Can we counter the stereotypes now?!

Felt like writing this after reading Purba Ray’s post here – “A dark cloud over Nina Davuluri’s win”

Nina Davuluri is a house hold name now. More than her Miss America 2014 title it’s the twitter which made her victory more special. She is the first Indian to be crowned Miss America. Nina tasted the victory just after September 11th which in the history of America , is a sad day. To that matter it is a sad day for all of us. Few ignorant folks imagined that she is an Arab , a terrorist or a member of Al-Qaeeda and got offended by her victory in the beauty pageant  . The hate tweets followed like below.

How ever Nina didn’t flinch. She says  that she’s grown up with so many stereotypes about her culture that she just knew that it was something that she needed to advocate for. Even if she was slammed by tweeple it didn’t effect her much. Few nincompoops can’t take her title away. She sure made us all proud but the fact which I felt funny is few Indians raising their voices against the ignorant Americans. The same Indians who always stereotype others by what they wear , what they eat or how they look. We get united when we have to fight  the foreigners but in our own country we have many stereotypical images strongly imprinted in our brains. 

Every one who hails from North East is a chinki. If you are from Saawth you have to be dusky / black with a flat nose coz Dravidians were believed to be short , stout , dark with flat nose where as Aryans who are descendants of the Northies are supposed to be tall , fair and beautiful. I myself have faced this question in college , office , in the neighborhood and every where. Are you a Punjabi? Are you from North ? The only reason is I am fair/ white. When I say that I am from Andhra Pradesh people stare at me due to two reasons. One is my complexion and the other is my fluent Telugu. I am a Muslim and it is a norm to not understand Telugu and speak a broken language as per few ignorant souls who surround me! I am “used to” these kind of questions. If you are from Saawth you are a Madrasi. If you are from North you are mostly a Punjabi. It doesn’t matter if you are from Mumbai , Bhubhaneswar or Goa. They all come under North in the customized maps hanging on the hazy walls of many fellow Indians. Their visions are blurred by their ignorance which is a pain in others asses!

There are many more age old beliefs people have which if I discuss here it may become a sensitive topic. One example I can give here is about Indian marriages. Various places have various cultures. Ultimately every one is getting married to start a new life. I was asked many times by many puzzled Indians that if mother in law is tying kalipoth (an ornament worn as part of the wedding ritual) then how will that marriage hold good ? Seriously other than giving a “I pity you” look I can do nothing when I am asked these questions! In a land of diversities it is a very common scenario to come across a bunch of people who believe that their traditions are sensible and everyone else’s are weird! 
I love exploring and understanding others traditions. Different beliefs and rituals never cease to amuse me and my smile broadens when ever borders vanish during marriages. I enjoy attending a inter religious or an inter-regional wedding but I can never say , “Oh ! You do this like that. Will that hold good?”  Gosh! I sound XS- Xtra stupid even when I type it here 🙂 

A country where fair is considered as beautiful and dark is considered beautiful only when it is a mole that shines on the fair skin it is astounding to see the way every one supported Nina Davuluri. Had she not won the Miss America title she would have been pitied by fellow aunties and uncles that a little fair complexion would have helped her. I have a strong feeling that she would have faced such comments in her life. Nina Davuluri smashed all the stereotypes and won the title of Miss America 2014 which anyway will not change the attitude of many towards black / dark complexion and the practice of stereotyping a person by his appearance.

Nandita Das is running a “Dark is beautiful” campaign to imbibe sense in to people. We have to wait and see how much change this campaign will bring! 

From centuries the fairness cream ads are ruling the TV where a girl uses the cream , becomes fair in ten days and wins the Miss India title. The above campaign is also protesting against the un-fair ads.

I hope people like Nina Davuluri should act in an ad and show it to people that it’s not just the complexion which helps one to win the crown. The other skills do matter. 24 year old Nina Davuluri is from Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh and I felt glad to see that she is born on April 20. No I am not stereotyping that all Aprilites are witty and charming 😉

Nina’s Bollywood fusion dance – 
Have a good day
PS: All images are googled. I don’t own them

No doubt they are called “Legends”


Remembering the legendary actor for his fascinating movies and his contribution to the Indian Cinema.  RIP Dev saheb. You live in our hearts.

