Monday, October 16, 2017

A Super Life!

Let us be honest- what actually comes to your mind when you hear this word ‘Faridabad’? I asked a few friends from Delhi and they replied ‘an old city in the outskirts of Delhi’, ‘a city something like Agra’ or some even said a scene of a rustic small town comes to their mind. Faridabad is an important city of Haryana and is a major industrial hub. It is also the biggest henna exporter in India. Sadly, due to certain power issues, it was not developed as fast as Gurgaon or now Gurugram was developed but it was a blessing in disguise. Today, Faridabad is a perfect amalgamation of old world charm and rising industrial growth. Also, I request those who consider it rustic and very down-market to visit the city and see how quickly their opinions change.

Life was not exactly super a decade back in this city, I agree. There were fewer malls and one Town Park garden. However, of late there have been several positive efforts taken for the convenience of the people and now we can live a super life! I am not talking of malls, multiplexes and good restaurant chains in Faridabad city or some top schools opened in Faridabad but of other reforms. The most important of these reforms is that of Metro Line. This train has been a boost for this city and has changed the way people travel. Earlier, there were shared autos for those opting for public transports that were cheap but very inconvenient. With the advent of Delhi Metro Violet Line, 9 important points across 14 kilometer distance are connected with Delhi and people can travel in comfort and in far lesser time. Apart from Metro project, the Badarpur flyover also gives much convenience to travelers going by road to Delhi and outside the city. Further, NH2, an important Highway from Delhi to Agra and Mathura passes straight through Faridabad. Now, a number of flyovers have been built to make the entire stretch through Faridabad free of jams and intersections.

An average man spends a good chunk on communication and travel. Metro railway has made travel quick, trendy and easy. There next comes communication for which Vodaphone has taken some good steps like connecting Delhi NCR with 120 free Wi-Fi zones. These days when everything from cab to movie bookings is being done online, Wi-Fi is a very necessary service.  Faridabad is an important NCR city and every initiative that is taken in Delhi and NCR has an impact on Faridabad as well. When the pollution of Delhi rose to an alarming point, the impact could be seen in Faridabad as well as most people are employed and travel to the capital city only. Vodaphone came forward and set up the first Air-Purifying bus shelter in Delhi. With this step, people could breathe non-polluted air while waiting for a bus on the bus-stand.

Some key real estate developments have taken place in areas that were far-fetched and outskirts and on some land that was not coming to much fruitful a use. These real estate housings have given housing solutions to hundreds of people and have allowed them to live in upfront and better areas and conditions.

I have noticed some changes in social pattern as well. A decade back, not many women could be seen sporting shorts and skirts but now, casually on the streets, one can spot women wearing clothes as per their style without being conscious of the rustic atmosphere that was more prevalent. More hospitals, schools and universities have opened up now in this city. These are some subtle but very strong indicators that growth indeed has taken place and will continue to do so in future as well. Hence, there are many positive efforts that have been done in Delhi NCR that have given us a freedom to lead Super Lives!

Interestingly, Vodafone in its mission to support a Green Diwali, is spreading the use of Super Crackers that are filled with eco-friendly plant seeds. These are available at 52 Vodafone Delhi stores from 16th – 19th October 2017. You just need to plant it and let the plant blossom!

Visit www.vodafone.in/home-delhi for more pleasant surprises!


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Saturday, October 14, 2017


Even today that you are long gone,
I cannot smile, it just doesn’t come
The air in the room hangs heavy
The scars refuse to fade away
My throat is still choked with
All that I could never dare say

The legacy you have given to our son
Makes me relive those moments gone
I sit in our room like a faded old doll
Used, battered and misshapen
My old ears still ringing with your vile yells,
Can hear the buckle of our son’s belt open
‘Click’ your legacy makes those familiar sounds
I shut my mind; wrap my head tight in my hands
Yet, they hurt like death, those old wounds…

Tomorrow, I will tell his wife how to hide torn lip
Within layers of glossy crimson lipstick
And how to conceal blackened eyes
Under smoky mascara club style
You had made me an expert
In some other uses of make up
‘click’ comes another sound
Ah, they always will hurt…those old wounds…

Domestic Violence (DV) is often trans-generational. Most reports and studies on this subject suggest that in more than 80% cases this tendency can pass on from one generation to the other. Children who grow up in abusive and violent households can develop multiple behavioral, physiological and personality disorders. 

