A blue kite soars in the sky. The sound of chatter fills the room. I stare aimlessly at the painting of the nautch girl performing for the drunken nobleman. ‘Didi is home.’

SB and SC have been at loggerheads the past year, especially after their return from Kashmir. SC has been allowing SB to be her bullying self, intimidating the crap out of most men she’s encountered. SC came out to play on the trek but ever since her return has been throwing a fit, like a two year old or in her case akin to the one her sixty three year old mother throws. ‘I want to fall in love, now! I need some entertainment. What fun we’ll have on that roller coaster!’ pleads the adrenaline junkie. ‘I’ll whack your fucking face, I’ve had it with the scared little boys you find. Their obsession with the opinion of the world and it’s mother is too much for me to handle. Don’t you get impressed with their good behaviour, that’s all thanks to my vicious tongue, when they meet you, we’ve both had it!’ warns the protective personality.

But SC has been really difficult to pacify. This year she’s seen a number of resilient souls pass away- a relative, a teacher, people she’s admired, some she’s loved. An aunt lies in the ICU, as I type this. All of it has been making her melancholic. The short visit to Mumbai and meeting her favourite jija makes it worse. Her cousin is married to a man who not only dotes on her but is the perfect son in law and brother in law, anyone could have asked for. What he lacks for in wealth, he makes up for in consideration. While marriage has been quite unforgiving on her other sisters, it’s been most liberating for this one. Looking at them, makes SC believe that maybe she can do this. SB ofcourse disagrees!

To pacify her need to be spooned, SB has driven SC, to a place, which she frequented in her twenties. A place where she hides, reads, sleeps and cries till she’s strong enough to take on the world again. Though on the morning of their departure, I saw a terrible dream, in which a truck was smashing into them from the driver’s side, killing both the personalities on the spot, Sb knew a relationship right now would be worse than that accident, so she packed SC up and ran for her life!

So, here I am lying on my four poster bed, refusing to get out of my room, wanting to end the year snuggling, under the covers by myself. Once an escapist always an escapist my dear and once a cynic always a cynic, too. Or maybe not! An after thought, one is ending the year eating humble pie, having been proven wrong. The past few years One has been more cynical than ever, retreating back into, what many have called my fortress, away from family and friends. Not only my own experiences with depression and abandonment at vulnerable moments but more than that having witnessed my parent’s lives and especially my mother’s has made me disregard all relationships. The father and I are viscous, the Mother on the other hand, like a child, with the most generous heart. Yet, as she ages, despite being so nice and loving, the exact opposite of me, she withers away silently, having being forgotten by most. So one has consciously kept a distance, from the World and it’s mummy, better now than later, better out of choice than compulsion, is the argument SB gives SC!

But one was recently coaxed, by the father, into spending time with an aunt and her husband in Mumbai. Not only were they the perfect hosts but so good to the Mother, patiently repeating there were no snakes in their Chembur apartment that one had to come back and humbly tell the Father, he was right! There’s nothing better than being proven wrong, especially at the end of year. One starts the New Year, hopefully!

Kindred Souls

‘Good morning’, I say to the person whose hand clings to mine, like a child’s. She smiles, gives me a casual salute and falls asleep again. I stare at her wondering how I’m going to carry on with the bluff, that we are on vacation, as the Mumbai sun seeps into the room.

The World and reality are rather harsh; for the overly sensitive to navigate through existence, even harder. In any case, old age takes away everything we have gotten accustomed to- health, family, friends- all of our worldly possessions. When you’re not ‘normal’ earlier than you can imagine. As people go on with their existence, these people get left behind- just confined to their homes, with no one in particular to converse with. Of course conversations with them are haphazard and nonsensical but whose to say how much sense most conversations make.

From a bunch of eight, two turned out to be a bit off the regular chart. Apparently, their father’s sister was a little different. Needless to say, they are kindred spirits. Other than her sister and her darling dog, my Mum has never felt protective about anyone. I wonder how she’s going to react when she sees her sister in the ICU.

