Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays

It’s that time of the year again – happiness is in the air.

Eat, drink, be merry and spend time with those who matter the most!

Happy Holidays and best wishes to you and yours  from the Chauhan Family!


Happy Holidays from the Chauhan Family!

The Dirty Picture – Vidya Balan owns it!!

The Dirty Picture

Ever since I saw the promos of The Dirty Picture, I was keen on watching the movie.  I was skeptical about Vidya Balan playing that type of a role and carrying it off flawlessly and can I just say that BOY was I SHOCKED!!!!

Not only did Vidya carry it off flawlessly, she OWNED it!  She took on her character so briliantly that on screen Vidya totally disappeared and all the audience saw was SILK.  Never in a million years had I imagined she would be so comfortable in her own skin, with the display of the sex, sexiness, sexuality along with her one size too tight clothes. 

In the male dominated world (a message that you get in the movie as well), it is Vidya/SILK who truly emerges as the hero of the movie and everyone else just becomes a backdrop for SILK to unfold and let us into her life. 

So without giving away everything about the movie, here is my opinion on some things about the movie ….

Things I like about the movie :

1. Vidya Balan, Vidya Balan and VIDYA BALAN!!!  (before this movie I had thought Priyanka Chopra had done the bravest performance by far in 7 Khoon Maaf but in The Dirty Picture, Vidya blows her out of the water!  Would not be surprised if she wins all and every award for this movie!!)

2.  The dialogues – take a bow Rajat Arora (though the story did have some holes – the second half seemed to be rushed whereas the first half was beautifully built up) 

3. The direction – take a bow Milan Luthria (after once upon a time in mumbai, he has proved himself again however, he did seem to falter in the scene SILK wasn’t present and did the best of his work with her)

4.  The way the story unfolds and gives us an entry into SILK’s life! (though the end felt abrupt and kind of rushed)

5.  The transformation of Reshma into SILK

The things I did not like about the movie :

1. The costumes – they seemed post the 80s when the movie was supposedly set

2. The unnecessary melodrama in the 2nd half of the movie

3. Anju Mahendru being wasted – she is such a fantastic actress but I feel she was slapped with a very cliched role of a journalist.

4. The placement of my favorite track “Ishq Sufiyaana” – it should have been the ending credits as it cuts into the build up of the movie unnecessarily. 

Nothing else much that I can say I disliked about the movie. 

I feel like I need to watch this movie once again to fully understand Silk’s character and psyche.  The scene where she reacts to Naseeruddin’s comment to her when he’s handing her the award made me feel that the Silk I understood wouldn’t have reacted in that manner.  The end left me wondering why exactly someone like SILK dressed like a bride before killing herself … was it because she finally really fell in love because as she said “Haath to bohot logon ne lagaya hai lekin chuaa kisi ne nahin hai” … makes me wonder if what she wanted was to marry Abraham but felt like she couldn’t?  I was left wondering if that feeling was awakened when she was forced to hide in the bathroom as Naseerudin’s wife comes to the farmhouse at night and was left there until the early morning to tiptoe out while they are asleep … (BTW awesomely portrayed by Vidya … very poignant)

Anyways, if I talk anymore, I’ll give away everything about the movie but while ending, I will leave you with some of the dialogues in the movie that stuck with me and if you haven’t please do take the time to watch THE DIRTY PICTURE for nothing and no one else but VIDYA brave BALAN!!

Some of my favorite dialogues :

