Friday, October 25, 2013

Diwali Depression

Smile at the lights
try to measure
the nothingness
in the gaps
in between

the flickers of opulence
trying hard to light up
the dark long
nights of sadness.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Tooth Saga

I'll make you believe in tooth fairies
in stories of happiness
of replacements
and the flow of life

but how will I ever
tell you
your learning
is my lesson too
because I don't remember
the ones from
my own childhood

you can sow the tooth
and I'll sow memories

hoping for
permanent replacements !

Thursday, October 17, 2013


the first word on the page

the creases and crevices
of the body
easy to understand

the folds of the minds

 What soulmates?

Monday, October 14, 2013

across the silence........

She was still in a trance-like state ,the anaesthesia hanging like a veil. The operated leg appeared heavy as a log, voices around her were discussing medicine dosages and blood samples in hushed whispers. Her mother was sitting somewhere close ,she could sense the restlessness.

She slowly turned her head towards that bright light coming from the ventilator towards the long white hospital corridor and there he was, his clothes dripping. It had rained all day presumably. Her palette was bitter and words stuck to her parched tongue.

They had realised she had just gained consciousness and the room was abuzz now with queries, anxiety. The vision had vanished.

Months later where they met hidden from the hostile eyes of families in arms against each other he had admitted, he had walked all the way up to the temple on the peak in thunder and rain and tied a thread for her well-being, that he was actually there, outside that ventilator in the hospital that afternoon.

This post has been written for Platinum Day of Love.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

My Diwali reasons to pray, say Amen !

Diwali was always my favourite festival, for the crackers up in the sky beyond our house in the hills and for the general cheer it spelled for every one. My mom taught me the Lakshmi Pooja legend much later but I remember she told me first that it was a day to share our blessings, spread the cheer and pray for us and others. The prayer we used to say from the Upnishadas in addition to the usual Lakshmi and Ganesh puja was :

असतोमा सद्गमय ।
तमसोमा ज्योतिर् गमय ।
मृत्योर्मामृतं गमय ॥
ॐ शान्ति शान्ति शान्तिः ।।

From ignorance, lead me to truth;
From darkness, lead me to light;
From death, lead me to immortality
Om peace, peace, peace

This Diwali when I will say this prayer for my usual reasons and two reasons that are a constant for the last few years :
  • The Girls of India are my reason to pray always whenever I do. I pray for a better life for them, for a more equal and respected and wanted existence, where they crack board meetings and fly the jets but do not  still remain shackled when it comes to religious rituals. May they overcome the discrimination in religious practices and places and may the lives of the girls in this goddess-worshipping nation change for the better.
  • The child labourers of India, the ones who make the crackers, bake the diyas but the light and joy still evades them. Someday I pray our Diwali will be more meaningful and would not need a 8 years old slogging in Sivakasi all year through for the 30 minutes of fun for a city kid.

Biologically like most of us I had only two grandmoms, both passed away before I had my own home and family and now live on only in sepia memories. So when it comes to rituals I had no one to guide me or tell me the dos and the don'ts . So for even the most basic rituals and elaborate ones like those on Diwali I have always been in the experimental DIY mode or at most I seek help from my third adopted granny- the Internet.

This time for We-do-it different-every-year-Diwali-puja at our place I am surely going to use the unique Lakshmi Pooja Pack from Cycle Pure Agarbathies available online at Pure Prayer that saves me the trouble of hunting for the various little essentials and comes with instructions too.

I am sure this is also the best way to recreate an authentic, traditional Diwali ambience for my 4 years old who shows increasing curiosity for religion, rituals and Diwali and their significance.

May the light reach more souls and we all have a meaningful Diwali !

This post is part of a contest at Women's Web.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Three of the million lessons from my daughter

This post was a guest post at the official PARLE-G BLOG here.

As I sit to write today about the lessons I have learnt from my child, a slideshow of flashbacks begins in my mind’s eye and I am taken back to the day almost four years ago when for the first time I was alone with her (let’s call her P) in the house.
I remember how I had experienced my strongest bouts of fight or flight that day. I wanted to take the best care of my 15-day-old baby but along with the next change of diaper my resilience would change into exhaustion and frustration and I wanted to just run away. I often wonder how I must have felt alone for the first time with my mom as a baby. Have the fears changed? Are the apprehensions still the same for every mom?

But that day onward with P, I imbibed my first huge lesson for life – keep learning.
The other day a friend’s Facebook status read, ‘I wish life came with an instruction manual.’ And I commented ‘I wish kids too’.
But seriously speaking, thank god that life or kids do not come with an instruction manual. That is how parenting becomes a learning experience like no other. Whether it is how to dress up a doll in 20 different ways, try a new recipe, my work or even my relationships, I believe real value is added only when we keep learning. We keep our heart and mind open. It was because of P I took to blogging and what an experience it has been. It has stretched my horizons to corners I could never even imagine.
Sometimes we will fail, the whole effort would be futile but the experience wouldn’t be useless. The elation after a successful new lesson is unmatched but what is even more precious is the lesson. So as a parent we must keep learning, whether it is singing jumbled up lyrics or dancing completely off the beat, or painting with our fingers. DO it and you will never regret this one.

