer my queries till I wasn’t satisfied. I made new friends. I learnt techniques of applying different types of makeup like light, dark and party makeup depending on the occasion and dress. I learnt things quickly. The owner offered me a job in the parlor. The money I earned there was not enough. I started working in day shifts. I would spend the first half of the day in the parlor and the second half of the day as a make-up artist.

My work profile as a make-up artist is simple. I have to ensure that the actresses have their costumes washed and ironed, make their hair look stylish and work on their make-up. I learnt about clothes and the fashion industry. I saw the directors, models, actors and actresses wearing shiny designer outfits made out of fine material, matching accessories and costly foot-ware.

I don’t like this world. I find it to be fake and artificial. I have little knowledge about words like dungarees, chinos, flip-flops or loafers. I haven’t been to malls having branded clothes of Gucci, Prada, Armani or Dior. I haven’t bought shoes from the show rooms of Puma, Adidas or Nike. I don’t know that a shop called Mochi sells colorful sandals for girls called stilettos and bellies. I find this world to be funny. A world where trends are decided on the basis of actor’s moods and heroines clothes. A world where creativity always struggles because of brand name.

One evening as a part of my routine I took the suburban train from Virar to Bandra and walked to the studio. I saw that all the staff members from the spot boy to the dress up girls on the set were being interviewed for a serial named “Show time”. I felt excited. I had seen the heroines showing attitude and confidence in front of the cameras. I had heard their bold answers in front of the reporters asking them about their professional and personal lives. I started revising answers in my mind for all the probable questions. My face was beamed with joy for being interviewed for the first time.

Strangely when my turn came I was asked just one question.” Make-up girl 3; please, tell me what fashion is for you. “

I was now puzzled. The beam on my face disappeared. My mind went blank. I started searching for any matching answer that I had prepared to say in front of the camera but didn’t find one. Finally opening up my heart I gave them my definition about fashion.

Fashion is never about the black, red or white shades of clothes or the texture of materials.

Fashion is the process of beautifying your own self. It’s an attitude that makes you lovely.

Fashion is all about buying a dress from your first salary and wearing it on a Saturday night. It is about dancing in the rain, feeling the soft rain drops forgetting the extra weight you put on. It is biting your nails painted with nail-color while thinking about the one you love. Fashion is about the shades of yellow, pink and white roses that you buy for your own self. It is waiting for your birthday every year just to see an extra candle on your cake just like the anxious wait of any sale in a designer store.

Fashion is your style statement.

It is your beautiful smile worth hundred camera shots.

Having said these, wearing my beautiful smile I just walked away.

- By Drashti Trivedi ©2013

Life

 

8th July 2007, Wimbledon Championships . Men’s Singles Final on Star Sports .I was sitting on my sofa as a statue since last 2 hours to see my hero Roger Federer win. The game went on being interesting and with each set I felt my heart beats growing faster. I wanted him to win not just because he was the tennis king but even because he was sexy and hot. And suddenly I was surrounded by darkness.

The lights went out. It was raining outside. I looked at my cell which showed a warning of 5% Battery. Left with no other options I decided to go on the terrace. The sky was decorated with beautiful cloud patterns in red and black. I opened my arms and started dancing in the rain. The more perfect my dance went on becoming the more I started missing my crush who would have been now styuding for his mid semester.

I didn’t have any music with me yet I danced gracefully. What really made my dance perfect??Was it the excitement and curiosity to know whether Federer won or was it my crush or was it because of the natural sound effects of the rain and the romantic atmosphere around me?

And here is your answer to all my above questions. Life gifts us all that we want which would make us happy. Playing hide and seek with friends is always fun than playing angry birds on our cell. Dal chawal would always remain our all time favorite than pastas and noodles. The smell of mehendi is always better than the burning permanent tattoos. Sitting in your room gossiping with your friends is more cherished than whatsapp.

Today the world is growing so fast that we feel a 10 LPA salary and a flat on marine drive would make us happy. We spend our weekends in malls shopping for stuffs we don’t need or watching movies we don’t like. We have our room equipped with all the electronic gadgets ranging from cell phones to computers running the latest software. We live lives thinking to be robots that we miss out the small joys. It is on us to decide what we want. Stephen Hawking once said “Life is not about walking in the storm,it is about dancing in the rain.”

No one said life is easy. It is a mixture of bread and butter. It is on us whether we want to eat the bread and butter and then curse ourselves for not getting the proper meal or to convert it in to a soft, beautiful cake and then decorate it with the designs we want.

The CHOICE is always ours.