Mrs.Rao was in my head since forever now. And all I wanted is to get into her head. Getting into your character’s head is the first and foremost task for a writer. It’s almost impossible to write unless you’re right there.
Many of you have been asking me who is Mrs.Rao, how did you think of writing about her, or is it a real-life story.
The first thought of Mrs.Rao came to me when I was at a family wedding, observing the rituals closely. When it’s a wedding in your family you understand that, witnessing a wedding is not just about admiring the glittering dresses and treating yourself with the fancy food around.
It’s about starting a new life. About the advent of the new relationships. And about all the little things associated with weddings.
You understand a wedding is not an event when you experience the rituals going on in those few hours at a wedding.
On one such wedding, I was attentive and seated in the chair pondering on the people closely related to the function. I could feel the pressure that goes on in everyone’s mind and heart.
It’s a big day for everyone. But it’s the biggest day of the bride and the groom’s life.
The happiness on their face is boundless. That was the moment when I thought what if one is denied of this happiness?
Marriage is a beautiful experience in one’s life. Imagine the plethora of emotions one would go through if he or she is turned down to this happiness of life.
And this pure imagination is what Mrs.Rao is all about. It’s a gripping love story that makes way for a new outlook on love, marriage and separation.
What do you think is the definition of love? Or is ‘Separation’ always about a break-up or a divorce?
Mrs.Rao will force you to contemplate on these 3 importance concepts of life – love, marriage and separation.
Let me ask you a few questions –
What does separation mean to you? Do you believe in love after separation? Or do you think it all dies off with time?
You’ll impulsively find out the answers in this gripping and subtle short story – Mrs.Rao
I longed to write it down and so I put those extra efforts and wrote the entire story in bits and pieces on the train, while I traveled to and fro to office.
Publishing Mrs.Rao on Kindle Direct Publishing Program was pretty much a smooth process. I chose the least amount from a specified price range so that the book is read by many of you.
The good thing about this is, you can read the book for free if you’re a Kindle unlimited subscriber. Some of you have read Mrs.Rao for free and I’m quite content because for me all that matters is – “YOU reading”
Writers get the smallest chunk of commissions from the book they write. It’s the publisher who earns the maximum percentage (in my case the publisher is Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing Program).
Also, if you like the book do leave your review on Amazon Kindle for the benefits of other readers.
See you tomorrow with another blog 🙂
P.S. You need to download the Amazon Kindle App to read the book. It’s a great app where you’ll discover thousands of books. Read as many short stories as you can from there and you’ll be confident about the whole reading idea.
The other day I attended a birthday party. My father’s close friend celebrated his 50th Birthday -the golden jubilee of his life.
On this auspicious occasion, his wife threw a small house party where only the near and dear ones were invited. Theirs was a love marriage. As usual, I was excited to attend the party. Because I was curious about the preparations and of course the ‘Biryani’.
I got ready for the party and walked towards the party house. It’s a 3 minutes walk from our house. Imagining Smita Aunty (birthday boy’s wife), I knew she’d be the one managing stuff from A to Z.
Inviting people and hosting them is a big task and a mountain of responsibility. And in the society we live in, we’ve got a bunch of guests who are too unpleasant to appreciate things. Therefore, in Indian homes keeping your guests content is a pressure. You constantly need to prove yourself in front of your guests.
When I entered the room, the first thing that immediately caught my attention was the birthday cake. As you can see the picture, the cake is clothed by a thick green layer of cream which makes the cricket pitch. The edible bat and ball complete the setup.
My father’s friend – the birthday boy, has lived cricket all his life. I won’t say played because this is the only thing he is passionate about and has treasured all his trophies all around the house with immense pride.
Undoubtedly Smita Aunty was keen on making her husband’s 50th Birthday the best one of his life.
One of the walls of their house was embellished with stylish golden letters of the happy birthday of a beautiful font style and a big golden balloon blown in to make the number 50.
It looked as elegant as Smita Aunty herself. Her taste and choice are unique and trendy. No wonder nothing from the arrangements seemed cliche. Everything was up to the mark and new.
As part of the Indian tradition, the ladies did a small Aarti and blessed the birthday boy. It a nice ritual but strangely everybody maintains a knowing silence while it’s on.
Coming to the snacks for the evening, Smita Aunty had ordered samosas that were stuffed with palak and cheese and it just melted into our mouths. It was yummy and perfectly complimented the party.
The veg and non-veg biryani were ordered from a well-known biryani centre and it was the show-stopper of the evening. I savoured over the piping hot rice and enjoyed each morsel of it.
The birthday party had a personal touch to it and was not an event that was made live on social for the sake of likes and comments.
The reason why I am describing everything in detail is because these are the little things that matter in life.