I don’t miss my past because if you miss something it means you are static.

~ Dev Anand
(Legendary Indian Film Actor, Director & Producer)
{1923 – 2011}


DevAnand is a man who was ultra stylish and who maintained style even at the age of 88 .Yesterday I was listening to his songs continuously on radio and they all were too dreamy , full of style and attitude which made me blog this today . Sep 26th is DevAnand’s Birthday!

It is tough to pick one song but for now one of my most favorite songs :

Have a good day 🙂

Cricket is our religion and Sachin is our God!

My third article on ” Half Baked Voices ”

Almost every Indian who has access to media and cricket would know the declaration by many die-hard fans that, “Cricket is their religion and Sachin is their God.” There is no denial here. The three things which always flourish in India are religion, Cricket and movies. Of course weddings can also be added to the list. Be it legendary players like Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil dev, Mahendra singh Dhoni , Rahul Dravid or the master blaster  Sachin Tendulkar, people worship all of them. Even if hockey is our national game its cricket which strikes chord with the nation. People celebrate if the team wins and don’t mind using profanities and burning the effigies of their favourite players if the team loses. Our country is obsessed with their cricket stars and celebrities.  The coca cola caption works for most of us in India which is – Eat Cricket, sleep cricket. Drink only Coca Cola.

Not long back, when I was in high school I remember my dad pasting the newspaper cut out on the cupboard. At first I thought it must be something related to office. Later I realised it is the time table of the test match series of that season. I was surprised seeing how much my dad adored the game. The love for game was contagious at home. My mom who doesn’t know the C of the Cricket started learning the match. She understood what it means by no ball, run-out, clean bowled and many more things. We also understood what it means by body line bowling and match fixing. Our hearts always race when India plays with Pakistan. I still remember the news program where Kapil Dev shed tears like a baby when he was accused of match fixing. Anything related to cricket is hot shot news and sells not for days or months but for years and centuries including Sreesanth’s controversies !

Read the rest of the article here and leave your comments and opinions on the   “Half Baked voices blog”

Digital Revolution and the generation "Y" Kids

Bill gates said “We are changing the world with technology.”  Douglas Carl Engelbart an American inventor, and an early computer and internet pioneer quoted that , In 20 or 30 years, you’ll be able to hold in your hand as much computing knowledge as exists now in the whole city, or even the whole world.
 Keeping aside the rapid progress in knowledge and the way digital revolution made life easy, if we discuss how it impacted the childhood and adolescent life it most of the times doesn’t seem very positive.
In 70s and 80s researchers termed the modernisation caused by TV in Germany as “Television Childhood” and “Loss of childhood.” Parents are always insecure and fear that television may affect their kid’s personality development. Not that Television hasn’t been educational but it is famously phrased as “Idiot box” the way it influenced everyone’s life. Even cartoons are provocative at times. Instead of playing in the ground nearby kids started watching TV a lot and there are extreme scenarios which came in news long back where a boy had put his younger brother in washing machine to make him white/fair. Kids believe everything and hence false news can be a bad impact on them. There’s a kid in our neighbourhood who disobeys his mom and beats the maid as he wants to imitate Shinchan, a cartoon character. The cartoon is hilarious but the after effects are far beyond our imagination.
Image source:“here”

The actual digital revolution occurred in late 90s with the advent of computers, mobile phones, Dig-cams, CD players and Internet. This is called second wave of modernisation. The generation Y kids and teens grew up with a mouse in one hand and mobile phone in the other.

Please read the rest of the article and share your valuable comments at  “Half baked voices blog” 

I want to experience the paradise on earth and God’s own country :-)

It is extremely tough to write about that one place which I would love to visit with my family or friends. There are many places through out the world and in India which I want to visit provided I have enough money in my bank account. From London to Paris to Egypt to the U.S.A. I want to roam around the world if not in 80 days , at least in 800 days. Before roaming around the world I would love to cover the beautiful places from my own country – INDIA. As they say India is incredible. The cultures , colors , festivals and anything about India never ceases to fascinate me. I would love to do some job in travelling and travel around the country but alas! I am stuck with many other things and hence can’t even think of it. The two places which come to my mind right now are Kerala – God’s own country and Kashmir- the paradise on earth. Being in the company of nature gives solace and you don’t even need any company when you are in the God’s company!