As a parent most of us have an undercover job too- toy mechanics. Whether it is a broken favourite comb or hair band, or it’s a toy elephant’s trunk or a giraffe’s hind leg, our children believe we have the magic. I was always very keen on craft, used to do a lot of reuse and recycle ever since I was a kid, but with P in the picture now this whole mending and repairing has become almost like my second profession.
So the second lesson is MENDING.
Throwing away, giving up, shoving it under the carpet are the easier options, the tougher and according to me the better choice to make is to mender at least try to mend whatever we break or whatever breaks in the due course of life. How often we give up on long time friends due to one bad incident? How frequently do we use-and-discard things?
The art of cherishing things ,people, moments is being lost because we are constantly looking for the new and deciding to ditch whatever develops a glitch (wow that rhymed effortlessly…a  minor lesson?)
Like disposable plates and cups we have started looking for everything disposable. This has obvious emotional repercussions but see what it does to our homes and our planet. We keep acquiring new stuff and hoarding or throwing the old and with the physical baggage our emotional baggage grows heavy too. On the other hand mending is creative, therapeutic and it keeps your grey cells polished and shining bright.

“LET IT GO.” These three words spoken to a teenager in a remote monastery in Himachal did not mean much then. But my daughter has made them the mantra of my life. Because we must keep learning and trying to mend but several times despite our best efforts things do not work and that is when we must let it go and move on, this is the essence of having a regret-free life.
This is more effective for negative feelings like hatred and anger. We as humans are bound to go through all of these, but when we do not keep their residue within us we live a life more fully. Look at your kids how easily and effortlessly they forget and forgive and move on, how they do not categorise or label people based on one incident or action and thus keep the possibility of a fruitful mutual exchange of ideas and thoughts always open. How an old toy lost or beyond repair gets replaced by some new fascination.
I call my daughter my guru, my co-learner in so many skills and my co-worker on this grand project called LIFE.

The list of things I have learned from her can run into hundreds but then as she says “MUMMA JUST SMILE!!” sometimes a smile says it all.

5 / 10 / 2013

Life imitates films or films imitate life

the boundary has further blurred

since we met

long-long ago

As you begin another year

let me ensure

more memories

and gossamer dreams !


Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Great Gandhi Debate

There is such a huge overflow of opinions about Gandhi in the intellectual circles ,on social media platforms and discussion groups. I am someone sits on the fence regarding Gandhi, while I may be critical of some of his personal traits I am a huge admirer of his charm and grace  that eventually made him a global figure and the merging point of all ideologies during the freedom struggle.

Manmeet Bali Nag says-
"No matter how much we eulogize integrity, honesty & martyrdom in the books of moral science, it has always been about PR & hype. Shastri, Bhagat Singh & their likes always got overshadowed under the larger than life, created aura of a Gandhi !" 

Sulakshna Bramta Bali says-
"No one wants to take a wrong decision and invite criticism.You take decisions today keeping in mind the best interests of people around , the scenario, resources, opportunities available and after 50 -60 or 70 years the next generations take away all that you did from you, that was best for them as per your wisdom and present situation- how will You feel???
Gandhi must be feeling the same when re...marks of hatred are bestowed upon him.. Having read Gandhi as a normal human being with exemplary traits.. My faith in him and his teachings strengthens more.. I may not be able to practice them because of my convenience, but deep inside I know How practical and powerful these are. Happy Birthday Gandhiji... God Bless You!!!"
Some other opinions-
  • Gandhi would be long forgotten if it was not for Munna bhai movie or his picture on the Indian currency.
  • I don't know Gandhi's relevance to India I only know all leaders are the same.
  • Gandhi is okay as a philosophy in the books but that cannot be followed in real life.

I say -
The clamour on Gandhi is deafening and the easily frustrated and bored but ambitious and aspiring young generation seeks answers to the enigma called Gandhi. Detractors opine that Gandhi became the face of the freedom movement because of his proximity to the British and because they "allowed" him that status initially for their own convenience without realising the dimensions this leadership will eventually take.
On the other hand there is no denying the fact that it was him and only him who could bring women out of their homes and people from all clans, castes and religions under a single banner to give the British a threat that was viable in term of numbers as never before.

Gandhi as a leader and a person may have faltered many times but that cannot be used to undermine what he achieved .I would hope Gandhi lives on as a philosophy, as someone who displayed firmness of will without violence.

But unfortunately the so called legacy of Gandhi has fallen into the very quagmire of politics that he so dreaded and predicted that one day could. His relevance is subjective but no one can ever match his timelessness in terms of him being the scale of what a good leader can achieve in a nation that looks up to its heroes. Gandhi was like a modern day AVATAR  or epic hero because he had his "hamartia" or tragic flaw/s but that doesn't lessen his stature.

His comparison with other leaders some as popular as Bhagat Singh, Bose and some lesser known is again unfair to them , it is like comparing oranges and apples. They did their BEST for their cause and ARE remembered, discussed and despised in their own right.

The Gandhi, The Mandela, The Lincoln will always be remembered, discussed, revered, despised and that in itself is relevance enough for human evolution and world history.

What I take back and carry always with me from Gandhi -

“Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.”

Tuesday, October 1, 2013


The leaves are slipping

autumn makes them decorate

memory's grave


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To Kill a Mockingbird
The Catcher in the Rye
Animal Farm
The Alchemist
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Romeo and Juliet
The Odyssey
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The Kite Runner
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The Diary of a Young Girl
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The Notebook
Gone With the Wind

The Human Bean Cafe, Ontario

The Human Bean Cafe, Ontario
my work on display there !!!!!