Saturday, 23 January 2021

Hey Meghna! You deserved more!

I was 16 summers old when Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na hit the theatres. Far away from the cliched rom-com and yet close to new-age romance, this movie came as a breath of fresh air. 

But today, I would love to talk about Meghna from the movie. Brilliantly played by Manjari Phadnis, Meghna was one of the characters that went unnoticed when the movie was released. 

Most of us never felt empathetic to Meghna back then. We just kept rooting for the lead characters, Jai and Aditi hoping they would unite in the end. 

Like most of the people, even I rooted for the lead pair. But, recently, when I stumbled upon the same movie on OTT after years, something strange happened. 

Meghna, a character who was once a crush to me was more than that, a broken woman seeking for empathy and love. 

She hailed from an affluent family where she had everything but empathy and love. When she realised her father was having an extramarital affair, she couldn’t handle it, just like her mother. 

She knew her father was wrong. Yet, she was helpless. She loved her father. She loved her mother. 

With no shoulder to lean on to, no ears to listen, she spent all the horrific nights alone in her room listening to her parents' abuse and quarrel. 

In one scene, Meghna painfully tells Jai, ‘The two people who I loved the most...were miserable. All because of me.’

She conveniently takes the blame on herself though she wasn’t the reason in the first place. Since then, she practised to stay away from reality and started imagining that her parents were really happy and in love with each other. 

She gradually found solace in that world of assumptions and she had no choice but to interpret things differently. 

Be it overlooking the eccentric behaviour of her alcoholic father in front of Jai, her mother’s pain hidden behind a straight face or just explaining the most common things on the street in the most magical way possible. 

Meghna called this the ‘What’s this’ game and she only played it with someone close to her. 

Though Jai and his friends consider it as a funny game, for Meghna, it was beyond a game. 

In fact, it was a game of hide and seek. She wanted to hide the painful reality and seek a different meaning by shutting her eyes and opening it up to a world where she never belonged. 

The very first glimpse of Meghna in the movie is brilliantly captured by showing us how helpless she is when teased by two good for nothing pricks. 

The metaphorical introduction quickly goes unnoticed when Jai rescues Meghna from those eve-teasers and thanks to Rahman’s BGM. 

This was going to be one of the most important phases of Meghna’s life. She was desperately in need of an empathetic shoulder that could lead her to solace and her prayers were answered when Jai entered her life. 

Soon after both of them have an instant liking towards each other, they go on a walk and this is where Jai gets introduced to Meghna’s imagination game. 

Though he wishes to spend more time with Meghna, Jai doesn’t muster the courage to ask her out but gets delighted at the very next moment when Meghna opens up by asking if he could join her for a movie tomorrow. 

Just when things seem fine, Aditi gets engaged with Sushant making Jai more jealous. 

Though he tries not to carry that look, things turn worse when he watches Sushant and Aditi sharing a kiss. 

Throughout the movie, Jai is known to be a modern-day independent Gandhian, a feminist and a product of great parenting. 

However, only when it comes to Meghna, he’s not the same Jai. He’s a different one. In fact, self-centred. 

When Meghna tries to cheer him up, the all pious, the Gandhian, the non-violent Jai chides her for ignoring the reality and blames her for neglecting the friction between her parents. 

Jai never loved Meghna. Even when she breaks down due to his harsh behaviour, he gives her an apathetic hug. 

All he wanted was to bring her out from the world she imagined, where she assumed her parents were in love. 

Had Jai been in love with Meghna, he would have tried his best to transform her life. 

While Meghna is not ready to open her eyes to face the reality, Jai on the other hand tries his best to open it, thus causing Meghna more grief. 

But, the most heartbreaking scene in the movie is when Jai breaks up with Meghna, leaving her alone, stealing her hope and happiness. Because Jai never loved her. He loved Aditi and it was Meghna who fell prey to his ego. 

Soon after the breakup, Meghna bids him adieu with a kiss and a smile that’s perhaps more painful than tears. 

