Depression in teens

This month we’ll be sharing the opinions of people who help others to deal with their angst. Since, one went through a period of masochism as a teenager-when one would just leave the house in the middle of the night, cut oneself and be totally erratic, one feels parents should be aware of children who act out and get them the necessary help, before it gets out of hand. Melancholy, is not the only symptom. What may come across as puberty or rebellion, may be something far more serious, which left unresolved can create lasting issues for any individual.

This is from an article which was published in Manorma-

‘If a child is sad, it doesn’t mean he has depression. It’s when that sadness stays with him day after day, when depression may be an issue. Other than this if the child has disruptive behaviour that interferes with normal social activities, interests, schoolwork or family life. These can also be signs of a problem.’

Please pay attention to these warning signs-

1) Sadness that lasts an extended period of time.

2) Aggressive behaviour and impulsiveness.

3) Thoughts or talk of self harm.

4) Thought or talk of harming another.

5) Thoughts or talk of death or suicide.

6) Thoughts or talk of perpetual guilt or worthlessness, almost everyday.

7) Lack of sleep or excessive sleep.

8) Restlessness or a slowing down of bodily movement.

9) Overeating or a loss of appetite.

10) Aches and pains, fatigue, headaches or digestive problems.

11) No pleasure in activities that were enjoyed, otherwise.

12) Social withdrawal- limited interactions with others or turning excessively argumentative.

There are various kinds of depression and not everyone has the same symptoms. Please pay attention to unusual behaviour, that can only be figured out by someone extremely close and get the teen, the help they require.

Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale

Each of us comes into the world with our own worldview and that worldview is actually shaped from the crib. You get from the world what you project into the world and you project into the world what you were raised with and what you were raised around. So the question to ask isn’t what is wrong with you? The question to ask someone who seems different is what happened to you?’- Dr Perry

One has been rather quiet about one’s journey towards calmness for various reasons. Well wishers, advice me, that a person in my position, with no backing other than her own, shouldn’t show her vulnerability to all and sundry, it could lead to hassles, later. But one throws caution to the wind, like one always has because well, if I don’t, then how does a regular Joe do it? I grew up around mental illness and thankfully, I am a single woman the society can’t yank around because there ain’t going to be no freaking legal guardian and there’s already a ‘incase I go totally bonkers’ plan in place! So, no, no one can lock me away or give me electric shocks! Ya, the plus sides of being a little nuts, always prepared for the worst case scenario.

Anyhow, we all wish to leave a legacy. Mine, is going to be always upsetting the apple cart. When I die, my desire, is that people should say ‘ She always did exactly what she wanted…she never listened to anyone, other than herself!’ My soul is going to pao bhangara, at that moment. If even one person, says I was nice, my dead body is going to barf on the poor unsuspecting creature! So, since I have such noble aspirations, you can figure out in what direction my moral compass points. Oh, honey, come on, chill, we all got to make fun of ourselves!

Anyhow, one digresses- one can’t live in this sort of closet. So, I’ll take my chances, roll the freaking dice, there are too many people out there who never say, what’s going on in their heads, out of fear of ridicule and judgement. Aur janeman humrae paas to kuch bhi nahi hai gavane ko, to hum kyun dare? Here we are, ready to catch the raging bull by it’s horn. One will be sharing, various aspects of one’s journey like what kind of tests were done and what were the results. I did share a post about the ink blot test, in the morning. That test was rather interesting. Books, recommendations from the spiritual kinds, quotes etc have helped. Most human beings, in my case aggravate the situation, other than my male friends, who entertain me with their antics, so one tends to stay away, but in my mum’s case, she felt calmer around other people. So, you choose your poison, one handles aloneness, better, It’s a good idea to go for psychometric testing, especially if like me you have issues conforming and you need conclusive evidence before believing anyone. The results may surprise you pleasantly or they may come as a rude shock but what’s the point of not knowing yourself , when that’s the only person whose going to be with you, all the time?

Some very important pointers. Most mood disorders/ mental illnesses stem up before a person hits 25. So, anyone with a mental/ mood disorder, would have had their first episode or episodes in the earlier phases of their life . This differs from what we call depression, which is a loosely used term these days. There are induced states of depression- drug/ alcohol induced, postpartum depression ( after a child is born), depression after loosing a job or on retirement, separation, grief induced etc. These are circumstantial and should in normal cases, last for a certain duration of time. These vary from a genetic disposition and that is why there is in depth enquiry about family history, when you go in for a regular psych interview.

Most of my test results were spot on, other than the alcohol dependency, where the score was high, purely due to genetic disposition from both sides of the family. So, since one barely drinks in any case, one has reduced it even, further. These are all screenshots of my actual reports, with the shrink’s description about the tests which were conducted. I know in a court of law, these results could be used against a person, during a divorce proceeding so I would suggest never sharing such things with anyone.

Rorschach Test

5 a.m. Neither the tree outside the office nor the walks on the factory floor nor the Larry Stylinson videos on loop, help to calm down the mind.

I read the test results again and again. This particular test and its results help. Since last year, one’s used all the findings, from my terribly detailed inspection by the shrink, like an astrological chart or tarot reading. Have the same, ‘wait I’ll show you’ defiance towards them, that one has towards everything. ‘Cope better idiot, normal people don’t get swayed by emotions!’ screams SB. I don’t know whether I should be more afraid of the one who hyperventilates in the middle of the night or the one who is capable of saying the most viscous things. One cares and the other saves her, I guess. SC, seems to be the child ego state and SB, the parent, the adult ego state I’m sure doesn’t exist, in my psyche.

Breathe in…breathe out. Think about home…about green grass and under open skies…the moon…we have nothing and no one left to loose….relax… shhh!

The Buck Stops Here

I got my psychometric test results and thought I should send a msg to the boys, I left- ‘ Thank me, darlings. You just got saved.’ And to the one’s who left me, ‘👍👍👍. Good choice!’ Ya, ya, I know it’s self deprecating. But come on man, if I can’t get a few laughs from my idiosyncrasies, what’s the point of having them? The humour would have been lost on them, so I didn’t.

They should have tested the ‘drama quotient’ too. So freaking dramatic, one is! Read the results and started singing-‘Pyaar mujhse jo kiya tumne to kyaa paaoge? Meri halaat ki aandhi mein bikhar jaoge!’ Rofl. Bhaskarji was all confused. ‘Kyaa hogaya didi?’ ‘Kuch nahin dimaag kharaab he thoda sa, ya to theek ho jayega, ya purra kharaab!’

Do I think mental health is a joke? No, but I don’t think taking pills will cure this patient’s disorders- Depressive, Antisocial, Avoidant, Manic, Masochistic, Borderline and Major Depression Symptoms, which the MCM1-111, Hamilton Anxiety Rating, Hamilton Rating Scale for depression, Draw a person test and the Rorschach tests, SSS-8 have indicated. These are on a disorder level…the traits are another story! I really don’t know, whether I should laugh, cry or tell someone.

Patient is ‘highly suspicious’ of people due to ‘negative interactions’ , henceforth, patient is very weary of giving this information out to the extended family, which has been trying to replace her with a man, ever since her mother’s death. Plus, their emotional quotient, is highly questionable. This will just add fuel to the fire. One more thing to get the rumour mills, churning. ‘The psychological functioning of the person is more complex than most people’, should that not automatically mean most people would not understand how this patient functions? Of course, one could tell the father but his response will be, ‘you need to go to Kashmir!’ ‘buy a dog’ ‘forget what’s happened and think only about work! but here’s a man who drinks all the time, to deal with his problems. His solutions are usually in cognisance with escapism. Or one could tell the boys who are my support system but they’ll just worry, from far away.

So for now the patient will try to deal with the ‘distress’, try to avoid, ‘focus on the features of herself that are negative’, continue to ‘process very well and in a rather complex’ manner and will become less uncomfortable in interpersonal situations. Above all, the patient, will work on ‘being less influenced by emotions’ bring it down to a regular person level ( God knows how!) will not try to avoid ‘emotional confrontations at all costs’ , will be less ‘self evaluative’ (eye roll) and will not try to ‘distance herself from others’ ( probably won’t succeed).

This report reminds me of my astrological chart that my brother got made, it’s almost as confusing and as correct. Too sensitive, feels too much, thinks too much, avoids people and is prone to severe depression are all on it. Who knew I would turn out to be a text book case? I must admit, the psychoanalyst was quite good. She barely asked me any questions about my childhood or my current worries…just how do I feel after my mum’s death? To which I replied, ‘I’m doing just fine!’ Sleep? ‘I’ve never slept well!’ So, to diagnose all this from a blot test, drawings, observation and from a multiple choice questionnaire is quite commendable. Having all this, so damn predictable.

But irrespective of how this pans out and how the people around me, react to all this, healing should be my top priority. Like I said to the shrink, ‘unlike my mother, who came from a large family and had a husband and kids…I don’t have the privilege to loose my mind. I’m all I got, no one’s going to save me, I got to save myself!’ So, time to hero up, doll….look at the shadow…you’re batman! We are the people we’ve been waiting for! We got to be for the kids that we’ll adopt someday, who will come from my heart and not my belly…I ain’t passing my trauma on to them. The buck stops, here!

ACE Trauma Test

For a while one has been struggling, without even realising. As long as I kept pretending to be Jhansi ki Rani, fighting the world ( eye roll) and being discriminated against for one’s gender, I was kind of alright. My buffer, I’m told, is great at absorbing the shock of loss and grief, one goes into fight mode. Hence, everything trickles down slowly, later, when one least expects it.

Anyhow, after many telephonic conversations with mental health professionals, one went to visit a psychiatrist, to figure out whether I had what people had been claiming- Bipolar Disorder. I don’t know, how many times, you’ve got yourself evaluated but trust me, it ain’t fun, trying to recall things your mind has tried to blank out. Plus, ‘what about your mother? Dead! What about your sibling? Dead!’ though answered with a deadpan expression, inspite of how cocky one may look doing it, isn’t what you enjoy saying. One’s been told, that other than the mood disorder ( which is still being assessed- tests after tests my dear) one also has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, a.k.a, PTSD. I don’t think anything has made me angrier, than that diagnosis.

