I HAVE Lipstick Under my Burkha.

I HAVE #Lipstick Under my Burkha.

Yes I do.

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I am not fake, I am not cold, I am just me, under many layers that exist because I care. Yes, I care about what people think about me, I care about being judged, I care about the choices I make, I care about being cool enough, I care about being liked enough.

 

But the whole point is…

Why can’t I just live with the fact that people don’t like me? Why do I have to be likable? Why do I need to fit into a definition of “successful”, why do “I” need to be defined?’Why do I need to bother about what answer I will give to someone somewhere 20 years later about my relationship status – it’s existence or lack of it? Why do I need to explain what I do, what I feel and why I feel it? Why do I need to justify my emotions, for that matter, my existence?

And #Lipstick Under My Burkha is that mirror.

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Through 4 women – different ages, different situations, and different personalities – we see a reality that we would casually chose to look away from, always.

Be it Rihana entering her room and dancing to beats of her anger, or Shrin’s expectant eyes when she is seeking appreciation for her work, or Leela’s desperate attempt with pout filled selfies to chose a lesser life with more ‘chance’ or Buaji’s simultaneous acceptance and rejection of social judgements on choice of her interest in ‘literature’ …they are all small details that will linger with you after the movie, and make you wonder what’s right and what’s not … and even as you answer the questions in your head, you will be surprised at how entwined in patriarchy we are and how dominant the male perspective has been, before, now and forever known.

The very fact that the movie makes NO STATEMENT whatsoever is its greatest strength!

It doesn’t say women should wear lipstick or dress bold, or work or stay hlipstick-under-my-burkha-plays-iome, it doesn’t fight for right to education, it doesn’t fight for ANYTHING and in doing just that, it wins.

I am amazed at Alankrita Srivastav’s craft in simplicity and detail, a narrative with such depth – that speaks less but says more; it manipulates you too. Yes it does! It leads you to think, question and figure out things that you would never bother about, and while you figure it out, you slowly unveil ‘feminism’ in your head, which is nothing but, a quest for equality.

What a genius! What a gift.

Majority of us, do have a burkha. And the realization in itself is empowering, it has hope in the knowledge that it’s still in your hand to lift up the veil.

Will the women in the story, do that? Will they survive it? One can’t be sure. But #LipstickUnderMyBurkha is a reality check which draws our attention to the subtle inequalities, that we could all work towards bridging.

P.s. with all the talk about the movie being too feminist, I became the censor board myself, wondering whether men  can watch it at all. But watching the film made me realize what an elegant piece it is. Yes its sexual. Yes, a little explicit too. But haven’t we seen tonnes of that already? Only the tone of the storytelling is from a female point of view this time. And when we haven’t been offended for so long, why be now?

p.p.s. I think I will take my male friends to watch this one 😉 will be an interesting experience. #WhyNot #LipstickSide #MustWatch

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Make up Your Mind!

So, here goes.  – My experience with booking tickets on IRCTC and what I learnt from it.

Without doubt, this has been THE craziest experience and I have no choice but to share. For the simple reason, that I sit here, with 5 confirmed tickets on the railways from Baroda to Bombay, with two people to travel.

There’s a famous saying, “Pehle aap, pehle aap mein nawab sahab ki gadi nikal gayi” (Nawab sab kept delaying his decision (our of chivalry) and missed the train.) But in my case, waiting … delaying my decision… has landed me with 5 CONFIRMED tickets to my name.

Here’s how it all started:

I So want to catch that train!

Situation:  Wednesday night, 11 Feb, 2015 I decide I have to go to bombay.

But when must I go?

  1. Thursday Night, 12, Feb 2015
  2. Friday Morning, 13 Feb, 2015
  3. Friday Night, 13 Feb, 2015 – where I reach bombay on Saturday night.

It’s important for me to be there on the weekend. And looking at the workload, I decide maybe Friday Morning or Friday Night.