Kerala is on my hit list from long. Probably we will be going by the end of this year and I am damn excited about it. KERALA . The very name soars my spirits. The lush greenery , boat houses , the coconut trees and serenity surrounding you where ever you go is for sure heavenly. If I plan a trip it will be with my hubby.

One of the most exhilarating experiences in Kerala is staying in a house boat. It’s a dream I have from long. The back waters of Alappuzha and Allepey are famous. Riding on boat with hot fish curry being served and a beer to chill is heavenly. You can even spend the night in the mid of the water surrounded by palm trees. The thought it self is exciting. I have seen many of my friends’ pictures from Kerala and it sure became one of the top 5 places I want to visit as soon as possible. There is a movie in tamil and telugu where they show the picturesque Kerala which just sets the ambiance to be in a romantic mood 🙂 The heroine (Samantha) belongs to Allepey and the hero (Nagachaitanya) goes to visit her. More than the songs and the music it is Kerala which makes the movie more romantic.

Boat house in Allepey back waters. Image source : “here”

The above video is a romantic song from yem maya chesave movie shot in Kerala back waters under a moon lit sky. This movie and the song are two more reasons to get attracted to Kerala 🙂

Next place which comes to my mind is Munnar which is a beautiful hillstation in westernghats. To see the plantations , to enjoy the natural beauty of  foggy hills and wildlife I want to visit Munnar.  There is always some thing mysterious about the hills and those beautiful hamlets. You can just get lost and have a conversation with your self sitting in midst of the hills and hamlets. One more attraction of Munnar are the beautiful home-stays which no one wants to give a miss. I would love to just rest in nature’s lap. I am sure I will fall in love with the place.
Beautiful and mystic Munnar . Image source : “here”
As I never dared to do paragliding till now, I would love to try either rock climbing or paragliding with my husband’s encouragement of course. The last time I tried paragliding in Solang valley- Manali I was not successful . I climbed till some point and got back down as I couldn’t muster enough courage!

Wayanad is another scenic spot in Kerala. It is called the “Land of Paddy fields” . The lofty peaks and the fields make the place look straight out of a wall poster. I would love to go trekking here to Chembra peak. Banasura peak and Brahmagiri are other important mountains of this district. The wild life sanctuaries and waterfalls here and there are the special attractions of this place. I remember reading about “Vythri resort” in Wayanad and since then I am just dreaming about staying there!

The place is perfect to unwind and get seduced by nature. The tropical rain forests and breath taking views are beautiful. I am sure it would be painful to leave the place once the holiday gets over. I also want to experience the Ayurvedic spa and aroma therapies of Kerala which are world famous. What can be more better than being pampered in midst of the dense greenery ?:)

GLimpse of Vythri resorts :Image courtesy:
Varkala beach or the Papanasam beach is located to the north of Tiruvananthapuram. Its a calm, sparkling beach which is believed to have medicinal properties. A dip in holy water is believed to purge the body impurities.There is a two thousand year old shrine the Janardhanaswamy temple on the cliff over looking the beach. One can climb down the steps to reach the beach. A paved foot path runs along the cliff and the view is breath taking. Varkala for sure is one of the best beaches of India. Like the mountains and cliffs beaches are also endless and mysterious. The shacks and the quaint beach houses make the place more scenic. I would love to watch the temple festival which happens around April.

Birds eye view of Varkala beach. Image source: “here”
I am sure I will have a grand time with my better half in a scenic place like Kerala by staying in the  Boat houses in the back waters of Allepey , visiting various churches, temples, bird sanctuaries (Salim Ali Bird Sanctuary) , Periyar National Park and by enjoying the traditions and cuisines of the place!! India is a mysterious land and I always love exploring the various cultures of our country. The fact that one travels in a Car with Haryana license plate talking Bengali and listening to Kolaveri di always amuses me keeping aside the fact that we have regional or any other kind of conflicts. Travelling surely detoxifies us. 

