No Scolding

I have always had problems with scolding as a form of negative reinforcement. Contrary to popular belief that it is important to admonish if someone commits a mistake, I believe there are more patient ways to deal with an errant child, student, or any person.

Scolding does not deter people from repeating the same mistakes. It will only ensure that they will not let you know whenever it is repeated. There have to be discussions, maybe elaborate ones so that they understand where they went wrong and why they should not repeat it. Reprimanding might avoid the recurrence of the error, but it might be out of fear more than realization. It is a common tactic used by many people when it is difficult to console someone who is depressed. When initial consolation does not help much, they speak rather rudely or harshly so that the person is forced to become ‘alright’ again. I fail to understand what purpose does it serve, except instilling fear, dislike, and sometimes even hatred.

On a personal note, I thought of this today because someone I love a lot scolded me a lot yesterday. I do not doubt his intentions and I am aware that he has my best interests at heart. But words, like accidents, leave scars. A few days from now, that conversation will not matter anymore; but I will never be able to forget the harsh words he told me. I will think twice before letting him know when something happens because  I will be reminded of this day. I will prefer dying to hearing such hurtful things again.

I think of my father and how patiently he handles me. I trouble him the most, but not for once have I seen him lose his temper with me. He explains things to me over and over again, giving me hope when I least expect it. He has never scolded me for being sad. I feel so grateful to him for all his affection, love, and most importantly, patience.

Scolding is not the right thing to do, especially when someone is depressed. It does not help. Please do not take it up as a tactic or anything else. If someone seems inconsolable, please be a little more sensitive and try again. And if you have lost patience, give up. But don’t get mad at people for being upset, sad or depressed. Don’t be rude or harsh because people are more vulnerable during their worst days. Maybe they need some more time. Your words can harm as well as heal; please don’t do more harm than good.

Signing off with this pearl of wisdom from Dumbledore:

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A lot’s in a name

It is perhaps one of the biggest ironies that we have no say in deciding our own name- something that remains our biggest identity throughout our life. I feel bad for those who don’t like their own name. I’ve often felt we must be assigned temporary names upon birth. It should be a practice for everyone to change one’s name as per one’s OWN choice upon attaining adulthood. If you like your name, you keep it. If not, fashion yourself a lovely new one and change it!

Firstly, my name has got nine letters that makes it too long. It’s complex and has got many syllables. I wonder how old was I when I could pronounce it correctly myself! It must have taken me ages. The length also implies that I’ve hardly found people who spell it correctly at the first instance (despite the fact that I was named after a celebrity and I spell it the same way as her). I mean, you read her name every other day in the papers and everywhere else- how can you get it wrong? It’s a rather common name. I feel a surge of affection every time somebody gets my full name write (my last name causes more spelling blunders, but let’s not digress and stick to my name for today).

My name means wealth or prosperity. Maybe my mother thought I’d be lucky for them and bring in lots of both. But that’s not been the case and honestly, I have never felt the pressure to live up to it either. I think we should be named based upon our personalities, celebrating the good in each of us. Everyone has certain good qualities, why not use it as a name? It’s like all paying you a compliment every time they address you! Also, you feel obliged to live up to the name.

So I’ve found a new name for myself- Mishti. This is a Bengali word that means sweet or sweetness.  It’s such a lovely name and also suits my personality. I’ve realized it is also very pleasing to hear. I can’t get over it! I love writing letters and like to imagine signing them off as Mishti.

Here’s to more and more sweetness…
– Mishti

The Magical Being

Imagine being huddled in a corner of a room, sad about everything that’s going around you. Those times when you’d give anything in the world to run away to a distant land where nobody knows you; you’d be perfectly fine to live alone than endure the torture you’re undergoing right now. Suddenly, your phone lights up- you’re getting a call. Your screen shows the picture of the one you love the most in the world and your heart does a somersault!

Although you might not be able to share exactly how you feel, how soothing does their voice sound! Even if you’re talking about the most random stuff, you hardly realize that you’re smiling and laughing now- well, weren’t you on the verge of crying minutes ago? It is strange how some people are so magical; they don’t have a magic wand but they can just set everything right. It is astonishing how it comes so naturally and effortlessly to them, merely by virtue of their being. They help you get up again after every fall. They keep you going.

And then you know that not all angels have wings and that there is indeed something called magic! They’ll always help you fight the Dementors. Expecto Patronum!


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The young victim

This poem is dedicated to all of us- victims of a suffocating educational system with burdensome evaluation patterns. It is a matter of shame for any educational institution when the institutional torture it inflicts upon students is so severe that even the most hardworking and sincere ones cannot perform their level best.

