Friday, May 18, 2018



जीवन की सुंदरता तुमसे ही है
ख़ुद का ख़याल रखा करो,
ज़िंदगी के दो पल चुराकर 
कभी ख़ुद से भी बातें किया करो

सबके ख़ुशी में है ख़ुशी मेरी
ऐसे क्यूँ दिल को बेहलाना?
सबका ध्यान रखते रखते 
ख़ुद को भूल ना जाना

ईश्वर ने है तुम्हें बनाया 
तुम ख़ास हो ये मान लो,
एक मक़सद है इस जीवन का 
अब बस ख़ुद को पहचान लो।

कोई ख़्वाहिश दफ़न ना हो 
जियो ऐसा जीवन,
कोई बंधन रोक ना सके 
करो वही जो बोले मन।

एकांत में कुछ पल गुज़रो 
धुंड लो एक किनारा,
फ़ुर्सत से मुस्कुरा के पूछो 

कैसे हो, क्या हाल है तुम्हारा?”

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Let’s be an Indian First

I just got a transfer. New city, New office, new people, new language and what I loved most about this new place was its climate. Things were different and at times difficult.

One day while having tea with one of my colleagues, I got the shock of my life. I was deeply disheartened to hear what he said that day. He said he scolded his five-year-old kid because he went to play with his new neighbouring friend. What was his new friend’s fault? He was from Bihar!

He stopped him to make friends with his neighbours just because they were from Bihar. I couldn’t believe but I allowed him to go on. As per him, people from that state are uncultured, illiterate, burglars and even terrorists. If his son plays with their son he’ll come under bad influence.

I was infuriated not because of all the rubbish he said about Bihar but because he was telling the same to a five-year-old kid. He was already creating a negative impression at such a young age. Imagine what will happen when he’ll grow up with this perception.

Then I said, “I am from Bihar.”

I still remember his reaction. I scared him to the core!

“Do I look like a burglar or a terrorist? Do you think I am uncultured and illiterate?”

He was shocked because I am a Bengali and he thought all Bengalis are from Bengal. He even tried to calm me down saying Bengalis are very cultured people. 

That didn’t stop me. I understood he was ignorant. He never visited Bihar, he just believes what he reads about it in newspapers. What he lacked was knowledge and that is what I shared with him that day. 

I spoke about the glory of that place, its diversity, the beautiful places to visit, the well-established schools and yes, people from Bihar CAN speak impeccable English. We are down-to-earth people who believe in simple living. We don’t roam around in the streets with guns. 

Talking about crime and corruption, is there any state that is free from these? Then why is it that a part of our own country gets highlighted only for the negativity?

While I was still shooting mind-boggling facts and figures one after the other, another colleague joined us. He shared his experience of visiting his relative’s place in Bihar and all that he remembered was delicious food, fresh air, spacious houses and lively people.

My friend was dumbfounded listening to both of us. He realized his mistake and agreed that he never took efforts to know about other states and believed whatever was depicted by media. He also promised to meet his new neighbours. 

I left my hometown at a young age so, I know how it feels to be in a new place amongst strangers. I told him even his neighbours must be missing their families. They are just like you and me and staying away far from home is not easy. Being a localite you should be there to help them settle instead of treating them as aliens.

This was just one incident, but I have come across many more situations where people have developed a similar prejudice. The moment I mention I am from Bihar, they ask whether we have electricity there, good schools or even cars to commute! They assume I don’t understand English, I don’t know how to drive and the most common question is whether ‘Gangs of Wasseypur’ is for real! It’s not easy to change the perception in a single day but I am happy that day I was able to change the mindset for not just one person but one entire family. 

Every change begins with a small step, whether it’s a change within your family, or the whole country! India’s hero, Padman, had its digital premiere on ZEE5, on 11th May. Don’t miss this inspiring true-life story, only on ZEE5. Download the app and subscribe nowFor every subscription, ZEE5 will donate Rs. 5 towards the personal hygiene needs of underprivileged women. 

[This blogpost is a part of Women’s Web’s ‘Kadam Chota, Change Bada’ contest.]