Chris Weds Li(re-edit)

Few Paranthas with some Desi ghee floating on top, now floating in my satisfied Punjabi stomach, cool breeze and a silent afternoon. Don’t tell me you won’t crave to sleep. Because if you don’t, I will consider you an alien! Unlike many of the readers right now, I felt damn sleepy. What harm will sleep do knowing my High School exams begin in just a week and I have my Physics class to attend at the tuition center? Big deal?

After maybe what felt like 2-3 minutes, someone poked a finger in my ear. I slapped the little finger away from my face and the friend fingers of the victim got united up against only one ambition, to punch my back and decorate the neckline of my Lucknowi Kurta with oily knuckles.

“Why do kids exist?” I snapped.

“Sorry, pleaje, thanchu, Pigeon, hahahaha!” cousin prattled.

“Yeah, I’ll have DaVinci decode this one,” I rubbed my eye and got up.

With a squint eye, I saw my cousin, only about 2 years of age, poking her nose, standing near my bed. I didn’t live in a glorious apartment. It was a 2 BHK and whenever guests came, well, to hell with privacy. What day is a day when guests are there and they don’t poke your ear in sleep, eh?

Just to avoid awkward conversations with my Aunt and Mother about my High School grades and how I had to beat my other cousin’s score to prove that my paternal family has more geniuses than maternal family(that’s what they implicitly mean), I preferred going to my tuition center instead. Indian families are generally very competitive when it comes to their kids’ scores. It’s like a relational diagram, if we want to understand. The basic layer comprises of:

  1. A) Eating almonds
  2. B) Switching off phones and handing them to parents before they catch you calling your girlfriend and snatch it.
  3. C) Score better than your cousins, neighbors, themselves and nearly everyone your parents can think of. And do consider the normalization system as well.

‘Humare zamaane me to 65 bhi 95 ke baraabar tha!’

(In our times, 65% was equal to 95%)

 

So, if you think your father scored a 60 and you get 80, ha-ha, you aren’t a champ kiddo.

  1. D) Studying for at least 2 cervical pains, 4 fake cries and infinite mother hugs a day.
    Follow these steps and you will one day become better than ‘Sharma Ji ka beta’ at the Social Connections Day. Definitely!

What?

You are not an Indian then.

The results day, I mean.

Now, that I was freshened up again, I stormed out of the building as fast as I could giving complexion to The Flash. Headed up to the bus stop and embarked upon a ‘swag wali Lamborghini’. I am not erroneous. That’s what the Jaat driver was listening to.  Dude, come on, a 5.1 Ch Bose with dual woofer and Wi-Fi remote support in a shattered piece of amazing crap they call an RTV bus! That is some luxury feels! The usual distance between my home and tuition center is around 4 KM, which takes me half an hour, is easily covered listening to 2-3 Baniya aunties fighting for the bus fair daily, 2-3 Sardar Uncles fighting on which IPL team will beat Punjab this time and some fresh 467 PPM air as well.

It was sharp 4 O’clock when I ran to my Academy past the Rajput society guard with large moustache and a gun in his hand, half in sleep. It was a rich society. Just below my academy was an “Eschatological Church of the Redeemed God”.

I saw some people over there forming a proper team to play a game. There was a car just by the entrance gate to the stairs that lead to my academy on first floor, covered with balloons and flowers. I had this urge to read the name of the bride and groom. So, I leaned towards the back of the car and saw the glittery heart that said-“Chris Weds Li”. For a moment I was normal but then the other moment when I started noticing a lot of Chinese people playing some kind of game with Afro Americans or maybe Caribbean or maybe South Africans, could be Zimbabwe as well. Might be it is Uganda. OH! I stood there thinking various possible countries. I am pretty sure I must have mumbled these words loudly as I saw an old man, highly resembling Morgan Freeman, approach towards me on a wheelchair.

“Shuku Shuku?” he said while holding a box in his hand in which small nuggets were there covered with coconut topping.

“I am sorry,” I woke up from my deep state of Atlas.

“Nigerian sweet; dear boy. You seem to be looking at the marriage board so long; I thought I might offer you some.” He smiled and replied.

“Thanks.”

“You seem to have a troubled mind, I assume. White hair often don’t lie, little fella. The game you might?”

“What is the game they are playing? I have never seen anything like that.”

“Oh. This game is called Dawn of Luck.”