Never have I felt so bad for a character and today, wherever Meghna is, I’m sure, she would be blessed with a life that’s full of happiness. Because, as a stronger woman who has gone through ups and downs, she deserved it. 

- Vishal Komara 

Saturday, 14 November 2020

This Diwali, Don’t Preach About Burning Patriarchy, But Act On It!

I’m tired when people say let us not burn crackers. Instead let us burn patriarchy and sexism.

Respected Woke Amigo, 

Well. Being a feminist myself, I can say that’s a good idea. But you can’t just burn something that’s been deep-rooted in most of the households. You can’t hold a placard and eradicate issues like patriarchy and sexism. Only if it was that easy. 

Instead you make a beginning at your home and put an end once and for all to such messed up issues. For instance, asking the men in the family be part of the household chores. Also telling them on the face how women have the freedom to voice an opinion and bringing their point of views to the table, especially during discussions ranging from one topic to another. 

It’s fine. You can tell them. Sharing a ‘say-no-to patriarchy’ post on social media, tagging or forwarding them will not help. It’s best to talk to them in person. 

Now coming to sexism, think about those desi-uncles who go on a worshipping spree on ‘Women’s Day’. From sugar-coated forwarded messages to inspiring women-centric tales, they just spam their social media feed with ‘women-are-the-best’ posts. 

And from the very next day, they continue to don their opinionated hats and start their daily dose of sexist, misogynistic posts. Thanks to social media, it has not only brought us all together, but has also become a medium for some desi-uncles and guys to bring their casual sexist opinions to the table. 

So, you can either quit the group and stop them from learning their mistakes or just tell them bluntly to come in terms with equality. To begin with, most of the female bashing messages they send hover over topics like, dependent women, wife fearing husbands, spying women, etc. 

In reality, it’s actually the opposite. At least, in most of the cases. 

So, you don’t have to use a festival as a scapegoat to vent your anger on issues like patriarchy and sexism. Preaching won’t help. Questioning people who are instilled with such traits shall surely lead you to an unbiased environment. 

Because, if you stay quiet today and delay further, you might just end up being a victim tomorrow. 

  • Vishal Komara 

Saturday, 22 February 2020

Empathy is the KEY!

A few days ago, I stumbled upon a post on Facebook, where a 9-year-old boy had contemplated suicide because he was bullied in his school. 

It was heart-wrenching to see the boy sobbing and burying his face into the seat. Born with a rare bone-growth disorder, the little boy never knew he would be subjected to such heinous bullying.

However, the world doesn’t boast of such mean people all the time. Soon after hearing this painful incident shared by the boy’s mom on social media, an acclaimed comedian(who also happened to suffer from a similar bone condition) raised a fundraiser for the kid so he could embark on a trip to Disneyland. 

Though this incident might hopefully end on a positive note, the boy would still need to buy some time to forget what had happened. 

Yes, people have responded. People have showered massive support and love on the cute little boy. Millions of people have proved that humanity still exists. 

However, if at all there is something that has to play change, then it has to be the ‘upbringing’ part. 

I still can’t get rid off my teenage days, where I was subjected to bullying. I had stammering issues. The worst part was, the bullying came from the near and dear ones. From relatives to friends, everyone played their part and the irony is, today, they behave like noble souls. 

Though I managed to overcome from such an issue, it took me a while to understand the psychology behind bullying. 

Upbringing is the word. 

What’s the point in sharing stuff on social media that talks about saving the planet and other conservation crap, when we as humans aren’t empathetic enough when it comes to emotions and mental ‘issues’? 

When we don’t share a basic responsibility to help someone who seeks help, 

When we don’t have a kind heart to understand someone’s flaws, 

When we aren’t broad-minded enough to treat the person rightfully, 

What’s the bloody point in talking about saving the planet when we have failed in understanding each other.

So, before you could slog hard and make those sacrifices, try instilling some ‘empathetic values' in your kids. 

