Mother’s Day

Mother’s day just went by. Gushy is how I had often animatedly described myself. But on that day when the world turned expressive, I was dry. The verbal effusions that I thought came naturally to me on every other occassion and non-occassion were on a holiday. The day began as usual. I rang mother as usual, reducing the continents worth of distance between us to nothing in a jiffy. “Happy Mom’s Day”, I said chirpily and that was it. No allusions were made to how special she was to me and how she had always been by my side and the like. We chatted away for a while discussing the mundane before we moved on with the day.

After finishing my regular chores, as I opened doors to my relatively small world of social media during the day, I was blown away by the avalanche of Mother’s Day messages everywhere. There was everything: beautiful poetry, pictures, videos and every form of expression of love for the mother that the COVID-prevention rules would allow. Inspired, I peeked within to see if there was any heartwarming Mother’s Day message that I could pen for mom. All that came out was “Happy Mother’s Day” yet again. Not a word beyond that. As my dear friend, writer’s block, visits me regularly, I was undetered and decided to give it a go again with renewed determination. It wasn’t so difficult afterall. All I had to do was think about the ways in which mom had been there for me, sprinkle some emotion to the thought and lo and behold, beautiful poetry on paper in honor of mom! If it only was that easy.

Mother's DayInstead of tear-jerking memories, I was thinking about the funny moments I shared with mother. No wonder emotional messages eluded me. My thoughts drifted towards her funny comments out of sheer boredom during movies I had dragged her to: like that one time when it was just the two of us in the cinema hall. As I sobbed at the plight of the protagonist in the movie, a thoroughly bored mom looked at me bewildered and I burst out laughing. On another occassion, she boldly tasted weird food named “Veg Sushi” and that too with chopsticks, only to regret it after a bite!

As my mind brought to the fore a bunch of such funny memories one after another, I realized that that was our thing. With a love-filled heart, I wrote “Mom, thanks for being such fun!”


The Antidote

1 fDIp2sD4WYoB7eqJp6go5wThat writers block is no myth was among the hard-hitting realities I discovered very early in life. That it is chronic is more of a recent, unwelcome revelation. Over the years, I have done everything to rein in this dreadful condition but to no avail. Reading, I thought, was a natural cure for a suffering writer and I picked up books by the dozens. The fortunate outcome then was that I became a “chronic” reader and that’s it. All the reading I did couldn’t eke a meaningful word out of me when pen was put to paper. On the contrary, I stopped putting pen to paper in the lure of reading another person’s beautiful musings when they put pen to paper. That’s bad, I thought, and I stopped…the thinking but continued the reading.

Then I conceived the grand idea that it was all about the right ambience. If I only had that, inspiration would instantly strike me and then there would be no looking back. Lo and behold, I landed in a place with my dream ambience: a little apartment by a gently gurgling stream, green pastures, a comfortable couch, a warm mug of tea and a great library within walking distance. Still, words kept eluding me. Although I did a lot of useless, work-related and general writing, the actual soul-satisfying arty stuff was no where in sight. On the contrary, the ambience birthed in me a love for the outdoors. I started enjoying my evening walks by the stream and that was that. By then I had reluctantly written myself off as “un-creative” and uninspired. I was happy reading and taking walks, albeit laden with the heaviness of putting to rest the unfulfilled desire of being able to write regularly.

Life went on, meandering through joys and sorrows, crests and toughs, calm and storms. Through it all I read and walked. I even managed to write a little. One day, I looked back to a smile-worthy discovery that the little writing I had done was actually much. What was a startling realization was that while I had walked and read through the joys, crests and calm of life, writing came by when the storms struck. Who knew that the roiling within would turn out to be the perfect antidote to writer’s block!

