My dearest Nanimaa turns 70 on the 21st. And here I am, lazing around in my pyjamas, thinking of what to do for her special day this time around. As some creative ideas float around in my mind, a thought crosses my soul and is held captive. I am so, so lucky, I conclude. Not everybody gets a grandmommy in their lives. I live in a joint family and my cousins’ maternal grandmommy expired way before they were born, unfortunately. So they grew up clueless about what a blessing it is to have a Nanimaa. I quickly touchwood the moment.


Nani in her salad days. 

I was born in the military hospital at Mathura, where my Nanu, a Colonel, was posted at that time. Like many other babies, I guess I was having a ball in the womb and wrapped the umbilical cord around my neck, threatening suicide if they tried to get me out. Hahah! But, but, the army doctor managed to convince me otherwise. Funny as it sounds in hindsight, it might have been a scary situation for my grandmommy, awaiting the birth of her first grandchild. And so happy she was, that after the news of my arrival was conveyed to her, the lady dragged my Nana to a rather secular darshan, in a bid to thank the God(s). Quite in the MMGC spirit of the Indian Army. Beautiful, right?
It was she who fed me honey as part of the Janam Gudti tradition. They say the child takes after the person who offers the sweet. And I think it is quite true. I spent a major part of my childhood (and beyond, to be frank) with my maternal grandparents. Every school holiday began at their place. It was only after I had soaked in my much needed Nani time that I let my parents materialize their plans for the break. My Nanimaa is very beautiful. Not a biased opinion, folks. She is. I can still visualize her coming out after her bath, hair dripping wildly, with her trying to drape the cotton saree. She still wears sarees. I think the major reason behind me being a saree person in this era is her.
She was so accommodating of my crazy demands as a child. Where a mother puts her foot down, the Nanimaa smiles and readily agrees for it. Want to have cornflakes in a strawberry milkshake, sitting in a bathtub? Check. Wish to try hanging onto her saree pleats? Check. Wish to jump on the sofa with the dog? Check. Want to draw a peacock on the walls? Check. It was she who made me feel like a princess every night. It was a ritual, I daresay. I used to put on her nightgown. I, a three feet tall child. And she proudly held the (loose on me) garment much like train of a gown, announcing my arrival to the fantastical commoners. That brings me to the morning memory. I am an early riser and again, it was because of her. She had a habit of waking up early, walking upto the garden with a box of bajra in her hands, and it was quite a we time for us, feeding the pigeons around. I never missed the ceremony for a few hours of sleep. She often had to dodge the dog Buzo, who competed with me for her attention all the time. She made me sponge balls, knit beautiful hats for me, force fed me butter and nuts on a daily basis, made singsongs alongwith me, which served as secret code words when the (clueless) family was around. She taught me how to make the worls’d best halwa; a skill I am rather proud and sure of, of all the other feathers in my hat.
She still makes me listen to her stories/anecdotes/life lessons and I always turn into this child, who can never have enough of her grandmommy. I am an only child. But my mother isn’t. Haha! So gradually, the other cousins came into the picture. I had no qualms about sharing my grandmommy with my maternal uncle’s two brats, for she was their Dadimaa. But I went and still go into this territorial mode with the jealousy meter striking an all time high, if any of my maasi’s kids try and be cozy with her. It’s as if, she’s exclusively my grandmommy. And though she will never say it out loud, for she’s a sweet soul, but deep inside, I try and be content with the whole situation. For I know no child has that place in her heart as I do. For they never spent that enormous amount of time I did with her. I made a point to celebrate my milestones in life with her. Be it my board results, my college farewell, or any other occasion, she was by my side. It is a family joke that the guy I get married to might have to move in alongwith two oldies, in addition to me. Haha.
She being the seasoned army wife personifies strength, grace and beauty for me. She’s taught me some valuable lessons in life. For I realize my choices in life have greatly been influenced from her. She made me realize the importance of a clear conscience. I pray for happiness, peace and contentment the way she does, choosing to sideline every other petty or materialistic thing. She’s taught me to analyze a situation from multiple perspectives and then take a step forward. She’s always ingrained this sense of patience in me. Life is a series of impossibilities, coincidences and events. And we have no control over these. So take life as it comes and try and have no regrets. She’s taught me to value my self respect more than anything else in life. As a woman, these are the contents of the rulebook according to which I live my life. The ideals I would take to my deathbed.
Today, I was thinking about how a person seeps into your very existense and how exactly does it happen that you cannot imagine your life without that person. That person turns into a habit and even if you don’t get to see them often, you are content with the fact that they are there somewhere. And thinking about my grandmommy in that context, I became very emotional; fighting tears. The very thought of her not being around at some point in my life in the future disturbs me a great deal. I don’t want to think about it, but I do. Witnessing the death of my Dadi had a profound effect on me. I realized you never come to terms with the loss as great as that. It leaves a permanent void in your life, which torments you to no end. You turn inconsolable. Maybe it is this fear that compels me to do silly things. I make her write her life stories, take candid pictures of her whenever I have the opportunity to and record her voice relentlessly. I bear hug her like there’s no tomorrow. She asks me with that puzzled expression if everything is alright, and I beam with an extra effort, for I don’t want to voice the unknown fear. It takes great courage on my part to even write about this and my throat feels heavy for some reason right now.
But, anyway, shoving this rather black thought at the back of my mind, I have to remind myself that it’s her birthday. I have already given her all the possible gifts I could think of all these years and written heavily emotional letters, which gave us silly moments as a grandmommy granddaughter duo. So, this time around, I have decided to give her a rather weird note. I have learnt Urdu recently, which thankfully, both my grandparents are proficient in. So, I’ll surprise them with this rather funny quatrain.Screenshot_2017-05-20-23-22-39-1-1.png

