What happened to my FAIRY TALE?

Tere dil me,
Mai apne,
Armaan rakh du…..
AA meri jaan, mai tujhme apni jaan rakh du!

Let me keep me desires in your heart,
Come my love, 
Let me keep my life in you…

Growing up as a girl, I was always a hopeless romantic. I used to write poems, dance in the rains, dream of a fairy tale… This song above, is from one of my all time favorite classic movies- Chaandni! Whenever I listened to this song, I would dream of singing this to my life partner, spend hours lying lazily in his arms and not worrying about the next moment. Dreams of welcoming him home like a Prince every evening and falling asleep on his chest without a care in the world.

Leaving school, the mad race for life began. There was literally NO TIME FOR LOVE. Go get a degree, follow your passion, get a job, earn money, make a living, pay the bills, make your family proud, invest, make a mark in the world… Time slipped like dry sand from my hands and the dreams are still dreams.

Then came a time when technically, I was supposed to chose a life partner, or at least that is what I felt from the pressing questions of friends and family members. But something else had happened by then. I had seen too much of pain and betrayal. I had seen bitter divorces and single parent families. The dreams do not seem real anymore. The hope that they could ever turn real has vanished. The thought that some guy in the world deserves that much of affection and love has died eventually.

The other sad fact is to find someone who fits into my puzzle. A person who enjoys romance; a guy who would feel happy to see a crazy love bitten cupid shot girl running around him singing songs from Yash Chopra films. I am a writer, it is easy for any man to understand me. Could there be someone who would understand me without words? My fairy tale does not have large palaces and golden chariots. Neither is there a large kingdom to be ruled or a lavish proposal expected.

All I needed is a crazy in love, honest and genuinely caring guy. I feel ridiculous when I hear from couples about who is boss in the house and domestic violence and husbands cheating or isolating their wives. Why dont people value what they have? I mean, seriously, is this what marriage is supposed to be? According to me, marriage was supposed to be being absolutely crazy and madly in love with each other; so much that you dont have time to think of who is the boss. Both partners ready to wipe each others feet and kiss them spending each and every moment of their life together like a prized bubble of oxygen bursting and getting closer to death. A relationship so pure and holy that I dont have to play tricks which other girls advice to play on men and the tips and advice you read in books to ‘keep your men in line’.

I am all up for such books because from a psychological aspect they have gold worth knowledge hidden in them. But sadly, in my own fairy tale, the only book I ever want to consult is Ghalib’s poetry so I read some for him and he would read some for me. Who needs to know whether your parents neighbor is still complaining about the food at the wedding reception and what does your banker say? Who is going to carry it all to the grave anyway?

I seriously don’t know what happened to my fairy tale. Specially after I wrote my first book on breaking the chains of gender based violence and slavery, all I see is pain, tears of women who deserved love like me, who had dreams like I do, darkness engulfing their worlds because one drunk bastard could not control his nasty filthy mind, young girls who are supposed to enjoy life living under fear of strange guys chasing them.. I must ask, what happened to their fairy tales? They deserved guys who would cherish them untill death, but all they have is sorrow and loneliness. To make matters worst, society blames them.

I don’t know what would be the next turn in my fairy tale and if ever it will be a full fledge tale to be told to my great grand kids by the cozy fire in the ice age (since the global warming) enjoying hot tea and onion bhajjis… But until then, I will do every possible thing I can, to help other women be able to live theirs and be with partners who wish to love and admire them. Say they are beautiful every morning and fall asleep in their arms.

Sayya ye bayya,
Zara thaam le tu,
Mooh se kisi cheez ka naam le tu,
Tere qadmo me saara jahaan rakh du,
AAmeri jaan, mai tujhme apni jaan rakh du!

O my darling, hold my hand,
Just name a thing, something that you want,
I will bring the whole world to your feet.
Come my love, 
Let me keep my life in you…


The LOOSER WRITER- Are you one?

Recently, I came across a rather unusual TED talk video. I am a big fan of TED Talk videos for many reasons and I love listening to scholars and accomplishers speaking about various issues. This particular video got my attention because it was rude, aggressive and straight in-your-face kind of truth revealed in 15 minutes.

The presenter of the video is Professor Larry Smith, an Economist who talks about Why you will fail to have a great career?

He is right! Most of us do fail. And the reason is simply because we do not want to pursue a dream or a passion but rather go-with-the-flow. As a writer, I feel this video is all the more relevant because unless you have a big, fat advance cheque for your upcoming book, you are basically putting all that hard work and effort in an empty box which has no worth. When it comes to writing, either you are passionate about it, or you are simply not a writer. You cant force it. Certainly, there are workshops and trainings to master the art and get better with words. But the actual fuel that keeps the flame burning is passion.

