Monday, June 30, 2014

My Appa- My Hero!!

I am writing about #MyRoleModel as a part of the activity by Gillette India in association with


Dear Appa,

As I begin to write this, I realize I have never written to you before! Perhaps, I have never felt the need to write, or tell you anything. You have understood every unspoken word and every unfinished sentence. Irrespective of whether you saw that expression on my face or heard it in my voice on a faraway telephone. That’s the power of you and your bond with me. 


I remember never having needed to ask you for anything. I have never known what to ask. You always gave it to me before I even realized the need to have it. You have brought me up like a true blue princess and I have never known what want is all about. You have taught us to be satisfied and happy than greedy and needy. You taught me that money was only as important as the things it could buy and never a penny more.

You stood against relatives who jeered at you for convent educating your girls. You told them your girls will make you proud one day. I hope we make you proud!  You gifted me my first moped on my 16th birthday with a license to drive. You have let me ride free on the roads of life ever since, showing me what independence is all about.

It was you who pushed me into attending my first interview armed with a hand written resume and oodles of confidence. Whoever had heard of hand written resumes? But I remember you telling me that I had the most beautiful handwriting, the most charming smile and intelligence and if anyone would get the job, it would be me. I remember brimming with conviction that if you thought I could then I would. I remember dancing holding your hand as I showed you my appointment letter. You didn’t think twice when I wanted to go to a different city for that job. You gave me your blessing, while others thought you were being foolish to let a girl stay alone in a strange city.

You let me marry the man of my dreams; in spite of threats from the society, in spite of being ridiculed and in spite of being isolated. Letting me have my happiness was far more important to you than anything else. You always trusted my ability to make decisions, and I couldn’t thank you more for it. Without your faith, without your approval and without your blessing I would have faltered at every step.

You taught me how work was as important as family, friends and hobbies too. If your colleagues talk about your passion to your work, your zeal for theater and writing is still appreciated by your friends and your commitment is most valued by your family. That intricate balance of the three is something I still yearn to learn.

I have never seen a more positive person than you and I have always marveled at your strength to remain optimistic in any situation. You taught me that there is always a way out of our problems and no issue is big enough for us to give up. You taught me that no pain is permanent and the worst situations will also pass. Your sense of humor is your biggest charm and there is hardly anyone who will disagree to that!

You taught me never to hate anyone. You taught me the joy in giving to others, and reaching out to anyone who needs my help. You have led by example and that has taught me more than words ever could.

I never knew what inequality or gender discrimination was all about. Maybe that’s why I never understood why some people would kill their own girls, or deprive them of education or make honor such a big issue. Maybe that’s why I never understood what men could do better that I couldn’t. Maybe if all dads were like you, nobody would either. I am so thankful you raised me that way. Not like it was expected to raise girls, not like raising a girl as a boy, but simply raising a child, empowering me with skills to face the world, doing the best you could for me.

You have always been my hero and I may not say this enough, but you have been the best part of me growing up.

Love you always Appa,
Your little princess

Appa and me!!

Friday, June 27, 2014

The right to dream..

A couple of months ago, I visited my home town to spend time with my parents. I got the rare chance of meeting old school friends after almost 20 years! The girls’ were shining in varied fields and it filled my heart with pride and admiration to see everyone so well placed and successful. There were those who were the brightest in class and had always topped every exam and then there were those who did fairly well or not so well. But what was amazing is that each one had found their calling. From engineers, lawyers, and teachers, to working in the hospitality industry, running successful businesses and acting in television serials, each one had become successful in their own right. After 20 years it seemed like life had balanced itself leading each one us to follow our dreams away from the burden of the educational degrees that kept us tied up. 

To read the rest of the post go to

Monday, June 23, 2014


Words, they have brought me joy,
Played pranks with my nimble heart,
Made it flip and skip a beat,
Encompassing me in their girt.

Words that healed an aching void,
Filling every cell with delight,
Taking me high among the clouds,
On the wings of a fantasy flight.

Words, they soured one summer day,
Biting the tongue with their tarty sting,
Pulling away the sheath of love,
Offering no comfort in the spring.

