Not another one

Dear Love,

I heard something the other day, that was so apt for my situation. ‘Bhai chale jaye to bal chale jaye. Baap chale jaye to chhat chale jaye aur mayri jab jai to jag chale jaye!’

Sweet, na. I miss you so much but I’m so glad you weren’t around to see this. I don’t think you had the stomach for it…honestly I don’t think I have the stomach for it, either. I’m hanging on to the side of the cliff, by my fingernails, holding on as tight as I can.

Days go by like they do at the hospital, one muddled into another. Forty days later, the father tells anyone who will listen, ‘I can’t take this torture anymore, I don’t feel better, we’re right where we started. Please take me home.’ He woke up right now and the first thing he was worried about was how much is it costing? Somethings don’t change. He’s so frail and withering away…at times better at times the same. Ageing, is too difficult man. My mind keeps going back to the astrological prediction- someone in the family will pass away before the end of January, that was made when you went. I kept thinking of that when we came in this time, hoping somehow we would survive the month to only realize Amma, went later. The mind is a trickster, it constantly looks for loopholes to make situations more tolerable…making connections where there are none.

Speaking of khurafati dimaag, sometimes it saves me, too. The father has always made fun of how, I have a plan A, B and C …thankfully, my backup plan or the back as we used to call in Masjid Moth, has been here for almost a month, now. It was nice not being alone for a change. The father in any case prefers his calm, collected ways to my volatile ones and it was nice to have someone around who is so used to my volatility, he actually finds it amusing! He’s so much better at tackling human beings…you know I’m a fit thrower who won’t believe anyone…who will want to see a report and won’t take anyones word for anything! Nope…just can’t do it…SB won’t let me. He on the other hand, like you, knows how to give people the impression he trusts them completely without really doing so. Tact…I wish it would rub off on me but twenty three years with you couldn’t make me nicer, nothing else is going to.

Speaking of nice, you know when you’re at the hospital, everybody is in the same boat, everyone has a story to tell. I was sitting at Nescafé and got chatting with someone whose mother had recently had a stroke. As we discussed medicines, things digressed to families and brothers and somehow landed on you. ‘ He must have been a really nice person…extremely generous and sweet! I’ve noticed the good ones go early!’ Ain’t that true about you! Cho cute you were! So was our mum. But our father isn’t…so you two make do without him! It ain’t fair that you all always thought, that I could handle everything. Sorry, I can’t! No…not!!!Leave him with me…we got to trouble each other and the world a lot more!


Dear Amma,

Happy birthday. For a change, a series was dedicated to you and you weren’t there to see it. I couldn’t stand in front of the images for even a minute, everything rushed back and made it difficult for me to remain steady. But this should bring me some closure and hopefully, I should let go, of everything before, I get very sick. Hid behind my mask, the way I hide behind my camera, deriving comfort from the distance it creates between crowds and myself or the way SC hides behind SB. If they thought my walls were fortresses earlier, they should try talking to me, now.

I miss you…miss your body more than you can imagine, not in an incestuous way. Incest makes me digress but this is hilarious. I was watching Badhai Do, with Dad and Rajkumar’s character is gay, so to avoid marriage he tells his parents-‘I’m in love with a Muslim woman’ , playing on the prejudice of his family. So Dad burst into peels of laughter and asked me, ‘are you sure, you don’t like women, that’s why you’re not getting married and these Muslim boys around you are all just to keep us distracted because you think no one will agree? I’m agreeing beta, you bring anyone!’ It’s like no one understands that living with someone scares the shit out of me, whether he’s a Sikh man or a Muslim man or even a woman for that matter, ewww, to constant physical proximity…no can do!

Anyway, back to the point. I miss your hugs, your kisses and lying on your tummy for hours. Why don’t men feel like you and your son? But your sister does! She came down especially for us, it was the sweetest thing and I wanted to hold her forever but I was worried she would get freaked out. Had an amazing time with her. Missed you at dinner the other day. It would have been nice if you had been there, too. Masi gave me some mothering, not like you, you were a bit of a baby but like two adults having a conversation about life, what’s it like to be a woman, sweet at times, encouraging and yet stern. She said the kindest words of encouragement. She told me stories of you about Tullika. I always forget the other doll’s name and how you loved to dress me up just the way you dressed up your dolls. If you were to see me these days, you would immediately disown me. Went to parlour after many months and got fired by Kalpana didi. ‘Mama ko dekha tha na apne kitna dhyaan rakhti thi!’ She said the sweetest thing after that- ‘ Ma’am you’re a very lucky woman. Only sons get the privilege of taking care of their parents. God has blessed you, that’s why you got so much time with your mum. My mother had two daughters but it was my sister who got that privilege because I was in Delhi.’ She always talks about you and I’m a sucker for anyone who does that.

Oh PD, had such sweet things to say about you, as well. How you took her shopping when she was a teenager and then SK showed me the first gift you gave her. Of course since morning, I’ve been getting such lovely messages for you. Even before I woke, there was a message from RB for you on my phone and NB, sent a message a Facebook. Then umpteen messages from your nieces and nephews. Acchi thi na tu. Me? The world will forget in two hours. Dad keeps telling me I will rot in my basement alone and I tell him, the plan is to die on the highway to Kashmir, after the Banihal tunnel, when there’s a nip in the air and the music is right, death can take me anytime it wants and strangers can bury me. My favourite people will be waiting.


It’s been two years since you left, to be with your favourite child. Please don’t bother to deny it, he was my favourite person, too. It’s been eventful…is that an understatement? Have you enjoyed the show from your vantage point? Me too, tortuous but come on! our love for the dramatics makes everything entertaining!

I sat across the doc at Kolmet, the other day and as he tried to figure out the root cause of my high diastolic levels…when I answered all his questions he looked at me in all seriousness and said, ‘ if after two years, just talking about your mother makes you this emotional, you require intervention!’ Cute, all the therapy in the world, ain’t fixing this head. You and my men would vouch for that, did you all not try every trick in the book to fix me? Some people aren’t fixable, they’re broken in a different way. ‘ I’m alright, plus I am in therapy!’ I replied. Of course, he tried to get me on a sedative, of course, no freaking chance in hell, one is getting on that.

