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Debunking the distorted tale of Namrata

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Ever since the suicide news of a 13 YO girl, Namrata, from St. Mary’s School, Naharkatia (Assam), burst forth, it dispersed like a wildfire, became the buzz of every household and newsrooms. But amid the tumult and roars of camouflaged conspiracies, the real picture got overshadowed by its numerous sequels.

Because sensationalism sells, the myriad media houses, instead of digging deep to find the root causes, branched out a multitude of different perspectives, shaping new angles every day, offering the world to flap their critical opinions about the school, its teachers, and the related “corporal punishments.”

Hence, to light the truth, let me reveal some shocking brass tacks about the incident.

The Story- 2015

Everything was flowing in its usual manner. Namrata was in standard five. It was Miss Bandita’s (pseudonym) birthday. So, getting hold of some lame excuses, Namrata visited her teacher’s place and insisted on staying the night (although she was not invited, she decided to self-invite) with her. Things went well for the next two years. Namrata considers her teacher as one of her closest someones.

Things started turning ugly- 2017

Namrata stepped in her seventh standard. Gradually, she started exhibiting bizarre behavior toward Bandita. She would call her at odd hours, text her inappropriate messages like “I miss you,” “I wanted to see you in the staircase, you didn’t come,” would stalk her to the loo, corridors, and everywhere. Namrata even threatened of involving in self-mutilation. Paraphilias like knife, blades, needle, and band-aid were always present in her school-bag.

In one instance, she deliberately bruised her wrist with a blade and whatsapped the photo to Bandita, disclosing her fondness. Having a grip of her unusual acts, Bandita too got frightened and decided to discuss with one of her friends, who further directed to inform the headmistress, Sister Rancy.

The headmistress decided to call her guardians and acquaint them about their daughter’s acts. After countless phone calls, finally, her father picked up the call. She was asked to confront all her activities, which she did, and apologized not to repeat again.

On a summer morning of August, her classmates and teachers stood surprised to find her chopping off her hair. On being asked by her NCC teacher, she replied that the cap doesn’t fit on her head and hence she decided to hang around with a boys-type hairdo.

Then followed a trail of events, every other day

On 28th, Monday, Sister Rancy saw her staying aloof from her friends. When asked about the reason, Namrata replied being fine, in her casual manner. In order to console her, Sister Rancy spoke, “When you go home today, do not open your books, don’t study today. Just scribble your heart out in a paper.”

The next day Namrata surprised Sister Rancy with 7-8 pages of her feelings. She even expressed her gratitude toward the headmistress for understanding her.

On 29th, Tuesday, the class monitor complained the class teacher, Miss Ramida Rahman (who according to some news reports was the one to agitate Namrata to commit suicide) of scrawling obscene texts on the desk, such as I love you Bandita, and other offensive accounts. Without a second thought, Miss Ramida informed the Headmistress.

When Sister Rancy inquired about the inappropriate deed to the class, Namrata boldly stood up, presumably with rage. Sister Rancy went to her to resolve the issue and advised her not to engage in such things again, to which Namrata outraged her with a smirk. The headmistress lost her cool and reverted with a slap (which according to some sources is extreme punishment).

The bell rang. Everyone rushed to their homes but Namrata had different plans that evening. She blocked Miss Bandita’s way and repeatedly started asking her if she had granted her pardon. Bandita vouched for her that she has no issue with her and that she forgave her long back.

Bandita then rushed to the headmistress’ office and narrated the happening. Sister Rancy decided to ring her mother and call her to take her daughter home. She didn’t pick. After recurrent phone calls, finally, the mother picked the phone and replied that she cannot go.

A few hours later, the news of Namrata taking her life by jumping into a river broke out.

Few highlights of the story

  • Namrata used to loiter around Miss Bandita’s house in a bike to get her glimpse
  • Namrata had a host of suicide notes written in her diary. She had been writing those for a prolonged period.
  • She used to threaten her classmates about committing suicide
  • Her neighbors didn’t like her because of her odd conducts
  • “My love is not duplicate. I can prove it by suicide.” Was one of her notes.
  • “I want to die,” was her Whatsapp status a few days back
  • After her death, none of her neighbors or acquaintances came to see her, except her parents and few cops who followed her to the cremation ground. In fact, she was not even allowed to enter her village.
  • She was NOT harrassed by the headmistress. She was asked to clip her hair (which appeared like her hair being pulled by the headmistress to some).

A majority of suicides have been preceded by warning signs, verbal and behavioral. In Namrata’s case, despite her clear indications, her closest friends, neighbors, and even parents failed to track her steps.

