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?

One Year As A Blogger! Yay!

And last night, I logged into my WordPress account, only to find the notification section gleaming, with a trophy symbol adorning it. Excitedly, I opened it, to find this-


And I was so happy! I didn’t realize it had been one whole year since I had willingly drenched myself in the world of blogging. And that prompted me to pat myself on the back. For it is a milestone, right?
It was in 2011 when me and my bestie decided to start a blog together, deciding on the name and password first and foremost (as it happens to be the case, always!), only to forget about it after a while. I guess, an exciting and busy college life took the better of us.
It was in 2015, that while lounging lazily in the bed, I was going through my memo, wherein I had stored the password and name of the blog we had started. And it lit the bulb in my soul, which is always in for procrastination. Why don’t I write, I thought. And quickly, the blog acquired a facelift. I wrote two non serious reviews of some damn café I had been to then, and within a week, the blog posts received two likes, from god knows whom. And that got me thinking- was I writing something worthwhile? The answer, to be obvious was a big no. It took me some time to find my calling as a blogger. And once I found it, I’ve never looked back. I decided to write about something I was. My blog had to be huesome, I decided, with my individuality coloring it with confident strokes

And the epiphanic moment gave rise to my first love-

I decided to write about being a defense aspirant. It came easily to me. I thought starting a blog could be a joyous beginning for me, a lucky charm sort of thing. And it was challenging, let me tell you. When you decide to write on a particular theme, it forces you to be creative every time you decide to pen down a different aspect of one precious dream you have every moment. And I thoroughly enjoyed it. I would like to inform all you amazing readers that since I was already following a lot of fauj related blogs, they were a huge inspiration for me in this context.
And as you might’ve guessed, I am now addicted to blogging. After refusing to take it seriously for about three months, owing to my passion for reading, which often meddles with the rest of my priorities (Not that I mind. Haha!). Post that lull, I was into it all the time, which led to the deadly determination of starting another blog, in order to write on a host of other things that caught my fancy every now and then. And in this one year, due to my blogs, I have encountered so many other talented bloggers with the same interests as mine. Reading them blasts my mind with freshness. And it makes me go all wow on them. That, in turn, encourages me to write better, raising the bar every time I start typing my heart, mind and soul out.
Now, now, isn’t it exciting to be learning so much every day? And since I follow blogs, or leave comments only when the blog post hits me as worthy enough of taking out my time and energy to thank the writer for writing what he/she did, I value all of you readers/bloggers, who do the same for me. I value all the love, luck, compliments you have given me in the past one year. With close to 500 hits and 15 followers on my first blog and the second one bucking up in that department, I am proud of myself.
I had decided beforehand that I would start my journey as a blogger anonymously, and not enlighten any other friend/family member of this new development. It just takes the fun out of the whole task, I tell you. I am the kind of person who hates garnering publicity for anything. I decided I shall have genuine readership, and I did achieve that in such a short span of time. The pride is hence justified. After some months, I told just about 5 people- my mother and four besties, of my blog and the darlings that these folks are, they praised me to the skies, in spite of me begging them to give what I call constructive criticism. To which their only answer was – “There is none.” The whole affair made me glad to have such cherubs around me.


Quite a surprise for my bestie! 😀


She knows me so well. Awwh! ❤

And am prepared to come out of the hiding any time soon? Hahaha no, not now. I don’t think I am still ready to share my identity, only to have stalkers checking out my facebook and instagram accounts to dig in information about my life. Hahaha, okay I know this was me being mean and foolish. You might be thinking why don’t I just advertise my blogs on the social platforms, for those on the friends list. Nah! Too much of an exercise, I tell you! Hehe.
Till a change of heart happens, I am going to write more, live more, observe more, making mental notes in the process, putting the thoughts/experiences which are blog worthy, in my top priority mental folder. So, where’s the glass of wine, man! I need to celebrate the achievement, oh yeah! 😉

Meanwhile, keep reading, commenting, liking, loving, and most importantly, sharing feedback with me. Thank you!
I solemnly swear to keep writing, reading, and most importantly, ranting! Oh, they call it blogging. Silly me! 😀

Psst… I’ve been reading all my blog posts since morning. Shit. I write so well yaar! *sheds tears of absolute joy* 😛



Oh, i mean Jamia Millia Islamia.

I just left a part of me there. It feels so overwhelmingly pleasing when a place you’ve spent a considerable amount of time in just clinches your heart in a loving embrace, never to let go. My relationship with this place, or shall I say, way of life, is such.


