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“Aunty!!! Dekho Ankit padai chodke story book pad raha hai.”

Ankit shhhed her and hid the book hurriedly, “What a snitch you are yaar!”

“I am no snitch. I am just being a good friend and helping you study for your boards.”

“Oh crap! Helping me? You were a telltale since childhood!!” sneered Ankit.

Ankita rolled her eyes and made a face at him.

Few years later…

Ankit blew his horn again, “Ankita!!! Hurry up, we are getting late for college!”

Ankita looked beautiful in the pink chikan work suit, “How am I looking Ankit?”

Ankit put his two fingers in the mouth and acted as though he would puke. Ankita hit him hard on the helmet, “Let’s see who will get more roses today, you or me?”

Ankit kick started his bike, “I don’t believe in this rose day vose day. So, I don’t care.”

Ankit and Ankita’s parents were close friends, partners cum neighbours. They had their child a few months apart and gave them similar-sounding names. In school, friends had initially mistaken them for twins. Ankita used to hate being called Ankit’s sister. She felt if she had a brother he would have been loving and caring and not a jerk like Ankit. And the feeling was mutual. But no third person could take advantage of this situation. They would draw their swords out to injure, maim and massacre anyone who tried. You could say they had a love-hate relationship. In spite of whatever they showed to others, they cared for each other deeply and valued each other’s opinions and advice.

They knew each other’s likes and dislikes, temperaments, emotions, and feelings very well. So, it was not a surprise when their parents decided to bring them together in the nuptial knot.

“What the ****! You must be out of your senses mom to even think of this proposition. I am really sorry uncle and aunty. I just don’t see this working at all,” said Ankit.

Ankita added, “Yes mom, Ankit is absolutely right. We are sorry if we gave this impression that we would be interested in each other. Can’t a boy and a girl be just friends?”

“Of course you can be friends beta. You both know that we were also college friends who took the plunge. And see how happy we are. In fact, we see ourselves in you both; you guys are together from morning till night doing everything together. Is there anything at all that you guys don’t share with each other? And do you think it will be possible to do the same after marriage?” asked Ankita’s mom.

“Just because we share things doesn’t mean we want to share our lives aunty!” said an annoyed Ankit.

“Ankit, our society is not ready yet for friendship between a man and a woman,” pacified Ankit’s mom.

“Aunty, forget the society, Ankit and I have our own ideas about how our spouses should be and let me assure you, we don’t fit the bill.” Ankita suppressed a smile and continued, “And my deepest sympathies to you Ankit as I don’t know if you would ever be able to find a girl for yourself.”

A couple of months later…………………

“So, we go ahead and say ok to this alliance? Are you sure you like this girl?” asked Ankit’s mom. A common friend had brought this alliance for Ankit. Last fortnight they had finalized on Vikram for Ankita. However, they had not decided on the marriage date as Ankita had insisted on marrying on the same day as Ankit. Vikram knew that both Ankita and Ankit were good friends, but Ankita wasn’t sure if he knew how close they were.

Deep in her heart, Ankita had her apprehensions and she shared them with Ankit.

“You are saying you don’t want us to be friends anymore??”

“No way, Ankit. I didn’t say that. I just feel we need to have a little chat with our would-be partners and see where they stand on this.”

“And even if one of them is not comfortable, we go our separate ways Ankita?”

“Ufff yaar, tumko samjhana is like banging my head on the wall. All I am saying is we need to give them a chance to understand our relationship. It’s not going to be easy for them also right? Imagine, if your would-be wife had a friend like this, wouldn’t you prefer if you knew about it?”

“For all, I care she can have ten such friends!!” said Ankit.

“It’s easier said than done Ankit. We are the bestest of friends and will remain so. But now that we are getting married there is bound to be certain changes. With every relation comes certain responsibility which we cannot wash our hands from. I feel all four of us should spend some time together to try and understand each other.”

“Hmmm…… ok. So, this weekend we make it a double date! But do you think we can explain ourselves in just one meeting?”

“Of course not, Ankit. It may take a while. But, let’s make a beginning and show that a boy and a girl can be just friends.”

Ankita picked up a silk tie for Vikram. She didn’t want to go empty handed for her first date, rather double date. And she insisted Ankit should also pick up something for Mrunal.