Should the school administration be blamed because they had decided to inform her parents or revealed her strange behaviors and acts publicly in class? Or should her parents be held responsible, because despite being aware of her condition, they didn’t make any attempt to counsel her? Or is it the society who should be questioned for its ignorance, prejudices, and stereotypical attitudes toward mental health?

Because of society’s lack of wisdom and stigma shrouding mental health, we lost a hardworking and helpful Namrata. Had she been counseled on time, had she been enlightened about mental health, about her different behavior, had her society been informed about the warning signs or how to handle such sensitive issue in a delicate way, Namrata would have been breathing now.

 

Who is to be blamed?  Share your views with us.

Image Source:

  1. https://twitter.com/dying2bperfect1
  2. https://sites.google.com/site/teensuicide1/the-task
  3. http://mawgaty.com/vb/showthread.php?t=111632

 

The Boy With a Rainbow Heart

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Gay, LGBT, Guwahati

 

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Amid the dark alleys and illuminated cities, there is a section of folk trapped in the woes of prejudices, humiliation, and stigma. They are often interrogated with bizarre curiosities, gawked at their appearance and gestures, judged for carrying themselves uniquely, and particularly, for not matching rhythms with the general public. Yes, I am talking about the LGBTQ community.

“The presence of the third gender has numerous evidence throughout history. Significant books like Kamasutra or the Rig Veda holds accounts on such, yet people of the present day do not want to accept us.” Romi muttered with a long sigh.

As I take my second bite of paratha, Annie ba (Romi’s sister) narrated how ruthlessly passerby rebuke or look down upon at her brother, as if he were an alien. She, despite knowing about her brother’s interest in makeup, dolls, and pink, acknowledges his preferences and treasure his needs wholeheartedly.

Gay, LGBT, Guwahati, romi

Unlike his peers, who confine themselves to certain limitations in regard to their sexuality, Chow Poran J. Gogoi, also known as Romi, despise leading a pretentious life.

“My life holds a series of unfortunate events interlaced by melancholy.” As he talked in detail about others from his niche, I didn’t lose the chance to learn in-depth about his life, about this life- often unheard, secretive, and full of mystery and myths.

Here is the not-so-quick question set that he replied without any hesitation.

A very basic question, when did you first realize that you are a gay?

I never realized or had this idea that I was different from the rest. It is a feeling that was given to me by this society. According to them, I did not fit in their shoes. For them, I was neither a straight man nor a straight woman.

Precisely, during my growing stage, I felt an inclination toward my feminine side more. I felt I am trapped in a wrong body. Things were very indistinct. I was in class 9 or 10 when the internet came in Guwahati. After I researched numerous websites, finally found out that I am different from others or probably others are different from me.

How was the struggle during those initial times?

It was like fighting with your own self. You have an inner feeling that constantly tells you that you are normal and absolutely all right. But then when you have to prove yourself or act a certain way to make others happy, a perpetual battle between your own psyche and existence drink you down entirely. It was such a depressing phase. It broke me completely. I even tried to kill myself. I would just do anything to be invisible.

My parents’ demise, on the other hand, compounded more fuel to the flames. When people ask me about my happy moments from childhood, I literally have to think. It’s a phase that I don’t want to recall.

Gay men are often projected or considered hyper-sexual. Is it true?

Gay men are more visible. Men, compared to a woman, are much more active, sexually. While heterosexuals celebrate their sexuality openly, gay men do not have the same liberty. They have to put the kibosh on their desires and wants. Thus, in an attempt to convey their feelings, they often end up being perceived as sexual connotation by others.

How is the scenario in Guwahati?

We have a very strong community in Guwahati but not everyone wants to come out. Some are open, some are not. We even gather for get together to share our spaces. Gay men from different background attend these meetings, talk about their issues, and discuss about creating awareness among general public.

What happens in such gatherings?

Gatherings like these are mostly about empowering this community with emotional support. People talk about their feelings and celebrate this life. Here, the members of LGBTQ break all restrains and connect to their own self.

Do straight men approach you?

Oh, very much. *giggles* Almost 98% of men who had flirted with me, are straight men. Maybe because they consider me a girl or probably find me trustworthy. I enjoy those attention very much. *laughs*

Have you tried making out with a girl? How did it go?

Well, yes. I did this social experiment when I was 18. She said it will be fun. After the initial step, it became difficult for me to hold on to it and we dropped the idea halfway.

Why do gay men talk or act with gestures that are too much feminine?  Are there any rules that gays have to act in a certain way? Is it attention seeking? Or is it some sort of practice?