But I thought about it later. Mourning is a privilege, that’s not really granted to us. It’s a gift we give ourselves, if we can take out time from our lives, away from the fear of death, pain and longing, to truly cry over someone. To grieve the part of us which has died with them. Like the part of me, which will never be able to smell that particular fragrance of yours (which has evaporated from your clothes, by the way) – a mix of talcum powder, pee, age and pears….there’ll be no stomach I can lie on for hours, doing nothing. Or the part which will never have anyone standing at the door, singing, ‘ oye meri Gudiya, oyee, oyee, oyee!’ and doing a silly little dance. The part which will not jump out of bed, hearing you yelling and abusing on top of your voice. The part which never be able to look at someone, in awe, disbelief, anger and adoration! So, its okay if I grieve but its really the softer side of me that I mourn, which was capable of feelings. It’s a bit complicated to make anyone understand that.

Anyhow, like we are supposed to think uniformly so are we meant to feel, like everyone else. Sometimes, I want to yell, ‘ I’m sorry…I wasn’t made at the same production plant as you! Don’t use your manual to understand me!’ but why upset the apple cart more than I usually, do? So, I nod my head in agreement to most things or just use my classic ‘ I’m too dumb to get your point’ expression! It always worked like a freaking charm, has kept me from getting into many unnecessary altercations, over the years.

I wish I could say everything is as controlled as my expressions, though. Honestly, as I age and I yell at everyone, ‘ don’t think I’m my mother!’ the more I realize, how much I truly am! Not as nice but as cuckoo as you could be on your worst days…okay, not…almost…there. Thankfully, I’m yet to find ( and hopefully shall never find) a love I can’t live without…go nuts over and a daughter I I can beat up ( oh don’t feel bad honey you were really sick). But I feel so scared of myself, Amma, as the mood swings get really bad, I find myself yelling at someone or the other and in the midst I remember you and I tell myself I can’t go down that road. The good days are so freaking good…totally charged and meglomaniacal to the point where I feel totally invincible. Like I am going to take on the whole world and its mother on that particular day….work……party!!! The bad ones are getting terrible, hours and hours of crying, total lethargy, the worst flashes. It suddenly catches me from my flight and buries me right under the ground.

One does feel really feel sorry for you, as one struggles, oneself. You must have been terrified, overturning cars, not having control over yourself and getting violent. Those electric shocks, I know scared the crap out of you, for years to come, as they do me. Unlike, what I thought, you were good for my sanity. There was at least some grounding, especially in the last few years. Plus, you were so loud and dramatic all the time, Amma, that there was always something going on. Now, there’s an eerie silence, in this house and in life.

When I went to Kashmir last, the hotel staff got totally freaked out and entered my room one evening because I was just having one of those days, when I don’t eat, lie in bed and cry all the time. Like you tried with all the pills in the world, I too try with books, shares, music, smoking ( yup that’s back) endless binging on videos of gay couples just being so crazily in love with each other (don’t know why but that calms me down..still in love with… but I don’t know how long it will work.

My assessment stated- my state is deteriorating! Sometimes, I wonder. Maybe its not…maybe I’m just too painfully aware of myself, every single thought and feeling gets exaggerated because of fear. Maybe because I saw you, I’m more conscious or I’m slowly tumbling down the road, each freaking psychological assessment, astrological chart, boyfriend or doctor predicted. Who knows? But I ain’t going down without a fight, that’s for sure. On days when I can’t, I remember you biting, clawing, abusing three to four people, trying to hold you down in a hospital room and think ha! I came out of that four feet, seven inches tall, fierceness. I can’t give up! Who would have thought, something that embarrassed me so much, would become inspirational and help me through my struggles?

Your husband misses you, more with each passing day. The initial partying, ‘ I’m going to remarry, yeah!’and euphoria, to deal with your loss has worn off. Thank God! I was so freaking pissed, I’m telling you, it took every fibre in my being to control not breaking every single thing in this house! Especially the first two months. But I understand, a little now. Forgive, I don’t know but I’m trying. It’s hard because I was grieving and it looked like for everybody else, the best thing had just happened. I’m a judgemental shit, though. I look at him, now and I realize, everybody copes with loss differently and denial is as good as wrath! Now, when I look back, I think I behaved exactly like him after Dustu passed. I immediately went back to work, I had an exhibition after a little more than a month. I travelled like crazy and in fact, one of Dustu’s girlfriend’s commented-‘it looks like a party!’ So, what a freaking hypocrite one is, to get mad! God knows what’s going on in his heart and head? Things are never what they seem and I’m sure they’re tougher than he shows. You loved him so much and that’s truly the worst addiction. I think it’s easier to get over someone you love more because that’s all you, a person can snap out it whenever they really want but when you get used to being looked at like you’re the centre of someone’s life, if their eyes light up when they see you and they worry about you all the time, it plays on your narcissism! That’s not easy to live, without! It’s dawning on him l think, that no one will love him like you did, with all his flaws and weaknesses. That’s tough, he struggles with that. You don’t visit me in my dreams, you should meet him in his. Poor Dad, misses being loved by you!

Piece of my heart

Dear Love,

Years pass by…everything changes but nothing really does. Though, each time I find you slipping away from my memory, I touch my chin and there you are, going ‘chi chi’ as if I’m a toddler needing to be amused.

I hardly pass by the cremation ground these days. …I’m not supposed to (docs orders, to let all four of you go). You of course are the hardest to stop clinging to, of all those who occupy my heart. The one person I loved without the fear of loosing, who looked at me as if I was the queen of it all, my confidant and most importantly the bridge between me and the rest of the world. How well you navigated through this world- calmly and always detached from the drama around us! ‘Why do you care? Just stop reacting. Iss jungli suar ke gusse ko control kar!’ By the way calling someone a wild boar, is highly disrespectful! You would be amazed at the way I would spiral out of control and I was confused by your ability to sleep through it all.

I miss you more than usual these days. When I’m sad I want to see you pretty face but when I’m saner or happier, I want to see it more. The shrink said to me the other day, ‘ you’re making progress…you want to bring someone to meet me, so we can plan, the days when you struggle?’ ‘ The only person who would have understood is dead and the rest are trying to convince me this is bullshit. So no thanks!’ Remember the last year of your life, you got help from M. We were both a little frailer than most, I guess.

I was sitting in a cafe, in Kashmir a few weeks ago. As I looked out of the window at the Dal, sipping my coffee in this quaint place, I recalled how your friend SG, would pull your leg. ‘Diya at forty will be reading a book and sipping coffee by herself in Ladakh and Dusty will call her, ‘ Diyu my kids are troubling me, come and scold them!’ and she’ll rush back!’ Forty two love, all alone, sipping coffee by herself but you’re not there to fight for. These day, one fights for oneself though. It took them a while to figure out, this one is programmed a little different. ‘ This is bad for your mental well being. Do it so you can sleep well…do it for this that and the other.’ Then they said ‘babies’ and I said bring it on. I wish I could make a few like you but considering my luck and our genes, I shouldn’t take that chance. Imagine, if they turn out to be like me, freaking horror show…no…!