One came out of the shrink’s clinic, livid. ‘ What the fuck does she mean I suffer from trauma?’ I was yelling into the phone. ‘Has she met a rape victim, acid attack victim, someone who lost their parent when they were little? Has she met the mothers in Kashmir who loose their children? I…I…I look traumatised to her!!! So what, if my mum burnt herself when I was little and now she and my brother are both dead! Everyone has to die, someday. Do you think poor people have the privilege of suffering PTSD, BPD or any form of depression?’ My friend, who is the only person who can handle my rants, kept trying to calm me down. ‘They meet lots of people, they have the experience, listen to them!’ ‘They’ve been trying to get me on those meds ever since, I was sixteen. I will fucking fix myself, you wait and watch! It’s my mind, my body, I’ve been living in it for 42 years, I will sort myself out, even if I have to slap myself out of this nonsense!’

For a person, who has been told by many professionals ( I was dragged to a family counsellor when I was younger, then a shrink…I’ve done the advanced Landmark forum course and have surrounded myself with the spiritual ones since a young age) that one is quite self aware ( according to me that makes me stupider than the average person who is unaware because they actually don’t know what they’re upto and I knowingly continue doing harmful things) one was behaving like an ignorant nincompoop! But I guess, BPD, is something that I can take like people take High BP. That it’s a genetic disposition, that one needs to work around. This made me feel weaker, less in control ( which scared the living day light out of the control freak) and bloody angry! So, of course I threw a fit and went into complete denial, bought loads of books, started sporadically walking again, avoiding people who I felt were triggers and trying with all my might to ‘slap some sense into myself!’ Of course the medicines which were prescribed were never taken.

One of the books, I’d ordered arrived today, ‘How to do the Work’ by Dr Nicole Lepera and like people pick tarot cards one opened a page. ‘Let’s see what I need to figure out on this day!’ I thought, as I casually drank my morning tea. Voila! On Page number 41, was the heading- Trauma: A misunderstood concept. The author wrote about the Adverse Childhood Experience Test and how though she had scored a 1 on it, which most people do, she later realized that she had suffered ‘spiritual trauma’. Dr Lepera, went on to describe how like me, she doesn’t have childhood memories, how she forgets faces and people make fun of her memory, all the time because she doesn’t remember shared experiences. Like me, she has ‘feeling memories’ how she felt but not concrete memories of events and all of this has been a coping mechanism, a survival tactic.

Dr Besel Kolk, has described this phenomena as- disassociation. ‘Simultaneously knowing and not knowing,’ How traumatised people try to not be present, how their fight, freeze and flight responses work differently and just because they have trained their mind to not be present to the occurrences it doesn’t mean, their bodies don’t remember.

The memory thing, made sense to me. Akash had told me the same thing, after I asked her why my IQ is normal but I don’t recollect so many things. ‘You trained your mind as a child to not remember, what was happening around you!’ Akash was one person one listened to. How one wishes one would have spent more time with her when she was alive! This resonated with me, so I took yet another test, this time on the net, thinking one will get a low score.

The Adverse Childhood Experience Test Goes Like This ( taken from the site)

1) Before your 18th birthday did a parent or an adult in the household, often or very often swear at you, put you down or humiliate you or act in a way that made you afraid that you might be physically hurt?

2) Before your 18th birthday, did a parent or other adult in the household often or very often-push, slap or throw something at you or ever hit you so hard that you had marks or were injured?

3) Before your 18th birthday, did an adult or person at least five years older than you ever touch or fondle you or have you touch their body in a sexual way or attempt or actually have oral, anal or vaginal intercourse with you?

4) Before your 18th b’day did you often or very often feel that no one on your family loved you or thought you were important or special or your family didn’t look out for each other, feel close to each other or support each other?

5) Before your 18th b’day did you often or very often feel that you didn’t have enough to eat, had to wear dirty clothes and had no one to protect you or your parents were too drunk or too high to take care of you or take you to the doctor if you needed it?

6) Before your 18th b’day, was a biological parent ever lost to you through divorce, abandonment or other reasons?

7) Before your 18th birthday, was your mother or stepmother often or very often pushed, grabbed, slapped or had something thrown at her or sometimes kicked, bitten, hit with something or hit repeatedly, threatened with a gun or knife?

8) Before your 18th birthday, did you live with anyone who was a problem drinker or alcoholic or who used street drugs?

9) Before your 18th birthday, was a household member depressed or mentally ill or did a household member attempt suicide?

10) Before your 18th birthday, did a household member go to prison?

I think everybody should take this test, especially people such as myself, who won’t believe the professionals, insisting that healing in such cases should be taken seriously. I don’t want to disclose my score but let’s just say, I should stop living in denial. Plus, it gave me an answer to a question that has always haunted me: when my brother and I had the same parents, why did I turn out like this and he could pass off as normal? Now I know.


For the past few months one has been very anxious. Due to which one has sought help from many professionals- spiritual healers, mental health professionals and of course from books (favourite teachers) and my own inner voice. I have major trust issues and the rumours surrounding one, have kind of aggravated those further, therefore, one was advised to not share anything, in order to not get more triggered.

Due to Covid, most of those chats have been telephonic, which wasn’t helping, as much, as my state required. One was told one could be suffering from various disorders, PTSD and BPD, based on genetics, my childhood and mood tests but a proper Bipolar assessment has been done and the results are yet to arrive. In the meanwhile, of course medicines have been prescribed but one is as adamant as one has always been; unwilling to go down the road-I’ve seem my mum & aunt, stumble upon. Having witnessed the consequences of medication, that will have to be the last resort. After SSR’s suicide, it has scared me further- I’m told I might take a drastic step if I don’t begin taking the meds, I find that highly unlikely. The pills nor the electric shocks, stopped my mother from attempting anything. The suppression of symptoms, is easy, working through your shit harder. I’ll just take my chances with therapy and alternative means of healing.

Anyway, as one moves forward in the journey towards mental health, I share with you something that might help you when you get beaten down. Though, I paid for my tests, as my case was a bit tricky and required a minuter assessment, any of these can be taken on the net and then a therapist can be consulted. Each time, I have taken one, the results have shown Bipolar 2. Whatever, it may be, in your case, a disorder, depression or existential angst, we all sometimes suffer from, journaling helps.

Someone suggested I make a list of habits that work for me and some that trigger me. This helped me to begin working on aspects, I could manage. This is what mine looks like, you can work on yours.

Not everyone is the same

When I die and you get the chance to rummage through all that I hoard, you’ll find all kinds of weird ass shit but most of all my precious notebooks. When SSR passed away and they found his diaries, with all kinds of lists and random information, I realized they are quite telling of a person’s inner space and someday, when mine are found, maybe someone will be able to piece together, all of me. Find a way, to send me the Vishesh Tipani!

The past year has been really tough for everyone and has been the loneliest in all my years on this planet. Don’t mistake my cribbing for being ungrateful. God as always has remained in my corner, kept me safe, from disease and from myself! But with the solitude that one is quite comfortable with, there’s been a mix of certain other emotions like hopelessness, cynicism, topped with slight disgust. Let’s blame my misanthropy for it or just my natural instinct when I feel cornered by the herd, that is society at large. One reacts like one did as a child- First step, go into my shell. Second step, remain there till I feel stronger. Third, peep out, figure out no one is there…get on with my life and then if anyone comes near or instigates, turn into a raging bull. Does it work? Less and less, with age. Recently, I realized, that certain things will have to change, as I grow older. One will have to start, standing up for oneself at some point and I have begun that process, too late. With an aggressive personality, like mine you would assume I do it all the time. In my personal relationships, when one is hurt by the rumours that surround one, one tends to just disconnect, disappear and become Mr India (a nickname given to me by my friend). Ideally, speaking, one would love to not care but na, unfortunately one does.

But you got to catch the bull by the horn, at times, this ‘let it be…karma will it sort out’ stuff that I tell myself, might have resulted in people bearing the consequences of their actions but the rumour mills churn at full speed which may seem harmless or entertaining to the people who have the time to indulge in these activities but it can professionally, personally, mentally and emotionally harm others. So, I’ve decided to not to let it be, if you’re going to talk crap about me, I will definitely let you know that I know. No one gets to demean me and then pretend everything’s great. I don’t take anything lying down anymore ( figuratively and literally- sorry I couldn’t help that). This is my new thing, it makes people squirm but so be it!

The other thing, is owning the story. We all got to own up to our crap and the story of our lives. The haters will continue to hate, the gossip mongers will continue to weave stories…record and pass on messages. The one’s who have been infected by the green eyed monster, will continue to detest you for your privileges. The critics will continue claiming that you are brainless, talentless and penniless fool. But inspite of all that, there will still be people out there, who will hold your hand through it. Even if you are all of those things and more, so what? What should you do, stop living, stop doing or stop being?

One had an incredible experience today. Someone shared something on a group about judging people and i’ve been feeling very low, the past few weeks. One wrote back, some personal stuff, I share on this blog all the time but highly inappropriate for a WhatsApp group. I think what I wrote was just a culmination of things- hopelessness and defiance, almost a throwing caution to the wind, like a kiss goodbye. It came from a place of feeling cornered and not from a place of wanting to share, anything in particular. One expected silence, a brushing under the carpet but slowly I started getting the kindest messages on the group and otherwise, too. An outpouring of positivity and love that someone such as myself doesn’t even expect on her demise. Sometimes, the greatest acts of kindness are just words of appreciation. The hoarder in me, is tempted to turn the messages into a tiny scrapbook, that one can look at when one feels, a little too lost or disillusioned. A reminder of sorts, that not everyone is the same, so stop painting everyone with the same brush.

