Thursday, 19 March 2015

Surname - Identity to fantasy

Keeping one’s child name is a memorable event and an element of personal satisfaction for every parent. Even before a child is born Parent start discussing and dreaming of different names and then the best is chosen after a son or a daughter is born. A lot is even consulted in the family. Elders view is taken as blessing. Now a days even google is thoroughly searched. It is also debated that a family surname should be continued or modern surnames should be added. And then in most religion it is formally announced through a sacred ceremony.

With all this the child then develops his or her own identity and grows. Grows till the age when he / she can decide about the life partner for oneself. And after the marriage you say – the girl should change the surname? Why only girl? If we talk of gender equality why not it should be both?

Changing surname thus has no logic. Yes, its ones choice. The girl is matured enough and so it should totally be as per her preference. After all, she has to carry this further. She wants to add the surname with her original name to give an add on identity and boost to her own self, or she wants to shed her present title to that of husbands as a mark of  new development in her life or she wants to carry her own title to maintain her identity should never be topic of debate but only personal choice.
I must add on here as a child and developing age all of us fantasise adding and changing surnames. So marriage and change of surname can also be part of fulfilling that fantasy. So why bother. Let one decide.

In my family – My mother is continuing with her original child name – not even removed Kumari what to ask of changing the surname. While my wife switched to Sinha as her surname.  So….....

Aditya Sinha 

This post is written in response to Indispire edition 56 prompted by Anita Should a woman change her maiden surname after marriage?#SurnameChange 

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Family is the pillar of strength

This post is written for

Dec 2006.

Visiting Kashmir had been the subdued dream of my life.  “If there is paradise on earth, it’s here, it’s here, it’s here” had always buzzed in my ear. I still remember that one summer holiday, perhaps I was in class 4 or 5 when fascinated by the summer vacation trip stories of my friends, I had persuaded my father to go on a family trip. And we had made a detailed plan for the visit to Kashmir, even got the snacks for the train journey packed. But as it had always happened, the priorities were different at that time and the plan had remained as plan.

So when I returned to Katra after visiting Mata Vaishno Devi Mandir and saw the travel operators’ board giving option to visit the valley of Kashmir from here, the subdued wish got ignited. Despite the rolling terror stories of the valley I mustered courage, to fulfil my fancied subdued dreams. (Naturally under disguise to fulfil my family’s wish…) We hired a taxi from Katra and moved to Srinagar.

The contouring roads, The green valley , rows of Chir giving way to Deodar as we moved to the Higher altitudes and then the serene beauty – Sri Nagar. And under the moon lit night we reached the row of houses built on big boats planked on the bank of Dal Lake. The driver stopped the car on one side and went down to one of such boats and knocked. An old man wearing the long overcoat – “phiran” came out and spoke something in dogri – a confirmation, I could gather through the face movement.

He came straight to us and greeted in Hindi with a broad smile. A beautifully decorated living room followed by well wall to wall woodworked bedroom.

The dream trip had started. We settled down. But soon the chill of the city started taking its toll. Apoorva, my son, started shivering. Richa, my better half, too pulled out coats and shawls. Before we could think any further – a lady in bright Kashmiri dress came in with hot water bag and Kangri, as if they knew that we were waiting for it.

She asked for menu of food. The whole family seemed to be pressed in the service. (a true hospitality)

We were lost in the paradise. To add to it, the snow started falling. The glass window offered a magnificent viewing - the flakes of ice drizzling down. Our first encounter with snowfall was a dream, come true. We walked out to the edge of the boat to feel the same, but could not stay for more than a few minutes. It was really chilling. I wondered how Kapoors used to dance in this. We rushed in and it took hours for our blood to move in veins again.

Early next day we stepped out- the whole valley was painted white. We couldn't waste time sitting in house-boat – so our first destination for today – Gulmarg. We moved out.

The car moved through the lanes. We could see only two groups along the road engrossed in their own discussions all along. Either the military or the residents draped in the long robe with a protruding belly. On tracking further carefully I could see more army men positioned strategically. A mysterious hush enveloped the city movement.
Apoorva, my 7 yrs. son wanted to have some chocolates.
I asked the driver to stop.
“Nahin Shab, Yahan pata nahin lagta kaun sahi hai kaum galat”. We would stop only were all tourists are stopping. (I could hardly see any)

I looked at Richa. My doubts were seconded. Every group now appeared poking their eyes on us, suspicious & interrogating. The protruding of Phiran on the belly raised a thousand questions in our mind. The atmosphere now appeared morose, the bliss subdued.
We kept mum looking at each other. Our hand holding the other reassuring, we made Apoorva sit in between us. Ecstasy gone …….  

(The Naked Truth - for a tourist - the paradise lost)

We moved silently to our destination. Stopped were others rested, ate were others camped, till we reached Gulmarg - a white sheet covered all, so soothing, so pure, so enlightening yet only A scenic paradise.