Getting into Jamia was no mean task, let me tell you. For the M.A. English course, it had close to 40 seats, wherein half of them were reserved for the Muslim candidates. That meant I was competing for just 20 seats! The very challenge gave me a minor heart attack. But, but, surprisingly, I thoroughly enjoyed taking the entrance test, only to secure a seat. Yo!


After experiencing the Delhi University vibe for three long years, I was yearning for a change. I am the sort of person who detests monotony of any kind. Change should be the only constant in life is the dictum I swear by. And I wanted to change my University, travel route, meet new people and what not! A complete overhaul was what I was craving for.

And luckily, I got the opportunity to taste change. And how!


I come from a Brahmin family. Albeit not a strictly conservative type. No Islamophobia. No drama. All were happy for the new beginning and wished me luck. But the plague of foolish strangers/neighbours never ceases to sicken you out. I had a lot of “Haww, but it is a Muslim University” reactions when I told them of my plans. And needless to say, I felt sorry for these folks. Many don’t even apply to Jamia because of the Muslim tag. My answer to them all- It’s just your loss. Your fucking loss.
Now, now, keeping aside all the negativity, I would reiterate the fact that this University was a memorable, happy phase of my life. An amazing teaching staff, fun to be around classmates and an intellectually satisfying atmosphere added to the high. Jamia being dormant in the sphere of student politics was something which made things spiceless, but I guess we came around to the fact. Nevertheless, I am excited to list out some peculiar things that hit you as you step into the campus. And they seem familiar and beautiful to you, over a period of time.

“दरवाजा कोई घर से निकलने के लिए दे
बेखौफ कोई रास्ता चलने के लिये दे”


“ऊंची इमारतें तो बड़ी शानदार हैं
लेकिन यहां तो रैन बसेरे थे क्या हुए”

~The beautiful language that Urdu is, soaking you up in Tehzeeb and Shayari it latches onto, had quite an effect on me! In no time, I picked up the common words/phrases and now I unconsciously utter Inshallah, Mashallah while speaking. My Urdu vocabulary has improved. And my ears pricked every time I heard a new thing from my classmates. Well, let me clarify, It was just me who was on a learning spree in this department. Not all my friends shared the enthusiasm, barring a few. The green spaces are elaborately named- Gulistan-e-Ghalib, Gulshan-e-Khusrau. Canteen for us is Dastarkhaan (remember that song? Dil ne Dastarkhaan bichaaya, Daawat-e-ishq hai. Like that! Hehe! ), Founders Day means Talimi Mela time! And so on…


This is me replying to my to be bureaucrat friend, who’s an expert on shayari (and is currently off whatsapp, twitter and facebook) I’m such a pro at it now. *fans herself* 😉



The beautiful calligraphy adorning the walls of the Library.

~I now am aware of the various festivals and traditions they follow. Now I am thoughtful enough to send my friends “Eid Mubarak” and “Have a spiritually bountiful Ramadan” kind of messages, in addition to correcting peeps who mutter “Happy Muharram” to unsuspecting mourners.
~Just as we Hindus are a diverse lot. So are the Muslims. Having a Keralite Muslim, a Bihari Muslim and a Bengali Muslim as classmates, I know these three are VERY different, not to be clubbed under the same category at all. Let me not discuss the basic Shia and Sunni Muslim divide. It stokes up quite a controversy man!
~So initially I felt like I had walked in naked to college, as I would spot women wearing airy, flowy abaayas and hijaab, with only their eyes and fingers visible. But slowly and steadily it became a regular feature. I still feel wearing a hijaab gives ones face a marvelous shape. Okay, ignore this one. I just got carried away.
~One fine day, while facebooking, I noticed the Jamia Confessions Page popping up amongst the  set of pages facebook pleads with you to like. On an impulse, I opened it. Only to find some hopeless lover boys doling out love confessions for the women in their class. They had visual access only to their dazzling eyes and manicured fingers, the rest of well, the beauty, being concealed in the burqa. So the craze they had developed was only for the eyes and fingers. Jolly good, haan?! I couldn’t help but giggle. It happens only in Jamia.