Words betray the way I feel,
They're no cheer to the wounded heart,
All they do is skewer and jab,
Numbing all that's fallen apart.

Words, they shoot like trenchant arrows,
Not meaning what they convey,
But yet manage to leave that scar,
Like a cleaver, they chip away. 

Words, they were all I had,
And now there's nothing left,
Stripped of love and robbed of warmth,
Peeled of hope and love bereft.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

About the birds and bees..

The kids came running home after play last evening, sounding very excited. The cause of excitement, as I learnt later, were a couple of snakes in the open grassy land next to the apartment.

 “Mamma the snakes were mating,” the elder one told me, “or maybe they were fighting, because they were coiled together”.

I was suddenly all ears, more curious to know where he had picked up that word. Not wanting to sound scandalised, I casually asked him, “What is mating?”

“I think they were trying to have a baby.”

Gosh. How do kids even begin to know all this?

“Who told you that?” I asked him.

“My friend, C, he is 7th std now, he knows.”

 “Hmm… ” I said, half expecting him to ask me how exactly do they do it!

“Will the snake lay eggs?” he wanted to know.

“Yea it will.”

“How are the human babies born? Did you lay an egg too when I was born?”

Read the rest of the post here at

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The decision....

Sumitra was in pain. The labour contractions were just about 10 minutes apart and she knew it could be anytime now. But it wasn’t the contractions that were causing the pain, this would be her third child and she knew how the birthing process would be. Her pain was rooted in something deeper, something more emotional. Having had two girls one after the other, she had been under tremendous pressure to deliver a male heir to the family. If only she knew how to magically beget a male child, it would all be well. Her husband and in-laws had told her in no uncertain terms that if she had a girl child again, she would have to fend for herself; they would never take her back. She let out a loud scream. It was almost like a cry. Her sister-in-law assumed it was the contractions, and gently massaged her hands and feet. Sumitra was just happy to let out her anguish in a scream. She didn’t want to think what would happen a few hours from now, if the child happened to be a girl.

The contractions were quicker now, and dai ma, the midwife, was encouraging her to push harder. Sumitra prayed fervently for a male child, numb to the pain her body was experiencing right then. And then she felt the baby gush out of her womb and let out a shrill cry. She looked expectantly at her sister-in-law and at dai ma, as they cleaned the baby and wrapped it up. 

“It’s a girl, Sumitra,” announced her sister-in-law, like it was her fault. She looked at Sumitra disapprovingly, before placing the child next to her and exiting the hut.

Sumitra looked at her daughter, her eyes filling with tears. She looked so beautiful. She ran a finger on the little one’s cheek, and heard her gurgle. She struggled to get up as everyone just seemed to abandon her at having delivered bad news. She sat up and held the child close to her bosom for a very long time. As she nursed the baby, she felt a surge of happiness run through her. Outside the thin wooden door of the hut, she could hear her brother and sister-in-law fighting.

“If her husband does not come to get her, let her go to hell. I don’t care if she decides to die, but she cannot stay here; let me make that very clear. We have two mouths to feed; I cannot bear an additional four mouths.”

“Where will she go? Don’t be so unkind to my sister. Let me talk to kunwar-sa.”

A little while later, Sumitra heard her brother talking to her husband on phone.

“Kunwar-sa, don’t say such things…. Where will she go… have two daughters…..yes, kunwar-sa, I understand….I have a suggestion…..”

Then she heard him talking to his wife again.

“Kunwar-sa has agreed to take her back, there’s only one condition….”

Sumitra let out a deep sigh. Peace had been brokered between the heartless husband and the hapless brother at the cost of her new born daughter. No one thought it fit to even ask her. As if she didn't matter, as if she didn't even exist. But what would she have said if they had asked her?  What happened to Rukmini and Tejo when they refused to part with their daughters was like a folk tale in the entire village. Her sister-in-law had told her horrifying tales about them, how they were starving without food, being assaulted by unknown men, and in short, how their their life had turned into a living hell. God alone knew how they would raise their daughters all alone. She didn’t know where she would go with her daughters if she was thrown out. It would be better to sacrifice a child than make her other daughters beg.They needed a roof over their heads and food in their tiny stomachs. 