This, until a more crackling idea bangs my lid. *fingers crossed*
I can still imagine Nani shying away, blushing heavily, as I wish her a loud ‘Happy Birthday, Sexy Nani’. The reply being – ‘Sexy at 70, child? No way.’ But it’s only me who knows she’s sassy, unmatchable, unbeatable and a gem of a grandmommy.


So on their 50th anniversary, we went cheesy and did this with their photograph. Heh



Little Brother Marches Ahead.

Board Examinations.
Ask any Indian student. Chances are this is the event they dread the most in their lives. In the last year of their life as a school student, to be more precise.

My cousin, six years younger to me,  is someone I mentally adopted the day I saw his face scrunching adorably behind the military hospital room’s glass, safely chugged in the nurse’s arms. For some strange reason, his hitting puberty has had little effect on me. For even the cracking of voice, him growing as tall as me, or the appearance of a thin moustache cannot shake that mental image and memories of the baby boy I planned my summer holiday shenanigans with.
Coming back to the episode, my little monkey sat for his first board examination today. Being the overtly possessive and protective elder sister, I was concerned about how well was he taking in the overdose of advise and pressure every third person gifts you for free in the troubled times such as these. Haha!
Now, the army brat lives miles away from where I put up, but distance doesn’t matter, does it? I decided to call him up a night before, post dinner, instead of doing it the next morning. For I know a thousand thoughts pester you on such sucky mornings, and it’s better to be the Buddha who withdraws into his inner world than being all engaging. So, this is how the conversation went-

T- Hey, Didi!

Me- Yo! How are you?
You know I feel so emotional right now. My baby is gonna give his boards. You’ve grown so early.

T- Hang on, are you going to start reciting sentimental lines now?

M- *laughing like a hyena* Yeah, I’m lined up with a whole lot of googled emotional shit to attack you with.

T- Yaaaaar… Havn’t started studying yet.

M- Whaaaaaat?
Oh! I get it. It’s English tomorrow, right? You are still early, little git.

T- How’s that possible?

M- No, I meant I am glad you decided to go through your syllabus tonight, instead of tomorrow morning.

T- Heheheh I know, I know!

M- You’re so lucky man! I had Physics as the first exam! Imagine my situation.

T- I’ll sail through Physics. Chill.

M- Ae! Stop bragging, ass!

T- How much did you score in English, btw?

M- 95. Not to blow my own trumpet, but yeah… Was the subject topper.
*both of us guffawed for 2 minutes straight*

T- Right. Yaar, I think time management would be an issue for me.

M- Don’t overthink. You’ll deal with it fabulously, baby!

T- Hope so. Hey, join me here in April! Who fucking cares for entrance examinations anyway!