Smita Aunty, being a working woman, put all the efforts only to see a wide smile on her beloved husband’s face.
Even after so many years of marriage why would someone put efforts to tell their better half that they love them? It’s because everyone wishes to be loved by someone.
But sadly enough now you’ll see that love slightly fades away after a proposal, then a little more after marriage and a little more after a few months of marriage.
Isn’t marriage a life long affair? Why would you take your partner for granted once he or she has accepted your proposal? Shouldn’t you take those tiny efforts time and again to see that beautiful smile of his or her that you had once fallen for?
Well, everybody is busy in this world. But nobody is too busy to make their partner feel special.
I loved how Smita Aunty cared about the minutest details of the party and made it a memorable day of her husband’s life.
Saving your husband’s name as ‘sweetheart’ or ‘hubby’ doesn’t symbolize your love. Taking care of the little things in your relationship does.
I’ve seen people say, “Ah! What’s there to say now? I’ve already told her I love her/him and she/he very well knows that.”
How illogically ruthless this is!
You need to understand that there’s a difference between knowing and feeling. Make your partner feel that you love him/her every day. And a little more on auspicious days like birthdays and anniversaries.
You are not too old to express your gratitude and love towards your partner. Neither is your marriage or relationship are too old to be taken for granted.
The little things in life are the once that matter the most.
Say you love them immediately after reading this blog and see how love plays it’s magic.
And thank you for wishing me the best for my blog marathon. See you tomorrow 🙂
You’re awesome for you’ve taken efforts to reach the place where you’re today.
You’re awesome for you’ve survived through the thick and thin.
You’re awesome for you’ve been kind to the world around you, every day.
You’re awesome for you’ve made an effort to put a smile on your parents face, every now and then.
Look into the mirror and see how awesome you are. Look into your eyes and smile, because you’re awesome.
And you know what? You’re awesome because you made an effort to enter your email id and name to subscribe to my blog and get your hands on the free ebook that I’m giving you as a ‘gift.’
When I sit and ponder on the number of subscribers I have, I see the efforts you’ve made to create this blogger-reader bond.
You know the importance of reading and what wonders it can do to your life. And so you opted to subscribe a blog over a YouTube channel.
There’s a significant difference in a video and a write-up. When you see a video or a movie you see only what the director has to show you.
But when you read a book or an article, you have the freedom of imagination. You are set free to imagine the character as you want.
When you read a book, you get a deeper insight of the entire setup. Sometime you also know what’s going on in the character’s head which is many times not possible in a movie or a video.
They say, “No two persons ever read the same book”
Take a bow – for you decided to subscribe to a blog over a YouTube channel. You’ve won half the battle.
Because for a well-read person, the world is open for them. You not only are a successful person but also a humble human being.
And in the long run I’ve realised that words have the power to bring in significant changes in the life of many.
My father got his delayed promotion after writing a couple of letters to the union, I wrote a long letter to a close friend of mine who is miles away to make him realize his potential and the words did it’s magic.
These are the minutest examples. Most of the revolutions were successful with the power of a pen.
Someone’s rightly said, “Pen is mightier than sword.”
Today, I take this moment to share with you that I’ve completed a year of blogging. My heart fills with pride and gratitude when I realise I’ve written 60,000+ words on shraddharane.com till date and shall continue sharing my views and motivating one and all.
I write inspiring blogs, personal experiences and book reviews.
Recently, I published my first short on Amazon Kindle – “Mrs. Rao.” The story is about Mrs.Rao and how love never fades off.
It’s been a long time since I saw her. Maybe because I’m getting late to the office on these unpredictable rainy days, I’m not able to take my usual train. All thanks to the rain gods and our very own Indian Railways.
I look around for her every day, but to my despair, I see her nowhere.
You must be wondering the reason behind my distress for a mere transgender person on the train. Let’s go into the details without any ado.
Since the time I’ve started travelling on the Harbour Railway, I saw this beautiful transgender person on the train. She has the perfect body stats every girl wishes. She’s dressed up neat and clean. The glow on her face freshens up the entire compartment.
Women look at her and giggle amongst themselves. Maybe they admire her beauty or the way she carries herself so darn well. But, to be honest, I check out on her from head to toe. She has golden-brown hair that fuses well with her fair complexion.
The eyeliner she draws above her eyes is too artistic to believe that it is her who has applied it. The thin layer of kohl below her eyes gives a subtle yet glamorous look to her watery eyes.
Her salwar kameez fits and squeezes her body, giving her a barbie look. Many times she wears tight-fitting, high-quality leggings making her look the bombshell of Mumbai.
It took me three consecutive days to count the number of tattoos on her body. She has one on both her hands, one on the back of her neck, and the most attractive one the front side just above her breast. That particular tattoo is half-visible to us despite her deep necked top. Did you imagine the exact location of her tattoo?