They can show abrupt or extreme aggression from an early age which is an unhealthy sign. They often perceive DV to be natural, someway justified and even acceptable on the part of the victim. In general, such children can be severely verbally abusive towards everyone. For healthy development of a child’s psyche, it is the responsibility of both the parents to provide him/her a peaceful home atmosphere conducive to mental and physical health and well being.

Also, preconditioning women and girls to accept DV quietly must be strongly discouraged, otherwise they will never be able to take their stand or rescue themselves and other women. 

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Monday, October 2, 2017

Old Wood

Old Wood in color pencil.

FC Polychromos and black gel pen on 130 gsm paper.

Saturday, September 30, 2017


I was Alice- lost as ever
My mind was the ‘White Rabbit’ with the watch- ever hopping towards you
You were the ‘Caterpillar’- detached and way too shrewd
My common sense was the ‘Cheshire Cat’- on and off!
The society was the ‘Red Queen of Hearts’- Sullen and always ready to punish
My heart was like, no points for guessing, ‘Humpty Dumpty’!

No surprise why my life itself has turned into a surreal ‘Wonderland’!

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

The Turmoil of Change

The recent spat in BHU campus in Banaras highlights an underlying pattern. The birth of new ideas is never easy; the change from the league always faces much turmoil and resistance. The old mentalities take centuries to change and this change has started, albeit late, in the very ‘Hindu’ campus of BHU. If we look closely, any religion or ideology, if applied upon the masses in rather its ‘pure’ form, tends to decay. The traditional ‘Hindu’ ideology which has always vociferously opposed the Muslim one, tagging it as ‘barbaric’ and ‘misogynist’ has put its foot in mouth by asking girl students to ignore lurid remarks and to stay indoors post evening. Similarly, nations where a comparatively ‘pure’ Muslim ideology rules, horrendous condition of women has attracted international flak. Even the elite and powerful snooty Great Britain that has ruled almost every country and looks down upon Hinduism and Islam, the ‘Georgian’ as well as the ‘Victorian’ periods of pure ‘Christianity’ have been atrocious for women. Jane Austen’s novels describe how women suffered, for they had absolutely no rights and were dependent upon the males for everything. From being forced to study at home to developing coquetry skills, women in Britain were raised with a single goal- to find a suitable husband. Austen’s another famous novel ‘Sense and Sensibility’ makes this point far more clear.

So, the pattern is that any religion if given a free reign in application of its core ideology on subjects tends to restrict the liberty of its women folk first. Clerics all around the world have been insecure of women and their education. In her seminal work ‘A Room of One’s Own’, Virginia Woolf reveals that women were not given entry inside the Oxford University library and also that the university allowed a separate girls college only after much protest. So, be it any religion, core ideology is always polar to women and their rights, even most fundamental ones. The society has always been male dominated and as usual, in BHU also, girls were asked to ‘ignore’ the molesters and ‘shut up’. What can be more unfortunate than to encourage dirty psychopaths?

Surprisingly, the interior areas of Mongolia, tribes of Africa and Jews (hated even in the poems of ancient Greek poet Homer and Shakespeare; the Song of the Witches’ in Macbeth has these lines about Jews- ‘Liver of blaspheming Jew; Gall of goat; and slips of yew’) can boast of a high gender equality. People we cast off as ‘wild’ and ‘uncultured’ can teach us a lesson or two on respecting women.

The change never stops; it arrives gradually and like birth, like a plant it has to claw its way up, break the seed and then ground to come out and survive. Anything that is forced in its unaltered form tends to suppress the weakest parts of the population first. Hence, any religion or ideology must be flexible and must be altered with time, and most importantly, must not be forced. After all, gender equality is the foremost sign of a culture that keeps up with change and adjusts well with its flexible framework.

Ironically, all this is happening during the Navratri festival. By the way, fresh sprouts are appearing on the rusted saffron ground in Banaras and from all of my heart I want them to survive and grow.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017


Faber Castel Polychromos, white and black gel pen on 130 gsm artist paper.

Ref. Pic by Sally Robertson ( Copyright Released)

Friday, September 22, 2017

मेरा ग़म तो सिर्फ मेरा है...

 एक रोज़ग़मज़दा चाँद ने एक टिमटिमाते तारे से पूछा -
यूं अंदर ही अंदर मरते भी क्यों ख़ुशी जताते हो?
तो तारा बोलाये राज़ तो सिर्फ मुझे पता है
उन्हें नहीं जो रोज़ मुझसे उम्मीद लेते हैं;
जो रोज़ किसी अपने को मुझ में देख कर जीते हैं
मेरा ग़म तो सिर्फ मेरा है...

