Be My Eyes

Winter nights feel acutely cold and cold enough to keep you in bed. You know those extra five minutes? So, once I woke up at night around 2:30 on a winter night and wanted to drink some water. Due to a certain percentage of lethargy that I regrettably carry since childhood and a few more percentage of the same due to the night being a winter night, I didn’t want to switch on light and just groped my hand on the table to find water jug. The fate as it has always been in my case, inadvertently, I slid my phone to the end of the table and it fell into water jug which wasn’t on the table but down on the floor. I hastily pooled off the blanket and found that Britney Spears was drowning in the jug. Back then, I was a fan of Britney Spears and I used to carry her picture on my phone’s wallpaper. I took my phone out of jug but Britney wasn’t responding; its touchpad was not working. Beautiful people, beautiful problems. However, this one was a willful act. I wasn’t blind.
But there are people who cannot see like you and me and sometimes they need someone to read a medicine’s name or a letter for them, or they may need someone to help them in crossing road or in finding their stick which they put somewhere in room but are not being able to find it now. I didn’t know we can be of a little help to them until I met Smt Anurin Lawrece Dsouza, a teacher in Ranga Rao School for Disabled Children, a school for visibly challenged girls in Mysore. She is fully visually challenged and still, she has done B.E and D.E.D. Be it in Bengaluru or Mysore she travels alone because she can and also because she doesn’t want to look different from other people but she is as she is better than normal beings like us. She showed us her smartphone and explained to us how technology has made her life a little easier. Then she showed us “Be My Eyes” app. And the concept of this android application blew my tiny mind.

How does it work? It uses video calls as a medium and when registering for the first time it gives you two options – if you’re visually challenged you can register for help and call somebody whenever you need help, or else you can join it as a volunteer and help somebody whenever you get a video call from them. You can set regional languages like Kannada, Telugu, Malayalam and many others or Hindi and English as your primary language and you’ll get calls from people who use these particular languages only. Please refrain from setting English as your primary language or else you won’t get any call for there is already enough number of volunteers available for the English language.
Trust me, It feels nice when you help someone and anyway it obligates nothing except a few minutes a day, far less than the time you dissipate in scrolling down, maybe, your crush’s profile. It’s been fifteen days since I started using this app and I’ve been getting two to three calls a day. Just now, I got a call from someone who was calling from AIMS hospital Delhi and he had two different valuations notes; he wanted me to identify which one is 500 valuations as new notes are, though colourful, difficult to identify for visually impaired people.
Make a space for this little app among your Insta, Whats app and Facebook to help beautiful people out there.
Also published on –
~ Swastik SaraswatRakesh Kumar

Those smiling faces on the top

One of my friends never got to know what it’s like to have a father. He spent all his childhood at his mother’s place as his father left his wife when my friend was only six-months-old. He grew up at his maternal uncle’s place. As he passed his higher secondary examination, and his maternal uncle’s children grew up, the family expenses increased and in the end, my friend has to move out of his house to get a job. But he was just a 12th pass teenager yet to learn some basic lessons of life. How would he get a job and continue his studies further? He came to Ahmedabad and applied in a BPO centre for a job. He got a job after a number of attempts and used to attend college in the daytime. After a couple of years, he brought his mother to Ahmedabad and today he is living in Ahmedabad’s Khokhra area with his mother and a younger brother. He has all the responsibilities of his family. Why am I telling you all this on a networking platform?

Recently, during a business conclave in Bangalore, vice president of a reputed IT company was sharing some observations on automation. He said, “There are many rumours in the market that we are going to lose jobs because of automation. Let me tell you, it’s nothing but a joke. Automation, on the contrary, would create a lot of jobs and people will learn new skills. We should welcome the automation.” He said all this in such a positive tone as if the message was, “And they lived happily ever after.”

I, sitting on the front chair was wondering how could they lie on people’s face? Admit it! Automation will and, for sure, it will affect the job market. Especially, the low wage employees will suffer the most. If there is any sector which is going to get the most affected because of automation – it is BPO- the heartline of India. But, those smiling faces on the top won’t admit it as they are on the other end – beneficiary’s end.