Over lunch a couple of weeks ago, a friend was talking about how men are and I said the men in our house weren’t dominating. ‘ Maybe your brother was a little docile because you’re like this. He must have been giving you space to be yourself!’, I guess, he was trying to make sense of my aggression. ‘ I wasn’t always like this!’ is all I could say. You weren’t there to tell him how I was or how we were as kids, growing up the way we did. Totally different and yet connected, almost completing one another. You -more in touch with your feminine side, mostly in the company of women, peaceful, practical and level headed. Me-with my high testosterone levels, in love with high speeds, chase and drama, perpetually getting into trouble with the parents, hating the whole world and it’s mother other than you (and whichever man I was involved with at the time). Now, when I look back, not only was I fiercely protective but almost territorial about you. Sometimes, I wonder, is loosing you to death more painful or would loosing you to life have been more difficult for me?

An Ode To A Love That Shouldn’t Have Been

Let’s pretend this is a monologue akin to the many you and I have indulged in, where I would speak/write and get no response. It’s not a complaint, you get what you give and many who knew me before you, would accuse me of the same kind of non reactiveness that can drive another person nuts.

‘ I’ll get over it when the fat lady sings!’, I kept telling myself. I didn’t know, it would take so long and I hear it’s going to happen, soon. Somebody popped on my friend’s suggestion on FB and I figured from the common friends: that’s who it is! She seems sweet- like you and tailor made, to adjust to the family. After all these years, this seems to be the best time to really let you go. I’ve held on to you- clung to you for dear life, ever since I met you. Not just during all those years, when we knew each other but up until, now. Was I hoping you would come back? Na, I knew that was an impossibility. Did I want you to? Not as a man in my life- I’m going to end up with someone who looks at me like I’m a Christmas tree and I loved you too much, for me to fake a friendship. Can’t be friends with exes you carry residual love for, that’s just asking for trouble. So, I didn’t know why I wasn’t letting you go!

Up until, I trekked up to a water fall, with someone who knew you and we ended up having a chat about how wonderful you are! It turns out to be guilt. Yup, I hate to admit it, love yes, but more guilt. You would assume, that it’s because of how it ended but it’s not, because for that I have to feel guilty about a love that saved me from drowning…it’s for the way it started. The beginning they say determines the end. In our case it was just as terrible!

The onus of the disaster, that was unfortunately your first real relationship, will always be on me. They say, ‘Talli do hathon se bajti he!’ Na, when you’re in a relationship with a child and I don’t mean in terms of age ( well you were twenty and I was twenty five) but in terms of mindset, sheltered upbringing and barely any real exposure to women, the responsibility of not getting into it, is on you. But you were just so raw and cute, like a rugged version of Diljit Dosanjh right out of a pind. ‘ Tujse naraz nahi zindagi, heran hu mein?’ would play on mind, sometimes when I would look at you. Innocent and how! We were so different and yet you were so perfect, that inspite of my gut instinct telling me to run in the opposite direction, I just couldn’t.

How much Dustu, tried to explain to me, that I was just replacing him with you, like my maternal instincts have always been off the chart and I needed someone to mother. But I didn’t and you already had too many maternal figures. It’s not like all my options weren’t open at that time…it’s not like you were the most handsome man I ever laid eyes on. You weren’t the smartest or the richest either, like people have accused me. In fact, I would have had to adjust to your lifestyle, when I met you. But you were the kindest man I’d met and you were as nice to people who had less as you were to people who had more. That’s priceless. You didn’t smoke, you didn’t drink, you prayed and loved everyone. Plus, I’d always had a thing for mumma’s boys. They say, we look for what we aren’t in a partner and that’s what you were, the exact opposite- nice, kind, stable and most importantly came with a loving family. The black sheep had finally found the chunga munda, with ironically fair skin ( you know how obsessed my family is with it).

I ofcourse never got the same approval ratings from yours but I never have ( other than twice)…that’s on me, not on them. Plus, after loosing Dustu and especially after loosing Mum, I can understand their fear. My Dad, is as paranoid about someone enticing me for the wrong reasons. Did it all make me feel really insecure and undesired? Yes! Did the fact that it was never really a ‘let’s meet my friends’ or ‘this is my partner’ or lack of pubic display, make me really uneasy and unsure? Yes! Did the lack of intimacy, make it worse? Yes! Did the pressure after Dustu get to me? Yes! Is that an excuse? No.

I should have walked out and I did try. Right after the Singapore trip, I did call it quits. But it seems it was never really off the table. Not completely and totally. So it was complicated and screwed up and I should have been stronger and wiser. But I wasn’t! I was desperate, you were my last chance at redemption, it seems. The bad girl found the good boy and had a happy ending. But she couldn’t because her happy ending was supposed to be by herself!

My regret comes from corrupting you. You were a nice boy, who did the right things and thought the right way when I met you and I saw you transform into a man I couldn’t recognise. I wish it would have been for the better. My instability, I always feel rubbed off on you, while we were together. You couldn’t make me like you but I did make you a little like myself. That’s why I regret it. I regret I met you, not because of what it did to my life. My life would have ended this way, in any case. It’s what it did to yours! The one good thing is that through it all, I was brutally honest! You couldn’t stand to hear the things I had to say and I couldn’t take the things you hid! I did very dramatically, curse you for it, the last time I stormed out of your house, ‘ I know, you know and God knows what you did! It doesn’t matter what the world says…we’ll see how it goes!’ When I heard how things ended for you, I felt bad I said that. When I saw you last…you seemed to be the ghost of the boy, I once knew. That boy who hit me on my forehead to show affection, laughed uncontrollably, had to be held back by four men during a fight and listened to loud Punjabi music, the boy I looked at and thought, ‘ those are the best genes for my babies’….I will always love that boy but he no longer, exists. He grew up to be someone else. But the rest of you…I’m letting go off. I hope somewhere in the future , a few decades down the line…we can be friends. May new love bring you luck, a sense of direction, stability, the ability to take a stand and make you the best version of yourself. Love and light…now and forever.

P.S- you’ll probably not see this for years to come. But someday, when we’ll be old and grey, we’ll be sharing a drink and reading this. You surrounded by your family and I’ll probably be with a few cats.

