The Wait

“You know what, I have a crush on Randeep Hooda”, Lata screamed like a 25year something old. Every time she watches Randeep Hooda on TV screen she blushes. Not only she is attracted to men who boast matured look, she falls in love with every character in those books she read. Reading book is her favorite thing to do and fantasizing herself as the female protagonist of the story not only made her emotional but full of life and fun. Lata is a happy go lucky lady. Unlike her behavior she is 43 years old, dealing with her menopause days. She has been married since 20 years and a mother of a 16 year girl. 20 years back when she was getting married, she was very excited for her new beginning, that love which she read in books and romance. Even today she longs for it. Her husband Pankaj is a busy person. He loves Lata and he promised to give her all the luxuries and comfort. Today he has achieved himself to a position where he pampers Lata with loads of gifts and even deposits lacs of money in her account for her shopping and spa services. Still she feels lonely. Her teenage daughter, Shreya understands her to an extent but being a mother, Shreya thinks even my mom has superpowers. Lata is a school teacher. Inspite of her husband forcing her to quit job because he is a VP of a multinational company and Lata’s salary is one-tenth of his salary. Lata tries to convince him every night telling him it’s the only thing which gives her pleasure. Pankaj asks what else will give you happiness. Lata immediately says, “Your time. I want to spend time with you.” She always imagines her father and mother sitting in their garden in the evening and sipping tea. She wanted the same life. Now that she understood that, everything can be bought with money but not time. They say time is the greatest healer, but in her case time keeps on giving her wounds. She notices the behavior of her daughter which reminds of her teenage days. She doesn’t want her daughter to become like her. Shreya sometimes ask Lata, why her dad is so busy? Why can’t he come for shopping with them? All Lata answer is, he is planning to gift you Mini Cooper on your 18th birthday so busy in those preparations. Lata knew, her daughter is not justified. Shreya knew, her mother is lying and Pankaj knew Lata must be lying just to take his side.

It was the 20th anniversary of Lata and Pankaj. Pankaj planned a day out followed by a dinner for Lata and Shreya. The day well spent. Reaching back home Shreya said, “Dad! Stay like this forever. Good night”. Pankaj understood what his daughter wanted to convey but he was too speechless to react. Lata was all prepared for sleep. Pankaj want to give justification. He wanted to scream for what he is hidden. He wanted to share his feelings. Finally he burst it out, “Lata! The day I married you, I want to give you everything. I worked hard to earn money. With time I realized I am trapped in my job. I was performing and my company was giving me more money and responsibilities. I was happy for the promotions I was getting but money was taking away all the time which I should have spent with you. We get paid for taking stress in our life. More stress higher the salary. I dint understood. I lost my family. I want to live it now. Support me”. Lata gently touched his head and both slept peacefully that night.

Sun is up again. Shreya left for her school. Lata made Pankaj’s favorite breakfast and took her day off from school. Pankaj came dressed in formals in the living area and said delegates are coming will have breakfast with them only. Avoiding that eye contact, he left Lata to her own.