  • Vishal

Saturday, 22 June 2019

I’m a FEMINIST and I loved both Arjun Reddy and Kabir Singh!


Last week, me and my friend watched ‘John Wick’ on the big screen. 

The movie had some intense octane action sequences and hands down, it was one of the finest thrillers that made some noise. Critically and commercially too. 

Nonetheless, after watching the movie, me and my friend went insane. 

Yes. The movie made us insane. We just kept hitting the roads and started to gun down random people who wore costly suits. 

Yes. That’s how insane we were. For a while, we forgot about our jobs, parents, friends and became assassins.

'm a writer and my friend is an engineer. 

But now, screw those jobs. We wore suits, flaunted guns, chiseled bods, superbikes and what not. 

We just churned out a career from fiction and made it our reality. 

Well, take a chill pill. None of the above is true. 

I still get paid for writing and my friend codes all day. 

You see. This is our reality. 

Now coming back to the John Wick thing. 

We just watched the movie over a tub of popcorn and went back to our respective homes. 

Nothing insane happened. 

In fact, such insanity lies in few critics and people who are biased to the fullest. No. Not just biased. 

Single-minded. Depressed. Hypocritical. Frustrated and yes, Fake Feminists. 

Being a feminist who doesn’t fall prey to the Bollywood definition, let me start the topic. 

It all started when the movie, Arjun Reddy was released. 

It was not an innovative attempt. Just a refreshing take on romance. 

The story is about an alcoholic surgeon who dwells on a self-destructive zone after losing his girlfriend to someone else. 

Though the movie and its lead character, Vijay Deverakonda earned cult status, it was his misogynistic attitude that disappointed few critics and feminists. 

How can he be so rude and abusive? 
How can he just stake his claim on a random good looking girl? 
How can he keep downing bottles of alcohol every day? 

This is so disgusting! 

If this weren’t enough, Bollywood came up with its own version with Shahid Kapoor in the lead and Kiara Advani stepping into the shoes of Shalini from the Telugu flick. 

Just like the original one, even Kabir Singh opened up to rave reviews and again, some pseudo feminists gave a strict NO. Not even a star. Because they had already given it to movies like Veere Di Wedding. Another pathbreaking flick that talks about empowering women. Coughs. 

Well, both Arjun Reddy and Kabir Singh have some scenes that show women in a bad light. Agreed! 

Be it the hero staking his claim on a random girl, kissing her on the cheeks when he meets for the first time or slapping her out of anger, yes, there are some flaws to be taken into account. 

But, chill, it’s just a movie for god sake. 

You just can’t bring your frustration on the table and name it feminism. In fact, that isn’t the true definition. 

It’s all about Gender Equality. Today, women are literally breaking the glass ceilings in every industry. They are ahead in everything they do. At least, not like the bad old days. 

You can’t go gaga over fiction tales and make it look like you care for the women. 

In fact, such pseudo feminists or finger pointers were at times silent. 

Think about it. 

You were silent during Game of Thrones, where some women were just meant to be on the bed, naked, but couldn’t stop and fall in love with Arya Stark’s powerful performance. 

You were silent when Hema Malini was limited to a chatterbox in an epic movie like Sholay. But couldn’t forget her stellar act in Seetha Aur Geetha. 

You were silent when Shahrukh, the music teacher from Mohabbatein preached love and everything but music. Again, you couldn’t miss, but fall in love with his inspiring performance in Chak De. 

You were silent when Madhuri Dixit was busy explaining you as what was behind the choli(blouse), but again, her dashing women-centric performance from Anjaam has still kept us wanting for more from the veteran actress.  

You were silent when Aamir Khan from Dangal had to force his wife to only deliver a baby boy just to satisfy his goal or also from the movie Lagaan, where he dated his Gowri in the mornings and Elizabeth mem in the evenings. Well, you couldn’t ignore, but fall in love with him for producing the intense women empowering movie - Secret Superstar. 

