Thursday, November 14, 2013

USA visit - October 2013

I returned from a month long USA visit 15 days back.

This was my first international travel ever.  Hence everything, the long journey, the overseas travel, the new country, was all a first experience for me.

Initially I was anxious that my luggage weighed too much.  I was anxious about my travel to Delhi to catch my flight in the wee hours. I was anxious about being able to follow the directions that were being given to me.  It helped that I was accompanied by my grown son.  It was good to have company while traveling, to have someone to talk to and to hold your purse while I went to the loo.

The journey was so long, I felt it would never end.  After a while the choices on the in-flight TV seemed rather limited.  I looked at the places we were going over on the monitor on the plane.  We traveled over Asia, Europe, London, over the Atlantic, New York, down the West Coast. Soon sleep took over and all I wanted to do was sleep, which was fitful and not very restful.  When the landing was announced and the 'plane hovered over Houston waiting for clearance to land, I looked out of the window, trying to get a look at the place I was visiting.  I could see a lot of green coverage, and very few buildings.

We walked through long corridors towards the immigration.  My first impression was that there were very few people there.  Sure there were lines in the immigration, people were being quizzed and cleared, but it was nothing like India, which ALWAYS teems with people.

My daughter was right at the gate of our exit.  There was a blur of greetings and hugs.  In my first act of disorientation, I opened the left door of the car to sit and looked amazed at the steering wheel there.  I did this a number of other times as well.  The right hand drive needed getting used to, even for a back-seat driver.

The roads seems very bare.  Only a few cars zipped alongside us, darkened window wound up tightly.  There was no eclectic traffic on the roads like in India where cycles, scooters and three-wheelers drive along co-exist happily on roads with cars and trucks.  Apart from that the topography seemed quite India-like to me.  It was still planet earth!

As soon as we got to my daughter's lovely little apartment, we chose to bathe before going out for dinner.  I was dying to sleep, but wanted to eat before sacking out.  We went to a little Thai place close by.  We were served water infused with chunks of fruit.  Straight off a long flight, my son and I were parched and drank the tasty water gratefully.  We were pleased with one noodle dish, but not so with a red curry which was too sweetish for our taste.

The lady at the restaurant asked us if we wanted anything more.  Still in my India haze, I said 'Bas, thanks!'
My kids burst into laughter at that.

Thus ended a very eventful day.  Even if I find myself globe trotting a lot in future and get very jaded by it, I doubt if I will forget my first day in USA.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Write Tribe contest # 1

I peeked into my son’s room to let him know he had received a postcard from his friend.  I saw him lying on the bed, idly watching television and flipping a coin.

“My my, aren’t we tidy!”  I said sarcastically.

His room looked like wild horses had galloped through it.

“Maa!” my darling son bleated, “instead of being so sarcastic, you could help, you know”

I walked into the room and straightened a calendar that was lying face down.

“No dear! Your room is your responsibility.  You must learn how to keep it clean:  Now pick up the stuff, change your sheets and PLEASE dust everything.  If you want your weekly allowance on Monday as usual, that is.”

I marched out of the room mindful of his indignant looks, but not caring.  I leaned against the door and heard him scurrying around the room, tidying up.

“Yessssss” I said to myself, triumphantly.

Write Tribe

This post is written as a part of  write tribe initiative.

The rules are:

1. Write a piece/a story/ a poem incorporating the following  7 words in random order :
  •   postcard
  •   coin
  •   tidy
  •  wild
  •  help
  •  calendar
  •  responsibility

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Write Tribe - Wednesday Prompt - 10.7.2012

Little feet patter

Rain soaked grass softens her fall

Sweet baby laughs


Write Tribe

Sunday, July 07, 2013

When you say nothing

"When you say nothing at all... I hate it." Rajesh nearly screamed out the last three words.

Rani felt a shiver go through her. She had heard Rajesh when he had imperiously told her "Sonia and Prem are coming today for dinner.  Sonia, his sister and Prem, her husband.  She knew what it meant.

She would spend the day slaving in the kitchen, preparing 4-5 dishes.  Sonia and Prem would walk in at 7.30 PM. Prem and Rajesh would start drinking.  Sonia would sit with them and talk, talk, talk.

During dinner this would continue.  They would look at her only when they wanted something.

"More rotis needed, Rani' Rajesh would say to her, expecting her to rise immediately.

"Some more ice, Rani' Sonia would say.

No wonder then, that, when Rajesh had spoken those words "Sonia and Prem will be coming here today for dinner", she had turned her back to him and had gone quiet. This is what she usually did. But this time Rajesh's loud words broke something in her.

"What do you think I am?" She slammed the pan full of vegetables she had been cutting, down on the dining table.

"You always talk to me as if I am some servant you picked up. You should check out your tone. I am so sick of that tone."

She could not control herself anymore.

"What have I done wrong? Just because I am a quiet person and don't complain, you think you can say anything you like? You just take me for granted and keep bossing over me. You think I put up with this nonsense because I am dependent on you?"

Now there was no stopping her. Rajesh stood stunned - he had never seen his wife like this.