After breaking my head A LOT, and I mean A LOT, i decide to go on Friday morning. So that means, I now have to book TATKAL tickets.

Case 1:  Thursday morning, 10:00 A.M. , 12 Feb 2015

I try to book on IRCTC tatkal, and the tickets don’t get booked because site is down.

Case 2: Thursday morning, 11:00 A.M.

I go to the railway station and after a 1 hour waiting, book tickets on the morning train with a Waitlist 77.

One of my friends advises me to just buy a physical ticket and get onto the train and talk to TC later. I decide this is the only option.

However, life suddenly changes!

Case 3: Thurday Morning, 1:00 PM the IRCTC site is working

Site not working, as usual. IRCTC Just..........
Site not working, as usual. IRCTC Just……….

A friend calls up to inform me that the site is working and I decide to check if I can get my tickets done too.

Voila! There are 182 tickets on the morning train and 44 tickets on the night train!

Isn’t that fantastic?

But by now, Ms. Apsara Iyengar has changed her mind. Now Ms. Apsara Iyengar suddenly feels she has TOO much work and would prefer to go in the night train rather than the morning train.

And you know what else she suddenly remembers? This OTHER friend who also wanted to travel to the same destination. She calls him up and asks,

Her: Do you wnat to join?

Him: Hey! Sure. Book me on the night train, 13 Feb, 2015.

Her: Cool.

I go on to book the tickets and VOILA! All tickets SOLD OUT. Now, we’re on waitlist 2 and 3.

She calls friend.

Her: On waitlist. Shall I book? We’ll just get on the train!

Him: OK done.

She books waitlist.

He calls

Him: Did you book waitlist?

Her: Yes! Why?

Him: Why don’t you try another train… that would be better right?

Her: Hmm. Ok.

And there arises Case 4!

Case 4:  Booking ANOTHER tatkal ticket, on 12th Feb, 2015 for 13th night.

There were just 2 tickets left on the other train and I go ahead and book it.

The catch is: The tickets are booked for 14 FEB 2015, night.

Her: F****

Him: What happned?

Her: How can tatkal book 2 days in advance?

Him: Haha. Happens when trains are from outstation. I am cool going 14th Night. No issues!

Her: But I desperately want to go tomorrow 😐

Him: Ok! Let’s try the waitlist.

 

Meanwhile, Case 5 happens, because I am desperate.

Bura Khayal... jaise koi train choot rahi ho...
Bura Khayal… jaise koi train choot rahi ho…

Case 5:  The final  decision. To board a train of which I dint have ANY ticket of. Neither waitlist, neither tatkal, neither confirmed.

So I speak to my friend in Bombay and she says, “You have a waitlist ticket for morning? Just board the train and once you’re here, you’re sorted na.”

 

And so overnight, I decide I want to go in the morning!

I message my friend that Iam taking the morning train and that he should take the next day’s confirmed ticket. He agrees.

 

Him: Hey… Are ticlkkets for Saturday Night, 14 Feb, 2015 still valid?

Her: Yes. You take that train. I am going in the morning.

Him: 14th Morning you’re going? How did you get the ticket!

Her: I din’t! I am going on 13th Morning, with a waitlist 77 ticket.

Him: Alright. I’ll take the night train.

 

I call my other friend the same night and tell her I am coming to her place on an unreserved ticket. She freaks out.

She: I think you should take a Karnavati, which has general tickets rather than Double Decker with a waitlist ticket.

Her: Hmm. That means waking up at 6 am and boarding a train I have no ticket with?

She: yep!

Her: Okay!


The Final Decision which is Finally changed.

Last night status: Because it’s so late and I am so mismanaged, I sleep without checking tickets.

Morning: I am ready by 6 am and I go on to cancel my waitlist ticket of tatkal.

updated 1: My tatkal waitlist tickets of vadodara express are confirmed for 13th Night, Feb 2015.