You were silent when Priyanka Chopra’s character from the movie Fashion did everything from drugs to sex(thought it was critically and commercially, a blockbuster). But again, you fell in love with her unforgettable roles from Mary Kom and Barfi. 

You were silent when Deepika Padukone’s character from Happy New Year just loved men with good angrezi speaking portfolios. However, you still can’t imagine anybody playing Piku’s character as effortlessly like Deepika did.  

You were silent when Tina from Kuch Kuch Hota Hai joined the college halfway through and played spoilsport by breaking  Rahul-Anjali’s bond, but fell in love with her powerhouse role from Mardaani. 

You were silent....ok. This goes on and on. 

The list is too long. Maybe longer than Ashutosh Gowariker movies. 

In fact, even in the case of Arjun Reddy and Kabir Singh, it is the character that comes under prominence. 

Prior to both the movies, the heroes have had some pathbreaking performances to their credit. 

While Vijay Deverakonda in ‘Pellichoopulu’ played a lazy guy who dreamt of becoming a chef, it was the heroine role played by Ritu Verma that took away the entire limelight. 

Right from giving a solid stand to the hero, to be unapologetic and independent, she clearly was the winner. 

Even in Shahid Kapoor’s case, the roles he played in Jab We Met and Udta Punjab had some amazing women-centric roles.

So what matters is, characters! 

Every character has its own layers and shades. 

Every character has its own pros and cons. 

But, in the end, it’s all about the craft, art and how effectively can one pull it off. 

So, just calm down amigos. Your outrage has validity for two days and boom, there is some other shit to knock your door. 

Maybe, in your free time, you can throw your feminist tales to other issues. 

Maybe, you could tell your father to take care of the kitchen for a week. 

Maybe, you could also handle the dishes for a week. 

Maybe, you could ask your female friends to go out and break a stereotype. 

But, that isn’t easy and it isn’t difficult too. 

It takes time. More time. More effort. 

In fact, to be precise, a thousand times more than the time and effort taken to post an outrageous opinion on social media. 

Written by Vishal Aryan Komara 

Writer, love reading books, passionate cook, amateur photographer, occasional traveler and an unbiased feminist. 

Thursday, 18 April 2019

Swipe Left. Swipe Right. Here’s a ‘Tinder’ for your Bucket List Ideas?

Hooking up with a soulmate is now getting easier. I don’t know about the soulmate thing, but the process is EASY PEASY! 

Somewhere in the corner, you must have heard the cries, isn’t it? Maybe, it should be the sanskaari matrimonial sites. Coughs! 

On a lighter note, that’s how technological disruption looks like. Tinder entered at the right time and cast its spell on the dating stereotypes. They won. The stereotypes lost.

Now that finding the right one has become possible with a ‘swipe’, how does it sound to have an app that would take you a step closer to more like-minded people? 

Tada. This time, not a dating app. Not another tinder. 

Here comes Woovly! A Bucket List Platform. An app that helps you to add, talk, share and accomplish your Bucket List ideas with people like you across the globe. 

You might love to travel, snorkel, date, skate, photograph, choreograph, lose weight, gain experiences, write, kite, dive, drive, anything and everything, it’s now thinkable, possible and doable with WOOVLY! 

Isn’t that amazing? 

If you have a list of crazy, adventurous, ballsy and unique things and don’t know where you’re heading, just go to Woovly. 

Even if you don’t have one, just go. Because, you might as well end up with a bunch of folks who for sure, love the exact things you like to do. 

Why Bucket List? 

Did you ever ask yourself? Why I need this car? Why I need this smartphone? Why I need this house? Why I need this job that would not bother about my passion? Why I need a bank balance that would perhaps only be helpful for my kids? 

Even if you tried asking, only a confused reaction would be the answer. It does, for most of them. But, when it’s about memories, it’s different. You tend to smile. You feel happy. 

You might have not travelled more, explored more, lived adventures, but still, you tend to smile with the smallest memories you’ve lived. 