This is no rule, practice, or attention seeking. Not all, but some gay men feel that their body is very fragile and soft. Even if they speak or move, it will be very rhythmic and soft. They are way too soft. That’s extreme girly and happens naturally, mostly with gay men who are overmuch in touch with their feminine side.

I have seen that most makeup artists or fashion designers who are gay are loud, rebellious, and emphatic. Why is it so?

Initially, I was vulnerable and angry, made both jaded and wary by my solitary life. But with time, I have learned to depress and ignore those mocks and taunts. But some gay men are fed up with regular suppression and ridicules. Eventually, they become boisterous and loud and are laced with profanity. They don’t give a damn. If they like someone, they will profess, no matter how obscene it appears to the other person.

Some are being patient, waiting for a miracle to happen whereas some have accepted the fact that no miracle is going to happen. Society is never going to change so they should be as bad to them as they are.

How helpful is Assam Government toward the LGBT community?

*Laughs* Assam government doesn’t even have a freaking clue about LGBT. There is no help from the government. They don’t know about LGBTQ. The pride rally that happens every year, is nothing less than a joke for them. And louse Assamese media, for the sake of creating a sensational news, would bombard with obnoxious questions like “What are you doing? Why are you parading? What are all these masks and makeups about? Oh, these guys want their rights.”

That’s it.

Ever given a chance, will you prefer a sex change operation?

There are numerous risks associated with such surgeries. And even if you get your sex change operation done, you won’t be considered a woman. You will be considered a trans woman, leading to only a fistful of men approaching you for marriage.

Sex change operation is something that not every gay men desires. It is a personal choice. I would not want to opt for sex change. I am happy with my body. But kudos to the ones who dare to take such risks.

What kind of remarks do you receive from people while stepping out of home?

People stare at me, every time. And staring is something I can’t stand. I even tried putting on the beard, still, people stare. Even when I am not putting makeup or wearing my pink skirt with a pink pouch, people gawk at me.

There was a time when I badly wanted to be popular, wanted to be seen, wanted people to know me. But now, I literally want to be invisible.

How do you respond to people’s curiosities?

Oftentimes, people ask me how it feels like being a gay. I say I feel like a mutant, I feel fantastic. People are so much curious to know what I do in bed, how I do it. People even ask me how I perform in bed. It was so uncomfortable when in an interview I was asked how sexual intercourse takes place between two men.

Would you like to mention a humiliating moment of your life?

I was called to judge a fashion show. As always, I was dressed up in a flamboyant manner. While the other two judges were duly felicitated, I was overlooked. They forgot to felicitate me, and I was standing there for nearly 20 minutes. Then later, they are like “Oh we have one more judge with us.” It was such humiliating for me. Had I not been open about my sexuality, I would have got the same amount of respect as the rest. Such things, when they occur at the initial stages of one’s career, breaks their self-esteem completely.

Gays are often assumed as predators of sex. Can you explain this why?

If people see a girl and a boy holding hands or kissing in public, they will let it fall between the cracks. But in cases of gays or transgenders, if people find them holding hands, they will create a huge ruckus.

If I like a guy and try to pass a comment or flirt with him, like any other human, it is so normal for me. I was only trying to make a connection. Trying to tell him that look at me, I am interested in you. But to the other person, it appears as if I am approaching him for sex. At times, when I compliment a guy that he’s cute or hot, he’ll be like “How dare you to call me hot.” But if a girl says that, he will take it as a compliment.

Do you think people’s mindset toward this community has changed over the years?

Things have rather turned sour with time, largely due to its grotty projection and people’s ignorance. Gay men are frequently being exhibited in the Indian entertainment industry as a travesty. Whenever there’s a funny, hilarious, or embarrassing moment, gays are being placed with a funny background music. We were never projected in a respectable manner. People think gay men are nothing but an object of ridicule or mockery.

What do you expect from the government?

Create more awareness about LGBTQ. If the government start speaking about it, the mass will follow anyway. There should be certain public forums or mediums where people from urban or rural areas both, can know about the difference and division. If section 377 get abolished and people start talking about it openly, they will get to know about our existence and in fact, several traditional beliefs will get dissolved over time.

Gay, LGBT, Guwahati

People should know that being a gay (a lesbian, bisexual, or a transgender) is not contagious. It is not a disease, a phase, a decision, or a life choice. We are born this way.

And supporting gay rights will not make anyone a gay. People should be more tolerant, kinder, and acceptable. They should broaden up and accept us because we have and want to offer so much to this society.

Describe your life.