“The Dawn of Luck?”

“Yes. It’s our family’s long believed tradition that the more paper airplanes will go flying into the wooden basket bride holds, more lucky will be the married couple. All the male members fly a single airplane each. Ha-ha, my wife got 17 in the basket. Li has already got more than 22. It will be a platinum jubilee indeed, Ha-ha…ugghh uughhh!“He coughed while he spoke in a broken voice.

“But, sir, there is a story here for sure. The bride is Chinese. Groom is Nigerian, how?”

“Funny story,  really. One day, our lad here got on a bus. He saw Li. He put his watch in pocket and asked Li for time. And here they are today, happy faces.”

“But, they both are from different castes, different religions.”

“HO-HO dear lord. You don’t see religion when you are in love. Love is spontaneous and unconditional. Either it happens or it does not. You cannot find love with a magnifier in your hand or by travelling to different places. It is all planned before you can even think. It just happens. You kids face a damn heartbreak and think that you won’t find love again. Kid, if it broke your heart it was not love at the first place. Love is a sensation, like rays of sun and air. You can feel it. It touches your stomach, touches your body and slowly and steadily touches your soul and till the time you realize that your mind, body and heart are affected by this good sensation, you have already fallen in love. Tell me boy, does air has a different behavior for white people and black people? Will the sun shine differently for a Christ and a Buddhist? Will fire be lit up in a different color for a Muslim and a Jew? Then why do people find conditions when it comes to love?”

I had a jaw drop. You see, the society we are in has taught us how to categorize people into groups based on their castes, the religion they follow, the gods they worship, the work they do and we tend to stay more with the people more like us. You will question the secularity of me and call me crazy but believe me, it is 21st century and even now we are not secular. All we have is a mask. And the day that mask will fall, we all will realize that we actually, conscious or sub-consciously, tend to judge people based on their religion. ‘A Punjabi will marry only a Punjabi’. I don’t know about your families, but in my surroundings people still believe that. And forget people, up till now I was thinking that I am a practical and a secular fellow but you will see that nothing is secular even in these modern times. I self- realized what I have written above. Punjabis, Jaat, Baniyas, Sardars, Rajputs, these are nothing but a weak answer to the publishers of daily matrimony page in newspapers. I wait for the day when all these Marriage Bureaus will not ask whether your ‘Gotra’ is Kashyap or Khatri, but when they will ask whether you are an Indian or not. That is the day I will believe that India has changed. We have changed.

So, what needs to be done? I don’t know. I am too afraid to ask my parents. But I can ask myself. Ask yourself. I’ll go edit the story so that people don’t know about more castes and religions and turn my motto upside down.

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Mahabharata vs Game of Thrones

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Just as we approach the season 7 of the very famous TV series and IMDB top rated “Game of Thrones,” based on the book series “A Song of Ice and Fire” by George R.R. Martin, it struck to me that some part or the other of Game of Thrones’ morals and Mahabharata (Indian epic written by Ved Vyasa) teachings in one way or the other very similar. For starters, the complexity and interconnectivity of stories and how they transit forming a lavished pattern of tales and leaving the reader awe-struck. Mahabharata has numerous tales and background tracks and each character is reader’s favorite as we approach the part where that character plays an important role in the story and same is the case with Game of Thrones. There are many similarities between the both but we’ll discuss the top 3 as we move further in this article.

          

  1. Love for Family: Evidently, all the wars, houses antagonizing each other, deceptions and treachery was all for nothing but family. Had there not been family involved, we would have seen no struggle and no stories. How can we talk about love for family and not talk about Cersei Lannister? The woman who took the entire realm for the enemy just for her kids and her betrothed brother. The faith taking his son away? No problems! Wildfire! Boom! All the noblemen and the faith vanquished.Image result for cersei loving family

Auburn hair lady abducted his brother? Ha-ha, name it and swoosh! (*rains of castamere playing*).

Tracing to Mahabharata, Bheem (nephew to the King of Hastinapur) vowed to kill each and every one of the 100 sons of Dhritrashtra (the King of Hastinapur) himself because the eldest son of him, Duryodhan, defiled the integrity of his wife, Draupadi, when Yudhishtira (the King of Indraprastha) lost to him in a game of dice. And guess what, Bheem was one beast of a man. Not even fumbled once on the battleground.