1. Filmein sirf 3 cheezon se chalti hai – entertainment, entertainment, entertainment aur main – entertainment hoon!
2. History utha kar dekh lo 2 cheezein hamesha common rahi hai – mardon ka zamaana raha hai auraton ne aake aafat ki hai!
3. “Aaj se tera naam silk”
      Aur tumhaar naam Keeda Das – keeda hi to hai jo silk banaata hai
4. Hero koi bhi ho, har kahaani ki VAMP main hi hoon
5. Jab sharafat ke kapde utartey hain tab shareefon ko sabse zyada mazaa aata hai – Jab shareefon Ki sharafat utarti hai to mujhe bada mazaa aata hai
6. Mujhe mere maa baap ne nahin paida kiya – Silk ko camera ne janam diya hai (this one might be a bit off as I saw it on Friday night … )
7. Kuch logon ka naam unke kaam se hota hai – Mera badnaam ho ke hua hai
8. Heroine ki zindagi is like an elected govt – 5 saal tak party, uske baad support
9. Ye ladki aise hi aag lagaeigi (HOW APT IS THIS FOR VIDYA IN THIS MOVIE!!!!)
10. Woh item number ki guitar thi – main sufi gaane ka ek taara
11. Silk bani hi mazaa dene ke liye hai
12. Tere chaahne waale na saamne ke 4 rows me baithte hai – peeche ki 40 rows meri hai
13. Public samaan dekhti hai dukaan nahi
14. Aurat rainbow ki tarah hoti hai – kisi ko lagti hai lottery ki tarah lag gayi to kismat khul jaati hai – kisi ko hoti hai mohobat ki tarah ho gayi to jaan atak jaati hai – mujhe to chadhi zeher ki tarah ki ab paani bhi peeta hoon na to aag lag jaati hai
15. Mujhe jo chaiye uska mazaa raat ko hi aata hai (watch Vidya in this scene – she pulls it off without looking vulgar at ALL!!)


Tere jaane ke baad …

Tere jaane ke baad

Jaane kyon log kehte hai apno ke jaane pe gham hota hai
Hum to apne janaze se guzarti teri baraat me bhi naache hai …

(written on November 18th)

Tanha tanha yaha pe jeena … ye koi baat hai …

Tanha tanha yaha pe jeena

 Jal gaya daaman jab aansuo se nikli aag
Dhul gaya kajal jab aansuo pe daali khaak
Khaufnaak hai ye akelapan jal chuke hai khwaab-o-khayaal
Baithi thi hui maayoos par tere aane ne kiya hairaan

Pakistan : A Strategic Relationship

Pakistan : A Strategic Relationship 

As a person from the Indian origin, I agree with the general sentiment in India that Pakistan misappropriates the financial and military aid that it receives from United States of America.  At the same time, as an American, I stand by wholeheartedly with critics of the US foreign policy including many Indian politicians and general public who claim that the United States of America is self-interested in supporting Pakistan.  The Indian media rallies its viewers in denouncing the US aid to Pakistan, and to call upon the US Congress to hold Pakistan accountable in how it uses such aid.  Knowing that the US aid to Pakistan is strategic in nature and within the sovereign rights of a nation to protect its interests, I disagree with such media experts, as holding Pakistan responsible, is the job for the international community collectively.

      Pakistan became a sovereign nation on August 14, 1947 after its independence from the United Kingdom, and partition from India.  As stated by the Department of State in “Pakistan”, the United States of America established its diplomatic relations with Pakistan on October 20, 1947 (n.p).  Pakistan is a major non-NATO ally of United States of America and has served two major purposes in US foreign policy:

  1. Historically, to contain the Soviet Union’s expansion into the Middle East via Iran, Iraq and Turkey.
  2. Presently, to help United States in its fight against terrorism.

Nevertheless, ever since the establishment of the diplomatic ties, the relationship has been characterized as “rocky” and unstable. 

As mentioned by Gannon in “U.S., Pakistan Struggle with ‘unhappy’ Alliance – Army News | News from Afghanistan & Iraq – Army Times” according to U.S. Rep. Nita Lowey of New York, the top Democrat on the House Appropriations Subcommittee that oversees the U.S. State Department and foreign operations, “There’s always been tensions in the relationship. There’s been tensions with the military, the defense, and even on development aid.” (n.p).    

