Sunday, 25 October 2020

 My Precious Eda                                                                          

                                (Image source:


It was getting dark in the cold evening and Hari was stuck in the traffic. Out of nowhere, two teenagers on bike overtook his car. One teenager got off the bike and walked towards Hari’s car. He approached and knocked at the side window. 

Rolling the glass window down Hari asked, "what do you want?" 

The biker through his helmet enquired, "are you Hari Rai?" 

Perplexed that a random biker in the middle of the road had asked Hari for his identity, made him feel uneasy. Keeping an eye on the traffic lights Hari replied, "yes, what do you want?"

The biker looked at him through the window, leaned in and whispered to Hari, "take this phone and watch the video".


The traffic lights turned green and in a blink of an eye Hari lost the strange biker in the crowd. Impatient car honking forced Hari to put the phone away and move along to stop forming a traffic snarl on the grand arterial road of the city. After parking his car in the parking lot below his apartment building, Hari hastily made his way up to his apartment with his laptop bag and the strange mobile phone. 


Hari was bursting with curiosity as he unlocked the door, quickly switched on the apartment lights and turned on the phone. He found that the phone had no saved phone numbers except for a video. Mustering courage Hari clicked the video to play mode. 

The video showed a man speaking though his balaclava, "Hari, if you want to see your daughter alive then do as we say. Do not come to the Supreme court tomorrow for the hearing of the Ishrat Jahan encounter case. If you are seen in the court premises, there would be dire consequences. Do not forget your daughter is in our custody."

The menacing video stopped abruptly after charioting the imminent threat to Hari. 


Watching the hair-raising video beads of perspiration began dotting his face. To the best of his knowledge, Hari’s daughter Eda was safely tucked away in a boarding school in Dehradun, shielded from the professional hazards of Hari’s reputation of 100% conviction rate in homicidal cases.


In desperation, Hari began dialling the phone number to the boarding school. Prancing the room in impatient long strides Hari waited for someone, anyone to pick up his call. 

He looked at his watch and muttered to himself, "god damn, it is already 10 p.m. No one is picking up my call…who do I call next? How do I confirm that Eda is safe?" Harried, he fleeted his fingers through the contact list on his phone for someone he could call at the boarding school. Suddenly, his eyes fell on the one number he always refrained from calling. 


Hari thought to himself, "desperate times leads to desperate measures" and reluctantly dialled the number. 

His racing heart made a summersault when he heard, "are you sure you haven’t misdialled my number Mr Hari Rai?" 

Finding his voice, he replied, "no I have not misdialled your number. I need your help. Eda is in trouble and we need to help her, Ms Aliya Khan."

There was dead silence on the other end of the line. "Aliya can you hear me. Are you still on the line?"

Hari could hear silent sobs and then Aliya asked, "what happened to Eda? You had assured me she would be safe in Dehradun."

Aliya struggled to regain her composure and quivered, "if anything happens to Eda, I will not spare you Hari. I will forget that you are my husband."


Hari brought Aliya up to speed, explaining to her the dire threat looming over himself and their precious Eda. By the time Hari had finished recounting the details of the situation, Aliya had donned her no-nonsense mantle of the Director Inspector General of Police and paged for a police team.In matter of minutes a swarm of officers in civilian clothes descended upon her house. She briefed and divided them into teams. Aliya led one team to safeguard Hari from any looming threat, the second team began coordinating with the Dehradun police to organise a manhunt to find Eda, and the third team comprising of forensic specialists began working to ascertain the veracity of the video. 


Suddenly, Hari's phone began ringing and flashed ‘private number’. With trepidation Hari received the call to a baritone yell, "remember Hari, one misstep and you will loose your daughter." Simultaneously, he felt the sting of cold liquid on his face. He grappled to come to terms and struggled to orient himself. 

He found Aliya’s anxious face inches away from his, yelling, ‘hurry up and wake up, or else you will be late for the hearing of the Ishrat Jahan case at the court.’ 

Petrified and perplexed Hari bolted from his bed only to find his 8-year old Eda playing quietly with her toys on the bedside rug.

          Smiling radiantly at him, Eda said, "good morning Appa." 

         Scooping his precious Eda from the rug and tightly hugging her to his chest, Hari whispered, "thank god it was only a Eda is safe."

Tuesday, 25 August 2020



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Black and white photographs,

Of numerous epitaphs,

Of treaties after talks,

Tiptoeing tightropes,

Symbols of Indian kaleidoscopes.