As a writer, yes it is difficult to survive, pay the bills, answer questions, explain to your partner or spouse  (if you have one) why you are awake until 5am and tell yourself that one day all this will make sense. You may see other friends and cousins your age getting married, earning a decent salary and buying a mortgage. And then you will doubt yourself and think why am I doing this? Will this ever lead to success? Am I a looser writer?

Professor Smith is right! Most people in the world do not follow their dreams or passion because they are lazy or they fear failure. To avoid humiliation, they find the least risky thing to do and go ahead. Dont you think, they are loosers? People who failed to find out the purpose of their life? People who did not do what they could have excelled at just because they feared downfall? So, the answer to the question in the last paragraph is NO- NO WRITER IS A LOOSER because you are following a dream and you must be proud of yourself for that.

Yes, big fat advance from a reputed publisher is delightful, but the lack of it does not make your ideas worthless. I call it the MBA Generation where we have turned noble acts of education and writing into money making professions. It is really sad that we have reduced priceless knowledge and scriptures to a product that can be bought and sold. I am sure economists would doubt my educational background at this point, but this is how the economy has worked and this is what pains me. Yet, I do not let it overwhelm me.

I began writing my first book when I was jobless, penniless and confined to bed with a chronic illness. Was I a looser? NO, because despite the obstacles I decided to write the book. When I told the closest of my friends about it, they wished me luck on my face but did not believe that I could actually do it. In fact, I wonder that as a child, I always was busy writing a poem or something in the corner of my classroom, at the terace of my home, without fear, and neither my parents nor any of my teachers ever asked me if I wanted to pursue writing.

India is one country where the only professions parents want their children to pursue are medical, engineering or chartered accountancy. Other than these, the recent education trend is the MBA. No matter what skills, no matter what interests, MBA is like peanuts, everyone has got one. From CEO to the salesmen at Big Bazar; every one is MBA! Interests in writing, painting, photography are only hobbies which do not lead to actual jobs and actual money- this is what children are told. And probably this is one reason why my teachers or parents never saw a writer in me! All the other kids who I went school with are medical doctors, every single one of them. Which is great; and also destined since their parents were doctors and honestly, the kids were not given much of a choice.

It is not just about writing. As Professor Smith says in his Talk, its all fine until the day when your kid turns up to you and says he wants to be a magician and you tell him that there is no money in the profession and then the kid says ‘but Dad, its my dream’! And you say,
‘kid, I had a dream too, but then you were born’.
‘kid, I had a dream too, but I was too lazy to follow it’
‘kid, I had a dream too, but I feared humiliation if I did not succeed’.
‘kid, I had a dream too, but I had to be “normal”,


‘kid, I had a dream too and I want you to follow yours, just like I followed mine’!

This is what life is all about. Only the one who does not follow his/her passion is a LOOSER! The world awaits and celebrates the birth of passionate people who actually move the earth and progress the society, generation after generation. The rest are just ‘normal’ people moaning about corruption and society. So, folks, who are you? It is never too late to pick up your passion and move ahead.

Enjoy the video here and let me know your thoughts on it. Share stories about your passion and struggle.

Are you going to fail?

[book:I Want Back My Sparkle!: Breaking the Global Chains of Gender Slavery.|18429168]

You showed interest and participated in the giveaway contest of my book. I want to thank you for that and inform you that although the giveaway is over now, you can purchase the paperback and ebook on a MASIVE DISCOUNT to celebrate the INTERNATIONAL DAY OF ELIMINATION OF VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN on 25th November. http://www.shahla-khan.com/apps/webstore/


I wish you all the best.
Regards and keep SPARKLING




This world has two kinds of people in general. The happy ones and the sad ones. Although this seems pretty straight forward but this happiness and sadness have deeper meanings. May be by the end of the article you can understand better about these people.

Let’s talk about the happy people first. These are the people you see at luxury resorts, men at Casino Royale and ladies at Dior stores. These people ride Porsche and Mazarati. They live in swimming pool villas and fly business class. When you look at them, you wonder if you could be like them one day. They have so many material gains around them. These are like magnets which attract materialistic people who want to be associated with the happy people to be happy.

Now, you would say that I am making an assumption that money brings happiness and every rich person in the world must be happy. No, this isnt true! There is a major difference which distinguishes these happy and sad people. The happy people with all the success and material gains are usually (not always), the people who love themselves more than anything.

These people appear to have a perfect life. And to be honest, it is perfect technically. They have houses, cars, relationships and settle at perfect times. On the other hand are the sad people. The people who have to struggle to pay their bills, no swimming pool bunglows and if at all, they fly economy. No one would look at them and wish it was their life.