One night, a sullen moon asked a twinkling star
"Even when you are gradually dying from within,
Why do you keep this facade of cheerfulness?"
The star replied- "This is a secret no one knows
I shine for those who take hope from me every night
And for those who see their late beloveds in me every night
This pain is mine and mine alone."

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Let's Make a Room for Clean Air

“I felt my lungs inflate with the onrush of scenery—air, mountains, trees, people. I thought, “This is what it is to be happy.” 
― Sylvia Plath
Yes! That is precisely why we rush into the lap of Mother Nature! The change of air is a common panacea for tired and depressed souls. The salubrious air of the hills is no less than a divine feeling. The industrial and other pollution has damaged the air quality in plains like never before and even the indoor air which was perceived as ‘safe’ and ‘cleaner’ has become toxic; in fact it is five times dirtier than the air outside. We cannot always rush to green mountains for a change. Rather, we must change the air at the place we reside and breathe day in and out. It has become imperative to tackle this issue urgently.

It was a humid Wednesday morning when I spotted my neighbor taking her husband, who was visibly weak and tired, somewhere. As it was a working day, it piqued my interest a bit and I asked the lady. With a drooping face she replied that he had been coughing constantly for last two days and had to take a leave that day. She told me that all that was because of the lack of fresh air and the industrial pollution. They both are in their sixties and in this age, these effects manifest very quickly. I will get back to it later; firstly let us ponder more over this thing- why a simple thing like air has become a precious commodity? I was a kid when the fashion of mineral water arrived in India. It was a clear sign of the forthcoming paucity of clean water which we now can notice clearly. Similarly, these rising pollutants in air and sale of air masks is a sign that breathing air is going to be far dirtier in times to come. In Mexico, people purchase pure air; this fact throws much light on the degrading quality of atmosphere. These days, every car is air-conditioned and literally, people travel in small AC pockets that emit heat outside, making temperatures soar each year. The ‘environment’ is going haywire.

What exactly do we mean when utter this word? The dictionary defines the word ‘environment’ as
‘The surroundings or conditions in which a person, animal, or plant lives or operates.’

We need to understand the basic thing clearly- that we cannot leave, cannot just go away, there is no ‘other’ place. The aim is to keep ourselves healthy as air pollution is just one of the many health hazards that now bother us. ‘Air pollution’ is a very wide term and many factors are responsible for it, most of which are beyond a common man’s approach. However, on an individual layman level, we can do our bit by ensuring that the air we breathe in is clean, that is, we can focus on indoor air. Now, it is a huge myth that indoor air is clean and it is far safer. Indoor air can be 5 times more unclean than the air outside. How is it possible? This looks like a laughable thing! If this is true, then where are we supposed to go and take refuge from all the pollution outside? Where is that place that can give us a breath of relief?

“Thank God men cannot fly, and lay waste the sky as well as the earth.” 
― Henry David Thoreau
The answer lies in our own homes; just a bit of thought and attention is required. There are many factors that contribute to a dirty indoor air like

· Insects (dead or alive)- According to a study conducted by the Delhi University's ‘Vallabhbhai Patel Chest Institute’, mosquitoes are the second most common cause of allergy in patients suffering from asthma and rhinitis. Yes, sadly, that dead mosquito too, pollutes indoor air.

  Weeds and pollen- The allergy to pollen is one of the most common allergies.
· Roaches- Who does not abhor the sight of creepy brown roaches? The fine hair on their limbs can trigger many allergies and cause asthma.
· Dust- Dusting the furniture may be good but have you ever wondered where does all this dust go? It eventually settles inside the house over the floor. So, when we are dusting the house, we are displacing the dust, not eliminating it.
· Bathroom Odors- In cities when living spaces are compact and bathrooms are inside the rooms, the dirty air needs a good exhaust but sometimes, it can mix with indoor air and make it dirtier.
·Other Things- for example unused stuff like old books, medicines, clothes, shoes, incense sticks, fuel, perfumes, deodorants, roach killing sprays, liquid mosquito repellents, fine pet hair and even stale vegetables can greatly increase the indoor pollution.

The natural question that arises now is, what is to be done to tackle all this as neither it is possible not to use these things and nor to throw all these out of the house. Luckily, there are various steps that we can take to ensure a cleaner air in our homes. A cleaner air not only means a good health but also, sturdier long term immunity and less of chronic health problems. If you have elderly and children living with you, these measures are no longer a matter of choice but are urgent and necessary.

