Wednesday, December 9, 2020


 He tugs at her sleeve, 

Excitement bubbling on his face, 

A sheet of priceless art,

Hidden behind his back, 

A smiling sun, rays flying about, 

In an azure sky, with v-shaped birds, 

Trees laden with apples,

Flowers strewn on the ground,

A meandering river, making its

Through mountains with sharp peaks,

A misshapen hut, and at its door, 

Smiling parents, and a child.

He tugs at her sleeve again, 

She glances over her digital screen, 

He smiles, talking animatedly,

About the cow that had almost been. 

She listens, hardly hearing, 

She looks, hardly seeing, 

Engrossed in her world,

She misses the wistful look in his eyes, 

He retreats, head bowed, 

The sheet of art, crumpled in the crook of his arms, 

She taps on, oblivious to life,  

That has just passed by, 

Memories that could have been made, 

The artist who might have been born. 

All sacrificed, at the altar,

All in vain.

Monday, December 7, 2020

In search...

PC: Better Homes and Gardens

A quaint door painted blue,
Through which I'd quietly slip into...
 A silent world of magical words, 
Interspersed with flowers and birds.
Rocking on a wicker chair,
Warmth and serenity everywhere!
Bougainvillea, so exuberant and wild,
Demurely resting among thistles, leaving me beguiled! 
The tranquility soothing my soul, 
Mirroring my spirit, making me whole.

(This pretty picture inspired these lines...) 

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

The chosen one?

A pair of big brown eyes peered from behind the chariot watching the Kuru princes make their way back to their quarters, after a long day of arduous practice in the sun. Heavy footsteps accompanied by garrulous laughter, filled the air. A few paces behind, the soft crunch of footsteps and quietude could be heard, in stark contrast to the ones in front. In the second lot, the eyes spotted Arjuna, walking with his head held high. After all, wasn’t he the chosen one? The other four brothers looked at him with pride as the Guru continued to shower flowery praises on his favourite pupil.

After they could be seen no more, he emerged from his hiding place. An imprint of the sun marked his forehead and a bright sun-shaped pendant dangled from the gold chain around his neck. A pair of golden ‘kundalas’ adorned his ears and a magical armour was rumoured to bedeck his chest when he was in danger. He was merely twelve and yet was wise beyond his years. His face shone with unexplained radiance, yet the sadness in his eyes was unmistakable.

The Kuru princes were in training under the tutelage of Guru Dronacharya, and Radheya had been watching them hawk-eyed for days. He had approached the Guru requesting to be taken under his wings but had been turned down on account of his lineage.

Today, Arjuna was hailed as the greatest archer for having hit the bird’s eye. The Guru could not stop admiring him!

What a gift that was! Radheya longed to be recognised. Only if he had been chosen to showcase his talent!

Where one would expect anger to burn within him, he was unexpectedly calm. Was it the calm before the storm? One could never tell. But at the moment, the only fire that burned within him was that of fulfilling the challenge. Of showing that he was no less a warrior. Of proving that he was as great an archer as Arjuna.

He hurriedly picked up his bow and quiver of arrows and marched to the forest. Climbing the tallest mango tree, he hung a toy bird from the highest branch. Then he climbed down and took aim at the bird’s eye. He hit it without as much as batting an eyelid! It seemed too easy a target!

Arjuna? The greatest archer? He smirked.

I could do this blindfolded, he told himself.

He studied the bird’s position for a minute and then loosened his ‘angavastram’ and tied it around his eyes. He took aim and again, easily achieved his target! He beamed with joy!

But it didn’t seem enough. Restlessness filled his heart and he paced around, eyes devoid of satisfaction.

He looked around searching for ideas to challenge himself. His eyes fell on a broken earthen pot lying a few yards away. An idea struck him. He filled it with water and placed it under the tree such that the reflection of the bird, fell into the water.

He looked down at the bird’s reflection in the water below and aimed upward at the bird without even looking at it. Concentrating on the bird’s eye, he shot a swift arrow piercing the bird’s eye in one masterful stroke.

Yes! he pumped his fist in jubilation. But there was no one around to applaud. The happiness was short-lived.

But, he did not see Guru Drona observing him from his quarters.

“What an amazing archer!” the guru found himself saying. “It’s a pity I cannot teach him!”

Only if Radheya could have heard that!

Suddenly, the skies turned fiery. A streak of lightning cracked up the sky and thunder roared in the distance. Was it reflecting the agony in Radheya’s heart? Was an achievement still worth the same, if there was no one appreciate it? Was the longing to be the chosen one, the only gift he desired?

Soon, the skies opened up. A slow trickle gave way to a huge downpour soaking Radheya to the bone. He started to hurry home, as the trees shook uncontrollably in the gust of wind that followed.

It was then, that another idea crept up his head! He walked back to the tree and looked at the reflection of the bird in the earthen pot below. The bird shook violently in the storm. Radheya, strung his bow and took aim again.