Kashmir is also on my hit list and I am sure I will go there atleast once in my life time. Travelling to Ladakh and getting clicked at Pangong lake is in my wish list. I want to watch the snow caps and ice glaciers and experience the himalayas to the fullest.

Pangong lake . Image courtesy –“here”
I am glad to say that I went to Manali and Rohtang Pass and touched Himalayas for the first time in my life some where around july in the last year. That sure was one of the happiest days of my life. Below is a snap taken at Rohtang Pass.

Me standing at the Rohtang Pass

I dont know how long this post will get If I start listing out all my travel desires. I want to enjoy the food and art in Italy. I want to sense the freedom in the USA. I want to see the calanques in France and even cover all the seven wonders 🙂 I am glad I visited one of the seven wonders which is the “Taj Mahal.”

If wishes are trains and planes I want to board them all 😉
I want to end this post with an incredible video showing incredible India!

Few stanza’s from a poem I wrote for the mother nature during one of my journeys.

The colour of the sky and water is pure white and at times deep blue.
Gazing at them makes you feel godly and true!
Where do these vast creations start and end, we have no clue.
The sky and sea merge at some point blending the hue!

The withered leaves of a tree are so brittle and brown.
They no longer breathe life, they always fall down.
Indicating the past should be forgotten saving a frown.
A new memory and a new journey helps rather than a mourn!

God’s nature has different hidden lessons to learn.
To just sit and watch it is a great treasure one can earn!
When you cross the phases of life and wherever you take a turn,
The things which will always be with you are stars, sky, sea moon and the sun!

This post is written for  Indiblogger’s Creating Happy Traveller’s Contest sponsored by

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Jodha meets Maham Anga- An untold episode from the Mughal era :)

Salaam-a-lekum Malika-e-Hindustan. This is your room,” the maid showed Jodha Bai her room in the huge palace. The room was regal. Every corner of the room exuded richness. Jodha Bai was impressed even if she was feeling low as she moved to a new place and has to live among new people. The beauty of the “Mariam_uz-Zamani” palace stole her heart

“This palace  is so stunning.” Jodha said in a low voice.

Maham Anga ji wants to meet you Mallika,” another maid came hurriedly to inform Jodha.

Jodha bent her head down so as to show respect to Maham Anga who is the foster mother of Akbar.

Namaste Maham Anga ji,” Jodha greeted Maham Anga.

“Namaste! What kind of greeting is it? When you are in this palace you have to follow the ways here! You got to greet every one with salaam!” said Maham Anga in an authoritative tone.

All the maids bent their heads down as they feared the glare of Maham Anga. All of a sudden there was a pin drop silence. Only distance cooing of a koel could be heard.

Jodha mustered the courage and replied to Maham Anga.

” From where I come we were taught to greet others with Namaste Maham Anga ji. I am sure both Salaam and Namaste mean the same but I will try to greet every one with a Salaam from next time!”

Maham Anga was furious. No one has the guts to confront her in the whole palace including Akbar.

“How dare you question me ? No one ever questions elders here. Is that what you are taught at your place?” fumed Maham Anga.

Jodha was shell shocked by her furious response. She tried to explain that she was just letting her know that Namaste is also a greeting but by the time Jodha spoke Maham Anga walked out of the room.

“The first day at palace did not go well at all,” thought Jodha.

She wanted to discuss this with Akbar but thought otherwise. How can she go to the emperor and ask him to resolve her petty problems?

The next day Jodha got up early , offered her prayers to Lord Krishna and went to the royal kitchen to plan something different that day. The cooks were surprised to see Jodha in the kitchen.

“Today I want you all to cook whatever Maham Anga likes.” Jodha ordered the cooks.

All the cooks exchanged glances on hearing the weird request. Jodha repeated what she said and no questions were asked and  the menu was ready in no time. Kaddu ka Kheer and Sevayya were among them which Maham Anga relished a lot.

Jodha poured the hot Kaddu ka Kheer in a bowl and took it to Maham Anga’s room.

Maham Anga was stunned to see her.

“Why did you come here? ” She questioned.