My life is nothing less than a melodramatic movie. It is such unfortunate that even if I like someone or want to make out with him, things have to be under wraps. I can’t talk about my love life. If I like someone, I can’t express it. Had I put my love life on social media, I would be slapped with criticisms and insults. It has become tiresome now. Eventually, I feel deserted. Whatever stamina or energy is left, I apply it in my chores.

What gives you happiness?

Being honest with myself and sleeping sound at the end of the day, knowing that I haven’t lied to the people around me, knowing that I am pure and true to my very existence. For me, breathing with layers of lies and secrets underneath is frightful.

Gay, LGBT, Guwahati, romi

 

Dejected, depressed, and oppressed, people from the LGBTQ community often face the wrath of societal prejudices. This community has an abundance to offer the world. But despite their substantial attributes in numerous grounds, they always have to crawl in the vicious cycle of abuse and mere mockery at the end of the day.

Every time you see a loud and rebellious person from this community, remember, it’s you who made him/ her like this. Everyone deserves to be loved. Respect and see magic happen.

 

Have a question? Feel free to comment.

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Prayash Sharma Tamuly: The wizard who enchants people with his camera

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Often bewildered, mostly drowsy, he is the wizard who is well-known for bewitching people with his profound artistic captures. Prayash Sharma Tamuly was not quite a known name until a few years back but his long haul and adherence finally made him a beloved character.

Prayash, who now works as a cinematographer and had directed a couple of short films, music videos, and promo films hails from Jorhat, Assam. He has worked for numerous national and international projects like The Great Grand Escape.

A brush through the backyard

From a self-taught photographer to one of the renowned cinematographers of Northeast India, his adventure and tales of success and failure are amusing. Oh! As I said, he’s always dazed, in his own world. But like a precise craftsman, he brings life in a frame every time he holds his lenses.

He had no goals in life. No interest or hobbies. But things turned sour for him when he flunked his class 12. It became bitter when he was dropped out from Junior Civil Engineering, Jorhat. And then from Picasso Animation College, Delhi and then from his film making and VFX course.

As someone says, “Sometimes by losing a battle you find a new way to win the war,” probably worked wonder in his story. “It was only cinema and production that clasped my attention amid all these messes.”

Can a snapdeal coupon change one’s life decision?

prayash sharma Tamuly, Man holding camera

Maybe. Maybe not. And yes, it did. When every single choice and steps that he took was turning against him, a snapdeal coupon changed his life decision. He got a filmmaking course for Rs. 250. And once attending the week-long workshop, he could finally clear the dense fog clogging his brain.

“I was so much in joy. Finally, I was definite about my wants- cinem, and camera,” he said. “This wonderland had so much to give me and I accepted everything wholeheartedly.”

Here’s what we discussed the other day:

Q. So why did you want to go to Delhi? Is it because of friends’ influence? You could have picked some other city.

A. My prior reason to go to Delhi was to convince my then girlfriend to come back to Guwahati. It didn’t work. But I had to do something, I can’t just stay in that city doing nothing. It was expensive. By that time my friend Bhargav was already there doing his animation course. I realized animation was the only thing that requires no studying.

Q. How did you narrow your choices then?

A. I decided to opt for the animation class. I liked it because it made me watch cinema- good, bad, ugly, everything. Besides, mobile photography interested me. My friends used to publish my photographs in Delhi Beats. I badly wanted to buy a DSLR. So, I worked as an event promoter for almost one and a half year and finally bought my dream.

Q. How bad Delhi made you struggle?

A. I was homeless for almost three years and jobless for a year. Asking financial help from parents was a shame for me. So, I used to stay at any friend’s place for a month, work for a few days then move to a different friend’s place and so forth. That’s what I did until a few years. Basically, I would shuffle between Delhi- Mumbai-Kolkatta-Assam. I eat just a piece of bread and an omelette and stay for the whole day (Oh, I am now a gastritis patient as well).

The projects I was associated with were indeed huge but there was so much struggle, all on a different scale.

Q. How is Assam different from Delhi in shaping you?

A. Delhi was a teenage decision. The city made me open up to possibilities, to the world, my work and life about which I was clueless earlier. It exposed me to cinema, photography, and people. It taught me how to survive without money.

Assam, however, had different plans for me. My skills grew exponentially here. People began knowing me as a cinematographer.

Q. How were your parents’ response in your journey?

A. Until four years back, my parents had no idea what I was doing. Gradually, when my articles and photos started appearing in newspapers, they asked me what I do. I told them I am a cinematographer. They had no idea. Now I say I am a cameraman.

Q. Would you like to tell a bit about your love life and relationships?

A. My last breakup shattered me completely. I was on a relationship with this girl with whom I was together for a year and two years in long distance. I would quite often go to Bombay, canceling all my meetings and scheduling work, only to meet her.

