I never thought I would get over Chhoutu. 

I never thought I would be able to love another dog, although I keep telling everyone the void in my life is a dog, not a husband/ boyfriend. 

Today, I reconsider a lot of my ideas. I have met, fallen in love and completely been adopted by Bubbles, my new canine-nephew. 

Of Godfather Afternoons

I’ve loved Mario Puzo’s Godfather (and the later books) for years now but never watched Coppola’s films- a jinx, I say, because strange things have happened each time I tried to watch– situations outside my control and inexplicable too– but this post isn’t about the why I didn’t watch Godfather. (Thanks, S!)

After a lovely breakfast, we settled down to watch this epic film. I had of course, seen clippings and knew the story, but the cinematic experience was a different one. Memories of summer afternoons spent reading, came back and I enjoyed the film immensely. But the Godfather isn’t about just the storyline or the epic dialogues or the “messages” and the glimpses of the dark side. It’s about people, how they deal with each other and themselves. If you were a character, who would you be? Flippantly, I thought I’d be the Godfather- knowing fully well I had neither the stability nor the stomach for the ruthless, strategies that the Godfather needed.

A poignant conversation of the Godfather is when Don Vito tells Micheal that he was hoping Micheal would be a Senator or even the President- a shade of hope and faith in the ‘American Dream’ and a voice of conscience, with Vito’s role as the head of the Underworld. Micheal shrugs it off, but there is the acknowledgement of crime, of wrongdoing.

There are many problems with Godfather- the marginalisation of women, for example, or how they are triggers of violence and action but are most replaceable and almost totally powerless. That, of course is another blogpost.

In You’ve Got Mail, Tom Hanks tells Meg Ryan that everything you need to know about conducting a business can be learned from the Godfather. Whether it’s about going to the mattresses or making offers, the Godfather teaches you lessons in thinking, strategy and planning. But what it also distinguishes, is between business and what is personal. This separation, I’m uncomfortable with, because, at some level, business is personal, just as much as it is political. I am not sure I can see how the two are separated, or that you can get away with saying it isn’t personal! You take your views, ideology, value systems into your business, so how does business separate from the personal?

We spent a couple of hours talking about life, choices, communication, all drawing from both experiences and the film we’d watched. We thought about work, about partners, ambition and interpersonal relationships. We talked about the past and the future. We laughed, bantered and agreed/ disagreed on many issues. The Godfather brought out something true from within- the nature of people, and how they stand up to pressure, when the give in and at what point does the prodigal return.

On the (long) drive home, in a haze of fatigue and restlessness, I thought about consequences. If I had to take one thing away from the film, it would be to dwell on consequences, of actions, thoughts and inaction. Consequences that we can predict and most of all, the ones that we didn’t anticipate. The way, an action, a sentence, even a gesture can bring a very carefully constructed world crashing down.

For my Brother

I’m an only child and the closest thing I have experienced to sibling rivalry is fighting for my parent’s affection with my Dog, Chhoutu. He won that race hands down and by a big margin. While I didn’t have brothers to grow up with, I am blessed to have a doting Dada. 

From trusting my with his mammoth Fortuner and fragile kids, to advice on career and life (and so much in between), Dada has helped be become a stronger and better person. 

From dropping me off to college, discussing Malhar and poetry, bringing music and singing into our everyday, Dada (and Mau) show me what ‘joie de vivre’ actually means. Lavish holidays, luxurious lunches, with you and Maushi, I bridged the gap between Mora and Mumbai. 

While some of our choices may not match (except for our absolute belief in the Chandi), it gives me faith knowing we are on the same team. 

For two daughters that light up my life, 

For the wisdom, the jokes, the insight, 

For the mutual love of Faiz and a world of songs beyond Rafi,

For pure love and unflappable faith,

For being an inspiration and a benchmark, 

Thank you.

Happy rakshabandhan 

There’s no doubt, my brother strongest! :) :) 

Unanswered questions make for great poems, stories and literature. In the realm of the real, though, unanswered anything, to me, is largely irritating. 