That’s why you need a Bucket List. A list that would make you happy forever once accomplished. 

So, start mounting Your Bucket List, accomplish them, make more memories, start small and live it hard. Bohot Hard! 

If you need more gyaan than this, then head to Woovly. Because even I’ve got a list of things to do. I can’t keep talking amigos. 😊

  • Vishal Aryan Komara. 

Sunday, 10 March 2019

Short Story - Hi Mam, I heard you help criminals.

Note - This is purely a work of fiction.

It was an another Sunday for Maya Menon, a lawyer and an human rights activist from Kerala. She was ready to visit the remand home, her weekly ritual, which she had been following for the past two decades.

Just before starting her car, she receives a call from an unknown number. Maya normally disliked the habit of using a mobile phone. But she had to develop the habit for the sake of her only daughter, Joby.

Since she was already getting late to the remand home, Maya cuts the call and leaves to work. Soon after a while, she receives a message from the same number.

Maya had till date had solved around thousands of cases. She was well educated. She was the only woman from her family to have a masters from Harvard. Despite all the difficulties she had been through in her life, Maya never lost her grit.

But, that morning she was in for a test. A message from an unknown number was perhaps the worst thing that could happen to her life. Just like she fought for her clients, the message was precise to the point. It read, ‘Your Joby has been kidnapped and she is safe. Can we have a conversation over a cup of coffee? Also, I don’t think you should be taking the help of police at this point of time. I guess only a stupid would afford to take such risks. I repeat again, your daughter is in safe hands. Kindly follow the shared location. I guess, it shall take an hour’.

Maya was always a courageous woman. Most of her subordinates considered her as a ballsy activist. But, now she was literally down. She wanted a shoulder to rest. She desired some moral support. She wanted someone to console her. She just wanted someone to tell her that her daughter would soon come back home.

Without killing any time, she races to the location given by the abductor. Unlike the caller had mentioned, she took more than an hour to reach the place.

It was on the outskirts of the city. The place was isolated and there were no people around, but for a rusted tuk tuk which was perhaps owned by a debt-ridden guy.

‘Hello Miss Maya. You must’ve been looking for me. Aren’t you?’

So, you’re the guy who abducted my daughter, said a grieved Maya’.

She just wanted to see Joby. She wanted to see if her only girl was doing fine.

‘Yes mam, it was me who called you. It is me who kidnapped your beloved daughter. Just consider I don’t have a name. Now, can we take a walk to my place’, said the abductor with a devilish smile’.

‘I don’t know who you are. I haven’t seen you at all. As per my knowledge, I don’t think I’ve caused harm to anybody. Is my daughter safe? What’s your motive? What’s your demands? If it’s money, just quote your price, it shall reach your place in an hour. I’m an hard working woman and a single parent’.

Maya had never been this submissive in her life. Had it not been for her daughter, she would’ve taken the guy to a task by now. Thanks to her self-defence classes.

‘It’s too sultry mam. I guess we must go to my place. Let’s talk over a cup of coffee. I shall surely answer all your questions’.

The helpless Maya had no choice but to accept his request. Soon after a silent walk, she reached the place.

‘Kindly do me a favour of switching off your phone mam. I don’t like anyone coming in between the three of us’.

Though she felt a bit hesitant initially, Maya turned her mobile off fearing he would cause harm to Joby.

The place was just fine. Apart from an apartment and a railway track, there was nothing that could help Maya and her daughter.’

‘Stop wasting your time. This place is isolated. It’s far from the city. The apartment you see is under construction and unfortunately, it's tagged as a haunted place. I guess I’m good at planning things, isn’t it mam?’

‘Look! I need my daughter. She is innocent. She is just 16 and she doesn’t deserve to die. Stop doing this to us. At least, tell me what’s in your mind? Why the hell are you doing this to us?’