According to a report by US-based research firm, “India’s going to lose 7 lakh low skilled workers in IT and BPO by 2022.” How does it sound like for a country with 1.2 billion population that creates roughly 4 lakh jobs per year? What would have happened to my friend if BPO was not there and if they told him to get advanced skills first? And this is not a story of my friend alone, there are lakhs of such families living and rather surviving because of BPO. If they, on the top, are not in a position to stop the inevitable, at least do not lie on people’s face. It hurts seeing that the things which look fascinating and exciting from far to the youth of India are going to snatch their bread and butter tomorrow.

And the companies which are involved in various kind of CSR activities, be it to change their brand image, to get indirect benefits or for the betterment of society; why don’t they just step in and start teaching the low wage workers those advanced skills which will prove to be a saviour for them tomorrow?

~ Rakesh Kumar

Do you have one more earth with you?

Firing crackers is not a part of your culture or Deepawali; It’s the distortion of your cultural identity. It’s ironical how people of the religion, that is by far the most environment-friendly, are taking pride in firing crackers and poisoning the atmosphere.
Image Source –
If there is any religion that talks the most of the environmental conservation – it’s Hinduism. Such a religion would never make a thing a part of their tradition or festival celebration that costs dearly to the environment.
And today, I see some people fighting to save their tradition and calling fireworks an integral part of their culture. I doubt if they are cognizant of it that when the Lord Shri Rama came from Lanka to Ayodhya after defeating Raavana, Diyas were lightened to symbolise the victory of light over darkness. Diyas, that use a renewable source of energy as ghee and plant oil, do clean the environment rather than harming it alike our modern generation’s tool of celebration. 
On the other hand, Fireworks were first invented during the 7th century in China by Tang dynasty rulers. As the western world is known for adopting all the wrong things; it made out a way of celebration out of firecrackers. Mughals used firecrackers to impress the royal kings, and later on, after the Britishers’ invasion, firecrackers became a part of any auspicious event in India as well. As we are, by default, highly prone to adopt any western thing and appreciate the same, as we do their blond colour, showing middle finger maybe as a symbol of salutation, and you see – these days some of us from the highly intellectual young generation chanting ‘fuck-fuck’ whole day, analogously, we, the Indians seized firecrackers as a part of Diwali celebration. Now, how would you justify this pollution by saying it’s a part of your festival or culture?
Now, there’s another type of tribe, that confronts everyone who is a backer of not firing crackers by giving, ‘why don’t you ask Muslims to stop slaughtering animals on Eid’ as an excuse. These days, it has become a trend to bring religion into any controversial thing unnecessarily, and start justifying it. How can you justify one wrong with another? Why at all would you bring Bakareid to justify this nonsense act of firing crackers?
No, Deepawali alone is not responsible for global warming or warning signs we are witnessing in the climate. But somehow, the way, we, the world as a whole, celebrate Deepawali, Christmas, New year, and any other important festival has played a requisite role in this. Undoubtedly, the primary role was played by industrialisation. 
In the end, it’s not about firing crackers; it’s about our insouciance attitude towards the environment. Do you have one more earth saved in your pocket? Going by our attitude, the chances of your answer being a no are scarcer, however, by chance, if the answer is NO, then plant trees, and save water&electricity. Because merely not firing crackers won’t be even a drop in the ocean. Make it a lakelet at least.
~ Swastik Saraswat


The Modern Age Feminism

Lift: She entered in the lift pushing other boys and no one dared to stop her because she was a girl. And answer me – Is it right to stop a girl from doing something/anything? Oh god, pardon me, the sinner, for asking such a lame question. No one has the right to ask her. Not at all! After all, she is a girl. “Women are the incarnation of Goddess, you stupid moron.” I murmured to myself.

Later on, a boy was staring at her because a small piece of paper was hanging in her hair. She asked raising her eyebrows in high volume, “Why are you looking at me like this?”

