Gratitude List

Everyone wants to do a number of things before they kick the bucket-hence, the term bucket list. But there are so many things to be grateful for, therefore, this is my Gratitude List. So,  Earth calling God, Come in God! Or the Universe or the Sentient Machine that has created this stimulated reality. Whoever is my creator, Thank You!

. Ya, Ya, Ya, of course I’m grateful for the fact that I’m perfectly able. You know that. I don’t fall ill, too often. I’m not suffering from any terminal disease and the mind is a bit fucked up but it functions properly 15 days in a month.  Nothing to complain about.

. The eyes are a bit of a problem but Oh! what a sight the night is without my lenses. Street lights look like my cornea has a Starbust filter attached to it and I see what I want to and every time I don’t want to see too clearly, the lenses come off!  The World goes back to being a perfect haze.

. I have always wondered why I don’t have a regular need for human interaction? It’s an invaluable gift. Makes it impossible to bully me. Plus, if I’m ever imprisoned or stranded it will come handy. One of my favourite quotes from my childhood is, ”people who lead a lonely existence always have something on their minds that they are eager to talk about.” The lonely should be replaced by ‘solitary’. I ain’t going to be Chekhov, but at least I’ll have something to write about.

. Now, that I’ve crossed 35, the big four-O is a few years away. Tried being good for a decade- Ahhh, I failed miserably:). Six more months of whining and I shall be back to doing what I do best.  Especially grateful for the past year. Come on commitment phobia, I’m so looking forward to having you back my dear friend!

. As a little girl, I always wondered why  I wasn’t ‘normal’ ? I have wished for regular my entire life. In almost mid-life, I realize there ain’t nothing like normal. All the normal ones are just as nutty as I am, they are just great at disguising it. If you could just make me fake a few smiles a day and make my voice sugar sweet…. If you could just take away the transparency from my face, the uneasiness with which I lie and the tape recorder that plays incessantly in my head about the lies I’ve told or the ones I should have told, I could pass of as normal. They pretend to be good and I just pretend. So, I’m going thank you for making me a first class, what do they call me- ruthless B%$#@#. As the quote goes, ‘society is a masked ball, where everyone hides his real character and reveals it by hiding.’  My real character will always remain a mystery.

. Karma- how can I forget to thank thee? I don’t know who my creator is but Darling do I believe in you? You’re just of course but thankfully, so swift. Each time I screw up- wait for it, wait for it and futtak se chappet. At least, I don’t have to wait forever for the shit that’s going to come my way. I know I have to stay still, admit I messed up and you will pay me be back fair and square, asap. Thank you for the invaluable lessons.

.  Two of the richest people I know are my mother and a friend who lives in Goa. For them literally money is ‘haath ki dhool.’ I will probably never be as big a spendthrift or remotely as generous as either of them. But neither would I be enslaved by money. Thank you for always giving me as much I need. For not tying my self worth to  my bank balance. For the few people in my life who don’t care about- how much I earn? What car I drive or what my Daddy does? I’m truly blessed.

. If you want me do the whole cliche- thank you for all my family and friends blah blah blah. Ya ok, I am not ungrateful but you know what I’m more grateful for the strangers. The ones who don’t know me, the ones who come in like a breath of fresh air and leave just as quickly- The teachers, the mentors, employees, students, a domestic help…an old man on the street. People who drag me out of my mess without even being aware of it.  Thank you for the lovely strangers. They keep me believing in miracles.


“Hazaron Khwahishen Aisi Ki Har Khwaish Pe Dam Nikle. Bahut Nikle Mere Arman Lekin Phir Bhi Kam Nikle.”

As I stroll through the lanes of Ballimaran, I’m reminded of how this verse has always resonated with me. But it no longer does. It seems that the ‘khwaish’ has gone missing from my life. It’s not a statement of a melodramatic drunk, though Ghalib wouldn’t mind that state; it’s the stating of a fact. A person who has deprived themselves out of some perverse sense of masochism or the fear of loosing or heartbreak or what have you- turning around and saying I don’t want. I want nothing! I have definitely not rung on the ladder of the spiritual path to reach a state of such detachment.

Well, Booo fucking Hooo. Enough of that already! Time to think of a few things I want, real soon.

I want to eat Thai Chicken till my stomach explodes. I want to drink so much I throw up on someone’s hand. I want soft white candy to fall on my face at dawn on a winter morning. I want to lie under the stars on a sand dune on a perfect winter night. I want to dance naked in the rain. I want to be kissed so hard my lips turn blue.  I want to drive endlessly. I want to hang out of the window of a car. I want my hair to dance with the wind.

Seems like I all I want right now is the girl I once was! But that’s a start. I’ll have to restart from somewhere.

The Place I Ran To

'My Room', in Pushkar.

‘My Room’, in Pushkar.

The Pushkar Fair

The Pushkar Fair


At the Pushkar Fair

Saadiya Kochar In Pushkar

Saadiya Kochar

…whenever I was in need of a friend”. Or so go the famous lines from a song I listened to in my younger years. The chapters of my memoir would  be based on the places I loved. Some of my longest, most fulfilling relationships have been with the places I fell in love with; the places I travelled to, alone.

Though my trip to Ladakh was my first solo trip, at the onset of my twenties, Pushkar became my favoured destination. My first trip, was of course with a bunch of photographer friends, capturing the Pushkar festival. A friend drove my Silver Qualis, while I sat meekly in the back. Through out the trip I shot two rolls of film and felt like a babe in the woods. But I fell in love!  Not with the  place or it’s inhabitants, neither with the camels nor with the bidis I learnt to smoke with the Oonthwallas. But with a room.

For many years, through many seasons, I travelled to Pushkar for nothing but what seemed like a room of one’s own. When Virginia Wolf wrote in her book, ”A woman must have money and a room of her own if is to write fiction”, she wasn’t referring to escapists like me. I already had my basement, my dungeon as most of my loved ones called my underground home.

Yet, there was a room in a tiny, obscure guest house in Pushkar that drew me. While people went for photography, I went to read, to be, to heal and of course for the drive. I would surface once a day for an hour, walk down the familiar corner, eat at a familiar restaurant and return to my room.

Ask me where anything in Pushkar is and my mind will draw a big blank. Only this year when I went there for my thirty-fifth birthday did I truly try to venture out, in the scorching heat, during the off-season, when everything was shut. Na, I did manage to get around and strike a few must do/see things from my list. At least, now I can sound like a seasoned traveller.

But I sit here in my basement in Delhi, day dreaming of sand dunes and women in beautiful attires and wishing I could have made it to the fair this year. And of course longing for my room.