I am the child carrying a bag bigger than herself
I am the student rushing from one tuition to the next
Or one who is just a month away from my degree
Bombarded with work he can’t finish in a century

I run, unaware of my destination
I collapse, gasping for breath
But I stand again to finish one more chapter
As my own will experiences a slow death

There are expectations from elders
Dreaded punishments from teachers
Ridicule from rivals
Contempt from competitors

I read but do not register a line
I write but the words don’t seem to be mine
I study but do not critically analyze
I think but produce no ideas

I now know what Marx meant by alienation
When nothing feels like your own
Neither your dreams, nor your goals
And work makes you feel overgrown

I don’t want to wake up to a new day
Because I will have to continue what I left before
At this young age, I want to disappear
Rather than read, interact and explore

My brain refuses to concentrate
As my heart isn’t into what I have to do
The bird wants to sleep undisturbed in its nest
So that tomorrow it can begin a journey anew

I don’t want to fulfil expectations anymore
I don’t want to match any standards
I want a free reign for my imagination
I want to explore different worlds

Frustration, depression, irritation
All gate-crash like uninvited guests in a party
The rebel within roars in indignation
To surpass every institutional limitation

Nothing can be learnt from too much work
It just becomes an imposed formality
Done in haste, whether good or waste
Life staggers between ‘dead’lines

I succumb to pressure
I lose my enthusiasm and motivation
“How much done?” displaces “How are you?”
My existence revolves around marks and submissions

Freedom and time are what I need
To think of new ideas, to try and try again
To learn from my mistakes
To knowledge  and wisdom so gain

When I see little kids play
Naughty, innocent and carefree they chirp..
They look so cheerful and happy
I wish I never grew up

Diminutive diaries- Pain

There are times when you want to cry your heart out, scream as loud as you can and vent it all. But you can’t. Neither a tear drops nor a whisper comes out of your mouth. The volcano inside you refuses to erupt. The heart is unwilling to let go of the pain that makes it so heavy. You become more than the sum of all your parts. Your grief conquers you and you are subdued. You cannot fight anymore. You want to get rid of the pain but it clings on to you.

This time, the war ended but peace left.

Some more time

It is never easy to accept that good times shall be over quickly. It is more painful when one realizes that there are fewer days left than one imagined.

I feel so bad for myself. It took me long to accept this place. By the time I began to love it, it is time to go back. The happy times, warm welcomes, greetings, smiles, games, jokes, laughter, excitement and many more emotions will now be memories. I shall probably never see some people I love so much ever again. The kids I play with daily will forget me when they grow up. It will soon be past, no matter how golden.

Yes, I will move on in life. I will embrace new beginnings. I will usher another phase of life, probably in a different country miles away from here or home. I will meet new people. But will I ever meet people as lovely as these? Nobody can love me as they do. The very thought that I have only 60 days left gives me goosebumps. The happiest times had only just begun. I had just started to live my life to the fullest. It now dawns on me that this is only a matter of few days. It will be over in a jiffy, once and for all.

Love is our biggest strength. It is tragic to part with our loved ones. I wish it was easier. There were times I wanted it to end too soon. Now, I would give anything I have in order to make it last longer. I don’t want it to get over. Time, please stop. Please. Let me live these moments before they become memories.

If only I got some more time.

Smiles are magical :)

A smile is much more than a non-verbal greeting or expression of happiness. It conveys a lot more. Be it a grin, beam, smirk, simper or anything else, a smile speaks a thousand words.

Many people have a beautiful smile. But a smile makes everyone beautiful. It is amazing how simply expanding a few muscles could do wonders. As the saying goes, “A smile is a curve that makes things straight.”

When was the last time you smiled without reason? Nowadays, we tend to smile more in front of the screen of our smartphone than to people around us. Smiles can be a symbol of friendliness, courage, hope, encouragement, inspiration, admiration, happiness, awe and so many other feelings. A smile could mean different things to different people. More or less, a heartfelt smile is enough to brighten up someone’s day.

You many not believe me, so try this for yourself. Smile to every person you meet on your way- the ones you know and you don’t. It may be that strangers might be caught off-guard, but eventually they too will return you one. I talk out of personal experience. There are few people in my life whose smile means the world to me. All I wish for is a smile from them every day. When they smile, I feel so much warmth. I am convinced that nothing can go wrong, everything will be okay.

Smiles can indeed be magical. It could be the sunshine and ray of hope someone saw in particularly dark times. I am not referring to the fake smiles that we give while clicking those thousands of selfies. A genuine smile does not require effort; it just beams from your face and makes you feel lovely. Of course, the recipient too feels the same if not less!