Now I have vadodara express tickets for my friend and me! wah.

update 2: My waitlist 77 ticket of the morning train is confirmed overninght.

Just as I am leaving to get a refund on my morning train ticket, I see a confirmed status. wah.

update 3: More of a realization of the tatkal tickets for 14th night, Feb 2015 which were accidentally booked on Golden temple.

And this was a saturday night ticket that I never wanted to go on!

Him: You know what? You do what you want. I’ll go 14th night.

Her: Ok.

And so, here I am. I cancelled my morning tickets to get only a 50% refund.

I am going by the night train, which means I’ll reach tomorrow morning.

My friend’s going on the night train, day after.

 

I learnt many things in the bargain of this experience:

Here are some pointers.

  1. Delay of decisions can make you repent. Because, you might just lose opportunities.
  • Based on the tickets that ran out in the first place! Had I taken a quick decision, I’d have just bought two (or just my) night ticket!
  1. Delay of decisions might land you with MORE than what you expected!
  • Like my 5 bookings!! ALl tickets that got booked overnight!
  1. Too many cooks spoil the broth.

    The "Why" part.
    The “Why” part.
  • Why did I speak to my friend who told me that tatkal tickets are getting booked online after an hours break?
  • Why did I suddenly remember the friend who wanted to come along?
  • Why did I ask TWO friends in Bombay?
  • Why did I take advise from my baroda friend and not pay heed?

In short, it’s a classic case of having too many people involed in ONE small matter.

  1. IRCTC has a connection with KARMA.
  • one of my reasons to go a day early, was to avoid a situation that was disturbing me emotionally. I realize that I have NO control on that 😀 I feel like IRCTC was taking the revenge by telling me: Ms. Apsara you can’t travel with that instability.
  1. ANYTHING is Possible with DESTINY.
  • like the sharukh khan dialogue from Om shanti om and Paulo Coehlo’s Alchemist:

“When you really want something, the whole universe conspires to make it happen.

Well, I really, really wanted to be on a train on friday. When I booked the tatkal ticket for friday night, I really, really wanted it. By the time I decided to go in the morning, I really, really wanted the morning train.

I wanted both the things. And I din’t make up my mind.

Eventually, I decided to go this night…. eventually the decision was taken and I have no regrets about the delay in travel. But the only thing to learn here is, I had to pay a price! 😉 an extra price… for getting what I wanted, just because I wasn’t clear!

WIth all my tickets tatkal, I am paying 5 times the price to get to bombay, and no refunds.

But this definitely makes me realize, things really can change unexpected.

Can you imagine a waitlist tatkal ticket getting confirmed?

Can you imagine 24 hours in, waitlist 77 gets confirmed?

Can you imagine you book a wrong date for tatkal tickets and it’s confirmed? Wait. That’s the stupid part, i’d really not want to think about.

 

In short, IRCTC can teach you a lot.

There’s not much difference between the Indian railaways and life.

The site can go down any time, it can come up any time, waitlists can be confirmed anytime, tatkal tickets can change dates and open 2 days in advance any time… it’s just like life, endless.

 

While I write this extremely long post, not so much frustration is felt now… because I am having my cup of tea, seeing it “Half” full and “Half empty” at the same time.

 

Along with all the learnings that have come in, there’s one more point:

One, I am not working today.

A conscious decision to take out time and do what i’d really wnat to do with a break.

And two, next time, I’m not going to plan a trip with a vested interest. KARMA acts right.

May be, I’ll call up this friend and apologise for emotional instability?

Generally... I am just feeling like Geet. So!
Generally… I am just feeling like Geet. So!

Or may be, I’ll just right down a love letter with valentine’s round the corner?

Or maybe i’ll just let all this chaos phaze out.

 

Well, I have a whole train journey to figure out the many things in mind.

For now, holiday it is.

 

Write back with your insight. And a big congratualtions for surviving this post!

Adios,

Love,
Apsara

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