23.5.21- Lockdown Extended

Dilip is from U.P and works at a dhaba. ‘ Madam, dar lagta he lekin roti khani he!’
While everyone stays home, things gets fixed.
A rag picker (didn’t want to disclose his name) in Sarojini Nagar
Prashant, an employee of the (in) famous Khan Chacha.
A lone guard sitting outside a store in CP
A lone man walking to work in CP


Do you ever have one of those days, when you feel a gut wrenching fear? It began last night. The person, who keeps a hand on my conus medullaris, to support it each time I think I can’t keep my spine erect, has taken ill. The sheer helplessness of being unable to be there for someone, who has never seized to help me, is so frustrating. ‘I’ll kill you if you die on me!’ I want to yell but that’s something I’ve already said and lived to regret. I bite my tongue. Fear…it grips my heart today.

While a comic makes an astute comment on the Israel and Palestine conflict, ‘ You don’t bring a gun to a knife fight’ and Cyclone Tauktae batters Gujarat and Mumbai, one gets the news of a student’s passing. Sometimes, one teaches a larger batch and I can’t seem to recall, if she was a part of mine but still that unsettles one, immensely. She was someone’s child like so many others, who have passed away. Makes me regret, leaving some of the college whattsapp groups. On the one’s I haven’t left, I send a message and am glad to hear they’re well. When this thing blows over, one has to party with the ex students, I promise myself! A few days ago, it was a a young acquaintance, all of thirty one years old! So many people are just dying all around us and we’re still, living as if we have all the time in the world, to make things right.

I’ve wrapped up my shit, told whoever I need to tell whatever I needed to say. The ones who didn’t receive a call or a personal message, one’s chosen to steer clear off. Just got to get the will registered, incase of the eventuality…I’m good to go. Na, actually one last thing: there’s a sick bastard (I have a feeling I know) who keeps linking my name to a website, which then redirects it to another shady one. Now, that ass whopping is the first thing I got to do, as soon as things settle down a bit.

The Ambassador of Eccentricity

Since it’s your birthday tomorrow and life is too short, might as well do this. Though, I know you hate public displays, still I’ll indulge myself. Happy birthday to my nuttiest friend. Wishing you the best of everything. May you remain deeply, madly, crazily in love with life. May you continue to kick ass at everything you’re passionate about-cinema, music and the arts and may you remain as obsessive as you are, about everything that you love! May you forever be my dost…my family! May you find someone who loves you to bits (cause you deserve all the love in the world) who is of sound mind (unlike both of us) and who doesn’t stalk me!

What a roller coaster we’ve been on, in the past two decades! You’ve seen me go through loss and heartbreak and I’ve seen you loosing your shit! We have grown up together but our brains haven’t developed much, since then. It’s like we’re two crazy people holding on to each other, trying to ensure the other doesn’t fall off the cliff. Of course one of us is a scared puss who can’t see the other cry! Eye roll!

Thank you for being choooo chweeettt! For worrying about me, scolding me constantly ( baby go home…Nonsense woman, don’t drive down…Paaji, why are you out at this time? Why are you doing this that and the other) and laughing like a mad hatter at everything. You lighten up the most serious situations with your one liners- ‘ Aap ka Virat Kohli jaisa strike rate he’. You crack me up! I only recently realized, after bearing a terrible brunt how gentlemanly you’ve always been. In two decades, inspite of all our fights you’ve never, ever been disrespectful. That’s true class. We should thank Akka, for bringing you up to be a gentleman.

Of course, you’re someone I greatly admire: your work ethics, your values and just how freaking talented you are, amazes me! You don’t need to receive awards for me to know how awesome you are, I knew the first time I saw you shooting (totally engrossed and so passionate). I never say this but every time I get a message-Good morning, LM.L, even after two decades it makes me smile. It means more to me than all the poems because it’s heartfelt. I love how much you take me for granted, how I am your ghar ki murgi! Someone you can call, at any time of the day or night , after however many days. Of course you get called an asshole for doing that but it’s so like Dusty, that cockiness.

I will always be your Alizeh ( but I’m not dying of cancer, ok!) your baby ( you’re the only man who is allowed to call me that) and your brat, however many others come and go. You can continue being my bestest buddy, from a distance ( I’m much more tolerable from faraway). I can’t be your woman but I will be with you forever, my Nutso! After all my kids will need to meet a specimen, whose nuttier and more stubborn than their mother!

Day 12

Read a beautiful line, on FB written by Mukhul ‘ surround yourself with life affirmative individuals and unicorns- they make you believe the ship mustn’t sink!’ Beautiful, na?

To be better prepared for the third wave, the Delhi government is increasing the ICU beds. After the shortage of oxygen cylinders and now vaccines…God knows, our holy places will be better prepared, before any government, wakes up from their slumber. We should give our taxes to them. The choice between Aap and Bjp is like choosing between the devil and the deep blue sea. But still, the deep blue sea is not a monstrous, murderer! One has a feeling enough time in power and they will head there too, to appease to us, the bloody thirsty public!

As the daily Covid positive cases drop and are at the lowest in India since the 26th of April, the infection is prevalent in my body, so one stays put at home. My life affirmative individuals- family and friends, fuss and scold, to ensure that one remains safe. Thankfully, the aunts are super protective and the Wall and Shets are great at yelling. So they won’t let me take a risk even if there was the slightest doubt! A school friend and the sister, who were checking on me, told me I should get myself tested again ( one said blood test, the other a CT scan) but I didn’t have any fever, so I was going to revert to the regular routine, rather than sitting and shipping Jikook, endlessly. That’s until I spoke to a friend who has isolated himself and I realised one doesn’t have the luxury of being careless. There’s a mild infection even after the antibiotics and I got an earful, from the lab. ‘ Can I go out for work?’, I called up after they sent me the result. ‘Ma’am this means you have to consult the doctor and have medicines!’ So, of course one has nothing to do other than to record this time by writing, for posterity. Two more days of isolation!

Reach Out

Spent the past few days, catching up with friends, family, colleagues and a few of the exes. One’s had all the time in the world, during this isolation to go back and forth, re-examine and reevaluate, for which one is most grateful. It seems like we’re all playing Russian roulette, no one knows whose going to survive. Might as well, find out how they’re doing, might be our last chance, won’t even get to know.

It’s been quite sentimental. Human beings are capable of doing the worst to each other, yet in such times of crisis, most people become more humane. Their best versions shine! The human spirit has amazing resilience and is capable of such incredible kindness, that even a deadly disease like this can’t stop it, from helping people. This is a strange time to be alive, one is scared shit for everyone and yet the heart is warmed by the kindness one witnesses.

Of course, even at this time there are people who are black marketing goods and hoarding. Flip side of it I guess. People also continue to be not such nice versions of themselves- the gossip mongering and the taunting continue. One’s an easy target, too many scandals, too many men and zero apology for the life one has lived! Thankfully, the men one is surrounded by from the father, to the brothers, to the friends, to the prospects are beyond being scandalised by any of my escapades. Most of them just plain amused. The women are a different story but you know, if one has to be something else, I’d rather kiss them goodbye, now! Everyone knows practically everything and what you don’t know is tattooed on my body, so booo hooo!

But the vilification is interesting, as a study, as something that happens to someone else, as a story about a character. One day one will record, al the scandals on video and put it out for the whole world to see. Na, it will invade the privacy of the men, so can’t. But just to Scandalise the next partner, before anyone else does. If he flees, he’s not worth it and if he stays, well then it’s cool! Ya, that’s why I’m still single, not! Other people’s contempt is quite a good fuel for the ego! Being watched, examined and taunted, definitely inflates it! Even in these times, a random person, repeatedly creating a site that embeds part of my text into his website and when you click on it, it gets redirected to some shady websites. It’s been going on for months, inspite of my best efforts. Even in these times, due to a difference in political ideology, people you know, insinuating, ‘ oh the only time you’re open minded is at night!’ (trying to take a potshot at a love affair from seven years ago that the man’s friend has gone and blurted to them) or wishing death on you! No guesses required for their political leanings. That’s a low, of another kind! Of course SB, has replies that are terribly viscous but to say something at this time, is not only foolhardy but very insensitive. But one records this just incase, in the near future one forgets, what people are capable off!

Happy Mother’s Day


Happy Mother’s Day my darling Pinky. Thank you for living life according to your own rules, for being a total bad ass, yet the gentlest soul and most of all irrespective of how sick you were, for making us feel like we were important and loved. Thank you for the last few years of your life, they mean the most to me! For your hugs and your warmth, I will always be grateful but most of all for your apology. I miss you.

Congratulations! Your niece just got married. People keep asking me to, as well, since I won’t need to call anyone and I keep saying lockdown or no lockdown, in any case no one is going to be invited for my wedding or my funeral, so I’m good, thanks!!

What else is new? Haan! So the architect uncle’s granddaughter, has also moved into uncle’s home. Now there’s uncle on the ground floor with his son, his grand daughter with her husband on the first floor and uncle’s daughter on the second floor with her husband. The uber cool tenant has moved to his father in law’s home in Goa. Why am I telling you this gossip? Your husband is soooo pissed with me! Lol! ‘ They are so lucky, there daughters have found such men’ he keeps telling me and he told them as well. I think it would be cool if more people were as open minded, daughters wouldn’t be thought of as a burden and parents who have only daughters, wouldn’t have to go through this pandemic alone. It amazes me how regressive, our society still is, where even the most educated women can’t digest this. As for me, Amma, can you imagine me waking up next to someone, each and every morning? Irrespective of whose house it is, I have books on my bed, there’s no place for anyone on it! I can continue to be your husband’s constant source of disappointment in life!

More good news! Your nephew’s had a baby. I didn’t know because I am not part of your families whattsapp group and on an individual basis I don’t ask one person about the other. So I was just chatting with the parjai and I said something about the population never reducing because people are busy making babies, during the lockdown and she went, ‘ ya that’s what we did!’ She’s too adorable, didn’t mind when I put both my feet in my mouth.