 

  1. Politics: If scabbard and swords and bows and arrows couldn’t do anything, it was time for some behind-the-back strategy. Lord Krishna, considered to be the greatest politician ever in the history, truly knew his way around things. How to manipulate people, remove obstacles, use righteousness as the perfect tool to get the work done, he was a master. If it wasn’t for him, history would have been different. But as saintly as people consider him, I guarantee you he was not. Even morality doesn’t declare any winners long as both sides have loyal warriors. And just so it happens, Krishna knew how to remove them from the way without disobeying righteousness and using mystical powers of his own. Kauravas had 100 brothers and some maestros who would have finished the war in 1 day if Lord Krishna had not been in the war.Image result for petyr baelish politic
  • Dronacharya (the guru of both Kauravas and Pandavas), who was believed to never miss an arrow from his aim and had most powerful weapons of all times. Was forced to drop his weapons hearing the false news of sad demise of his son Ashwathama from Yudhishtira (who was believed to never lie). Believing him, Dronacharya dropped his weapons and surrendered. Later, it came to the knowledge that it was fallacy and politics by Krishna.Image result for dronacharya dropping weapons

 

 

  • Bhishma Pitamah (8th son of Kuru) – He was believed to have celestial weapons from Lord Indra and a boon of potency. He could not die as long as he wanted to die! With the consent of him, Lord Krishna put Shikhandi (reincarnation of goddess Amba), who was half-man before him. He refused to fight a half-man and dropped weapons. Arjun put him aside from the battleground on a bed of arrows.

Image result for bhishma on bed of arrows

 

  • Suryaputra Karna– The only warrior believed to have conquered all kings in every diction of the world, single handed. He was unstoppable in the battlegrounds ensuring a victory for Kauravas when Lord Krishna taught Arjun some valuable life teachings (came to be known as the holy book, Bhagwad Gita). So, Arjun believed it was just to disobey the war rules and killed Karna treacherously when his cart wheel was stuck in bog

 

Image result for karna getting killed

Master politicians are believed to have gained power in the world with words. That’s what is common between Lord Krishna of Mahabharata and Lord Petyr Baelish of Game of Thrones. He came from nothing. A sell sword’s boy and acquired land, wealth, and army using his cunning and shrewd mind and obviously, much-respected cleverness.

 

  • Battle of Bastards – What better than to put someone in danger and then help them and be the hero! Mastering this technique, Petyr Baelish stormed in with Knights of the Vale when Wildling army of Jon Snow was surrounded by a circle of infantry (death circle) and was piling up on dead bodies. We have to give Lady Sansa some credits for playing here as well!Image result for battle of bastards
  • Betraying Ned Stark – Rivalry with Littlefinger could be dangerous. One way or the other, Petyr Baelish always knew how to get work done. To climb up the position in court, either wait for the authority to die or get them killed without having to face any accusation. Stealthily.Image result for betraying ned stark petyr baelish
  • He is loyal to himself only – Betraying Ned Stark to win Lannister’s trust and later on turning against Lannisters by getting the King killed due to poison in his wine. Again, stealthily. Baelish was a puppet master and left no proof at what he did. Making full use of the saying, “Enemies’ enemies are friends,” Baelish was seen to have played the game diligently by the end of season 6 and now has a good repo everywhere. Be it in King’s Landing or in the North. He really has no enemies in Westeros. That’s how you are supposed to play the game and not revolt against the King in an open rebellion and get killed.

 

  1. Courage and Bravery: If a family is the root of war, politics weakens you mentally these two moral values will always save your day. Be it Jon Snow taking up fights against White Walkers or Cersei taking fights against the whole Kingdom in rebellion, it requires immense courage to take a stand for yourself and even more quantity of bravery to back it up. Politics has been played, families have been wrecked but courage is the car and vengeance is the fuel! Both of the books clearly reflect this value over anything else. When we talk about courage, these characters will always leave a mark at our foreheads.
  • Arya Stark and Abhimanyu: Both are considered to be kids, but ready to take fights against the strongest enemies, for their fathers, without even a glitch of terror. Arya’s admirable courage throughout book 2 to 6 shows how powerful vengeance can make a man! It was always Arya against the world from everyone’s point of view after Robb Stark and Catelyn Tully Stark got betrayed by Freys and Boltons.Image result for arya stark

With Arya’s list of names and her becoming a master silent assassin, vengeance can’t wait any longer.