~I have a newfound love for Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Ghalib and Urdu poetry in general. I used to groan in desperation to my mother- “As if the Bengali dominance wasn’t enough in Literature, I now have Urdu in my life.” This, because, in the first lecture, a student quoted a shaayar to accentuate his viewpoint on the poetry of Thomas Gray. So you can imagine… 😛
Oh yes, how could I forget! On the day of my orientation, we had the students starting off their introduction with an accented Salaam. And there I was, totally dying out to greet everyone with a salaam. But I imagined how desperate it would sound, and decided against it, managing with a cheerful hello. Haha!
~A lot of Muslims offering Namaaz together is just the most beautiful sight according to me now.


Captured this (luckily!) on the day I took my last exam.

~The Muslim classmates had an advantage during Fridays. They did lose out on attendance, but could leave a boring lecture midway to offer the important Friday prayers. While we would be sitting with huffy expressions, they simply grinned goodbye to us before sneaking off to the mosque nearest to the department.

~If you ask for the best place where Veg Biryani is served, you’ll be laughed at. And if you are a hard core non vegetarian, Jamia is a food paradise waiting to be explored.

~I am a morning person, for whom the idea of taking exams is a morning task. But Jamia, ye cruel University, you taught me to take exams in the blistering heat and soul shattering cold, in the odd timings between 2 and 5 (in the evening, of course!)

<Now, if you’ve read my other blog-, you will know why I’ve put this up! 😉 >


Dr. Zakir Husain Mausoleum and Museum. One of the calmest places in Jamia. 🙂

I met so many students who had applied to only Jamia and not any other university in Delhi, say Delhi University, JNU or even Ambedkar University. It made me wonder why. But after two years at Jamia, I kind of understood the reason. It’s about how the university accomodates the religious needs of the students. Which other university has common room, complete with a prayer room for girls to say their prayers in? Or where else can a student rush off to say his daily prayers at the mosque and be back in time for the next lecture? And the food. It just isn’t a biological need but a marker of cultural identity for homo sapiens. And what is better than gorging on the food that reminds one of your home town, haan? The whole idea of being around people who are culturally similar to you sounds comforting, right? And in an age where teachers/students are told off for wearing the headscarf or the abaaya if they wish to continue their job, parents are mentally tuned towards Jamia as the sole choice in Delhi, where their girls/boys wouldn’t have to compromise with their way of life, or be victims of judgmental-ism (of folks who carelessly and heartlessly pigeonhole all Muslims as terror loving souls). And moreover, they can take pride in their identity as a Muslim. That’s my random guess as to why an institution such as Jamia is relevant today and why it has emerged as the top choice for Muslims when it comes to acquiring an education.
And I can vouch for the fact that Jamia is the most secular spaces I’ve come across in ways even other Universities cannot imagine. And that is where the beauty lies.


A classmate shared this with us on Diwali, captioning the picture-“with love, from the madrassa.” It remains one of my favorite pictures till date. ❤

Tada! So, you see, Jamia was an exciting and exceptionally lucky phase for me. It was the herald of many positive and life altering turnings of my life which I’m sure shall bring me glad tidings. Now, as you would have guessed, I am eager to fly to another place, to experience something new, with a part of my soul residing in Jamia. Forever. And always.


Looking back…

And I guess, I should end this blog post positively by quoting Faiz-

“आने वाले दिनों के सफ़ीरों के नाम
वो जो ख़ुशबू-ए-गुल की तरह
अपने पैग़ाम पर ख़ुद फ़िदा हो गए हैं”

Down The Mystical Alley In Dilli

“Do come in, oh truthful soul, so that we may become close and become trusted friends.
But if you are ignorant and have no wisdom, then you better go back the way you came.”


I don’t know if this turns out to be a “shuru karo lekar prabhu ka naam” post. But, who cares! I feel like writing my first post about a beautiful (spiritual) experience I had recently. I must start by uttering ‘Bismillah’! Shall I? Hehe!

