Ajita Chowhan (for Info only, not official)

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Ajita Chowhan

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    ...One year ago, I was robbed of a DSLR camera, two lenses, a travel journal, a handmade paper’s daily diary, all the pictures clicked ever kept safe in a 1 TB hard disk that go with me everywhere; silver jewellery, some gifted, some decades old; laptop, all debit and credit cards, every plastic identity, a wallet that was a birthday gift, podcast recorder, a dozen data cards, two camera bags one of which was tangerine orange that I loved, running shoes that took me everywhere, 6 passports with visa stamps that I cherished more than a wedding album, cash in $, Euro & INR including currencies from over 10 countries in the world, Murakami, my lip colors, a bunch of pens that were with me for years when I wrote on paper, all chargers, a laptop bag that was a farewell gift in Panama, a cherry red cabin bag, an iPhone, a scarlet Jaybird headband that was my co-runner in all the marathons. ...

    TOI on Dec. 1, 2017, 8 a.m.

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    ...The refrigerator is stocked for an apocalyptical emergency. The thought-for-food happen over chai, now the world famous milky, over brewed, sweet tea, a South-Asian delicacy. For the Indians who know and the Non-Indians who do not, here is a warning – there is no escaping and saying no to the copious amounts of tea that is served without asking. Who doesn’t drink Chai, right? The food-duel begin after you are served eleventy courses of meals and innocently, in a well-meaning fashion announce that you are done. The whole physicality of the act, where you are guarding the plate with your two hands, then literally being pushed around for that helping of gravy and chapati amounts to culinary violence. We love our desserts and the world knows that. ...

    TOI on Nov. 19, 2017, 10:02 a.m.


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    ...The ones who are killed in the Barcelona attack, and the ones who killed them. There is no other. That would be the first step in cleaning up the mess that we are in, every week, every month, one terror attack at a time. The wrench in the pit of the stomach continues as more information is revealed about the attack. More fear, death, horror and terror. Take a pause and think where it stems from. It is those divisions that we have built. Rich and poor, white and black, villager and city dweller, migrant and first generation. It stems from that horrible, scary place of supremacy and superiority felt over anyone whom we consider inferior than us. For the sake of humanity, the next time when you make a casual remark over caste, or borders, food and culture differences, catch yourself and don’t let that beast propagate. When you are intelligent-ifying your argument cerebrally over drinks in a casual environment with friends, of how Asians are or Americans are or Africans are, Christian, Jews, or Muslims behave – stop. Nip in bud that is out of control now. ...

    TOI on Aug. 17, 2017, 11:18 p.m.

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    ...I have always looked forward to August, like a lover waiting to catch the first glimpse of the beloved at the airport. Like magic, good things happen, efforts fruition to results, and pending plans awaiting launch, commence. I make that call that I had to, start doing that thing I was supposed to and finish that chore that was lying in limbo since forever. August is the relay race where I pass the baton from one year to another. It’s my New Year and Christmas, packed into one, with the sparkle of Diwali (Festival of Lights). August brings me to life like the divers gasp bobbing up from underwater after jumping down from a cliff into deep waters. So what is going on with August here, huh? Here is the revelation. Nothing. And that is the magic. Despite the much hyped ‘multi-tasking’, the ultimate equaliser for all human beings is that we all survive through a 24-hour day, daily. It is no different for sick or healthy, rich or poor, educated or illiterate. ...

    TOI on Aug. 1, 2017, 6:10 a.m.

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    ...Hence, so far, no rules of engagement are set, no etiquette classes or workshops are in place. Step back a bit, and it will be apparent, that the social protocols that usually apply elsewhere in real life can most easily be repurposed for maintaining a digital decency in the virtual world for most of the social media platforms that are being used. But alas, such is not the case – that of applying common sense. So here is a tiny guide, totally inexhaustible, on what makes you look indecent digitally, and turns people off with your social media behaviour. The mayhem of WhatsApp groups: The fact that people are on the platform does not give you the right to add them indiscriminately in the trillion groups that are formed every day. ...

    TOI on July 26, 2017, 3:35 p.m.

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    ...You trusted your men. They have let you down. Trust me, we are all overcome with grief, disgust and shock. Here is what you need to know now. We send our love, a giant woman to woman hug and deep heartfelt collective grief to what has happened with you. 1) There are still a few good men around you As much as this feels like the worst time to say this, but trust us Delhi girls, there are good men around you in the face of this mass molestation night of horror that you survived. Complete strangers who will ensure that you are safe. As unbelievable as it sounds, a taxi driver waited 10 minutes extra after dropping me at Noida after a late night (3 am) flight when I couldn’t figure out why my landlord is not opening the main gate. ...

    TOI on Jan. 4, 2017, 11:21 p.m.

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    ...I had made the mistake of not keeping a check on the grammar aspect of Spanish, but by the end of three years in Latin America (South America), I could travel alone, be understood, hold conversations on evenings where I go out with friends, invite them home, read a magazine or a newspaper, watch a full movie; in Spanish. That I guess is ‘knowing’ a language. It was not an overnight process. It required active engagement and participation of every single day while being in Cost Rica, Guatemala, Ecuador, Panama, Honduras and Nicaragua. Beset with a fresh challenge in my life, now living and working in Africa, I am having to learn French. So, French is not easy. Through memory I know, how intimidating it was when Spanish exploded in my face seven years ago. It was debilitating first couple of months of my life. I could not make sense of what is written on the hoardings on the streets. ...

    TOI on Jan. 4, 2017, 5:59 p.m.