Well, it’s but natural.
She wears an esthetic earring and pendant set. The elegance that she carries with her is mind-blowing. I cannot move my eyes off her.
The other day she was sharing her Instagram handles with a couple of girls. I was so curious to know it, but unfortunately she did not call it out loud; instead, she typed it for them in their phones.
But what came next blew my head off. She said, “Follow Karo, Like Karo aur Bhi Share Karo. Famous ho gayi to kya pata Big Boss main aajau.”
I burst out in a peal of silent laughter.
Her accent is much of a transgender person, but it feels pleasant to the ears. Her words are fluent, and her English is more or less like the high-class women. The blush and all the other make-up stuff that she uses is also of good quality.
If you’re a Harbour Line commuter by now, you’ve guessed who this transgender person is. And for others, I’m sure you’ve imagined her silhouette by far.
If it wasn’t for her accent and her visible manly facial cuts, nobody would ever believe her to be transgender. Upon contemplation, I realize that she’s not only the gorgeous transgender person I’ve ever seen but also a person having a beautiful heart if it was not that I wouldn’t be missing her today.
Once while gazing at her, I had forgotten to blink for a while. Upon realization, my hands consciously ran for my phone. And accidentally the front camera was turned on.
It scared me — more than that it was saddening. I looked pale at the brightest hour of the day. And here was a transgender person beautifully dressed up and shining all around.
When I shut my phone’s screen, she happened to walk past me. As I was sitting on the fourth seat (the seat in Mumbai locals where you the fourth person can touch a certain amount of his/her bums onto it), I could see her exceptionally closely. She was God gifted for she had no need to wax them. She has tender, soft, golden hair on her hands, that added to her beauty.
The next time I meet her, I wish to ask for her Instagram handle. If you liked this blog of mine, please do share. Maybe it reaches her. Also, if you have already seen her, please let me know in the comment section below. I would love to know how much could you relate to what I described.
P.S. I wish I had her picture to put up on my blog.
Friendship Day, for me, back in school and college days were buying colorful ribbons, cutting them into equal length, recollecting each friend’s name and writing it on every ribbon, and buying one special ribbon for that best friend of mine.
After all, friends are the family that we choose.
Friendship is the purest form of all relationships and friendship day is the day to express your feelings.
Friendship is born at the moment when one person says to another, “What! You too? I thought I was the only one.”
-C.S. Lewis, Novelist
It is this dialogue after which the friendship blooms into a beautiful bond of never-ending chats, talks, and meets.
Friendship Day is that special day in our life when all those well-knit memories keep flashing in front of the eyes.
The idea of this open letter has come straight from the heart. I’ve been living with a pang of guilt deep down inside since for a few years now. And so, I decided to write this open letter to express my true feelings with you, my dear friend, without giving way to excuses and lies.
How are you doing? I hope you’re hail and hearty in this threatening monsoon that is hitting Mumbai now and then. Well, even if you’ve fallen sick due to the change in the season, it’s ok. Yes. It’s fine. At least you got a reason to take a day off and rest for some time.
Otherwise, I know you’ve been running hither and tither behind the daily activities.
Hey Dear, take it easy. Pause, breathe, and then resume.
Make some time for yourself. Pamper yourself once in a while. Stop being harsh on yourself.
Today is our day. The day we need to celebrate. We need to be together. But once again, we’ve got an excuse – “The Mumbai Rains instead!” Oops! not we, I have got a reason not to go out and write this blog for ‘you.’
But let me be honest today. I know my efforts towards our friendship have fallen poor and I’ve taken you for granted now and then. Keeping all the thoughts aside, I want to apologize to you today about all the excuses and lies said for a few years now.
I am sorry that I could not meet you when I came to Mumbai from Pune on the weekend. I was too tired to step out of my bed and travel by the Mumbai local and see you at the other side of the city. Sorry for being so lazy. The thing was, Pune’s beautiful climate and slow-paced life had such a significant impact on me that I subconsciously avoided traveling in the crowded locals of Mumbai.
Plus, working in IT would suck out all the energy out of me. And then taking small efforts would also seem confusing.
But you still understood my plight and never complained. I cannot be grateful enough to you.
Sorry for the stories I made and canceled our plan. When I did that the only reason was, I had a deadline for myself for I cannot miss on my weekly blog.
The rules and regulations that I’ve enforced on me are sometimes the reason behind me taking less or no efforts towards our friendship.
When it comes to friendship, it should always come first; I know. And I wasn’t the same until this dream of mine encircled me, and I started working hard to fulfill it.