M- Shuddddupppp! You’ll take them seriously. Remember I am dying to see my brother entering the golden gates of NDA, Khadakvasla.

T- Yeahhhh. Pray for me.

M- Always will.
Now go study. Score well tomorrow. And try and get some sound sleep. Love you. See you soonest.

T- Yeah, should get going. Goodnight. Shall tell you how it went tomorrow. Loads of love. Byeeeeee.

I knew he would pull an all nighter, no matter what. And he did. Elder sisters know everything. Everything.
Anxiously, I waited for his call today. And I relaxed only when his excited voice boomed onto the phone- “I am going to break your record, Di!”
“I hope you do, my baby,” was my sole response. My heart gushed out with emotions and prayers for my little one, who was not so little anymore. Quite a realization for an elder sister. Shit. *takes out the tissue to soak in the happy tears*
A toast to our baby brothers, who are out to conquer the world!
We’ve got your back, munchkins!


Women’s Day! Anecdote In The Making.

Women’s Day.
Not that I fervently believe in the relevance of celebrating one day for womenfolk, when it should happen all year round, it’s just that this day saw something unusual at my home. And quite an event it was. Now, now! I’ll borrow what Maharani Gayatri Devi had to say about her mother- “it is difficult to describe my mother without slipping into unconvincing superlatives.” I revere my mother in the same manner. She is the only woman in my family who has exquisite sartorial choices. She is, to be honest, one of the classiest women I know. Every female relative seeks her advise when it comes to buying clothes. Even my grandmommy waits for her nod to finalize any saree she drapes, something which makes me giggle, for it seems like a role reversal to me.
So a week before this day, I did something out of the blue and bought a dupatta for her. Big deal? Yes! Since I am the permanent member of the ‘we need her approval’ club, it was quite a move when I decided to gift her that on women’s day. And I proclaimed my intention loudly. As expected, her face scrunched up quickly, with a ‘I hope it’s something worthwhile’ expression sitting nonplussed all over. I had the same apprehensions. But anyway, D day dawned upon us and bang in the morning, I saw her wearing a Fabindia plain green silk kurti. Perfect, I beamed.



I unfolded my surprise and as expected, her mouth twisted. I pestered her to pair my dupatta with the kurti. I told her if anyone wrote it off at her workplace, I’ll gladly take it back for myself. She was hesitant but looking at my determined attitude, she had little choice, I must admit. I, on the other hand, fervently prayed that it garnered praise or else she’ll remind me of my weird choice all my damn life. I was waiting for her to return home like anything. The moment her car entered the driveway, I dashed downstairs to get the verdict.
And voila! Everybody at the workplace raved and ranted about the dupatta, she informed me in surprised tones. I had the last laugh. Though adding bluntly that she  would’ve appreciated it more, had the work been done on a silk dupatta instead on a cotton one. But I just nodded sheepishly. I was jumping with joy. I even called up my grandmommy to gloat about it.
There’s something called a women code. We get overjoyed if a woman compliments our sartorial choices instead of a man. We women do dress up for ourselves and to dazzle each other. While studying at a girl’s college, we had days when we took extra care to dress up and if any classmate was absent that day, she was greeted with a ‘I looked hot yesterday, you missed out on that, lady’ remarks instead of a hello. Haha! Back to where I was, while we were having lunch, my mother was telling me about how they celebrated women’s day at work. I interjected her, politely informing her, grinning all the while ofcourse, that she just unknowingly followed up the International Women’s Day 2017 theme- Be Bold For Change. She looked confused and I took a bow while telling her you did a bold act by accepting that my sartorial choices are exquisite afterall. And we both laughed for what seemed an eternity.

Keeping the humor aside, be bold. In your choices, ladies, be it for life or otherwise. Take a tough stance and decision, hold the reigns of your life in your capable hands and be confident of yourselves. Do what makes you happy and kick all the bullshit out of your life which threatens to attack your peace of mind and balance in life. Because we are women, and we are all supposed to celebrate ourselves, in every way possible. Love and Hugs to all.



And today is a special day. 1st March.

It’s been one year since I witnessed and experienced something magical.

I am talking about my journey to the Dargah of Nizamuddin Auliya.

