Last Words

Those who watched The Big Bang Theory (TBBT) always knew that Sheldon’s father, George Cooper Sr., was going to die just before Sheldon left for college. TBBT did not portray Sheldon’s father in a good light though.

But then there was Young Sheldon. George Cooper Sr. got a better treatment. We came to know him and love him as a good husband, father, son-in-law, friend and a coach.

As a new chapter begins to unfold in the Cooper household, a tragedy struck and George dies due to heart attack. This was inevitable but it is hard to accept death of a loved one, even if it is a fictional one. I think the most affected would have been Missy. I had absolutely loved their bonding, be it over a date for lobster, getting her feminine hygiene products when she got her first period or teaching her baseball. Fathers and daughters are special that way.

I wanted to watch this episode before the various clips on social media ruined it for me. I did not think the episode will make me emotional as I already knew what was coming.

Narrator: She did get emotional

The one thing I loved was the way Sheldon kept thinking of the last words he spoke with his father.

Sheldon was upset with him because they would be moving to Houston and he would lose his childhood home. As George says, “See You Later” Sheldon watches him go without saying anything, possibly, still resentful.

He keeps playing the scene in his head multiple times. What could he have said if he knew this was the last time he spoke to his father?

We have lost someone or other in this life, to death or time. And sometimes the end comes so suddenly, we don’t get a chance to repair or validate our feelings for them.

We have always attached significance to the Last Words. Last words are final. Last words are the legacy a person leaves behind. Last words are the words that signified the current status of your relationship.

Words are powerful and you never know what are you going to say for the last time. So every time we open our mouth to say something, specially to the people we love and care about, we have to be mindful of what we are saying. Are we going to regret our words or be content that we made them loved and cared for?

The Last One (For Chandler Bing)

Friends is one of my top favourite series ever. Though it debuted in 1994, I came across it much later in life.

Friends is my comfort watch. Whenever I feel low and gloomy, I resort to binge watch the series. It never fails to make me laugh.

I have always been in love with Chandler Bing. It is one of the best characters ever created and it was created just for Matthew Perry.

If Mr. Darcy from the book world gave goals for having a partner like him, from the TV world it was Chandler Bing. So handsome, with those beautiful eyes, what a crazy sense of humour and such a loving and caring person! Even though I love Rachel, it was Mondler I shipped!

For me Perry and Bing have never been different and if you read his memoirs, you will know how similar they were.

Except he was so much in pain and lonely and he never found his Monica.

I thought his life was on track now. Writing his experiences must have been cathartic for him.

I prayed fervently that he finds love just like Chandler did in Monica.

But that wish will never be fulfilled now.

My heart is full of pain for him. I don’t know what happened. Was he suffering and took an easy way out? Or was it an accident? Did he relapse? Did he really suffer from a cardiac arrest? Is it a bad time to remember how much he loved drawing a bath in Friends?

He deserved a much better life but sadly he didn’t give himself a chance.

Hope you finally rest in peace, Perry! Thank you for all the laughs and wonderful memories. Thank you for being so amazing!

You will always be loved. Always! <3

You Are Not Alone – Your Life Matters

Suicide is one of the most dangerous words in the world. In simple terms, suicide means deliberately killing oneself.

When one is fed up of life or their circumstances (financial woes, sickness) or is suffering from depression or other mental illness, one might think of ending it all.

The level of despair is such that one cannot have rational thoughts, cannot think of anything positive.

Life has it’s own ups and downs. It is not always a bed of roses. Or you might say, the roses are always accompanied by thorns.

When a person is suicidal, their mind is full of darkness. One can only see a long tunnel with no light at the end.

No one can identify from your face that you are having suicidal thoughts. You may appear cheery or happy but no one knows what goes inside your mind.

One can say it is the brightest before the dark night falls.

In such a situation, what should you do if you are suicidal?

Seeking help is the only way out of it. Talk to your friends or family. Tell them upfront you need help. Take help of a professional. They are equipped with tools and resources to help you. Call suicide helpline.

One of the best things about the age of smart phones is ease of connectivity, ease of awareness, ease of finding information.

We have been given this gift of life for some purpose. Find your purpose, don’t end your life!

Take A Break!

Couple of days ago, I realised I have published 300 posts. Too less considering I love to write and it’s been 11 years now that I birthed Me being lazy is the primary reason. Secondary reason is my addiction to Work & Twitter. If I am engrossed in my work, I have never set boundaries or limits of 8/9 hours, weekdays/weekends. The lines have blurred anyway after working from home.

Some people (me) would argue that even if I haven’t published anything on, I have been quite active on twitter. With over 300K tweets (which includes retweets), I have been very vocal about my opinions. Twitter being a micro blogging site, some would (again me) say that bite sized opinions also should count as writing.

However, the addiction to twitter has nothing to do with the freedom of voicing my opinion or saying my thoughts out loud or sharing my likes and dislikes. What started as an opportunity to divert myself from a painful chapter in my life, soon became a platform to meet like minded people, sharing ideas and have fun filled conversations with them. Sometimes, it did affect my reputation at work because I always had the phone in my hand. Not that I let it impact my work in anyway (I am blessed with good speed & good comprehension skills, hence able to complete my work in half the time it requires other people) Being a loner in real life, suffering from inferiority complex and other issues, I would say twitter gave me wings. While in real life I wouldn’t approach anyone for talking, it is the other way round on twitter. I love talking (Talkative was the favourite adjective of my teachers for me) and my writing skills are better than my verbal skills. While not many people have shown interest in me in real life, I have more than 3000 followers on twitter (of course I am always greedy for more). People willingly talking to me, forging friendships and generally getting a vibe of being liked is addictive.

It’s not all bed of roses though. There are cons to twitter as much as for any other thing. If you get unconditional like, you also get abuse and hate from this platform. Height was the period between 2015-2017 where I was hotly pursued by a psycho stalker. It robbed the peace of my mind, made me really insecure, I was constantly frustrated and angry. I know I did not handle that chapter of my life well. And I often thought of deactivating twitter and remove myself from this hateful person. But it was all words. It was difficult to throw away all the pros just for that one hateful, immature person.

There is another con of being addicted to twitter. You indulge yourself in tweeting, reading tweets of other people, reacting on those tweets and what they now call “doom scrolling” that unknowingly you waste your time (just like people do by scrolling metres of reels). Wasted time never comes back. If you just calculate the amount of time spent on social media, you will realise how much of it is wasted. You could have done something more productive with your time. Maybe written a blog post like this, which satisfies the writer in you. Maybe you could cook something new. Maybe you could read one more book or watch one more movie. or even look at cat pictures (meow)

It is not that I have never taken a break from twitter (not counting the hours I sleep :p ) Earlier in 2022, I had to undergo cataract surgery (more on that some other time) and I was strictly advised to stay away from any kind of screen for few weeks. But that was a forced break. And again, in 2023, with the new limit of viewing and writing tweets for non paying twitter users, I am thinking of taking a break from twitter. It is just off putting when you have to restrict how much you read and how much you write on twitter. Maybe this is a blessing in disguise. Maybe I will write more posts on Maybe I will be tad more disciplined. One can always hope, eh?

I was looking up if I have written anything on “break” and this question popped up. What comes to your mind when you think of the word “break”?

Healing – My Way or Highway?

I have often seen doctors on twitter (#MedTwitter) scoffing on treatments other than allopathy. They deride Homeopathy and Ayurveda and also Alternate Healing Therapies.

Homeopathy was introduced in 1796 by the German physician Samuel Hahnemann. It’s practitioners, called homeopaths, believe that a substance that causes symptoms of a disease in healthy people can cure similar symptoms in sick people; this doctrine is called similia similibus curentur, or “like cures like” Small sugar pills are doused with liquid medicine (plant based) as per the disease. People may scoff how can sugar pills cure diseases (they forget the plant based medicine part, which is also a base for some of the allopathy medicines) I have taken homeopathy medicine few times in my life and though they haven’t had much effect on me always, I have two clear success stories. it cured my sister’s alopecia in childhood & couple of years back during the pandemic cured my severe dry heaving (because of which I couldn’t even eat).

I can believe derision towards homeopathy as it doesn’t have much success rate and also is considered to be very slow in healing.

What about Ayurveda though? Ayurveda is an ancient Indian medical system and has scientific basis for all cures. Of course, in today’s world where even allopathic doctors and pharmaceutical companies manufacturing allopathy medicines are not beyond corrupt practices, to expect Ayurvedic doctors will also not do the same is just being naive. Ayurveda is a holistic healing method where the cause is considered important and not the effect. You don’t just pop pills if you follow Ayurveda, but you also need to follow a change in lifestyle and diet regime. Since Ayurveda and ancient medicines all over the world have lost to glamour of allopathy, there is not much investment done to churn out proper Vaidyas and cultivating good quality herbs used for Ayurvedic medicine. To scoff at Ayurveda for not being able to cure diseases, where allopathy has also failed is kind of hypocritical.

Alternate therapies like Pranic healing, Reiki, Theta healing, etc. have also been insulted time and again by doctors. Inspite of scientific researches on how our thoughts have power to change our life.

I have used all kind of treatments for obesity, periods issues, hormonal imbalance, diabetes and effects due to diabetes. I have not experienced any one type of treatment being completely effective. It is a mostly a mix of treatments but most importantly the will to feel better every day. Theta healing and Ayurveda have worked much better in eradicating certain issues as compared to allopathy. Even for cough, Tumeric laced milk or home made kadha works better than cough syrups.

I am not a doctor nor a medical expert so I cannot preach how one way is better than another. I can only tell this to the doctors – I understand your need to protect your business but insulting things you don’t/won’t understand and discounting real life experiences of people will not get you respect. As a healer, you owe yourself to the medical fraternity, which also includes non- allopathic way of treatments, to respect all types of treatments. To make your line look longer, you don’t need to cut others short. No one discounts the contribution of allopathy medicines in curing diseases. Vaccines and medicines have eradicated various diseases which were fatal earlier. But there is no need to deride other form of treatments. Allopathy is not the God of medicine. Ayurvedic medicines have also been fighting diseases since centuries. All types of treatment can co-exist peacefully.

“Nothing is small in itself and nothing is big in itself. It is all comparative” ~ Osho

Bina chai peene nahin jaane denge

Sitting in the balcony, drinking in the view of the sky and beautifully patterned clouds was ultimate bliss but the sip of tea in this surrounding was the cherry on top, thought Adi.

The love for tea (or chai as they called at home) was in his genes. He was brought up in a joint family where guests would pop in and out all times of the day.

Since it was against the rules of hospitality in India, the guests would not be let go without having anything. The elderly matriarch would just say, chai piye bina to jaane nahin denge (We won’t let you go without having tea at least) and the guest would have to relent. The house was seeped in the aroma of tea with a slight hint of the spicy ginger.

Adi didn’t want to lose that aroma ever. This is how it had started. He was startled with the ringing doorbell. He smiled. It was time for another batch.

He got this idea when he read that since ancient times, tea leaves had been used in burial services by royalty and common people alike. People from ancient times believed that tea leaves served to cleanse and dehumidify the deceased. Tea leaves helped absorb odors in the tombs and ensured the preservation of the remains. Now, a room full of guests were forever embalmed in tea. The aroma of tea would not leave his house ever.

Ginger Tea

Fighting the Blues

Past few days I have been living alone at home. Even though I like to be left alone, I don’t really like to be alone for a long time. Wake up in the morning, do all the household chores like a responsible person (adult) and then log in to work. The day is interspersed with twitter, books, movies, shows, gaming, video calling mom, sister or baby barfi and eating. The routine made me think is this how my life will be when the situation becomes permanent? What if something happens to me while I am sleeping? How will people know? Will my body rot like Parveen Babi’s did before people find out I am dead? Will they need to break the door? What is the alternative? Should I ask for tips on survival? Will I have to rent a companion? (Like Mrs. Van Hooper from Rebecca did)

I know I am privileged. I have many resources. I count my blessings every day when my mind diverts to that one thing I don’t have. But even privileged people have the right to feel lonely and low and cry their heart out, no?

Do you also feel like this sometimes?

Body Positivity – Self Love or Excuse for Laziness?

Body Positivity is a social movement, focused on the acceptance of all types of bodies, regardless of shape, size, gender and appearance. We, specially women, are so hung up with having the perfect body, where perfection is defined by society’s beauty standards. Maybe once upon a time skinny bodies were looked down upon and women would have aimed to achieve a fuller or a curvy body. Since many many decades, being fat / obese / chubby is not acceptable in society. Forget dating, etc., even mere existence of fat people gets on the nerves of some people.

I might have shared this multiple times on twitter / on my blog. I was never a skinny kid. When I was in my mother’s womb, I was thought to be twins. And after puberty I started gaining weight like crazy. Mind you, junk food was not so available during those times. Max junk food I would have indulged in is Vada pav. Of course, I started to be teased and shamed about my body – Elephant, Football, Ganpati Bappa, Tuntun were some of the names bestowed on me.

I was a shy kid and a teenager and all these comments made me withdraw further into my shell. I was happy with the company of my books (Another reason why I read so much). Wherever I went, I was bombarded with weight loss advice. It wasn’t as if I was doing nothing. I was having warm water + lemon + honey everyday, walked at least 12 kms 6 days a week, exercised in the gym, indulged in diets (while secretly munching on vada pav – my ultimate comfort food). No one understood what I was going through, not even myself. Eventually I stopped going out. Never went to relatives place until absolutely necessary, bunked college most of the time and started thinking of myself as a burden on Earth. Enter depression, suicidal tendencies, self destructive behaviour and the start of my famous temper (the mirchi part of what was till then just a sweet laddoo). And then started rejection by guys (for marriage proposals) so much so that even fatso guys used to reject me. Some mothers thought I would not be able to do household chores because of my fat.

What did all this do to me? I lost my ambition, I lost all interest in studies or career, I lost interest in anything and everything. I did not see beyond the fat. And this was all because I was victim of the society’s perception of me. I did not think that anyone could love me for who I am. One guy was ashamed to go on a date in a public place because what it would do to his reputation. This was after the introduction of Yahoo chat era. I started indulging toxic guys because if they talked to me, the fat me, that only meant they were nice guys.

Now I am above all that. It has taken decades of efforts, of course with support of genuinely nice people, that I started recognizing my talent, used it & regained my confidence & ambition. Over the years, I did lose some of the excess fat, got fitter (a better goal, actually) and understood what self love meant. I now accept my body. I am not ashamed of it. I don’t care if my tummy still looks like I am 10 months pregnant. I only care that I be fit, be healthy so that I can lead an active life till I am alive. Yes, I learned to live. Finally.

Because of what I have been through, when I see the body positivity movement, I feel really good. People should not get stuck in the image of what their body is perceived to be. They should realise that they are much more than their body. They are heart, they are mind and they are soul. And all this is nothing to do with health. People who mock body positivity have no actual concern for anyone’s health. Obesity invites lots of diseases but it is not like skinny people are always healthy.

Just like men and (some brainwashed women) indulge in bashing feminism because of wrongdoing of some women, body positivity is mocked because it doesn’t suit the agenda of certain people. Body Positivity does not mean anybody is promoting obesity (just like promoting feminism doesn’t mean promoting hatred towards men)

Imagine if all trees were of the same shape, how boring the world would be!

World Heritage City – Ahmedabad

Almost 4 months of a gruelling schedule and a chance to getaway for a couple of days, brought me to Ahmedabad in June 2019.

I had decided to travel by train this time as Ahmedabad is only a night away from Mumbai. Isn’t it amazing that you board the train, have a good night sleep & when you wake up in the morning, you are in your destination city?

My family roots are in Kutcch, a district in Gujarat but barring a visit couple of decades back, I haven’t been there and it is such a shame. Because Gujarat has a rich history and places which I would love to see & explore.