Two years after our breakup I realized how wrong I was. That relationship wasn’t meant for me. I wanted her and was with her only because she was beautiful. I even underwent counseling sessions to try to fix myself from this breakup. But now I believe that had there been no breakup, I wouldn’t have indulged myself in all these incredible works that I am being praised for now.

Q. What are your future goals?

A. I wish to create better things every time and that’s what keeps me moving. This journey is keeping me alive. I am not yet close to my goals. I still have a long way to go.

prayash sharma Tamuly, silhouette image of man

Meet one of the most influential guitarists of Northeast India, Amborish Saikia

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One of the influential guitarists of Northeast India, Amborish Saikia, who comes from a family of musicians and artists, is known for his quirky taste in music. His deep connection with music and passion for his work, in due course, introduced him to success and fame in quite a short period.

Saikia, who began learning music since he was in class 5, now plays as a lead guitarist for the renowned pop band of India, Euphoria, besides teaming up with other popular bollywood names like KK, Ankit Tiwari, Divya Kumar, etc.

The musician travels to many places and learns new things every day. In fact, he describes each day of his life filled with adventures and stories.

Amborish-Saikia_Euphoria-guitarist

While one can visualize a guitarist as an alpha male (or female), with an extrovert nature, and loud, Amborish is quite the opposite. He is an introvert who is also poised, thoughtful and is highly disciplined and punctual. And apart from music, he also takes an interest in driving and swimming.

Explore Saikia’s journey with music in this interview where he also discusses his personal life and interests:

How was your childhood like? Would you like to take us to those glorious days of yours? How did you get inclined toward music?

Well, my childhood was alike any other middle-class boy. I used to be quite an obedient child at school doing fairly well in my studies. I also had a penchant for outdoor activities. Besides the guitar, I learned swimming, karate, table tennis, etc. And like any guy of my age, cricket was of course a sport that I enjoyed playing with my friends, the whole day.

Music has always been an integral part of my life. Most of my family members are deeply into music. They either sing or play an instrument; or if that’s not the case, then an ardent follower of good music. This subsequently helped me to understand the concept of music and take it as a profession.

Do you have a musical background? How would you describe your family members’ musical interests and abilities?

Yes, I have a musical background. My father used to play the Tabla and the Mouth Organ, while my mother used to play the Mandolin and sing, and my Grandmother was an All India Radio artist. Most of my family members play an instrument or is a singer. Although everyone couldn’t take it up as a profession yet some who choose it, are well known in Assam.

Why did you choose this career? Do you have someone in particular who inspired you a lot in choosing your career? 

I picked up the instrument when I was probably in my 5thstandard. So, I really can’t say who influenced me back then. (Haha). But yes, my mother was the main reason I started learning the guitar. She always insisted that I must learn it. 

And apart from my mother, I have been inspired by many people in my musical journey till now. I must mention that one’s taste toward music changes with time, and you gradually start exploring new and different genres. Back then, I was influenced mostly by classic rock guitarists like Ritchie Blackmore and Van Halen. Gradually, I started developing an interest in Blues, Jazz, Funk, Country, Rock n Roll, and even Electronic. Music is such a vast and deep subject that there is no end to it. Even a lifetime is too little to understand a half of it. So, my list of influencers will go on and on with time.

When did you realize that you wanted to opt for music as your career?

I was unsure whether to take up music as my profession until I got the major break to join the band Euphoria in 2010. I shifted to New Delhi and from then onward, my life has changed tremendously.

When did you start playing music professionally?

I have always been involved in cultural events during my school days and also formed my first rock band in school. Since then, I went on to form my first professional band when I was in class 10 by the name Voodoo Child. During my graduation time I formed a funk rock band called Casino Blue and joined an all India rock competition where we won the contest. This was the moment when we got the opportunity to perform as opening artists for International bands like Megadeth and Machinehead.

And talking about International bands, Smokie was also a band that we have opened for when they came to India. This was with my band Mo & The Shooting Stars, which is more of a Rock Fusion band from Guwahati.

Amborish-Saikia_Euphoria-guitarist

Oftentimes, like poetry, music, too is embedded with untold emotions and interpretations. Is there a hidden meaning in any of your music?

Every song has a message attached to it and till now I have played and arranged many as such. One song I can recall was about a girl and her friend who was molested in their childhood and how her friend ends up taking her own life. The song is called “Someone You Know” by Late Too Soon.

Another song I have been involved is “Kabootar” by Euphoria which is about how our minds can be our best friend and worst enemy at the same time. Being alone and stuck inside the game of life only to realize that life is playing with us.