Your daughter


Everyday since you’ve passed, I have wondered how could you have survived your life, any other way? ‘ You know why you yell, I’m not my mum at people because you are scared that a part of you is!’, they say. Ya, ya..who do you think SC is like? My child ego state is like you, that’s why I keep it nicely tucked away but apparently not well enough.

Dad hates it! It infuriates him no less, that people say the worst things about me and I still don’t turn them down if they ask me for something. ‘ Just like your mother!’ he said to me last evening as he kept recounting what some women say about me and what they did to you! Misogynistic, much? Yup but in your story as well as mine, men were nicer to us, always. Well, I’m nice until someone makes me furious, then I wouldn’t give a person a thing or a single penny…I’m as vindictive as him but don’t have such a great memory. With time I let it go…I feel too intensely, otherwise it would consume me. How much you hated our tongues!

I tell the ones who are helping me though, ‘ you expect me to get along and not be so ‘self protective’ yet most people show me there’s very little to trust! Everything is a matter of convenience, they think I’m too rigid and I think they are too flexible. Their opinions and their stances, depending on whose going to butter their bread and nothing that withholds the test of time. I respect a true hater, someone who really goes after me passionately, they have my admiration.’ Remember, when I was around twelve, I was part of this group and a particular girl from that group would be nice to me, when she would meet but truly hated my guts? Even at that age, I was confused by this behaviour, ‘ why are you talking to me? I don’t like you and you don’t like me so why are we doing this?’ Of course we didn’t speak for a few years after that and eventually when we grew up, became close. To her credit, she said ‘ you know I don’t like you either!’ Respect! I appreciate spine. You of course were very disappointed in me…you genuinely liked people and I on the other hand am amazed at a social construct that will demonize the person, who says exactly what they feel ( unless it’s nice, ofcourse) and appreciates and applauds conniving!

You think any amount of therapy is going to make me less anti social? I really doubt it! Am I going to miraculously wake up one day and appreciate the utter waste of time, energy and resources, in faking niceness? No! Am I going to understand why I’m supposed to be your sister and not have your back? You remember how much Dustu’s girlfriends hated me? I had no problem with it, I made my choice and it was him. I always made that choice, consciously, so much so that I argued with friend’s parents who tried to diss them infront of me. I choose the side I am on, until for some reason I decide it isn’t a side I am going to remain on…give a piece of mind ( or two) and move on! The Wall, is like that, very different from me, in any and every other way but this. I ain’t going to win any popularity contest. That’s for sure and no one will turn up for my funeral, I’ll die alone in my old age but so did you! Inspite of how lovely you were. So, I have to find a good reason to learn to bite my tongue and play nice because fear of social ostracism, loneliness, rotting in my basement alone or hell, ain’t working! What could it be? Maturity, I guess!

A year and a half later

Dear Amma,

Yesterday, you popped up on my FB wall, Amma, as it’s been a year and a half since you passed. Each time I write Amma, I can see you face squirming…how you hated being addressed as such! It was mom, high tea, diamonds, Kaaashmir and what not for you! You were always too fancy dudette and I was too desi.

Time passes, like it does. Your nighties smell less of you and more of me, now. I haven’t been able to get a tattoo due to Covid, so you know how clingy SC gets. Those Marks and Spenser, nightgowns are bakwaas, by the way, they’ve completely lost their shape. I always told you, a local tailor constructs better garments than these chains but you thought I was a miser ( which I am but still). No wonder, people would look at us and go, ‘hai yeh aapki beti he?’

That reminds me, turns out that becoming a particular version of you, is my deepest fear. I find myself fighting with people and more often than not, yelling-‘I’m not my mother! Don’t try, the crap you tried on her!’ Also, surprise, surprise, the less in control of one’s life one feels, the more aggressive one gets. Oh I’m so lovely, these days! You were so gentle, my tongue would have embarrassed you . Though, my fit throwing would have seemed familiar. Remember how I was between fourteen to sixteen? Well, I’m not as bad…I don’t run out of the house at 2 a.m and keep walking around to calm down but uff, the wrath! They say, it’s been accumulated over a long period and especially after loosing you and going through the lovely experience of feeling cornered and alone…when I was already vulnerable, has tipped off my mental balance. Maybe it has or maybe I’m just plain nuts and of course totally misanthropic.

Good choice on the boy…I should have listened to you. You always knew better than I, who was good for me. Ever since, you’ve gone he frets over me like a mother hen. You shouldn’t have asked him to promise you, that he’ll take care of me. He actually came down to ensure, that I wasn’t going completely bonkers. Sat around ( watching a silly series with me) gave me pep talks ( you need to channel the anger constructively) and pampered me silly ( we went out ever single night). Poor guy, seemed a bit scandalised by your man. But you know how that plays out better than anyone else.

Nevertheless, life is the way, it is, circular. As I grow older, I understand you more. Honestly, I never understood why you were so paranoid? Why you would tell the domestic help ‘ if anyone calls just tell them I’m sleeping’. Why did you become addicted to Corex ( oh, I found the sweetest cards your son made for you. ‘Mummy please stop drinking Corex!. They’re heartbreaking!) Why did you prefer the company of kids and animals? As I delve deeper into my own psyche and try to confront my shadows, I’ve had to re-examine you and your life as well.

I forgave you a long time ago but now I truly empathise with you and two of my brothers. Respect! I’ve been in your shoes for a year and a half and I’m like ‘ Oh sweet mother of God!’ But you all are too nice and I’m a loose freaking canon with nada to loose…no boyfriend or husband who can be manipulated, no extended family and whatever can be said to my friends and acquaintances has already been said and done. Advantages of being bad, baby you already have a particular reputation and once it all goes to hell, you don’t fear no one! You should have tried it, it might have saved you from the electric shocks. Actually, that is something that can be pulled on me, as well ( maybe I should reconsider marriage, just to ensure they don’t get me institutionalised). You were someone who blinded everyone with her goodness and her light, so you needed to be controlled but in my case there’s more to be gained materialistically. After all, since you were a woman as soon as your Father passed away, you were forced to sign away all your rights to his property and when your mum passed away, since you and and one of sisters weren’t ’ mentally stable’ , you were not given even a piece of her clothing, forget anything else. For now I have God in my corner, otherwise I wouldn’t have survived the past eighteen months. Let’s see, how long he protects me.

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!

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!