From my first visit to Vadodara & Ahmedabad, being the foodie I am, I vividly remember, the bhakarwadi, fulwadi & the spicy aloo subji & poori lunch we had in Ahmedabad ST depot canteen and of course the amazing sukhdi prasad of Mahudi!

Back to the present (or maybe the recent past), I boarded the train Thursday night & reached early Friday morning. I crossed the Mehmadabad junction & Manipur station – about which I had read in the Gujarati novels. The Leaning Tower of India (Jhulta Minara) are right next to Ahmedabad railway station. Since I was a bit tired after the train journey, I didn’t explore the place. On my way to the hotel, what amazed me was Nashta house peppered across the city! Side note: Travelling within the city is easy with Ola autos available & I checked the fare with the normal auto drivers (most don’t ply on meter) & there wasn’t much of a difference. Getting a public transport at night is a challenge though.

I had planned to go to the Auto Museum on the first day as it was the biggest attraction for me. I have a special love for Vintage Cars! First stop was Vishala for lunch. I had heard a lot about the food – but sadly they do not serve Thali for lunch, only for dinner so I had some Puri Shaak but no match to the one I had at the ST depot years ago :p

The ambience of Vishala is amazing though. It feels like you have entered another world & the surprise find was Vichar – Utensils museum – I really enjoyed looking at all the different types of utensils of yore – specially the opium “kharal” (mortar)

Next Stop – Auto Museum

One of the biggest personal collections of vintage cars, bikes, buggies and utility vehicles, Auto World is a delight for those who love wheels. Amongst the 300 plus menu of mechanical extravaganza, some noted ones stand out; the car that was used in the movie Gandhi and the first May Bach ever made. Visitors can also find rare and wonderful assemblage of vehicles including a Bentley, Lagonda, Rolls Royce, Cadillac, Austin, Jaguar, Mercedes and Auburns.  The 1923 Rolls 20 HP with a typical shooting brake-body by Barker is one of the most fascinating cars from the Rolls Royce cache. The museum has also found a place in the Guinness Book of World Records for this amazing collection. Pranlal Bhogilal started the Auto World Museum in his private estate of 2200 acres, Dastan, in 1927, and earned the Guinness Book of World Record listing in 1987 as the owner of the world’s largest private garage. An enthusiast for many years, Bhogilal collected over 204 cars of which 105 are in Ahmedabad. He ensured that all cars were in running condition. Pranlal Bhogilal passed away in 2011 at the age of 73. It is said that in 2006, Ulrich Schmid-Maybach of the illustrious Maybach family flew down to Ahmedabad from Germany to convince Pranlal Bhogilal to sell him a 6-cylinder Maybach that was designed by his grandfather. Bhogilal refused to part with this treasure. (From Gujarat Tourism website)

The entrance of museum is just astounding with a garden, peacocks and squirrels running about and lush greenery. It also has a kids park and a restaurant. The museum also houses the statue of Pranlal Bhogilal. They also offer a ride in the vintage cars for a price.

I had a ball of a time ogling at the gorgeous vintage cars and bikes. The goat cart was absolutely adorable!

Next day started with going to the Hathisingh Kesarisingh Derasar (Jain Temple) – My dad had recommended. Co-incidentally my dad’s name is Kesarsinh :p The Kirti Stambh near the entrance is just magnificient!

Sidi Saiyyad Mosque is known for it’s lattice work windows and known as Sidi Saiyyad ni jaali. The latticework is also inspiration of the logo of IIM Ahmedabad. As I was trying to photograph the latticework, I was shooed away saying women are not allowed in mosques (why this discrimination, why?)

I was famished by then anyway & thinking what to do next – There came a rickshawala to my rescue asking me where did I needed to go – I told him take me where I can have a good breakfast *insert giggle emoji* He took me to the famous Chandravilas restaurant (God bless his soul), from where apparently Amitabh Bachchan also orders breakfast when he is in town. I ordered for a breakfast platter so that I could taste everything – Batata wada, Gota, Khaman, Jalebi & Fafda, washed down with hot milky tea! This was no less than Food for the Gods 😀

Sabarmati Ashram – Was one of the many residences of Mohandas Gandhi. It is built near the banks of Sabarmati river. It’s an opulent and a very charming place. It is interesting definitely as a huge part of Indian history. Lots of political meetings must have been conducted here!

Sarkhej Roza was a surprise find, not heard about it anywhere. It’s a mosque and tomb complex & you can’t wear footwear inside. It was afternoon and feet scalding hot – I couldn’t bear it much & rushed outside only to find that my shoes had become burning hot too! There is a Sarkhej Mahal as well & the backside view has a garden so I had a glimpse of the structure while cooling my feet & my shoes.

Usually when I am on my solo trips, I do not post on Social Media but this time I knew that I wouldn’t be able to post anything after I get back to the grind due to lack of time (Reason I have not been blogging for years now) Thanks to the photos posted, my sister in law came to know I was in Ahmedabad. They were also going to be in Ahmedabad for the weekend so had an impromptu meet planned & thanks to them I got to visit Manek Chowk, for food bingeing! The chocolate cheese sandwich was yuck but the Ghotala Dosa was super yummy (not at all healthy though)

Modhera Sun Temple – Situated 4-5 hours away from Ahmedabad, it is one of the most beautiful temple complex and an example of great architecture of ancient India. No worship is offered in the temple today & the complex is maintained by ASI. It is quite a peaceful place.

Adalaj Stepwell – Rudabai ni vav (vav being stepwell) also known as Adalaj ni vav (since it is in Adalaj) is another architecture marvel. Popular spot nowadays for pre wedding shoots, it is ruined by the pigeons (foul smelling)

Trimandir, Adalaj – All Gods in one place is the concept behind this beautiful complex. Similar complex is being built behind National Park, Mumbai

Creepiest place I have ever seen – A tea shop built over a graveyard! I felt creepy even while taking the pic – how do people manage to eat & drink here? No respect for the dead?

To wash off the creepiness – I went to Agashiye (literally on the terrace) a luxurious fine dine Gujarati Thali – Expensive but the food was worth it! It’s a beautiful hotel & houses a sort of museum of ancient textiles, etc. I would love to stay there overnight one day!

Ending the trip with a bang, what say? Did some shopping for lovely mukhwas in Manek chowk – Do try the keri ni gotli no mukhwas – It was the most amazing purchase. I did want to take home fulwadi – Das Khaman had the yummiest but only a little bit was left over. I also tried the khamni & it was simply mindblowing! I am sure places like Borivali / Kandivali would be stocking such yummy gujju snacks but now will have to wait for the lockdown to get over.

I could not visit many places which I had planned to – Kankariya, Calico Textile Mills, etc. but it is just an excuse to go there again & again!

Today is Gujarat Day too & I wish a Happy Gujarat day to all Gujjus! #JaiJaiGarviGujarat

PS: Though I have written Ahmedabad throughout my post – we rather call it Amdavad. Ahmedabad is a city but Amdavad is an emotion!

Kaas Plateau – Valley of Flowers

On this Maharashtra Day, as we are cooped up in our homes because of the #ChineseVirus, let me take you to one of the unexpected gems of Maharashtra – Satara

Wanting to spend more time together, we girls thought of taking a road trip to the Valley of Flowers in Maharastra, the Kaas Plateau (Kaas Pathar). It is situated 25 Kms from Satara City, in Maharashtra, India. It falls under the Sahyadri cluster of Western Ghats and it became part of UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site in 2012. it is known for it’s seasonal wild flower blooms in the month of August & September.

We landed at the place early in the evening. After having a much needed hot tea and delicious kanda bhajji (onion fritters) in a nearby hotel, we started exploring the place. It had rained heavily that year, plus we had been there in October so the blooms had already withered but the view made up for that loss. It was like we had landed in heaven!

The last one is the view of Satara City from the hotel we were staying in.

In the morning, we woke up to this

Next stop was Thosegar Falls. It is 20Kms from Satara. Thosegar falls are very scenic series of waterfalls with the backdrop of lush jungle. The falls can be viewed from a platform.

Next Stop Chalkewadi Windmill Farms, Satara. One of the best scenic spots and awesome for photography!

Would love to discover more such gems in Maharashtra once the situation gets better!

Happy Maharashtra Day! Jai Maharashtra!

Books of 2020

In 2018 I read 208 books & In 2019, 202. Having read so much, I thought I should give reading a break in 2020 & focus on other things. Specially after I read My Brilliant Friend & sequels by Ellen Ferrante – The books were so exhausting, they put me over books for sometime. I started watching The Big Bang Theory & then lockdown happened.

I had too much free time and the anxious mind resorted to books. I finally managed to read 303 books in 2020. Out of which 102 were written by Agatha Christie. Interesting, isn’t it? (#selfbragging) 😉

I enjoyed reading most of the books – For some brief reviews & recommendations, do visit my Instagram account @bookdragonhaven

Biography / Memoirs: I read quite a few memoirs & biographies. Really loved 700 Sundays, Persepolis, Agatha Christie, How to be a good creature, Am I there Yet & Solutions & Other Problems

Children / Cartoon / Comics: I read 60 books in this category. Couldn’t list them here. But thoroughly enjoyed Sara Anderson’s Adulting is a myth & Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl

Educational: It’s Normal by Mahendra Watsa on Sex Education was best amongst the lot. Eats Shoots & Leaves was hilarious & relatable! Four Agreements was also good – The best lesson from it was – Don’t take anything personally – I am training my mind for it

Humour: Abridged Classics: Brief Summaries of Books You Were Supposed to Read But Probably Didn’t was so hilarious – A one line take on the classics you should read but don’t :p

Poems: Not much of a poetry person but find Lang Leav very relatable, hence Sea of Strangers

Novella / Shot Stories: Laburnum for my head based in Nagaland, Zikaro & The Last Dance & Other stories were best in this lot

Fantasy: Loved loved loved The Starless Sea – It is magical. Practical Magic & Ickabog were equally good!

Spiritual: Not my genre but chanced upon The Dalai Lama’s Cat – This one is a must read!

Mystery / Thriller: Malice by Keigo Higashino, The Silent Patient, Something in the water by Catherine Steadman & Perfect Murder by Shakuntala Devi

Other Fiction: Top 10 – The Housekeeper & The Professor, Little Fires Everywhere, Hypnotist’s Wife, Where’d You Go Bernadette, The Giver of Stars, To Night Owl From Dogfish, The Little Book Shop In Paris, We always lived in a castle, The Language of Flowers & A Redbird Christmas

Book Of The Year: Pachinko – based on Japan’s occupation of Korea, Sino-Korea relationship, condition of Koreans in Japan – This one spans almost 100 years. A fantastic Read!

What were your favourites of 2020? Do share in the comments. I might get some book recommendations 😀

Project Agatha Christie

In 1920, Agatha Christie, The Queen of Murder Mysteries, published her first novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles. She introduced the Belgian detective, Hercule Poirot, with his moustache obsession and little grey cells.

2020 marked 100 years of the first novel published. In the beginning of 2020, I had thought to take a break from reading (more about it in another post) but Reader Proposes & Writer Disposes – I fell back to reading with a vengeance. Although swamped with work in the middle of 2020 made me resort to comfort binge reading Agatha Christie novels before I knew it was the centenary. I thought to give a goal to my reading & vowed to read all the books ever published by Agatha Christie.

First completed the humongous task of making a list of books & sorting them into plays, novels & non fiction and also the books written under the name Mary Westmacott. Then removing duplicates because majority of her plays have been novelised.

To summarise, she has published 106 books in total – 6 books as Mary Westmacott, 3 Non Fiction, 66 Novels, 21 Plays, out of which 12 are novelised or included in her short story collections, which are 22 in number. Out of 106, I read 102 books! Not bad, eh?

Sadly, I couldn’t complete my vow of reading all her published work as some of her collection of plays were not available / available at a very high prize – Akhnaton, Murder In The Studio, Fiddlers Three & The Rule of Three – Someday I will be rich enough to complete the set 😉

Mary Westmacott – In my early 20s I had read Unfinished Portrait but I ddid not like & I assume it must be because I couldn’t accept her writing non-murder mystery novels. I couldn’t have been more wrong! I thoroughly enjoyed reading all 6 of her novels – Many of which are inspired from her own life

Non-Fiction – Speaking of her own life, she has also written her autobiography, and two memoirs. Come, Tell me how you live is based on the years spent digging around middle east with her second husband & The Grand tour is the world tour she embarked on with her first husband. Her life has been fascinating & though she is kind of racist & has shown no sympathy but entitlement over the colonies of the British Empire, you need to discount that & instead enjoy the description of people & places of those times. Many of her experiences during the world tour & the archaeology digs come alive in her plays and novels

Plays & Novels & Short Stories – Though some of the plots seem repetitive or predictable, there is a joy in unraveling the mysteries. Her writing is smooth and easy to understand – In fact I always recommend people to read her books when they are trying to improve their English

Thank you Dame Agatha Christie. With your writings you made this place a better world to live in. And as my friend said, it may not matter to anyone else but I surely made you happy by reading all your books! I hope he was right!


It is simple to be happy but it is really difficult to be simple. Right since childhood, we mar our happiness with our own thoughts and wants and keep searching for happiness. When our mind is happy, we can see beauty in our surroundings. If we are unhappy, we see dark clouds everywhere.

What is happiness though? Happiness is a positive and pleasant emotion ranging from satisfaction to immense joy. More often than not, it is triggered by outer circumstances like a compliment, winning / achieving something, beautiful surroundings. If happiness is triggered by outer circumstances, it usually is fleeting because as soon as the circumstances change, it will affect our mood as well.

So how can we make ourselves permanently happy? Let’s have a look at some tips that will help / guide you:

  1. Change the way you look at things – Look at the bright side – Train your mind to not delve into negative thoughts
  2. Be Solution centric rather than problem centric – If you focus on problems – your mind is bound – Free your mind – Remember, every problem, is an opportunity in disguise – this is my mantra for life – I remember when I was diagnosed as diabetic & I was having a session with a dietician. She was sorry that I got it at such a young age. I told her this was a chance for me to take care of my physical health which I was ignoring for so long!
  3. Music is one of the best things to uplift your mood – Make a playlist of songs that you love – I usually cheer up when I listen to peppy music
  4. Watch funny movies / shows / cartoons
  5. Meditate everyday
  6. Read something inspirational everyday
  7. Count your blessings – We always get lost in the thoughts of what we don’t have and take for granted what we do have – Practice Gratitude everyday
  8. Make a practical to do list – Striking even one off the list gives a sense of accomplishment
  9. Be kind to others – Help just because you want to & not because you will get something in return
  10. Pamper yourself, treat yourself. Take care of yourself. Do one thing everyday that you love. Don’t get caught in the web of busyness. Making time for yourself is very important
  11. Spend more time with happy and positive people
  12. Don’t whine – It makes others unhappy
  13. Chant 21 times – I choose to be happy
  14. Say your favourite word once a day
  15. SMILE – For no reason

Doable, isn’t it?

Be Happy, Stay Happy!

Work From Home

19th March 2020 was the last day I went to work @ office. From 20th March onwards we were to work from home. Confident that the Chinese Virus will not last long based on the SARS experience, I assumed we will be back in the office in no time. How naive we were!

It is now almost an year to that date & there is no chance we are moving back to office anytime soon. I guess it will be possible only once everyone is vaccinated.

Would I like to continue working from home or I am getting office sick & wish to go back to office?

Few years back, I was suffering from some health issues. Travel was a challenge for me & I used to miss work 2-3 days in a row every month, which gradually reduced to 1 day. Ever since I have been hankering for work from home option, at least for the days I am not able to travel. The working time restrictions for women in Mumbai added to the woes as it is next to impossible to travel in Mumbai local trains during peak hours – specially when you are getting older & used to travelling in UK shift timings. Even though I don’t look my age & am decently fit enough – The body is not that agile anymore 😉

Work From Home gives me freedom from this travelling hassle, not to forget the traffic and pollution. Dressing up and travelling is the major challenge when sick. When at home you can be flexible, rest for a bit and work when feeling better. In fact, due to increasing local train fatalities, this turns out to be an advantage to all as there is less rush in the trains, less traffic on the road when there are more people working from home.