Many of the same qualities were reflected by Abhimanyu in Mahabharata when the prod ingenious mind of his took fights from great Kaurava warriors in Chakravyuh.  Died by the lack of knowledge, Abhimanyu left a deep impression on his father’s mind to seek vengeance.

  • Ned Stark and Yudhishtira: Man of honors. Nothing is greater than honor for both of them, not even themselves.
  • Gregor Clegane and Duryodhan: Considered to be the bad guys, both of them committed crimes and stood proudly for them. Slashing away enemy after enemy, I found them both to be similar in terms of courage and bravery.
  • Danerys Targaryen and Arjun: Service before self and right before wrong. From their personal point of views, all they ever did was right and just. Dany claimed to herself the rightful heir of Westeros and King Robert to be usurper on the throne who took away their land and home; she fought valiantly and continues to fight just to go back to home. Arjun is more or less driven by the fire of Indraprastha getting lost and his brother being removed as the King of Indraprastha. He wanted to go home as well from the exile.

In the end, a major thing that I noticed, that remains the deep and hidden core value of both the books was that in a place where everyone is trying to eat each other’s food, everyone stays hungry. Even Lord Krishna was killed and perhaps he was the only god ever that got killed from unnatural reasons or without the desire to die. The thirst for power leaves nothing but skid marks on the long sought legacy, dissolving your name in the dust that has settled forever. There are no clear heroes in both the books and no person that excels in righteousness and morals. Not even the god himself!

The fight is not between houses; fight is between losers who are trying to portray them as winners. In any case, 7.16 is near and along comes the winter!

-Harshit Rajpal

(Self-proclaimed brainstormer and a GOT addict)

Being Auntie- A study and a phenomenon

Don’t get confused between the literal auntie and this auntie. Keep in mind I am an Indian and there is a lot of Indianism, move your ass and find all the references!

 

kirron

Ever since the first sprout of humanity germinated on this Mother Earth, the clouds have been roaring thunder and precipitating as if the God created some manufacturing defect in our civilization. As if the volcanoes knew that they will have to vanquish the Earth’s biodiversity once and for all so that our land can be protected from ‘something.’  From the past 19 years, all my eyes and ears have been involved in searching that one loophole, which might cause trouble to humanity even more than Osama Bin Laden, that ‘something’ which reaches to the very root of my hair, embracing it with strong claws and humping the deepest neurons present to mind bash all of my thoughts. My search ended at ‘Ram Bihari Pani Puri Wala,’ soon as I heard the magical words, ‘Thoda Aur paani dalna bhaiyya.’

Peacefully minding my own damn business, I sat in a corner of a DTC bus (non-reserved seat) reading my book just when I heard a thump. I took a breath and ignored it for once but it seemed to follow me. With every word I read, thumps got louder until I saw a very giant stomach flashing in front of me, tightly kept between a petticoat and a blouse just so it won’t fall to the ground due to gravity. The cracks on the reddish-brown skin suggested me of the years of experience and hard work and what not this old fighter of us have had, and now when it comes to retiring, it needs a place to plonk. Being a good citizen of Incredible India, I vacated the seat. It would generally have been a good gesture until I speculated this creature. Was this the species I saw at that ‘Pani Puri Wala?’ “Thoda aur… pani, pani, pani… bhaiyya, bhaiyya…” words constantly reverberated in my brain and shook the very foundation of my soul. Was I looking at another Wonder of World? Up until now, only great philosophers stated that this creature had been left behind in the race of paleontological evolution. I found it hard to believe but she threw a taunt regarding my headset out of nowhere and that too after giving up my seat. Flabbergasted, I decided to call this species ‘Auntie.’ And one good thing about these creatures is that they like to stay in a horde, they can never be spotted alone. So, it’s only natural that another Auntie followed her, and another, and another and naturally all the seats were vacated as if there was some kind of ‘Gangs of Auntiepur’ going on. As detailed my research about this mysterious creature is, I am entangled and can’t reach a conclusion because more and more characters and characteristics keep popping up. Evidently enough, Aunties crawl swiftly on the soil of Earth with the support of their male counterpart, also their bumbling bodyguards, the ones who remain loyal and will take on a fight with any of you without knowing or countering any good logics of yours to mark its territory. I like to call this creature, ‘Uncle Ji.’ That is a whole thesis in itself and I won’t touch that subject.