“Since you are the one who keeps yapping, I let you take the mantle today. I am going to just agree to whatever you say,” stated Ankit.

Ankita chuckled, “so you agree that I am the one capable of handling this situation?”

Ankit booed and continued driving.

At the restaurant, after exchanging pleasantries, Ankita delved straight into the topic. She forgot all the prepared speech and just rattled out everything that she had pent up inside her. She explained how Ankit and she have been friends since childhood and how important they were to each other. She was also quick to add that they understood the institution of marriage and the meaning of a life partner and their standing. As she went on, Ankit didn’t utter a word. He just nodded his head and sprinkled a “Ditto!” now and then.

Vikram watched in awe at Ankita’s animated monologue. He loved the way she clarified things. He smiled inwardly thanking his stars to be the chosen one for Ankita. When Ankita was finished she looked at Vikram and Mrunal’s reaction. Vikram took Ankita’s hands into his and gave it a tight squeeze.

All three of them turned towards Mrunal, she cleared her throat, “Oh, I didn’t realize I was supposed to respond. I am very much in as long as Ankit will keep nodding his head and say ditto to whatever I say!!”

It took them just a fraction of a second to understand and they all burst out laughing.

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Udti Zindagi

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Udti Zindagi

“Hey hi Sumi! Going for the PTM I suppose?” asked Nita. Nita stayed in the same colony as Sumi and their children also went to the same school. “Huh what?” Sumi fumbled for a second because Rohit had not told her about the PTM. But obviously, she couldn’t say so to Nita. Instead she said, “Yeah yeah. I was just waiting for Vineet. I guess he is stuck up in some work.

“Just don’t worry. I am going now, we can go together,” offered Nita.

“I am telling you Vineet, something is amiss. The boy who scored a GPA of 10 in tenth board exams cannot be suddenly dropping to C grades. And he hadn’t even told us that the PTM was scheduled today,” added Sumi.

“Don’t over think everything Sumi. Every child goes through these phases,” reasoned Vineet.

But Sumi was not convinced. She knew something was wrong. Her motherly instincts were blaring the danger sign and she decided to keep an eye on Rohit. Over a period of time she noticed that Rohit had become moody and irritable. At times he would tell them that he was going to a friend’s place to finish a project but would conveniently avoid giving any contact number or address. Once, when Sumi tried pestering him for it, he became very aggressive.

She decided to find out what’s going on behind that “Keep Out” sign on Rohit’s room. Rohit was fiercely protective of his privacy. But Sumi was now concerned and convinced that something was indeed going wrong. Her search yielded small packets of something she had no clue on. But the fact that they were ingeniously hidden was a matter of concern. When she showed them to Vineet, he was shocked. He wasn’t ready to come to terms that his son would resort to drugs.

On being confronted with the Drugs, Rohit was furious that they had searched his room in his absence. Later, he insouciantly accepted that he had been taking drugs for about eight months now. Initially, they were just an innocuous weed borrowed once in a while. Sumi was shattered when Rohit confessed to have now graduated to a regular user. Sumi suggested meeting a counselor or getting him treated at a de-addiction center. But Vineet wasn’t keen. “Why wash our dirty linen in public? I am sure we can manage it themselves,” was all he would say.

Sadly, he couldn’t have been more wrong. Things were getting from bad to worse. Rohit had started losing a lot of weight. His mood swings had become frequent and his aggressiveness had reached a point of inflicting self- injury. He wouldn’t even acknowledge his parents. He started spending more and more time with his friends. The only person he would talk to at home was his little sister Neha.

“Rohit, just listen to me once. Please come with us for dinner,” pleaded his mother. It was his birthday and Sumi had made elaborate plans to make it special for him. Vineet had at last agreed to take Rohit to a counselor. It was better late than never. Sumi could see a tiny flicker at the end of the tunnel for her son. But her pleas fell on deaf ears as Rohit took the keys to his bullet and left, slamming the door shut.

Today, his group was getting together at Anish’s farm house to celebrate his birthday. Anish had promised to get some absolutely pure cocaine and Rohit did not want to miss it. The cocaine was a total bliss. He couldn’t stop himself from trying more doses of it and didn’t realize when he conked out.

When Rohit woke up it was already afternoon. Though he had been out with his friends even before, he would always be home for the night, albeit late. He knew his parents were going to be wild at him. Who knows they might have mustered up a search party. He grinned at the thought.