Due to my work timings, I hardly got to spend time with my family, specially my niece. Because of working from home, I get to talk & play with her – virtually, of course – almost daily. Most times it feels that I come home only to eat and sleep (sometimes only sleep) Weekend is spent in either outings or replenishing the energy lost during the week. I go to work on weekends too sometimes. My parents are definitely happier to see more of me (maybe that’s what I believe)

i definitely have got a chance to work more, read more, watch more movies & shows – making optimum use of my Amazon Firestick 😀

Money Money Money – Can’t tell you how much money I have saved by not travelling to work – Train pass, Auto fare, the occasional Ola Cab and eating out almost daily. I am going to use this for my Europe Travel couple of years down the line!

Definitely it’s not all rosy. We do have some cons.

Indian houses, specially in Mumbai, are ill equipped to have a office inside the house – The size is tiny as it is. Also, the infrastructure is not up to the mark. Unstable internet, frequent power cuts, specially during rainy season can cause embarrassment and frustration.

I also miss the camaraderie with friends at work, the gossip session, the vending machine coffee (tee-hee) the live events (Virtual events are fun but live events have their own charm), R&R ceremonies.

Even though there are too many hassles to travel – there is also a joy in dressing up & moving out of the house. You get bored cooped up at home with the same two people – Familiarity breeds contempt you know? :p

My own tips for a great work from home experience:

  1. Have a small corner of your own where no one can disturb
  2. Invest in good infrastructure – Good internet connection & UPS
  3. Dress up once in a while – Don’t get too comfy in your PJs
  4. Move your ass out of home even if for some minutes


Back to writing

I started blogging since 2010. Over the years I dabbled on various platforms, finally settling in my home at since 2012. I have not been a regular writer but I think up to December 2018 I used to write at least one post a month on an average.

The last post I wrote was in January 2019, setting goals for 2019! That’s two years, OMG!

The main reason was I got fairly busy at work, one of the reason was also that I am seriously contemplating & saving ideas for my book (which minus the procrastination I will write eventually!) but most & foremost I have been lazy & indulging in writing bits on Social media, including tiny book reviews on my bookstagram account – @bookdragonhaven

I want to change that this year. I want to be more serious about my writing. I want to sharpen my writing skills. And more than attending writing workshops, I think the more you practice writing, the better you get at it.

I will probably aim at writing at least 50 posts in 2021. If you want me to write on any specific topic, feel free to mention in the comments column. Criticism is much appreciated!

What happened to the goals of 2019, you may ask. A short update:

Run a Marathon – This I did & I will blog about it separately – I have so much to share!

Write More / Write A Book – Zilch / Nada

Travel – I did plan to visit more places in India & got a chance to visit a World Heritage City, Ahmedabad – I probably will blog about this too 😀

Solve Rubik’s cube – I bought a Rubik Cube in 2020 & I tried & I tried – Sadly couldn’t work it out completely. I will keep trying though. I know I can do it!

Entertainment – I read 202 books & managed to watch 100 movies too! I am happy with it 🙂

Goals for 2019

In 2018, I had set only one goal for myself – To read 200 books. I also added one more, to watch 100 movies realising that inspite of the fact that I love movies as much as I love books, I don’t watch them so much.  I have achieved both the goals. They have also helped me in distracting me from some of the personal stuff I was going through.

Reading books & watching movies is not a difficult goal to achieve (at least for me). As I said in the mid-year post about books, if you love it, you’ll do it. Easy Peasy!

It is time to set some difficult goals this year, though.

  • Run a marathon – I have been inspired by people around me running marathons, specially my 60+ kaki. By the end of the year, I should be able to run a 21 km half marathon. Registering for a 4 KM walkathon is the beginning of it!
  • Write more – Writing has taken a back seat this year with all the reading. I am going to write more on my blog this year – 52 posts at least!
  • Writing Books – Not only I am going to writer more on my blog, but I am also going to work seriously on the books I want to write. 2020 should be the year of getting the books published
  • Travel – I want to experience lots of places in India and in the world but I realised that there are so many places I haven’t been to in Mumbai itself. This year, I would visit at least 50 places in and around Mumbai (some could be repeat)
  • Solve Rubik’s Cube – Let us check if I am smart enough to solve a Rubik’s cube puzzle
  • Entertainment – Read 200 books and Watch 100 movies
  • Have fun while doing all of the above!!!

I guess these are enough for one year! So, what about you? What are your goals for 2019???

Books of 2018

The Chinese Zodiac, known as Sheng Xiao, is based on a twelve-year cycle, each year in that cycle related to an animal sign. These signs are the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig.

If I had to define 2018 for me, it would be Year of Books. In the beginning of the year, I had resolved to read 200 books. By the end of the year, I finished reading 209. This does not include any half reads (DNF ) ones.

Reviewing Books of 2018 is going to be a humongous task given that I have read 200 books and liked most of them! You can find detailed review of these books (I have posted some & will be posting more) on my Instagram account @bookdragonhaven

I am posting the best reads genre wise (it was difficult to choose one genre for some of the books)

Drama: The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry & The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy (sequel to the former) – It’s a story about friendship, love, commitments and loss. Nanny McPhee & the Big Bang – The book alternates between the script of the movie and real-life anecdotes while filming the movie. Interesting style, I think. I also read Nayak, which is of a similar style. Nayak is a movie made by Satyajit Ray turned into a book. Crazy Rich Asians Trilogy – content wise the book is not much, but the architecture, clothes and lifestyle of the riches are detailed in a very interesting manner! Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows – Balli Kaur Jaiswal – Not a fan of Erotica but this one is written very well. (It is not only erotica btw, it is more about the stories of Punjabi Widows who live in London, specially Southall) Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood – Rebecca Wells – A moving tale of friendship and sisterhood. Wonder – a story about a boy with a deformed face (If you love books, read. If you love movies, watch the one with Owen Wilson & Julia Roberts), Godan – Premchand (Hindi)

Dystopia: All the novels I read of this genre were too good! Be it the Hunger Games Trilogy, Flawed & Perfect by Cecilia Ahern and the Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood!

Fantasy: Artemis Fowl series – Eoin Colfer, The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern, The magical moonlight flower & enchanting stories – Satyajit Ray, The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock – Imogen Hermes Gowar, How to make time stop – Matt Haig (one of my most favourite authors now), Poonachi – Perumal Murugan (Story from a point of view of the goat – It was simply fantastic to know what goes in a goat’s world), The Immortalists – Chloe Benjamin, The Bear and the Nightingle – Katherine Arden, Fire & Blood – George RR Martin, Father Christmas series – Matt Haig

History (History, Historical Fiction & Historical Romances): The last train to Istanbul – Ayse Kulin, Lincoln in the Bardo (More like the Abstract, Experimental category), The Rose of Sarajevo – Ayse Kulin, Barygaza (History of Bharuch, an important port for trading with Greece), The Guernsey literary and potato peel society – Mary Ann Shafer, The Colour Purple – Alice Walker, The little coffee shop of Kabul – Deborah Rodriguez, Love in Exile – Ayse Kulin (Was a bit disappointing, lots of questions unanswered), A Suitable Boy (Never ending saga of post-independence India), Good Things I Wish You – A Manette Mansay (Romance in romance, a writer writing book about 19th century pianists Robert & Clara Schumann & their relationship with each other & Johannes Brahms & also exploring a relationship herself), Lajja – Taslima Nasreen, Jinnah often came to our house – Kiran Doshi, Beneath a Scarlet Sky – Mark Sullivan, The name of the Rose – Umberto Eco, The boy in the striped pajamas – John Boyne, The English Patient – Michael Ondaatje, Lioness of Morocco – Henrietta Meire and Julia Drosten, The Architect’s Apprentice – Elif Shafak, The Nightingale – Kristin Hannah, The Good Earth trilogy – Pearl S Buck

Humour: The 100 year old man who climbed out of the window and disappeared & The accidental further adventures of the hundred-year-old man – Jonas Jonasson, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – Jesse Andrews (It’s actually about cancer & death, but in a humorous way), Batatya chi chawl – Pu La Deshpande (Marathi)

Memoirs: Smrutichitre – Laxmi Tilak, Don’t Disturb the Dead – Shamya Dasgupta, Shashi Kapoor, The householder, the star – Aseem Chhabra, The Good, The Bad & The Ridiculous – Khushwant Singh, The one & lonely Kidar Sharma – Kidar Sharma, Romancing with life – Dev Anand, In Other Words – Jhumpa Lahiri, Shoe Dog – Phil Knight, This is me – Chrissy Metz, #GirlBoss – Sophia Amoruso

Mystery & Thrillers: The girl with the dragon tattoo trilogy – Steig Larsson, 13 Reasons why – Jay Asher, Ghachar Ghochar (sort of absurd), The Widows of Malabar Hill – Sujata Massey, Frog Music – Emma Donoghue, Seven deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle – Stuart Turton, Sacred Games – Vikram Chandra, I let you go – Clare Makintosh, We need to talk about Kevin – Lionel Shriver, We were liars – E Lockhart, Good Girl – Mary Kubica, Inspector Singh Investigates – Shamini Flint

Love / Romance / Feel Good: Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine – Gail Honeyman, Me Before You trilogy – Jojo Moyes, The art of hearing heartbeats – Jan-Philipp Sendker, Words in Blue – Cath Crowley, The Kiss Quotient – Helen Hoang, The History of Love – Nicole Krauss, To all the boys I have loved before – Jenny Han, I see London, I see France – Sarah Mlynowski, Less – Andrew Greer, PS from Paris – Mark Levy, One Man Guy – Michael Barakiva, Love & Gelato – Jenna Evans Welch, November 9 – Colleen Hoover, The Hating Game – Sally Thorne, Boy meets Boy – David Levithan, Cobalt Blue – Sachin Kundalkar, Dumplin – Julie Murphy

That’s it folks!!

2018 – The year gone by

Even though nothing significant happened in 2018, it was not a bad year for me. Yes, couple of bad things did happen. Lost a very dear family member and also lost couple of friendships. Learnt few lessons there.

  • I need to get over my awkwardness over death to be there for my family and friends
  • If someone has stopped sharing any good / bad things happening to them, the friendship is dead. And no, it’s not you all the times. People change, their priorities change. We need to accept that we will never be part of their life anymore
  • Do not accept being taken for granted

Now, for the good things:

  • Gave mom a pleasant surprise – Took her to Golden Pagoda, which was on her wish list
  • Hosted a small time awards function @ work and rocked it!
  • Travelled to North East on my own (Guwahati / Shillong / Cherrapunji)
  • Rediscovered LinkedIn – one more platform to pimp my work :p
  • Got an unexpected compliment from an unexpected person (About my enthusiastic approach to work)
  • Got back to Operations and now working for a wonderful client
  • Went to Haji Ali – discovered a new place in Mumbai
  • Spent some lovely time with my niece (3 vacations)
  • Met Aditi after a really long time and some missed opportunities
  • Started a bookstagram account @bookdragonhaven (Name courtesy @devillaughslast, account courtesy Aditi & Pratya) It’s going good for now
  • Got to visit an orphanage and an old age home courtesy CSR @ work
  • Finished reading 209 books
  • Watched 100 movies
  • Lost some more weight

Looking forward to 2019 and what it has in store for me! Hope you had a good 2018 & wish you a fantastic 2019!!!

World Aids Day

Every year, on 1st December, we celebrate World Aids Day. Celebration of most people (not infected with HIV) would be limited to wearing a red ribbon or posting about it on Social Media. This year I got a chance to do something different. As a part of CSR, we visited Desire Society, an NGO, which takes care of HIV infected kids.

Until the visit, I had never thought about the plight of these kids. Aids for me was a serious disease, transmitted sexually or via needles and to child via mother. I knew that people infected with HIV suffered from low immunity, social stigma and early death. There has been no cure found to cure AIDS.

Desire Society was found in Hyderabad 12 years ago. They have 5 centres in India, Hyderabad, Vishakapatnam, Delhi & 2 in Mumbai (Goregaon & Vashi) The Vashi centres is for boys and Goregaon centre is for girls. They did have couple of boys with them as they did not want to separate them from their sisters. The centre is mainly to take care of the HIV infected kids, however, negative kids are also taken care of in case their siblings are positive and they do not want to separate them. I was happy to know at least the kids have some family around. The kids in this centre were as young as 5 year old. They are being told about their disease so that they co-operate while taking medicines. They are counselled by the hospitals as well as the NGO Volunteers.

The kids are mostly orphans, their parents have passed away due to HIV and they are abandoned by their relatives. The hospitals co-ordinate with the NGOs so that they can take the kids to the orphanages. The HIV infected kids have to undergo tests every month. They have to take medication twice a day, without fail, else the virus would multiply and deteriorate their health. With such heavy dosage they need proper nutrition. The caretakers feed them soaked almonds, Pediasure with milk twice a day and home cooked food. The kids require intense care as they get infected with cold, cough and fever easily. After taking so much care, they can live up to 35 years of age.

The kids look like normal kids. They have desires and aspirations like normal kids. Someone wants to be a nurse, someone a scientist and someone else, a hairstylist. They would also have a desire to get married and have a family of their own. My heart goes out to these kids.

On this World Aids day, I vow to help these kids in whatever way I can. Join me in this pledge. Together we can make life of these kids a bit easier / better.



Sabarimala became famous recently for all the wrong reasons. Supreme Court said that there should be no discrimination and women should be allowed to enter the Ayappa temple.

Wait, what? Women are banned from one more temple? Read The Forbidden Temple. 

Uff, no! #NotAllWomen only menstruating women are banned from entering the temple.

But whai????

Various reasons available, choose what you like:

1. Swami Ayappa is a brahmachari. Hence.

2. Goddess Malikappurathilamma is waiting for him. So women out of respect of their love, don’t go to the temple.

3. Menstruating women pollute the temple.

4. You cannot visit the temple just like that. You need to fast and follow strict rituals for 41 days. Only then you are eligible to visit the temple. Menstruating women will find it difficult to follow the rituals while on period. Hence.

So which one do you like?

Me? I like the last option, it sounds sensible.

So are you in favour of the ban?

No, I don’t favour the ban on menstruating women entering the temple. But I think they should follow the 41 days fasting ritual too. (I wonder if the activist who gate crashed the temple, who may or may not be carrying a blood soaked sanitary napkin (Ewwwww) complete the 41 day ritual) If a woman is a true devotee of Ayappa and she wants to go to Sabarimala that badly, it shouldn’t be a problem for her. And people should stop treating menstruation as polluting.

Stop debating. Start progressing.


How to train a book dragon!

In the beginning of the year I had resolved to read 200 books this year, having read 158 books the previous year.

I don’t count the books I have read but at the end of year, I take stock of what kind of books I am reading. I just list out the books from my #NowReading on twitter.

After 8 months, I am happy to share that I have more than met my target, having read approx 140 books till date. I have also ensured that I am challenging my comfort zone, reading books which I won’t usually read or enjoy. Like Lincoln in the Bardo (the weirdest book I have read this year)

Some books have been easy and some books were tedious and some books average. I have sacrificed food, sleep and social life. Writing my own book (s) has been put on a back burner.

I could achieve this only because I really really love reading books.

Conclusion: You can achieve anything you want as long as you enjoy doing that. This lesson is now going to be applied to several other things that deserve my attention.

Me: I finished reading 100 books Where is my medal?
Dad: I will give you a gift instead
Me: What?
Dad: Bucks (to buy more books)

Shillong / Cherrapunji, A glimpse of North East – Part Four

Guys, last part in the series! Thank you for bearing with me 😀

Cherrapunji: If any place can be your soulmate, I can say Cherrapunji is definitely the one for me! Anybody who knows me really well, knows how crazy I am about rains! Ever since I was a kid, I have never skipped a chance to get drenched in the beautiful rains!