One loafed about yesterday, as I had to come to Noida later on, for a shift. Oiled my thinning, greying hair and thought of dragging myself to the parlour but you know it has to be my least favourite place in the world. Darling, you had some patience!

I wish I’d gotten off my ass, though. A friend recommended, I watch Mr Holmes but I wasn’t in the mood, so I chanced upon this series called Firefly Lane. Well, it seems our screwed up lives and choices, have been normalised greatly in the past few years by the entertainment industry! Watching it, broke my heart a little bit, if my blood pumping left atrium and right atrium can be called thus! The protagonist seemed all commitment phobic, scattered, incapable of real intimacy and with a tongue that spewed words, like this to a lover-‘ I never met my father, are you him?’ Does that sound familiar? Hmmm! And to top it goes from falling for much older men to a much younger one! Yup, I ain’t making this shit up, that’s part of the narrative!

So, of course one was hooked. The mother’s addiction, the love hate relationship shared by them, uff, what may seem like an exaggeration to many, is actually understating, sometimes. Very often, reality is stranger than fiction! Anyhow, what was supposed be a series about friendship, seemed to be a lot more than that. At one point, when the little boy’s had enough of her quills, I was literally yelling at the television- ‘ No, no no don’t listen to the words, look at her eyes!’, it was mental. Bhaskarji actually thought I’d lost it! He was just so sick of me, he was like go for work or ride a bike, get out!

Pinky, I’m learning to ride. There are a number of mother- daughter duos, who turn up for the workshops. If you were around, though, you would have never gone with me, instead, what a fit you would have thrown! Considering, how accident prone all of us are, you would have fretted, fumed and shown me those big puppy eyes, with tears in them and I would have had to succumb. But don’t worry, I’m like a scared little wuss on that thing, so I won’t do anything crazy, other, than using this as my pick up line, ‘come on baby, let me take you for a ride!’ Greece two, hangover! I never got my cool rider, might as well find a way, to make out on a bike before I die!


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.

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!


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.

Dear Love

Dear Love,

Woke up missing you, desperately. Maybe, it’s because the father is freaking me out a bit. Yesterday, he got damn emotional. Ever since The Wall, has landed in India, he’s been going on and on about marriage. Last night, he was trying to convince me again, with these reasons, ‘ This is India, women can’t live all alone in this society.’ My reply to which was pointing out all the women we know of, who are unmarried. To which his reply was, ‘they all have siblings’. Obviously, I hate being reminded of that.

As far as the boy is concerned, I think because the Father knows how difficult I am, he likes the fact that this one is even tempered and not perturbed by me (at all) Plus he argues, ‘ you’re not speaking to anyone in the family since you’re mum has passed away. I worry no one will be there for you, if I fall ill or if something happens to me! How will you manage, everything? There’s too much to take care off!’

‘ I’ll manage’, I lie through my teeth. Some nights I get anxious thinking about it. It scares me too but you know I don’t let fear dictate my life choices. Other than marriage of course, which I fear more than death, itself. For the rest of my life, I will have to sleep in the same bed and look at the same face, every single day and you know, how I am in love- a clever man can make me do anything . How long will I fool , someone with SB and you know how clingy SC, is? Thanks but no thanks!

Let me just shift the blame on you, please na, for one minute. You guys have spoilt me rotten, you and our mother. First of all, no man looks at me like you did, second no one is going to be smiling, singing, dancing nor kissing me, when I enter the house, like you and our mother did. I’m not going to get enough hugs and looking at married people, I’m guessing I’m not going to get laid enough. I can’t tell people this, na, that once I hit menopause, maybe then? The prudes will just faint!!! Those Brahmakumaris were trying to convince me, a few years ago, that women don’t feel the need to do it after a certain age. High hopes! As far as how things will be managed, we survived our very interesting childhood, heartbreaks, you died I learnt to live with that, mum died and I am still managing! So, let’s see. Baki Khudda to hai hi, each time someone leaves, he sends someone to help me deal with it. Whatever shall be, shall be!

Tere Bin

Tere bin sano soniya, huar koyo nahi labna..Jo de ruh nu sakoon chuke jo nakhra mera.

Dear Love,

Sunshine, happy now? This year must be better, with mum by your side. If we actually buy the story about heaven and hell, I seriously doubt our extremely adventurous Mother, would have landed up in the same place as you. Is God as forgiving to women as he is to men or does he too hold them by the same standard as society does? Is God a woman? If so she might have been kinder to our Mum or maybe worse. I wish you could tell me.

But I worry less about you. Do I love you less/ miss you less? Hell no! Itna cute koi aur nahin he na iss duniya mein, now that our Mother has gone, too. You know, how I would sometimes joke that my soulmate took one look at me and told God, ‘ hunne hi chukk le menu, ae dene di jagaah!’ . Maybe, our soul mates are not our lovers, maybe you were my twin soul. Who knows? Dil ko behlane ke liye, yeh sarre khyaal acche he! No man/boy still looks at me, the way you did, with a little bit of amusement and a lot of love. That doesn’t stop them from claiming it and it doesn’t stop me from not believing it. Eyes never lie.

Life, unfortunately, goes on without you. Suddenly, like you I find myself, wanting to go out all the time. Human contact has never been my style of escapism but it’s a new experiment. Meet people, listen to the good stuff, listen to the bullshit and not get hassled by any of it. Neither by the brick backs nor by the contempt. I better learn now or forever be misanthropic, which suddenly, seems like a waste of energy and an opportunity to tap on another aspect of oneself.

Jess took me out today and she was saying, ‘Diya I know you, since we were little…you’re not going to start meeting random people.’ Well, from one minute to another, I don’t know myself. Who am I in any case? The person who drives or dances with complete abandon, ecstatic some days. The person who some times can’t bear the idea of living one more day? The girl you loved or the woman the various lovers did? They all too will vouch for different versions of me! Tu bata de! Tujhe pata he? Tell me in my dreams, someday.

A letter from the Vale


There’s a power cut, I lie in a dark room thinking about you. Thankfully, the bed is warm and the phone charged enough, for now. There’s a possibility the flight might get cancelled tomorrow, as there are predictions of snow fall. Normally, I would only be too happy to be here but this is the first Diwali Dad will be spending without you and I don’t want him to be alone. What will happen, let’s wait and watch.

Otherwise, how am I looking from that vantage point? Better, na? Strangely, I feel more driven and focused, in totality. Extremely melancholic, since yesterday, though. But that’s my mind…you know how it is. One day, it’s up dancing in the skies and then suddenly it’s down in the dumps. It may be because of all the lovers I saw in the park, autumn or just diwali. Who knows, what happens to me?