Pretty straight forwrd until now. But what about love? Sad people are the ones who love others. It could be their family or a stranger who is a happy person. This is the complicated part about happiness and sadness. Sad people are not necessarily at the top of their work because they care about the people around them. Policitcs, jealousy and evil will always play with their trust on people, faith on God and love for their close ones. They may take longer to reach their destiny because of these extra tests and trials. They will be let down by people, broken hearted and ditched sometimes. But sincel ife does not give much choice and has to go on, they continue doing what they are good at- loving others and being sad.

Happy ones will feel empowered initially. They fool the sad people around and enjoy their success; material or otherwise. They act and pretend to like those people only, who give them more in return. They will bow to the wrong people intentionally, just to be on the good books. They make relationships with people who can give them more, may be name, fame, wealth or other satisfactions. They can step over anyones feelings just to get satisfied.

Its all cool until the rest of their lives, sometimes. People spend decades, feeding their greedy selves and enjoying. But mostly, once in a lifetime, comes a moment, when they realize how empty the happiness is; which is self generated. You have ten varieties on your dining table but you dont feel hungry. You do eat, but just to keep yourself alive. Because you see it daily, that is routine, not pleasure. It is actually simple “optimum utility concept”, from Economics. Let’s say you are not lonely and do have a partner to share the meal with. But in depth of your heart, you know that this partner is here because there are ten dishes on the table. If there was just one or none, they would never be with you. So, the happiness which I mentioned in the first paragraph, was an illusion.Many people spend their whole lives in this illusion because they are cowards. They live in this illusion because they want to neglect their emptiness and poverty.

Now let’s talk about the sad people. Have you ever seen what happens when you give a small chocolate to a kid on the street? Have you ever seen an old age father whose children win a scholarship? How about ever craving for something for weeks,months or years and finally achieving it? These are true happy moments of sad people. They may take longer to come, but its only becuase they are real. There are may be very few people around to love a sad person. But this sad person knows that even if they dont have money, name, job, sexy body or even life; they would still be loved. This true lover might take long to enter their lives, but when they do come, they never leave. So, the sad people live in this relaity which keeps them going. It gives them the courage to step out of bed every morning and give a tough fight to the tests and trials of life.

Thus, happy people are actually empty. Sad people have a lot to worry but they are filled. To care about others and to love someone is difficult. It takes a lot of courage, patience, time and sacrifices to love some one other than yourself. But its worth it no matter how much you love yourself, when the time comes, you cannot do your own funeral and pay others to cry for you.


Coming home for summer?

Coming home for summer?
Well, its a long story, you see!

I get asked this question often,
When the sunshine is warm and pleasant,
People pack up and leave in haste,
For that family reunion bliss.

I remember how home felt,
The fragrance of Biryani in the air,
Mom, busy preparing to welcome me,
Dad arranging a proxy at his office,
For a day off, so he could pick me,
My five year old brother jumping with joy,
For the toys I would bring as gifts.

When I left home he was an infant,
I remember the day of my departure,
I did not even go to his room,
He was asleep and I was too weak.

I wanna go home, play with him,
Gossip and chat with mom on lazy afternoons,
Cook chinese for Dad, who doesnt have a choice,
but to admire my cooking…

Christmas passed and so did summer,
I weep alone, live in fear.
Fear that sooner or later they will give me away,
And then, I may not be able to see them…

People ask questions, put undue pressure
As if marraige is the only pleasure.
But once you are with a man,
Your priorities change, your time is scarce.

Conflicts arise, bans implemented,
Blood relationships wither like a dry flower.
A daughter is considered a known stranger,
A wife is treated like an imposter.

So, I built my own lonely world,
I sleep alone, I eat alone, I live alone.
I do miss mying on Moms lap,
and also ball dancing with Dad without music.

Afternoons of patting my baby brother to sleep,
Shedding a tear or two thinking about separation,
And then falling asleep, pressing him to my chest
And holding his tiny hands in mine…

I am 27, I know am not a little girl anymore,
One day I will have to marry and exit my parents home,
But I am not anyones property,
I am the same little girl who danced around this house,
ruined Momys lipsticks and baked caked for Dad with tiny hands…

There might be a great guy waiting,
To hold mg hand firm at the aisle,
But I cant let go my Dads hand,
Just to go and hold another…

I have two hands
I want to keep holding my Dads too.
The very same hands which held me
when I fell down and broke my knee.
Those hands have wrinkles now
And each passing day, they loose sturdiness.
They need to be held firmly,
They need me.