Cherrapunji is a beautiful place, where it rains through out the year, barring from November to February. I took MTC bus for the day trip, but to really enjoy the place, plan a 2-3 days trip. Specially to go trekking at the double decker living root bridge at Nongriat. I really regret not being able to visit this iconic place. Also, do carry umbrellas, wind cheaters and warm clothing with you.

Mawkdok bridge was the entry point to Cherrapunji. It gave a glimpse of what was lying ahead. Lush greenery, cleanliness and beauty. It was like we had entered an altogether different world!

After stopping for a while to take in all the beauty, relishing a hot cup of tea and a heavy photo session, we moved to Mawsmai Caves. It had started raining and people were reluctant to get down of the bus to visit the caves. But some of us, including me, were very enthusiastic to enjoy the rains and the caves! I might not be bungee jumping kind of adventurous, but this I could very well do 🙂

Mawsmai caves are natural limestone caves. They are lit enough to enjoy the various shapes in the cave. Certain areas inside the cave are narrow, but I could easily crawl through them. It was a thrilling experience specially towards the end of the cave.

Seven Sister Falls: As per the local guide, you need to visit in the monsoon season to enjoy the seven sisters falls in its full glory!

Eco Park: A beautiful park maintained by the Government of Meghalaya. The waterfalls are breathtaking and so is the view of the green canyons! Fun Fact: A black dog started following me just like the little lamb of Mary, a previous birth connection, maybe?

ThangKharang Park: This park is the source of the Kynrem Falls and you can also have a great view of the Bangladesh plains. The park is beautifully studded with various types of trees. It was not very crowded, like Eco Park. The rains continued and I was feeling quite chilly to be able to enjoy the beauty.

Khoh Ramhah / Maw trop: The giant natural rock formation resembles a huge upturned conical Khasi basket. According to legend the fossilized stone basket belonged to an evil giant who troubled the people through his greed and unsocial behaviour. In order to get rid of him, the people offered him a meal mixed with sharp irons and nails which killed the greedy evil giant. The basket which he left turned into a stone approximately 200 ft high.

Ramkrishna Mission Ashram: I was fully drenched by now and also it was raining continuously hence was in no mood to click pics. Since it was Sunday, the school and temple were closed. We did visit the cultural museum on the first floor. A beautiful and lovely jhanki of the north eastern states!

Nohakalikai Falls: By the time we reached the falls, the rains had stopped but it was too windy and i was chilled to the bones! I had a hot cup of coffee and Maggi in a restaurant situated near the falls. The coffee was good but I was still cold. I saw the falls from the gallery of the restaurant itself. The falls are just fabulous and mesmerising!

This was one of the best trip I ever had for more than one reason!

Fun Fact: On the way back to Shillong, the bus was twisting a lot and I lost my grip on the handle and fell inside the bus and here I was hoping to be remembered as a brave girl who came visiting the North East all the way from Mumbai and who was crazy enough to get drenched in the rains, wearing only shorts and a sleeveless top, while others were feeling cozy in their sweaters.

This is not good bye (as he once said to me) but this was just a pause. We will meet soon!!

Shillong / Cherrapunji, A glimpse of North East – Part Three

The more I write about Shillong, the more I ache to go back there. I now know why we say mountains are calling. Also the reason I had to take a break for a while. Monsoon is here in Mumbai, the climate is pleasant and greener. I can now write about Shillong without the urge to fly there.

The Dawki tour was quite exhausting so I decided to take it easy on the next day. After a good breakfast at Madras Cafe, I hired a cab to tour Shillong. The charges are Rs. 1500/- for the tour and Rs. 2000/- if you include Laitlum  Canyons. Worth it, if you are travelling in a group. The cab driver belonged to the Khasi tribe and followed Christianity. He was very chatty and was totally fixated on my weight and my single status. It was annoying but I did not let on as I wanted to know more about the local culture. He was single too and cribbing a lot about Khasi girls, on how city life has ruined them. Also, very proud of the fact that they don’t use much oil or masalas in their food, which helps them be healthy. The Khasi girls are really pretty and strong and the kids super cute! I was too shy to ask them if I could click their pictures. Next time, I hope I have more courage :p

Shillong Tour: Remember that most of the places are closed on one day or the other. Ward’s Lake is closed on Tuesday and Museums are closed on Sunday. So plan your tour accordingly.

Ward’s Lake: Ward’s lake is a horse shoe shaped artificial lake, surrounded by a lush garden. Boating facility also available. It is peaceful in the morning. You could just stroll around the garden, do boating, carry a book and read in peace. The lake is 100 years old but very well maintained. Must visit place.

Right opposite to the Ward’s Lake, there is a rose garden. Don’t miss Nehru’s statue :p

Lady Hydari Park: Lady Hydari Park is named after the wife of the first Governor of Assam. The local name is Ka Phan Nonglait Park and Animal Land. It is a huge and beautiful park. There are lots of varieties of plants, shrubs and trees. You will be welcomed by a heart shaped fountain. There is also a section for kids playground, equipped with slides and swings. There is a small pond, with ducks and pelicans. And the garden also has a mini zoo. The zoo, however is not well maintained and is quite pathetic. Since it was drizzling, could not see all the animals.

Catholic Church: Apparently the first church in Shillong. It’s very beautiful. When I visited, Sunday Mass was going on, hence didn’t go inside the church. The people were sitting outside and singing the hymns. The area surrounding the church is beautiful and peaceful!

Golf Course: Nothing much to see here except the green expanse.

Elephant Falls: As per Mr. Modi, this is a must visit place. But tbh, I have seen better falls. Here there was lots of crowd, it was raining and people were just clicking selfies. Not a very enjoyable moment for me atleast. The falls are divided into three parts..

After Elephant Falls, it was time for Shillong Peak. However, there was lots of traffic on the way to the peak (yep!) So I asked the cabbie to take me to Laitlum instead. We pass lots of small villages on the way to Laitlum. The drive itself is worth it. If you have only one place to go in Shillong, this should be it!

Laitlum Canyons: It’s a beautiful place with a breathtaking view. Nothing to do here except enjoy the view, chill and take lots of pictures. The clouds come anytime so there would be times where you can’t see anything in front of you. Be careful though as accidents can happen here.

Khasi King’s traditional house

The Khasi Hindu Pooja Ritual

Cherrapunji: Part Four 🙂


Shillong / Cherrapunji, A glimpse of North East – Part Two

To experience the full essence of a place, you need more than a 4 days, 3 nights trip. Not everybody is lucky though, to get that much time. Before travelling to Shillong, I spent days perfecting my itinerary. To make sure that I don’t miss out on any important experiences. Twitter and Blogs helped me a lot. So this is my way of taking it forward. Sharing with you my experiences, so that you could benefit from them and also add in some facts which I did not find on the internet.

Guwahati: Guwahati is the largest city of Assam, largest urban area of the North East and also the gateway to the other states of the North East. There are lots of places to see in and around Guwahati. Guwahati is smattered with temples and wildlife sanctuaries. The very famous Kamakhya temple, Umananda temple, Navgraha temple (It is known as a city of temples for a reason), Brahmaputra River, Saraighat bridge, Assam State Museum, Assam State Zoo, Deepor Beel, are some of the places you can visit. The best way to reach Kaziranga National Park (The land of the Rhinos). If you don’t have time to visit Kaziranga, you can visit Pobitro Wildlife sanctuary, which is known as miniature Kaziranga.

Kamakhya Temple, Umananda Temple, War Cemetery and Kaziranga National Park were on my itinerary but due to certain reasons, I ended up going only to the Kamakhya Temple.

The distance from Paltan Bazaar is approximately 8 Kms. I took an Ola cab from the hotel, which dropped me till the hill top. You get a very picturesque view from the hill top. From the parking spot, the temple is at a short distance & you need to climb steps to reach. There are shops lined up on the way selling puja items. If you buy something from there, you can get to keep the shoes for free else you can keep your shoes near  the temple. They charge around 15 bucks (Taaka as they say) to safeguard your shoes. Reasonable if you are going to be in the normal darshan queue as it might take hours. I did not want to spend my time standing in the queue so I opted for the VIP ticket (500 rupees) Do not fall prey to the pandits over there as they would charge double the money.

Apart from flower offerings, people also sacrifice birds and goats as an offering to the Goddess.

Birds for sacrifice 🙁

They have shared taxi services which will take you to the main road from the temple. They charge 10 Rs. per seat. From the main road, I took a private bus (Rs. 20/-) to go back to Paltan Bazar. On my way I spotted Gateway of Assam None of the must visit blogs refer to this place. I regret not getting down to explore the place.

I roamed the market area for a while, drinking in the sights and smells of the place, specially the vegetable market. Was looking for something different than what we get in Mumbai. The laukis were huge in size but the eggplants were long and delicate.

After a sumptuous breakfast, i checked out of the hotel and started my search for a share taxi for Shillong. Full cab charges is 1500 Rs. Ola outstation rentals also provide service from Guwahati to Shillong. Shared cab costs you 300 – 350 Rs.

The distance from Guwahati to Shillong is roughly three hours and the drive is very scenic! You would be tempted to get out of the car and take pictures or just stare at the view, mesmerised.

Shillong: Shillong is a famous hill station and capital of Meghalaya. It is also known as Scotland of the East. The weather in Shillong is pleasant and the air is so clean! It is a joy to walk in and around Shillong as it is a very walk friendly place. I went there end of April and it rained couple of times (not heavy rains, just a drizzle) The temperature drops to 12 – 14 degrees. There is lush greenery all around. Whatever the season, do not forget to carry umbrellas and warm clothes with you.

Police Bazar: Police Bazar, also known as PB, is the heart of the city and a very noisy and crowded place. The shops close down at 9 PM. The office of Meghalaya Travel Corporation is here, where you can book helicopter and bus services to various places. Right across the big building, there is office of Meghalaya Tourist Corporation from where you can get bus / cars for various tourist points. You can also get private cars / Sumos from Police Bazar

Rhino Heritage Museum: Disappointed by the fact that I had to drop my plans for Kaziranga, I was happy to know about this museum. Fun Fact: This museum has nothing to do with Rhino, the animals. It is all about the soldiers of North East, particularly Assam Rifles, who call themselves Rhinos. It is a beautiful tribute to the soldier. There is a silver Rhino outside the museum and a garden with seating area on the backside. There is also a tank placed outside the museum. A pleasant way to spend the evening!

The Bada Bazar (Burra Bazar / Lewduh Market) is nearby but I missed to visit as I had to book the tickets from MTC.

Dawki & Mawlynnong: Dawki & Mawlynnong tour conducted by MTC covers 5 points. Canyon Valley, Living Root Bridge at Riwai village, Mawlynnong, Dawki and the Indo Bangladesh border.

Canyon Rngain Valley View Point: This is also known as the Deep Dark Valley. The view is simply spectacular! Wherever you look, there are green hills and deep valleys!

Living Root Bridge at Riwai Village: Next stop was the living root bridge at Riwai Village. The bridge is a miracle created by man and nature. The roots of the Rubber tree are weaved in such a manner that it creates a natural bridge. The bridge was created to join two villages, which were separated by a river. You need to climb down 200-250 stairs to reach to the bridge from the parking spot. The bridge is delicate and it is advised not to stand on the bridge or click photographs standing on the bridge. You can walk on the bridge though. The way is lined with small shops selling refreshments, berries, bamboo products, support sticks and other paraphernalias. One more fascinating thing was bamboo trash cans (annoying thing – tourists still threw the trash here & there as if the world is their dustbin)

Mawlynnong: Known as the cleanest village in Asia, Mawlynnong was our next stop. It is 2 Kms from the Riwai village. As per the guide, there are 100 houses in the village. There is a person charging 20 bucks to show Bangladesh border from a structure on a private property. Found it funny. Rest of the people had lunch and roamed around the village while I got myself clicked in a typical Khasi dress. The dress is worn by Khasi Hindus during religious functions. The girl asked me where were my friends and was surprised to know I was travelling alone. She didn’t know Hindi nor much English but we still managed to communicate somehow. At that moment, she was my friend. 🙂

Indo Bangladesh Border: From Mawlynnong we moved on to Dawki. By this time you get used to the beauty of the surrounding areas and silently enjoy it. Even with closed eyes you can feel the lush greenery around you! To reach the border, you need to cross bridge on the Umngot River, Dawki. Dawki is between India and Bangladesh. Even part of the Umngot river belongs to Bangladesh. It was really funny to see people excited to go to the Bangladesh border. We crossed the Dawki bridge to go to Tamabil (Bangladesh village near border). The bridge is patrolled and at a time only one vehicle can pass through. It was exciting to see Indian soldiers and the Indian flag and Welcome to India board filled me with a sense of pride! The Muktapur milestone (this side of India) reminded me of Mukti Bahini.

Umngot River: The most beautiful river I have ever seen! The beauty cannot be described in words. We were so enchanted by the river! When the boatman said, the river is muddy right now (the water was clear) and you should come in winter to see the real beauty, we were pleasantly shocked. If the river is so clear right now, how it would be in winter!! There are tenting, fishing and kayaking options available too. You can stay over to enjoy the mesmerizing beauty of the river.

The journey will continue in the next part…

Shillong / Cherrapunji, A glimpse of North East – Part One

It had been a hectic few months and I needed a vacation badly. I booked tickets to Guwahati on my birthday, as a birthday gift to self! Since then I had been planning my itinerary to Shillong. It was supposed to be Sikkim originally though.

In 2017, I was transcribing a docurmentary on Sikkim for a friend and in the process I learnt quite a bit about the state. I had made up my mind to go there for my next vacation. How did I end up in Shillong then? We had Meghalaya day at work for which I did some research and Shillong replaced Sikkim just like that.

While planning my itinerary, I was amazed to know that Nepal and Bhutan were so close to the North East. I mean, you have a general idea but you only realise certain things when you look closely. The distance from Mumbai to North East still did not hit me.

I did no check ins on Facebook. No updates on Instagram or twitter. Not many people knew about my trip. I wanted it to be a social media free trip, a solo travel in the true sense. I had infact deleted all apps (including Outlook – did not want to be bothered by office mails either) But while returning from Shillong, I did check in to Facebook and FB showed me the length of my travel. I shared the pic with my dad.

And then we googled the distance I had travelled. It was 3000 KM! (From the highest point I had travelled, that was Cherrapunji) My dad was amazed that I travelled such a long distance. Though this would not be a big deal for many, consider this, I was not allowed to get in Mulund college & was forced to study in a college in Dombivli because my parents thought I would not be able to travel in train daily. So it *WAS* a big deal for me!

Coming back to my trip..

North East India has always been fascinating for me. Be it the mountains, lakes, culture or history. We have grown up seeing the beauty of the seven sisters, as the north eastern states are fondly called in photographs, movies and documentaries. I was super excited for my trip and kept browsing for places to visit.

This was my final planned itinerary:








I arrived at Guwahati Airport around 1:15 PM. I was welcomed with a glimpse of Assam and it made me look forward to my trip even more!

The departure area has many more pictures depicting Assam. Also, there is a Goodwyn Tea shop from where you can get different types of teas for your friends and there is a handicraft shop, from where I got a gamchha for dad. The sarees are way too expensive though!

View of Saraighat Bridge from air!

Kamakhya Temple – Painting

As I was travelling to the hotel, the first thought was, I am in ASSAM! It was unbelievable! I was in the land of Bhupen Hazarika, Kaziranga National Park and tea plantations! But it was terribly hot & once I reached the hotel, I did not venture out. Just enjoyed lazying in my awesome room! One fantastic fact about Guwahati was that all boards (atleast at the bus stops) are in Assamese. I had to rely on one co-passenger to know where I had to get down. Another fantastic thing is that Ola cabs are easily available in Guwahati.