So, it was in the fourth semester of my graduation that I read about the Nizamuddin Dargah. Prior to which it was just another place in Delhi for me. I had opted for Medieval Delhi as an optional for that particular semester. Our professor made a quirky decision for our mid semester marking. He asked us to write about ‘anything’. It could be about a trip to a monument, or any such experience with history coloring the canvas in some way or the other. And it had to be fully furnished with proof and thorough research. The plagiarists that undergraduates can be sometimes, it would make sure we don’t just steal material off the net and vomit it out on the paper.
The announcement caught me in a fix. What was I supposed to do? For your information, I am always game for visiting historical monuments and places. It gives me a high. But I wanted my project to be absolutely different from everyone. So, I let my mind churn its wheels for a brilliant idea. On the same day, I was visiting some relatives in Delhi and on my way back home, I passed the magnificent Tughlakabad Fort. And there it lay, my subject! I had visited it years back. Had but faint memories of it and as an Army freak, remembered it as the site where the melodious song “Agar Main Kahoon” from Lakshya was shot (The instrumental of which is my ringtone). And I did possess some stray photographs of it with me.
So, I quickly got home and started my search to refresh my memories of it. In midst of that, the story of Nizamuddin Auliya and Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq caught my eye. I had heard the famous Persian saying- “Hanooz Dilli Door Ast” (translated in English, it means “Delhi is still far off”). And the reason behind it introduced me the larger picture. Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq was an erstwhile slave of the Khilji dynasty. You can well imagine the amount of intelligence, strength and cunning he must have possessed to overturn his fortune and become a ruler. It’s all about the correct strategies and planning, peeps! (Of course, sucking up to his master would have helped too!) Haha!

Anyway, the construction of his “dream fort” started on an inauspicious note, inviting the wrath of Nizamuddin Auliya, the powerful sufi saint, with a massive fan following, so to say. Now the story goes like this-
“Ghias-ud-din is usually perceived as a liberal ruler. However, he was so passionate about his dream fort that he issued a dictate that all labourers in Delhi must work on his fort. Saint Nizamuddin Auliya, a Sufi mystic, got incensed as the work on his baoli (well) was stopped. The confrontation between the Sufi saint and the royal emperor has become a legend in India. The saint uttered a curse which was to resonate throughout history right until today: Ya rahey ujjar, ya basey gujjar which can roughly be translated to “either remain inhabited or would live gujjars”. So, after the fall of sultanate, Gujjars of the area captured the Qila and till date village Tughlakabad is situated in it.”
(Source- Wikipedia)
Now, I felt agitated. I felt for the ruler. The son Mohammed Tughlaq is often held responsible for the murder of his father, while he was on his way back after a victory at Bengal. Look at the ruining of a man, who rose from the ashes to end up with nothing. He was a prototype of what we see in these quest narratives as the alpha man! But a simple curse changed the course of his life. Having a discord doesn’t lead one to wish death on the other party, does it? But I guess, the antagonism the sufi saint harbored for the materialistic and self centered rulers, just exploded on one man. How fair was that, I thought. So, I wrote extensively against the Sufi saint and saw the monument as testimony of defiance, and won an excellent grade for the paper.
That, I thought, was the end of the story.
But, during the first year of my post graduation, I met this woman, who’s now a close friend.  She came from the Nizami community, the clan which looks after the Dargah. It was from her that I often heard about the Dargah, and about the peace and positivity it supposedly gave her on regular visits. I was mesmerized. I thought, maybe I was too harsh in my judgement and gave a one sided view of the story. Adding to it, the accounts of the famous qawwali of the Dargah, and of the pilgrims prayers being answered miraculously added to my excitement.
So, after many plans failing to materialize, the Mehboob E Ilahi summoned us finally on the First of March. We had a two and a half hour gap between lectures that day. And an impromptu plan was made. The dargah was just 20 minutes away from us. We set off quickly, without wasting a second. And there we were, after all those moments of wanting to visit it! Something about that place was so different. No jostling for space, at least that day. It was full of energy, enthusiasm and devotees thronging all over the basti. I could spot little girls wearing hijab, along with their mummyjaan’s for a quick visit to the dargah. After waking some distance, dodging shopkeepers who were adamant on selling us flowers, incense sticks, chaadars, ittar, lockets and what not,  we finally reached the last shop before the entrance to the Dargah and dutifully kept our shoes outside for safekeeping.(One tip-unless you don’t care about your feet getting soiled, leave your footwear only at the shops right next to the dargah. They don’t charge you for it. Sweet folks, I tell you!) So, one of my friends (thoughtfully) bought a rose ittar from the shopkeeper as a thank you gesture.