“Namaste. I mean Salaam-a-lekum Maham Anga ji. I thought I would come and greet you as we did not exchange pleasantries properly yesterday.” replied Jodha.

“Please have this kheer as a token of my respect. I ordered it in the kitchen specially for you. Having a sweet dish on a happy occasion is a ritual anywhere I guess!” continued Jodha.

Maham Anga first hesitated but later took the bowl from Jodha’s hands. She tasted a spoonful of kheer and was impressed.

“But how did you know that I like kheer?” asked Maham Anga who was clearly puzzled.

“I came to live here Maham Anga ji. I believe in showing respect and love by my gestures rather than by mere words. I would be happy to see that every one is happy here due to me.” replied Jodha.

Maham Anga was perplexed by Jodha’s words. She was surprised by her wisdom even if Jodha is just half her age.

Maham Anga muttered a thanks and Jodha left the room only after bending and acknowledging her thanks.

Aishwarya Rai as the beautiful Jodha. Image source :“here”

This is purely a  piece of fiction written by tweaking a scene from “Jodha Akbar” movie 🙂 The message of the story is that the language used to greet people is not important. What is more important is the feeling and the gesture. When the feelings can be understood no language is an obstacle to greet each other !

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda

Just for Fun

Caution: It’s a real life incident. Resembling anyone living or dead is quite possible.
Inside gym, in mid of the happening bustle I finally found a free cycle. Caught hold of it. After all the settings started my cycling .There was a guy on my left who was pedaling vigorously at a speed of 20 and a girl came settled just to my right. She was setting the level and speed. There was a huge mirror in front of me. Obviously everyone was checking their own reflections [eagerly to see if they lost a chunk from a cheek or a thigh ]
The girl next to me was checking her reflection. She was very chubby but pretty!!
I gave a glance at her!
The way she slowly continued her setting and resetting process made me feel she will take one hour to finish her 15min of cycling and 3hrs to finish the rest of her cardio (treadmill + cycle + cross-trainer)  but whatever pretty girls do is cute to boys! So there he was glancing at her, smiling, pedaling, checking his sweat on the brow and his muscular hump under the shoulder (not spectacular like john abraham’s though)
Now don’t ask me if I checked him out so much?  Yes I obviously did! Not him, but his reflection J
Then the pretty damsel was setting her weight. I got a bit mischievous and was giving a side glance. The strong built lad gave a straight glance at her. She was about to set the weight but then gave a disapproving “hmppf” look at the boy and then reduced 2kgs!
LOL! I was about to roar with my loud laugh but tightened my lips and again looked at his reflection.
He was smirking at my reflection.
It was a joke silently passed just between our images. I never bothered knowing who he is but I will remember the moment 🙂 
Image source : “here”

Kids can be cruel too :-|

Kids are god sent, adorable, cute and kissable. A small smile can make your day but sometimes some strong revelations and questions they pose can mar your day too! A kid used to stay in the fifth floor of my apartment at Hyderabad. He is so damn cute that I always used to wish to bump in to him every day whenever I come out. He used to take the school van and he is the cutest of all the kids. Chubby,  chirpy,  funny and a happy kid he is! We both talk. Talk in the sense, we actually talk.
Every day morning he used to go to Taekwondo and I used to go for my morning walk. In the first round I always used to come across him, he wearing a cute taekwondo dress tightened with a belt shouts with all his energy that he is going to Taekwondo and that he is better than his big bro. Big bro is very handsome and smart with a gentle approving smile whenever this champ talks. No. BIG BRO is not in his teens or twenties! He must be some 10yrs old and this little champ must be some 6yrs old. So one fine day after a long day at office I went home and pressed the elevator’s button. I saw that the lil champ is also waiting there to get in to the lift. My face was lit up. I pulled his cheek and said hi. As we were waiting for the lift a handsome bespectacled boy also joined with some plastic covers having groceries. Don’t know in which company he works but ya he seemed a bit dignified among all boys who stayed in that bachelor’s flat!!
We exchanged a formal smile.
Lil champ started talking: “ Akka. In which floor do you stay?”
I didn’t understand why suddenly he asked that.
Me: “2nd . Why? “
LC: “If it is second you can take stairs na. It will be good. It’s just like an exercise.”
Believe me friends, I felt so tiny being preached by the kid at that second that too with a grown up boy suppressing his smiles by my side . I suppressed my malice on LC for what he just spoke.