Dreaming a reality

Shruti is a chirpy girl. She finds happiness everywhere. Laughing is her religion and shopping is her therapy. She works with a big brand, stay alone in Gurgaon and drive down to Delhi everyday for her job. She has everything in her life except her soulmate. She has a bitter past. It saddens her but she manages to smile and say, it was a setback life moves on… She was the domestic violence victim. It was a big fat Indian wedding. She looked her best that day. She married the guy whom she met only once. Dreamt of making paradise with him, all she got was hell in reality. She is strong, educated and dignified girl. She opposed it and filed the divorce within a year of marriage. Claiming that it was an experience to make her more strong, she sips her favorite ginger tea and smile for all the stunt she did to come out of it. Now after 3 years, she has fallen in love. Its a guy working in her previous office. She wants to live with him till she grow old. Somehow she felt even the guy is attracted towards her. His presence used to make her uncomfortable. She wanted to touch him and tell him how deep is her feeling. Love is a special feeling, it gets strong when you realise the difficulties involve with it.
It was an after office party. Shruti dressed her best so that Nikunj notice her. Nikunj entered the place with his girlfriend. Nikunj is dating Samantha since 8 years. Besides religious differences they both are planning to get married. Shruti faced the reality again. Nikunj had a guilt in his eyes. Somewhere he knew he did the wrong thing by bringing Samantha. Nikunj is a committed guy. Unlike Shruti he is a shy person, doesn’t share his feelings openly and thinks commitment is beyond feelings. Nikunj was avoiding eye contact with Shruti. Shruti took the initiative and met his girlfriend like other office colleagues. She made him feel comfortable by teasing him with same old office jokes. She was shattered. She was blaming herself for loving a wrong person. She knew Nikunj belongs to someone else.
Life became more tough after that. Not able to deal him everyday in office she decided to quit the job and join some other company. Nikunj knew she was going. Office friends told Nikunj that Shruti likes him. He maintained his silence…
2 months passed by, Shruti was not able to take Nikunj out of her mind. She open her chat everytime, see his pic and close it. One day her old office friend threw a party, she met Nikunj again with his girlfriend. She noticed Samantha was bossy on him and respect was lagging in their relationship. She dramatized the situation after a no reason tiff with Nikunj in front of Shruti and other friends. Shruti felt more strongly for Nikunj. Post that incident, another month passed and Shruti decided to share her feelings with him.
It was Arpita, Shruti’s flatmate and Nikunj’s colleague who told him that Shruti loves him and even changed the job for his sake. Nikunj called Shruti to say he felt bad to know that she left her job for him. Shruti told her feelings to him and even mentioned her past. Shruti is a practical girl. She knew there would be no hope even if Nikunj feel for her. She told him that she doesn’t want him to leave Samantha. Nikunj admires Shruti. He is flattered that someone has a feeling for him so deep. Nikunj know it is not easy to accept his feelings and her love. Shruti has a past. How will his parents react to it? In our country, bachelors cant marry a divorce person. Society will deny it. Nikunj know the consequences. What will he answer to Samantha whom he is going to marry? Ocean of questions and probabilities are floating in their minds.
Till today Shruti know Nikunj is ignoring her despite of a feeling he has for her. They don’t talk to each other. They remember each other daily, check the pictures and ask about each other’s well being from Arpita. In the world having so much of technologies to connect with… living in the same city Shruti and Nikunj are pretending strangers but their souls getting connected everytime they think of each other. With the hope of someday miracle will happen in their lives, they call their day off and dream of being together forever.

The Fault in our genders

Although I was born and brought up in a small city of Uttar Pradesh, no one taught me to distinguish between a male and a female; No one told me what sexual harassment is, infact no one said you are a weak gender and compromise on the way you dress up and stuff. I was given a scooty to fly around my small city; never ever my parents restricted me to anything. Not only me but all my school friends commute with their vehicle and we enjoyed our freedom so much and never scared of anyone. I grew up to be a bold person.

…And then I faced a new world. Where Men hate women, girls were not safe, eve teasing was a daily chore, thinking if I am dressed properly so that I feel safe standing in front of mirror for about half an hour before leaving my hostel. This was no more a small city but a metropolitan place which once I used to watch on TV where girls roam around freely, stays alone and feels independent. I never experienced any of these. I lost my innocence and I grew up.

With time I joined job. I saw professional people. In reality there were not professional. I even got harassed at my work place by my boss. I was too novel to know if that was wrong. I was in need of job. I felt awkward and finally decided to share it with my office friends. My colleagues (esp. males) told me to maintain distance with such bosses. I grew up.

Then many other instances happen in my life, which I saw experienced, some faced bravely but some I ignored. It was my fault to ignore it. I knew I am a contractive person. Every time I heard stories about men-women complications, I grew up.