No one really spoke to her about what she was supposed to do. She had heard stories of how little infants had been drowned in cauldrons of milk or fed ground seeds of cotton, so that they would choke on it. She wondered what they would do to her daughter. 

She threw up at the thought of it.

The police were more vigilant now and killing an infant like that would complicate a lot of things. But that wouldn't deter her brother or husband from getting "rid" of the baby. They would find out a way. She thought about it for three whole days. And then her decision was made. She regretted making that decision, but that seemed the only way out of the whole mess. Moreover, it was her entry pass to her husband’s home.

The cold winter night had claimed several lives in the village. She hoped it would claim her three day old daughter’s life too. She would then raise a cry in the morning and no one would suspect that she had been killed. The policemen would not suspect a thing. She removed every shred of clothing on the baby and laid its tiny bare body on the charpoy in the verandah.  She closed the door and went inside and sat by the window waiting for the baby to breathe its last. A tiny cry could be heard from time to time and then even that ceased to be heard.

She didn’t know when she fell asleep, but when she woke up, it was early morning, and the sun was still deliberating if it should cast its light over the darkness that had shrouded the village. She looked at the baby from the window, and saw it had turned bluish-red from being out in the biting cold. It wasn’t moving, it was probably dead by now. Preparing to scream and alert the neighbors, she ran to the verandah and picked up the child. To her utter shock, she heard the tiny heart beat, though faintly!

Her eyes filled with shame and remorse as she looked at her little fighter. Here, her three day old daughter had almost fought off death, and she wasn’t even capable of being as brave as her! She huddled her child to her bosom and wept for a very long time. And with that another decision was made. And she knew she wouldn’t regret it this time.


(I heard this story at a satsang, and it really moved me...Reproducing my version of the story here, because I feel it might help someone take that one decision to square their shoulders, grit their teeth, but smile and face their fear.)

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Being a Lefty in a right handed world!

My elder one is a born leftie, i.e. he uses his left hand for everything from writing to eating. Recently, we attended a function at a relative’s house and seeing him eat with his left hand, a cousin commented, “You should have at least taught him to eat with his right hand.” It took me some time to explain to her that the left hand for him, serves all purposes that our right hand serves to us, and vice versa. He cannot eat with his right hand because he uses it for functions we do with our left hand. But I could see she wasn’t convinced, because she still commented, “It is parents who help make or break a habit for a child, you simply didn’t try”. I didn’t offer to explain any more, but I could see that it disturbed my elder one a wee little bit.
To read more go to 

Sunday, June 8, 2014

The sound of silence...

This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 47; the forty-seventh edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.

An eerie silence had descended on the village. As the news spread, villagers had started piling up near the old peepal tree. They looked on speechlessly, wiping away a tear that seemed to occasionally flood their eyes. The quiet itself was quite chilling. You could hear a pin drop if you heard closely. Munni’s body hung from the branch of the tree, bearing a testimony to the brutal way she had borne the savage of the beasts.

Munni’s little 4 year old sister looked at her in awe. What was this new game didu was playing? Just yesterday, didu had taught her how to swing on the tyre that hung from the same tree branch. It had been so much fun! She had screamed in delight as the swing kissed the skies. Why was the rope around her neck today? And why wasn’t didu swinging? Maybe it was a new game. She would ask didu when she came down.

The silent protests had done nothing to unnerve the beasts. The beasts had assumed the silence was out of fear. 

Fear of their autocracy. 

Fear of their power. 

They had ravaged the village before and they would do it again. Who would stop them? The arrogance was smug on their faces. Ignorant villagers! Did they think their silence would be heard? Who would hear the silence when the loudest of voices could be easily muffled?

The beasts had been celebrating their victory. After years of protest, the villagers had finally been tamed. There was not one voice of dissent. Their revelry had reached dizzying proportions. But what they had not anticipated was the power of silence. They had not anticipated the entire village to turn up at their den. The din of the crapulous beasts was soon drowned in the cacophony of sharp axes, pitchforks, plows, cudgels and spears. Silence prevailed again, and one could hear nothing except the sound of blood sputtering out of the bodies of the beasts. 