On a serious note, thank you for setting a good example by the way you lived. The other day, someone was saying, ‘we don’t understand why people don’t give anonymously!’ and I said ‘they shouldn’t!’ In fact I think they should tell everyone. If they scream about their wealths by purchasing the biggest cars and diamonds, to show people how much they have, this is something that they must tell someone to encourage more giving. Then I went on to give your example. Remember how Raj painji, always did a lot for people and she would take you to that place in Lajpat Nagar, where she distributed food packages to children. You saw that, learnt from her and imbibed that. I’m grateful to her for not keeping that a secret and for you to be open enough to learn that. Someday, there will be a private family foundation, hopefully sooner than later. You’ve left me more than I need. Promise, I’ll do something with it, that would have made you happy!

Day 7

Ahh, the lovely scent of rain. I sit on a rickety plastic chair, looking at the R block park which is totally devoid of human beings and full of birds, chirping away to glory. Grateful, one couldn’t have asked for a better place to be isolated. Of course you could argue Goa or the hills, which just proves you’re clueless about exactly how privileged we are. The employees who make us rich- work in our companies, our homes, on our construction sights; three share a tiny room and have to share the toilet with sixteen people. So, forgive me, for thinking one has too much, my comparisons are different.

Feel better, sporadically some symptoms crop up- stomach ache, itchy eyes and of course the constant body pain but one keeps feeling like one is perfectly alright. Got some work done, after a week. Feel a bit chatty today, called up to check up on a few people, promised to party when this thing gets over.

But when is it going to get over? It looks like it’s going to be around for a while. The physical and financial damage it’s doing, everyone is well aware off but the psychological damage is rampant. Even for someone like me, who speaks maximum an hour or two in a day ( unless I am teaching), after a week it starts to get to you. This is despite having the floor to move around, just the thought that all of a sudden it might worsen and it’s packy, wacky time. Am I that unwell? No! I just always imagine the worst case scenario and then take it from there.

So if I were to die soon, do I have any regrets? Not anymore. I’ve said and done what I needed to, it’s a pity my will isn’t registered. Of course, everything will go to charity, preferably Khalsa Aid and I shit you not, if anyone tries to cremate me, I will haunt them till kingdom comes. What scares me is that all my Muslim friends who have promised to find me a place, to be buried, will not be able to turn up. Otherwise, I’m good, death can take me when it wants. Dying in my car would be preferable but on my own bed, is not bad either.

Suicides and depression, separation and divorces, this pandemic is just giving everyone grief. A famous couple gets divorced after 27 years ( Bill And Melinda) and it turns into news. The enslavement of two people to a higher ideal, ‘us’ , purely for the sake of an alliance to expand the family’s labour force, should have become redundant by now, once monogamy became the norm and after women became financially independent. In this day and age, what do women need men for other than war, I have to wonder or viz a viz. Vibrators, IVF, robots- technology is replacing the ‘ need’ for a man/ woman. Companionship and intimacy, aren’t replaceable but one look at married couples and it seems to me, marriage just sucks the passion out of love.

Around the world, divorces have been skyrocketing. There’s a 122% jump in enquires for divorce proceedings, states the BBC. Of course in India, young people are still opting for the arranged alliance and putting themselves up, to be tied to the best bidder. Maybe, there’s some wisdom in it, who knows. I might just be J, incapable as one isn’t a saleable package-average looking loner, with below average intelligence, with too many tatoos, a sailors mouth and a stubbornness that could only be inherited. I should turn this into a matrimonial ad and to it I should add- not doing it enough, will 200% lead to a divorce. Forget marriage, they’ll put me on a cross and torch me! I’m definitely putting this on my- if I survive the next two years ( Covid) list. It’s a work in progress, unfortunately everything on it requires me to grow up, which is highly unlikely!

Day 6

The isolation makes one realize how privileged one is. To have space to move around, is a blessing. Though, the results are negative, one feels like crap. The eyes are starting to trouble again, the body pains are the same, there’s a problem with the throat. But everything else is alright.

It’s frustrating not being able to read at all but my -8, eyes and mind tend to get affected the most when one is unwell. ‘Keep your spirits high, my baby and talk to your friends’ says my aunt, who fusses over me, like a mother hen. ‘Talking takes too much energy and makes me feel sapped on a normal day, right now, I don’t have the strength to!’ I reply. The aunts (my dad’s sisters) have taken me under their wings, since mum’s passing. The father of course, hasn’t spoken to one in six days, which one should be used to, ‘cause he’s always been like that with everybody but SC is too sensitive. Nevertheless, concerned childhood friends and family rally around, for which one is most grateful. SC, loves being scolded and fussed over, so she’s chuffed. But one does feel useless and a little bit like a fraud, getting so much attention when all one really feels is extreme fatigue.

Of course, one is always open to speaking to the male friends ( I’m not misogynistic but most men one hangs with are hilarious, my female friends bit too serious) call up to check on R, who too is recovering. ‘ Now you know, what I was talking about Ma’am?’ he laughs. Of course, we discuss all the places we are going to hang out at, whenever we can. One is always game for spontaneous plans and this one is too much fun. As is V, who called up to check on me. This time a bit too serious, ‘don’t take this lightly, I just lost my classmate today. He was alright yesterday and today he’s no more!’ he sounded really upset and concerned. Who would have thought, we’ll see this day? It’s horrible. Our dead are just turning into statistics, mere numbers against this fight!

However, this is a good time to take stock of our lives. To imagine a different way of being, to invent a different lifestyle, for planning a life away from this hustle bustle, re prioritising and rearranging everything, especially relationships. People keep saying, relationships are important but no one realizes how much of our time and our lives, we give to unnecessary ones. So, I’ve being doing a serious rethink, of who and what I will give my energy to. In the end, it’s just going to be you and the people who really, truly care about you, fighting this fight against Covid or any other fight you will ever take on in your life. So conserve the energy!


The test result is negative but one’s been asked to stay home and isolated for a few days. The symptoms persist-upset stomach, excruciating pain in the legs, pain in the throat and congestion. No fever, no cold and the oxygen levels are okay.

Though I would have loved to cover all the Gurudwaras, doing oxygen seva, one is in no rush to step out for one’s own work. It’s just that the 65 year old father, is still going to the factory (the govt is encouraging factory owners to run their units as they don’t want to aggrevate the migrant worker’s issue) which is terribly worrisome. One hates being of no use to him right now. Wish they would enforce a stricter curfew for the sake of everyone’s safety.

Love in the times of a pandemic


One hears terrible news of deaths all around and finds oneself in front of a cremation ground, looking in, as usual. To even pretend to grieve your passing seems like a vulgarity, with death standing at everyone’s doorsteps! Happy birthday….miss you lots but I’m so glad the doctor didn’t realize you were infected ( at that time they didn’t even test me, though I had trouble breathing, had an infection and my ECG was erratic) otherwise, you too would have been like all those innumerable people dying alone in hospital and in your condition you wouldn’t have survived two days. I’m so glad the last person you saw was the person you loved the most-your husband. Uff, Ishq! So romantic and dramatic, Pinky!!

The Buas, who were like younger sisters to you, sent me messages today. One wrote, ‘ I’m sure the angels are looking after their own!’ Sweet messages for an adorable creature, I miss everyday!

Other than sickness the only thing that seems to be happening is- marriage! Yup! Last year one was taken aback by the absurdity of wanting to tie the knot during a pandemic but as time passes and more people die, one can wrap one’s head around that idea. I see people hooking up left right and centre, a bride and groom were walking on an empty road yesterday, with what seemed like a few relatives…one took charge as official photographer and snapped them for posterity. Another couple apparently took pheras in PPE kits because the groom tested positive. Nothing, seems to work on moi of course!

The radio too plays weird stories called ‘deedh ishqiya’. Yesterday, this is what the the RJ’s recited-a woman is stuck at home, hasn’t met her boyfriend due to the pandemic, so they have this weird ass conversation about getting married because they can’t bear not being with each other. Eye roll! Maybe, I’m just a bit J, can’t think of a single person, I would want to go through this with. Oh and of all the damn times, people are busy making babies. For God’s sakes! By all means hump each other like bunnies but there are no hospital beds, no oxygen, the air we are breathing in any case is poisonous and us Earthlings are hell bent on turning this planet into a dumping ground, at this freaking time you want to bring a child into this world? Slow clap!! People think we are weird, my goodness, I wonder what they’re smoking?

Your husband insists I’m a doomster. He told me the other day, if I was born before he got married, I would have convinced him not to tie the knot and have me. That’s not true. I’m all for love, but the kind that’s crazily passionate and a little bit impossible! I’m trying to change how I’ve always imagined the future- by myself. These days I’m trying projecting, imagining what kind of love would I want, which has led me to become a total Jimkook shipper. Don’t laugh, yes, I do want a love story akin to two twenty year old gay boys. It’s adorable. Now I should start looking for a girl! I wish Amma, please do something and change my sexual orientation!

I’ve been telling R and S that they must marry the girls they’re in love with soon. Of course, I’ll have to find younger boys to hang out with but that’s okay. I really should start hanging out with women more often, friendships with men last till they get married or till either of you falls for the other.

I wish you were around to scream and dance all day. The house is too lonely without you. The Father and I bicker all the time and since you’re not there to pacify us, we have to call a truce on our own, which is quite boring. From wearing a mask, to him shutting down the factory for a few day, everything I say seems too pessimistic to him. ‘Nothing will happen, stop behaving like my mother. Go and have babies of your own!’ he yells till I yell back and storm out. Poor Bhaskarji, just nods his head in dismay! According to him, I give myself too much importance. The other day, I was very upset because someone has been trying to hack my phone and has been repeatedly including text from one of my articles into the HTML code of a website. When you click on it, it drives it into another shady website. This has been going on for months and I have to keep complaining to Google. So, I told your husband and of course he thought I was overreacting. ‘Why do you care? Is it you? No, na, then let the person do whatever he pleases!’ I lost my shit! I told him not because he can do anything about it ( I will complain to the cyber cell and then God help whoever is doing this especially at this time) but a little bit of enragement would have been appreciated! But unlike you and I, there’s just pure pragmatism there, if you can’t do anything about it, ignore it! Oh how I miss you, my darling. Your death has sucked the fun out of most things but I’m trying to have the best life I can, for your sake and mine!