I remember, sitting hours on the group chats and organizing outings, getting mad at you for not turning up and begging everyone to come online to execute the plan. Oh, God! I miss all of that so much.
Even I feel like hanging out with you guys like I always did – my favorite Diploma group, the addictive Degree group, the special School group, the lovely office group, the adorable Banglore group, the happening Kerala group, I love spending time with you all.
But…well, there’s always a ‘but.’
I don’t when did I begin holding my blogs and my writings above everyone. For that matter, sometimes even above my parents.
You know what, for me, friendship is the same bond that I share with my mother. She understands how much I yearn for writing. And of course, you too know it by now.
Nevertheless, giving excuses are wrong, and I ought to apologize for them.
I apologize for that wedding I couldn’t attend. Sorry for the plain reply – “I can’t come. Sorry”, when you asked to go on a trip. Those days were a little difficult for me for I was jobless. And going on a trip and spending money felt wrong. But explaining all this to you was even harder. So I decided to be straight forward. I might have sounded rude, and I’m sorry about that. (Read this story if you haven’t)
Now, when I’m working, I still don’t make plans to meet you up. And the guilt haunts me sometimes when I sit alone pondering on the olden days. The mere reason for this is I don’t know which Saturday would be an off until it’s Friday evening. And by that time maybe you’ve made up your plans with someone else, so I do not initiate anything.
You’ve consistently put my pictures on Whatsapp status for my birthday every year. I couldn’t even do that. If you know me, you know I forget birthdays. It’s high time I start taking efforts to note down your birth dates.
You also wish my mother on her birthday.
Sometimes I feel awful about my memory. I don’t put up your pictures on my status because I fear the fact that I may forget to do the same for one of your birthdays.
I know that shouldn’t be an excuse.
I’m sorry for not initiating a message on Friendship Day. You are always the first one to wish me. You are far better than me when it comes to taking efforts. And I appreciate that about you, my dear friend.
After reading this open letter, can I have at least 50% hopes of forgiveness?
After writing 50+ blogs, I don’t know how to conclude this heart-to-heart connection. All I would want to say now is, I love you. I love you from the bottom of my heart. If this weren’t the case, I wouldn’t have written this apology cum love cum open letter to you.
Sometimes you don’t just follow a person on social media for the namesake, you actually walk on their footsteps, knowingly or unknowingly.
Slowly and steadily, you start absorbing the posts, the stories, the statuses that you don’t understand when you’ve begun implementing someone else’s daily activities in your life also.
Well, all this is excellent when you’re following the right person. By right, I mean the person who’s fit to be an inspiration and who’s leading you towards a beautiful life and not just influencing you to follow his/her fashion or lifestyle.
The one you follow should not at any given point of time give you negative vibes or force you to feel deprived in life.
Do not envy your role model’s life, get inspired by it. Stop asking, “Why am I not like him/her?” it’ll take you nowhere.
Are you wondering why am I telling you all this today? To be very honest, I’ve been longing to write about my role model and how I follow her not just on Instagram but religiously.
In a way, I’ll be writing down a piece of my heart here as I love sharing my personal encounters with you – my lovely readers.
Preeti Shenoy – a name I literally keep chanting all day around. The moment I open my Instagram, the first name that pops up right at the top, in the stories section is – Preeti Shenoy. And then I long to listen to her sweet voice. Every morning she puts up a little video of her surrounding on her Instagram story and says, “Wake up! Life Is Calling” – the name of her recent book.
Her voice sounds like music to my ears, and I’m good to kick start my day.
Preeti Shenoy is wakened up by her dog, who pulls her out of bed every morning, and they both go for their morning walk. She gets most of her writing ideas on these morning walks.
After she’s back with her dog – Lostris ,Preeti Mam sets for her cycling routine and cycles for 5 to 7 kilometers every day. Sometimes the rounds get extended to 10 kilometers also.
She’s been practicing Yoga from the age of 6 and continues till date, every single day. No wonder she’s as vibrant as a 21-year-old girl.
Preeti Shenoy, the author to 13 best-selling books, believes in cooking all by herself for her family. Her favorite food is Puttu Kadala, Idlis, and salads. She prepares all south Indian dishes with great enthusiasm and shares the pictures on her stories.
Every minute of her day is spent in doing productive and positive things. Preeti Mam sketches something positive in her journal every single day. All her journal work is done using a pen. She paints her day on a piece of paper and shows how grateful she is for this beautiful life of hers.
Besides all these activities, she reads a lot. She has taken up a challenge of reading 100 books in 2019. She reviews the books she reads on her stories and has just completed reading her 37th book. My heart expands with pride when I see our choices are so alike. Check out her highlights for book recommendations.
Preeti Shenoy’s writing journey started with her blog, and she still continues to blog every now and then. Followed by her book release every year, in May, Preeti Mam runs a Blog Marathon for a month and publishes a nice post every day. Check out her blog here.