The military and financial aid to Pakistan can be characterized as a compensation for the resources that US procures to carry out its goals in the region.  Some of these procurements come in the form of military bases, use of airspace, use of local intelligence, and administrative support of paramilitary organizations.  A substantial – although subjective – compensation may also be viewed as a payment for the loss of life and resources that Pakistan continues to suffer because it supports United States in its War on Terrorism.  A large segment of the Pakistani community views United States’ War on Terrorism as a War on Islam as many Pakistanis in the local tribal regions – especially along the border with Afghanistan – are sympathetic to the cause of Taliban and Al Qaeda.  Such supporters strongly oppose Pakistani government’s support of US interests, and have taken up arms and action against their fellow man.  IEDs [Improvised Explosive Devises] and suicide bombers that are common place in Pakistan today were unheard of prior to Pakistan’s support of US War on Terrorism.  Initially reluctant, Pakistan eventually agreed to support US invasion of Afghanistan if exchange of compensation for the support in the form of debt forgiveness and additional military and financial aid (“Pakistan” n.p.).  Historically and presently, the diplomatic ties between Pakistan and United States have been transactional in nature.  Both nations cater to their self-interests respectively, and such an arrangement is natural for two geographically distant nations with conflicting national interest and priorities.

United States of America is aware that a large segment of the aid that it provides to Pakistan is misappropriated by the local government to sponsor illegitimate projects with the nation, and terrorism in India.  Calls have been made locally within United States and internationally to hold Pakistan accountable to its actions.  Many have advised United States to sever military and economic aid to Pakistan should it fail to heed to such pressure.  According to the United States Department of State in “Pakistan”, “…Pakistani officials assured India that Pakistan would not allow its territory to be used for terrorist activity directed against India. Pakistan also said it would expedite the trial of suspects implicated in the Mumbai attacks” (n.p.). However, many local and international players recognize, in private, that United States of America lacks the capacity to enforce such dictum on Pakistan.

Just as United States is within its rights to pursue bilateral ties with a nation to further its interests, Pakistan is within its rights to use its resources – whether home grown or internationally traded – to further its national interests.  Should the international community find such pursuits by Pakistan to be unfair, unjust, or detrimental to the global interests, then the pressure needs to come from the international community to encourage Pakistan to correct its course.  The aid provided to the Pakistan from United States is made on good faith that Pakistan will be responsible with the resources bestowed upon it through the diplomatic relations.  Each packet of aid from the United States comes with clear instructions, and directions of appropriate use of resources.  In the past, United States has suspended its aid to Pakistan upon violations of the treaties – especially during the 1980s and 1990s as Pakistan developed its own nuclear weapons.

Imagine for a moment that you live in a town with only one grocer.  All the people in the town – whether rich or poor – go to him to buy their milk.  And the grocer – knowing that he is in a strategic position of influence – takes his profit and ill spends it in the community.  This ill spending may be in the form of bribery, prostitution, drugs, etc.  In such a scenario, it is sensible to assume that it is the responsibility of the law enforcement or the entire community to hold such an ill intended grocer accountable for his actions.  If the richest merchant in the town protests alone, the grocer will likely fail to pay attention to the objections of the merchant.  Such is the case with United States and Pakistan.  United States relations with Pakistan are strategic and transactional.  United States provides the aid to Pakistan as compensation for the use of land and air rights in and over Pakistan.  What Pakistan does with such aid is a matter of concern for the entire globe with all its international players and stakeholders.  If US attempts to discipline Pakistan as a lone ranger, then Pakistan will turn to China to fulfill its national interests.  Presently, we already see such a shift in the international community.

Ek paigaam, uske naam …

Ek paigaam, uske naam

Jaane ke baad mere puche to bata dena, paigaam chodh gaya hai uske naam koi
Jab who neend se jaage to bata dena, saari raat uske paas jaaga tha koi
Jab bhi need me haathon ko usne pakda, sharam se khud me simat gaya tha koi
Jab aayi koi muskaan uske hothon pe dheere se, khil khila ke muskura diya tha koi
Jab sarakta tha uske sar se takiyaa zara bhi, apni godh me sar rakh ke sulaata tha koi
Jab woh soya tha yun bekhabar ho, saari raat chaahat se nihaarta tha koi

Agents of Socialization

 Agents of Socialization

In our daily lives every interaction, every situation we face and everything we observe shapes us.  It all starts with our families as they are the first people we come into contact with and learn from the day we are born and then our schools, our peers, our friends, and the mass media plays a huge part in molding us as well.  Just like everyone, there have been many instances in my life that have influenced who I have turned out to be as a person today.  