With the morning experience we could not gain courage to spend another night in the house boat all alone now with the uncertain eyes around.
We shifted to hotel instead. But next day there was more to come. The TV said – the link to the valley is cut. It had snowed again the whole night. The road to Jawahar tunnel was blocked. Jawahar Tunnel, one of the longest tunnel-road in Asia that linked Jammu to Kashmir Valley. The architectural marvel built at Banihal at a height of 2194 m and is 2825 m. long. The only metal-road-tunnel through the heart of the mountain that provided life to the valley and made possible to stay in touch with Srinagar even during winters – was blocked. And such blockades were san die.

All channels talked about this and only this. They had the breaking news. We stayed glued to the idiot box - hoping against hope the route would be cleared. Now the only wish was to get out of the paradise safe and sound. Nothing appeared to excite us now. We talked to every taxi stopping at our hotel – if they had any better news. Nothing could be made out for certain. I could not stay any longer. Mobile were new at that time and that too had stopped working. No way to inform further.

The only solace - the sky was clear. We decided to tackle the situation as per se en-route. We left the Paradise. Hardly had we left the city limit, saw barricades. Vehicles coming from the other side gave rays of hope. We waited - army and the “robed” gazing constantly adding to the discomfort. The wait would never end. It was 2.00 pm, I moved and enquired. Long queue of Cars and Trucks stood separately.

Cops tried to explain to us, “It would not be safe to go further. One of the two tunnels was still blocked. They are letting traffic from one side for a day. It would not be possible for us to go for two days as tomorrow happens to be normal day for incoming through the tunnel or till the other tunnel is opened”.

He gave the driver a good scold as if he was supposed to know all this as a routine event of this valley city.
We discussed again.
“There is a shorter route to Qazigunda (about 5 kms) from Jawahar Tunnel”, he said.
-“If we reach there and the route gets cleared we may get a chance to move out from tunnel today itself.” 
We had no other choice. I didn’t want to stay any further here. I wanted to reach the tunnel and stay near it, so that I could pass through as soon as it opened. All the euphoria of the Paradise was gone by now.

The whole family was looking towards me as if I was a connoisseur to handle such situation. And I gathered courage because of my family. After all the family is the pillar of strength.

We moved through the link road. But as the luck would have it. Hardly another km. and there was the long line again.
“May be a small jam”, my self-consoling thought.
But then some drivers appeared rushing in, shouting “wapas chalo” The police is coming.
- A bolt from the blue.
No point to ponder. 4 to 5 hrs and the link road, I was confused.
The driver turned the car and reached Qazigunda in flash. Advised to take a room here and spend the night as it would not be possible to reach to the city as it was dark.

But I was late in this, too. There were only a few shabby motels that too occupied. Snow had started falling again. Apoorva was shivering. Richa was looking blank. I needed to get them warmth. I somehow pleaded and managed to get one small room (8x8 with a charpai in it). It also opportune us to avoid the choice of spending the chilling night in the car with all around people in long robes – belly protruding, talking in hush, gazing eyes, enquiring always. We put the cover around the three of us and slept One being the strength for other.

I knew together we can – together we will.

Our ears stayed parked on the road to read the movement of the vehicles to start.
The dark gave way and dawn approached. The driver was already waiting. We moved and reached again to a queue in waiting .The vehicles had started parking outside the tunnel since 5.00. The tunnel opens only at 8.00, we came to know. This wait was bearable for us. We waited for the clock to strike 8:00. The sky was overcast. The valley still chilled.

The queue started moving and we entered the tunnel. In a few minutes we could see daylight across the tunnel. We crossed the tunnel.
A bright sun was spreading its warmth on the terrain outside. No overcast. No chill. Together we were, hands in hands, welcoming the new dawn.

Aditya Sinha

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

The Saviour

Radhika’s sixth sense warned - something was going to be wrong and she followed Tanu in a taxi to the party area, managing a seat in the corner and watching her gorgeous granddaughter ram the dance floor in her red mini and the white t-shirt hanging from her bare shoulder. With all eyes glued to her glowing bare skin, Jack took a chance, matching the steps and inching closer he pressed lips and thrust his hand in her t-shirt.

Tanu screamed, tried to get herself free, but could only add to the excitement and enjoyment of the party until Radhika’s slap stunned the bewildered youths.   

“I am sorry, I spoiled your party”, she said to Tanu, pulling her off from Jack and putting the shawl around her to cover the bare shoulder.

Crying hysterically, Tanu could only spell – “No Dadi” and she clung to Radhika, dumping herself in her celestial embrace.

This post is a part of Five Sentence Fiction Activity -- Spoiled at

Aditya Sinha

The second journey of my life

This post is written for

Sep 2002.