Yes, I very consciously use the word ‘journey’ instead of ‘visit’. For I wish to draw home the point that there was no temporality attached to it. That brings me to another question- What is spirituality?
It is quite a broad concept, with room for a whole lot of perspectives to fit in comfortably. But to me, it is a sacred experience which touches you deeply, and makes you feel connected to something greater than your own being. As you might’ve read my post about the first encounter with the blessed place, today I stand tall with pride and happiness, as I feel I’ve managed to attain that magical level in my frequent trips to the dargah.
There is something about the Dargah that makes me go “I am here, I am here!” everytime I land up there. It’s the anticipation of something that makes me go alive there. I feel very peaceful just by being there, amongst other devotees. Not to sound pompous, but I feel the Mehboob-e-Ilahi has gladly invited me, as if wanting to see more of me in his home. I cannot say I have always wished for something or the other whenever I’ve been there, but yes, I do manage to have a ‘talk’ with the Auliya, discussing matters I am concerned about or the issues I am caught up with at the time. I just tell him everything and pray that he helps me see light at the end of the tunnel. And it does happen. He helps me everytime, in seeing the bigger picture, the broader perspective, something I feel I cannot, being a mere mortal.
Everytime I cross the Nizamuddin Basti when travelling somewhere, it happens automatically that my hands join in supplication towards the Auliya. I happened to read this somewhere on Instagram that “When God inspires your tongue to ask it, know that he wants to give.” And it’s upto us to believe that whatever his answer shall be, it’ll always be good for us. Allah tells us “I am as my slave expects me to be.” And borrowing these pious words to explain my state of connection with the Auliya, I tell you all that I feel the same for the beloved Auliya. There’s something else I want to tell you readers… If at all you visit the Dargah, do that with hope, love and lots of positivity. If you walk towards the sanctum sanctorum with doubts, fear and negativity, it won’t take you anywhere. Be full of trust. And believe in the magic of the place you’ve set foot in, for a few minutes vanish in a second there.

As a student of Literature, I might as well sound like I’m taking a cue out of Waiting For Godot (Haha!), but it is imperative I say what I am going to-

As a woman, I believe (or assume it’s safe to say so) that we womenfolk have a fancy world deep inside us and we all aspire to it (Be it the kind of life you wish to lead, or the soulmate you wish to spend the rest of your life with, or the occupation you see yourself befitting for, or be it anything else). Don’t ever doubt or question your creation of that pretty kingdom you’ve cherished in your head or on the basis of which you set your standards to choose, live and reject certain things around you, no matter what the world tells you. You have every right to keep close to that secret ideal, however unachievable or dazy it seems to be. All of us are waiting for something/ somebody to arrive. And that, I guess is a kind of waiting I’m referring to ahead. You don’t know when will “it” arrive, you might not know what it is exactly, but in the innermost chambers of your heart, you hope for it. You imagine and live your life for it. And for me, it is the Auliya and the Gods I kneel before to (for somewhere, spirituality and religion coincide for me), who have an answer to that.

And somehow, when I go to the Dargah, I pray my wait ends soon, and I come again and thank the Auliya for providing me with what I wanted fervently. And come again. And again.
May peace be with you all.
And if you have not set out on your journey to the Dargah of Nizamuddin Auliya, do so now! 🙂

Much like Trishanku

Trishanku. I see the word emblazoned on several pages in a diary where I took down notes during a lecture, drew doodles and wrote my name in different languages, a habit which is an unmistakable characterstic of self obsessed people, I hear. Well. Why does this word chug at my heart’s strings today? I bore down into the English and Hindi calligraphy shouting out the word aloud. I am Trishanku, I finally decide.

I am in a weird phase of my life when marriage proposals scare me. So does getting rishta-ed at social gatherings. And eventually, an irritation creeps up at times, when I’m not ready to accept the reality that the time has come, when the event you talked about as if it was too futuristic, is round the corner, peek a booing at you. And at times, I feel I am at that juncture, wherein I would love to share my life happily with a man I see capable of being my soulmate. But the very thought of leaving my parents, and settling in another house freaks me out too. For it’ll be a major change for a pampered only child like me. It is, for every woman, to be frank.

