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.


There is much to escape from: traffic, heat, dust and grime, the noise and unpleasantness. There is a reality we try to escape and the truth the we refuse to see.

We do our best to escape criticism, work, conflict, violence of every kind. We go to great lengths to shield ourselves from what we find inconvenient, and often, unnecessary.

But the escape we make from our inner voice is perhaps the most dangerous- it forces us to behave in ways that aren’t us, it makes us hard, it pawns reason for ego and it makes things blurred.

Sometimes we need distance, we need to be kind but firm and ask ourselves about what we are doing (or not doing). Sometimes, friends allow us an asylum and then gently but firmly show us we are trying to escape and stop us in time, before great harm is done. In a manner of speaking, they bring us home.

A year. 

A year is gone. When and how, I don’t quite know. The memories of this morning last year are crystal clear as if no time has passed. 

I remember the rain. The coldness of the hospital. Dada and Maushi standing under the foyer, utterly helpless and completely bereft. 

I remember phone calls and not knowing what to say. I remember phone calls with instructions and requests, specific and to the point. I remember growing up, once again. 

I remember the rains lashing hard and incessant, as if trying to wash away tears and failing. 

I remember the shock of losing my grandma, suddenly, without notice or warning.

A year has passed and we have learned to live without her. But the void she has left behind persists. I wonder what she’d say about the Maggi ban, how she’d react to Pumpkin’s new guitar and Kanika’s poems. 

It’s been a year and I still expect to see her when I go to my aunt’s, gently asking me how my day was and if I am hungry. 

It’s been a year and we haven’t quite said goodbye. 


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