‘ If you thought that you would die today, would you change?’ asked Tracy Chapman and I would think, no! But there’s a gnawing feeling, a restlessness, again and again I find myself thinking, ‘this can’t be my life!’

Don’t get me wrong. At 25, if you asked me or anyone around me, where they saw me at forty- this would be it. Of course the brother and the mother would be alive in that prediction. But something, seems off, like I’m forcing something down my throat, a life that is not my own, choices that aren’t mine!

Like today, as I packed my stuff and was on my way to Noida, it’s like a movie was playing in my head. ‘ Humare jeene marne se ghanta farak pade ga kissi ko. Jee ke mene kyaa ukhad lena he?’ SB tells the boys who fuss over her. But while my eyes itched and my stomach hurt and I forced myself to drive back to the factory to pacify the man, who kept insisting one of us has to work, if it ain’t going to be me, it’s going to him, every cell in my body yelled, ‘Mujhe farak padega! It doesn’t matter if my life is of no consequence to anyone else but it’s freaking precious to me. It’s a gift from my mum!’

That was a first. My entire being, so angry that my life was considered disposable, by another person. For the first time, upon being treated like that ( for the umpteenth time) the thought that ‘ I must be worthless, that’s why I’m treated such!’ didn’t even occur to me. As I sobbed in anger and pain, I promised myself , that its time to make different choices. These thirteen months have taught me, the harshest lessons but self love, is a lesson one really needs to learn. You got to be your own top priority, love because no one will do that for you!


Another lockdown and the man in the house, is as obsessed with money as ever! ‘ Let’s live in the factory and run it for a week’ he says. This when the workers are falling ill, none of them agreeing to get tested. People are dying, no hospital beds are available but God forbid, we should use our common sense!

If I don’t do what he wants, the taunt is that his son is not alive, if he was then he wouldn’t have refused him anything, apparently! Not that I ever witnessed that kind of obedience, but the advantages of being dead, you accomplish sainthood. Unfortunately, even death wouldn’t make one faultless. This never ending, battle to please someone who has never and will never will find anything okay with you, is tiring my soul!


So here one is in Noida, spending the weekend. Before you assume I’m wandering for the sake of it, the employees are working on the machines and I’m supposed to be resting my eyes ( have a terrible infection). Packed five books and my camera as if I was heading for a shoot, with the same determination and a similar mix of books I usually pack- poetry/ holy books to calm the soul, research books ( whatever I need to capture next) and at least one book for inspiration, this time Ayn Rands- The Anthem.

Isn’t there something so lovely about an old book? The yellow tint of the paper, the smell of forever. It reminds me of my old less cynical, more idealistic self. Never easier though- one’s been a classic pain in the rear for what seems like forever. This is lovely, ‘ And the day will come when I shall break all the chains of the earth, and raze the cities of the enslaved, and my home will become the capital of a world where each man be free to exist for his own sake.’ I love how in a world that constantly blames a man’s ego for all of his follies, Ayn, shines a spotlight on it. Lovely!

Anyhooo, unfortunately, the eyes aren’t permitting any reading, so here I’m writing this bs to entertain myself. I really have nothing to say! TP.

Happy birthday

Happy birthday to my support system- wannabe father and surrogate mother. May you have the best of everything. May God return to you manifolds the goodness that you spread. May that spine of yours always remain erect…may you always be as uncontrollable and fearless: unaffected by position, money or power.

Thanks for entertaining me with your silly dances, mimicry, with your never ending supply of trivia and bizarre stories, making me crack up at almost everything- from my anger, to the coming and going of boyfriends and prospects. You have the funniest reactions to the situations I get myself into. Remember what you told the cop when he asked you to explain something to me? With a smirk on your face you looked at him and said ‘aap bol ke dekhlo manti he to!’ Poor man was so confused by your chilled out reaction, thank God you didn’t laugh when I was yelling, as you usually do. When I threw a stone at someone who was passing lewd comments and jerking offinstead of asking me to not go for a walk at night, like most people would suggest, you said, ‘ next time aim on the head, not on the feet!’ Bail tu karvadena!

Thank you for calling me everyday since my mum has passed away. You have been with me through the darkest times albeit from another country by coaxing, scolding ( all the freaking time) and of course fussing over me, like a mother hen. While people leave you at your worst and only want to know you at your best, you my friend are the exact opposite. I’m sure your childhood experience with stray animals comes in handy to do what my mum called ‘handling this thing’ . You’ve taken the promise you made her, too seriously, no wonder she only asked you.

If you’re expecting a thank you for saving my life four times, it ain’t coming. Hero bane ki zaroorat nahi he mamu, sangat apni achi kar le, nahi to teri bhi ticket kat jayegi jahanum ki! Knowing me, kabhi yaah bhi free mein tour mil sakta he!

PS- According to me it should be mandatory to learn how to drive before you turn forty!!


I put up a comment on my fb page, ‘ let’s ride together’ and the people who keep an eye on most things I do, record my conversations etc, see it! The green eyed monster that consumes them and has driven them to say the nastiest things, pops its ugly head. The manipulations begin yet again. This time around I have the proof of their natures, it’s not their words against mine, messages on a group after my messages to a friend.

I want to post them and then I decide, otherwise. Not because I’m stronger or wiser but because karma has always been kinder to me than people!



Happy holi Pinky! Dhum macha rahee ke nahin? Ever since you’ve passed over to the other side, I’ve decided to celebrate everything with aplomb. How much you missed celebrations! I wish we would have quit behaving like the world has come to an end and shared the enthusiasm you had on your ‘high days’, your joie de vivre.

Unfortunately, holi can’t be big this year, due to the pandemic but let this thing get over and we’re going to paaarrtyyyy, baby! New trip in life is, mauj kar! That’s what I tell myself all the time, ‘enjoy! Life ain’t going to get any easier, so you make hay while the sun shines!’ The self hypnosis is helping me deal with the breaking into cold sweat in the middle of the night, the anxiety which has now started giving me palpitations, the absolute paralysing fear that grips my heart about the future. I know, I need help but one is not open to the idea of a conversation. If I go to a shrink, it just might trigger something else, all together, which one is not emotionally equipped to handle right, now. So, for now, it’s mauj kar, which kind of works.

Random thoughts

Some nights, one longs to hear, ‘ don’t worry I got you. This too shall pass and I’ll be by your side as this rips you apart.’ Then one remembers, one is trying so hard to be one’s own hero! But old habits, die hard!

The Father, goes on and on about dying and mostly one lets it pass but these days, the humour is lost on me. ‘Find yourself a boy before I do!’ he says. ‘ If God wanted me to stay with one man, why has he made so many?’ I reply. The joke ( truth) doesn’t land well. ‘ I have you to fight with, what do I need a man for?’ this he gets.

The favourite topic of discussion, in our house of course has always been dying. So, a list of instructions are yelled at me, ‘ If I fall ill, hire a male attendant. You aren’t going to take me to the toilet. Don’t come to the hospital, you have to run my factory. Don’t do this pakhaand baazi when I die, no kirtan and all for me. Throw a party!’ It goes on and on, without a thought, about how I will manage. But, I’m superwoman, you see.

I saw the Meghan Markle interview and realized that, my whining must sound like that to people. Of course your feelings are valid but when you’re privileged, your issues seem rather superficial to people who are trying to make ends meet, especially at this time. Not to discount my feelings or hers but we live in a world, where materialistic comfort tops everything else and if you have it, you have to at some point learn to suck it up. ‘How’s are you?’ should be replied with ‘Great!’ and ‘how are things?’ with ‘ just peaches’. While the world sleeps, the fortress can turn into a home, the quills can be removed and masks can slowly be taken off, albeit for a little while.


Have you noticed how some people occupy a place in your heart akin to the thirty year old sofa that’s plonked itself in the drawing room? Or like the rickety dinning table with broken chairs, that your grandmother gave to her daughter, which you look at everyday and think you got to get rid off but somehow just can’t? Some people become like that, constant fixtures you don’t pay attention to anymore, till someone wants to come and sweep under them. Then you realize the size and the weight of what’s taking up so much space. I wonder sometimes, what would it be like to have an empty room?

Kai log aap ke dil mein aise baste he, jaise woh tees baras purana sofa, jo kissi tarah se ek kamre mein bas gaya he. Jaise woh purana mez aur tuti, futi kursiya, jo nani ne ma ko di thi, jinhe dekh har roz khayaal aata he, ke aaj inhe bedakhal kar diya jay, magar kabhi ho nahi pata. Kai log, waise hi, jagah mal lete he. Kitni jagah le li tab pata lagta he, jab koi hatane ki koshish karta he. Kabhi, kabhi mere dil mein ye khyaal aata he, ki khali kamra hota, ek khali dil hota, to kaisa hota?


Cold, cold heart of mine!

I gave a quote about being single to someone, who had written about my work many moons, ago. Of course I took the onus of all my failed relationships and got calls from friends asking why I would do that publicly and let everyone off the hook. Well, I like being on the hook, it suits me just fine. Besides, ‘nice people’, like to live upto to the idea of being faultless, so they’re better at concealment, but karma has a way of levelling the playing field. So, don’t fret. Besides, itni colourful zindagi, carpet ke under sweep karne ke liye to nahin jee he humne.

I don’t get why people mistake honesty for self deprecation. ‘One should always tell the truth but not all truths should be told?’ or something like that, the quote goes. Maybe, somethings should be kept to yourself. But nothing that involves, another human being can be kept just between the two of you and when it comes out, you not having the third leg that gives men a free pass to do everything, will be blamed. So, always own your shit, is my principle because if you don’t, you will loose your personal power. If you do it, own it, if you can’t own it, don’t do it. One of the few rules one tends to abide by.