"You know jolly well I don't work because YOU didn’t want me to.  I am a qualified designer. And designers are highly in demand.  My old office still wants me back. THEY value me.  My boss has offered me a big jump in my salary.

She went on.

“You say I don't talk to you? You know why? Everytime I try to have a normal conversation with you, you talk to me as if I were an insect of some sort.  It puts me off.  But now... now you SCREAM at me!"

And then, she dealt him the blow that left him reeling.

"I am done, Rajesh! I am SO done with you. I am leaving."

Rani stormed into their bedroom and emerged a few minutes later, suitcase in hand.

Rajesh looked like he'd seen a ghost. With great difficulty, he managed to speak at all. As she left, she could hear him say "Maybe it was better when you said nothing at all."

Saturday, June 29, 2013

The Write Tribe Wednesday Prompt # 7

"Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart."  Winnie the Pooh

There are plenty of small/short/lesser known things that appeal to me more than the big and the bombastic.

  • A "Hi" from a loved friend brings a smile to your lips and is more precious to you than a large solitaire diamond.

  • The askew sun that your little child drew is more precious to you than a Piccaso.

  • Finding a 50 Rupee note in an old jacket makes you feel you just won a windfall.

I give a list of 3 things each from the kitchen, makeup, poems, books and songs that are small/tiny/less known, but indispensible and dear to me.

From the Kitchen:

I just cannot cook without these tiny spices

1. Jeera

2. Heeng

 3. Rai

From my dressing table:

Can any lady do without these?

1. Lip Balm

2. Hair pins

3. Safety pins

From my favorite songs:

These singers were not in the top bracket, but what a voice they had. Listen to the songs they sung.

1. Sandhya Mukherjee

2. Meena Kapoor

3. Jagjit Kaur 

From my favorite books:

I choose these three slim books that are worth their weight many times over.

1. The adventures of Rusty - Ruskin Bond

Ruskin Bond rarely indulges in long winded writing. His stories are about day to day doings in the life of Rusty. In one chapter he describes how well his grandmother cooks. In another he writes about the misdoings of his Uncle Ken. These small snapshots from the life of Rusty are captivating.

2. The Prophet by Khalil Gibran

The Prophet speaks on a number of topics ranging from relationship between wife and husband, child and parents, between friends.

"For what is your friend that you should seek him with hours to kill
Seek him always with hours to live.
For it is his to fill your need, but not your emptiness.
And in the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures.
For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.”

There is nothing preachy in this book, just common sense.

3. The Little Prince - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

This is one slim little book that gives me the goosebumps everytime I read it. It makes you re-examine your life, and fall in love once again with the little things.

I rarely go about recommending books.   I know people have varied tastes and what I love is not what others will love as well. But these three books MUST sit on everyone's bookshelves.

From my favorite poems:

There are many grand poems out there in our world. Our religious works are primarily poetry. The Bible, Ramayana, Guru Granth Sahib, The Koran. They are all magnificent poems. But in keeping with the theme of the post, I list here three small poems.

Summer is icumen in -Anonymous

This is an ancient poem celebrating the coming of Summer. It is recognised as one of the oldest poems in English. I love the imagery it invokes, blowing mead, lowing cows, the ewes frolicking!

Sumer is icumen in,
Loude sing cuckou!
Groweth seed and bloweth meed,
And springth the wode now.
Sing cuckou!

Ewe bleteth after lamb,
Loweth after calve cow,
Bulloc sterteth, bucke verteth,
Merye sing cuckou!
Cuckou, cuckou,
Wel singest thou cuckou:
Ne swik thou never now!

2. Home they Brought her warrior dead-Lord Alfred Tennyson

What an evocative poem about a soldiers wife who is struck by grief.

Home they brought her warrior dead:
She nor swooned, nor uttered cry:
All her maidens, watching, said,
‘She must weep or she will die.’

Then they praised him, soft and low,
Called him worthy to be loved,
Truest friend and noblest foe;
Yet she neither spoke nor moved.

Stole a maiden from her place,
Lightly to the warrior stepped,
Took the face-cloth from the face;
Yet she neither moved nor wept.

Rose a nurse of ninety years,
Set his child upon her knee—
Like summer tempest came her tears—
‘Sweet my child, I live for thee.’


3. For the want of a nail - Anonymous

Nothing illustrates the importance of small things like this little cautionary poem.

For want of a nail the shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
For want of a horse the rider was lost.
For want of a rider the message was lost.
For want of a message the battle was lost.
For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.

Write Tribe Prompt

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Write Tribe Wednesday Prompt # 6

The phone rang.

"Hello, Roshni!"

"Oh Hi! Rahul!"

"I have to say something to you."


"Listen, you said I was not paying attention to you these days.

There is a reason behind this"

"Why are you silent, Roshni?

Listen, things have been so boring between us lately.

I have been wondering....."

"Say something Roshni"

"Rahul.... I never felt anything was wrong between us.  I always felt so comfortable with you."

"Don't cry Roshni!  It will spoil everything"

"Spoil? Spoil what, Rahul?"

"Oh, now you are angry."

"Speak up, say what you want to."