She is also fond of gardening and owns a gorgeous terrace garden where she grows her own veggies and is gifted with pretty flowers every morning.
Her two children, whom she has raised with great love and care, are adults studying abroad. She misses them a lot and so does not miss a video call with her daughter, Purvi, every day.
I would love to share with you a sweet incident on my life wherein I got the opportunity to meet Preeti Shenoy in person. It was the cover launch of her recent book – “Wake up! Life is calling”, the sequel to her first novel.
The cover launch was organized at the ‘Title Waves’ book store at Bandra, Mumbai. There were various events lined up for the day, and Preeti Mam’s slot was in the late afternoon.
But my over-excitement took me to the book store well in advance. I waited for my dear friend at the entrance. She loves attending such events.
To my surprise, as I stood there right at the gate, I saw Preeti Shenoy getting down from a cab. Her walk from the car to the entrance was straight out of a famous Bollywood movie – Om Shaanti Om, where, on the entry of the actress people lean over her in amusement, and the background audio says – “The Dreamy Girl herself – Shanti Priya.”
The only difference here was, I was the sole audience jumping, screaming, clapping from inside my heart. I couldn’t believe that she walked past me.
Oh My! She looked stunning in her elegant one piece and long straight hair that she had left loose on her back. Her diamond pendant (that she wears for all her launches) shined in the mid-afternoon sun. And her skin as smooth and shiny as a dough.
Yoga does wonders to one’s body.
I couldn’t control my emotions, and I called my friend who was on the way to the store and narrated her the entry scene of Preeti Mam. She laughed on my silly act and said, “Are you mad? I’m coming there in just a few minutes, Dumbo”, and hung up.
Despite being a Bollywood fan, I wouldn’t have been in such awe on seeing an actor or actress on the road as I was when I saw Preeti Shenoy.
Now, coming to her books, she’s a proud yet humble best-seller author of 13 books. I possess all her books, but I have my own reading pattern. I pick up her book when life hits hard, and I need to calm down at once. Preeti Shenoy’s books speak.
It seems as though she writes a part of herself in all her books.
“A Hundred Little Flames”, portrays her ancestral house and the way she describes it from the bottom of her heart says a lot about her.
“It Happens For A Reason” – is an unusual story of a single mother. Preeti Shenoy beautifully does justice to the title of the book and brings out such a meaningful plot.
“34 Bubblegums And Candies”-This is her first book, non-fiction. Every word written in that book is true. It was a part-memoir. Such a genre had not been published in India. She took the risk and it turned out to be her first best-seller.
“Love A Little Stronger” – is the new edition of her first book. I loved the title and the cover so much that I didn’t mind buying it again.
Preeti Mam has written many more such excellent books on her bed, by having Lostris beside her as her arm-rest.
Related Articles (every book-related blog of mine has to have one book of Preeti Shenoy)-
Well, you know what, I can go on and on this topic. I’d not mind too. But I need to end this blog and so will end it on a good note –
“if you have not made somebody’s day happier, if you’ve not appreciated something good that has happened to you and if you have not felt thankful to be alive, then you have wasted that day of your life on earth!” ― Preeti Shenoy, Life is What You Make It: A Story of Love, Hope and How Determination Can Overcome Even Destiny
P.S. I haven’t read anything about her on the internet. This blog is a sheer outcome of following her Instagram posts and stories.
First of all, I’d want to apologize for skipping the last weekend’s blog. I couldn’t write a blog because my Mom had a fall, and consequently, I had to take over the house chores and give her complete bed rest.
After all, Moms get their share of rest only when they fall ill, isn’t it?
I worked throughout the day with a long face. My Dad thought that I was mad at them as I had to work and that that had spoiled my entire weekend.
But it was only my Mom who understood the reason behind my sad face. “Her blog didn’t go live this weekend. That is why she’s upset”, she had rightly guessed and clarified it to my father.
Though I missed the weekly ritual, I wouldn’t miss my daily night ritual. I read in bed every night. On Monday, the first day of the week, when I dug into my bag to reach out to my book, to my despair, I could not find it. And that was the time I remembered I hadn’t carried my companion along as I had left it by my bedside on Sunday night and forgotten to keep it back in my office bag in the morning.
This was for the very first time I forgot to carry a book in my bag.
While I sat on the seat of the local, I simply checked out the long string of cosmetics that the salesman had hanged in the middle and was standing at the door. And I was so happy to at last have found the nail file that I was searching (actually only wishing to have it) for such a long time.
I immediately bought it for 20 bucks and as I had nothing to do on the train I used the file and started giving shape to my grown nails (I maintained my nails back in college days and loved applying different nail paint shades on the elongated nails).
