Photographic words. The everyday with the not-so-routinely stuff that makes life – LIFE


September 2015

What’s holding you back?

What’s holding you back?

© Shivani K | forewordMarch


Get up and MOVE. Don’t let your dreams die a slow death. Turn your passion into action!


Men of Shadows

I recently saw a picture on my Facebook feed by a news daily, of a person renaming the board of a famous road in Delhi. While the nation was interested in this news, some factions were pro and some against, as is always the case, the picture spoke to me about another unlooked factor.

I wondered who were these men of shadows, who work while we sleep peacefully, recover our strength and our beauty? There must be thousands of such nameless-faceless people labouring silently in the dark, while we wake up to realize in a miniscule way the change in our ambience and mostly go our ways without so much as an acknowledgement.

Tell me if this sounds familiar- you are going to work or to movies or simply somewhere. The traffic is bad, but it’s always bad. You see that today, though, there’s a new reason- a part of road is being remade or re-painted, because of which the section is closed and the road has in effect narrowed down, causing the traffic to block and choke. You pass the narrow neck and breathe out, cursing the “men at work” and the government, thinking ‘why don’t they do this at night?’ You ignore the heat of the road and the day. You ignore the sweat drenched clothes. You ignore the stain smeared arms and legs. You ignore the tanned faces. But you curse the delay, sitting in your air conditioned car, windows rolled up, clothes looking crisp.

I tried to rake my brain to find the word  that is used to describe them, but it returned “zero results” for my query. Is the society so ignorant or heartless that it thinks that these people don’t even deserve a name? What if I don’t want to call them “labourers” or “blue-collar workers”. If we can have ‘plumbers’, ‘electricians’, ‘mechanics’, ‘linemen’, ‘miner’, ‘welder’, then why no name for them?

Nobody ever spares a thought for these men – the men of the glue, the men of the paint, the men of the words. They stick those posters we see on the walls, put up and change the hoardings that entice us to shop or invest our money and possibly save our lives in grave times, paint the roads we walk on, guide us on the multiple signs along the roads, and do so much more. They carry the lamp that allows us to see our path, they silently work to make our life easier. Yet, we never spare a moment’s thought.

Today, I want to thank these men and women

Thank you for making my life easier! You are doing a great job!!

© Shivani | forewordMarch

You are Beautiful!

We need to be reminded of this, frequently. To all you gorgeous women- love thyself!


Do you think you are beautiful?
Do you feel comfortable in your skin?

Do you feel that those hair care commercials, beauty brands etc talk to you in particular, when they tell you how you can be a better (read prettier) version of yourself?

Look in the mirror today and tell yourself what you really think and feel of your body. What do you see? A pretty woman or someone who needs improvement?

Being beautiful is feeling beautiful. The world will always tell you that you are two sizes too big or a size too small, that your hair are nice but too sparse, that your skin is unblemished but the color is not at par, that you might be fair but you have an ugly scar. You will probably be compared to others, put down, and told how to look like someone else. Why though? Why would anyone want…

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I Don’t Remember your Number

Overheard this conversation, “Sorry I am calling late to wish you on your birthday. Left my phone home and didn’t remember your number.” This last part made me just so sad, and a bit nostalgic.

People no longer remember anyone’s number, maybe one or two emergency contacts but that’s about it. My mother can still list out the numbers of all our family friends and relatives without taking a moment’s time to recollect, although in her case I have always suspected it to her being a superwoman; how many people can do that now?  My father and grandfather had a little pocket book that was their personal directory. I too maintained a cute little blue colored baby pocket book that had my friends’ landline number scrawled under the respective A,B,C..Z. Does anybody do that nowadays? I wonder.

Nobody remembers anyone’s number these days and why would they, when their phones, SIM and Google stores that information for them, without much effort? I don’t know how many kids would know the meaning of the word ‘directory’; but they sure can teach an adult about Google and Wikipedia and explain in great details why they don’t need to memorize anything when the information is available at the touch of the fingers.  

Recently, Indian government decided to end their telegram service that had served this nation since 1850 and had served it well. The soldiers, lawyers, distant relatives, rich, poor, affluent, unknown – everyone benefited equally by it. The old timers would still vouch by it. Pushed off the edge by sms, email and other means of instant messaging services, this was bound to happen, just the way the landlines phones are slowly but surely fading away.
It’s sad, to the point of being depressing. Maybe I am nostalgic, but still.