Would he be able to hit the bird’s eye looking at its reflection in water even when it was moving?

He wanted to test if he could.

He patiently observed the bird and after a lot of deliberation, he released his arrow.

To his pleasant surprise, the arrow hit the bird’s eye, once again.

His eyes shone in the darkness and he puffed up his chest in pride.

He held his bow high above his head and thundered, “Who’s the greatest archer now, guru?” oblivious to being watched by the Guru himself.

The Guru nodded his head in approval. There was no doubt that he was equal to Arjuna in every way, maybe better.

Yet, he could never be the chosen one. That was one gift, he would have to crave all his life.


Written in response to the prompt "Being chosen is the best gift you can give someone." 





Tuesday, June 16, 2020

"I'm just a call away!" - Really?

Every time we hear that someone has died of suicide, there’s suddenly a lot of palpable interest in the subject. People gather actively on social media, the status of the deceased is discussed – was wealth or the lack of it, the cause of this extreme step? Was it relationships? Was it failure? – the curiosity to know what drives a person over the edge. Maybe, they are genuinely concerned too. But often, we forget that even in death, people deserve their privacy.

Then, there are the speculators – blaming circumstances, and people for the tragedy.  

And last but not the least, there are people posting statuses like, ‘I’m just a call away’, ‘Call me if you need to talk’, I’ll be there for you.’

Noble. Very noble. But pretty pointless.

Wait, don’t fly into a rage, yet!

Because a few days into this tragedy and all is forgotten! It takes another tragedy of this proportion to get people talking about mental health and depression, again.

If you are one of those who want to help someone who is depressed so that they don't do something drastic, maybe this post could help. 

But first, the question that we often have in our mind... 

Is depression real?

Yes! Depression is as real as any other illness.

Don’t belittle someone who is feeling depressed by saying, it’s all in the mind, why don’t you try meditation, stop thinking about your problems… no, it doesn’t work that way.

Depression can push people into a state of hopelessness. And when there’s no light at the end of the tunnel, they might give up. It’s often not just their life that they want to end, it could be the trauma they are undergoing, or a feeling of guilt that has overtaken them, or maybe a feeling of worthlessness that has washed over them.                              

We live in a society and rejection is something we cannot face. We want to be accepted in our respective groups. We look for approval, for appreciation. Being isolated could make one depressed. 


How would you know who is depressed?   

We could perhaps never put a finger as to who could be depressed. Depressed people try really hard to look happy in public, so we wouldn’t know for sure unless we know them personally. Rather they would not have us know that they are depressed. So that is why I said, putting up statuses, and making yourself available to talk, is pointless.

Don’t put up a status offering help and consider your job done. No one is voluntarily going to approach you for help.

Imagine you are worried about something. Whom would you talk to? Some random stranger who had offered to talk to you if you need an ear? Would you do that? No?

Then what is the possibility that a person who has had enough of life, so much that they are contemplating suicide, will call you and talk to you about it? 

So back to the question, you want to help but how would you know someone is depressed?

Depression does not strike in a day. It’s not like, someone who is fine one day will suddenly become depressed the next day. Events and small incidents keep piling up over months, possibly years. When it stretches beyond tolerable limits, they break down.

Is there anything you can do to help?


1. Look out for people in your circle.

We don’t have to look at strangers asking them if they need help. I don't mean that you shouldn't help strangers. Strangers are not going to open up to anyone randomly. 

But, there are enough people around us – our family, our friends, our employees, our colleagues, our neighbours. Look out for them. Are they going through a difficult time?

Is there a student at home or in your neighbourhood who is writing an important exam and feel they might not succeed? Is there a relative or friend who has lost near and dear ones recently? Is someone facing a financial crisis? Has someone lost their job recently? Is someone going through post-partum stress? Has anyone in their family been hospitalised for a long duration? There could be many more triggers.

Many people do handle all or some of these issues in life and they do pretty well too. But not everyone is sailing in the same boat.

2. Keep the door open for them.

When someone is already dead, it’s easy to say, had I known, I would have done something. But, most of the time, we turn our backs to them when they are struggling. Maybe it is the fear that we might be asked for financial assistance and we might not be able to provide that. But, there are several ways to get financial assistance, and we could at least show them the way. They just need to know that we know their pain.

If we are dealing with a student who fears failure, they need to be counseled. They must know that the parents will continue to support them no matter what. Extra coaching can be given to help with understanding the lessons. But it is the family who has to anticipate what the child’s requirement is and hold hands from the beginning.  

If someone is unable to cope with the loss of a loved one, give them time to heal. Hang along, even if they don't want you to. Cook them meals, take care of their children, or buy them groceries.

If you find they are susceptible to self-harm, help them to get counseling – either from a doctor or from an understanding family member.

Don’t quote examples from your own life, as tempting as it might be! It is very demeaning to the person who is already suffering.