My Nani once talked of how, she was a rocking bride as she didn’t cry at all. But after what they call the ‘Pag Phera Rasam’, when the time to go to the “new nest” arrived, did the feeling sink in and needless to say, she was inconsolable. She still makes up for her not bauling like a baby at her wedding by doing so at family weddings or a movie scene, even the overtly dramatic ones, I tell you. She even cried at her son’s wedding, the daughter in law sobbing being the trigger. My mother and aunt had to pat her, consoling her with a lame “she’s coming to your place only, don’t you worry.” dialogue. Hilarious, right?

I guess that’ll be me. Totally mawkish at my wedding. But for now, It’s like I’m hanging nowhere, feeling incomprehensible and foolish. Why doesn’t any man fit into my list of an ideal mate, I ponder. Does that mean I have a list? Well, only in my mind; the contents of which I myself am a stranger to. For it seems hazy and so like a hideous elf straight from the stories of Enid Blyton, who pitter patters around. You can’t see it, but only hear it and feel it, looking at you being perplexed with a sly smile adorning the face, for everyone loves entertainment. Even if it’s your own mind and soul, which have been made to confuse you. Forever.

And on top of that, my Ipod playlist is mocking me too. I am listening to ‘Unse Mili Nazar’, the classic from the flick Jhuk Gaya Aasmaan. I love how the lyrics describe the myriad reactions and feelings of a woman when she stands mesmerized by a man whom she’s encountered briefly. It brings me into an “OMG I would love it if it happens to me soon” mode.

And then comes in Sona Mohapatra’s ‘Abhi Nahi Aana’. I must share some lines from the song that nail my mood-

“Mohe Thoda Marne De, Intezaar Karne De.”

“Thodi Door Rehke, Mohe Tarsaana,

Abhi Toh Main Chaahoon, Sari Sari Raat Jagna”

“Abhi Naa Jagao, Bane Raho Sapna,

Abhi Toh Main Chahoon, Aas Lagaye Rakhna…”

Another favourite for days when I feel I need more time for myself as a single woman. The song speaks of the joy of waiting for one’s beloved. Yes, I totally feel like that woman sitting at the jharoka of a splendid palace, sipping tea and reading a book, occasionally peeping out, smiling to myself and at my enigma. Haha! Also at the good luck of the man who’ll be mine. For he gets me, after all. 😉

Perhaps, In a few years, I’ll just laugh reading my own post, contemplating if or not, my husband deserves to be enlightened about the flimsy blogger that his wife was (and would still be at that point, rather.) Whatsay, folks?


While my observation period was on, another story was running alongside, swiftly and silently. In the initial days, they stopped in their tracks to stare at us, say good morning, or simply welcome us strangers into their school. Even we got used to being stared at every now and then. Then I was assigned a class, VI-C. And little did I know, these girls would steal my heart one day.
In the first week, I had this strong urge to know what did they talk amongst themselves, looking at me, and their innocent giggles caught me off guard. On inquiring the reason of their hush hush talks, the monitor, who is always the most confident of the lot, boldly told me- “Ma’am she says you have such nice, brown hair and also that you look beautiful.” That made me blush. Yes, blush. According to me I had a bad hair day and looked tired. But that one compliment made me feel so pretty. All in a time frame of one minute. You know nothing is more genuine than a praise from a cherub like heart. And on top of that, from a young lady. They say beauty is subjective or to complicate matters, it lies in the eyes of the beholder. That day held me captive. For I felt beautiful like I never did in years. As the days passed by, we discussed their English lessons, played games galore, sang, danced, cracked jokes, listened to snippets of each other’s lives, and unknowingly, a strong bond was etched between us all. And as the last day of the observation dawned on me, I realized the time to leave the school and get back to my own University had arrived. I reluctantly bid farewell to my class, my kiddies, as I called them. It was so emotional a moment for me!
I had a pep talk with them, urging them to study hard, keep smiling and do something worthwhile in their life. I advised them to be proud of themselves and remain strong throughout, come what may. They did nod their heads silently, absorbing my every word, hopefully internalizing it. A few of them did come to me, and in soft voices murmuring goodbye’s, hugged me tight and confessed to my delight- “We shall miss you ma’am. Please come to meet us soon.” And I struggled not to sob. And my heart went for a joyride, experiencing a variety of emotions. I couldn’t agree more with Nelly Furtado- Why do all good things come to an end? One last look at my munchkins, with a fervent prayer to the Almighty to bless them, I turned to the Principal’s office, handed over the thankyou letter from our Head of the Department, acknowledging her best wishes for our future, I walked in slow motion towards the gate. One look at the school and I thought how I might not come back here, but they shall always remain in my heart, as a reminder of how life is beautiful, given to us to soak in all the love, attention, loyalty and blessings we collect while journeying ahead.
Inspired from Louisa May Alcott’s title, I hope my “Little Women” shine bright in their lives and do us womenfolk proud someday. Amen to that!