Please don’t ask me again,
If I am going home for summer…

Are you single??? 10 Steps To Finding Love

Are you single ?
“Ever thine,
Ever mine
Ever ours…”
Sounds touchy, isn’t it? Beethoven wrote these sometime in the past for his beloved and we all learnt about these in the film Sex and the City and we all fell in love with these words. Who does not want a man write these to them and kindle the romance on Valentine’s Day, when the whole world is turned red and white? This all sounds really good until you come across the basic fact that for all the romance, and love, you need a person to replicate the feelings: the only flaw in an almost perfect picture. I say it flaw because this is the tough part.
As says a Hindi proverb, you can find God probably but you can hardly find true love. Being single on Valentine’s Day rubs salt on wounds and not every person feels proud to say it is OK to be single. Since the beginning of February, every year, when I notice the trees begin to prepare in welcome of new blossoms, the air fills with rose fragrances and all around I see red and white balloons, cards and flowers, it just melts my heart. It is amazing how much commercialization of feelings adds to the charm of the occasion. But honestly, a partner with a heart flowing with love is as good as a 10kg black forest cake, a large I LOVE YOU card, a bouquet made of 500 red roses and a stunning piece of jewellery from Pandora.
If you neither have a partner nor all this lovely stuff, it is a great time! I say great time because it is time for you to sit back and think:  what is the reason for you being single? How happy are you being single? Is this what you want from life? If you want to mingle, is it just to avoid being single for the sake of it or do you have genuine reasons to find a partner?
There is no right or wrong answers to these questions. It is all about what makes you feel happy. If you feel happy being single, then acknowledge it and do not feel embarrassed about it. If you are more of a sharing person and need someone to cuddle, then look for someone who wants the same.  The worst and most often seen case is when people end up with people who are absolutely different from them. If you are single and want to date in future, make sure you set your priorities straight with the guy. Otherwise you would end up single again very soon by the incompatibility. And all those depression related Ben and Jerry’s Baked Alaska ice cream will not help, neither would Ferrero Roucher or Thornton’s. So, what is it that would help?
10 steps to finding LOVE forever:
1.       Set your priorities straight when you are not worried or angry.
2.       Let go every single hurt from the past and clear your mind of all the pain and guilt. I know it is not easy but reading “Who moved my Cheese” can help a lot.
3.       Set your reasons straight for dating or partner search. Make sure you have genuine reasons not stupid crappy reasons like “he looks so cool” or “he has got a big car”. Looks and cars do not help when you fall and get hurt.
4.       When you do meet someone new, and they take interest in you, show them the real you. What is a person good for if you need to pretend, just to keep them happy?
5.       If you show your real self and the person seem to like you, get them talking: ask them what are they looking for exactly and question yourself if you can be that person. If you cannot, be polite and share your feelings honestly. It is better to break their heart now but break their life after sometime.
6.       If all goes well, then you are off to a new beginning. While you explore the new world of companionship and red roses, do keep in mind that “roses hurt”. Remember that no one is perfect and you will feel hurt sometimes. There will be arguments and misunderstandings, every relationship has. But this time you will realize, that if your reasons for choosing them were genuine, you will find a matured and sensible way to sort out, forgive and forget your issues. If your reasons were “because she looks hot” or “because he drives a Porsche”, this is where it will all fall apart like a stack of cards.
7.       If you are still together after the fights and learn to live in harmony, do not just sit back and relax.  Ursula Le Guin says “Love doesn’t just sit there, like a stone;
it had to be made, like bread, remade all the time, made new.” Romance dies after a while and what you live is a daily routine life. It seems easy but that is the actual tough part. If both partners do not keep putting enough fuel to keep the candle burning, one will soon find themselves looking for Joey Greco from the program “Cheaters”.
8.       Change is the part of life. Events occur, feelings change and so do people. If you offer all the love and romance following point no 7 above, but do not get the same back, see the yellow signals. You need to be patient to understand if your partner is going through a tough time or need space, but if over a long period of time, you find yourself sacrificing and no efforts from the opposite side, it is climax time. Always remember, if it cannot be replicated, it is not “love”, it is “services”. Communicate and try to work things out being non judgmental and accommodating.
9.       If any of your priorities have changed and do not see things work out between you two despite the efforts and communication, it is time. It is better to mutually and cooperatively take separate ways than to smear each other with muddy insults and public embarrassment.
10.   If you can live through all this and still feel the same warmth on your cheeks you felt when you first heard them say “I love you”, this is a message to not let go and fight against life for them. Not many people reach to point 10 and often have to start over from 1 after they reach point 4 or maximum 5. But only if your partner is a match made in Heaven, you can make it till point 10. Don’t let them go.
In life, more than finding the Mr. Right or Miss right, it is about being right first. If you can manage to be right, then every day can be a Valentine’s Day, every hour can be a Valentines hour and every minute can be a Valentines minute. All filled with roses, romance and happiness. Remember, every single person is as lonely as you are and everyone appreciates a loving hug, a welcome smile and a listening ear. It is really that simple, if only people learn to replicate it, the world would not be that lonely you see.
To all those who are in love, and who hope to be one day- Happy and loving Valentine’s Day!