How do you deal with unreturned phone calls, unreplied texts, emails and letters sent by pigeon post (sending letters by pet carrier pigeons is Atul’s idea- although I don’t think anyone has ever not replied promptly!)?! 

In this hyper connected world, can we forgive a tardy response? Can we appreciate the pain of a delayed reply? 

Have we forgotten how it is to wait for someone to show up? Do you remember how it is to hit send and check your inbox, every six seconds, and feel despondent each time, with no new mail but more spam? Have you ever had an uneasy feeling knowing you’re stirring a hornet’s nest and bracing yourself for the inevitable backlash? Do you remember how it is to send a poem, with controlled flirtation, and hold your breath, wondering if the person will get it, and reciprocate? 

The key to evocative work, is perhaps, absense, yearning and not having all the answers. 

I was obsessively listening to this ghazal over the weekend and it talks about missing someone all night long… The context changed when Faiz adapted Makhdum’s original as a tribute to his friend’s passing. But the pain remained- the pain of waiting. 

The ghazal (Faiz’s version) goes: 

Aapki yaad aati rahi, raat bhar 

Chaandani dil dukhati rahi, raat bhar… 

I kept missing you all night long, the starry sky made my heart ache all night long…

Death, takes people away, brutally ending the conversation and we are left behind, dealing with the void. 


Plastic and paper cover surfaces that white dust hasn’t colonised

Things lie in suitcases, and furniture sits quietly under sheets.

A new bookshelf armoured against the assault of scrapped paint

A torn apart bathroom and a dismantled kitchen.

Picnic meals in balconies and efficient handling of daily activities.

They drink tea twice a day, and I, my compromised coffee.

There is dust and the peculiar smell of paint, mixed with freshly lathed wood. It carries the stamp of hard, physical labour and the essence of new.

All work takes time, but soon it’ll be done. The lamps are bought, fittings picked and soon out of the rubble, my home will re- emerge. Cleaner, newer, better.

There is much to be done, the chaos outside is almost symbolic of the chaos within. Then I figure I am a work in progress too, much like my home.

Today was perfect. 

It was a day when the trains came on time, the students were on their best behaviour, colleagues in a good mood followed by meeting my oldest best friend, Unca Lux.

It was a day to eat a Mysore masala dosa (and half), drink coffee and chat about life, goals and the splendid idea of keeping oneself amused. 

It was a day when a kind soul sent us transport, gave us directions and spared us the agony that is Andheri. 

It was a day to tumble down an antique furniture market rabbit hole, following a heady scent of camphor, wood, veneer polish and a mysterious smell that could only be history. It was a day to meet old, no-teeth salesmen, in spotless white lungi & kurta, while chatting about the merits of ornate writing desks and old clothes hangers. 

It was a day to eat hot bhajiyas with cool nieces and coffee with warm aunts. It was a day to receive lovely little presents and a ride home.

It was a day to buy exhaust fans and find the bathroom almost done (work in progress for a fortnight now- the experience deserves a separate blogpost!). 

It was a day for laughing in the car, listening to friends sing. It was a day to FaceTime, and eat chocolate.

It was a day well lived. A rare perfect day, I say! 

Some that I thought will last forever didn’t. Some did and surprised me

Some grew closer and then, inexplicably far apart and some I walked away from, as fast as I could

Some have evolved, and others seemed to have stayed the same

Some have become tedious and others seem to flow like the beer we drink, chilled and fresh

Some are new but feel so old, and others older, feel new

Some were selfish and others symbiotic

Some were for a cause and grew beyond it, others were beyond circumstances

Some started well and ended with bloodshed

Some needed to nurtured everyday, with hugs, phone calls, letters, coffee and others needed only a shout out once in a while, when convenient.

Some gave peace, laughter, camaraderie and others a sense of adventure and explorations

They all taught me important lessons, enriched my life and I hope, I had a contribution in theirs’ too.  The one thing I figured, in the very many friendships is that there are a few key things: interest, love and respect. Should we lose any or all, friends stop being friends and become strangers or worse, enemies. After all, friendship isn’t about a band, it’s a bond.


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