 Munni had been avenged. And with that so many like her had been avenged too. 

The arrogance had been pithed. They and their ilk had been taught that silence must be heard. No one would now dare to de-sanctify their village and its goddesses.

And all that could be heard after that was the sound of silence.


The fellow Blog-a-Tonics who took part in this Blog-a-Ton and links to their respective posts can be checked here. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton. Participation Count: 06

Monday, June 2, 2014

A handful of sand...

She had done the right thing, hadn't she? Anyone would approve of it. Anyone would vouch for the correctness of her decision. It was the right thing to do indeed. In fact there couldn't be another option.  

She knew he wasn't strong enough to ask. She knew he wanted her to release him. She knew only she could do it. Only, she wished, she didn't have to be the one doing it. But the futility of hanging on had become too obvious to be ignored. Hanging on to something, she really didn't have. Sometimes, she felt she’d rather have something than nothing at all, but the truth was, to have something halfway was harder than not having at all. It had been confusing to determine if the signs were there for her to give up or just a test to see how long she could hold on. Sometimes she felt they were friends, sometimes, she felt they were more than that, but of late, she had begun to feel like they were complete strangers. It was kind of weird how they had gone from being strangers to friends to lovers and now they were back to being strangers again. She wished they had just remained friends. Maybe then, she wouldn't have to grapple with this.

She was frustrated because she couldn't tell if it was real. She was mad because she didn't know how he felt. She was upset because she couldn't set it right. She was sad because she needed him by her side. She was angry because he didn't seem to understand. She was disappointed because they could never be together. It had become way too complicated. She didn't know where she stood in his life. It was like hanging in dead air, knowing she could be thrown off any time. She sometimes wished she had never met him at all, but at the back of her mind she was thankful that she had.

She wished he had told her how much he still loved her. She knew that he did. She knew the real reason was guilt. How could he say it was never love? Was the whole thing fake?  She knew that every feeling had been real, and every word exchanged between them had been true. Had he taken her feelings for granted? Did he not know how much courage it had taken for her to just confess her love? 

She wished she could put her thoughts in a jar. She had been thinking too much, over analyzing things. It had been getting too difficult to handle and she had been tired of going to war with herself. She was sick of being tired. She wanted to be at peace with herself. She wanted to be happy. The right step would be to let go. The parting had been amazingly smooth, and she was surprised at her skills of concealing her emotions and make it look like it was a given. But wasn't she the quintessential drama queen? He had said so himself!

And let go she did. There was no point grasping that handful of sand. It was better to let it slip through.

Then why was she hurting all over? Did doing the right thing always hurt? Every cell and nerve of her body was numb with pain. There was a void somewhere, like a vacuum, trying to suck out her very breath. Why was there that void? If she had been right, oughtn't she be happy, oughtn't she feel free? But here she was, standing alone, tears streaming down her face, a blanket of sadness covering her from head to toe and invisible cuffs pinning her down. It bled her soul, and left a tear, but probably some day the scar would heal. He did seem to be happy, didn't he? He had even said, they could always be friends. She knew she didn't want to be friends. Not with him, not with anyone else.

Maybe someday she might learn to trust again. Trust someone who wouldn't hurt her. Trust someone who wouldn't leave her aching. Trust someone who would fill that void in her being and in her heart. Trust someone who wouldn't be scared to love her back.

Or probably not.

 That place was already taken, and she was not sure anyone else could ever fill that space.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

A tête-à-tête with Jeffery Archer... 100 Words on Saturday 2014 - # 16

"Aren't we sometimes prisoner's of our births?" I asked him.

"Only time can tell" Jeffery said.

"But I want to go to heaven not hell!" I pleaded.

"That is best kept secret. There are many paths to glory but it would be a matter of honour if you strive to be first among equals. I cannot give you a false impression but just suffice to know that there will always be a twist in the tale which will give you a clue beyond reasonable doubtTo cut a long story short, it’s all in the da vinci code” he winked.


Written for the write tribe prompt "Your favorite author and what you’d like to discuss with him or her." as a part of 100 Words on Saturday. 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...