Bachelors in Education
When you inform your relatives/family friends/ friends/parents’ colleagues about your decision to get this qualification in your kitty, you face myriad reactions. Why? Well, because everybody has somebody in their circle who has “done” this course while sitting at home. Because it is considered to be a wastage of time to invest for such a dainty, insignificant purpose. But when it comes to the leading Universities in Delhi, B.ed is taken very seriously. Getting a seat booked for yourself by clearing the entrance is a task in itself. Once you do so, it is no easy a road. For we have a regular 9-5 time table five days a week, with the regular subjects and add on’s like sports, Art in Education, House activities, Work Experience(Tie and Dye for me!) in tow. Not an easy life, let me tell you. It is very exhausting to say the least, just like the other fields of study and research, Education is one exhaustive sphere too!
Due to the ill informed peeps, my readers, B.ed has acquired a notorious reputation. And as a result, the quality of teachers we, as a developing nation, should have, is deteriorating. For being a teacher is the option supposedly chosen by those less talented, the ones not intelligent enough to pack their bags and go to engineering or business schools. To keep the negativity aside, I had the fortune of understanding the situation for gaps in achieving a good education system first hand. Now that they have increased the span of the course to two years, we spent a good 15 days this December for school observation. A group of five to seven people was assigned one school. Mine was a government school for girls, the location of which shall remain anonymous, for obvious reasons.
Coming from an English Medium, Private School, coming to a government school was a reality check. Having spent the initial months in discussing the pros and cons of the educational policies, or reading about philosophers, we had supposedly gauged the theory well. But what is the use of theory if not applied on ground. Here I learnt how much of a hurdle the no detention policy was. Sample this- there’s a class of about 80-90 girls, wherein they have divided the lot into the “reader” and “non-reader” group. The latter has absolutely no knowledge of how to read either Hindi or English properly. And you’ll find the segregation in classes uptil ninth. How difficult does it become for the teachers to teach, in spite of knowing that it’ll be an uphill task to bring these two sections on an equal footing. Now since they have to forcibly pass them according to the policies, even they cease to bother after a point of time. And since these girls are probably the first generation of their families acquiring an education, the onus is totally on the school to successfully “educate” them, in the real sense of the word. Not to generalize, for I did encounter exceptions, the lax and indifferent attitude of government school teachers doesn’t help improve the situation. Though we were there only for observation, we were often asked to teach, as in, when taking in the “arrangement periods”.
The girls were very shy and uncomfortable with English. So, I really felt guilty of having done this to the brilliant, aspiring girls. The pressure of learning the language as well as people like me has put an undue pressure on them. They are marvelous when it comes to having a command over Hindi, a feat I acknowledged every time I taught them. I tried putting use of the tricks and methods they’d taught me at CELTA. But I was unsure how long will they be able to retain the new terminology and concepts. In order to break the ice, I requested them to turn unabashedly confident. Also, smiling a lot, encouraging them to make mistakes and appreciating them for the efforts they put in did make a whole lot of difference. I advised them to read something every day, as it would smoothen their journey of conquering the colonial baggage thrust on them. Though they did promise me to work accordingly, I am skeptical as to how efficiently will they be able to stick to the it. Some teachers we met at the school initially questioned us the relevance of the two year duration. In hindsight, I can understand why it is so. Instead of learning the status quo as one embarked on putting teaching plans into practice, we got an idea about the way these schools function and this shall immensely help us to structure our lesson plans according to their caliber, instead of forcibly thrusting our plans down their throats, irrespective of if they’ll follow through easily or not.
Though it was a brief period of observation, I am glad I spent it fine-tuning my skills of being a good, impressionable teacher, with a roving eye, If I may add. Haha!