Because a boy shouldn’t look at any girl. Hence, the boy deported the idea of telling her why he was looking at her. She is a feminist and she can’t bear up with someone looking at her. It doesn’t matter whatever be the boy’s intention or reason. In case, if she likes someone, she has all the rights to look at him, to give a smile and even touch sometimes. But boys? Oh, you stupid creatures should bang your head into the wall first, and if you still like the girl – You should close your eyes and then approach the girl. Because looking at a girl is not allowed unless she gives it in written with a hundred rupee stamp allowing you to look at her for a particular period of time. Hey, don’t open your eyes while talking to her. A feminist she is, remember this! But how’re you going to look at her without opening your eyes? Perhaps, you’ll need to wake up your sixth sense.

In the mess:
She may not be standing in the queue for last ten to fifteen minutes but she will get Dosa first. Because…gender preference! The girls will go away from there with happy and smiley faces saying thank you to the giver. And that thank you brings in a cloudy smile to the giver. Hey, before you forget your existence between their exchange of smiles I must remind you that you are still waiting there for your chance.

Auto stand:
Just beside her, a boy was waiting for an auto and he was there before she came. The boy waved his hand as he saw an auto coming. The auto stopped in front of them and the driver looked towards the girl. She hurriedly stepped ahead and took the auto. “Bus stand le lo bhaiya,” she ordered the auto driver.

The stupid fellow who stopped the auto looked with amazement. He didn’t know anything about our legal system. There was nothing unusual as it comes within “All men are dogs act. 2016-2017.”

As the bus tyres came in contact with road speed breakers, inside the bus, a boy’s hand slips and unintentionally he touched a girl’s hand. Guess what? She was a feminist. Her highness, she gave him a bad eye only.
“Agh, I’m sorry.” said the stupid creature.
“Bindiya chamkegi, ki chudiya khankegi” song was playing in the bus, and the driver was mumbling song lyrics that suddenly a biker came in front of the bus. The driver applied brakes very smoothly keeping in mind a feminist’s presence on the bus, but still, the effort was not good enough to save passengers from a sudden push. And the boy’s hand again touched the girl’s bag. She was standing still because she was standing by a poll. Before the stupid creature could say sorry again and stand by any other seat to avoid further events – the girl spoke the universal truth, “Main tum jaise ladkon ko achhe se janti hun”.

What a bus driver must keep in mind always is that when feminist is on the bus – He is not allowed to apply brakes suddenly and should drive the bus with extra care. In case, if a biker or anyone else suddenly comes on the way, the driver is not supposed to apply brakes because feminist is on the bus. So blessed the driver and other passengers are to have feminist around them. And the one who ‘ll die is surely going to heaven because giving life for a feminist’s comfort is a holy deed.

Swastik Saraswat | Originally Published in Dimensions Magazine

A Patriarchal And Biased Mindset

Here, the things are not generalized but the penman reasons that at somewhere, somehow, it’s happening and it represents a section of our society if not our country at large.

A few decades ago, people used to kill her as soon as she arrived in the world. Today, the technology is advanced, if not their mentality. So with the help of the same technology, they started doing abortions of girl children. In near future, it’s possible that using more advanced technology men will release only Y chromosome sperms.

Despite all this, the lucky ones get to see the world. Would they let her live peacefully now? Shame on their manliness if they did. Isn’t it?

When she was a child, her brother took a bat and a ball when she was asked to hold Belan. And from there, the brother starts thinking that girls are meant to do the regular chores and boys to play, in that term as well. Mentality!

When she spent her time working at home, cooking food and doing all the “girly” works, her brother used to ramble around on the streets with his friends and when he returned back home Mumma’s lovely girl serves the food she prepared. He’s tired after all. Now people question – how girls get matured early? Here’s the logical answer, but only if you want to accept.

She started studying with her brother. She always managed to achieve higher ranks than her brother in all the exams. But of what use? Because they say – “Aage jake gharbar hi to sambhalna hai”.

In adolescence:
When men of her father’s age used to ogle at her, she used to wonder how safe women in their own house are.
When she used to travel on the bus, many cool dudes used to ogle at her while trying to come close and touch her imputing the bumpy road, and it was owing to them that she started to talk guardedly with everyone because their aimed-ends are not inscribed on their countenance and she doesn’t have superpowers to get a see into their hearts.