Guwahati is the common point to go to all the North Eastern states. You can get taxis from the airport for any place you want to go to. In Guwahati itself there are plenty of places to visit. Kamakhya Temple, Brahmaputra River, Umananda Temple, War Cemetry, Saraighat Bridge, etc. Book a hotel in the main market area like Paltan Bazar or GS Road. They are focal points to all the places you may want to visit. There is also a share taxi stand in Paltan Bazar from where you can get a cab to Shillong. (A direct cab ride costs 1500 rupees – Ola outstation works too for going to Shillong) A shared cab may cost 300 – 350 rupees. The cab will drop you at Police Bazar in Shillong.

The drive from Guwahati to Shillong is very scenic and you get to see Lake Umiam (commonly known as Barapani Lake) Sadly, I did not get to take a picture but the view of the lake is breathtaking!

In Paltan Bazar, there is an awesome Oyo Rooms hotel available, Onyx Garden. The ambience was very romantic and there was a mirror on the bathroom door. I just fell in love with the room! The service was very good too. They have varied breakfast options for each day of the week and the morning I was there, it was Aloo Paratha. Quality & quantity totally worth the money!

Police Bazar is the main market area in Shillong. Meghalaya Transport office is also in Police Bazar (Jail Road to be specific) Even though everything would be accessible in Police Bazar, if you want peace & quiet, don’t book your stay here. You can stay in Batti Bazar (Laban)  where I stayed or Laitumkhrah. Both places are around 2.5 KM from Police Bazar. You can get a cab easily from these places to Police Bazar and you can also walk if you wish, taking advantage of the pleasant climate and walk friendly roads.

I stayed in Oyo Homestay in Batti Bazar. It was a decent place and friendly people. I got allotted the best room because I was a solo female traveller :p There were lots of ATMS and shops around. There was also a church (laban presbyterian church) and a school around. It’s more of a residential area, Fun Fact: Swami Vivekananda lived nearby. Unfortunately, I could not have a look of the house he lived in.

View from my room – Woke up to this!

Things I love about hotel rooms – a spacious bed all for myself!

I reached Shillong around 1:30 PM, took a cab to my hotel (50 rupees if you take a “reserved” cab. 10 rupees if you take a shared cab) After freshening up, I went to the Rhino Heritage Museum in Bada Bazar (Lewduh) and then walked towards the Meghalaya Transport Corporation as I had to book tickets for Cherrapunji (I had decided to travel by public transport as much as possible)

The tourist tickets for Shillong / Cherrapunji are available at the Meghalaya Tourist Centre (and not in the main building of MTC) The office is next to Purbashree Emporium (I found it the best place to buy souveniers for friends and family) and Meghalaya Handloom House. The office timings are 7:45 AM to 7 PM in the evening. It is better to book tickets on the previous day. There is also a chance that the trip might get cancelled if there not enough tourists (like the trip to Mawsynram was cancelled as not enough people)

The MTC conducts various tours – Dawki Mawlynnong (500 rupees), Cherrapunji (350 rupees) and Shillong (300 rupees) You can also get cars on hire from them. You can also get private cabs on hire (Plenty of taxi and Sumos near the MTC office) You can share the cab or take one for your own.

Since I was super tired after the Dawki trip, I took a cab next day to explore Shillong. They charge you 1500 rupees for the tour and 2000 if you include Laitlum Canyon.

The day begins very early in the North East. Daylight happens around 4 – 4:30 AM & sunset around 5 PM. The climate is very pleasant and it also rained couple of days I was there. The shops and restaurants close down at around 9 PM. There is a Subway in Police Bazar, You can get north indian chaats and all kind of Indian sweets in the Dilli Mishtaan Bhandar (It is in the lane of Golden Arrow) They do have a seating area, if you want to sit & have a bite. In the morning, you will find lots of tea stalls selling tea and Puri Bhaji. Somehow, didn’t feel like experiencing that. I did find an amazing restaurant in Police Bazar – Madras Cafe. The entry was narrow so I was sceptical, but it is actually a wonderful place for Indian food.

Cherrapunji is rightly the wettest (now second) place on Earth. It is so so beautiful! All you see is mountains, dense trees on the mountains and clouds for miles at stretch. The mountains are peppered with waterfalls. The locals say that the real glory of the waterfalls can be seen from June to August. It rains all times of the year, except for the winter months. It is recommended to stay for couple of days so that you can enjoy the beauty of the place and also can go for the Living Root bridge trekking. Will take atleast 4-5 hours to cover this place.

Even though I was travelling alone, I did not feel lonely. The other tourists on the bus were very friendly and after a while we became one family. When we took a pit stop on the way to Shillong, my purse was locked in the dicky and I wanted to buy a bottle of water. A honeymooning couple let me borrow money to buy it. And they kept asking if I wanted to buy fruits or chips. Once when we got lost in the Mawlynnong village, a South Korean woman (who was also travelling alone) went to search for me and when I wanted to do boating in the Dawki River (They rent the boat and do not take single passengers), one uncle gave up his place in the boat they had already hired so that I can enjoy the boating (I did pay my share of fare though). I also got lots of admiration from fellow travellers and locals when they came to know I was travelling alone & I had come all the way from Mumbai. Most of the tourists are from West Bengal or Guwahati.

As my sisters said, travelling alone is liberating and you get a chance to discover yourself!

Here’s to more travels, more experiences and many more stories to share!!

Forget Me Not

They tricked destiny for a chance dalliance. But soon they had to part ways. He was not strong enough to stay, she was not weak enough to ask him to.

Years passed by. Both wondered. Does he/she think about me? Does he/she misses me? Does something triggers his/her memory and brings on a sweet but sharp pain in the heart?

And then they realised, of course. The love that they shared could not be so easily forgotten. They were not brought together due to some tragedy or need of the hour. They were attracted to each other only because of their own selves. With each moment of togetherness, they had planted a little bit of their own being into the other.

They would live forever in each other. The songs, the nicknames, the food, the spices, the laughter and the tears, the fights and the love would always make them miss  like one misses a lost limb. And the sweet,  sharp pain in the heart? That was theirs too forever!! 

I am not poetry

I am not poetry.

I am not a leaf to curl and tremble
I am not the pretty flower you want me to resemble
I am neither the star to shine and sparkle
I am not honey nor a cookie to crumble
I am not poetry.

I am a storm which makes dust fly
I am the spice which makes people cry
I am a thorn which will prick your eye
I am a scorn you won’t forget even if you try
I am not the calm, I am the chaos you don’t want to pry

I am not poetry.

Top Posts 2017

One more year goes by and the regret of not writing as much as I should lingers. In 2017 I did have so much to write about. Well, here’s hoping 2018 is a much better year and also the year where I finally finish writing my book.

My top posts of 2017:

A Walk To Remember: A rainy July morning, two best friends and beautiful nature for company.         It will always be a walk to remember by!

❣ Will You Read My Book?: A fiction inspired by someone’s wish tweet. I hope it gets fulfilled some         day!

 Mourning: This was a much commented post. This one is so close to my heart!

 Wine in a Teacup: Based on a writing prompt. This was appreciated too by my tiny circle of                   readers.

❣ Delhi: An old fascination, an impromptu travel plan. Read about a Mumbai girl’s experiences in           the capital city!

❣ Closure: Have you ever waited for an apology and being forgiven instead? This phenomenon is           more common than I imagined. Fiction, based on a true experience.

❣ Panic Mode On: Written in the aftermath of the Elphinstone Road stampede.

❣ Game of Thrones: I was fascinated by Game of Thrones, the books as well as the series and then I read the Mughal series by Alex Rutherford. The similarities would blow your mind!

❣ Red Herring: I loved writing this. I think this is one of my most underrated posts.

Smrutichitre – Not a book review

I read a lot of books but I rarely review them. Sometimes a book touches me so much that I am compelled to write something about it.

I came across Smrutichitre via a fellow book lover’s Insta feed. It is a memoir of Laxmibai Tilak (not to be confused with any relative of Lokmanya Tilak). I remembered we had a chapter in Marathi textbook, where she adopts a poor girl (she thinks she is an orphan but actually her parents sell her off to get some relief from their poverty) I had to read the book and it was available in the e-book format from BookGanga (The quality of ebook is not so good and also Kindle has spoiled us to expect user friendly reading) Coming back to the memoirs, Laxmibai Tilak was the wife of Narayanrao Wamanrao Tilak, who had converted to Christianity. The reasons for conversion are never explained but one of the reasons could be the caste discrimination. Tilak was a Hindu Brahmin and I think he did not like the way Shudras were treated. Another reason being he actually fell for the charms of Jesus courtesy the missionaries he came across during his travels.

Laxmibai Tilak stayed apart from her husband for years post his conversion. However, inspite of their marriage being arranged, the love between them was so strong and true, they reunited and Laxmibai herself converted to Christianity. They both dedicated their life to serving the poor and needy.

The most fascinating thing about the memoirs is that it covers the period between  1860 to 1920. This was the period where the freedom struggle had started (though there is hardly any mention about it in the memoirs) It is interesting to know the customs that prevailed during those times, the struggle people faced while travelling even a short distance, within Maharashtra, the poverty which made people take drastic steps, like selling / abandoning their children, the drought, the plague, so on and so forth!

Even though Laxmibai was not much educated (whatever she learnt was due to her husband’s influence) she has done a good job in penning down this book. It is written straight from the heart. It does get tedious and monotonous at times.

If you can understand Marathi, I would recommend you to read this in the original format, to get the flavour of the language that was prevalent then. Otherwise you can go for the English translation.

Books of 2017

Just counted the books I have read in 2017 & I can’t believe the number is 158! This does not include the Complete works of Sherlock Holmes, Oscar Wilde, Jane Austen, Treasure Island & Overcoat (a short story by Gogol) which I re-read this year. As far as books are concerned, 2017 has been a fortunate year. Books have been my best friends. They distracted me from the hell I was going through in my life & also gave me company during sleepless nights. I also discovered some really amazing authors thanks to Amazon’s pocket friendly deals! Can you believe I got the Nobel prize winning book only for 40 bucks? The 9, 29 & 39 deals have been such a blessing for a book hoarder like me! 😀

The most fascinating read of the year is A Song of Ice & Fire. I was not a Game of Thrones fan, infact I didn’t understand what the hoopla was all about. But after I read the book, I got hooked. I read all the 5 books of the series and watched all the 7 seasons of the show (Thanks to Hotstar) And I am now eagerly awaiting The Winds of Winter (GRRM, hurry please!)

As usual, the genres of books was a mixed bag – Autobiographies, Chick-Lits, History, Mythology and General Fiction (Kids and Adults)

Autobiographies / Memoirs: I loved reading An unsuitable boy by Karan Johar. It was interesting to read about his childhood. His memoir was full of emotions and drama, as expected. I also loved Khullam Khulla by Rishi Kapoor, mainly because it included the behind the scenes stories of much loved movies. I would include Tuesdays with Morrie in this list as it is a kind of a memoir. It has been a fabulous read, specially since I relate to the way of life of Morrie. When breath becomes air by Paul Kalanithi was again an outstanding read. Anyone who has suffered from cancer / has a loved one suffering from cancer can totally relate to this. What moved me to tears was afterword by his wife. His being an Indian was also a revelation to me.

Chick-Lits: The good ones were – Busy Woman Seeks A Wife, In Your Shoes, Good In Bed, Little EarthQuakes (Jennifer Weiner is a new favourite) Sophie Kinsella disappointed with Remember Me (Rip off of 13 going on 30) & Swimming Pool Sunday. My not so perfect life was just like busy woman seeks a wife. The Summer Season had a superb plot but was ruined by rubbish writing. The Zoya Factor was okayish, not at the level of Those Pricey Thakor Girls. So was the Boy is Back by Meg Cabot. But the worst book in this category was the Mango Season by Amulya Malladi.

Classics: None of the books in this category disappointed. All were good reads. Catch 22, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Daughter In Law (DH Lawrence), Jude, the Obscure & The Cider House Rules (yes, the movie is based on this book)

Fantasy: I have already talked about the Song of Ice & Fire. Another fascinating read was Chronicles of Narnia. I loved the Magician’s nephew the best in the series and found The Last Battle a bit abrupt. Good read for young adults. I found The Scion of Ikshvaku a bit boring when I first started reading but then I held on and it turned out to be quite interesting. The concept is in continuation of the Meluha series. I loved the character of Sita very much! Not a docile princess but a true life partner of Ram! I had bought A Boy in Akka when I had visited Lotus Temple in Delhi. It provided a good insight on how the Bahai religion came into being.

Kids & Young Adults: No shame in admitting that I love this genre. I read Best Friends, Eight Keys, Rikki Tikki Tavi, The Best of Ruskin Bond, The Fairy & the lost wing (this was just to know what to read to babies) were all good reads. But the best of the lot was A complete collection of Grimms Fairy Tales. I was reading from the angle of retelling it to kids and nothing more has horrified me more. The stories are misogynistic to say the least, where girls are only supposed to look pretty and get kissed by strangers and marriage is the be all and end all of their life. Also, i did not like how kids are being brain washed against step mothers. Not all step mothers are evils as depicted in the fairy tales. We need to popularise more humanist stories for kids. I will include A cure for laziness by Sudha Murthy here. By the title, I actually assumed it had a cure for laziness, but it’s just a folk tale retelling. So much disappointed!

Regional: To my disappointment, not many regional books did I read during the year. Whatever I read was brilliant though! Thag by R. V. Desai, Pather Panchali (Hindi translation), Chitra by Tagore & Chinta by Mahashweta Devi!

Perry Mason: I read 85 books of Perry Mason, written by Erle Stanley Gardner. Simple pleasure, nothing else! The books get predictive if read at a go.

History: Except for Kashi Ka Assi, which was grossly one sided, everything else in this category was brilliant! Train to Pakistan – a fictionalised version of what happened during Pakistan gave me nightmares. Can’t even imagine what people would have gone through! Only for a little bit of land!! The Last Mughal & City of Djinns by William Darlymple fuelled my fascination for Delhi. Alex Rutherford series on Mughals (6 books) were also equally brilliant, though a fictionalised version of history. I only wish I had read these books before I visited Delhi & Agra.

Short Stories: The short stories of Leo Tolstoy (Two Wise Girls, The Imp’s Crust, etc), The Door on the wall & other stories, A Storehouse of Tales (by Indian Women Writers), Bijnis Woman (Real life anecdotes by Tanuja Chandra), Tell Tale (Jeffrey Archer’s latest) were all brilliant reads! Three Thousand Stitches was partly okayish, partly interesting.

Fiction / Novels: Most amazing books were read in this category. The bastard of Istanbul, A Man Called Ove, The Remains of the Day, Never Let Me Go & finally Room! All are must read. Before we visit the Goddess was also quite good & so was Beyond Indigo. Adultery by Paulo Coelho came in my life just when I was looking for answers to some difficult questions, hence it really touched me.

Apart from all these books, I did read Indian Super Foods by Rujuta Diwekar. It was quite interesting yet somehow did not meet expectations.

Target for next year: 200 books! Because..




Degree, Pedigree and all that Jazz!

I recently started watching the American TV series Suits again after a break of couple of years. The plot  revolves around Harvard educated lawyers and amongst them is one black sheep, who is brilliant at what he does, but does not have a Harvard degree. Apart from breaking the law (practising law without a degree), the more important thing is that the law firm hires “only” Harvard Law Graduates. And they are quite snobbish about it. As Louis Litt says, he does not want to impure their sanctum with people who have not studied in Harvard.

This does not happen only in TV shows or movies. As they say art reflects real life. While hiring people, recruiters give importance to education and what alma mater he belongs to. People graduating from eminent institutes are given preference over others. No doubt, the quality of education might be better in those institutes, but it does not guarantee that the candidate will perform better than the ones belonging to lesser known institutes. In Gujarati we have a saying that “Bhantar karta Gantar chadhe” What you have learnt in life is more important than what degrees you have.

