Igloo Cafe- Gulmarg

The Igloo, in Gulmarg isn’t an abode for Eskimos and hunters, rather it’s a cafe for travellers, an attraction for anyone who likes the snow or kahwa to bear the chilly winters of the Vale. My solo trip to Gulmarg, wouldn’t have been complete without a visit to the newest, trendiest cafe in Kashmir.

Syed Waseem Shah, the owner/ creator/ artist, of the Igloo Cafe, is the brain behind this innovative space. I didn’t get to meet him nor did I meet many people there, as I went too early. The tourists were busy skiing, so they would saunter in much later, told me the manager. He was kind enough to keep me entertained, by providing information and taking pictures of me.

If like me, you’re strolling around Gulmarg and can’t figure out where it is, look for the Kolhai Hotel. Pay the nominal entry fee and step into an approximately fifteen feet high, cave like structure made of snow, which can accommodate maximum sixteen people at a time. As of now, there are limited items on the menu, since there’s always the fear of the snow structure melting, with the heat of the food and beverages, I was told. I didn’t care. Give me any kind of tea, anywhere, anytime and I’m sold.

Solo travels- Pahalgam

Solo travels

Pahalgam, also known as the ‘Valley of Shepherds’, is frequented by yatries as well, as tourists in the summer. But in the winters, it’s relatively less crowded than the favourite destination of Kashmiris and tourists alike-Gulmarg. Neither the shepherds, nor the locals crowd the main market and most hotels and shops are still closed. Yet, this time around, I saw more tourists here and everywhere else, than I have ever seen in Kashmir, during the winters.

Posing with the girls, who picked me up after my fall. They all wanted selfies. Me too!
I was stopped while walking down the Main market road, for a selfie. I felt like half celebrity, half Martian.

A few years ago, I journeyed to Baisaran in the winter, with a couple of Kashmiri photographers for a day. That’s when I realized, that Pahalgam has it’s own charm in the winter. The mini- Switzerland or so it’s called is a quaint place, surrounded by snow capped mountains. Of course, I was driving then, this time around Farookh Uncle (my cab guy) traversed the terrain, with me. Being driven around by someone who can handle the winding roads of Kashmir and not be afraid or maniacal, is a bit hard. How I’ll explain later. But Uncle, is an experienced older man, with tremendous skill. For someone who hates being driven around, to say that, means the man must be fabulous at what he does.

Shot around Pahalgam, met a bunch of people, who wanted to take selfies with me. Slipped and fell on the snow and hurt my back badly but my models were kind enough to pick me up, while giggling non stop. Saw breathtaking scenic beauty and actually enjoyed being there for a change.

This time around I had my customary solo date, at a restraunt in Pahalgam. I sat by myself, ordered some yakhni, butted into someone’s conversation about Kashmir and got told, ‘You’re lying, I’m sure you’re Kashmiri!’ Each time someone says that to me, I can always imagine my mum’s fairness obsessed family going, ‘ae, andhera kum kerah!’ ( as dark as a dense, dark night, that’s what they used to call me, when I was little). I get a tan and it stays for months, plus I love the sun and I happen to work outdoors..so mostly I’m a shade of beige to light brown. That’s apparently horrible coming from a family that’s primarily been born white as milk or has got fairness treatments done, to look as white as milk. So, this statement always amuses me.

Anyhow, Uncle wanted to eat by himself but I somehow managed to drag him into the eatery for one of my favourite beverages- kahwa. We shared an awkward few minutes, as he sat on another table, facing me and talking, making me acutely aware of my gender or class. We rarely meet others, where that doesn’t come into play. After, which we headed to Betaab Valley.

Faking snowfall

The entry fee at the park is around fifty bucks, right now, goes upto a hundred later. There were more than enough tourists from – Punjab, Bengal and Kerala, who had flocked this serene spot. I had the best time, as I met the cutest guide cum photographer. ‘Ma’am, please let me come with you. This is how we run our homes.’ he kept trying to coax me. I kept trying to convince him that I was there to take pictures and not to pose, but eventually gave in. I’m so glad I did. After I finished my work, he made me slap a ball of snow, to fake snowfall. Took me around various spots and made me pose. Oddly enough, none of the photographers that you meet at the gate carry cameras (they use your phone to take the pictures), only when you walk inside, you find DSLR’s swinging from the shoulders of men, sitting next to different colours of velvet phirans. But I would personally vouch for these cameraless guides calling themselves photographers. They make you have loads of fun.

With the photographer and the sledge guy

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.

Solo Travels- Ganderbal and Srinagar

Chasing Autumn in Kashmir

‘Ajab bahar dikhai lahu ke chhinton ne, khizan ka rang bhi rang-e- bahar jaisa tha’- Junaid Hazin Lari.