Something happened with me on Sunday which made me to write this. I was going somewhere with my husband on a bike. I was dressed properly (Jeans and t-shirt) with all the reality checks I do before leaving home, wrapped my stole on my head to cover my hairs and wore my shades to protect my eyes. But soon we enter a crowded signal we realized many people; both men and women were staring at me. I felt conscious and asked him to stop the bike, just to see if my clothes got torn from somewhere. No! it was not. We started again and again person of mid 40’s try to bring his bike near me, staring and smirking. My husband said maybe it’s some problem with the bike or my way of riding it. But somehow I knew, it’s not the problem with the bike or the way he was riding. It was the fault of our genders. I replied him back- “No! I think it’s the problem of me being a girl”. With that I GREW UP AGAIN.

Literacy vs Education

What differentiate you to be called as an educated person not just literate? Humans often muddle literate as being educated. But my view is being educated doesn’t mean you need to be literate and vice-versa. During my schooling, there was a subject called Moral Science which taught us to become good and responsible human beings. We read that book, listened to the teacher, mugged up the topics, wrote in exams, got good numbers and erased it from the memory. Even I did the same but with time when I became independent, responsible and mature, I realized Moral education was not for mugging up but it is something which has to be applied in our lives to make world a better place to live.

It all started with my obsession of traveling and exploring new places. I went roaming in my country and realized that Garbage is a national issue. People live in sky scraper buildings, earn lakhs of money, make their house clean early in the morning but throw garbage wherever they feel like. Have seen literate white collar job people carrying black plastic bins in their car, stop at the side of the road, throw that garbage and move on. Later those garbage bins get removed by the illiterate person who keep cleaning the roads to make the city clean. So who is educated here?

Being educated also means how much you follow rules and regulations? Yeah! We say rules are made to be broken. But Traffic rules and moral rules ARE NOT! SERIOUSLY! Honking when you know there is a hospital nearby or over speeding your vehicle doesn’t make you look cool. Breaking red lights and even honking madly on a red light with an abuse makes you look uneducated even your Ray-ban shades mock on your face.

It is just not garbage or rules and regulations, there are many other ways we are doing to make our surrounding worse. What is the use of that degree you earned? Ohh yes! It makes you get salary. But money doesn’t make you an educated person. Right? Parking in no parking, walking still when you see ‘Caution! Wet floor ahead’, peeing on the roadside, Spitting down sitting in a bus without caring who is standing beside it, not flushing in public toilets, etc. the list is endless here. Time to remember your moral education now.

Not just limited to these, abusing even when you are wrong at your part makes you look like a dimwit. What’s the use of debating over tea that our country is not a better place to live? Are you using your moral education to make it a better place? Or are you the one who just crib about it and then you do the same because everyone else is doing? High time, change is required. Call me a moral preacher, yes I am if it makes my society a better place to live.

Can go through the series of my tweets on this topic through below link-

#LiteracyVsEducation

Illiterate person is someone who cant read what is written. Uneducated person is the one who ignore wat is written & parks car in No Parking

 

 

 

 

 

Searching happiness… not found!

So what if I am doing great in my job or trying to be happy in my personal life. No I don’t like bragging about it on Social Media. Neither have I liked telling my achievements to my relatives nor to those friends who are trying their best to behave like a foe. But what if I share it because I am overwhelmed? I know the consequences but yes! I am also a human.

Jealousy, curse, disparage are the reactions we have to deal with if we share the happiness. “Ohh! So what did you do to get that job?”, “I deserved better than you anytime”, “I know you since long, you don’t have the talent”, “How can you change and become so smart?” These are the few reactions we get from them. So much distrust about other person makes them happy.

This is not the limit. I have seen few people stalking the profiles of their friends, cousins, colleagues, etc. They know so much about them, even that person who is getting stalked is not aware of. Even I have been victimized of being stalked. I don’t interact much with everyone reason; yes I am insecure about my happiness. I am jinxed that if I share this it will fade away from my life because in India we believe evil’s eye.

Gone are the days when we shared our travel pics album to our friends and family and they actually felt happy seeing our happiest capture. Now we post pics on Facebook and Instagram or maybe on Whatsapp. Personally, I have seen people reply on our posts and pics in a very sarcastic and jealous way. It is not limited to the jealousy and sarcasm; some people actually visit the place because they don’t want to be lagged behind from their friends or relatives and then prove that- “Dude! I explored this place more than you did”.