Amborish-Saikia_Euphoria-guitarist

Another Assamese song by the name “Jajabori” with Rishi Bora which was featured in the much reclaimed Assamese movie Aamis, talks about time and how it is vagabond. So, there are many such songs which has a deep hidden meaning in itself.

Which instruments do you play? Do you remember the first tune that you learned?

I am a guitar player but I also play the keyboards for recording and arrangement purposes. I really can’t recall that (laughs), I am sorry. Though “Holiday” by Scorpions comes to my mind as I remember playing it a lot during my early days.

How many hours do you practice? Do you collaborate with other musicians?

Well, I can’t really say that as I have not set any timings for that. I sometimes play the guitar as long as I feel like or the keyboards a little or get busy making or creating music.

As a freelancer I get the opportunity to perform and interact with different musicians. So, besides playing with Euphoria, I also play with Bollywood singer KK and have performed with other singers from the industry like Papon, Divya Kumar, Ankit Tiwari, Asees Kaur, Payal dev and Aditya Dev, Meghna Mishra, Ritu Pathak, Abhijeet Sawant, Abhay Jodhpurkar, Kshitij Tarey, and so forth. 

I am always open to collaborate and learn from different musicians. I believe, we need to grow and absorb whatever comes in our way with a good spirit.

What is your favorite part of this line of work? Or probably your least favorite?

Haha. The favorite part of my work is I am doing what I love to do in my life, i.e., music. To get love and respect in abundance from people, travel around the world, and meet new faces every day, is something that I always wanted in my life. And who would not want that?

Amborish-Saikia_Euphoria-guitarist

Like any other artist, I am sure you too deal with performance anxiety? How do you deal with it?

The fear of getting my task wrong has always been there with me many times. When you are working on a National level there is little or no room for mistakes and I would have to admit that I do have a rush just before getting on stage.

Who’s your favorite musician or name a musician you admire the most and why.

While the list is really long, I would like to name a few artists who have really influenced me in my musical career. These include JJ Cale, Lee Ritenour, Frank Gambale, John Mayer, Mark Knopfler, David Gilmour, Jason Mraz, Yanni, Jeff Golub, Allen Hinds, Jeff Beck, and Scott Henderson.

How were your struggle like? I am sure you must have had a long one?

I was quite fortunate enough to take up music as a profession because of my parents and my family. They always encouraged me. I even remember doing live shows in between my final exams.

There are continuous struggles in this profession. Following the passion and earning through it is the biggest struggle. Moreover, our society is always curious to know what do you do besides music and that’s a question I am sure every artist or musician faces at least once in their lifetime

My real struggle started after getting into the national band Euphoria which taught me the real professionalism, punctuality, and showmanship (since I am quite an introvert). However, Polly da (Palash Sen) and the band taught me a lot of things just like their brother and contributed to what I am today.

A big struggle began when I moved to Mumbai recently. There is no dearth of talent there and the competition level is unimaginable. There are high levels of insecurity among artists and for a new entrant, it is arduous to get assimilated. To integrate is a task and a constant struggle. However, I am fortunate enough that within a short span, I have performed with various popular artists of the industry. What kept me going during this struggle is perseverance, patience and belief in myself, faith in God, and the support of my wife Tasha and my friends and family.

What are the three good qualities you have in you?

I am calm, judicious, and hardworking. Also, the fact that I believed in myself and took up the challenge and completed my MBA from IMT Ghaziabad. I still remember touring with a book and studying at hotels and aircraft’s and going for shows and recording sessions during my examination breaks. So, I think I have another good quality of completing what I take up with immense determination.

Amborish-Saikia_Euphoria-guitarist

Have you worked for any labels?

Yes, I have worked with Universal and Times Music.

How do you perform in public? In particular, can you tell us how do you handle mistakes during a performance?

I have performed a lot of public shows with crowds ranging from 30,000 to a lakh. The stage is the place where I deliver my best, no matter how many spectators I have. The moment I get on stage, I could think of nothing but just do my job.

We are all humans and error at times is inevitable. Of course, I too jump into mistakes at times. But it is imperative to move on. Because if you keep on reflecting and regretting the past mistakes, there is a high probability of ruining the entire show. 

How do you balance your music with other obligations such as your job, family time, or other things?

Music is my full-time job. Because we do not have fixed working hours, it becomes a little taxing to manage normal routine life, but then life itself is all about balance. If you wish then you can always take out time for yourself and your family. One should not be so selfish thinking just about himself or herself all the time.

What’s your favorite genre of music?