Jashn-e-Rekhta 2018

Jashn-e-Rekhta, the celebration of Urdu, is an event that has been marked on the calendar of the culturally inclined Dilliwallah. The fifth edition of Rekhta, saw the usual mushairas and qawalis, the renditions and recitations in each corner, that one now associates with a Rekhta event. Some of it is passe while most of it divine.

Wadali Brothers at the 5th edition of Urdu Festival

The Wadali Brothers of Amritsar, have sung many a legendary tracks. This year, the younger brother-Pyarelal Wadali passed away due to a cardiac arrest. Puran Chand , was joined by his son -Lakhwinder Wadali, who filled in for his uncle. The duo had the audience in a state of trance at the 5th edition of Jashn-e-Rekhta.

Fleeting thoughts

Khyaal aaye kuch ghar wapis aate hue-

Befazul log ishq ko ahmiyat deti he,

Zindagi mein humari, sirf baap ki gaaliyaan

Aur jo dil do chaar baar tuta he ( thoda zyaada bhi ho sakta he,ya kucch kam bhi )

Yahin kaam aaye he.

Inheene to humme banaya he aisa

Ke jab koi kehta he na

Toh humme sunaie deta haan.

Ajeeb he yeh duniya, jo aadmiyoon ki zidd

Ko taqat manti he

Aur auraton ki zidd ko paagalpan.


We have an invisible sign outside the house. One that states, ‘beware of the dog’! No, the sign ain’t about my harmless little pug, Raahat, who only charges at dogs triple his size but Moi. One is the designated watch dog of the house.

What my brother would call ‘jangli suur ka gussa’, my Dad calls my aggression, the teachers called it ‘passion that needs channelling or can be self destructive’ and the men have called it my ‘madness’, makes me qualified to bark at anyone who enters the territory.

One’s been unwell for the past few days…home bound with nothing to do. Ever since I’ve turned 39 the body (unlike the mind ) which hasn’t troubled me much over the years has been acting up. It has been asking for attention for the past few years, especially during the last bout of depression, when all the excessive crying would cause severe pain in my chest. But despite it’s attention seeking ways it has been quite well behaved…it’s treated me better than I have treated it.

Another thing has changed. One is trying to put down some roots. The head is constantly in the sky, need to place the feet down firmly, too. Each time, I’m close to a milestone year, I try hardest. So hopefully, fingers crossed, before one hits forty, a few things will materialise. To put my plan into action I had to drag myself out of bed and go to the workplace. A little khit pit with the carpenter and after sourcing of material and workmen and of course after bickering with the one whose going to drink himself to death, later, as I was on my way home, I got a call from the mother’s nurse, ‘didi, police walla aaya he!’. SC quickly sprang up from her slumber and pointed at SB, ‘what did you do?’ ‘Nothing man, kucch nahin kara, you sleep I will handle it!’

‘Give him the phone’, I tell the nurse. Some unruly person comes on the line. ‘Gk 1 thanne se aaya hu madam, FIR karaye thi aapne! Uss ke baare mein baat karni he!’ In the past few years, my bag, car, phone have been stolen, from different venues. So one has gone to the cops multiple times. ‘Tell me what is this regarding, it will take me time to reach home,’ I tell him curtly. Of course he ain’t going to leave and I’m already having palpitations because I have a sozzled relative sitting next to him. This was at half eight.

After a few minutes I called back the nurse. ‘He came in the afternoon too’, she told me, I told him ‘you return late, come back tomorrow. But he’s landed up right now.’ I assured her I was on my way. When I returned ofcourse the conversation was about closing cases etc and ofcourse I was mad as hell, that this man had the audacity to come to my house at that hour. Ofcourse I didn’t do what I was asked to. The only reason I mention this is because, I get accused for having no respect for authority and I have a very simple reason for it. Show me by example that you follow the rules, the law of the land etc I will follow you like a pup till the end but try to exert pressure on me or ask me to do things you have no regard for, yourself, well, then, watch tamasha!!

A long conversation with my, ‘whenever I’m in trouble who stands by me’ friend Ocean, who insisted, ‘you’re not going to the police station by yourself!’and after making all those false promises as I readied myself for bed I thought ‘poor guy didn’t see the sign outside, beware of the bitch!’