After finishing my unusual act of shaping my nails on a train, I looked around and saw a bunch of zombies tucked into their only-so-called-entertainer, the mobile phone.
On other days, my neck is bent into the book I’m reading, to get disturbed by these zombies on the train.
But now I had no other resource to engage myself into. I’ve also stopped using earphones while I travel. I believe it disconnects you from the world around.
Instead, why not be attentive and empathetic to the living beings around you. Only then can you understand the human species in a better way.
But something happened on my way from Kurla to Vashi that I wished I had my earphones with me at that very moment.
At Chembur, a girl boarded the train and sat right next to me. I don’t know what got to her, she put on her earphones and began humming some song.
She did that until we were on Vashi bridge (the bridge links the suburb of Mankhurd in Mumbai with Vashi in Navi Mumbai). My right ear felt as if a honey bee is continuously humming inside it, making an irritating sound.
I just could not take it. At one point, I felt I should just tell her to stop it for once. Though she enjoyed the song thoroughly and exhibited her happiness with this hum-business, I thought she should have been a little considerate about others too.
Unable to bear the weird and annoying sound I just got out from my place and got ready to de-board the train. I prefered standing there for a few minutes than listening to intolerable music.
I thought that if only I hadn’t forgotten to bring my book I wouldn’t have to go through this. A book takes you to a different world of ups and downs that you forget the world around you even exists. But at the same time, you aren’t entirely ignorant to the people around you. Your ears are always open, isn’t it?
If not for the book, I wish I had my earphones with me, it would have saved me from her not-so-sweet-hum.
P.S. If an earphone disconnects you from the outside world, a book connects you to two worlds – one inside you and the other portrayed in the book.
“The train arriving on platform number 4 is 12 car slow local for Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus via Harbour Line”, this is something that soothes my mind and soul every evening. Boarding a train back home is sheer happiness. Mumbai Local trains aren’t just the mode of commuting, they’re a way of living life.
Every morning a Mumbaikar leaves his house in accordance to the pre-calculated time of the train he needs to board that morning. A single minute here and there leads to a complete miscalculation resulting in a late mark at the office.
You’d never see a daily local commuter strolling around the station. He’s always either running on the foot overbridge or hopping off from one platform to another, despite the continuous warning announcements that go on in the background.
“Eka Platform varun dusrya platform var janyakarita krupaya poolacha kivva subway cha vapar kara” – in three languages – Marathi, Hindi, and English. While I write this, I could actually hear the lady’s voice who speaks on the intercom.
Mumbai local trains are a second home for many Mumbaikars. People are traveling from CSMT to Panvel, Panvel to Parel via Kural, Borivali to Nerul via Dadar and Kurla, Neral to Mahim via Dadar, Badlapur to Dadar, etc. EVERY SINGLE DAY.
First of all, a big salute to all the local train commuters. All the above journeys I mentioned are the most hectic, critical, and long trips. And the routes where I’ve mentioned via – they’re the most frustrating ones.
Finding something positive while you travel every day is what you should be good at. Otherwise, the journey is bound to become a hell of an experience for you and that too every single day(of course expect the weekend, if you have any).
I was longing to share with you the parallel life that goes on the Mumbai locals trains. Here I’m, all excited and eager to narrate to you the everyday stories that happen on the trains.
Morning 8.13 am when I’m done climbing the stairs and see the indicator showing ‘8.15 Thane’, I run on the bridge, then downstairs until I reach the ladies compartment panting, struggling for some air. (I run because missing this train means missing the connecting train that I’ll be boarding from Kurla)
When the train arrives, there’s no rush in the early morning hours, so I board the train without any hassles after everyone has already climbed up and grabbed their seats. I look around and sit on one of the window seats.
After a while, when my breath is back to normal, I take out the book in my bag and start reading. There’re women around me neatly dressed, with their makeup put on correctly. Despite the humidity in the air, not a single droplet of sweat rolls down their cheeks, unlike me.
I wonder how are women so sincere about their looks and how do they carry themselves so well even on a MUMBAI LOCAL TRAIN. I don’t apply talcum powder on my face in the guaranteed assumption that as-it-is-everything-would-be-washed-off-till-I-reach-office.
I try to read as much as possible until Kurla station arrives (from there you need to change the rail line to board a train to Vashi). Boarding and de-boarding the train at Kurla, both are an adventure in themselves.
When I climb up the stairs to cross the foot over bridge, women make a single line, accompanied by men in the parallel track, few carrying a basket full of fish or other goods on their head and others trying to push and move ahead in the crowd.
At the end of the stairs, there’s a lady-beggar sitting, her hands twisted in the other directions and her face is a victim of acid attack. She’s old and black. People do drop a penny or two in the steel plate that she holds high in the air.