Some of the things that families do which help us in becoming who we end up as are teaching us values and beliefs.  I remember when I was younger and we used to live in Nepal, we used to have my dad’s relatives who would come over and stay with us for days continuously.  Being in that country, the culture is very different and women are expected to take care of their in-laws without ever complaining.  My mom used to do just that.  She would go out of her way to make sure they were comfortable no matter how inconvenient it got for her and all the while, I never heard her complain.  I remember very clearly asking her once why she does everything without telling my dad to ask his relatives to not come home to stay so often and for so many days and she told me something that day which I still remember till today and have imparted that belief on my kids as well.  She said “family is the most important thing in this world and even if one is a little inconvenienced for them, having them in our lives is much bigger than the temporary discomfort we face”.  This belief has stuck with me throughout these years and helped me become more tolerant of people in general as I look at what the other person gains out of the situation even if I am temporarily inconvenienced.  

When I was twelve, I remember insisting and arguing with my dad about what I wanted to do for my birthday and how many friends I wanted to invite and have a huge party.  He suggested doing something simpler and with fewer friends and I was irritated and told him that he didn’t care about me and all he cared about was his money.  That day, my dad told me about his childhood and how he had to work really hard just to make ends meet on a daily basis, as his dad had passed away when he was very young and his family was not very rich.  He explained to me that day that it was not that his money was more important to him than his kids but just that he had learned the value of money the hard way and he did not want his kids to ever face what he did and if GOD forbid they ever did end up facing what he had to, they would be prepared to handle it.  I realized that day what the importance of spending wisely is and even though today I am in a family where we can pretty much afford everything we desire, I am a little frugal in my spending as I always think “is it really necessary” before I spend based on that lesson from my dad. 

Another incident that comes to mind which has helped me shape me into who I am is when I was ten and we had just moved to the United States from Nepal.  As a new kid in school, I was very nervous on my first day and wanted to make the right impression and make new friends.  What I did not know was that shopping at Kmart was not acceptable and ten year olds can be very ruthless and not very forgiving.  I asked my mom for a new outfit so I can go to school confidently and we went shopping at Kmart and bought a new outfit.  I went to school very excited and nervous but somewhere halfway through my first class, a girl whispered, are those pants from Kmart?  And I very proudly exclaimed they were!  Little did I know that by recess, it felt like the whole school knew about the new girl with pants from Kmart, I am thirty three now and yet, that is a day that I will never forget.  I was constantly picked on throughout the day and made fun of so much that I cried and went to the office to call my parents and begged them to come pick me up and take me home before the day was even over.  I was so upset that I refused to go to school from that day – needless to say, my parents still sent me but, from that day onwards, I made it a personal agenda to befriend any new student in school and make sure that they have some enjoyable experience.  Ever since that day, I never criticize anyone and try to make sure everyone’s encounter with me is a pleasant one.  

It is rightly said that peers play a part in our socialization whether it is to shape us to become someone or not to become someone.  As an Indian American, I have always had to struggle with keeping the balance of both cultures that are a part of me.  When I was twelve, my friends would all hang out at the mall and go to the movies without their parents as that was the “grownup and in” thing to do however, my parents did not allow for me to go and do that as in the Indian culture, letting the girls go anywhere alone, especially when they were that young, was not acceptable.  My parents did not allow me to spend nights at my friends’ houses for sleepovers but were welcoming of my friends who wanted to spend the night at my house.  I had some friends who did not understand and made fun of the fact that I was still a kid and that’s why I was not allowed to go anywhere by myself but, I had some friends who understood why and were more than willing to come by my house or to hang out with me in the presence of my parents.  I am still friends with some of the friends, who stuck with me, till date and they have really helped me learn that friends don’t abandon each other just because one is different from you rather, you embrace that difference and you make your friendship work.  A friendship can work if two people are willing to understand each other and put the effort to make it work.  