Older technology and times brought people together instead of ripping them apart. Be it at the movies; or when the entire neighborhood would gather at that one house which had a TV, however small; or when people gave their neighbors’ landline number to their friends as a point of contact; or the way people at the local tea shop gathered around a small radio to hear the national news broadcast or follow cricket commentary, much before TV started playing them live.

There was never any discomfort, or  irritation at the countenance of these adults when they had to share their TV and telephone or when they had to run  to call their neighbors every single time a call came for them, as I recollect. People met often at each other’s house and sat for a comfortable chat over a cup of tea, unlike in this era, where the same is achieved in a virtual space.  Everyone loved the community feeling that those older ways carefully built and solidified, only to be melted away with technological advancement of human species.

Human race has since moved on to a race of machines. I don’t like the fact but it’s here to stay and I need to accept it. New replaces old, the world is always changing; it makes me wonder. What if one day man forgets that he is a social animal? Social interactions are already being governed by online portals and people find more reasons every day to limit physical meetings and interactions.

I ask- It is modern, but is it ideal? Would you like if the world becomes boxed; to each his own (terminal)?
Should anything be done about it or is the visible future good enough for our generations to follow? Are we leaving a legacy to be proud about or will this generation be written off in future in Wikipedia articles, for the mounting ecological, social, physiological and psychological problems that we are currently in process of manufacturing?

Think. Think Hard.

© Shivani | forewordMarch

Doing the happy dance!

Woot woot!!
Thank you beautiful people. This came in the notification and you can see why I am doing the happy dance. (you can only see the reason, not the dance)


Keep dropping by;
If you like what you read, don’t be shy.
Press a Like and leave a Comment
Dont let it sit with you, don’t let it ferment.
If you follow, I Follow you back;
Even if you don’t, I won’t like you any less for that!
We are all part of one big blog-family, you and I.
Lets share whatever we have gained, lets fly high!

© Shivani | forewordMarch

Everyone Dreams

© Shivani K | forewordMarch

Don’t squash, kill or laugh at other’s dream. For them, those dreams are truer than your reality.
If you can’t support, don’t oppose.

Why I hate Hostelers

“The seniors used to make us juniors push train at each station … Dhakka lagao … So as to make it start and then pay for their bread-omelet as a payment. Juniors were made to sing Hindi songs to collect money from passengers. Everyone used to know they were college students so people got into the fun of it and “donated” generously … Money was then used to eat all night in the train.”
That’s hostel life for you. Right there in that train journey, when you were begging for ‘paisa‘ singing ‘paldesi paldesi jaana nahi’.

I took this memory from a friend who was a hosteler. I can only borrow such memories for I have none of my own. You see now why I hate you hostelers? I really do!

These bullying-ragging-crazy seniors were the same, but not exactly the same for us day-scholars. When the ragging period ends, the friendship begins; but that happens only with hostelers.
Hostelers have those seniors who always have a wise word to offer. It comes pouring out almost naturally. They are your living, walking, breathing, saintly, all-knowing gurus, guides, and mentors, for those three/four years; maybe even for life. They are your personal shrinks who offer free consultations and that too in the privacy of your own comfortably filthy room. Discussions range from which dhaba to eat in, which movie to watch, which society to join, which fucchi to go after to which company to sit for. I could have done with such counselors, such friends.

Hostelers know a thing or two about organizing and space management. They learn early on that nothing in this world is yours (not just philosophically, quite literally). With limited space and common areas, you really can’t expect to keep things to yourself. It makes you move away from the word ‘mine’. Nothing is yours anymore, your own to keep and use. Your eyeliner, your kohl, your slippers, your bucket, your books, your notes, your clothes – nothing is yours. You may not have realized back then, but it prepares you for the time when you would have kids (even your time wouldn’t be your own then). You get less possessive about things, at least the tangibles. I am still trying to be less fussy about how my clothes are my own and not for sharing. You will never have a ‘Joey doesn’t share his food’ moment in life!
Extending the point above, it helps to learn to share early on – from being less clingy about your things, to being more open to allowing people in your life. One step at a time, remember.

They know how to get things work, these hostelers. They have a ‘jugaad‘ (jack) for everything. Notes? No problem. Books? No problem. Date sheet? No problem. Syllabus a day before exam? Never a problem. ED sheets? Three solutions- TOPO, TEPO, TIPO. This last one my engineering friends would know. While I slogged back at home with massive ED board and clips, there they were streamlining it into a fine process. I guess after these many years, it’s safe to write this down.