On the bridge, where people are moving to and fro in a vast number, there are women watching web series on their phones. I mean is that even sane? I understand you’ve got less time and so much content on the internet to be consumed. But that does not mean you become entirely negligent for the world around you?
The platform (Kurla) is moderately crowded as it is only 8.30am. More than half the time, harbor line trains are late. If there’s no place to stand, I just don’t board the train. I always keep in mind a dialogue from a Bollywood movie – Ishq. “Ladki, bus aur train, ek gayi to dusri ati hai.”
But seeing the women hanging out the train and their urge to board the train despite the crowd, is astonishing.
Unlike, the old saying, “When two women meet, it’s impossible for them not to talk”, women, today are busy in their phones so much so that you need to pat their back and ask them to shift a little (and in Mumbai local little is defined as just a centimeter).
Women watch Big Boss (the Marathi season is on) on their mobile. How can someone invest their time watching such a nonsense show? Oh sorry! It’s not investing, it’s a complete waste of time and energy.
I come back to the book I’m reading and try to calm down.
The other day when I was reading, as usual, two young married women, sat facing each other and were bitching about their mother-in-law. The distance from Kurla to Vashi is 21 minutes, and these two chatterboxes blabbered without a pause. It was good entertainment to all the ladies sitting around them. But the talks hit my head like a hammer.
One day, I was spellbound and irritated to see a girl fighting with her boyfriend over the phone and scrolling through her Facebook feeds, liking them, and also commenting on some. The way she spoke to her boyfriend was annoying. I don’t know what was wrong. I understand that everybody has issues, that wasn’t my concern. What bothered me was, if you’re talking to someone(or even fighting) you’re supposed to be focused. If you’re distracted like this, you’re disrespecting that person’s time and splitting your attention.
But a few girls are mind-blowing. You just cannot hear what they’re talking even if you’re sitting right next to them. I wonder whether the person on the other side of the phone can listen to what they speak!
Let me tell you a magical thing about local trains. If you’re standing a little away from the door(when the station is nearing), you’ll be amazed to find yourself at the door when the train halts entirely on the platform. This is because half the people get down from the running train and magically you find yourself at the tip of the door.
Just a few days ago, I discovered something interesting. The hawkers that sell chips, accessories, cosmetics, etc. on the train are employees to some employer. Yes. They’re salaried employees who are at their job on the train. This was something surprising.
OMG! Mumbai local trains are a boon to so many people! So much so that people are earning their bread and butter by selling things on the train.
In the evening, when I am on my way back home, there’s a slight change in the picture, people, start running even faster. I’m no exception to this. Who doesn’t want to reach home soon?
At Parel, people get down the stairs in a single line while a hot, stinky wave blows from the large crowd climbing up the stairs. People ignore the pushing, swallow their anger, and only run towards their home.
I wonder how do women still have their lipstick on their lips and blush on their cheek! Is it the evening touch up?
But for your information, I do not struggle much in the Mumbai Locals because I travel in the up direction (Up direction is from CSMT towards Karjat/Panvel). For the people moving in the down direction(Karjat/Panvel towards CSMT), life is literally hell.
The rush in the peak hours is unbelievable. Men and women board the running trains. There’re fights on the train every passing day. If you stand on the stairs and look down while people board the train from Dadar, the scene is terrifying, enough to send chills down your spine.
I’ve seen one of my close friends, traveling all her life in the trains. In college, she commuted to Mahim from Neral via Dadar. She’s an expert in boarding the running trains.
A good thing about all of those traveling in the down direction is, they have groups. They celebrate festivals on trains. Men sing bhajans on the train to entertain themselves. As I said earlier, Mumbai locals are a second home to all these people.
This blog was dedicated to all the commuters who go through a hell lot of challenges and difficulties every day while they travel to and fro to their workplace.
Do let me know your experiences also in the comment section below or simply reply to this email. I’d be glad to read all of them.
When you got to choose between friends and family, you, me and everybody fall into a big hassle. For the apparent reason, blood is thicker than water.
Then what about the recent study from the University of Chicago that people who had close relationships with family members lived longer than those who had close ties with friends.
On the contrary, William Chopik, an assistant professor of psychology, says, “friendships become ever more important as we age.”
He adds, “keeping a few really good friends can make a difference in our health and well-being.”
Do you ever fall into this situation where you’re bound to choose between friends and family?
How difficult this is. After all, friends are our extended family, isn’t it?
Your attachment with your friends and family is the same irrespective of the years of togetherness. Then how do you make the decision – family first or friends?
I feel it’s the most tedious decision ever.
If you go with friends, the family is hurt and vice versa. But sometimes, the latter is not true. Let me tell you a story, where I had to choose between friends and family.