Image source:“here”

I narrowed my eyes and looked threateningly at him
LC looked here and there and replied: “You seem too tired. You came back from office no?”
With puppy eyes I nodded hoping to gain more sympathy and concern. We all got in to the lift.
LC: “ No problem! In other times you can take stairs!!”     *Bouncer again*
I wondered which teacher/master (Taekwondo) taught him all this which lead to a pravachan and made me a victim. I wanted to win in the entire conversation.
I questioned: “Why don’t you take stairs?” [heheheha *evil grin in my mind*]
LC: “I stay in 5th floor na. If it was 2nd I would never have taken the lift.”
I imagined instantly learning one of the taekwondo techniques and kicking myself for interrogating him.
I felt terrible, offended and what not. Lift stopped at my floor. While getting down I looked back and saw that the elder of the two boys was grinning broad. Ideally he was not  elder as I felt the little rascal lot elder than me or the other boy at that time.
I had no other choice than to grin back and give one last malicious look at the little rascal !!

This is my second post written for  Write Tribe Festival of Words 1st – 7th September 2013. As part of this challenge I am writing seven random incidents which happened to me or others 🙂 Do acknowledge if you read.  Find more posts here – “Day 2” 

The PunchNama of Relatives – Day 1

Originally published at “Half Baked Beans blog”

A wise man once said that cousins are your first best friends. They know everything about you and you can share anything with them but this holds good only till you grow and get married because everyone is honest to the core during childhood but things change with time. I really don’t know where to start on this topic “Punch-nama of relatives and cousins in India” as it is endless. Punchnama in Hindi means report. Generally it’s a report made at the crime scene :P.  After some recent personal experiences and after hearing to many tales from friends I finally decided to pen down my thoughts. Whenever you attend any party or a wedding in India there is no escape from the nosy relatives, cousins or distant cousins whose names you forget with time. Unless until you are wearing some invisibility cloak or can disappear with a tiny flick of your index finger, they barge in to your comfort zone and make it extremely uncomfortable in a micro-second. I feel many can connect to the below anecdote. I am sure you would have faced the same many a times.
Meena is a pretty girl in the family. Her mom has a couple of brothers and a couple of sisters, her dad has a brother and a sister and too many cousin sisters and brothers. They are so many that she lost count. “Damn. Giving birth to as many as possible was a prestige factor I guess in those days.” Meena always thought to herself. It’s easier to be that kid in turban from kuch kuch hota hai and count stars rather than counting her relatives. All these people occasionally meet only in weddings or any family functions where a crowd bigger than the hum aapke hain kaun clan gather and chit chat. Meena unfortunately decided to attend one such nondescript wedding as it’s been long since she met her relatives. Also her mother insisted that many want to meet her. Meena finally decided she will go, if not for people at least for the magical food spread!
Ten minutes in to the function hall a fat aunty approached her.

Aunty: “Oh. Meenaaaaaaa! It’s been ages. Remember me? I am Visaalaakshi aunty! Oh my god. You are glowing.” Saying so she pulled her cheek.
Even if it was repulsive Meena resisted her urge to slap aunty and smiled.
Aunty: “So what’s cooking lady? You are radiant! Is there any good news in store?” questioned aunty with overloaded enthusiasm.
Meena looked confused and her mother stayed calm.
Meena: “I didn’t get you.”

Then someone called Visaalaakshi and she left. The bell rang and Meena realised that aunty was asking if she got pregnant. She had to face the same question five times by the time the wedding function ended. She was exhausted to reply or to even give a silly smile when ever people asked. Why is every relative after her pregnancy? How will they benefit if she added a branch to the family tree? For sure nobody will remember even if it’s a boy or a girl once the baby is born. Indian mentalities always amuse Meena.

Please read the rest of the article at the  “Half baked voices blog.” Leave your valuable comments on the Half baked voices blog !
Thanks a lot for your time !