But when he reached home, he was baffled with their reaction. Sumi was distraught and eyes were all puffed and red. “She must have been crying up the whole night,” assumed Rohit. Vineet was also surprisingly quiet. He didn’t utter a word. “Must have given up on me,” thought Rohit. What surprised him was his sister Neha’s stoic silence. “Oh yes, here is the search party!” chuckled Rohit on seeing the neighbours.

“Come on guys, I am back. You can all go back to minding your own business,” yelled Rohit. But nobody was paying any attention to him. It was like they were collectively ignoring him. That is when he noticed that they all seemed to be looking in one direction. When Rohit turned to see in their direction, he saw himself lying dead due to a drug overdose.


Today, more and more youngsters find themselves addicted to drugs than before. About 20% of the drug addicts in India are below 21 years. On an average at least two people die every day due to drug related issues and about 10 suicides are recorded due to drug or alcohol addiction. The scientific explanation for drug abuse by youngsters is that they choose rewards before considering the consequences.

It starts of innocently, may be, to satiate the curiosity or due to the worrisome aspect of sheer peer pressure or to deal with stress. As the children grow, the parent’s influence diminishes and peers have a stronger hold. So, it becomes all the more important for parents to look out for signs that indicate that their child is engaged in drug abuse. Some of the indicators are:

(a) Drop in academic performance.

(b) Losing temper over trivial issues.

(c) Being stressed and irritated.

(d) Reduced attention span.

(e) Loss of appetite and weight.

(f) Feeling of tiredness.

(g) Change in attitude.

If you have a doubt that someone you know could be taking drugs, try and get them to speak about it. Half the problem will be resolved if they show desire to give up addiction. You could then seek timely advice from doctors and counselors to help them tide over the abuse. And yes, please hold their hand through this difficult journey.

Addiction is a family disease. One person may use, but the whole family suffers.



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Anxiety is a short term mental illness frequently seen in youths(specially female). Lasting around 4 to 5 days it can get transformed into Depression, which may drag related patient to do some self injuries or even suicide. 

Source of Anxiety and Depression:- Anxiety and Depression is one of the serious issue mostly ignored in Indian subcontinent.  Ranging from personal problem to responsibility and expectations imposed by parents, society to some serious health issue are seen as a source this mental illness.According to data released by WHO in 2020, around 7.5 % Indian was suffering from permanent mental disorder till October 2020 and it was expected to rise up to 20 % at the end of year. 

COVID-19 role:-

Covid-19 has played a major role in amplifying the statistics by imposing self isolation, social distancing, job loss, employment loss and loss of closest keens due to virus. Impacting Women and teens was most, this pandemic has increased domestic abuses for housewives and mental pressure of continuing studies on teens. More or less COVID -19 has depressed every strata of society,ranging from poorest to richest.

Government initiative to tackle mental illness:-

In order to tackle mental health issue Gov. of India launched National Mental Health Programme (NMHP) in 1982 at country level and further extended it’s scope to district level in 1996. This programme was re-strategized in 2003 to include two schemes,

  • Modernization of state’s mental hospitals
  • Up-gradation of psychiatric wings

Further Mental Health Care Act 2017 was passed on 7 April 2017 which provide mental heath care and service for persons with mental illness and to protect, promote and fulfill the right of such persons.

Remedies to rise from mental sickness:-

  • Yoga and nutritional food are fastest and permanent cure to anxiety and depression.
  • People with such issue shall try to talk their problem to their closest friends, family member without self judging for a second.
  • Listening some romantic ,old love songs can get you out with momentarily anxiety.
  • There is a homeopathy medicine called KALI PHOS help you to get mental balance.

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“Are you sure you want to tell your parents about Aabha? asked Dhiraj. Abhay was lost in his thoughts. Minal nudged him, leading to Abhay spilling his drink on the table.

Abhay recovered from his reverie, “Oops! Sorry. Huh, what were you saying Dhiraj?”

“I was asking you if you are really going ahead and telling your parents about Aabha?”

“Hmmm…. I guess so….. I think I don’t have a choice Dhiraj. It’s high time that they are told. You won’t believe mom has begun looking for proposals for me!!!

“Then you should take tips from bhaiyya who had dropped a similar bombshell at home a year ago,” laughed Minal.