One example that comes to mind when I think about mass media and how it has helped shape me is movies.  As a child, since I was very fond of movies, my parents used to get different movies for me to watch.  One movie that I was very fond of and saw umpteen times, probably driving my parents crazy in the process, was Mary Poppins.  Mary Poppins taught me about the power of imagination and that with a little imagination, everything is possible.  Every time I get stuck in a situation, I just use my imagination to think what I would do differently or what I would do in the same situation if I was someone different and – most often than not, I usually come up with the desired answer and find a way out.  

Because socialization helps make us discover ourselves and shapes our personality and who we become, it is extremely important for all children to be in a situation where it is possible for them to be in that setting.  Nothing can replace the importance of socialization on a kid and as parents, when our kids are very young, it is our responsibility to ensure we are putting them in situations that enable them to do so.

Divorce : An Effect of War on Military Families

 Divorce : an effect of war on military families

Prerna Chauhan 

 ENG (061L) – College Composition

Alicia Steffan

Divorce : An Effect of War on Military Families


The eight years of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are taking a toll on all involved.  However the ones feeling the weight of it the most are military families and the families are trying to deal and cope with it the best they can.    As Gregg points out in “Broken Families,” one of the many effects of war on military families is that it leads to the breaking down of communication between the soldier and their spouse.  Another effect of war weighing down the families and creating distress is the combat stress on the soldiers and the depression that it leads the soldiers to.  War also forces families to live a superficial life, wherein, they show how happy they are to the world from the outside whereas, from the inside, the families are completely broken.  The consequence of all these effects combined is that it ultimately leads to divorce. 

As Gregg mentioned in the article “Broken Families,” the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are leading to higher divorces in military families as they are leading families to learn to “live separate lives” (page 2).   When one spouse is at war, the other is left to deal with all the issues on the home front.  The spouse at home ends up having to behave like a single parent and becomes responsible for doing everything on their own to take care of the kids and raise the family.  They also become responsible for taking care of all other household and financial issues related to take care of the family, essentially leaving them little to no time for themselves.  The lack of time for self, leads to depression and resentment in many spouses who then feel like they are trapped in a marriage where they are responsible for making all the sacrifices.  As William noted in “When Mom goes to war, families fight own battle,” when the spouse at home thinks of all the things the spouse who is deployed is doing, such as yoga classes, trips to nearby places, instead of realizing that while deployed, they have to rely on such activities to keep them busy, they start resenting the fact that their spouse is able to take time to do things for themselves, where they have no time to do anything they want to as, they are overwhelmed with taking care of the family.  This resentment carries over from one day’s conversation to the next and creates a communication barrier between the couple which can be difficult to overcome. 

Along with this, not being able to adjust back into a normal family routine is also a huge factor contributing to the reason for divorce.  As Freedberg points out in “When The Troops Come Home”, when the deployed spouse comes back home, it is hard for them to get out of the habits formed overseas and get back into the habit of doing little things that one would normally do in everyday life.  Whether it is putting the dirty dishes into the dishwasher or letting the shift in balance of power go.  Not getting angry or yelling at your kids and spouse when they aren’t following your instructions exactly as you want them to takes a lot of willpower from the soldiers.  They have a hard time in realizing that they are not with their units and in the circumstance where they are used to giving and receiving orders.  The soldiers take time to get acclimated to the fact that life on the grounds is different than the life at home.  Most of the times, it is the culmination of these issues that then become the cause of a growing distance, ultimately becoming a reason for the couple to opt for a divorce. 