Sadly, people get blinded by the superficiality. Take the case of Rahul Gandhi vs Narendra Modi. Rahul Gandhi is supposedly Harvard educated (he got in Harvard due to quota system (with or without donation) and then was moved to another college in Florida (apparently due to security reasons), where he completed his graduation. While Narendra Modi is not much educated (his degrees are debatable) and the opposition feels proud in mocking him to be a chai wala (he used to work in his uncle’s canteen). It does not matter that under Rahul’s leadership, the Congress has failed again and again to regain it’s lost glory and Narendra Modi has an experience of being Chief Minister of Gujarat for 22 years and won majority in Loksabha in 2014 due to his excessive campaigning.

Rahul Gandhi has been an MP of Amethi (Gandhi’s homeground) and avoided losing to Smriti Irani just by a whisker in 2014. He has been active in politics since 2004 and has held various positions in the INC and affiliated parties / organization but he has no achievements to show for his more than a decade long political career. The only reason he is being promoted as the next Prime Minister of India is because of the surname Gandhi. Even in his political campaigns he comes across as an immature individual who is just interested in taking jibes at the opposition.

Narendra Modi on the other hand has been involved in politics since a young age and the work he does is for all to see. (Not a Bhakt, but I do see him working relentlessly towards India’s development – My only grouse with him at the moment is that he exaggerates in his speeches and does not stop his own people from goofing up)

It is a sorry state of affairs that someone is awestruck by Rahul Gandhi because he is “Harvard educated” and ashamed that the country’s PM is a chai wala. Whatever you have against Modi, at least you should be proud of the fact that your country gives someone a opportunity to rise against the odds. That a mere canteen wala boy can be a Prime Minister of your country one day. A bus conductor can become a famous movie star and earn love of crores of people globally. Tiffin Carriers can become a case study in Harvard. College drop outs can become entrepreneurs.

Unless and until we change this attitude, how are we going to tell our kids that marks don’t matter? How are we going to stop kids from killing themselves because they fell few marks short of the cut off percentage? So let’s stop being snobbish about the education and degrees and instead give importance to the knowledge and skills of a person.

Red Herring

She entered the park at her usual time. It was 4.30 PM. A time where the sun was less harsh and the kids were yet to fill the park with their pandemonium. There were the usual suspects present though. A couple who worked at a nearby office came here regularly to spend time with each other. She had grown quite fond of them. And then there was Sheela, a modern age mother, who wanted her kids to play in the fresh air before they were packed off to one activity or other. There was also a group of cooks and maids who had a daily gossip session around this time before they got loaded with work again, once their employers returned from work.

She spotted a new entrant in the park today. There was an old lady on a wheelchair, who was moved around the park by a 15 year old girl. She would talk to them once she got settled on her regular bench. She loved to talk to strangers and listen to their stories. They fascinated more than books. Not that she loved books any less. Stories were her world. Whether in her books or outside of them. Maybe because God had forgotten to give her a story of her own!

With all this thoughts running in her mind, she approached her usual bench. From here she could see the entire park and their inhabitants. They were at a comfortable distance. She could observe them without making them seem intrusive. Her eyes glimpsed a red object on the bench. It was a picture of a gorgeous Red Herring over a white background. The contrast made the cover more attractive. The title of the book as well as the cover tempted her like a beautiful girl tempts a man. She couldn’t wait to take that book in her hands. Touch it, feel it, smell it (it did look brand new & she loved the smell of new books) She hesitated for a moment though. Looking for someone who looked like they might have kept their book here. Forgotten maybe. Suddenly she remembered an article she had read about an international book club. They were in town to place books for the book lovers. Playing Santa for the bibliophiles! She was ecstatic with joy! She sat on the bench, kept her purse aside and took the book in her hand. She caressed the spine and felt the cover with her soft hands. She smelled the book but it felt weird. It wasn’t the typical new book smell. Confused, she opened the book. As soon as she opened the book, a blast shook the whole park. People in the vicinity, including the old lady, flew in the air. When they reached the ground, they had turned into dead bodies.

She had died what she loved doing. Smelling new books. Sadly, she died without knowing it.

Panic Mode: On

Panic to reach office on time. Panic to catch the regular train because your group is in the train. Panic that few minutes delay to office will have an additional mark against your career. Panic that if you reach office late, you will have to stay back and miss your regular train going back home. Panic that the rains might delay the delayed trains further. Panic that the trains may stop midway and you would be stuck inside for hours without water / food. Panic because you would need to pee. Panic because the electricity might give away. Panic that there would be some goons stopping the trains and you would be stuck. Panic that your boss won’t believe your excuse of trains being late for yet another day because he never has travelled in a train.

Yesterday a stampede at Elphinstone Road station in Mumbai resulted in death of 22 people and quite a few were left injured. One of the dead people was a colleague of my brother in law. Just thinking about it shudders me. The memories of me being pushed out of the train and being walked over came rushing back. This has happened twice with me, making me paranoid about travelling in local trains during peak hours. I am fortunate enough to work in the afternoon shift when the crowd is bearable. And on some days when I have to reach office early, I can afford to take a cab (My office being 40 kilometers away from home, cabs are not that cheap for daily transport)

Mumbai, with all its unbelievably high real estate prices, high cost of living, slums, filth, crowd has been a people puller. Blame it on Bollywood or being marketed as a city of dreams. The result is the city bursting at the seams. unlike Delhi or Pune, Mumbai can not be expanded through all the directions. It can only be expanded vertically. The suburbs of Mumbai, which should technically end at Mulund (Central Railway) are now extended till Karjat / Khopoli. People travel for 5-6 hours daily for work. Local trains in that sense are a lifeline. They are faster and cheaper than roadways. But they also come with their own set of problems. Congestion in trains, foot-over bridges and on platforms, which by the way is not unique to Mumbai. Every major station all over the world faces this problem.

Earlier we had 9 car trains, which were extended to 12 cars and now we have 15 car trains. The number of compartments have increased but so has the crowd. Earlier there were definite periods of time where you could get the local train comparatively empty. Now the chances are very dismal. Railways have introduced mega blocks on Sunday (making travelling on a Sunday a harrowing experience) The trains are delayed most of the times, atleast by 10-15 minutes daily. Travelling becomes all the more frustrating and hence the stupid fights for a little space. Read more about it here:  An unforgettable scar!

The government should think of introducing alternate faster and cheaper ways of transport (point to point) and giving incentives to companies to have their offices in the suburbs. When most people are travelling from Thane & beyond, why can’t some offices be in Badlapur / Ambernath? The crowd can be spread out that way. They are already working on the metro lines, which would definitely help ease the pressure on local trains. It would also help if we have more work from home options and flexible hours.

But as citizens, we also have some responsibilities, which we conveniently forget.

Do not throw trash on the railway tracks. Carry a bag with you and dispense when bins are available.

Use the foot-over bridges and do not cross the tracks.

If people have fallen down, do not walk over them. Be considerate. (It’s a shame that otherwise helpful Mumbaikars become monsters when travelling in locals)

Have some discipline. Know that everyone is in a hurry to reach their destination.

Don’t spread rumours / panic. Keep Calm and switch off the Panic Mode.

Things are changing, unfortunately not with the speed we require / wish for. But we need to change too.

Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones is a HBO show, based on the Song of Ice & Fire series by George RR Martin. Though post Season 5, the show is moving on it’s own direction. Call it Fanfic, if you will.

When the show had first started airing, I was very skeptical about the hype. I caught couple of episodes, which were full of violence & nudity. Not to my taste, I left it at that.

Recently, out of curiosity I started reading the book A song of ice & fire & boy was I hooked! I read all the books in the series – A Song of Ice & Fire, Clash of the Kings, A Storm of Swords & Dance of Dragons – 5 books in all, with two books having 2 parts. I also watched all the 7 seasons of the show. The level of obsession is such that all my Quora & FB feeds are full of Game of Thrones references, fanfic, jokes & memes! I also designed a presentation for work with the theme of GOT (as Game of Thrones is lovingly called) I do not do anything half heartedly, you see! :p

After my recent visit to Delhi & reading books by William Darlymple, I am also very much fascinated with Delhi, Agra & Mughal Architecture. Someone recommended me to read Alex Rutherford series on Mughals because of this. And I don’t know if I have a hangover of GOT, or was George RR Martin inspired by the Mughals as well (I knew he was inspired by the War of Roses) or people in the medieval era were just the same.

The Mughal Era is also full of violence, incest, homosexuality, kinslaying and kingslaying. You can see lots of nuances of GOT characters in the Mughal princes, Kings & Queens.

Timur Lang was definitely the Mad King. Babur & Baburi (Baburi was a companion *ahem* of Babur and Babri Masjid, yes, the controversial one, is named after Baburi) can be Robert Baratheon & Ned Stark or can also be Renly Baratheon & Loras Tyrell. I can also see hints of Jon Snow in the young Babur. There is a hint of incestuous relationship between Shahjehan & his elder daughter JahanAra (there goes the romance out of Taj Mahal) like the incestuous relationship between Cersei & Jamie Lannister. Tyrion (I hate to do this) was hated by Tywin, so was Aurangzeb hated by Shahjehan.

Also, there is Shaybani Khan, a Uzbek ruler, who Babur could never defeat. His name means Obsidian. And *hold your breath* what does obsidian do in GOT?? Kills the white walkers!

Normal Obsidian

Dagger made of Obsidian


I also found Shaybani Khan’s character quite similar to Khal Drogo & the Dothrakis. He even marries Babur’s sister like Drogo marries Daenerys.  I could go on & on about this! I am so fascinated by all the similarities that I HAD to write a post about it! Wait, is this how fanfiction gets written??


Delhi has always fascinated me. It is a place which exudes power. After all the fates of a billion odd people is decided by a handful of men in Delhi. Apart from that fact, Delhi has more or less been the centre of power, especially since the invasion of Mughals. Delhi is also known for its fabulous architecture. Delhi is rich in history and culture (Yes, I am a Mumbai girl and no, I do not hate Delhi) Also, Delhi 6 (a movie by Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra) had fuelled the desire to visit this city.

Though I love experiencing new places, I have not travelled much. I had decided to change that fact and planned to travel as much as possible. There had been a one odd weekend trip to Pune in 2015 and after that life was a bit messy and the travel plans were on hold again. This year, I got an opportunity to visit Delhi. It was an impulsive decision. Due to twitter, I have made good friends all over the country and also outside it. While planning the trip to Delhi I realised so many friends in Delhi!

I got a good break during the Easter holidays & to everyone’s surprise, I landed in Delhi. It was supposed to be horribly hot. Not gonna deny it. The heat was horrible indeed & I had to keep guzzling water. As a result, could not taste much of the famous food of Delhi.

It was a good experience meeting all the friends from the online world. But it was more satisfying to actually be in the place you only heard about or read about.

When you look out of the plane in Mumbai, you can see only shanties / slums. In Delhi I could see lots of cars (which looked like ants crawling in search of food) and lots of lights. The proverbial Bling Capital! 😉

The first step out of the airport in itself was mesmerising. The air was filled with scent of the trees. This continued till the end of the cantonment area.

The roads are very good in the national capital (the reason is obvious in the statement) Also, lots of greenery. The people on road are very rude though and there does not exist words like Excuse me, Please or Sorry. Everybody behaves like they are the king of Delhi. There was a lack of common courtesy and no care about fellow beings. Only in Delhi you could find this kind of notice. (The top line says do not molest women, nor let anyone molest women) Truly the sign of being an unsafe city for women. One thing that also fascinated me was super connected metro lines. This is the best way to travel in Delhi. The metros are connected to almost all the historical places in Delhi.

The most beautiful place in Delhi is the Humayun Tomb. I had seen pictures before and was in awe of the structure. The Taj Mahal is supposed to be inspired by Humayun’s tomb. Apart from Humayun’s tomb, the entire enclosure also includes smaller monuments, like Isa Khan’s tomb. Read more about it here: Humayun’s Tomb 

It did feel creepy to take pics of the tomb. The place is very beautiful though and you can get lost in it for hours.

Next Stop: Lotus Temple. It is one of the best designed buildings of the current century. The lotus shape fills you with awe. I also got to learn about the Bahai religion.

I also wanted to visit Akshardham Temple, another architecture marvel, but didn’t have the stamina to go through all the security rigmarole.

In the evening I visited India Gate. Nothing exciting though, Gateway of India is much much better than this place. You should visit for the Soldiers memorial though. The experience was surely humbling!

Visited the Sarojini Market for some fabulous earrings but was disappointed. Had thought to gather a loot at throwaway prices. We get better stuff in our local markets in Mumbai. Even the clothes we get at Linking Road / Fashion Street / Colaba are much better than this market. Anyway had great fun at Haldiram’s enjoying all the northern goodies!

The evening turned out to be a lot better! Spotted Bangla Sahib but couldn’t visit due to time restrictions. Next time for sure!

And then finally I was in Delhi 6! That means Chandni Chowk, Red Fort & Jama Masjid. You can not imagine my excitement! i was like a kid in a candy shop! I got to know the story of sheesh ganj and rakab ganj gurudwara. You can read about it here: Sis Ganj It was enthralling to move in the lanes of Chandni Chowk. Spotting Red Fort (I did not know that Red Fort was so near to Chandni Chowk) Jama Masjid! The best part  of the evening was a visit to Mirza Ghalib’s Haveli!

As explained above, couldn’t sample the famous food of Delhi inspite of being in Chandni Chowk and near to Parathewali Gali. I did get to sample aloo tikki, gol gappas and the very famous Jaleba! Also had one of the best momos & Fruit Beer at Dilli Haat.

Post my visit to Delhi, I read William Darlymple’s Last Mughal and realised how many more places I had to visit. Someday again for sure!

I know the title of this post says Delhi but I do need to add something about Agra as well.

I had kept one day entirely for Agra. The Taj Mahal, Agra Fort & Fatehpur Sikri were on my mind. Also shopping for Pethas! I just love them *multiple heart eyes* Had to skip Fatehpur due to time constraints. Instead got to meet a very lovely tweep from Agra, who taught me how to sit on a bike / scooty!!

What to say about the Taj? Words fail at it’s beauty. It is definitely one of the most beautiful monument in the world! So mesmerising! You have to see it to believe it. The Agra fort is very beautiful as well! Exploring the fort was an enriching experience!

View from Agra Fort

Some places can not be explored in 4 days, 3 nights kind of travel. Delhi / Agra are those kind of cities. It was truly an awesome experience, which I would like to go through again. Au Revoir!

Friendship has no gender!

Some years back, this thought was very prevalent ” A man and a woman can never be friends” I do not know the origin of this quote, but movies like When Harry Met Sally & Maine Pyaar Kiya did have a huge hand in promoting it. The premise being there would always be sexual tension between a man and a woman and hence there would never be pure, platonic friendship.

I am sure this thought was promoted by a very sex hungry, pervert male, who could never see a woman as a human being but only as a sex object. It could also be promoted by pervert people who are gossip hungry.

It is very much possible for a man and woman to be “just” friends without having sexual desires for each other. There would be countless examples of it for sure.

While we are still absorbing the truth of this, someone came up with a new thought. A woman can never be friends with another woman. Reason? Women are jealous creatures and can not see well being of another woman. This is a man just being misogynistic and probably never been surrounded with women who are great friends with each other, women who understand what are the challenges of being a woman. As I often say, men and women are not a grain of cooked rice. You cannot generalise by the state of one grain.

And a woman has not only agreed but also quotes this thought as wise. Because it is easy to say you are jealous of me hence we can’t be friends rather than I don’t have female friends because I am a selfish bitch who thinks every woman in this world is out to steal my man.

Out of context, it is also said that a woman is the biggest enemy of a woman. Nope, when a woman is being assholish to another woman, there is a power play behind it and gender has nothing to do with it. A woman after all is a human being and she can have as many flaws as a man has and has no need to be a saint.