It’s a pity we didn’t celebrate Diwali, enough, after Dustu passed away. Sporadically, once in a while, we would make a half hearted attempt. Dad would just come up with something or the other. We didn’t realize, we would eventually loose each other, too. I wish now, we would have. Pieces of us, do drift away when our loved ones pass away.

But sometimes, we forget there are people around who are alive, who are there. Family members, who need us. You know how he gets, though. Even now, he refuses to go anywhere. I keep trying to drag him out of the house for a meal or a movie. But like he never went out with us, he still refuses to go anywhere with me. That factory building was and is still his real home.

Don’t worry about me, the Mother Hen, fusses and fumes, over the phone all the time. ‘ Jama Masjid mat jao. Ye mat karo. Woh mat karo! Davaee khao!’ He goes on. ‘ Baap ban rahaa he? ‘ doesn’t work on him. The most obnoxious things I am capable of saying, make him laugh and it drives me nuts!

Remember how you would insist that only he can handle me (like I am a piece of hot coal, the handling of which requires expertise). I think that’s because he’s upfront and easy. Once I was very upset, I was having one of those days, with GD or it was later ( I remember if was many years ago) I said to him ‘ I know I’m a very difficult woman to be around!’ and he said, ‘No, aisa nahin he. Mene dekha he aapko..,you only get angry when people lie or say no. Aap ko lagna chahiye dusra insaan koshish kar raha he, phir aap kuch bhi maaf kar deti ho!’ His opinion is biased, growing up he took care of a lot of injured animals, I’m like one of those for him, an injured animal he needs to heal.

He watches the coming and going of various men, with a quiet amusement, though. Not that there have been any in the past six years. But you know, the occasional friend, who will assume, the feelings they have for me are more than platonic. But the way, I’ve been the past couple of weeks, this boy I’ve had a crush on, that worries him, I know. ‘I’m a grown up, I know what I am doing’, I reassure him. But he happens to be the only person, who knows how easily I get swayed.

Dolling Up

COVID precautions at salons


I remember, I promised to doll up but coming to the salon and sitting for two hours, is a mind numbing and terribly ticklish, experience! Ya, ya, I know I said, twice a month but once in eight months is not bad, considering social distancing, Ma!

Anyhow, the real reason, I came is because I planned to go to the Dargah for Jumme Raat but SB, dragged me by my ear and parked my ass, here and there I sat like a timid puppy. She sporadically appears these day, absolutely livid at SC. ‘Behave yourself or better still, let me do it for the two of us. We are going to start answering questions? No, Kyuun Jaana he? Who are you? Why do you want to know? Or our favourite question to answer all questions, that puts off most men, the hukum ka ikka-baap bana raha he mera? You’re going to get us into so much trouble!’, the protective part of me, yells at the clingy one. I can’t even describe them as my good and bad sides, like Dustu and you ( no prizes for guessing which one you would be, lol). Apparently, one has only two different bad sides- they are like the Devil and the Deep blue sea.

Why does my mind know stuff and yet my body, refuses to listen to it? Silly of me to ask you that, it’s like preaching to the choir! But, I feel like the moth, which is totally enamoured by the magic of the flame! The only thing, that will drive some sense into me, hopefully, is when The Wall, will appear.




You popped up on fb wall, early in the morning. Your most loved picture from 2016, the platform reminded me. It would have been nice, if I would have posted all our pictures together, every week, I would get a reminder. That would have been sweet but each time, I posted a picture, you would fall ill. Then like an 80 year old woman, I would stand over you, read some Islamic prayer, ‘I seek refuge from bad vibes’. How much you would yell at me for being so superstitious? The argument would with, ‘Am I your baby or are you my baby?’ and you in the cutest way, anyone can reply would say, ‘ I’m your baby!’

Baby reminds me, your original Mother Hen, your sister is missing you, lots. She saw my DP, in the morning and sent a message that if you were alive, she would have asked you to grow up. So, much for wishful thinking. That’s why we liked them young, we never want to grow up! The classic Peter Pan syndrome.

Though, we hardly speak there’s a part of me, that feels terrible for her. This much loss, no one should have to suffer. One after the other, watching people die. Loosing Dustu and you, has shaken me to the core, imagine going through this, repeatedly. Uff, Khudda Reham kare sab ke dilo pe. It’s a pity, things ended the way they did between us. There should have been a natural transference of feelings, which usually happens, in such cases. But in our case, your loss has just driven a terrible wedge. Time heals everything, they say. Here’s hoping! I guess, with time my anger also, will transform into all that I keep avoiding feeling and I’ll stop being angry, with everyone including, myself. But maturity level to hamara, kamaal ka he, so you never know.

Anyway, I’ve been unable to sleep for days, now. Something, is really bothering me, I just can’t put my finger on it. You have any clue? Something you can see from your vantage point? I just want to hold you so tight and sleep right now. How I wish, I could hear the words, ‘ Hai, hai chipkoo!’again.

A letter from Kashmir


This is the first time I have stepped out after you’ve passed away and I didn’t realize how hard it would be. For starters I can’t call up and fight with you as usual. ‘Why don’t you ever call me? You don’t love me.’ I can’t ask anyone that. Neither can I ask Bhaskar how you are doing, nor are you going to be there when I go back.

A part of me, kept shutting the other away and the silence here just awakened her. I keep shooting and walking the entire day, listening to music so that SC’s fears don’t drive me nuts. ‘How are we going to survive? What will we do? I can’t take it anymore. Let’s just jump into the Dal and die.’ She keeps whispering into my ear. I on the other hand block her out with deafening music, playing in my ears. She cries all the time. Today, she wept so much, a young boy actually came to comfort her. I was so embarrassed, uff, I rushed to the nearest coffee shop, where people recognised me. Sat there for sometime, listening to the owner talk about everything under the sun. The sound of other people’s voices just pulled me out of a dangerous place,

It’s one of those days, when I’m feeling more hopeless than most. A few days ago, father dear, got absolutely hammered and started cursing the neighbours and your dear sister, infront of them. Mr Bhaskar called me up. Apparently he even flung a stone, till I reached home and yelled. The minute he hears, SB, like most men, he calms down. But the other one gets really scared, in any case, she’s terrified after you’ve gone. It’s a strange phenomenon, the part that is scared has become more afraid and the part that is aggressive, has lost it’s shit.