I don’t think I was ‘too honest’ as someone put it, I think I wasn’t honest enough. Let’s just get it out. I think it’s not just a lack of love for oneself but also this totally unrealistic expectation, that I’ve always had, from the men in my life. It’s like I expected them to magically heal all that broke inside me as a kid, which no one can do, right? That’s was for me to do. To play part father and part lover and whichever part the man played, I wanted the other. One has two terribly different shades, each with a different need. You would assume, my knowing this, would make me nicer, nope, so that’s why, inspite of all the notifications Tinder sends me, to become more active, I’m Haq Se Single.

Tera kyaa hoga life mein? they ask. I ask myself the same question. People read this and think it’s apt for the times we live in. ‘ Tum se pahle jo ik shakhs yahan takht-nashin tha. Us ko bhi apne khuda hone pe itna hi yaqin tha.’ When I read this, I shit you not, I can imagine myself saying this to the next man, I date. Yeh inherent niceness, jo he (not) uska kyaa kare?

Repeatedly, wherever I go, people keep trying to remind me I need company. The father keeps trying to convince me to marry the Wall. His recent observation of course is, ‘ jisko karna hi nahi hota, uske paas sau bahane he!’ But of all the gyaan, free advice, people give me about changing my status, the most astute observation came from an old friend, who noted, ‘ men keep thinking that have to compete with each other for your attention, when actually it’s with your inherent loneliness, that they need to compete. That’s what you’re not willing to give up, so you keep jeopardizing relationships. You have to be able to let someone in at some point!’ In my old age, like George Clooney, I too shall try. Fifty is my deadline. Until then, one runs till one finds someone wild enough to run with.

Solo Travels Srinagar

Came to Srinagar yesterday, armed with all that SB comes with-bitchiness, arrogance, anger, resentment and as soon as the plane touched the runaway of Srinagar Airport, SC was back in all her glory. I’ve been told by many, any place outside of Delhi, I’m nicer. They get to see the other one, I guess.

One’s recently becoming more and more aware of one’s privileges. To be fair, when you live a life, that your relatives term, ‘living under poverty line’, your view of reality and your privileges is quite skewed and mine despite all my travels and having friends from different strati of society, still is. Read an article before coming here, about how these three boys travelled to Kashmir and used public transport to go from one place to other and I realized twelve years down the line and that is something, I’ve barely done. I have no idea, what it’s like to catch a bus from the airport. So yesterday, I did. It cost 70 bucks and I met interesting characters, on the way. A girl from Ladakh who was coming from Delhi but staying in Srinagar, a man who was returning from hibernation and so and so forth. But if you are pressed for time, you’ll be waiting for forty minutes on the bus, as passengers fill the seats, slowly.

Hats off to those young lads, who managed going from one destination to other by local transport because to find a local bus, in the winter, to take you to Pahalgam or Gulmarg is impossible. I tried and even the local passenger taxis don’t take you to Pahalgam, straight. They drop you at Anantnag and from there you have to catch another one cab to Pahalgam. Since, one is here for work and not for budget travelling, I chucked the idea of doing that. Lugging my overweight bag around, in the winter, by myself, waiting for local taxis, isn’t a feasible option for me. The anonymity that it grants you, though, is quite enticing. Some other time, for now, Farookh Uncle (my cab guy) and I remain steadfast companions.

Delhi Through Their Eyes: Connaught Place with Sohail Hashmi

Sohail Hashmi, the most eminent heritage walk leader, in Delhi, took us around Connaught Place, last Sunday. What draws me to his walks, is not just an admiration for his knowledge about the city, per se, but his persona in totality. There’s a gentleness and an intensity, about his demeanour, that draws throngs of people to his walks.

This was the first time, Mr Hashmi conducted a walk in the heart of Delhi- Connaught Place and though he said it required a bit of tweaking, all the participants, really enjoyed walking around, listening to historical facts juxtaposed with his personal anecdotes.

Connaught Place, steers many childhood memories. This hub of New Delhi, is practically where one grew up. Convent of Jesus and Mary, my alma mater which is opposite the Gole Dhak Khana- the octagonal, New Delhi General Post Office Building, is a stone throw away from where all the business and partying take place. Many a birthday parties, dates, class bunks and mishaps have happened in CP. Even now, since one detests malls, many a weekends are spent, enjoying a live concert within these iconic corridors.

Check out Heritage Walks with Sohail Hashmi, on FB, to remain updated on the schedule.


Dear Love,

You’re running a marathon on my mind, these days. I got beautiful messages from two of your friends, recently. One, sent me a message on your birthday telling me how you encouraged him in school and another one sent me a message on your death anniversary, telling me how you helped her after an accident. I’m always overwhelmed by your niceness and my chest swells up with pride, for knowing you. Between an angel and a Devil reincarnate, our parents managed to cover both ends of the spectrum.

Actually, you’re also a lucky bastard. I mean, I’m terrible, mujhe to do minute mein bhul jaygee duniya but you know where you got this from, your gentle heart? From our Mom. But shit man! the things they said about her when she died. Uff! People spoke about her, throughout her life and even when she went they didn’t spare her. To blame a woman for her past life, without having any recollection of your own, takes another kind of skill.

Why am I harping about this again? Well, you, lucky bastard, don’t ever have to worry about death anniversaries or what all that entails. I on the other hand, have the privilege of being the one who needs to sort shit out. So, here we are. I’m supposed to sit with a roomful of people, who will be there, to socialise, while some random fellow, who did not know our cutie pie, will be praying for her departed soul. Puke! Senseless rubbish.

You know, in the olden times, families wouldn’t celebrate any festivals for eleven months, after someone passed away. Seems a bit nuts, to me but they wouldn’t and this Varina was meant to be a kind of permission, a letting go ceremony, after which people would get back to business, as usual. But now, people have become more practical, they move on, quickly. Weddings only get cancelled if someone in the immediate family dies, while celebrations continue, unabashedly. Which is okay, I don’t think the soul gives a crap. The people who are grieving might but that’s totally each individual’s prerogative. So, what is the point of this drama! Plus, ek bat bata, even if the soul is going to benefit from your good intentions, I’m sure a good deed would trump, spectacles.

Of course, the Father is non committal, as usual, which leaves everything on moi. So, instead of deciding anything, I’m sitting at this hour cursing you. Akele, handling people is too mushkil, without you. I wish you could come down for a few days in a year. God should grant us four days a year, with the departed. Death should be like a break up. People should faze out, rather than disappearing, abruptly. Like you breakup, then you kind of hook up once in a while, then you get used to not being with that person all the time, eventually you get over it, when one person moves on. Leaving your body should be like that. It will be be easier on everyone. Crap, it’s almost two. Enough, for today. Kisses.

The Devil’s Advocate

Tractor parade starting from the Ghazipur side.

I thought at length about what to write. The young man, who lost his life: Navneet Singh, just returned from Australia, where his young wife awaited his arrival. Seeing him on the ground, left me shell shocked. The events of the day, were going to led to some disaster, that was obvious.

Rajdeep, is bearing the brunt of reporting, what the farmers told us- that Navneet had been shot. In fact, when I got the news, from one of the young farmers, I was told, that three boys had been shot in the head. It was not a rally but a protest, the kind, I have never witnessed and I have witnessed many, in the past decade. Let’s just say it was akin to the people taking to the street when Ram Rahim, was arrested. Plus, there was a caravan, a flight of tractors, stuck in a jam, leaderless, with lots of gossip mongering and alot of violence, from both ends. Now, if I say, the initial screw ups began from the side of the farmers in Ghazipur, I was there when they started to remove all the barricades and damage buses, in the morning, I will look like a right wing supporter and if I lie, I will not be able to live with it.

Men who tied the barrier to their tractor and dragged it for half km, till someone yelled at them.
There’s mayhem, all over.
A young man attacks the truck, that they have pushed to one side, while another tries to stop the mayhem.
Tear Gas Shells, are used early on, to deter the farmers. Most of the tractors as well as my driver take a U Turn, within minutes. Suddenly, there’s complete chaos, we get saved from being run over, by the tractors heading towards us, frantically looking for cover.
After the tear gas shelling
The farmers have no fear of COVID. But after the
mace is used, everybody has to cover their faces.
Stuck in a jam.
My car is stuck in a jam, with the farmers. At approximately, this time, Navneet Singh is loosing his life.

If I was a politician, a follower of the religion under attack, a leftist, a feminist, an activist, a student leader, a photo journalist with a full time job, I would pick a side and stick to it. Right, wrong, evidence, no evidence, common sense, I would just flush all of it down the toilet and defend my own. I would write and argue till my face went blue about the right to protest any which way, about how religious flags are used inappropriately all the time, about how wonderful the Sikhs are and so and so forth. But, alas! one is unable to do so. Nevertheless, one is in complete solidarity with the farmers, so as a sign of respect to the most important movement, any of us will ever witness, I take a bow. I decided today, after much contemplation, that a truth that does more harm than good is not worth dwelling on and sharing.

Having said that, I just want to add, as a person born into a Sikh family, never have I ever felt ashamed of the community or any of its actions. In fact, one has always claimed, that if I ever did feel the need to follow a religion, it would be this, just for how courageous and generous, it encourages its followers to be. But for the first time, witnessing the utter disregard for human life, made me squirm and I would personally apologise on behalf of all those present at the Ghazipur border (out of which the percentage of Sikhs would not be over 20%, on the upside) for all that took place.

I said this to a young lad, initially, who I shot with the Nishan Sahab. The flag was on the tractor and he said to his friend that the reason I am taking a picture of him is because , ‘ Madam, humme Khalistani dikhana cha rahee he!’ I flared up, of course. My reply to him was, ‘ You are a cut surd, my father is a turbaned Sikh living in Delhi, who was going to be attacked in ‘84. Whatever you people do and say, be careful that you don’t risk the lives of the Sikhs living here because you all will flee and they will pay the price for it!’ I still maintain that stance. I still feel the need and the responsibility to apologise for the violence, not because I am a coward, but because due to it, we didn’t even rush our own to the hospital, we didn’t even pick up his body from the ground, instead we used him for media bytes. Two wrongs aren’t going to make a right and if I have to share images of the destruction of Babri Masjid, as a defence for the hyper masculinity flexing its muscles, shame on us!