And I expected some security cover, and frisking before being allowed to enter, but was surprised to find none. I guess, it’s too blessed a place to be provided protection. Anyway, one friend from our group of five exclaimed- “Oh god, so this was where parts of the movie Rockstar were shot!” Hearing which we giggled, constantly taking care not to let the dupattas fall off, leaving our heads uncovered. (Tip two- they only expect you to cover your head there as a mark of respect. There is no strict dressing code. But I somehow feel wearing traditionals looks proper.)20160301_125919.jpg

We just sat there for a while, absorbing the atmosphere. People were busy praying all around. We went ahead and bought the mannat ka dhaaga from a shop in the compound.(You’ve got to pay for that, fella!). And one of my friend suddenly asks- “Can I get some black string for protection against the evil eye. The panditji here might bless it, no? Hearing this, we laughed. So used to going around in temples, she had forgotten we were at a sufi shrine. Anyway, we called our very own Nizami Bandhu, (my friend, the classmate) who sadly couldn’t join us, for the dargah prohibits entry of menstruating women), and she told us, we could just take a black string, rub it on the main wall of the sanctum sanctorum, while reciting a holy verse from the Koran Sharif, and that will do. Post the query session, we tied our Mannat ka Dhaaga and clicked pictures of the place.(They allow that. No problem there!)  Two of my friends recited holy verses and prayed silently, while I did a secular, silent prayer, for the saint understands you, your desires and language, no matter what. Ladies aren’t allowed inside, so we could spot them occupying the place right outside the four walls.

The best time to visit is in the morning, before noon. It is fairly less crowded. Thursdays and Fridays(Jumme ka din) are the days when they get the maximum footfall. My friend though visits it during the wee hours, that is, at the time of fajr. Suits her, as the Nizami community lives at a stone’s throw from the shrine. Coming back to my experience, I found it to be calming, just sitting there, doing nothing. I felt ashamed of writing the Sufi saint off in my assignment. And apologized silently. I felt one with the devotees. I felt blessed, loved and the air itself was magical. It was spiritually enlightening and a positive experience, where I felt, as mere mortals, we cannot fathom the ways of the mystique. We need to be acceptive, rather than rebellious. An aunty sitting beside me was teaching another kid about the merciful character of the saint, who loved and cared for his followers, being a benign paternal figure to them, in addition to speaking about the cruel sultans. And somehow, I felt the lesson was being meted out to me, never to read a one sided account of any tale, and look at both sides of the coin.
So, post the enlightenment and a successful darshan, we reached the Ghalib Academy and thereafter the Urs Mahal.


Ghalib Academy. You need a membership in order to browse their collection, which lies on the first floor.

There we found some kids playing cricket. And amongst them was this munchkin- a pretty girl, less than five years of age. We were clicking a group picture when she just photobombed cutely, and sat close to me. I was enamored by her love and friendliness. She had that beautiful smile, which touched me.
As we were moving out from that compound, reluctant to wave goodbye to that cherub, her father called out to her from his house above. And her name turned out to be Iram! I was stunned! Being a Hindu, I just love this name of all the Urdu/Persian/Arabic names I have come across. It means “a garden in Paradise.” I felt as if it was God’s sign, telling me I was blessed on my maiden visit to the dargah. The girl was my lucky charm, I sensed. I wanted to share our pictures with her, but I don’t want her daddy to find and strangle me for posting his daughter’s photographs on a public forum. Hehe! Moving ahead after experiencing this epiphany, I joined my friends for the famous Nizamuddin ki phirni. (The non vegetarian fare holding no attraction for a vegetarian like me!) 

Having an enormous sweet tooth, I relished every bit of it. It was only after a friend squeeled after looking at her watch, did we realize we had to rush back for the important, impending lecture. And with heavy steps, we paid our respects to the Auliya, with promises to come back soon, with a belief that our prayers will be answered and the mannat ka dhaaga shall be untied. (Inshallah!)


They often cut the threads if an enormous amount prevents new ones from being tied. Hence, you see the locks all over, ensuring no one touches them before the individual comes by to unlock them after fulfillment of a wish . Worried? Don’t be. Even if they cut your thread, you can go back and untie the one at the place where you tied your own one. It’s just a act of saying thank you. The Auliya won’t judge you for that. 🙂

I was tempted to visit the Chilla Khanqah too! It’s still a well kept secret, despite my yelling about it down here. But my Nizami Bandhu advised me against it. She maintained it was okay if married girls paid a visit there. As it’s considered to be a little haunted, she was convinced some evil might befall us unmarried females. And, this time, instead of rebelling, I quietly accepted it, choosing to respect her beliefs. (The spirits don’t harm men, be assured! So much for Freud’s theory of Penis envy. Sigh!) 😀
And, oh yes, do listen to the song on the sufi saint from the hindi movie ‘Black and White'( a brilliant movie and a beautiful song, I tell you!).

So, this was me penning down my first memorable ziyaarat of sorts.