Here are some of the factors about Aunties that might help one of the brighter and curious minds to resolve the understanding about them so that our world could be benefitted from it.

 

  1. Appearance: The actual appearance of this creature still remains a deep mystery that even Mystery Inc.* couldn’t solve but most commonly it is seen wearing a Saree, braids flanked with oil, an elephantine structure with a morbidly giant pot belly, always cussing around and about every little detail they can get hands on. These are called pure breeds. Now, there are hybrids and modernized breeds of this creature as well and from all the stats that I could get my hands on, the pie charts and area charts, all show that acceptance of hybrids in this society is far high due to their moderate and trimmed structure and this secret trait that pure breeds don’t have, called ‘keeping-nose-out-of-people’s-business.’ But then again some of the pure breeds have had rebelled to achieve a cooler status in the society at ‘The great battle of Auntikshetra,’ so till date, no one claims to have the exact information about the physical appearance of this creature. Reports show that there was a man called ‘god’ distributing some free supplies of logic as well but the pure breeds being too cocky, refused it and preferred to land on Mother Earth as we see them today.

 

  1. Common Habits: Very proud and thankless creatures, Aunties are known to have a very brazenly judgmental brain. They do not think twice before judging a person from one look. Our sources suggest that now it’s in Aunties veins to judge at the first look. Some other common habits include asking for free ‘Mirchi’ with ‘Dhaniya,’ fighting with other pure breeds over some household issue like splitting money for plumber bill, cussing in a high pitched voice (almost resembling to cats screeching) until whole neighborhood doesn’t cover its ears with its own earlobes until resonating voice over a petty issue stops. For example, cussing a vegetable vendor for having rotten tomatoes in a way that taking offense is a far shot thing, he will start admiring the creativity of curses! Some other notable habits are forcefully snatching away non-reserved seats from innocent young passengers, demanding for feminine equality while being hypocrite and using feminism as a tool for their own benefit, asking for free chutney water at the end of swallowing gol gappas, accusing government of any random thing and most importantly, bitching and gossiping about neighbors and relatives with neighbors and relatives! We have been seeing an increase in the Auntie-effected patients in government hospitals a lot these days and a team of highly qualified doctors is working day and night to stop this plague of Auntiism but till now the top doctors and back end scientists have only said that this disease is spread verbally. So, you should at least keep a distance of several feets from bitching and gossiping, completely ignoring what Aunties are talking about and ‘thou shalt not get killed.’ Reports even say that smoking drags you to die 10 years sooner, and getting exposed to too much of direct Auntiism can kill you 20 years sooner!

 

  1. Places to find and how to spot: Found generally in the most commonplace of households running errands like grocery shops, laundry, hell, vegetable vendors, temples and residential areas. Aunties also tend to mark their public dominance now at railways and bus stops too. Though it’s not the place you shall care about, it’s the spotting of auntie that makes it a task. As soon as you see a woman arguing about the bus fair and how it is a right for people to question the daily accustomed bus fares, voila! You have just spotted an Auntie. Another way to spot an Auntie is to focus on the way they talk to another one of their species. There is a golden sentence to this fact that our great team has molded it in an algorithm to help common people understand the third world talks and successfully ignore aunties to not get affected by Auntiism. It goes like, “xyz di kudi nu vekhya hai? Kivein nikki nikki skirtaan payi rakhdi aa!” (Translated to: have you seen xyz’s daughter? She wears short skirts!)

Again, language can’t be a barrier for this disease.

Probably the only good thing about being an Auntie is that there is no segregation between people of different caste, religion. They are just Aunties, together being Auntie.

I hope that all my readers will imply some immediate effective changes to the society that up until now no great philosopher/ dreamer/ visionary knows about to repel this upcoming doom because if you don’t, I’ll join you on your couch as I couldn’t do anything as well. Don’t be an Auntie.

-Harshit Rajpal

(Proud and not yet affected by aunties)

*Mystery Inc. is the name of detective company from a show called Scooby Doo.

Eid v/s Zero Hunger Challenge!(Genre: Short Article)

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Your clothes are dirty
You are so lean and thin
You were born poor and you stink
Let’s stop a minute and think…

What did you have for dinner tonight? I had Mutton Biryani. Utterly tasty with butterly delicious ‘Amul’ on top, making everything more dulcet than a Latin song. Imagine harp being played in your ears and you floating high in the air with that taste in your

mouth. That taste that really prevails! If you are a foodie and it is ‘Chand Mubarak’ times in your surroundings, the addiction of good food is worse than the best high you can expect from any narcotics.