A religion that was formed to stand up for the oppressed ( even if that oppressed person is a policeman) the visual of that religion, the turban and the Nishan Sahib, can’t be be seen on a tractor trying to drive over a policeman or attacking a policeman with a stick or a sword, that was put their in those hands to protect. It’s sava lakh nal ek ladava, not the other way round. This is a farmer’s issue, that across the board affects all farmers but in the end if something goes wrong and incase of violence, like we saw, only the turban will be held responsible and also bear the brunt of it! Never forget what the optics look like to a the man of the street. It is the Nishan Sahib, that will be used to derail theentire movement. The Sikhs are a martial race and there are rules, even in war. Let’s not forget that. This one we will win but let’s just try to win it, the right way.

P.S- This is an appeal to the Akal Takht, from factions of the Sikh community, to disallow people from using the religious flag- the Nishan Sahib for anything other than a religious procession. For it to not be hoisted on vehicles and to not carry it while running. Though, the Jathedar of the Akal Takht, Giani Harpreet Singh, has said, ‘ Violence by farmers or police at Red Fort can’t be justified. But controversy over hoisted Nishan Sahib over vacant flag pole at Red Fort is a non-issue.’

15 years and counting…until we meet again

‘Kissi ke marne ka gham woh kare, jo aap na mare!’-Ghalib

Dear Love,

This note popped up on FB, from about 12 years ago. Cocky, much? Always! Ironic how things turned out? Totally! Tragic? Not at all, they worked out the way they were supposed to. The one thing your death taught me, everything happens for a reason.

So much for the cynicism, I sucked at calculating exactly how tough life can get. Of course, I miss you all the time but sometimes for the most random reasons-a look from across the room, a smile, the colour yellow…just the strangest, smallest things.

Do I need to be reminded of you, now? Some days, actually, your cute little face fades a little from my memory, then I look at my own ( God’s not so great first attempt and then he perfected it) and am reminded of you. You know, how much I’ve always disliked mirrors. But I peep at the eyes, put my finger on my chin and imagine you going, ‘tch tch’, like you did when I cried. Enjoy reading this and guffawing at my expense, prick!

A farmer loses his life at the Tractor Parade

I’ll write about the day I had, witnessing the madness, as soon as I can get over this moment. Running, into the crowd and finding a man on the ground, a tiranga on his body, to cover his deadness. The voyeurism of us all, staring me right in my face. Rajdeep interviewing, his cameramen telling me ‘madam, don’t say anything live he!’. The farmers gathering around, the politics over a dead body. ‘Pick him up from the ground, you creeps!’ I want to yell. But the drama, is at play. He’s no more a human, just a dead body. The mob is getting agitated. I elbow, a few men, yell at a few more, I’m so sickened by the sight, I have to leave. ‘Let’s go before the circus begins’, I tell my Dad’s driver, who is so relieved. He’s spent the past few hours, trying to convince me of the same.

I come home, gulp down a few drinks but I can’t get the scene out of my mind. Somewhere, a mother will be weeping the loss of her child, a sister would have lost her best friend…somewhere, someone will be as sickened by this world, as I am sometimes.


Dear Love,

Missing you like mad and the Wall, also a little bit. It was nice having someone around, who can’t be scared away. Kind of loosing my shit, a little bit. This winter is harder than most, this January feels worse than others. Move, move, move, go, do, do, do the mind keeps pushing me. Between dad’s work and mine, I’m just swinging like a pendulum, not wanting to feel anything. Growled at a poor unsuspecting creature, today, who was just trying to do his job. ‘Which person from history, would you want to be?’ he went. ‘ I can’t seem to get through my own life, you want me to imagine leading someone else’s?’ You know, better than anyone, how ferocious I can be. He was so taken aback, by me I realized, I need to pipe down the crazy quotient. Two days, in Pushkar, to calm the fuck down are desperately needed but I have some work day after and then this week is your barsi…fifteen bloody years since you left. Having fun up there or are you back in the grind? You don’t tell me, I haven’t reached there to know and I’m too pig headed to believe, anyone else’s version of it.

Oye! Who would have figured, our lives were going to turn into a stereotype? Did you ever imagine, that we could watch a film and go, ‘ oh shit! That’s my life or that’s so us!’ Saw this movie, called Tribhangana, I shit you not, the brother/sister relationship was just like ours and Kajol’s character, was as volatile as I am. After Dear Zindagi, this is the second time I’ve seen that on screen. Our Mum, would have fit right in, if she was 20, today! Nothing about her life or ours would have been unusual. Who would have thought that! You missed, the new normal, dude. We are the new regular! Not as much as I would like but getting there. People are still assuming we are supposed be heterosexual and monogamous. The former I can’t fix, that latent bisexuality that I truly believe all humans have, I can’t seem to tap into it. What a waste it would be, if I don’t, at least once in this lifetime. About the monogamy part, I still seem to scandalise everyone. Yesterday, a friend and I had this discussion and I said, ‘ someday, maybe when I will be fifty, I think I will be capable of it. Before that, I seriously doubt it!’. I said the same thing to our aunt, last evening. The idea of spending my life with one man, forever, I’ll be capable of if I know for certain I’m going to die, very soon. Barring these two things, we my dear, I’m reiterating, are the new normal!

Koi setting banayee he ke nahin uppar? Please use your clout with the Big Man, na! Every morning I pray to him, ‘he Bhagwan inn aurate ko kuch kaam de de, yaar, please.’ But to no avail, he doesn’t listen. Ten months of drama, bhai sahab, khattam hi nahi ho raha. From calls to the help, to each other, to my friends, to mom’s friends discussions like, we are murderers, to what time I wake up, to why are we not collecting people on mom’s varina, to my fucking non existent love life ( yeh abhi tak sabh 6 saal peche chal rahe he) these ladies, my God need jobs. Meri importance kitni he tujhe kyaa pata! The mornings begin with messages from our dear relative. I’ll receive four messages, three will be deleted and one will be a forward. Then this goes on throughout the day. There are around a hundred deleted messages on my phone, which she has sent and deleted. I have no idea what they are. I tried nicely, to tell the person to not do it but you know our genes, zidd to amazing he na sab me. The other day, not knowing what to about this, I posted it on fb as an attempt to make this nonsense stop.

What a firing I got from the Wall, when he saw it. ‘You know, they know, it disturbs you, that’s why they do it. How can you still get triggered? How can you know people so well and not control your reaction?’ He sounds just like you. He’s so pissed because my diastolic level is exceptionally high these days, my entire face is swollen. But nahi hota mujhe, if I could I would. Who the hell, wants their body and especially, their chest to be hurting like crazy? Control karo! Abbé yaar, karna aata to mein kar nahi leti? Kuch help kar, for a change, all those rakhis I tied were not for, ‘diya, yeh mujhe tang kar rahaa he, tu Bol! I fought all your battles when you were alive, you also do something, kuch kaam kar, meri to sunte nahi he, tu setting laga, inn logo ki life thodi interesting banva.


What is this ridiculous concept of peace and happiness that people keep shoving down your throat all the time? Ever since they became a well marketed product, to be bought of a kitchen shelf, one has the same aversion to them as religion. Struggle is the natural state of human kind, if peace was, man wouldn’t have been banished, in the first place.

The hypocrisy of human kind never ceases to amaze me. A kind that glorifies its creator, yet rejects all the emotions, that make it human, terms them sin. From wrath, to lust from emotional outbursts to the physical need of the body, everything is terrible. Let’s contain everything, pretend and then pretend a little more. Apologise for our existence, our thoughts and our feelings. One likes the observer, the one who watches all the feelings, knows they are there and somehow learns to deal with them at some point.

Someone asked, so if peace and happiness are not the final aim, what is? To reach a higher state, I would assume, na? ‘ What is a higher state?’he asks. Higher than where you, as an individual, from where you began. Not some universal higher state. If that was the case, there would be no concept of karma. ‘What then is the ultimate state- all negative or all positive?’ How can it be anything but both, the peaceful and the angry, the yin and the yang, the balancing of all your energies, the struggle of a caterpillar not just the becoming of a butterfly.

I still look at the world in bewilderment…unable to grasp, these concepts, that I am supposed to mug up but I’m unable to. These set of rules to follow, that people follow, they just naturally know how to fall in line. Give them a book and for a long time it becomes their mantra. One on the other hand, goes through life, like one went through school, wondering why everyone is believing what they’re being told, wondering what the fuck is happening. Experimenting through it, wanting each emotion to consume one, biting into the sinful and having those moments of sheer ecstasy ( without any drugs) that can only be experienced, when one sits near a water body, staring into nothing.

They keep trying to convince me I should become peaceful, sit like yogini. Some of us, where born to whirl like mad dervishes through life and find our peace in the movement. Hum badzaat aurte sirf marne par peaceful hoti he!


I returned from a heritage walk the other day ( I’ll write about it, soon, each time I try, my mind wanders to other things) and had my aunt, who I absolutely adore, grill me about my ( lack of a ) love life. Ironic, isn’t it? In my thirties, my dad got my signature analysis done. Which went like all my predictions go, that I’m basically flaky and flirtatious. Though, one’s been quite open about one’s relationships with the parents ( and have received tremendous amounts of beatings for them), other than the one that was the most sporadic, Indian father, lost it on reading this. Funnily enough, now the same father and everybody else, keep trying to convince me that, I need to find someone. I wish my heart worked according to a timetable but alas! it is a wanderess, that belongs to no man and no city!

Something makes me terribly melancholic in the winters. Usually, I hibernate from the world, hide behind layers of work and books in Kashmir but this year, one didn’t have any and one hardly, ever travels for leisure, unless one is battling with one’s inner demons and is going to lock one’s self up in a room in Pushkar. So, here one is, in Delhi. For a change of scene, I’m back in my dungeon, staring at the shiny disco ball that hangs on my ceiling and going through random things. Found a bunch of photographs, the first book of Osho’s I read- for Mad Men Only, love letters from boyfriends past and these two papers, each that sum up everything from my 30s, like the two tats on my arm separated by a star, do!