“Don’t worry, I have been rehearsing the past week,” smiled Abhay.

Abhay realized that no amount of preparation was enough to broach the topic of Aabha with his parents. He cursed himself for boasting to Minal the previous night. Finally, he mustered some courage, “Mom, I wanted to tell you something.”

“Haan beta, bolo.”

“No mom, I wanted to talk to both you and dad together.”

Abhay’s dad looked above the newspaper he was reading, “What is it Abhay?”

“Kya hua Abhay? All fine in your office, right?” panicked his mom.

“Yes mom. Everything is fine. Why don’t you sit with dad here? It will be easier for me to speak to both of you together,” saying this he pulled a chair to sit in front of them.

“Is there any girl in your life??? Is that what you wanted to tell us?” prodded his mother.

“Sunita, just hold your horses. You are not letting him speak,” said his father.

“Mom…dad….., I wanted to tell you about Aabha.”

Abhay handed a photo of a girl to his mom, his dad just shot a glance sideways.

“Well, she is pleasant looking. She is……?” asked his mom.

“This is Aabha mom.”

“Aabha? Ohh! Do you love her? You want to marry her? Is she of our caste and religion?”

“I am Aabha, mom!”

Confusion and shock was written all over his parents’ face as the photo slipped out of his mom’s nimble fingers.

After a couple of seconds, which seemed like an eternity to Abhay, his father asked haltingly, “You are a transgender???”

“No dad, I am a cross-dresser. Well, you could call me a transvestite.”

Sunita let out a cry, “So, you are gay?!!”

Abhay took his mom’s hand into his, “Would you stop loving me if I was a gay? Though, to clear your confusion, I am not gay. As I said, I am a crossdresser. I love wearing clothing and accessories commonly associated with women.”

Abhay’s mom was mortified, “Hai Ram! Why would you do that? How come I never saw you wearing women’s clothing?”

“That’s because I don’t have to dress up like women always. I do it only when I want to.”

She turned towards her husband with tears in her eyes, “Why don’t you say something?”

Abhay father was still grappling with what his son had revealed, “I guess I will speak to Anuj. He is a doctor, I am sure he will surely know about the cure for this.”

“No, dad. There is no point in that. Crossdressing is not an illness, it is a state of being. That’s it.”

“Since, when have you been …… I mean…..,” Abhay’s father left his sentence midway.

“A crossdresser? I guess since I was small. But it was only during my eleventh grade I realized my strong fetish and likeness. Dad, I know this has come as a shock to both of you. But there are many like me. In fact, you know Dhiraj right? He is also a crossdresser. You will be surprised to know that there are festivals in India where we crossdressers get an opportunity to publically live the life of a woman!” (Abhay was referring to Chamayavillaku in Kerala, Ganga Jatre in Tirupati and Kulasai in Tamilnadu).”

Now, there was nothing holding Sunitaji from exuding copious tears. She dissected the years passed by looking for reasons for her son’s deviance.

“Mom, tell me something. Remember Roshni, Khanna uncle’s daughter? He proudly introduces her as his tomboy daughter. He claims that he doesn’t miss having a son at all. Have we seen her in anything other than pants or trousers? And of course, the hair cropped so small!!

So, when it is normal for a woman to wear pants and crop her hair real short, why is a man wearing a sari a sexual dysfunction? There are men who wear kilt or sarong in other parts of the world. They are not judged. So, why target an only certain type of clothing?”

“But Roshni’s case is different Abhay.”

“How is it different mom?”

His mother looked at her husband for some support, but he maintained a stony silence.

Abhay then added, “And just for your info, as far as my marriage is concerned, I love Minal and would like to get married to her. Yes, she knows about me and is ok with it. I guess I am one of the lucky ones!”

“What??!! But how can you marry? Will you be able to……” Sunitaji looked at her husband for support again. He completed the sentence reluctantly, “Your mom is asking if you would be able to satisfy her sexually.”

Abhay laughed, “Not just that dad, I would also be able to give you your grandchildren.”

The thought of grandchildren brought a hesitant smile on his parents’ face. Abhay knew it was not going to be easy for them to accept his other identity. They would need time, loads of it. But he was ready to wait. He was confident that they will accept his Aabha. If not today, tomorrow.

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