Crux of the matter is that we in the world of technology, constantly look out for happiness and satisfaction but we just cannot tolerate the fact that the other person is happier than us. This leads to the comparison of lives and wherever a state of equivalence happens you can’t feel contented.

Allahabad- New horizon for retailing

Prayag (place of Sacrifice), is no longer a historian’s paradise. A city where god resides, now called Allahabad is both rich in culture and heritage as well as in its alluring markets. From thin lanes to the multi-brands the city is flickering in its climactic way.

Allahabad, the name derived from the one given to the city once in the history by Mughal Emperor Akbar, ‘Ilahabad’. ‘Ilah’ being Arabic for “god” and ‘-abad’, a Persian word for “to construct or to create”. It is a sacred city formerly called ‘Prayag’ in commemoration of a sacrifice done by Lord Brahma. It is best known as host to the mind boggling number of Kumbh pilgrims who visit this endearing city every 12 years. The most common sacred spot in Allahabad is Triveni Sangam, the confluence of three of the holiest rivers of the Hindu mythology, the holy Ganga, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati. Devout Hindus from all over India come to this sacred pilgrimage point to offer prayers and take a dip in the holy waters. It is believed that a holy dip taken at the Sangam washes away all sins.

The religious vehement has affected the people residing here, as the city is also called Tirtha- Raja, the king of all holy places. The Kumbh mela (fair) is considered especially auspicious. It draws about 15 million people and is the largest attended event in the world.

Kumbh mela is like a “Yogi convention”, where Yogi Sadhus (saints), holy people and pilgrims come from all over India. Many Sadhus come from various holy places, the most remote forests and mountain caves in the Himalayas. The most famous are Naga Babas, Shiva worshippers who are completely naked. They cover their bodies only with ash and wear their hair in dreadlocks which attracts huge number of people not only from India, but also across the globe.

Apart from the religious touch, the city of Amitabh Bachchan have a twist in the world of fashion, brand awareness among the generation Y and the typical people residing here. It is noticed that youths are brand victims and go for the brands like Levi’s, Killer, Lee, Madame, etc. The renowned universities, institutes and colleges that are famous not only in India but also throughout the world have huge capacity of students pursuing their education are highly fashionista. AllahabadUniversity also called the “Oxford of the East” gives scholars who are always in vogue with time. The crowd of Motilal Nehru National Institute of Technology (MNNIT), one of the premier technology school of India and Indian Institute of Information Technology, Allahabad (IIIT-A) looks highly influenced by metalheads.

There are a number of small and large-scale industries in Allahabad district that play a vital role in the economy of the district. To name a few popular industries of the district are Triveni Sheet Glass Ltd, ITI Naini, Raymond Synthetics, Hindustan Cable Ltd Naini, IFFCO, and GEEP Industries. The renowned institutions like HarishChandraMehtaAtomicResearchCenter and CivilAviationTrainingCenter are also established here. The overall environment gives an amalgam of ethnic and verge of fashion.

Khadi Kurta’s and Pyjama is popular among the typical Allahabadi males, and Chikankari, work of art is classic among everyone. One would definitely have a couple of this in the wardrobe. Chiffon and georgette saris with zari embroidery and stone work which is usually done by the local Muslims women in their home worn by mostly married females. In the ceremonies, majority is seen in saris or kurta with heavy embroidery work, mirror bangles shining more than the lighting of ambience and vermillion on the forehead complete the kit.

The change

The emerging season of wedding add glister and glitter in the markets. The main shopping areas like Civil Lines, Katra and Chowk seen in all vibrant colors. Women shopping for saris, dress materials, footwear to suit the occasion. The sales of matching center increases as the purchased saris will have a matching blouse and dress material look for dupatta to make it complete and no longer anachronistic. Even the hypermarket Big Bazaar located in Atlantis Mall, civil lines, has merchandise for this season.