You are in much more trouble when your boss prompts you to write an article about zero hunger and you have a plate full of biryani in your other hand. That’s just not practical! The same way you can’t think about ‘not having an iPhone’ when you have an iPhone, I couldn’t think of hunger at first. But then again, being a food addict has its perks. Wait for two hours and voila! Fill in the stomach again.

So, you see the other day, while I was sitting on my couch having a good sip of ‘Chaayos’ my brother just bought, I read a shared post from my friend that displayed the condition of people in Asian countries and their health index. For a change, it was really happening

to see something other than memes being shared. And it got me to thinking about the society in which we live too. Indian government states that families whose net income is less than $1.9 a day are considered BPL(below poverty line). Now, it is a fair assumption

to consider that at least three people will be in a family. Heck, let’s make it four. We live in India after all. My windows calculator says that each person in a family will get approx $0.475 to consume a day. Talking like a good Punjabi businessman’s son, that will make 30 Indian rupees. My jaw dropped. I just sipped 3 family member’s food in a minute! And I probably had 9 family member’s food disguised as biryani. But, don’t let your taste in mouth get absconded by 23.6% people in India. While there are people who don’t even get a decent meal a day, we don’t think twice of swallowing couple hundreds of rupees worth milkshake!
I am not good at statistics but I do know from a rough math by looking at all the percentages there are, that 795 million people – one in nine – still go to bed on an empty stomach each night.

But hey, don’t let any leader bother you, sir. Let’s enjoy our Biryani and scroll down memes.

Chris Weds Li

Few Paranthas with some Desi ghee floating on top, now floating in my satisfied Punjabi stomach, cool breeze and a silent afternoon. Don’t tell me you won’t crave to sleep. Because if you don’t, I will consider you an alien! Unlike many of the readers right now, I felt damn sleepy. What harm will sleep do knowing my High School exams begin in just a week and I have my Physics class to attend at the tuition center. Big deal. 

After maybe what felt like 2-3 minutes, someone poked a finger in my ear. I slapped the little finger away from my face and the friend fingers of the victim got united up against only one ambition, to punch my back and decorate the neckline of my Lucknowi Kurta with oily knuckles.

“Why do kids exist?” I snapped.

“Sorry, pleaje, thanchu, Pigeon, hahahaha!” cousin prattled.

“Yeah, I’ll have DaVinci decode this one,” I rubbed my eye and got up.

With a squint eye, I saw my cousin, only about 2 years of age, poking her nose, standing near my bed. I didn’t live in a glorious apartment. It was a 2 BHK and whenever guests came, well, to hell with privacy. What day is a day when guests are there and they don’t poke your ear in sleep, eh?

Just to avoid awkward conversations with my Aunt and Mother about my High School grades and how I had to beat my other cousin’s score to prove that my paternal family has more geniuses than maternal family(that’s what they implicitly mean), I preferred going to my tuition center instead. Indian families are generally very competitive when it comes to their kids’ scores. It’s like a relational diagram, if we want to understand. The basic layer comprises of:
A) Eating almonds

B) Switching off phones and handing them to parents before they catch you calling your girlfriend and snatch it.

C) Score better than your cousins, neighbors, themselves and nearly everyone your parents can think of. And do consider the normalization system as well. 

‘Humare zamaane me to 65 bhi 95 ke baraabar tha!’

So, if you think your father scored a 60 and you get 80, ha-ha, you aren’t a champ kiddo.

D) Studying for at least 2 cervical pains, 4 fake cries and infinite mother hugs a day.
Follow these steps and you will one day become better than Sharma Ji ka beta at the Social Connections Day. Definitely.

What?

You are not an Indian then.

The results day, I mean.

Now, that I was freshened up again, I stormed out of the building as fast as I could giving complexion to The Flash. Headed up to the bus stop and embarked upon a ‘swag wali Lamborghini’. I am not erroneous. That’s what the Jaat driver was listening to.  Dude, come on, a 5.1 Ch Bose with dual woofer and Wi-Fi remote support in a shattered piece of amazing crap they call an RTV bus! That is some luxury feels! The usual distance between my home and tuition center is around 4 KM, which takes me half an hour, is easily covered listening to 2-3 Baniya aunties fighting for the bus fair daily, 2-3 Sardar Uncles fighting on which IPL team will beat Punjab this time and some fresh 467 PPM air as well.