Joys and Blessings

A friend of mine was asking me to confirm over email that my phone number she had was the one I was still using. Replying something to the effect of “yes, indeed”, I was glad yet curious both for the same reason: I had heard from an old friend after lUntitledong! As us dreamers often do, I immediately took off on a jolly ride down the memory lane. She and I had met on the day we were both leaving the firm we worked for and had decided to keep in touch (which we effortlessly did). The years that followed were laced with conversations and more of them over cups of coffee (tea, once, and a memorable painting party). Braving the peak hour traffic, we would always land up finding a comfortable little place to catch up on the happenings and the non-happenings in our lives. Even after four hours, we would be far from being “done” conversing. And between our meets were our continuous one-liner email exchanges (sheer convenience over everything else!) that would often brighten an otherwise dull day.

Suddenly, life took a turn for the two of us, taking us to two different cities. Once I moved, we managed to overcome the time difference and keep in touch. But gradually, the rigors of adjusting to new cities and the changes in our lives took a toll, leaving us deprived of each other’s company. This continued until I saw an email from her one Saturday morning. I was hoping she was fine and had connected with me to share some happy news. It was only the following morning that I awoke to learn that she had been offered a job in this part of the world and after all of two years, we would finally be only 8 hours apart! Now here’s where I believe that I am blessed. Not the always-manage-to-stick-to-the-timetable kind of blessed, but the meeting-an-old friend-in-a-new country kind. After all, what is a glimmer of familiarity amid a sea of changes if not a blessing (and a joy!)?

A Very Small Blog Post

It’s been a little less than two years since life took a turn and I found myself on the shores of a foreign land. So far, I am enjoying every minute of it here. There’s little I long for. Does that mean I have attained cheshire-cat-clipart-chester-20Nirvana (fat chance!) or have I suddenly become devoid of dreams, hopes and the like (shudder, shudder!)? Taking sometime off my joyous state of mind, one day, I reluctantly peeked into my heart for answers, dreading what I would find. Much to my relief what happily stared back at me in the form an answer was this: my take-life-as-it-comes-live-in-the-moment-and-read-and-write mode was on. With a Cheshire grin (minus the eeriness),  I was back on the merry course.


Purple Nostalgia

I nonchalantly hummed the tune I often do as I was getting ready for an early dinner with the spouse at a quaint restaurant this little town has to offer. I was looking forward to the remainder of what had been a perfect, lazy Sunday. A slight twirl of my hand pushed out the gleaming lipstick and along with it, its characteristic whiff. The two seconds that ensued were a walk down the memory lane. I was instantly transported to another time and place which was filled with the same fragrance.

Years ago, at the Navratri celebrations in Mumbai, I would wear a distinct metallic purple lipstick (that purple was ghastly was yet to dawn upon me then!) that carried a similar fragrance: one that had secretly crept into that little place in my heart and cooked itself into nostalgia. In that instant, I re-lived that weird emotion associated with the smell: a melange of anxiety about my exams (“unit tests” as we called them, which always coincided with the festival) and excitement about my favorite festival. I would study with renewed vigor through the day to be able to enjoy a few guilt-free hours at the Navratri celebrations. Donning the traditional “bandhani” attire and the purple lipstick (year after year), I would then set out with my neighbors and friends to clock in a few hours of festive merriment and gather memories for a lifetime.

I returned from my “time travel” with a faint smile on my face that was replaced with delight as I smelled the mouth-watering Thai curry in front of me, another fragrance that was beginning to carve its place in my memory!

A Belated Joy

They say “Life is like an ice-cream. Enjoy it before it melts”. But for some of us, while enjoying life comes easy, enjoying an ice-cream is a bit of a challenge. This is particularly true when the said ice-cream is in a cone. As fate would have it, enjoying a cone ice-cream for me has always been, and until two days ago, seemed like it would always be, a dream.