Tattered telegrams from the past,

Of war holograms glassed,

Of impending peace at last,

Tiptoeing tightropes,

Symbols of Indian kaleidoscopes.


Long awaited telegraphs, 

Of visions in many dialects,

Of future nation architects,

Tiptoeing tightropes,

Symbols of Indian kaleidoscopes.


Dreams of billions,

Of prosperity by civilians, 

Of racing to the Moon and vaccines,

Tiptoeing tightropes,

Symbols of Indian kaleidoscopes.


Generations of diversities,

Of resilient communities,

Of unfaltering unity,

Tiptoeing tightropes,

Symbols of Indian kaleidoscopes.

Thursday, 18 June 2020

Top 5 Interesting Reasons of Ghosting

 (Communicate with kindness and avoid ghosting. Image source:

Have you come across a job description which aligns with your skills and interest?
Do you remember feeling accomplished after your interview?
Have you ever been told ‘we will get back to you shortly’?
Sometimes ‘no news is good news’, but I am sure, ‘no news’ is the biggest nightmare for any job seeker. 

When there is ‘no news’ you decide to follow-up with an email, yet no response.
When there is ‘no news’ you decide to call them, yet no response.
When there is ‘no news’ you decide to send a gentle reminder on LinkedIn, yet no response.
When there is ‘no news’ and 'no response', then welcome to the world of ghosting. 

Personally, ghosting has been a new experience. I was recently head hunted by a leading MNC which lead to an engaging interview with a standard ‘we will get back to you shortly’. But what really followed was no response upon repeated follow up and ghosting. 

I have recently completed my Ph.D and as is my luck I am the class of 2020. Worldwide, graduates of the class of 2020 have diligently acquired technical and transferable skills in preparation for pursuing dream jobs. Unfortunately, the class of 2020 along with many seasoned professionals are facing pandemic induced economic recession, hiring freeze, mounting debts, unemployment and also ghosting. 

This made me question why does one face ‘candidate ghosting’ from prospective employers? Do recruiters and employers also face ghosting by employees and prospective job seekers? As I began delving deeper to understand the causes of ghosting, I have realised there are various contributing factors:

1.    In-house hiring 

Although laws mandate any organization to publicly advertise for the position, it does not mandate that only candidates who apply through the official advertisement would be interviewed. Majority employers have established recruitment of internal candidates. This means that a current employee is able to leverage advantage of applying within the organization to switch from one domain to another. Although external candidates would be contacted and most likely interviewed, it might only be to satisfy the legal mandate. 

2.    Unexpected hiring freeze

In a capitalist economy, hiring within an organization primarily depends on availability of demand, supply and financial liquidity. For instance, no one had foreseen a catastrophic health crisis leading to global economic instability and budget freeze. This basically has translated to reprioritizing available financial resources to keep the organization afloat and evade new personnel onboarding. 

3.     Errors in the application process

Any active job seeker can vouch that each targeted job application involves tremendous effort. Every application involves meticulously tailoring the resume, writing an engaging cover letter and most importantly addressing the appropriate person. In running this rat race, sometimes we might make an error in the application process. One misjudgement, one unheeded error, one misstep at an interview and we fall prey to ghosting.

4.    Organised chaos

During the course of the application process, the job seeker encounters various people starting with the recruiter, human resource personnel, and interview panellist. Each one has their desk filled to the brim and try their best to remain organised. However, in the event of a break in the chain of communication, a job seeker’s application could get lost in this organised chaos and inadvertently experience ghosting. 

5.    Lack of professionalism

Just as an employee invests time in applying, likewise the recruiter, human resource personnel, and interview panellist have to equally invest time to find the appropriate applicant. Employers too fall prey to ghosting when some employees are dissatisfied with the work culture, fear repercussions, ill-informed of the cost of onboarding and serving notice periods. Whether the employer is ghosted by the employee or a job seeker is ghosted by the employer, it always demonstrates a severe lack of professionalism. 

Ghosting is two sides of the same coin, where the candidate and the employer actively play both the victim and the perpetrator. As we brace ourselves for jolts amidst abundant crises, let us avoid ghosting, communicate with kindness and strive towards effective professionalism.

Thursday, 11 June 2020


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Flooded with memories bittersweet,
Of Lotus shaped feet,
Imprinted on seashells and sandy beach, 
Crimsoned like skinned peach,
Yearning for yesteryear,
Oh! A jinxed long year!

An unforeseen global lockdown, 
White, Black and Brown,
Clamped down each with fear, 
Spared some who were dear,
Yearning for yesteryear,
Oh! A jinxed long year!