Today, after your dear family pulled another one she came out in the worst way possible. ‘ I’m giving you a last warning. If you don’t stop this slander, I will literally pull out all the skeletons from your closets and then I will prove in a court of law that you cheated a psychiatric patient.’ But nothing your husband or I say, will change their behaviour. Like a friend said to me today, ‘they can’t digest that a girl can lead the life that you do or inherit anything from their parents. So they will not stop. Just stop feeling bad.’ Two of your sisters passed away before you. No one asked their sons about their belongings or their work, no one tried to meddle in their house. So you think they have this audacity because you were unwell or because your husband is an alcoholic or because I’m unmarried? What do think it is? Or is it because that’s what it’s like to born a woman in this country?

Each time I read about a rape case, I think, our souls are raped in our homes long before a man lays a hand on us. Each time, our brothers are told they are the be all and end all of everything. Each time, the daughter is educated less, fed less and made to feel less. This lessening, mitigation of us allows every man to feel he can overpower us- physically, emotionally and financially. If he’s from a better class, has more money, has a good job then he grows up feeling more entitled. The brothers end up whacking their sisters, as do the fathers and then the men in their lives, if they don’t physically hurt them, go ahead and damage their very beings. I don’t even want to comment on my sister’s marriages but one thing is for sure, if their husband’s knew they had someone to fall back on, they wouldn’t dare. We get violated every single day by our people, who turn a blind eye to the flaws of men. What are we going around expecting from strangers?

P.S- These days I end up thanking GD, for not marrying me. I would have been a puppet in everyone’s hands. I wrote to them today saying, I will never get married. No man, no cry, Amma or actually, no man, no yanking around!

Dream No 1


So, the deed is done. We have apparently settled all that belonged to you. The stuff you saved for me, I’ve kept, the rest of it I have given to your husband. SB wants to whack the shit out of SC for indulging the misogyny but there are more important things on my mind. It’s funny how once we die, only the ‘value’ of things matter and not the sentiment with which they were collected. You’re the sweetest. I promise to atleast make the effort to wear something, sometime.

Grapevine has it I’m eloping, with the one you insisted I should marry. As sweet as he is and I really don’t give a rat’s ass about his class (which is something I got from you) or education, the relatives don’t know that it’s the last thing on my mind. If it didn’t piss the shit out of me, I would be rather amused. Can you imagine their conversations? This one is ALL wrong according to their criteria-1) Muslim ( it’s still apparently scandalous in 2020) 2) No money ( they are having a field day with that one) 3) 12th pass ( oh my God! What will people think?) Well, if I ain’t doing someone, I’m definitely not marrying them. Just for the cheap thrills of how scandalous this is ( which suddenly makes it sooo tempting) I should definitely check out if I am missing out on some action. Uff, wait karna padega. But alas! my rabbit is better at it than all men.

What a pity, if somewhere down the line, I actually did end up with this one. Not for any other reason but only because I would always wish, you were alive to see it. But alas the heart loves what it loves and mine is still stuck somewhere a decade ago…torn. I’m snapping out of it real soon, that’s mission no 1.

Anyway, enough of my ranting. Dream no 1 is not to get laid but to start the Jaswin & Deepika Kochar Foundation, soon. There needs to be some good I should do, with the privileges that I have. Have to make it happen, sooner than later. Once it’s a legal entity, it can be a part of my will. Planning…..planning…planning is happening right, now.


Dear Love

I miss her so much, I can’t sleep. It’s hard to believe no one will ever say, ‘I love you the same.’ Maybe we will be united sooner than I know.

Running a temperature and the body hurts. I have caught something, hope it’s not the virus. Firstly, because there were people at mom’s bhog who might have caught something from me ( that’s of I have something) and secondly, I got to have my own back.

The boy who saved me yet again, calls repeatedly to check on my wellbeing. ‘Have this medicine, do this, do that’ he instructs. SC comes out when she hears his voice…someone knows how to soothe her nerves..someone who has never left her side, through loss, depression, heartbreak, despite SB’s tongue and inspite of SC’s silences. ‘Renew your passport and just come, here, otherwise you’ll loose your mind.’ he tells her, always wanting to protect her from the darkness within.

Two of us

Dear Love,

Another year has passed without you. I’ve missed you lots, the past six months, I’ve cursed you more than usual. Not just because our Mum has one foot out of the door…is slowly slipping towards your side. But there are plenty of other things.

So, I won an award and kept driving around, crying not wanting to come home because you are not here. The joyous, celebratory moments are harder, since you were not great at handling the tough situations in the first place. Though, having you around to handle the father would have been a blessing. He’s loosing it and how! Uffff and double uff, there are more complaints I get about his bad behaviour than he must have gotten about mine, during my teenage years.

Then there are the boys. The moment I threw that box and ran out of the car, I missed you more than you can imagine. You would have sat me down and tried to calm my, commitment phobic brain the way you did, a million years ago, before I started seeing Kts or we would have burst into peels of laughter at my reaction, the way we did in the past. If you were here I would have apologised for thinking you were being melodramatic, when you said you loved two people at the same time. It took me a long time to understand the depths of those feelings. That’s the funny thing about love- a person can do anything in the world for you and you won’t feel it for them and if you do separation, distance, death nothing changes those feelings.

Today was tough-

‘We haven’t seen you in such a long time, I wasn’t expecting you’, he said, as his wife glanced over her shoulder.

‘You were the first person I saw at the hospital when my brother died. Did you really think I would forget that?’ I though to my self. But I just smiled sheepishly, when I looked at his grief stricken face. Plus, I had to be there for old time’s sake. It’s obvious I think about you, at prayer services but don’t judge since you couldn’t handle any morbid situation, in any case.

Our darling mother told me the other day, that I am her mum. Reminded me of you. When I started seeing GD you said, I was transferring all my feelings for you towards him. I don’t know about then but I most definitely did after you passed away and now I have transferred all those to her. When she goes what will I do with of all these feelings? Or maybe I’ll be seeing you before she does. There’s a lump, has been for a while…

Anyhow, you’re a lucky bastard, you have someone who misses you everyday. Hum marenge sala, koi do ghante nahin royega!


Dear Love,

Thirteen years have passed by…much has changed and hardly anything. All your friends are married ( happily or not is debatable) and have made the cutest babies. You would have gone ga ga over all of them and they would have loved you, like all kids love Mum and you. ‘Chi chi, chi chi’, you would have said, touched them on their chin, smiled and you would have won them for life, like you did me! I know I’m not a kid but it made the crying stop!