Dollops of creamy, delicious ice-cream topped on crisp, graceful cones is a mouth-watering sight as well as thought. A thought that holds the power to drag me out of my lassitude on to the busy roads to hail a cab and arrive at Natural’s, the regular paradise called ice-cream parlor (the nearest to my place about 20 years ago). Natural_Ice_CreamA 20-years younger me enters the blissful heaven with a salivating tongue to ask for a scoop of strawberry ice cream atop a pretty waffle cone. As the luscious delight is gently placed into my arms by a smiling server, joy spreads across my face. I set to enjoy my journey with my treat. What had been a graceful spectacle until now, takes an unexpected turn for the worse. My strawberry ice cream decides to start melting as I am now plonked on one of the tables outside the shop. And with each milky stream of ice cream off the cone, melts away my composure. I begin to panic as I feel the cold stream on my fingers and try to finish my dollop as fast as I can. A friendly helper offers me a paper napkin in the nick of time, saving me the embarrassment of having melted ice cream all over me, but in turn, leaving me embarrassed at being reminded about what a mess I must be looking. You may ask why sit at the parlor with your cone ice cream when you can enjoy it while on your way. I ask why order a cone ice cream when a cup is available and when the same scene repeats itself every time, whether in the parlor or on the road. Unfortunately, both of these are among the many answer-less questions.

While I could not shake off my unbridled love for ice cream in a cone, over time, I chose to avoid it in front of company, thus minimizing my embarrassment a hundred fold. I would marvel at those who could effortlessly and gracefully enjoy their cone ice cream before it melted. Days, months, and years passed and arrived this day (which was two days ago) when I bought myself a cone ice cream to celebrate the wonderful moments that were unfolding since that morning. I carried a big swirly dollop of chocolate and vanilla ice cream on a crisp vanilla-flavored waffle cone out of the parlor, to the sunny road (mind you, the sun is overhead, creating the perfect weather for a meltdown atop my cone). However, slurp, slurp I went, enjoying my cone ice cream for the very first time – with grace and manners intact. I smiled as I bit into the last of my cone, thinking how eating ice cream off a cone is a always joy, whether it arrives on time or is belated.

Read The Fine Print

I was sitting by the window looking at the bright sun as I felt the warmth from the heater in my room. By now I know better than to expect anything from the winter sun that often teases  me from the other side of the window. I was in the middle of what had been a perfect day until now. I had been up at the crack of dawn (which is anytime before 9 AM in my world), had cooked a veggie-filled breakfast, had wrapped up my daily chores and was ensconced in my favorite chair. But the day was now beginning to turn a little weird. An antsy feeling was creeping up on me, threatening to ruin my afternoon tea. Since my tea time was one of the small pleasures I looked forward to, I tried to shrug off the uninvited feeling with every shred of strength I could find. But it clung to me like leech and thus tea wasn’t a pleasure that day. As if it wasn’t enough that I had to carry the cumbersome feeling through the day, I also had to bear the burden of not knowing why.

At last, I hit the bed. But instead of quietly drifting off to sleep, I awoke with a jerk suddenly realizing that it had been four days since I had read a book. And THAT was what had been nagging me. The next morning I hungrily lapped up quite a few pages of the book I carried in my bag but had not touched in a while. Reading, I realized, is not a habit to be trifled with. Thriving on leftover time at the end of my day, this habit has stealthily gained stature enough to disrupt my day at its whims and fancies. What more, it has birthed an endless bucket list of books to be read and an interest in soaking in every bit of nonsense as long as it’s  well-written. This is what lies on the other side of enjoying a companion as erudite as a book. This is the “fine print” they don’t tell you about when they say a room without books is like a body without soul.

Glimpses of Home

A sense of belonging is beginning to appear on the horizon, a feeling that has eluded me for almost a year now. The newness of this place refused to wane for much too long, leaving me in a bittersweet spot. I have been up and about town in the metaphorical gypsy garb, thoroughly savoring the sights and sounds that are local to this land. Yet, if you cared enough to take a closer look, you could spot a glimmer of yearning even in the brightest and  the earnest of my smiles. Yearning for a place called home. Or merely a sense of belonging.

Being less a go-getter and more a “let’s-see-er”, I have done little to quell this longing. This was partly because chasing the evasive feeling meant that I turn cold towards the alluring beauty of where I was. And the place is too beautiful for me to afford ignoring it. It was also because my hopeful heart vainly believed that time alone would bring the sense of belonging to my doorstep. And so I watched the seasons change. Cherry blossoms lent their pink hues to spring and summer wrapped the little city (village, actually) in its warmth. Fall opened a mesmerizing palette of colors, painting a breathtaking, awe-inspiring picture. Underneath the cold, barren robe of winter was a beauty you would have to see to believe.