The photograph on the bottom, has my late brother’s name on it and the song that the singer was supposed to sing, was, I’ll be watching you but he didn’t know it. It was the most thoughtful birthday gift, ever. The one on the top is self explanatory. I know, I know, I have been the fucking, Queen of the Rebound my entire life. ‘Tu nahi to koi aur sahi, koi aur nahi to koi aur sai’, has been my love mantra. But you know what, my 30s made me realise that, relationships go against my grain, they aren’t my core competency. I absolutely suck at them and that I’d much rather utilise all my passion in my work. Everyone needs to stop worrying about me, I’m having the time of my life. Companionship? Well, I’m thinking by fifty I’ll need someone, then I’ll find someone young, whose excited about life and can deal with my cynical ways. Love? Between the one’s who are dead and the one’s who are gone, the heart it seems keeps the company of ghosts, some you remember on the day they died and others on the day they were born.

Her life gets me through some nights

A prescription from 1998. The earlier ones from Dr Kothari, I think, must have got misplaced when we moved homes.

Some nights I struggle, more than others and then the life of the woman, who bore me flashes through my semi sleep state. The ego reminds me to not become a foregone conclusion and these prescriptions save me from myself.

Though her official name was Deepika Kochar, all the prescriptions before I started taking her (much later) to the doctors were made in the name of Neera (which is her nick name). My aunt, who was a like a mother to my mum, used to take her to see the all the doctors, when we were little.

The suicide attempt after I was born should have been a red flag. Postmartem depression is a real thing. Each time I would ask my mum what brought it on, she would reply, ‘your grandfather went on a holiday and came back with gifts for his other grandchildren but nothing for you! I could bear how badly he treated me but I couldn’t take it when he treated you the same way!’ Needless to say, our relationship with our grandfather remained the same out entire lives, he never brought us anything or spoke much to us and though I will always regret not knowing my grandmother better, I have no such feelings for the one, who threw my mum out of the house. My parents moved into a rented apartment and that’s where my brother was born. A few years after my brother’s birth, there was another one. About the self immolation, all she would say, ‘ Your father and I were fighting and I was getting too agitated. I spilt perfume on myself and set myself on fire.’ I remember returning from a relative’s house and the help showing the nine year old me, my mother’s burnt clothes. ‘ Yeh dekh tumhari mummy ne kyaa kara!’

I grew up disliking my mother. The father, I adored till the first time, I saw him beating her and then went on to take out his frustrations on me. The only one who I considered home and family, growing up was my brother, much like the protagonist from Dear Zindagi. The mother was too different from everybody else for me to have any understanding of where she was coming from. People, didn’t make it easy either. Everybody those days, would talk about her- my father, his family, even her own family, up until her stroke. Though, I was always asked to take care of my brother and her, nobody told me that her behaviour was driven by her disease and that she required love. My own loneliness, my own struggles with my dark side, with my sexuality made me empathise with her, too late in life. But I think she lived as long as she did, inspite of all her attempts and illnesses because I was supposed to mend my relationship with her. That went on to help in saving me, from my own self.
Mum’s addiction to Corex went on for a long time. Every year, she would be hospitalised.
I hate when people blame my brother’s death for her depression and my father’s alcoholism. Though, it’s very convenient, it’s an absolute lie. It also mitigates, and disrespects all of my mother’s struggles with her own demons. My Ma, was born a fighter, if you ever saw her throwing a fit or in a hospital, scratching, biting and abusing two, three people at the same time (who were trying to hold her down) you would know, where I get my fighting spirit from. She was a terribly sensitive, sensuous, flawed woman who could only be controlled with love and was way ahead of her times. Though, being her child was never easy, it required for me to mother her, it was an absolute privilege knowing her. She is one of the rare people I know, who actually got better with age, less temperamental, more loving and truly apologetic for what she made us go through as kids. The only reason, I managed to forgive her is because she reciprocated my efforts with so much love, that the last few years of her life became her swan song, to me.

Farewell, Safety Net

Mariamman, was at it today. She graced us with tumultuous rain, ensuring I would have one last memorable moment with the one man, I find myself, relying on more and more, as I age. As we headed towards Noida, the wipers stopped working. ‘ Let’s stop the car and wait 007’, said my companion as I squinted and navigated through the deserted roads. James Bond, Ak 47, Poopie, he addresses me thus but never by my name. ‘ I got this’, I reassured my companion whilst he shook his head and smiled. With the passage of time, he thinks, I’ve started trusting him a bit or he’s just stopped expecting me to change, knowing it’s useless, SB consoles herself. Time nevertheless, has been kind to this friendship.

Until next year

These days, poor man, has been reduced to being addressed to as joru ka gulaam, amongst other terribly unflattering things. What are the chances of me being someone’s joru? Quiet slim. Is it his age? He’s not that much younger, by my standards, the world’s maybe. The fact, that he came to Delhi, stayed in a hotel close by for over twenty days and ensured that I had a helping hand, while I sorted some stuff out, doesn’t help his case. His demeanour, doesn’t help it, either. He’s quiet but not a pushover. A little chauvinistic but like a lot of other boys I know, doesn’t pretend to be anything else. Try making him do something he doesn’t want to or say something unflattering about his family or me, then his Alpha nature comes to the fore and how. The other day, as I couldn’t get off the tractor (I somehow climbed on) with just one arm around my waist, he swooped me off it, while the farmers hooted and whistled. I turned crimson due to the effortlessness of it, the way my mum would, as he would lift her up and put her in the car, for our outings.

‘Sab time, time ki baat he. Kabhi jaani dushman dost ban jaate he aur kabhi dosti mein darare pad jaati he. Jo Khudda chahe!’ I overheard the men, discussing the other day at Qutub Sahib’s Dargah. True, isn’t it? Our attachments then, to anyone -old or new, then are irrelevant. The few people I thought, I couldn’t live without are dead or long gone and here one is, in one piece, sometimes grudgingly and sometimes what seems like, ecstatically, surviving! The Wall, of course is not fooled by any of it. He notices the excessive drinking and the smoking is making him, wild. ‘You quit, why would you start again?’. I keep quiet but SB, doesn’t fool him with any of her escapist ways- the new fascination, the smoking, the drinking, a lot of reading, no long drives, no exercising, no praying, he’s seen her slide down that slippery slope before and he preempts the crash.

My escapists ways, may worry this one but they manage to piss off so many people, it inflates SB’s ego. While, SC, almost died, in grief and sickness, many watched her state, gleefully. As her mother’s dead body lay in her house, they discussed her past affairs, her suicide attempts and her inheritance. As she tried to make sense of it all, totally coming apart at the seams, they rejoiced in her misery. The depression transformed into anger and that rage has always been the fuel, that transforms her into SB, into Kali. Now, they see her as she struts around and poses, picture after picture, smiling ear to ear. All they can do, is pass snide comments. On a whattsapp group the other day, one of the actors of the drama, posted something about figuring out how much wealth someone has by the smile on the elder’s faces in the house. SB typed, ‘how would you know, considering you’ve left yours all alone, in another city to die of cancer, by herself?’. SC, looked at the horrible display of vendetta and was totally appalled by SB. ‘ We are not stooping to this level,’ she argued with SB. ‘ People who live in glass houses don’t realize their houses are made of glass, till you don’t fling a stone at their homes and remind them!’ argued SB. After much deliberation, thankfully SC, won. The Wall, was as relived. ‘ Let them do and say whatever they please, you do, the right thing. Khudda dekhta he.’ Chalk and cheese, number 6 and number 9, that’s what we are. Like Umrao Begum, he keeps trying to put the fear of God, in me. Like Ghalib, I insist I will end up in the esteemed company of Pheron and the Devil. His attempts at trying to salvage my soul may have failed but he did touch my heart, with his thoughtfulness, as he left for the Souks, today.

Sair- E- Dilli

Qudsia Bagh, Heritage Walk.
Syed Yusuf Shahab, in Nizammudin
The Lost Sufis of Delhi by Syed Yusuf Shahab

Just received my copy of The Lost Sufis of Delhi, Syed Yusuf’s book, about the saints buried in Delhi, which is an abode of Sufism. Yusuf who is graduate in Political Science and has a Post Graduate’s degree in Tourism and Travel from Jamia, has dedicated the book to Late Eshan Alam.

I spent the weekend, walking around Delhi with this direct descendant of a Sufi Saint, belonging to the Chishti order. Of course, his knowledge of Sufism, was on point but that only an expert can verify. With my limited understanding of the topic, my occasional flirtation with the Sufi way of life, I found the walks to Qudsia Bagh and Nizamuddin quite interesting.The bagh and the cemetery, one had never visited neither had I been to the Chilla and Patti Sahab’s Dargah but Chausath Kambha, the Nizammudin Dargah, Ghalib’s tomb and Sunder Nursery, I took my students to last year. On a Sunday afternoon, these were packed so I refused to walk towards the Dargah, during this pandemic, hence I left early.

Each heritage walk leader, has his own distinct style. Syed Yusuf, began by saying, ‘ I’m more a storyteller than a historian‘. That just means, you have to discount them factual discrepancies, if there are any. Though, he spoke in Hindustani, his language was more casual and his mannerism a bit stern. But the information seemed on point, plus there were a number of team members, who kept an eye on everyone, to make sure no one got lost in the crowd. What I did like though was, they seem quite driven and organised. The walks are conducted quite frequently (which considering they only have six months a year to have these events, should be the case) and in various parts of Delhi. If money is a constraint, they are lighter on the pocket. I would recommend Sair- e- Dilli’s walks on or about Sufism. Somebody should start doing a fifteen minute zikr session before or after the walks ( but unfortunately men and women aren’t encouraged to do so together. They are made to sit separately, therefore, only non Muslims, I find, organise the mixed sessions) I would definitely go for all of those.