A dirty indoor air can bring dizziness, fatigue and even severe throat soreness. My neighbor too, has taken many measures to clean indoor air for her husband’s constant coughing. According to EPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency) the long term effects of a foul indoor air can be horrifying. Issues such as severe respiratory diseases, heart diseases and cancer can be fatal, and all these stem from a low IAQ (Indoor Air Quality). There are various steps we can take but before that it is important to know how dirty the indoor air is and as there is no rating scale. We can check for the signs like-

  • Any palpable smell in the air.
  • Poor ventilation- fewer windows or doors & windows, usually latched.
  • No or damaged chimneys- Modular kitchen chimneys that are easily affordable are good.
  • Too much humidity- It provides a good breeding ground for bacteria and mold.
  • Hairy pets- can cause asthma. Yes, that cuddly pet can give you health troubles as well.
  • Too much burning- If you are using too much incense or dhoop batti or candles, as is usual in Indian homes, the indoor air may become laden with pollutants.
  • No plants- Plants clean air naturally and some potted plants can help a lot.
  • Smoking- If anyone in your home smokes, it will surely give two times more damage.

 Now, we know where the problem lies and once the enemy is obvious, making fool proof strategy is easier. There are many steps we can take to clean indoor air

1.   Good paint- High quality paint like Royale Atmos which reduces formaldehyde levels by 80-85% in 24 hours under standard test conditions can greatly help in constantly purifying indoor air.
2.  Good Ventilation- Using modular chimneys in kitchens and exhaust fans in toilets and bathrooms can help a lot. More outdoor air should be made to enter indoors through doors and windows.
3.  Pets- If you have pets with fine hair, you should use a good vacuum cleaner as these fine fibers can cause respiratory troubles.
4. Hobbies- If your hobbies include activities like woodwork, welding, oil painting or such, a separate studio or space must be arranged with an exhaust fan.
5.   Indoor plants- Certain houseplants can be used to improve IAQ greatly.  

We spend more time indoors, especially when we sleep at night. It is the time when the body repairs and heals itself, thus it makes the air quality an important part of the healing process. I am a plant lover and there are certain plants that clean air like magic. Some of them are-

  1.  Garden Mum (Crysanthemum Morifolium)- As per NASA, these cleanse indoor air of dissolved ammonia, benzene, formaldehyde, and xylene.
  2.   Weeping Fig (Ficus Banjamina)- It can grow up to ten feet tall and is common in India. It removes benzene, formaldehyde, and trichloroethylene. 

   3.   Snake Plant (Sansevieria Trifasciata) - Funnily, this plant is also known as ‘Mother-in-law’s Tongue’! This can be grown in very hot conditions and does not require regular watering hence it is useful for busy and working people.
4.    Aloe vera- The most beloved plant these days! All the skin and hair care companies going nuts over this plant! It is called ‘Ghritkumari’ in Sanskrit as it has been said that its benefits are as valuable as those offered by ‘Ghee’. Your friendly Aloe can help clean the air too!

     These little wonder plants are available very easily and do not require much care. By the way, my neighbor’s husband is fine now and is taking medicines for his chronic cough. This is just one case out of many where the degrading air quality has started showing ill effects on health. 
 “The generation that destroys the environment is not the             generation that pays the price. That is the problem.” 
― Wangari Maathai

Life is important; all talks of art, culture, passions and change are useless if we suffer from chronic diseases and spend years in curing ourselves. Life is not about wasting days in hospital or in a chemist’s queue. It is about vitality, health and activity- all of which create our happiness. It is not always possible to bring huge change in old patterns and routines as there are many factors that make up an environment. Air pollution is a macro thing; many factors go into damaging the quality of air. However, by taking precautionary measures and by following simple steps like keeping potted plants or using good wall paint, we can keep IAQ high.

     It always pays to be proactive; even if symptoms are not palpable. Measures taken at the right time can eliminate the chances of these potential health disasters. With rising health care costs, and medical negligence as well, as is the condition in India, prevention is better than cure.

Asian Paints bring ‘Royale Atmos’, a fantastic wall paint that helps clean the indoor air without compromising on style and beauty! So, no fear of wall discoloration and peeling off at all!

The Activated Carbon Technology in ‘Atmos’ helps cleanse the indoor air. It also absorbs some foul household smells. Moreover, it also releases fragrance giving you rid of those pungent chemical odors the paints typically have.
Check out this wonderful product on https://www.asianpaints.com/atmos
To know more via mobile phone, sms AIR to 56161

Images and Ref-