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Thus came to end another day at office. The time was 10:30 in the night. By the ti me, office cab would drop me home - where baba would be waiting up no matter what the hou r - it would easily be midnight! Nothing depressed me as the v thought of it - wi a day come when I would reach home in time for at least dinner if not evening chai! As I walked towards the waiting office cab, my eyes looked around for Ismail - a regular companion on the route. My heart sank when I realized he is on leave - the new office ru e mandated that if a female employee is travelling lone, she should be accompanied by an office guard. This was easier said than done - due to the shortage of guards this s ometime meant a wait time of one hour! The prospect of reaching home after one in the night made me hyperventilate. I slowly walked up to Basu - the regular driver on our r oute - and asked him to sneak away via the back entry without the supervisor noticing us. Baba's warnings of not to travel alone rang in my ears but considering the roads will still be packed and also asu is been our cab driver for past few months I deided it was a risk worth taking!As the cab hit the ring road and the cool night air caressed my face, I at last started relaxing. Baba’s phone is been busy for last few mins - Mai must be on the phone with her sisters. As we entered the city, the roads were once again jam-packed! Basu as usual took t e inner by lanes – it went through dark deserted streets but would at leas save us a good 30 mins! I sat back and soon got lost in the late night FM music.... .Even when Basu slowed down near an open ground, I didn’t think anything was amiss! Bu t the moment he jerked to a stop and accosted me out I realized it was too late... My screams would go unheeded and there was no way I could make a quick call or send a me ssage asking for help! It was then I wished I had Smart Suraksha with me which at the pre ss of a single button would have sent out message of elp to five pre-chosen contacts from my contact list along with my current location!While th is is a fictitious story, In today's IT industry where late night shifts is more of a rul e than a exception and considering most of us carry around a smart phone, it makes so muc h se n

Anisha woke up with a flurry of excitement - after all, this was the day for she had been practicing for the last few weeks! Today was the audition for class 4 students and the best of them would be chosen to play the role of Mother Mary - a privilege, her mom told her! She was one of the first to reach the venue in her pearly white costume. Despite the butterflies in her stomach, she mouthed the lines with perfect diction and drama just as she had practiced it! Anisha hopped and skipped her way back to class sure that she had the role in her bag! Next day after school assembly, the class teacher assembled the entire class to declare the results of the audition! Anisha fought her tears as the teacher announced that her archrival Nisha was chosen to be the Mother Mary - simply cause she was the "fair beauty with the chiseled face" - just perfect to play the coveted role! Anisha along with other dark-skinned girls of her class were chosen to play the motley role of a shepherd! Thus at the tender age of eight, Anisha had her her first encounter with discrimination based on color - a uphill battle she had to struggle against all through her life! While this is a fictitious story, this could be the story of many a dark skinned girl in India! This is so ingrained in most of us, that a jibe on our color is simply laughed off! I should admit that I am equally guilty of ribbing my sister many a times about her darker skin tone. I did not even realize that am violating a very basic human right..... I am glad that "Dark is beautiful" campaign is making waves and maybe in the next generation, a little girl's self esteem isn't based on her skin colour alone! Maybe she will realise that her "Dark Brown Chocolate" colour is as delicious (if not more) as her "Fairy White" companions!

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