Point? Everybody can be friends with everybody. Unless you are an asshole. Also, a discord between two female friends does not mean there is no discord between friends of opposite gender. So stop the gender abuse. TYVM.

This post is dedicated to all the lovely female friends I have. You enrich my life!!


She was waiting for him to say those three words. She imagined that for all the humiliation she had faced, all the insinuations and accusations, maligning of her love, her intentions, those heart piercing mean words, she deserved atleast an apology. I am sorry. That’s all she asked for.

And once those words were uttered, she would forgive him. Things would be back to normal. Her heart would be free of the burden she was carrying.

She looked towards the sky and sighed. She spotted a movement on the road. It was the postman coming towards their house. She wondered who would have sent them a letter. In this digital era, no one even bought newspapers anymore.

The bell rang & she opened the door with hundreds of questions on her mind. The postman handed her an envelope. The address on it was handwritten and the writing was familiar.

She shut the door with a slam, hurrying to open the envelope. She removed the letter with trembling hands. It was him, she knew. He would not have had the courage to say those words. To accept he was wrong, to accept he was mean. To write would have been easy for him. She thought of how she would react to his words. She began reading the letter. Love, that’s how he addressed her, made her heart jump.

She could not believe the words that followed. Her heart stopped at those three words, “I forgive You”.

And she started laughing hysterically. She understood he never realised he hurt her. He would always remain what he was. A self-centred egoistical bastard. And this, was her closure.

Wine in a Teacup

He knew her from afar. She was a fair maiden. Delicate, fragile. To be handled with care. She was dainty, elegant. A sweet smile lingered on her face always. People’s faces brightened when they looked at her. She was always adorned with flowers. She would make a pretty decorative wife, he thought.

He knew her like one knows their own soul. She was dainty from outside but strong from within. She was heady, intoxicating. She was stimulating. To the eyes as well to the mind. When you wrapped your hands around her, she would give you warmth like a bearskin on a cold, wintry night. She would be a comfort to have in youth and she would grow better with age. Just like wine.

She was a teacup, one thought. She was wine, thought the other.

One more chance

What is born, dies one day. Be it living beings or relationships.

There are numerous quotes, philosophies and books on the cycle of life and death.

It is said that the most surprising thing about human beings is that they live like they will never die. Human beings also live like their loved ones are not going to die either. In this process, we take everyone for granted. And one day, death calls them, to make them it’s own. And when they leave, we are left wanting. Wanting one more chance.

One more chance to meet them

One more chance to hug them

One more chance to talk to them

One more chance to love them

But there would be no more chances. They have gone. Leaving a huge void in our heart, in our life. Every death brings us a lesson to value the living more but we value it only till the pyre burns (श्मशान वैराग्य we call it). For once, maybe we will learn the lesson better. Don’t wait for death to realise the value of your loved ones.


She checked today’s date & sighed. Her periods were now delayed by a week.

What if she was pregnant? She thought. And it made her smile.

She closed her eyes and reveled in what she thought was her near future.

A tiny baby was growing in her womb. Her face was glowing with happiness.

She couldn’t wait to see the sonogram of tiny hands and tiny feet, a content face with closed eyes.

She couldn’t wait to talk to her baby. Hope it would be a girl. She wouldn’t mind a baby boy either.

Maybe it was a boy who would look like his father.

She would have to inform him about the baby and that thought disturbed her. What if he disowned the baby?

And then she thought about her parents. How would they face society’s endless questions?

However modern Indians were, an unwed mother would always be a stigma on society.

She started making plans on how she would handle this situation & drifted off to sleep.

Next morning, she woke up with cramps hurting her belly. The Red Devil had visited her.

She mourned the loss of the baby she would never be able to hold in her arms.

Love is all we need

All we need is love right? If we love each other, we can overcome all difficulties, all problems, all crisis, right didi? she asked with wonder in her beautiful eyes.

Didi would know. After all she had married for love, inspite of jiju not being so rich, not fulfilling their parents criteria of a perfect husband.

Her didi looked at her, started saying something and stopped herself. She is young right now. She looks at the world with rosy eyes. In some years, life will teach her that love is not that pink she imagines it to be. Love is not the answer to everything. Just like it taught her.

She was crazy about him and had the same views about love as her baby sister. He was still struggling and getting by. Marrying him would mean sacrificing all the luxuries of life she was used to. Yet, it did not stop her. Love will take care of everything, she thought. And it did initially. As years passed by, life started becoming mundane. There was space for everything but love. The face he used to praise to the moon had started becoming boring for him. There were subtle and not so subtle hints of another woman. There was no romance left in their life. Her thirst for intimacy had drawn her to another man’s arms.

Yes sweetie, she replied. All is required is love, she smiled and hugged her baby sister.

Will you read my book?

He was tired of seeing the same crap dished out by the movie industry. There were so many new stories to be told in so many new ways! Only once in a while there would rise a director from the mediocrity and give hope to genuine movie lovers. Movie lovers who were sick of the love stories or the vendetta stories. There would be stories of a little boy lost in the jungle or the story of a girl enchanted by an umbrella. There would be classics enacted on the big screen, reviving the era of glamour and opulence! There would be stories of horror, of a gory mudereress. The stories of ordinary people, ordinary things, told in an extraordinary way! Making heroes out of commoners!

He was the one who could make his stories reach to everyone, in a way that they delighted everyone, at the same time scaring the daylights out of them! With this hope, he sent his book of horror stories to this famous director. It was 5 years since then. Not a word from the director. The director would be bombarded with manuscripts, he thought. No chance for an ordinary writer like me! He gave up on the dream of watching his stories unfold on the big screen.

He used to go from office to office to showcase his work, getting rejected mostly & getting false hopes a few times. One day, a legend spotted his talent and gave him an opportunity to work with him. Rest as they say, was history. He was a successful writer and director now and his movies were reason of envy for many. He continued getting scripts from hundreds of people, begging him to look at their work and somehow make them famous too. Usually his assistant dumped most of the scripts in the bin & saved the best amongst the lot. Today, he was looking at the saved scripts and books. He was looking for something fresh, something different. His movies were getting predictable & he wanted to change that. While browsing, he came across this book. It was a compilation of spooky horror stories. He kept reading the book. The writer was not famous. Infact, this was his only published work. The tales of macabre were interesting to say the least. As he finished, he exclaimed, Yes! This is going to be my new movie! He didn’t wait for his assistant & sent an email to the writer immediately. He was a nobody too once. He owed it to himself to make another nobody a somebody!


Perfect Marriage

She looked out the window as she stirred the curry. The sound of the basketball hitting the ground was like music to her ears. Her son had inherited her love for the game and it was a bliss to watch father and son bond like this. Her efforts had paid off finally!

They were watching the NBA finals few months back and cheering on their favourite team. Her glance fell on the husband’s crestfallen face. She knew he was bothered about the growing distance between him and their son. She resolved she would do something about it. The ongoing game gave her an idea. When her husband was at work, she got the hoop installed in the verandah. A little nudge and a push was all it took and father and son started playing basketball regularly. They had started talking more and she could feel the happy vibes between them.

A loud thumping sound brought her back to the present. She watched the game and wish she could also play. She was a pretty good player in college, participating in national level tournaments. Marriage and a kid had changed everything for her though. With a wistful sigh, she continued with her cooking. The boys would be famished by now, she rightly thought.

He went to collect the ball which had fallen near the kitchen window. The aroma of the curry filled his nose. He looked at his wife and stared admiringly. She was lost in thoughts, unaware of someone staring at her.

Next Sunday after breakfast, husband announced: Today, I am going to cook lunch and you both will play basketball.

A huge smile spread on her face. This is what a perfect marriage was after all!


Turning 40!

2017 is here & the time to turn 40 for me (happened last week 😉 ) I won’t say I wasn’t dreading this day. Not because I am getting older but because I do not want people to fit me in some box. And to everyone who says I do not look 40:

I am sure you must have read (or seen) countless such posts like this. Reflections on turning 40 or what you should have done before turning 40 or how life will be post 40.

So what does turning 40 mean to me? Nothing. Seriously. And not because age is just a number. I do not know how I am supposed to feel at forty. I am healthier and fitter than ever (yeah yeah relatively). I have never been more clear about what I want in life. In fact never been more happier to be alive. I can safely say that my parents and family would be proud of me of whoever I am now. And that has been my biggest achievement in life. From a nobody to a somebody.

If you count age by experiences, I am still so young! I have so much to experience. So many places to see, so much food to eat, so many people to love and so many lives to inspire!

I have lost a decade of my life to depression, being a recluse and not knowing what to do with my life generally. I say that was my period of hibernation. Those years I have not lived, should not be counted at all! The things that I “should” have done before turning 40, I can very well do now. Who’s stopping me?

And how will be my life post 40? Getting more fabulous with each passing day! I have just begun to live my life to the fullest. I will get fitter, take care of my health and my family, buy a house, write books, get published, be famous, cook more, travel more, meet more people, find my true love <3 There is no limit to my ambitions! This is me folks! Meet you at Fantastic @ 50 😉



Top Posts 2016

2016 has been a very disappointing year in many ways. Mostly I feel sad that I haven’t written as much as I should. However, there were certain posts which I liked, compiled here for reference.

Dress to Impress Yourself: A famous blogger / writer wrote about how fat people should not wear leggings, tight dresses, yada yada yada. This post presents a counter view.

The Forbidden Temple: Forcing entry for women in Shani Temple created quite a furore last year.

Goa – Beyond Partying, Boozing and Sea Food: Best part of 2016. A vacation with parents.

Call me Fat, Maybe?: After Vogue did a photo shoot with plus sized models, comments on twitter flew, pathetic to nasty.

Ebooks: The year I discovered the joys of e books! 😀 (Free free free)

Write Away: In May 2016, I ran a contest to encourage writing. Check out posts with the tag Write Away. The best & most liked was: A letter to my not-yet-adopted Baby

Spare Tampons Anyone?: Inspired by yet another debate on twitter 😉

No means No!: Yet another inspired post, this time by a movie.

A Walk to Remember

What do you do when you have an amazing company, fabulous rains and a will to explore the city beyond cafes, restaurants and air conditioned malls? (Specially when you are living in the godforsaken place called Dombivli)

You plan an impromptu trip to Yeor hills. You have no clue what you will find there. You have only heard about leopards being spotted or about the wonderful waterfalls.

Yeor hills is a part of Sanjay Gandhi National Park, located in Thane. (Insist on going by the meter from Thane station, we paid double of what the fare ought to be) The autos / cars / bikes are allowed inside but the real charm is in walking all the way to the top of the village.

It was drizzling nicely when we started the walk and it started pouring heavily as we inched further towards Yeor village. The raincoat and umbrella were barely protecting us. The climb was not very steep, except for a single patch. It was so nice to get drenched in the rains to the core, experiencing a much pleasant weather and looking at all the flora (fauna was hiding from us because of the rains I guess) The best thing we experienced was that we had left all the negativity behind us and we carried only a sense of wonder. It was unbelievable that such beauty exists amidst the chaos of the city. The hills are as scenic as Lonavala. We ended the trek with the delicious duo of hot tea and vada pao at a quaint little tea stall, which was a surprising discovery indeed.

This was going to be a Walk to Remember forever.

Hot Tea – Bliss!

Always Amazing – Aditi

A natural Pokestop (Tee Hee)

Dancing in the rain!

A surprise find!

Snail! (Spotted by Aditi)

Who needs Lonavala bro?

A fake Touch Me Not

Orchid like flower.




Books 2016

As far as reading books is concerned, 2016 has been a fabulous year!

I have read more than 75 books & it has only been possible because of e-books. I could easily read while travelling / on breaks / eating out & also during sleepless nights.

I have read some pretty interesting books during the year, which includes memoirs / autobiographies (a genre I am not very fond of), chick lits, young adults, Indian authors, graphic novels, etc etc! Phew!

The list of books includes all books by Jhumpa Lahiri, all books by John Greene, Harry Potter & the Cursed Child (most awaited book of the year), Shakespeare, Short stories by Tagore, O’ Henry & Chekhov, The Oleander girl, Mallory Towers series by Enid Blyton, Aristotle Dante & the secrets of the universe, Dying for Christmas. Some of them were fantastic, others not so much. Some of them surprised me a lot!

I was about to write on my top 10 books of 2016, but I realised I have read so many good books this year, picking only 10 out of them would do gross injustice to the books.

So here’s a very random list of the books I liked this year.

Autobiographies / Memoirs: Started with If you ask me by Betty White. It was quite boring. Betty talked mostly about her show Hot in Cleveland. Is everyone hanging out without me by Mindy Kaling was a pretty interesting read. Adventures of a curious character by Richard Feynman was surprising. I realised only midway that this was the scientist who was involved in the making of the Atom Bomb. Much amazed! Agatha Christie’s autobiography was also an interesting read as it included the time during the World War. Hyperbole & a half is also a sort of memoir albeit in a Graphical format. Interesting read.

Chicklits: Shopaholic to the rescue (Much improvement on the earlier book), Lipstick Jungle, The Nanny were all good to read, specially The Nanny. Ms Draupadi Kuru had an interesting concept, but could do with a better execution. The Oleander Girl & Mistress of Spices were best amongst the lot. I love Chitra Divakruni’s writing style. Simple, yet heart touching.

John Green: The Fault in our stars (tear jerker), An abundance of Katherines (reminded me about the one name I am obsessed with), Will Grayson, Will Grayson (I am so much in love with this book (also Tiny) that I can cry! And I know the exact moment I fell in love. Chapter 7th.), Paper Towns (Am sort of confused about the end), Looking for Alaska (another tear jerker)

Jhumpa Lahiri: Every time I picked up The Lowlands, something or the other kept me from reading it. I finally got all the books of Jhumpa Lahiri & reading them was such a joy! (Though she keeps repeating pattern of her characters). The Name Sake, The interpreter of maladies, The Unaccustomed Earth & specially the Lowlands (the twist in the tale will surprise you) are all must read.

A Thousand Splendid Suns & The Kite Runner: Both these books by Khaled Hosseini depict the turmoils of Afghanistan. Heart Warming & best reads of not only 2016 but of all times.

The Grapes of Wrath: This is a realistic novel based on the plight of poor farmers migrating to  California in search of work. The poverty and the resulting incidents are heart breaking.

The Marble Collector: This book is about a journey of a daughter discovering the truth about and real passion of her father. I love this book so much that it is in my top recommendations. Cecilia Ahern remains a favourite writer.

Forty Rules of Love: You can find more about this here: The Forty Rules of Love

Fantastic Beasts & Where to find them: This book made up for the disappointment that the Cursed Child book was. Very far removed from the Harry Potter era, interesting read nonetheless.

Lemony Snicket Series: AMAZING is the only word for it. This 13 part series can put you in depression so beware while reading.

American God: My introduction to the fabulousness of Neil Gaiman could not have been better. Salute to his imagination!

Room on the roof: This is written by a 17 year old Ruskin Bond. Kind of feels like the author’s own story but the maturity in his writing would amaze you.

The Clifton Chronicles: I had read the first couple of books in the Clifton Chronicles but then did not pursue the other parts for some reason. I ended my year by reading all 7 parts of the series at one go. It is typical Archer style, with politics and scheming villains and enterprising heroes and heroines. It felt like being dragged at one point of time and there was certain inconsistency, but I admire Archer for the way he keeps us hooked through out the 7 parts. The end was as it should have been.