Unprecedented global recessions,
And numerous unresolved questions, 
Impoverished suffered disgrace,
Numerous faced coup de grace,
Yearning for yesteryear,
Oh! A jinxed long year! 

Heedless of deeds and creed, 
Ceaseless chaos caused by greed, 
Ire filled Mother Earth,
Set afire place of birth,
Yearning for yesteryear,
Oh! A jinxed long year!

All and sundry decreed at last, 
Help spurn not-so-novel Coronavirus of past, 
Pouring accolades on essential workers at the frontline, 
Resilient at life’s and death’s borderline,
Yearning for yesteryear,
Oh! A jinxed long year!

Monday, 25 May 2020

Top 4 successful ways of writing effectively

 (“Keep a diary, and someday it will keep you”-Mae West. Image source:

“If music is peace of mind, then writing is peace of soul”. I strongly believe that in each of us lies a sleeping writer patiently waiting to be awakened. The writer within myself was awoken when I was sent away to boarding school at the tender age of 7. The first year of my boarding school was the toughest, for I was terribly homesick and did not have friends. On 1st January 1998, my wise mother gave me my first journal diary and a new pen and said “today is the first day of the remaining 364 days. Start writing effectively every little thought and you would never feel lonely and sad”. 

This little gesture from my beautiful mother on a foggy winter morning has given me strength countless times to pen out my emotions and sigh a relief. Although I had begun writing from a tender age, I have lacked any formal structured training in writing effectively. My latent desire to become a successful writer has propelled me to research and learn techniques that I would like to share with you today. 

A memorable KISS

When we think of our first kiss, we are either filled with nostalgia or disgust. Well for a reader, a kiss is equally important. Simply put as Keep It Simple and Sweet (KISS)! As writers we might get entangled in syntax, grammar accuracies, choice of bombastic words and impostor syndrome. This could leave the reader unfulfilled and unhappy. In contrast, when the article is written in straightforward short active voice sentences, it would enhance your writing effectively and becomes a child’s play for the reader. 

Nudge from a Grammar Buddy

While writing we might often get carried away, leaving the reader tediously dragging their eyes through unyielding long sentences, with no sight of an appropriate semicolon or a full stop. To keep the reader engaged, we could use online grammar buddies like Grammarly, and Hemingway to improve grammar inaccuracies and syntax errors efficiently. 

Catchy Headlines are like Aged Wines

Being a voracious bibliophile myself, I have often found my roving eyes settle on articles and book titles with catchy headlines. I had always wondered in awe of the creativity of the writer for a captivating caption. Well for those of us who are amateur fledglings there are headline helpers like CoSchedule Headline Anaylser and Squibler to our rescue. A headline score above 70 is considered a good catch!  

Plagiarists Cause Major Rifts

In our childhood we would often tease our peers with ‘copycat, eat a rat, day-by-day, growing fat”! Similarly, imitating another person’s ideas, presentation and writing style could potentially harm writing effectively. Fortunately, in today’s age of technology we have numerous software like CopyscapeSmallSEOtools to maintain the reliability of our creativeness. 

In the words of Willian H. Gass “the true alchemists do not change lead into gold; they change the world into words”. Cheers to finding artistic inspiration and writing effectively as word alchemists!

Sunday, 24 May 2020

Love Saga of the Inspiring Internet and the Ever-Petulant Phone

                                (Internet and Phone: A Power Couple. Image Source:

Do you remember the first time you were mesmerized at the sight of someone? Do you remember falling in love at first sight? Have you ever felt the pain inflicted by bouts of unexpected anxious separation and a desire to be reunited with your beloved? If yes, then I am sure you would want to listen to the greatest love saga of the Inspiring Internet and the Ever-Petulant Phone in the 21stcentury!

The birth of the internet and the phone occurred in the 20th century to a family of pioneering scientists and inventors in the United States of America and Europe. Although birthing of the Internet and Phone were decades apart, both of them were born with a communal purpose and an auspicious destiny. The sages of technology had performed a great Swayamvar where the Internet could choose a spouse to live happily ever after. The contenders at the Swayamvar traveled from faraway kingdoms ranging from the oldest Advanced Mobile Phone System (AMPS) kingdom, Digital-AMPSIBM Simon3G Mobile broadband and the youngest Smartphones kingdom. 