“Mental health problems, particularly post-traumatic stress disorder and depression” is another effect of war leading to divorce as pointed out by Gregg in “Divorce rate rises in 2008 among soldiers, Marines” (page 2).  Freedberg agrees in “When the Troops Come Home” that post-traumatic stress disorder [PTSD] makes it extremely difficult for families to get along once the spouse returns from war.  As he recalls one soldier’s story, ‘…one memory haunts him [the soldier] in particular. “It was a dad and a daughter,” Simpson said, before describing mutilations that will not be printed here. “That, I think, really affected me because the girl was around 9 to 11 — so, older than my daughter would have been, but still a daughter, nonetheless, and a dad couldn’t do anything to stop it” ‘ (page 3).  The soldiers deal with such incidents and situations every day when they are in a combat zone.  When they come back home, they bring the memories and the visuals back with them and have a hard time getting it out of their minds and consciousness.  The stress from having to deal with these haunting memories, does not allow them to function normally, in their daily routines at home.  The soldiers come back home with a lot of anger and depression of what they have seen, had to do and been through in the combat zones.  However, they do not share what they are feeling with anyone as they don’t believe that those who haven’t been to the combat zone and experienced it would understand it.  More often than not, when the soldiers meet other soldiers who have been to the war zones as they have, they talk about the time they had spent on the grounds and the life they had seen and lived through.  The conversation and bonding that is happening, is very apparent to the families and makes them feel like the outsiders who, the soldiers see as strangers and the families no longer know.  Internalizing what they are feeling, and all the anger they are carrying, makes the soldiers more depressed leading them to have severe PTSD. 

According to Skipp, Ephron and Hastings, in “TROUBLE AT HOME”, the length of deployment (mobilizing the forces in times of war), is another factor leading to divorce.  “In Vietnam and Korea, the average soldier spent less than a year overseas” (page 1), whereas in the recent Iraq and Afghanistan wars, the soldiers have had to deploy multiple times for varying lengths at a time.  For example, though the Army might require a soldier to deploy for one year, it’s usually multiple deployments causing the families to be apart for anywhere from 12 to 36 months in many cases.  The effects of PTSD and living a superficial life intensify and multiply with each deployment.  In many instances, soldiers do not make an attempt to get back into the routine of their normal lives when they return only because they feel it would be useless as they have to turn around and deploy again in a short while.  This attitude of “I have to leave anyways”, leads to disagreements, frustration and anger in the spouse who is eager to get the family back into a regular normal-life schedule. 

One of the main reasons, which leads to divorce, is role reversal states Freedberg in “When the Troops Come Home.”   When the wife is the spouse who is deployed, most men have a hard time accepting the changes in the role they have to play.  “Most men — or some men — just can’t accept that, being the caregiver and stuff and having to do everything, and not knowing ‘When is she going to have to go again?’ Across the armed services, marriages in which a military woman is married to a civilian man rupture at a much higher rate than marriages between a civilian woman and a military man. In fact, military wives and their civilian husbands break up more often than couples in which both partners are in uniform and subject to deployment. Despite the higher stress on the “dual-military” couple, including husband and wife going to war at the same time, a wife going off to war while the husband stays at home with the kids turns out to be more of a role reversal than many can bear.” (Page 5) 

Looking at the rise in divorce rates and its implications on the family and the recruits, the military realizes the importance of making the families work because, there are many instances where, the military loses its recruits due to the pressures on the family and, the soldiers choosing to save their families, instead of staying in the military.  According to Gomulka in “Saving Military Families,” many of the military spouses believe that the divorce rate released by the Department of Defense, tremendously underestimates the extent of marital problems in the armed services, especially never-ending problems among those who have made multiple combat deployments.  The military has invested a lot in family support networks and in educating the families on what being deployed to a war zone will mean for the family and how to face and overcome the challenges.  Soldiers and Marines have shouldered the burden of most of the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Given the high stress levels endured among military families after years of multiple combat tours and lengthy deployments, it is no surprise that divorces among enlisted Soldiers and Marines reached a 16-year high in fiscal year 2008. There were nearly 1,000 more divorces among enlisted Soldiers in 2008 than in 2007” (Page 1).  Gregg points out in “Broken Families” that the Army is scrambling to address the issue, providing more counselors to help couples address their marital issues, expanding a program run by chaplains that offers marital therapy retreats. In an interview Monday, Chiarelli said he was encouraged by a pilot program creating online counseling services for soldiers and their families. A crucial goal is to lengthen the time soldiers spend at home between deployments, he says” (Page 2).  Though the efforts are being made by the military, many families don’t believe enough is being done.  They don’t believe that putting a lot of families in a room together, before deployment and running a PowerPoint presentation on a screen, does not prepare them for what’s in store for them and the changes they have to go through and firmly believe that the military needs to be more proactive in accurately preparing them for the days ahead. 