When a mall was opened in Allahabad, it was the matter of excitement for its inhabitants and they find the place for picnic and outing with the family. Allahabad’s only shopping mall, Atlantis is owned by Ajay Singh, son of former Prime Minister of India, V. P. Singh. The mall has a Big Bazaar, Reebok outlet, Adidas showroom, and brand outlets of Madame, Octave, Wills Lifestyle, John Players, Lee, Wrangler, Levi’s, etc. Filling stations are Mc Donald’s and Kafe Kona which invites plenty number of footfalls. Local resident Rita Srivastava spotted at Mc Donald’s says, “It is really cool that Mc D has opened in Allahabad. The city was in need of such renowned eating out place. My children demand to come here every weekend and it’s a good outing in a small city. Although they have less variety as compared to the Mc D’s in tier I cities but we all are loving it”. Here Mc D doesn’t provide various types of floats.  The mall has also a Planet M store and attracts plenty of crowd. Now resident prefer going to Big Bazaar to buy groceries rather than buying from the commodity store nearby their house. The offers provided by the Big Bazaar have an overwhelming response by the localites. Big Bazaar was opened on Nov 11th, 2006. It is the 36th Big Bazaar in the country and fourth in Uttar Pradesh after Gaziabad, Lucknow and Agra. The multi-level store provides shoppers with 40,000 square feet of shopping experience 365 days a year. Service class people go on Sundays or Holidays as the main shops are closed on these days. Locals prefer coming here as they can extract the maximum out of the monthly budgets and get their household requirement under one roof. The mall will soon have a multiplex.

Salasar Retail Ltd, or Salasar, opened was the first retail outlet in Allahabad, and today running successfully. It is a multi-story outlet serves starting from groceries to apparels and footwear, large-format store Incorporated in 2006. Its competitor Vishal Mega mart came to the city soon after the opening of Salasar. Being able to serve the versatile needs of lifestyle conscious consumers within a span of more than two years, the company targets middle and lower income group. Spencer’s retail, the largest multiformat retailer chain in India was also opened last year. The stores stock the necessary range and assortment in fruit and vegetables, FMCG food and non-food, staples and frozen foods and cater to the daily and weekly top-up shopping needs of the consumer. Soon after its success in the city another store was opened to provide convenience and comfort to the consumers. Now, the city has two Spencer’s store.

Besides the mall and retail outlets, city of Sangam has vast number of brand outlets. Peter England, Parx, Louis Philippe, Spykar, Khadims, Lilliput, K-Lounge, Koutons, Park Avenue, Raymond, etc. have good space here. City also has Style Spa furniture retail showroom and Electronic retail, Asha and Company top the list by providing all reputed electronic brands and products. It is the biggest showroom of electronics in Allahabad. Other retailers here are Archies, Tanishq, The World of Titan, etc and Salon of Shahnaz Hussain and Lakme are also in the race to extol the customers.

Premium Family Store

 Madan Collection, owned by Sachdev Brothers is the most renowned store in Allahabad, situated in the posh area of Civil Lines offers the widest variety of merchandise and a lot of choice in terms of brands under one roof. The store targets upper middle class. The shop has just about everything apparel, accessories, eyewear, watches, fragrances and lingerie’s. It also offers services to the customers of home delivery, alteration, old clothes which needs changes of elastic and zippers, knowing customers by name, keeping records of their birthdays which give personal touch to the customers. The store has a good reputation among the customers and they prefer walking the store rather than moving towards the brand outlets. It has around 30 brands. The main brands are Allen Solly, Van Huesen, Levi’s, Pepe Jeans, Zodiac and Color Plus. The premium brands are Espirit, Ray Ban and Pierre Cardin. The owner of the shop, Karan Sachdev said, “Initially it was a setback when giant ventures like Big Bazaar opened, but now it is settled and again the store is in the form”.