There is never really a last minute or shortage related worry. ‘Sab ho jayega‘ (everything will work out) as they say. Aur Sab ho hi jata hai. A cool mind gives a better solution to a problem than a worried one. You have your hostel life to know how to keep calm in a storm.

Your hostel mates know the best and the worst about you and they never let you forget it, especially the worst bit. They know how much money you owed for your ‘sutta’ (smoke) to all your friends. They know how many times you threw up after a crazy DP (daru-booze party). They know who you would have called in that inebriated state to profess your love, if not for them. There is never a risk of bloating and floating away in your own bubble till they are around. They will rightfully burst your bubble and bring you down back to the ground, solid and sound. Trust me, it’s for your own good. We can all do with this at any stage of life.

You can always ‘manage’. No matter how short you are, financially, you can always make it work. Scarcity woes are not scarce, but the way you learn to look at them and deal with them changes. It teaches you how to handle money and the importance of it. Of course, you can always learn that when you work and live on your own, but it’s never the same. It pays to learn early and you will be surprised how often it would come in handy.

It teaches you patience and that, believe me, proves to be one true friend. You can never be short of patience in real life. While you wait for your turn in the long queue outside bathroom with a bucket, mug, towel and a sliver of soap in hand, only to find the water gone. It will teach you the way you never outgrow it. Every time when you go home or come back, it becomes an extended class, while you wait at the railway counter, or for the train to arrive, for the sleep to come only to be disturbed by “beta ye kaunsa station hai?” (Son, which station is this?) It teaches you PATIENCE.

Lastly, you are never short of memories. You can talk for hours about the time of your life. The stories that seem unreal to others but happened for real. All the crazy fun you had. The love stories of your campus. The midnight search for food. Cooking one packet of ‘maggi’ noodles in electric kettle and sharing that between 10 – one spoon at a time. Raiding the closet of that one person who always seemed to have a ready stock and a cribbing tongue. Even the less romantic and uglier stories. Managing in cold northern winters with no geysers in campus and being asked by your day-scholar friends why you have such a dishevelled look; traveling to city in hordes for a new movie loaded in a ST bus; the night outs, the kambal pitai, the late night music practice, painting the banners, arranging sponsors for fests, all night long gossips, crashing weddings and asking those day scholars, who lived nearly, if there were any weddings in their area.

There is no time like college time and more so for you hostelers. It makes you ready for the real world out there. It’s like a finishing school that prepares you for the big bad world. Everyone must experience this, both for the good and the bad.

I have only one regret in life (so far) that I never experienced hostel life for the memories it gives and what it makes you.

How I wish I could have experienced that!! How I envy you hostelers! How I hate you! Why can’t I BE you??

© Shivani K  | forewordMarch
© Shivani K | forewordMarch

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© Shivani K | forewordMarch

Let’s look back

Sometimes you make mistakes. Let me correct that- everyone makes mistakes and the mistakes are more often than we would like.

It is starkingly blatant in writing. An occasional Like on one of my older blogs leads me to revisit and re-read the respective blog; this time, from eyes of a third person.
The nostalgia sets in. I try and remember the phase in which the particular blog was written. I see the reflection of the books that I was reading at the time of drafting those particular stories. Something else too happens- I instantly spot mistakes. Oh so many mistakes! How dreadful it feels. Earlier, I used to get conscious and hurry to correct the embarrassment; now, I let it be.

The mistakes are like the twists that sometimes life throws at you, completely unplanned. They are those things that just happen, sometimes when you were aware but decided to go with the flow, and sometimes when you were unguarded and realized after it was too late.

But, these mistakes give these stories a different color; it gives them a life of their own. It makes me wonder how would a neutral reader read it? What would it mean to someone on the other end of this web? Out of all those people who read that piece, who all would read it and infer what I implied? After all, it’s our own state of mind, imagination, and maturity that breathes life into the words. The picture is painted by the brain of the reader, isn’t it?

I suppose it is true for life too. Our mistakes, the way we see it, might actually appear to be one of our best decisions to others. It might actually grow into something that wasn’t planned but turned out much better than what we could have conceived. Its definitely a better way to look at one’s own past; from the eyes of a spectator, an audience of our own life. Let’s try.

Don’t shy from making mistakes. Mistakes aren’t always the devil.

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