Re-reads: I also read lots of books that I have already read. Taming of the Shrew, Comedy of Errors, Othello, Twelfth Man, Hamlet (Shakespeare – Always a joy), Short stories by Chekhov, O’Henry & Rabindranath Tagore (Beauty in simplicity), Jeeves Omnibus I & II (Wodehouse – always entertaining), The man in the Iron Mask by Alexander Dumas (A worthy follower to the Three Musketeers), Wise & Otherwise by Sudha Murthy (Strictly okay), Eat, Pray & Love by Elizabeth Gilbert (First time I read this, I was impressed. Second time I thought the author was too pretentious & I did not like the way she described India)

Forgettables: Dying for Christmas, Bengali folk Tales, Witches by Roald Dahl, Harry Potter and the Cursed child (Too disappointing except for the character of Scorpius), The Serpents Revenge by Sudha Murthy and Landline by Rainbow Rowell (Rowell is otherwise my favourite author)

Which books got their hooks into you in 2016?

No means No!

Disclaimer: Contains adult words and situations, which might make you squirm. Read at your own risk.

Going by the title, everyone would know this post is relating to the recently released & much acclaimed movie “Pink” starring Amitabh Bachchan & Tapsee Pannu in the lead characters.

Yes, this post is inspired by the movie. This movie has inspired countless posts only because everyone could relate to the issues depicted in the movie. This shows how rape & molestation are quite rampant in the society.

Last week I was travelling by a local train. The ladies first class compartment was quite full (considering it has only 14 seats, not unusual even on a weekend). I could see several empty seats in the General compartment (yes, general not Gents) On weekdays, on my way to work I have to stand usually for the entire journey. The empty seats were quite tempting & I boarded the General compartment. I usually don’t do this because I am not really comfortable being surrounded by men who keep ogling and leching and trying to get close to you. Anyway, so I got a seat. There was this man seating nearby who was talking loudly on the phone (conversation peppered with expletives) & he also tried to bully a co passenger. I got uncomfortable & stood near the door, meaning to switch back to the ladies compartment at the next station. This man came & stood behind me, so close that I could feel his dick. I moved away instantly & blasted him. He said this is not ladies compartment but gents compartment. I was quite shocked by the inappropriate touching & in other circumstances I would have hit him but that day I just couldn’t. I was also shocked that other men in the compartment kept looking passively.

This was not the first time I have been touched inappropriately & not the first person to be touched inappropriately. The pinching of boobs, spanking ass, dick touching happens regularly to everyone, both men & women. This is one reason I never travel in public buses. The experience leaves such a bad taste in mouth. Who likes to be touched inappropriately without their consent / will? And the worst thing about all of this is we have taken this as a part of life. No one bats an eyelid when they see this happen. Hence, the people who are meant to learn the lesson from the movie or posts like this are never going to learn. However, if even one person changes his / her mindset, it would be a win.

The point of this post is to remind everyone that rape & molestation does not necessarily be in the way it is defined in the dictionary. If you touch someone inappropriately, even if you lech at someone, it amounts to molestation. And no man / woman likes that. It is always a No and No means No!



The Forty Rules of Love

Recently I came across a book The Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak. It is a love story within a love story. Love story of Rumi and Shams of Tabriz (Not sexual love, but true love between two human beings). I know about Rumi’s quotes because of twitter & also made fun of how quotes are attributed to Rumi. I had read about Shams first in a book by Paulo Coelho (possibly Aleph, not sure) That is the only thing I knew about both of them. The story has been a wonderful read. You know how sometimes you read something and never want it to end? This is that kind of a story. So beautiful that it gave me goosebumps. Made me want to read more about Rumi & Shams & read more of their work. Sigh! Anyway, the point of this post is not to review the book. The book states 40 rules of Love. I wish to share those with everyone & also to bookmark them for my reference. So here they go!

♥ How we see God is a direct reflection of how we see ourselves. If God brings fear & blame,means there is too much fear and blame welled between us. If we see God as full of love and compassion, so are we!

♥ The Path to the Truth is a labor of the heart, not of the head. Make your heart your primary guide! Not your mind. Meet, challenge, and ultimately prevail over your nafs (soul) with your heart. Knowing your self will lead you to the knowledge of God!

♥ Each and every reader comprehends the Holy Book on a different level in tandem with the depth of his understanding. There are four levels of insights. The first level is the outer meaning and it is the one that majority of people are content with. Next is the inner level. Third is the inner of the inner level. And the fourth level is so deep it cannot be put into words and is therefore bound to remain indescribable.

♥ You can study God through everything and everyone in the universe, because God is not confined in a place of worship. But if you are still in need of knowing where exactly His abode is, there is only one place to look for Him: In the heart of a true lover.

♥ Intellect and Love are made of different materials. Intellect ties people in knots and risks nothing, but Love dissolves all tangles and risks everything. Intellect is always cautious and advises, “Beware of too much ecstasy,” whereas Love says, “Oh! never mind, take the plunge!” Intellect does not easily break down, whereas Love can effortlessly reduce itself to rubble. But treasures are hidden among ruins. A broken heart hides treasures.

♥ Most of the problems of the world stem from linguistic mistakes and simple misunderstandings. Don’t ever take words at face value. When you step into the zone of Love, language as we know it becomes obsolete. That which can not be put into words can only be grasped through silence.

♥ Loneliness and solitude are two different things. When you are lonely, it is easy to delude yourself into believing that you are on the right path. Solitude is better for us, as it means being alone without feeling lonely. But eventually it is best to find a person, the person who will be your mirror. Remember, only in other person’s heart can you truly see yourself and the presence of God within you.

♥ Whatever happens in your life, no matter how troubling things might seem, do not enter the neighbourhood of despair. Even when all doors remain closed, God will open up a new path only for you. Be thankful! It is easy to be thankful when all is well. A Sufi is thankful not only for what he has been given but also for what he has been denied.

♥ Patience does not mean to passively endure. It means to be farsighted enough to trust the end results of a process. The lovers of God never run out of patience, for they know what time is needed for the crescent moon to become full.

♥ East, west, south, or north makes little difference. No matter what your destination, just be sure to make every journey a journey within. If you travel within, you travel the whole world and beyond!

♥ The midwife knows that when there is no pain, the way for the baby can not be opened and mother can not give birth. Likewise, for a new self to be born, hardship is necessary. Just as clay needs to go through intense heat to be strong, Love can only be perfected in pain.

♥ The quest for Love changes us. There is no seeker among those who has searched for Love who has not matured on the way. The moment you start looking for Love, you change within & without.

♥ There are more fake gurus and false teachers in this world than the numbers of stars visible in the universe. Don’t confuse power driven, self centered people with true mentors. A genuine spiritual master will not direct your attention to himself and will not expect absolute obedience or utter admiration from you, but instead will help you to appreciate and admire your inner self. True mentors are as transparent as glass. They let the Light of God pass through them.

♥ Try not to resist the changes that come your way. Instead let life live through you. And do not worry that your life is turning upside down. How do you know that the side you are used to is better than the one to come?

♥ God is busy with the completion of your work, both outwardly and inwardly. He is fully occupied with you. Every human being is a work in progress that is slowly but inexorably moving toward perfection. We are each an unfinished work of art both waiting and striving to be completed. God deals with each of us separately because humanity is a fine art of skilled penmanship where every single dot is equally important for the entire picture.

♥ It’s easy to love a perfect God, unblemished and infallible that He is. What is far more difficult is to love fellow human beings with all their imperfections and defects. Remember, one can only know what one is capable is of loving. There is no wisdom without love. Unless we learn to love God’s creation, we can neither truly love nor truly know God.

♥ Real filth is the one inside. The rest simply washes off. There is only one type of dirt that cannot be cleansed with pure waters, and that is the stain of hatred and bigotry contaminating the soul. You can purify your body through abstinence and fasting, but only love will purify our heart.

 ♥ The whole universe is contained within a single human being – you. everything that you see around, including the things you might not be fond of and even the people you despise or abhor, is present within you in varying degrees. Therefore, do not look for Shaitan outside yourself either. The devil is not an extraordinary force that attacks from without. It is an ordinary voice within. If you get to know yourself fully, facing with honesty and hardness both your dark and bright sides, you will arrive as a supreme form of consciousness. When a person knows himself or herself, he or she knows God.
♥ If you want to change the way others treat you, you should first change the way you treat yourself. Unless you learn to love yourself, fully and sincerely, there is no way you can be loved. Once you achieve that stage, however, be thankful for every thorn that others might throw at you. It’s a sign that you will soon be showered in roses.
♥ Fret not where the road will take you. Instead concentrate on the first step. That’s the hardest part and that’s what you are responsible for. Once you take that step let everything do what it naturally does and the rest will follow. Do not go with the flow. Be the flow.

♥ We were all created in His image, and yet we were each created different and unique. No two people are alike. No two hearts beat to the same rhythm. If God had wanted everyone to be the same, He would have made it so. Therefore, disrespecting differences and imposing your thoughts on others is tantamount to disrespecting God’s holy scheme.

♥ When a true lover of God goes into a tavern, the tavern becomes his chamber of prayer, but when a wine drinker goes into the same chamber, it becomes his tavern. In everything we do, it is our hearts that makes the difference, not our outer appearances. Sufis do not judge other people on how they look or who they are. When a Sufi stares at someone, he keeps both eyes closed and instead opens a third eye – the eye that sees inner realm.
♥ Life is a temporary loan, and this world is nothing but a sketchy imitation of Reality. Only children would mistake a toy for the real thing. And yet human beings either become infatuated with the toy or disrespectfully break it and throw it aside. In this life stay away from all kinds of extremities, for they will destroy balance.
♥ The human being has a unique place among God’s creation. “I breathed into him of My Spirit,” God says. Each and every one of us without exception is designed to be God’s delegate on earth. Ask yourself, just how often do you behave like a delegate, if you ever do so? Remember, it falls upon each of us to discover the divine spirit inside and live by it.
♥ Hell is here and now. So is heaven. Quit worrying about hell or dreaming about heaven, as they are both present inside this very moment. Every time we fall in love, we ascend to heaven. every time we hate, or fight someone, we tumble straight into the fires of hell.
♥ The universe is one being. Everything and everyone is interconnected through invisible web of stories. Whether we are aware of it or not, we are all in a silent conversation. Do no harm. Practice compassion. And do not gossip behind anyone’s back – not even a seemingly innocent remark! The words that come out of our mouth do not vanish but are perpetually stored in infinite space, and they will come back to us in due time. One man’s pain will hurt us all. One man’s joy will make everyone happy.
♥ The world is like a snowy mountain that echoes your voice. Whatever you speak, good or evil, will somehow come back to you. Therefore, if there is someone who harbours ill thoughts about you, saying similarly bad things about him will only make matters worse. You will be locked in a vicious circle of malevolent energy. Instead for forty days and nights say and think nice thing about that person. Everything will be different at the end of forty days, because you will be different inside.
♥ The past in an interpretation. The future is an illusion. The world does not move through time as if it were a single line, proceeding from the past to the future. Instead time moves through and within us, in endless spirals. Eternity does not mean infinite time, but simply timelessness. If you want to experience eternal illumination, put the past and the future out of your mind and remain within the present moment.
♥ Destiny doesn’t mean that your life has been predetermined. Therefore, to leave everything to fate and to not actively contribute to the music of the universe is a sign of sheer ignorance. The music of the universe is all-pervading and it is composed on forty different levels. Your destiny is the level where you will play your tune. You might not change your instrument but how well to play is entirely in your hands.
♥ The true Sufi is such that even when he is unjustly accused, attacked, and condemned from all sides, he patiently endures, uttering not a single bad word about any of his critics. A Sufi never apportions blame. How can there be opponents or rivals or even “others” when there is no “self” in the first place? How can there be anyone to blame when there is only One?
♥ If you want to strengthen your faith, you will need to soften inside. For your faith to be rock solid, your heart needs to be as soft as feather. Through an illness, accident, loss, or fright, one way or another, we are all forced with incidents that teach us how to become less selfish and judgemental, and more compassionate and generous. Yet some of us learn the lesson and manage to become milder, while others end up becoming even harsher than before. The only way to get closer to the Truth is to expand your heart so that it will encompass all humanity and still have room for more Love.
♥ Nothing should stand between yourself and God. Not imams, priests, rabbis, or any other custodians of moral or religious leadership. Not spiritual masters, not even your faith. Believe in your values and your rules, but never lord them over others. If you keep breaking other people’s hearts, whatever religious duty you perform is no good. Stay away from all sorts of idolatry, for they will blur your vision. Let God and only God be your guide. Learn the Truth, my friend, but be careful not to make a fetish out of your truths.
♥ While everyone in this world strives to get somewhere and becomes someone, only to leave all behind after death, you aim for the supreme stage of nothingness. Live this life as light and empty as the number zero. We are no different from a pot. It is not the decorations outside but the emptiness inside that holds us straight. Just like that, it is not what we aspire to achieve but the consciousness of nothingness that keeps us going.
♥ Submission does not mean being weak or passive. It leads to neither fatalism nor capitulation. Just the opposite. True power resides in submission – a power that comes from within. Those who submit to the divine essence of life will live in unperturbed tranquility and peace even when the whole wide world goes through turbulence after turbulence.
♥ In this world, it is not similarities or regularities that take us a step forward, but blunt opposites. And all the opposites in the universe are present within each and everyone of us. Therefore the believer needs to meet the unbeliever residing within. And the nonbeliever should get to know the silent faithful in him. Until the day one reaches the stage of the perfect human being, faith is a gradual process and one that necessitates its seeming opposite: disbelief.
♥ This world is erected upon the principle of reciprocity. Neither a drop of kindness nor a speck of evil will remain unreciprocated. Fear not the plots, deceptions, or tricks of other people. If somebody is setting a trap, remember, so is God. He is the biggest plotter. Not even a leaf stirs outside God’s knowledge. Simply and fully believe in that. whatever God does, he does beautifully.
♥ God is a meticulous clock maker. So precise is His order that everything on earth happens in its own time. Neither a minute late nor a minute early. And for everyone without exception, the clock works accurately. For each there is a time to love and a time to die.
♥ It is never too late to ask yourself, “Am I ready to change the life I am living? Am I ready to change within?” Even if a single day in your life is the same as the day before, it surely is a pity. At every moment and with each new breath, one should be renewed and renewed again. There is only one way to be born into a new life: to die before death.
♥ While the parts change, the whole always remains the same. For every thief who departs this world, a new one is born. And every decent person who passes away is replaced by a new one. In this way not only does nothing remain the same but nothing ever really changes.
♥ A life without love is of no account. Don’t ask yourself what kind of love you should seek, spiritual or material, divine or mundane, Eastern or Western. Divisions only lead to more divisions. Love has no labels, no definitions. It is what it is, pure and simple. Love is the water of life. And a lover is a soul of fire. The universe turns differently when fire loves water.
These are the 40 rules of love. They make so much sense and are aligned to my beliefs. I am not there yet, but I will reach there one day!

Spare Tampons Anyone?

Recently someone on twitter shared a story about how her male friend carries a spare tampon for his lady friends.


The reaction to this went from Awwww to Duh! Why can’t girls carry their own tampons??

Some people went gushing about the guy saying how sensitive & some people went on saying who the hell uses tampons in India (yep, ignorants who know only about the existence of sanitary napkins)

 What was my own reaction? Awwww of course! 😉

 Usually women do carry a spare napkin / tampon, especially when the date is approaching. Also, napkins are easily available in stores nowadays, even grocery stores. I did see one grocery store selling both sanitary napkins & Monginis cakes (yep, our very own local cosset box, if you will 😉 ) In our office they are available with the security officers for Rs. 10/- each. But not necessarily all offices have this facility. Also sometimes either the offices are located far away from the stores or maybe you are so loaded with work that you can’t just leave to get some. Of course it would be also inconvenient to walk down to the store in this condition.

 So what do you do when you run out of one & you need it desperately? (Sparing you all the gory details of what happens if you don’t use a napkin / tampon)

Most of us would usually approach a women colleague. And if I had a man friend like the one mentioned above, I wouldn’t hesitate to ask him either. I am not sure though if anyone else would be comfortable asking a man if they have a spare tampon.

 Spare pad

Anyway, however cool this might seem, I would rather all men carry some sensitivity around women having their periods than carry a spare tampon. Share this post if you agree 😉