Some would argue that it is not the effect of war but rather, the effect of deployment which leads to divorce however, I disagree because then the same effect would be seen on business people who travel often and stay away from their families for extended periods of times.  In addition, deploying to military bases around the world where it is not a combat zone would have the same effect but, as of now there are no statistics or data that shows the same effect from deploying in a safer place where there isn’t an ongoing war.  Until there are studies done that point to the deployment having the same effect regardless of where one is deploying, it is safe to say that the issues that arise from being in a war zone, such as, living a superficial life, having communication barriers, being diagnosed with PTSD and the difficulty to acclimate oneself with the normal daily routines again, are the effects that lead to the biggest casualty in the lives of the military families – divorce – the demise of a family.

Blood is thicker than water …

   Blood is thicker than water

 Prerna Chauhan

ENG (061L) – College Composition

Alicia Steffan


 “If you mean I’ve got to choose between you guys and my daughter, then yes! I am willing to walk away! Because right now, nothing else matters more to me than her happiness!” exclaimed my dad as he hung up the phone with his brother. 

My mom asked me to take my brother and sister into the other room and go watch TV. One look at my dad’s face and I knew this conversation between my parents was going to be very unpleasant. 

“But you both are going to talk about me!  I have a right to stay here and be a part of it!” I insisted. 

Mom shot me a look I knew never to go against, so I grabbed my brother’s arm with one hand, my sister’s with the other and left the room quietly.  As soon as we were out of my parents’ bedroom, I asked my brother to take my sister and go watch TV.

“But, Mom said you have to come with us Didi. You can’t stand here and listen to their conversation!” 

“I can do what I want, I’m older than you and when mom and dad aren’t around, I’m in charge so you need to listen to me right now!  Besides, you know what I’m going through right now, so don’t make things more difficult for me.  Just take her and go, will you?”

As my brother left with my sister, I stood at the door, intently listening to my parents’ talk.  “What do you mean you are breaking the ties with the family?” I heard my mom asking. 

Breaking ties with the family? My dad?  That’s just impossible!  I’ve always known my dad to be a man who has always been there and done things for his family, regardless of how badly they’ve treated him in return. And so it had to something major if he was talking about “breaking ties with the family.”   

“What do you expect me to do? Push Prerna back into that hellhole, to be abused every day, just so my family can walk around the so-called society and proudly claim we have no divorces in our family? I am not going to risk my child’s life for anyone! Not my family, not the so-called society, not anyone!  Have any of them come forward to help my girl when she is beaten every day?  Have they tried to stop those people and make her life better? And most importantly, can they assure me that my daughter won’t be harmed anymore and that she will be happy if I force her to stay back in that house?” 

Shattered, I fell to the floor in disbelief!  This was my own family! The countless uncles and aunts who had claimed to love me, and that my dad was of the utmost importance to them. And now at the toughest point in my life, when I had taken the bold step to walk out of an abusive marriage, they were ready to forget all that we meant to them and that I was like their “daughter.” Instead, want to push me back into that godforsaken life, just to save their pathetic face in a soul-less society, where divorce was culturally unacceptable?

It was beyond my comprehension, that a human being’s “dignity of life” meant nothing in comparison to the “perfect family image” that this society has created, as a whole.

But what hurt the most was that my own family was willing to take the risk of losing me, in order to save their so called “perfect family image”.   

With million thoughts racing through my mind and a tirade of emotions overflowing, I began to cry as I couldn’t understand why such conditions were enforced on my dad, for doing what any father would do!  How could my family forget so easily that my dad was there in every agonizing situation they had faced?  That he struggled financially himself, but helped all his siblings settle in life far better than the best he could?  That he always showed how family comes above all, in every action of his?  Haven’t we all been taught from the beginning that family sticks together no matter what happens?  How many times have we heard the cliché that “blood is thicker than water”?  So now when it was actually time to enact upon that, why was it that my family was willing to break all ties with us in a heartbeat? 