"Now you sound really angry. 

Alright I wanted to say that things have been boring between us.

Humdrum.  I don't want things to go on this way."


"I want you to marry me, Roshni"


Rahul covered his face with his hand and burst out laughing.

MorgueFile (

Write Tribe Prompt

Monday, June 17, 2013


Write Tribe Prompt

Grab the 7th book from your bookshelf.
Open it up to page 7.
Pinpoint the 7th sentence on the page.
Begin a poem/a piece of prose that begins with that sentence
Limit it in length to 7 lines/7 sentences.

7th Book - Emily Bronte's Poems

7th page


     Love is like the wild rose-briar;      Friendship like the holly-tree.
     The holly is dark when the rose-briar blooms,
     But which will bloom most constantly?

     The wild rose-briar is sweet in spring,
     Its summer blossoms scent the air;
     Yet wait till winter comes again,
     And who will call the wild-briar fair?

     Then, scorn the silly rose-wreath now,
     And deck thee with the holly's sheen,
     That, when December blights thy brow,
      He still may leave thy garland green.

7th line

Yet wait till winter comes again,

     My offering:

Yet wait till winter comes again,

You will miss the summer sun.

When swathed in sweaters and caps,

You'll miss the light cotton wraps.

You will miss the cool drinks,

the ice-creams.

Enjoy the summer while it lasts;
 the hot sun, the sudden rains!

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Why I write

I suppose I have to thank the Radiant Reader, my English text in 3rd Standard, for instilling a love of reading in me.  I was trying to trace the exact point in time that I developed a love for reading. So I went back to my childhood.  I loved the language classes.  As soon as I got my books for the new session in school, I would pick up my English and Hindi textbooks and flip through them, reading all the fiction given therein. 

We used to subscribe to Dharmyug and Chandamama, popular Hindi magazines of the 60s.  I remember my aunt complaining to my cousin that the minute I spotted a new issue of either of these magazines, I was lost to the world. 

My cousins were fond of the romantic novels of Gulshan Nanda.  My uncle used to frown upon them, quite rightfully thinking they were bad reading material for young girls.  One afternoon my uncle caught me with my nose buried in a Gulshan Nanda novel.  He snatched it from of my hand and threw it outside the house.  My cousins, who used to read these on the sly, cast baleful looks at me for ‘outing’ them.

Soon afterwards, my uncle took me to a private library close to my house and enrolled me there.  It was one of the best things to happen to me.  I would draw books from the library and read like there was no tomorrow.  I was roundly scolded by all for such a passion for reading.

I write because I love to read.

I wrote a short story about a young woman who is adopted, and sets out to find her mother.  It was in Hindi, and the style was quite like Gulshan Nanda’s.  It was trashed by my cousins.  Later, under the influence of Enid Blyton and Daphne Du Maurier, I started writing in English.  All my writing was kept hidden in a notebook.

Much later, after college was done with, I typed out an article on my father’s typewriter and sent it to The Times of India for publication in their ‘Middles’ section.  It was picked up for publication, and I got a cheque of  Rs.150/- for it.  It was a princely sum in the early 80s.

Now.  I blog.

I write because it is a compulsion.

Write Tribe Prompt

Friday, May 31, 2013

Plea from Aham Bhumika

Any one willing to buy this painting ,acrylic on canvas, to s... on Twitpic

Any one willing to buy this painting ,acrylic on canvas, to support a cause ? Price Rs.9K

Contact @Ahambhumika on twitter

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Write Tribe Prompt # 4 

Ths lovely picture of a girl holding red rose petals and her red sweater reminded me of a poem that my daughter wrote when she was in Class V, which was perhaps in 1996 or 1997.  It is a sweet little poem.  Just for the record, it has not been published before.

Here goes in her own lovely handwriting:

Write Tribe Prompt

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Live life on your own terms

“You live only once” seems like such a clarion call.   

Get up and do things you like. Enjoy yourself, burn a hole in your pocket, dye your hair blonde, go off to climb Everest, watch every movie, get drunk, snort cocaine, in short, be conscious of every minute that passes you by. 

I feel life is all about being less concerned about what people think of you, and being more concerned about what you are comfortable doing.

I once read an interview with Bapsi Sidhwa in a magazine.  She said, “Women are under scrutiny all the time.  It is difficult for them to be natural.”  It was such a deep thing to say.  I have never been able to forget this sentence of hers.

Women of my generation were constantly watched for what they said, what they wore, how they walked, how they sat.  It was very stifling.  It impacted your decision making ability, if you were allowed making decisions at all.  Alright, I won't go into a feminist mode on this.  But, under these circumstances, doing things that you really liked was hard.  Even if your choices were as innocuous as watching a movie or reading a book, forget about having a boyfriend.

I have come a long and a hard way to earn my right to live my life on my own terms.  There was a time when I was in a bad situation, a bad marriage.  At that time, I had to make a life altering decision. To stay in the bad marriage, or step out of it.  I wasn't really thinking of this line at that time, but I think it was at the back of my mind when I took my children and stepped out of my husband's house.
You live only once.

Write Tribe Prompt