A friend of mine lost his father a few days ago. The loss came as a shock to him, and he almost collapsed. And how different is he supposed to react?
Two of my friends and I decided to go and meet him in Mangalore at his home. Friends play a vital role when life throws such traumatic situations.
But when the day arrived, one guy backed out due to an emergency, and I was stuck in a weird situation. And I too had to back out.
My father had to go to our native place for some work and if I also went to Mangalore, my mother would be left alone in the house.
Usually, I don’t think twice before meeting my friends when in need, but this time I don’t know what got to me. After spending so much time with her for the past 3 months(when I was at home), I did not have the courage or rather did not wish to leave her alone and go.
And I chose family over friends. You know what, after a point in life, your parents are suddenly dependent on you. It’s difficult for them to cope up without you, sometimes even for a single day.
Your parents are slowly entering into their old age and it’s your and my responsibility to be there for them whenever needed.
Though I felt good about staying back with Mom, I’m more in guilt that I couldn’t go and meet my friend in need.
This was the only weekend we had a chance to go because all the coming weekends are booked. And you know while we’re running along with the clock, the weekend is the only time we all have in our hands.
Today, as I write this blog, I remember how he had come to my rescue on a single call back in Pune(when we were in Pune). And how he had travelled all the way to Pune from Banglore for my farewell (when he was in Banglore, and I was in Pune).
He is a gem of a person. And I’ll be living by this guilt that I could not go and see him in this challenging situation in life.
And that friend of mine said, “You be with your Mom, we’ll meet some other time. Maybe I’ll come to Pune or Mumbai after 2 months.” How can one be such a great human being?
American writer Harper Lee’s, in his book “To Kill a Mockingbird,” says, “You can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family.” To add to this, “You can make friends, but you also cannot avoid your family.”
So, guys, I decided to stay back with my mother and disappoint my friend and ultimately live with the guilt. Have you ever fallen into such hassle of choosing between family and friends and felt guilty about it?
Reply to this email and share your weird situation and the guilt associated with it, it will only help you release some of it out. I make sure to reply to all your emails.
And with this, I complete my “3 blogs in 2 days” secret challenge. Will come up with more such challenged. Stay tuned and subscribe to get new blogs directly into your inbox. Also, get a free ebook.
What do I write about – is the most common question that people ask me when I tell them I’m a blogger.
So, I thought, why not write a blog to answer this obvious question and give you people clarity. To start with, I first wrote a travel diary on my school picnic to Ooty & Mysore, when I was in 10th class.
I would write while on the train and in the hotel rooms at night. Today, when I turn the pages of that little diary, I smile, because it actually marks the advent of my writing affair.
Later, in my diploma days, I continued with my diary writing and confined my thoughts to myself.
Only when one of my close friends started his blog on android games, I was introduced to this concept of blogging.
And without giving it a second thought, one beautiful day, I started off with my blog – “Hello India.”
Now if you visit that blog and compare it with this one, you’ll find a significant difference in both. This one is more matured than the previous one.
Back then, I blogged about the daily incidents happening around me, my views on a particular event, and so on.
It was more or less like an open diary.
Gradually, I started reading more, grew along with my blog, and took up blogging seriously. I was passionate about writing blogs and wrote around 300 blogs, which included essays and poems in Hindi, Marathi, and English.
But as you grow with age, you also grow intellectually and let your imagination wander freely. You’re exposed to a whole new world that’s so huge and so innovative.
And that’s the moment you realize you’re just a small part of the big world. The real struggle starts when you desire to make a difference to the world and to yourself also.
This blog was an outcome of the same desire. I wished to see myself grow and help my readers grow along with me.
What do I write about?
Oops…the introduction extended a bit. But I had to mention this. Now coming to the question, I write motivational blogs, self-help blogs, book reviews, and personal encounters.
And now, I write whenever I get time. Weekends are specially reserved for writing.
Writing space need not be a posh coffee shop or a fancy study. If one wishes to write one can write in any conditions.
I usually write on my bed, amidst the chaotic surrounding with the TV serials going on in the background, parents talking over something and the noise from the neighborhood.
Yes. I have no option than to sit and write in the chaos. And I don’t mind either.
Where there’s a will, there’s a way.
If you wish to do something, you’ll do it in any damn circumstances. This applies to studies also. No matter where you stay or in what condition, you ought to study whatsoever.
Also, I write on the train in my google keep app (I’m soon going to shift to OneNote. It’s an excellent tool for writers to save their stuff)
I remember, in college, when my phone’s battery was down, and I was waiting for my friend on the weekend, I wrote something on the tissue paper to kill time(I still have that tissue paper on which I had described our scenic college campus).