If you can’t be bothered to help when there’s time, then don’t lament when it’s too late.

3. Spend time with them.

If you have committed yourself to help a person during their tough time, you must know that it is long term commitment. It might take years of your time. No one can get better in a day or two. So think before you offer help. Don't disappear after promising to be there. This is one major reason why a depressed person will not open up to anyone. It's important to have their trust.

Often, when someone’s depressed, life seems dark. It is difficult to look at the bright side of life when all your mind wants to do, is see the dark side. Listen to them. Don't talk to them about your experiences!

They could need to be reassured that they are good at what they do, they could need to be urged to let go of things that are hurting. You'll know what they need, only if you listen.

4. Teach them to face adversity.

Life is never going to be hunky-dory. All will never be well. There will be phases when there are bound to be failures, or heartbreaks, or loss, or grief. Teach them to be brave and tough during such times.

Facing adversity has to be ingrained in children right from childhood. Many parents don't realise this. They get over-protective of their children. They don't let them fall. They use yardsticks to measure success. As a result, the child never learns that it's okay not to succeed all the time. It's important to let our children know that they are not going to win all the time. 

To that jittery teen, you could say, ‘Put in your best effort. But despite that, if you fail, it’s ok. We will pick up the pieces again. we will try again. We will do something else if this is too difficult.’  

A woman going through post-partum stress needs to know that she’s not alone. You could let her know that you understand and will be there to help in whatever way possible instead of ridiculing her for being difficult, or acting weird or telling her that she is more fortunate than women unable to bear children, or wondering what’s wrong with her that she cannot enjoy motherhood! Tell her, ‘It’s ok to not want to hold your baby. I’ll help you take care of it. You eat healthily and take care of yourself.’

5. Avoid the urge to put people down.

Many a time, we might not be able to invest so much time with a person, especially if they aren’t your close relative or friend. Yet, there’s a lot that you can do.

Do you think you talk down someone at the workplace? Do you talk behind the back of your family members? No? Think again.

Everyone is in a game of one-upmanship. Everyone wants to be in the good books of people who matter to us – like a parent, an employer, a teacher, or even the mother-in-law!  Subconsciously or purposefully, we might be belittling people all the time. 

'X committed this mistake, I rectified it.’  

‘Z is such a bad parent.’ 

'You're not going to fit in that dress!' 

'Your brother is smarter than you!'

It may seem insignificant, but over the years, you end up effectively turning your ‘perceived power center’ against the other person. So much, that it starts affecting their confidence, their self-respect, their perception of self-worth.  You would have no idea that you have silently been gnawing at their mind while being blissfully unaware of it.

Curb the tendency to talk bad about someone. Stop isolating someone because they don’t fit into your ideas. Open your mouth only if you have something good to say about someone.

If someone has committed a mistake, let them know it upfront. If your motive is to help them learn from their mistake, then, it is them you should directly be talking to, not everyone else.  

There’s a saying, ‘Criticise privately, appreciate openly.’

To summarise…

Pick up the signs. Don’t ignore possible triggers.

Keep communication lines open.

Spend time with people you care about.

Keep them ready to face failure.

Be kind…to everyone. Don’t put people down. 

(This is not a self-help post for people suffering from depression. It is for those who want to help, but don't know how to. I hope this helped.)  

*Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this post are mine. This post is not a substitute for professional /medical advice. 










Saturday, June 13, 2020

Spotlight - Arjun's Penance by Sundari Venkatraman

Print Length: 168 pages
Publisher: Flaming Sun (Indie published)
Publication Date: March 1, 2020
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
Language: English
Genre: Romance

Young Arjun feels betrayed and heartbroken when his girlfriend of two years dies in an accident. In a moment of agony, he does the worst thing possible...

Ten years later, Kiara walks into the office of the Mathur Group of industries, falling for its managing director, Arjun Mathur, who is a ruthless businessman nowadays, and also completely sworn off women.

While the ethical hacker gathers evidence against the ex-finance director of the company who has been swindling money bigtime, she tries to woo the MD into falling in love with her.

Will Kiara be able to persuade Arjun to break his penance?
Add this book to your TBR!!

Read the Excerpt

Sundari Venkatraman is an indie author with forty-five titles to her credit, which have sold more than 1.75 lakh copies around the world. Her books consistently feature in the Top 100 Bestseller Lists on Amazon in both Romance and Asian Drama categories. Her latest romance novels have all been on the #1 Bestseller slot in Amazon India for over a month.

As a child, Sundari loved to read books with ‘lived happily ever after’ endings. They were all about good triumphing over evil. As a teenager, her favourite books were romance novels from Mills & Boon. She was fascinated by them, so much so that she began to visualise the stories set in India.

Sundari was forty when she began her writing journey, completing the first draft of her first novel in thirty-five days. She has not looked back since.

Click here to check out all the titles by the author...

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