It was now two years that the world trade tower crash had taken place. The world had learnt to start afresh. Many software personals known to me had started settling again. But it was tough time for me here. For me the test of the hour was still there. The impact was not declining for us here in the B-class town as we were dependent for the placement of our software personnel with the help of these foreign partners.

I had quit my sales job in Delhi and started the franchisee of Inset ecommerce Institute (part of IIHT) here at Patna in 2000. Both of us, my wife and me, had toiled day and night, bringing all our know-how and experience from the metros, and inculcating everything utmost to train our students suit best for the industry. The institute was also ranked best among the three franchisees in Patna with over 250 full time students. But now they were to pass out. And there was no job for them. We were managing jobs of the tune of 10-12 k in the call centres for some of them. But placing all was really a tough task. The parent company IIHT which had assured a placement was giving no response.

The rowdy students got a chance to create scene. There were around 40-50 students from Ara – Buxar, known for the criminal activities. They started doing daily nuisance, even started demanding return of fees.

The daily mayhem at the centre started affecting the family peace. Parents started worrying. The environment became unsafe. We needed to take decision. And the decision was we needed to close this. May be return fees to some of the rowdy ones and keep them shut. And we did – first removing the rowdy / political ones returning the fees.

By December we managed to bring back peace at the institute by settling with some of these student leaders. But there was now no peace in our mind. By March the institute would be fully closed. With the limited resource that we had it would not be possible to sustain for another two – three years till the market became favourable. So I have to look for job again and start a fresh. I handed the institute to my wife and moved to Delhi again.

With help of some well-wishers I submitted my CV at Amar Ujala – the leading Hindi daily of UP. It was not easy to get break with a failed entrepreneur tag in behind.

I still remember the then GM had very reluctantly asked – “You are an entrepreneur and give directions. How would you work as a sales person asking for ads?”

And I had replied – “Being an entrepreneur – I have experienced the buyers psychology as an advertiser, when I placed my institutes ad in local dailies. Thus it would add to my experience as a sales person and help me in my carrier.”

After a week I was confirmed of getting the job. I was to report at Lucknow.
It was a much needed break for me. I was committed to start a fresh. I promised myself – this is not a job – it’s the career break for me. And I had vowed – come what may, I’ll stick to this for a minimum of five years. My CV now needed stability.

Early days at AU were not a bed of roses. People rightly say Lucknow is a hub of politics. I experienced the same in the small office there. Not a single chance was left to make me feel uncertain and show me disgraced. But I had vowed to myself. I stayed committed to the work helping all. In six months I got confirmed and elevated to Asst. Manager. The foes slowly became friends for life.

The journey continued – eleven years at AU – eleven promotions - innumerable experiences. No looking back - from an individual to a leader again. Different teams – Struggling hours – varied location – winning odds.

Today, in interviews when I see the jumping jack formula in CVs – I suggest only one thing – “be patient and committed to yourself”. It pays. 

Aditya Sinha

Sunday, 8 March 2015

The Important Question

This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 52; the fifty-second edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. In association with Metro Diaries by "Namrata". To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.

The Important Question …..

Raj increased his pace returning from the school. It was exactly eight days he had sent her the last letter. Tabassum had asked her important question -my views on arranged and love marriage.  

And I had expressed in length - my views on arranged marriage and love marriage. What I liked? Why I liked?

He knew somewhere she had started liking her. He too couldn't live without her. But they were still in 12th. And so can’t take such decisions. He had thus abstained from committing anything. Not even tried to show his interest in this topic.

Further, their religions were different. How would the families be taken in confidence? He needed more time. So he had said -

“It’s time to build career. Let’s devote our time on studies now. Let’s not get distracted by thinking of marriage. We are good friends and let’s remain same.” He had tried to put the things off for the time being in his last letter.

And he was eagerly waiting for her response. He knew it would be difficult for her.

The messages in his last letter were clearly visible in his eyes. He kept reading them relating and evaluating, and the pace increased on its own till he reached the gate.

He screeched the gate open and their lied the letter – letter he knew would be waiting.

He threw the bag on one side and picked it up. As usual there was a flower sketched at the back and beautifully written in her writing 

Always your – Tabassum.”

He sighed and opened it.

“Dearest Raj,

You are my best friend. You are my part. You had rightly said – it’s not time for us to get distracted by thoughts of marriage. But, I am girl. And in our family the marriage happens early. My family is regularly talking about it. They even ask if I knew someone or have a choice of my own. I know you love me. As you rightly said it’s time to be devoted on career. Raj, you devote time without being distracted. I wish all great things for you. But, I need to tell them. So I have no choice but to agree to their choice……”

Tears trickled down his eyes…..