It was sharp 4 O’clock when I ran to my Academy past the Rajput society guard with large moustache and a gun in his hand, half in sleep. It was a rich society. Just below my academy was an “Eschatological Church of the Redeemed God”.

I saw some people over there forming a proper team to play a game. There was a car just by the entrance gate to the stairs that lead to my academy on first floor, covered with balloons and flowers. I had this urge to read the name of the bride and groom. So, I leaned towards the back of the car and saw the glittery heart that said-“Chris Weds Li”. For a moment I was normal but then the other moment when I started noticing a lot of Chinese people playing some kind of game with Afro Americans or maybe Caribbean or maybe South Africans, could be Zimbabwe as well. Might be it is Uganda. OH! I stood there thinking various possible countries. I am pretty sure I must have mumbled these words loudly as I saw an old man, highly resembling Morgan Freeman, approach towards me on a wheelchair.

“Shuku shuku?” he said while holding a box in his hand in which small nuggets were there covered with coconut topping.

“I am sorry,” I woke up from my deep state of Atlas.

“Nigerian sweet, dear boy. You seem to be looking at the marriage board so long; I thought I might offer you some.” He smiled and replied.

“Thanks.”

“You seem to have a troubled mind, I assume. White hair often don’t lie, little fella. The game you might?”

“What is the game they are playing? I have never seen anything like that.”

“Oh. This game is called Dawn of Luck.”

“The Dawn of Luck?”

“Yes. It’s our family’s long believed tradition that the more paper airplanes will go flying into the wooden basket bride holds, more lucky will be the married couple. All the male members fly a single airplane each. Ha-ha, my wife got 17 in the basket. Li has already got more than 22. It will be a platinum jubilee indeed, Ha-ha…ugghh uughhh!“He coughed while he spoke in a broken voice.

“But, sir, there is a story here for sure. The bride is Chinese. Groom is Nigerian. How?”

“Funny story indeed. One day, our lad here got on a bus. He saw Li. He put his watch in pocket and asked Li for time. And here they are today, happy faces.”

“But, they both are from different castes, different religions.”

“HO-HO dear lord. You don’t see religion when you are in love. Love is spontaneous and unconditional. Either it happens or it does not. You cannot find love with a magnifier in your hand or by travelling to different places. It is all planned before you can even think. It just happens. You kids face a damn heartbreak and think that you won’t find love again. Kid, if it broke your heart it was not love at the first place. Love is a sensation, like rays of sun and air. You can feel it. It touches your stomach, touches your body and slowly and steadily touches your soul and till the time you realize that your mind, body and heart are affected by this good sensation, you have already fallen in love. Tell me boy, does air has a different behavior for white people and black people? Will the sun shine differently for a Christ and a Buddhist? Will fire be lit up in a different color for a Muslim and a Jew? Then why do people find conditions when it comes to love?”

I had a jaw drop. You see, the society we are in has taught us how to categorize people into groups based on their castes, the religion they follow, the gods they worship, the work they do and we tend to stay more with the people more like us. You will question the secularity of me and call me crazy but believe me, it is 21st century and even now we are not secular. All we have, is a mask. And the day that mask will fall, we all will realize that we actually, conscious or sub-consciously, tend to judge people based on their religion. ‘A Punjabi will marry only a Punjabi’. I don’t know about your families, but in my surroundings people still believe that. And forget people, up till now I was thinking that I am a practical and a secular fellow but you will see that nothing is secular even in these modern times. I self- realized what I have written above. Punjabis, Jaat, Baniyas, Sardars, Rajputs, these are nothing but a weak answer to the publishers of daily matrimony page in newspapers. I wait for the day when all these Marriage Bureaus will not ask whether your ‘Gotra’ is Kashyap or Khatri, but when they will ask whether you are an Indian or not. That is the day I will believe that India has changed. We have changed.

So, what needs to be done? I don’t know. I am too afraid to ask my parents. But I can ask myself. Ask yourself. I’ll go edit the story so that people don’t know about more castes and religions and turn my motto upside down.