So many of our loved ones have joined you over the past year. I suspect our parents are in cue too. Our relative is drinking like he does, non stop day and night, the other one has abused her body, too. If I say this to the father he says, ‘how do you know you will not go before me?’. Point. Vaisse kuch pata nahin he! I suspect there’s something the matter with the heart. Death and I have a deal…now that I’m going to turn 40, for the first time in a long time, I’ve asked it to wait a few months, incase it’s my turn. I just want to know what all the damn fuss is about!

Missed you a lot the past year. Whenever something funny or crazy or fabulous or hurtful happens, I miss you. When people are sick or they die, I miss you. Whenever the parents are going on and on, I miss you. A couple of months ago our relative got hammered stood outside the gate, looked at your name and yelled for five minutes,’you’ll never be Jaswin Kochar, do you understand, never?’ It went on for a while. I just stood outside, perplexed looking towards the sky wondering, ‘how the fuck do I not hate you, bastard?’ You’ve been gone thirteen years, to be compared to you when you were alive, you being the puttar I kind of accepted (like all our sisters have). To be fair, when you scared friends when you were younger and girlfriends when you were older with, ‘I’ll call my sister…tell my sister…my sister is saying’, then my personality was also always like this. To love you was so much easier, you were more pleasant on the eyes and definitely more pleasant on the ears. But I’ve always wondered how, that never made me jealous and hateful towards you. Then I saw Dear Zindagi!

Forget this, as it is, it is a morbid day. So funny things. A couple of months ago Dad was saying something about someone’s son-in-law and I just said, ‘you shouldn’t say that, you never know what kind you’ll get!’ He promptly replied, ‘tum to akad bakad bumbe bo khel rahee ho, kiss ki lottery nikale gi, yeh to tumme bhi nahin patta!’ I laughed so hard and imagined you doing the same.

And then this happened. So there’s a boy I know, who brings me something each time he comes to meet me…a book, a small snack or a knick knack, there’s always something. It went on for a while and I got terribly confused. So one day I looked at him and said in my oh so subtle manner, ‘yeh kyaa ho raha he? Why are you doing all this?’ He looked at me very seriously and said, ‘it’s protection money!’ I did’nt get it. ‘Protection money, hafta dete hena gundo ko, wohi de raha hu!’ ‘Who am I protecting you from?’ I asked still baffled. ‘Tumhare kehar se, I need protection from your anger!’ It was the funniest thing anyone has said to me about myself. I kept thinking if you were here, you would have had ten other things to add to this!

Oh and many a times, I curse you, ‘asshole why aren’t you here?’ I find myself asking. Like I did now, when Lily Masi drifted towards your side. I will forever feel bad that I couldn’t go for her cremation because someone needed to be with Mum. Kabhi kabhi khyaal aata he, tum naalayak to masti karke chalte bane, koi pandu se shaadi karli hoti, aise time pe kaam to aa jaata! It’s just a fleeting thought, don’t worry I ain’t acting on it, just yet!

Many a times, when I look at the parents I find myself thinking, ‘you lucky bastard’, you don’t have to watch them get sick, be heartbroken or die. After many years I have the answer to the question, our relative asked me when you passed away, ‘why couldn’t it have been you?’ Well because each time you were in trouble, I was supposed to bail you out. How would you have managed, na?


Dear Love,

Not much has changed in the past year. Your face hasn’t totally disappeared from my memory, like I frequently worry, it will. 

Before I forget Majnu, the love  of your life sent a message on your birthday. Turns out you will remain in everyone’s heart…for a long time. Zyaada khush hone ka nahin he! Thank your stars I didn’t tell our father. He hurls abuses at your impractical ashqui.All your childhood pranks are etched in his memory and he gets drunk and cries about his ‘changa puttar’, at least once a week.

So our Mom was all set to have a rendezvous, with you last year. Though you remain her favourite- at least once every couple of days I’m told,’you’re very bad, if my son was here, he would have done…..’, but she worries about me, now. So sorry,  she’s staying  here for a bit.  You have half the khandaan to keep you company. Manage without your mommy. She’ll come when it’s her time.

Me? I’m good..mujhko kyaa hota he? Once in a blue moon, on a drunk night, I make terrible company. You were such a cry baby, so is our daddy and the mamas..I don’t understand men who can’t stand tears. Uff, it’s a terrible turn off. Prerequisite for a consideration for a relationship should be- the man should be good at handling tears. 

God, I miss you when I got to deal with the boys. No one is around to warn them (nicely) about me. No one tells them I have the temper of a ‘jungli suar’. There is no one who tells them, ‘tum meri bhen ko jante nahin ho!’ and there’s no one who smiles and says, ‘But she’ll always love me most!’….You didn’t have to die on me to ensure that.


Dear Love
A decade’s gone by. Slowly I think of you less, every day but the thought of of you flashes through my mind suddenly and without intent. It’s a funny thing though, we humans are so terrified of the inevitable yet we tend to glorify it. No one tells you that one day the person you loved will start to fade away from your memory. I don’t think of you or miss you or love you, every minute of each day.Slowly, I begin to forget how your voice sounded…sometimes I watch a video to hear your squeaky little mouse, voice. There’s a boy at the gym who looks a little like you, I find myself staring at him rather shamelessly, though.
Six out of ten days I curse you and hate you for leaving, for dying on me…for leaving me in a life which is yours. You stole my thunder…I the reckless, restless being was supposed to die young and you the sorted, afraid of all things unpleasant creature…the apple of every one’s eye was supposed to live a nice, long, regular life. God does have a sense of humour…I must grant him that.
You know how people tell you time heals all wounds…balls! They should meet our parents. Or I guess it’s just you. You were the perfect one. I may forget all the little details but I’ll never forget the way you looked at me. Trust me no one’s looked at me like that in over a decade.


Jaswin Kochar


Happy Birthday

”Nafas na anjuman-e arzoo se baahir khainch:
Agarr sharaab naheen intezaar-e saghar khainch.” Ghalib


You departed from the tavern of life in haste…I guess all that I can do now is wait.

You were the adhesive that held all the broken pieces of me together. Now I’m just splattered all over the floor. You were my Achilles’ heel even when you were alive…now that you’re not there what should I say?

The world is a harsh place my love…it’s eyes are too cold and it’s tongue too bitter. It won’t even spare the memory of you!

I’m lost and splattered with nothing that holds me together. Forgive me, if I don’t speak of you again. For now I will take all 100 pieces of me and sweep them into a corner…never to be seen and never to be touched.