There is no such favorite genre of mine. I love to explore and listen to all kinds of music starting from Blues to Jazz to Country to Rock n Roll as well as from Techno to Pop.

What is that one song you can listen to all day long and still not get bored?

It is Texas Sun by Khruangbin and Leon Bridges.

guitarist from Assam, Amborish Saikia

What do you believe are some of the main attributes to become a good musician?

There are many factors involved. Practice, determination, honesty, and intelligence to name a few. One must forego his or her ego to be successful in life. Practically, you need to be smart enough to know what to implement and when.

Musicians or music are often associated or said to have a connection with drugs. What do you have to say about this?

Honestly, I really do not believe in that. Till now, I have not met any such musician who is really into drugs to create music. As a matter of fact, many people consume it who belongs to different professions but only musicians are being blamed which is really sad. This attitude must change.

What would you like to say someone wanting to follow your footsteps?

All that I can say is if you really want to achieve something in life, you need to give full dedication and be honest with yourself. Talent cannot be hidden for long and therefore one has to be patient, hardworking, and believe in their credibility in order to achieve success.

What are your future plans like?

To tell you the truth I don’t have any plans for the future yet. To live at the moment and take things the way they come is all I want to do and to rather stay focused on learning and creating music. But I really hope to make a music album of my own someday and also do charity work for the animals and birds.

How do you plan to revive yourself post lockdown (or the Corona crisis)?

The pandemic has brought certain positive changes in our lives alongside the negative ones. People have started staying at home and spend time with their families and also survive with the bare minimum necessities of life, rediscover themselves, etc. One such good thing I have learned during this time is yoga and meditation.

To be frank, I haven’t decided anything. I just hope and pray things get back to normalcy and we get back to our work. The music industry is one of the worst affected ones and since we as musicians are mainly dependent on live shows, things are really tough and trying for us now. Even after the lockdown ends, we must always be careful and maintain proper safety measures as this virus is not going to leave anytime soon.

You can catch up with Amborish Saikia’s work here:

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Diary of a Slut

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Dear Horny Rascals,

I’m going to die. Not because of you. It is a happy death. Because at last I’ve won. You might be worrying that this letter might get you some unwarranted frenzy since it’s going to be a dead woman’s last note. If you’re thinking so, you’re right. One of the only things that I want to do before I die is to make every man in this world experience hell. No, I’m not a psycho who has decided to kill everyone before killing herself.

Well, I’m a woman; a frustrated, tormented and exploited woman, by none other than the sluts of the highest order – men. That can be ‘you’, if you’re one of those who would read this letter just in hope to find more mentions of vagina, breasts and clitoris. Trust me, which you’ll.

I was born in brothels. That’s why they call me a slut today. I was first raped at the age of 6 and had been raped consistently by every man that crossed across my vision, till 15, when my whore mother married me to a broker. Does this excite you? Does this make your penis swell up in pride? Sit down quietly, because it’s not my story.

I’m 24. Educated. Indian. Taken thrice. Ditched twice, both kinds. Single now. I never had the chance to actually pay heed to my sexuality until the unknown dick-horns around my society, some of them who I’d once played cricket with, started giving me lecherous stares when I just crossed my puberty. My entire body used to cringe back in fear whenever those eyes seemed to see through my clothes, stripping me with those insolent eyes. In the city of sperms, my breasts seemed to be just another place for men to jack off.

For a 13 year old girl, whose parents were no more, the world was not too friendly. But she had gotten used to it, much like every other girl. At 17, she got her first kiss. She was delighted. At 17 and a half, her first dick. She was scared at its first sight. He did it until she barfed. She tried again, barfed again. Three times in a row, she was already accustomed. To love is to sacrifice, he told. She was a gullible girl, she loved him. She looked at his eyes. They were closed, as though experiencing heaven, while she was tasting hell. At 18, she caught him experiencing heaven once again. She didn’t have to barf this time. Tears were enough. She didn’t talk to the darker sex for one long year. Her desires died with the tears that went out. She clang to the four walls of her ancestral house, where her ailing grandmother couldn’t get her parents to come back to life and ultimately, she herself decided to go to heaven.

But it wasn’t what she went through when she was 18 that makes her crave to die now. She wasn’t even 21, when she met him. He was her uncle, who inherited the house from the late ailing grandma. He never visited the sprawling bungalow earlier, not even on Grandma’s death, but now when he managed to get a fortune worth a million, he couldn’t resist coming every weekend. He was sweet, flirtatious and charming. That’s what it looked to her. She didn’t see his reflection on the mirror, which was vile, venomous and knave. And married. She was a gullible girl, she loved him. She didn’t mind his real qualifications. She didn’t mind betrayal, as long as it was for her.