Aditya Sinha


The fellow Blog-a-Tonics who took part in this Blog-a-Ton and links to their respective posts can be checked here. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton. Participation Count: 01

Also linking it with the Indispire weekly topic for Indispire edition 55 - The Unsent Letters  இڿڰۣ-ڰۣ— #UnsentLetters 

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Sweet Memories of Holi

I have lived across Northern India - from Bengal to Himachal and enjoyed Holi – the festival of colours with different groups – different culture and in different ways. But the memories of child hood of this festival are still fresh especially when we shifted from our ancestral home to our new house Raza Bazaar.

We had shifted from a joint family to this house of our only in December and were fairly new to the colony. More over the area was new and had very few houses. The nearest otherwise developed colony was Samanpura – a fully Muslim inhabited area. And most of our friends were Muslims too.
Holi in Patna till now had meant a full day filled with fun for us. With very few neighbours here we didn’t know if we could enjoy the same way as we enjoyed in our old house. So we planned after playing with some colours with the neighbours we would go to our old house to play with all there.
Next day early morning we four siblings took our colours and were ready to move to the few Hindu neighbours in the colony. But hardly had we reached our lawn and what we see – a whole group of our new friends from the Muslim area decked in all colours. Our joy had no limit. So our Holi started and we started moving with the toli. From one lane to the other – one house to the other – Singing – dancing – playing – colouring and getting coloured. We enjoyed the utmost and returned to home by 2:00 pm. On reaching home we found that our parents were drenched in colours too. Especially, my father – who hardly ever played wet holi. When we kids had left there had been groups of my father and mother too who had come from the same muslim area and played holi.

Every following year the neighbours increased and toli continued to grow, but the memories of the first year which saw new friends playing Holi and no religion coming in between always remains alive as a sweet memory.


This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.

And this has won the WOW badge - 1st one.

"Where there is will – there is a way" - A look up Story

Dec 6 2007 …

Raj typed his name in the Google search box and pressed enter.

There were more than 10 lacs of Raj.

He made it more specific.

Raj from Patna …..

“Still over a lac”, it’s tough. He thought.

Finally he took a deep sigh and typed “Tabassum”

Long list.

Then Tabassum from Srinagar, Tabassum Khan etc…. etc..

He tried all permutation combination possible to make the search result more comprehensive.

Some photographs even. But he couldn’t make out. No photographs matched the Tabassum he knew when he was 18.

“It had been 18 yrs now, since I have kept this letter with me. I didn’t know where to post as she had not replied after her marriage.” He sighed. I had just wanted to ask – “Does the friendship ends with a marriage?”

She had asked my views on the Marriage. I didn’t understand. We had known each other in and out through our letters.

“I can still remember I knew there would be a letter waiting today the moment I alighted from bus returning from school. Our friendship had started through letters and matured through it. We knew each other more than we knew ourselves. Our heart used to pound for each other.” He continued recalling.

“And then in each of her letter she would ask when I was coming to Srinagar to meet her. And the meeting got delayed. It got delayed each time. And then her important question – about marriage preference. With my reply – As a bolt from the blue - there was the marriage invitation from her.”

“I did write even after that. On her birthday, right! But there was no reply. And I had stopped writing to let my friend settle in her new family.”
He sighed. He knew he hasn’t forgotten her till now. He too has a well settled family. But whenever there is a discussion of friends – he knows he had only one – and doesn’t know where she is?

Today too, the new joiners were talking about Orkut and they could find their school friends there.

Hopefully I would also find?

I need to – He thought.  

With new zeal and hope he renewed his search.

Every day whenever he would get time, he would continue his search. He was determined to search for her. Perhaps just to ask her once – Why didn’t she reply or say why she didn’t want to writ further? Does marriage ends a friendship?

He would restart his search each day with some new angle. Sometimes look for her father’s name and address, her sisters. He would search in the letters from the past for all other clue. The name of the teachers, her school, college alumni, sister’s friend’s, brothers, whatever he could come along. Despite all odds he would never loose heart.

Till one day he came across one piece

Dr. Qadir Khan from 6, Jawahar Park, Srinagar.

The name looked familiar to her brothers. And the address is same as hers. His heart started beating faster. He clicked the link. It had details of his studies and awards. And there is an email address at the end.

He mustered courage.

Typed a mail …

Dear Dr. Qadir,

I don’t know if you are the same person. This is in reference to your sister Tabassum my childhood penfriend. We have lost contact since long. I crossed through your name on google today. So, if my guess is correct and you are her brother, pls. pass this mail to her or if you can tell me about her where-abouts. I would be highly obliged.


He pushed the mail and waited for the wonders to happen.

After 3 days as he opens the mail in his office -

The Inbox read in bright … 
Tabassum Khan

He put his hand on the heart…lest it would come out.

His eyes got wet. Just said … I knew my friend I can-not lose you 

"At last I have found you." He murmured. 

It was proved ..  “ Where there is will – there is a way”

This post is written in response to Indiblogger Happy Hours Topic - "Look up Stories"

Aditya Sinha