‘Take a chill pill mam. Have this coffee. It’s fresh. I just made it a while back and I kept in a flask. I cook well too. We shall start talking after this. I promise’.

Maya could do nothing but to nod her head to every goddamn thing he said. She had the coffee as fast as she could and waited eagerly to see him speak.

‘I’ve finished it. Now tell me. Where is Joby?’, said a crying Maya.

Before she could complete the next sentence, Maya felt a bit giddy and soon after a couple of seconds, she was unconscious.

The floor was damp. The mild speed of the fan gave some relief to Maya as she regained consciousness. Before she could react further, Maya was tied up to a chair.

‘Are you a fucking psychopath? Ok! You can kill me. Do whatever you want. Just leave my daughter. She’s an innocent kid. Please...’, said Maya crying out loud and screaming for help.

‘Ssshhhh! Don’t be noisy. It shall not help. No one can hear you. We are too far. Anyway, I’ve brought you here for a reason. Before I start speaking, you should perhaps have a look at this mam’. Here it is.

Maya had never in her wildest dreams had imagined that she would face a day like this. The abductor had already killed her only daughter. She just realised that he brought her here to share the heart-wrenching news.

‘You rotten piece of shit’. Why did you kill my daughter? How could that little innocent girl could bring harm to you? You asshole! Do I deserve this?

‘Oh Oh Oh. Enough mam. If you dare to utter another word, I swear to god, I’m going to chop you down into pieces. I’ve brought you here to listen and answer a couple of questions. You are here just to pay attention and give me what I want. Period’.

‘So, I heard you help criminals mam. Isn’t that true?

I’m a human activist and a criminal lawyer by profession. I solve cases and help people’.

‘No mam’. That’s wrong. You might justify it differently. But you’ve got a massive reputation of fighting for Maoists, rapists and criminals. I sometimes wonder how can someone have a job description that’s all about showing pity to the accused’.

‘I’m here with my research mam. In the past two decades, you’ve solved many cases. Thanks to you, we have many criminals, juvenile rapists and Maoists roaming free today in broad daylight’. Thanks to your so-called humanitarian grounds’.

‘While you let these morons free, there are hundreds of people who want them dead. Though none of my family members has gone through such trauma, I decided to seek justice and teach people like you a lesson’.

‘But now, I’m feeling a bit different mam. After brutally killing your daughter, I fear the outcome of my actions. Maybe, I should’ve tried a simple way to convey my perspective’.

‘Anyway, I think I’ll be fine. You are there to save me, mam. I know you’ll definitely fight for me. I think you have an army of people who love showing pity towards the cynical and psychopathic murderers like me’.

‘I’d love to live mam. I have a dream. I always wanted to become a lawyer and bring a fresh narrative to the table. I fear I won’t be able to become one if I go to jail. Just look at the positive side of me, mam. I might have killed your daughter. I know that’s painful. But, what about me mam? Don’t I deserve a second chance like all those criminals who gained freedom through your hands? Come on, it’s your duty to save me’.

Maya finally realised what was his motive. She realised the blunders she committed all these years. But it was too late. Her daughter was dead and her clients are still free.

‘Look, whatever your name is, I’m sorry. Yes, I never saw things from a different perspective. I now realise after losing my daughter. I know this would haunt me forever. But, I’ll try my best to put those criminals behind the bars. It’s my promise’.

‘That’s an interesting transformation mam. It’s good to see that you’ve changed. Thanks to your daughter. She would be proud of you. I guess I shall release you now. You are now a new person. But, I shall be watching you mam and I hope you fight for the needy’.

‘AND yes, before you go, you can take your daughter along’.

All of a sudden, Maya got a shocker. Was that the best moment in her life? No one could deny that. Little did she know that the abductor had a positive side.

‘What are you saying? Is Joby alive? Tell me you didn’t kill her. Were you lying all the time?’