The store enjoys it highest sale during the pre Diwali and Eid Season but also the response during the wedding season is good as the customers prefer casual wear during the Diwali time and more ethnic in the season of wedding. The daily footfall is more than 200, on weekdays and Saturdays, the store remains closed on Sundays; the conversion rate is 85-90 percent. “The store is ten years old and has a turnover of 3-4 crores per year”, Sachdev added. It has fragrance from Espirit and Davidoff and purchased by the limited and royal customers. The demand also forced them to stock the accessories and apparels from Satya Paul and Rocky S. The store is not permitted to bargaining, but they have membership schemes for the customers. On an annual purchase of Rs. 20,000 and above the store offers free purchase of 10 percent.

Sachdev further quotes, “Some customers are not aware of the brand but they have good money and get good buy. They are loyal customers and mainly of 30 to 40 years of age. We make them aware of the brands and provide them merchandise from the premium brands and designers”. The advertisement is mainly done by the print media as the rates of hoardings are pretty high. The store has no direct competition in the city and planning for its expansion by opening another store in the city and introducing more international brands for their customers. They prefer giving eco- friendly paper bags rather than the non usable plastic ones.

 Gangotri – The land of Ganga.

 This showroom, owned by the Govt. of Uttar Pradesh, also called UP Export Corporation is in the verge of extinction. The shop has nice and decent variety of Handloom and Handicraft products which are made in Uttar Pradesh and has its unique specialty and importance. They have a sale of around 1 crore per year and after entering the giants like Big Bazaar, Style Spa and other outlets in the city, the store has faced the high level of competition. The customers entering in the store has decreased by 30 percent within a year. The showroom has Banarasi Silk Saris ranging from Rs.2000 to Rs 12000, woven by the poor weavers with fine zari work. The glimpse of each sari can easily charm a shopaholic. The store also has Brass ware and white metal utensils from Moradabad, Chikankari sari and kurta from Lucknow, Shawls from Garhwal, Carpets and Durries from Bhadohi, Handloom cotton bed sheets and furnishings coming from Meerut and Gaziabad and finely crafted by the inlay work of brass the furniture from Saharanpur. All furniture has unique carving done on the wood and looks magnificent.

The costumers are reputed doctors, advocates, judges and politicians based in the city. High Court is situated in the heart of the city and has large number of lawyers and judge. Allahabad has given the seven of Prime Ministers of India. “The Government is commercially promoting the business and due to the lack of advertising the costumers are decreasing. We give discount of 10 percent to the VIP’s and offer festival and clearance discount with season,” said S.B. Singh, Showroom Manager. He added, “Daily 100- 150 customers walk in the store and 80 percent make purchases”. The shop is closed on Sundays and also has Visa card pay facility.

Future Scope

The city will have more retail complexes in the coming year. Pantaloon and Westside are heading towards Allahabad soon. Under the franchise deal, Trent, the Tata Group’s Retail Company will own and provide the stock to the upcoming department store, Westside. Neeti Chopra, head of marketing, Trent, said, “The Company will own stores in top 30 cities and open stores under the franchise route in the rest of the cities. The franchise route will help us to overcome the property challenge in these cities and scale up our operations quickly. We will also get the first mover advantage in these cities, which do not have much retail presence,” Chopra said.

Café Coffee Day and Baskin Robbins opened few months back has become the popular hangout place for the youth as it is in the high profile area Civil Lines and near to the various colleges. The rentals for space in the Civil Lines are higher than the other areas. Individual shops in this area also have high rate than any other street in Allahabad as it is considered to be one of the main area for shopping. The city development chart is increasing per day and more domestic and international brands are finding their place to settle down.

The localites are getting aware of the latest trends and brands. Youths were spotted wearing slim fits, ultra low waist, cling fit and 501 from Levi’s, body tattooed and pierced. Thus, concluded that the brands outlets are at par by opening their stores here. Domestic brand Monte Carlo, of Oswal Woollen Mills, which launched a new store in the city recently, has experienced this growth. Shakeel Ahmed, owner of the shop says, “Response from the customers is good as we are advertising through radio FM and conversion rate is 70-75 percent”. Need for diversifying has motivated him to take franchise. These stores have brought a revolution in the holy city and the growth rate is giving opportunities for more retail companies to become a part of the king of all holy places, Allahabad.