Determined not to let my father lose what meant the most to him, I walked in the room and told my parents to stop this discussion and that dad should not leave his family and that I would figure out a way and deal with my situation alone. 

The yelling that I got from my parents that day is something I still remember and cherish till this day.  My dad firmly said that they were his family no doubt, but his real family was my mom, my brother, my sister and I. And “no matter what the consequences, our family always sticks together”. 

That one single moment let me know how much my father loved me and what I meant to him.  Needless to say, my dad stood by me as a rock through my divorce, though most of his family had stopped talking to him.  Regardless, till this day, he has never let me feel that he regretted neither my walking away from my marriage, nor his decision to support me. 

That one situation reaffirmed my belief in what my dad has always taught me, that blood is thicker than water and albeit helped strengthen my relationship with my dad even more.  That one day taught me that no matter what the situation and no matter what the outcome, we never ditch our family!  Especially in fear of what someone else might say or think.  I have taken that with me all these years and tried to impart that on my kids as well.  If I can teach them the same thing and have them believe in it half as much as I believe in it, I’m convinced my girls will always have each other and be by each other’s sides throughout their lives, in any and every situation they might face.

Imran’s Poetry – Zindagi Na Milegi Doobara


LOVED every word of each of Imran’s (Javed Akhtar’s poetry, recited by Farhan Akhtar) poem in Zindagi Na Milegi Doobara.  Read on for yourself to see why I’m so smitten!

Dilon me tum apni
Betaabiyan leke chal rahe ho
Toh zinda ho tum
Nazar me khwabon ki
Bijliyan leke chal rahe ho
Toh zinda ho tum
Hawa ke jhokon ke jaise
Aazad rehna seekho
Tum ek dariya ke jaise
Lehron me behna seekho
Har ek lamhe se tum milo
Khole apni baahein
Har ek pal ek naya samaa
Dekhein yeh nigaahein
Jo apni aankhon me
Hairaniyan leke chal rahe ho
Toh zinda ho tum
Dilon mein tum apni
Betaabiyan leke chal rahe ho
Toh zinda ho tum

Jab jab dard ka baadal chaaya
Jab gham ka saaya lehraaya
Jab aansoo palkon tak aaya
Jab yeh tanha dil ghabraaya
Humne dil ko ye samjhaaya
Dil aakhir tu kyon rota hai
Duniya mein yunhi hota hai
Yeh jo gehre sannate hai
Waqt ne sabko hi baante hai
Thoda gham hai sabka kissa
Thodi dhoop hai sabka hissa
Aankh teri bekaar hi nam hai
Har pal ek naya mausam hai
Kyun tu aise pal khota hai
Dil aakhir tu kyon rota hai

Ek baat honton tak hai jo aayi nahi
Bas ankhon se hai jhaankti
Tumse kabhi mujhse kabhi
Kuch lafz hai woh maangti
Jinko pehanke honton tak aa jaaye woh
Aawaaz ki baahon mein baahein daale ithlaye who
Lekin jo ye ek baat hai
Ehsas hi ehsas hai
Khushboo si hai jaise hawa mein tairti
Khushboo jo be-aawaaz hai
Jiska pata tumko bhi hai
Jiski khabar mujhko bhi hai
Duniya se bhi chupta nahi
Yeh jaane kaisa raaz hai

Pighle neelam sa behta hua yeh samaa
Neeli neeli si khamoshiyaan
Na kahi hai zameen
Na kahi aasmaan
Sarsaraati hui tehniyaan, pattiyan
Keh rahi hai ki bas ek tum ho yahan
Sirf main hoon meri saansein hain aur meri dhadkane
Aisi gehraiyaan
Aisi tanhaiyaan
Aur main sirf main
Apne honay pe mujhko yaqeen aa gaya

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