‘I’m not like those cold-blooded criminals who easily get acquitted from the hands of the law. I just wanted to make you understand about the atrocities you’ve done. Yes, you are a strong woman. You are highly educated. But, your version of the law was stupid. It never justified a good cause. You fought for the bad and left the good to suffer. Your daughter is doing good in the other room. I don’t think you would change your views after leaving this place. Joby is watching us. The photo I showed you was a staged one. I hope this sums up everything mam’.

Though Maya was finally relieved to see Joby, she was exposed completely in the eyes of her daughter. She never committed a crime. But if she continued her actions like before, she would definitely feel guilty. A feeling that would haunt her for long.

‘You can leave now mam. I’m sorry again to trouble you both. I just wanted to explain how wrong you were all these years. By the way, don’t you dare go near the apartment? I must have lied before about Joby, but that’s indeed a haunted place’.

‘How are you so sure about it? asked Joby in a curious tone.

‘That’s because I reside there!’

Written by Vishal Aryan Komara.

Saturday, 29 December 2018

National Anthem - Should you stand up or not?  - True Story! 

I recently hit the theatres to watch a movie. I guess the last time I watched a commercial potboiler with a tub of popcorn was 2 months ago. 

Anyway, I got the tickets, bought popcorn and took my seat. A couple of minutes later, a young foreigner took the next seat of mine. I had this surreal-like feel for a while. 

While the stereotypical Indian in me pondered ‘why’; the ‘thought-provoking me’ quoted ‘why not? 

I knew there were around 10 full minutes before the film could start rolling; so I mustered some courage to strike a conversation. 

Hi. I’m Vishal, where are you from? I asked with a lump in my throat. I could already sense some discomfort in his body language. 

But, he shut my doubts with a broad smile and said - Hello! I’m Miguel. I’m from Spain but settled in Bangalore. 

Since there was no room for more time, I pushed the conversation and came to know that - he was residing in the Silicon Valley of India for the past one decade. 

I asked him why? I know it was none of my business, but still, I gave it a shot. 

‘In a gifted city like Bangalore, you’ve got the chance to experiment multiple things. So, I freelance for an advertising agency, I do photography and I travel places’, he said. 

For a second, I gave a thought to myself. 

Maybe, I should decode this guy rather than watching a commercial potboiler. Before pushing myself to throw the next question, we were alerted to stand up for the ‘National Anthem’ 

I put up the popcorn aside to stand and to my astonishment, so did Miguel. But, I wasn’t game for that reaction from him. I knew he was a foreigner and I also knew it wasn’t a compulsive requirement for a guy from a distant country. Maybe, I was forced to think like that after seeing our own Indians debating over the issue. 

But, Miguel broke the stereotype in me for the second time and joined the patriotic chorus and guess what? He knew our anthem by heart. For a second, I thought, the anthem was latched onto his head. The moment we finished reciting the anthem, some guy from behind with an enthusiastic tone chanted - ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’.

This time, Miguel surprised everyone by chanting back a ‘Jai’ in a high pitch. 

Since there were few more ads to go, I quickly thanked him for showering respect on our country. 

I knew it might have sounded a bit cliche for few. But, Miguel sipping his coke quickly said - ‘You don’t have to thank me, buddy. As I mentioned before, I’ve travelled a lot, explored multiple places, met thousands of people and binged on crazy adventures. So, what’s wrong in giving your 2 minutes for a country that’s given so much to you in return?’

By now, I was not just shocked. I was inspired too. So, before the credits could start rolling, I just applauded him for having a broad mindset on things. So I just ended the conversation by saying - ‘I wish even a few people in India could follow your approach, Miguel’ 

‘You can’t force people to do things. Because they are too busy in following an ideology which ironically doesn’t give a shit about them and they’re also too ignorant in differentiating between politics and patriotism. While the former plays poison, the latter at times becomes an antidote. However, ironically speaking, why are these issues popping out only in the last 5 years? 

After listening to what he said, I just laughed my lungs out and replied ‘Welcome to India once again, Miguel’.


Written By Vishal Aryan Komara