At the turn of the 21st Century, the Internet encountered the stunningly beautiful Smartphone, who was lovingly nicknamed ‘Phone’ by all and sundry. The marriage of the Internet and Phone was divine intervention. The 21st century heralded a strong trend of human migration away from their loved ones in search of political asylum, better-paying jobs, financial security and a stable life far away from war-torn countries. Their marriage digitally connected the entire humankind across the racial divide, political affiliations, and religious inclination in a 24/7 manner. The human citizens were forever grateful and fondly christened their rulers as the Inspiring Internet and the Ever-Petulant Phone, for Phone would often be found moody and ill-tempered when the Internet was away. 

The conjugal bliss of the Internet and Phone brought in a golden era and proved at every step of life that the Inspiring Internet and the Ever-Petulant Phone were incomplete without each other. The Internet and Phone decreed that their human citizens adhere to the following rules: 

  1. Popularise emailing over writing telegrams
  2. Device ‘Apps’ for every aspect of life whether be it financial banking or Yoga
  3. Organise online forums for social communications like Facebook and Twitter
  4. Start electronic commerce for entrepreneurs and companies
  5. Avail online shopping in portals like Amazon, Flipkart
  6. Transmit videos and photos in real-time through WeTransfer, DropBox, Google Drive
  7. Travel to new places using digitised maps and global positioning system
  8. Read books online in Kindle
  9. Listen to music in Spotify
  10. Play online games remotely across the globe
  11. Prepare for examinations through online portals like Unacademy and Simply Learning

The rules set in the kingdom reigned by the Inspiring Internet and the Ever-Petulant Phone remained unchallenged; until one day there was a coup, which forced Internet and Phone’s separation. The enemy called ‘Fake News’ had infiltrated through the ironclad radar of antiviruses and forced humankind to imprison the Internet and Phone into dungeons of obscurity. Fake News disseminated its army of deliberate misinformers to create mistrust, social disharmony and delegitimise facts especially in countries when laws and governance were challenged and changed. Fake news succeeded in disrupting 24/7 global human interaction irrespective of time zones, online marketing, ‘App’ based e-commerce. 

In the years ruled by the Internet and Phone, humans had disregarded archaic habits of reading bound books, writing letters and interacting with people in their neighbourhood. Alas, humans fondly remember the Inspiring Internet and the Ever-Petulant Phone as “death leaves a heartache no one can heal; love leaves a memory no one can steal”. 

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Cooperation not competition leads to success

(Image source:

In 2011 we remember with tears of joy when we had watched Mr. Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the erstwhile Captain of the Indian cricket team raise the Cricket World Cup. While the cricketers in the Indian team batted and fielded each ball against the Sri Lankan opponents deftly, a majority of us sat glued to our seats, cheering the Indian team with pride- cutting across all lines of religion, caste, and bipartisanship. Have you wondered if all the Indian cricketers would have focused only on bettering their personal cricketing scores, could India have won the Cricket World Championships in 2011 ever? 

Competition in an ever-changing world

Whenever I think of the word competition I am reminded of a quote by Jules Henry “a competitive culture endures by tearing people down”. Each of us has had numerous instances through-out our lives where our achievements were paled to that of our peers. This constant comparison and the drive to compete often sets psychology- ‘If I am not the best then I am not good enough’. In the long run, we cannot always be ‘the best’ at everything we strive towards. We would sometimes fail and also face tremendous criticism. A person if brought up in a culture to constantly compete might embed a spirit of tenacity to overcome adversities ruthlessly and become more individualistic. At the same time the individual could fail to see failures as stepping-stones to success and instead due to the high pressure to be the best, might begin to harbor negative feelings of jealousy, envy that could decline ones’ self-esteem. 

Cooperation: a more altruistic way to a successful life 

Alternatively, if a child is brought up in an environment devoid of the constant pressure of being the highest scorer at a test or winner in an athletic race, it could help them instil a sense of contentment with their success. I am often reminded of instances where my sister would be over the moon if she got an overall pass of 50% and was happy with every small achievement. She would often say ‘my result matches my effort’. Although one may not be the best at a particular subject or presentation, it does not reflect on the overall person’s ability nor determines success in the future. In the long run of life, individuals such as my sister who have adapted to ward off the high-pressure system of competition usually are team-work oriented, altruistic decision-makers, and open-minded to risks due to an absence of a fear to fail. 

Although you and I have had different experiences throughout our lives, we have faced the harsh high-pressure system of competition and been both victims and perpetrators of this ideology. In the generations yet to come to fruition, let us help them imbibe the words of T. F. Hodge “a cooperative spirit enjoys a better harvest” to make them a kinder and humane generation cutting across all lines of religion, caste, and bipartisanship.