If she steps out of her home late at night and that too after taking prior consent from her parents; many CCTV like eyes will always be chasing her from the upper balconies querying ‘where is she going?’.
Next day, early in the morning, those CCTV aunties will come and ask indirectly,”Where did she go yesterday? She came late in the evening.” Their anticipation is, ‘She went to a party to meet her boyfriend.’

Before marriage:
When relatives used to ask only one question to her parents, “koi ladka dekha ya nahin”; She used to wonder if her relatives have to compensate for her studies and food.
Finally, when around seven to eight members of a family came to see her for their son. They asked the same question which they had probably asked many cooks also. “What type of dishes you can cook?”
From the girl’s side, the counter question to her in-laws is often only one, “What about her studies?”
“No limitation! She can study til she wants.”, they reply with melting sugar in their mouth.

After marriage:
Her in-laws are so good that they do not have any problem with her studies but the only condition is that she won’t step out of her house. The possibility is there that they are expecting the examiners to come to her house.
After a year or two, her parents-in-law are getting old and they want to see their grandson playing in their lap before going to, let’s be kind-hearted, say heaven. Husband’s requests, in-laws’ pressure, relatives’ questions and all those unimaginable things forced her to give birth to a child.
Her dreams of further studies kissed her a goodbye with each one of her child’s dirty nappies she washed. Her child is four years old now, and she has given up on her dream and wants her child to study and secure a good job. She prepares breakfast, lunch, in the evening she waits for her husband and cooks food for dinner and late at night she has voluntary or involuntary sex, say love making if sex sounds in a way too realistic to admit; that’s all she has to do. Making a career you know. It’s difficult.
But still, she doesn’t complain anyone, nor did her mother when she was of her age. Will you?

Swastik Saraswat | Actually published in Dimensions Magazine

The case of plagiarism

Some people don’t value the intellectual property rights. Like the rich brats do consider the road and the country as their father’s own property, some people do take internet posts, pictures as their own property and go on publishing the same on their own page or profiles with an additional line, “For more such posts, videos….do like this page.” No, it’s not what they do rarely or sometimes. There are such pages which are surviving on copied posts. How can they do this?

It exasperates me to high extents to know that some people don’t even consider writing, and photography as a task or something worthwhile to get due credits, appreciation or recognition. They do think, “There was no hard work included in writing this post or clicking this photograph? So what if it was shared without your permission and due credits? The motive is to spread this post, so what if due credits were not given to you?” Yes, they do ask such questions. It’s like construction workers asking their managers, “What do you get a high salary for when we do the harder part of the work?”

I mean, do you really think writing is easy? Writers do have to skip their sleep til 4 in the morning to write a couple of thousand words. When I wrote my first novel, I used to sit continuously till 5 or sometimes 6 in the morning because of my laptop’s broken body which didn’t let me type while lying down on the bed, and due to this my groin’s muscles started paining and had to go through a surgery last year. And for people like you, it takes a couple of minutes to copy and repost the same without any amount of shame. I’m angry because a few days back someone found my book ‘The other class of human beings’ on PirateBay torrent website. What a shame!

And it’s not just about books, writing, photography or a video. If you watched a newly released movie on Youtube where someone like you uploaded a leaked or pirated copy. The shame is on you! And to be honest, I watched the leaked copy of Bahubali 2 on Youtube uploaded by a Bangladeshi. But then, even after knowing the whole story I bought an executive class ticket just to make sure that I don’t lose my confidence while speaking against such people who hijack internet posts shamelessly, just to make sure that the makers of the movie do get what they deserve.

It was only yesterday when I saw a video of Steve Cutts on a Facebook page. No credits were given to the Youtuber. People don’t even think for once before hijacking such amazing creative videos. What kind of people are they? Are you one of them?


– Swastik Saraswat

Forgot to laugh

Forgot to laugh?

In this picture, Shantanu Mot and Ram Saraswat enjoying their evening bath. I splashed water on children and the reactions were, most of the times, the same as one can observe in this picture of my nephews; then I moved on to do the same with elders ( my sister), and I had to run off to save my camera and of course myself. Is that what we learn with time after growing up? 
Picture Credits – Myself 🙂
– Swastik Saraswat