I reveled every moment of every season but my much-awaited “guest” was no where in sight. Life went on until one day…

On a certain Thursday, life in our little town (village, really) was interrupted by some unexpected water-supply related issues. I grabbed the opportunity and decided to visit a tad bigger neighboring town. Armed with a plan, I dragged my reluctant hubby to a much-talked-about arty coffee shop there. That place took me back home in Mumbai, where I frequented several coffee shops, one of which was just as arty. I felt less of a tourist for probably the first time since April 2016. But more importantly, it suddenly dawned upon me that pieces of what I define as home may just be around, waiting to be discovered by many a home-sick soul. As I entered my house that evening, both tired and elated at the end of a fruitful excursion, I heard the pressure cooker whistle from the apartment above mine. Home is not very far I thought.

A Change Less Welcome

I have spent a lot of my waking hours as a child reading, among many books, comics. Intimidated by literature for some unknown reason, I found comics warm and welcoming (and, strangely, down-to-earth). Having already raved about my love for Amar Chitra Katha, I often fondly reminisce about my time with Archie Comics. Lost in reverie, as I searched online for Archie Comics one day, I let out a feeble gasp at what I saw. Archie Comics was recently subjected to a makeover and a major one at that! Although I have completely stopped reading Archie since decades now, I couldn’t help but frown at this new development. I do understand change being the the only constant in life and a lot of similar nonsense (which probably has more truth in it than the words of the wisest prophet), but our good old Archie is no moon of the solar system that is subject to periods of change!

A Treat To Die For!

Over the years, the comical face of the characters and the silly story lines have earned a place in our hearts. Betty and Veronica Double Digests have silenced many a wailing kid (me!). I don’t remember the books reeking of “depth” and “philosophy” that adolescents so “ardently seek”. Wasn’t it was the funny rendering of enjoyable characters that drew a huge fanfare? And now they look all grown up and less silly. What’s left in Riverdale to turn to then? But since I am no longer the “target audience” (marketing jargon, really), maybe my lamentations about this change will fall on deaf ears. Let me, in that case, find solace in the fact that the “vintage” version of the comics to which I am so attached safely resides in some corner of the World Wide Web.

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A Time for Everything

I have learned to revere time. Of course, it still is not that kind of reverence that compels me to shorten my hour-long tea time. Nevertheless, time has earned a level of respect in my heart. It is with time that I have become more patient (“what patience?”, asks hubby). It was time that rescued me from the clutches of meaningless thrillers towards the elixir of literature (which requires patience to enjoy, I tell hubby with a serene nod and he wisely leaves the matter at that). I have learned to depend on it to comprehend seemingly incomprehensible “mysteries” like how to become more organized (time tells me, “in your case, it’s never happening, give it up!” I do and I’m a happy, unorganized person now) or what the heck is the big deal about Harry Potter books. Yes, you got it right. It wasn’t always that I liked Harry Potter books.

There was a time when it felt like the world was engulfed in the magic of Harry Potter and I was not a part of it. I had had a rendezvous with one of the books once, but it was brief and I had put it away to pick a Jane Austen. I had resigned myself as a non-fan, probably the only one in a Harry Potter-crazy universe. Years passed. I was happily going to dinner with Gone with the Wind, then on a tea date with To Kill a Mockingbird and dreaming about Great Expectations. Harry Potter was completely off my mind.

untitledI discovered a beautiful library near my place and became a regular there. The shelves carried Harry Potter books but I ignored them, not knowing that they were watching me with keen eyes. Their gaze probably had a mesmerizing effect on me because I don’t even remember when, how, and why I stretched my hand and picked up one of them to merely skimp through. Only this time, I was smitten. I couldn’t put it down. A few pages of Harry Potter became my daily treat. Now I saw what was it that was so magical about Harry Potter. Time had successfully converted this non-fan into a fan. With this miracle in place, I believe in the power of time even more. That is exactly why I am unconcerned that I don’t feel like reading critically acclaimed philosophical literature today. All I know is that there is another miracle in the offing.

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