He always used to bring her ice-creams, never with a spoon though. His fingers were to be licked, which would go to explore all her body. She didn’t mind. It took him just a long sentimental conversation about her past to shed all her inhibitions, to shed all her clothes. To shed all her emotional burden, to a man she had started loving. She was a gullible girl, she loved him. When clothes were not around, bruises covered her body. He was rough. He was stronger. She liked it. She liked the pain. She felt safe with him. In an unsafe act on a mesmerizing Saturday night, she got a jar-full of tails inside her womb, one of which accidentally made her a woman from a girl.

She was carrying a life inside her. She didn’t tell him. She was a gullible woman, she loved him. She knew he was married and he would negate. The next time he came to do it, she wasn’t in a mood. He found out. He asked for an abortion. She didn’t comply. He forced her. She didn’t comply. He slapped her, puller her hair. She didn’t comply. He yelled that his wife would be devastated if she ever comes to know about an illegitimate child. She didn’t comply. She promised that she won’t bother him, if he could just let her have the child. He tried to burn her. She ran away. She wanted the child. She was a gullible woman, she still loved him.

Eight months later, she gave birth. Love had faded away a little, by now. She was a mother to a daughter, who could be a victim to another assault, another struggle and another betrayal. She had no money. She decided to let her child see his father. Tattered, she went to his place. She shouted at his gate. His wife came out. She yelled his name. His wife threw stones at her. She bled. She wanted to see him. She called his name again, asking him to come and see his child. He came out. Her face brightened at the sight of him. She was a gullible woman, she still loved him.

But he was bewildered. He went inside and came out with a wooden-stick and started to batter her, shouting ‘SLUT’ all the while. She carried her child close to her bosom, saving her from the fatal beating. Blood was dripping from her forehead. She was smiling. She liked the pain. She missed it all the while. Blood entered her mouth. She wanted more. She turned to him. The stick hit the two days old girl. A moment later, her little breath got tired of itself. She howled, moaned, until the entire neighborhood came out seeing what was happening. People called her a maniac and asked police to take her into custody. She had already fainted. They got rid of her, forever.

However, she couldn’t forget what had happened. Every little incident seemed to be a dark spot in her memory. When she got her senses back, she realized that her clothes had been ripped off. She was in a dark room, on a darker steel chair. Her lower half was senseless. She touched it. It was wet. She smelled the fluid. It seemed familiar. She tasted it. It tasted red. Rape. It took her forty minutes to drag herself to the nearest steel grill. Dark red stains followed on the floor behind her. She moaned. She engraved SLUT in her arm by rubbing it with the grill’s edges. It sparked a smile on her face. Smile for the realization that she was no more a gullible woman, she no more loved him.

The grill opened. Three policemen, laughing. Three hours later, amidst echoes of her tired groans, blood was her only companion, holding her tightly. She lay there for another day. The door creaked open. This time they were two. One from yesterday, another one new. She didn’t groan this time.

Three days later, she was allowed to go, in her tattered clothes. She didn’t know where to go. The lonely street became her home. Thoughts of her past clouded her mind. College going teenagers who used to cross her shouted ‘whore’ at her, young gentlemen intentionally used to pee alongside the wall, wagging their dirty penises at her, some of the older gentlemen tried to be decent by just peeping into her tattered top to get a glimpse of her contused nipples, while small children provoked by horny men aimed marbles in between her legs. She didn’t reciprocate. They never got tired. They had a lot of testosterone to run their lives with, forever.

School children on their way back to home, when they saw the word SLUT engraved on her hand, wrote ‘SLUT’ on papers and threw at her, giggling when she picked them. She picked them up, opened them and crushed them. She opened them again and again, saw the four lettered word every time and crushed them aside.

Two days later, she went missing. The crumpled papers went missing as well. She had a lot of anger inside her.  She had experienced so much pain that it hurt her no more. So much that it could have easily made her kill every single man who came into her life, who dared to grab her bosom, who had penetrated deep inside her without any feeling for her, who had ever dared to touch her. But she didn’t do that. She didn’t want to kill anyone. Blood was her companion, not somebody else’s. She wanted to die. But, before that she had a mission to fulfill.

I had a similar mission. And that’s how she met me. She came to me and asked me to fulfill her one last desire. The desire to change a definition. Definition of SLUT to ‘a promiscuous or disreputable MAN’. She awaits with me, to see this letter reach each and every woman present in this world, and this movement surpass the borders to make lexicographers succumb to her last wish, so that she dies a painless death.

Love.
Never.

 

P.S. The author of this letter is unknown.