Somebody’s smile makes my day. Consequently, I am elated and smile to someone else I meet. This lifts her/his spirits and it passes on. I had never imagined the wonders a cute little smile could do.

If you are reading this, I want to see you smile. Keep smiling and spreading happiness! Together we have to make this world a better place and let me tell you this- YOUR SMILE MATTERS!


Short hair and an existential crisis

Let me tell you something about myself. I am twenty year old girl; tall, thin and usually dress in western attire. Not more than a fortnight ago, I got my hair cut very short. Short enough that I do not require to comb them. This is when my story began.

In the past two weeks, I have been asked more than a hundred times whether I am a boy or girl. I find this question completely baseless. What does my hairstyle have to do with my sex? Who decides the haircut I like? Why is it mandatory for girls to have long hair and boys to have short hair? Why can’t the society accept a girl with short hair as readily as it accepts one with long hair?

Unfortunately, it doesn’t end there. I am the only child of my parents. When I go out with them, people joke around saying “You have a son now.” They have heard enough taunts already for not having a son. Now people ask them whether they have a son or daughter while they look at me.

The point is that stereotypical ideas of the appearances of boys and girls must be done away with. Many of my male classmates have long hair. If they like their hair long, nothing else matters.

Dear society, I will keep my hair the way I want to. If you cannot recognize me anymore, I too refuse to recognize your stereotypical and patriarchal notions of femininity and masculinity. I am no less a female by keeping my hair short. I am and will always be proud to be a girl.

You have yourself

Dear me,

I know you are undergoing troubled times. There is so much to do that you can barely do anything at all. To add to the mess, your birthday falls during examinations. Could it get any worse?

That is exactly the point. It cannot get any worse. Like Hagrid told Harry, it is not every day that our young woman turns twenty now, is it? The fact remains that you’ll complete twenty years of age in less than two weeks. Nobody can take that from you. You may have nobody keeping in touch from your hometown, but believe me, it does not matter. If they cannot find time to ask if you are okay once in a month, are they really worth bothering for at all? There is no greater tragedy than a life where there is no time for love. Dumbledore rightly professed that “Do not pity the dead, Harry. Pity the living, and above all those who live without love.”

I know you feel dejected that nobody remembers that your birthday month has begun. I know it is unusual for you as you never forget to wish any close one when her/his birthday month and week begin. But all cannot think like us. What else can you expect from a generation that depends on social media for remembering, wishing and celebrating birthdays? Genuine emotions have no place in a world where technology has spread its tentacles so far and wide.

So, my dear self, I want you to know that it hardly matters whether people remember your birthday month or not. I do. You have yourself and that makes all the difference in the world. Wish you a very happy birthday month! It is going to be very special because special people like you deserve all the special things in the world.

Smile and enjoy the last two official weeks of your teenage. Official, yes- because you are never going to grow up, are you?

Lots of love,


Criminalizing ideologies

We live in a world that only accepts what it wants to. Anything other than that is either sanctified or profanized; it is always an extreme case. It is a risk to think different than the rest or even to think at all.

It is a sin to be a feminist, because the society does not view assertive or ‘bold’ women in a good light. One must not support homosexuality because it is abnormal. Women are sluts or whores if they explicitly express their sexuality. Men have monopolized the rights to hurl women-centric abuses. Misogyny is never problematized, but a feminist is immediately essentialized as anti-male. A feminist and an ideal daughter/sister/mother/daughter-in-law are mutually exclusive categories. The moment a woman questions the patriarchal setup of the social order or questions a male in the household, she ceases to be ideal owing to her blasphemous behaviour.

It is a sin to be a leftist, because it is only the capitalists and aristocrats who run the country. Being a leftist is therefore equivalent to being anti-national. It does not matter if a fair few infringe upon the rights of an ‘oppressed majority’. It is these wealthy giants who pay taxes and that is all that really matters. Money is more important than lives. There are so many poor people in the country that it is hardly a concern if a few more die of hunger or suffer from displacement. That they have employment is enough; they have no right to demand good and hygienic working conditions, wage hikes or anything else. Beggars cannot be choosers.

It is a sin to be a promoter of the rights of the marginalized, because you may be assassinated for talking against the state.
It is a sin to question the status quo, because disrupting the traditions of oppression,  and subjugation and exploitation turns the powerful against you.
It is a sin to be a woman and think for yourself.
It is  a sin to express your discontent against the existing state of affairs.
It is a sin to violate rules and break the norms the society has been following since eternity.
It is a sin to adhere to any ideology that counters that of those who possess power.
It is a sin to dissent, refuse or negate.

It is a sin to take a stance for something you believe is true.