At Hazratbal for the Jumma Namaz

On Thursday, Farooq uncle, my trusted taxi driver, took me to Ganderbal, in search of a particular place, where I’d shot autumn, approximately seven years ago. Ganderbal is around 20 kms away from Srinagar and one spent quite a lot of time there, initially. Though, not so much at the Manasbal lake, which gets a step sisterly treatment due to its famous siblings- The Dal and The Wullar. Nor at Jharoka Bagh, a Mughal garden which is said to have been made by Jehangir for Noor Jahan. But more so in the villages, of this particular district. One has sat around, on many winter nights and listened to stories of terrible atrocities. Have been yelled at by a grieving father whose son was torched alive, during the militancy. Have walked through the villages, had endless cups of Kahwa and have also been called a ‘ kofur’. But on the other hand, have also experienced the best of Kashmiri hospitality, in this district. The kindest people, I’ve met in the valley, live in these areas.

I needed an image from there, that can be blown up really big for a particular space and many of my photographs, were taken with cameras which were not so advanced (starting from a seven mega pixel) . As the years have progressed, so has technology. But of course as I went to the same spot, the tree stood there but everything else had changed. A wall, was blocking my view. So, you get what you get and then on days when you don’t get anything, you make lemonade. Though the trip, wasn’t particularly fruitful and one did not eat the fabulous rista that one loves from here, I did manage to finish my work in Srinagar, itself. In the midst of it all, also ended up giving a a few bytes, to some journalists. One looks like a balloon, so one has refrained from sharing those.

At a park in Ganderbal.

The next two days, I spent in the city. It becomes more and more problematic shooting, in Srinagar. People are angry and extremely suspicious of photographers but with good reason. These ring wing funded channels, are making it difficult for us lesser mortals , to shoot on the streets. If I was Kashmiri, I would also be weary. The security personnel too have become more cautious. Though, one has spent many a Fridays making images at Hazratbal, I was stopped and told that they are not allowing the media to shoot. ‘ Mein hu hi nahin media se sir, I’m a tourist.’ I replied. To know when to blend in and when to stand out, is an art that one continues to learn in Kashmir. Surviving in the Valley, requires the traits and skills of a chameleon, it requires extremely high levels of adaptability, that only the locals have mastered after decades, of living in a conflict zone, under scrutiny and lockdowns.

Solo Travels- Bijbehara

Solo travels in Bijbehara, Srinagar.

The last time I visited Bijbehara, was in 2016, for Mufti Sahab’s funeral. The Dara Shikoh, Mughal Garden is his final resting place. Brijbehara, is famous for it’s Chinar Trees and is known as the Chinar town. Also known as Vijbor or Vijbror, it’s around forty five kms away, from Srinagar. The oldest Chinar tree in the region can be found in Paadshahi Bagh. Both the gardens were closed, due to the ongoing pandemic but my taxi driver- Farooq Uncle, is a real hustler. He convinced the guards at Paadshahi to let me enter by telling them, I’ve come all the way from Delhi. The one’s at Dara Shikoh Garden, wouldn’t let us in because there were a lot of young boys, who were loitering around, trying to gain access.

Anyhow, on the way back we were famished and stopped midway, to pick up something from Hattrick. Right next to it, an older gentleman was serving the best Kahwa, I’ve had in Kashmir.

Special Kahwa, served from this beautiful Samovar.

The only way to survive Kashmir on your own, is to miraculously find, soft spoken, kind local men, who like you, don’t like to listen to the word no. Now, before you start judging me, it’s in the context of work. I’ve never liked flexible people and especially when it comes to working with me…I like people who can lock horns, are stubborn in a quiet kind of way. They mitigate the effects of my aggression with their voice, yet manage to get the work done by not budging. Uncle is like that. He’s like a much older version of my former assistants. Plus, SC adores him. He calls her beta and fusses over her. ‘ I’m bringing a doctor for you!’, he told me yesterday. ‘ Na, I‘ll bounce back’, I reassured him. Like I say, this is the best place to travel on your own. From the hotel owner to the staff, everyone is awfully kind.

I find it unnecessary to look at different things or visit different places. It’s when you see the same thing over and over again, each time it starts to appear different and this is Jannat. Firdaus- jahan asli mein sadko par hure chalti he, where the women are stunning and the men gorgeous. Jahan sirf roshni badalne se sab alag lagta he aur mausam badalne se sirf ped, paude nahi badalte, aap khud andar se alag mehsoos karte ho. Yeh Jannat to he hi, jahanum bhi he, jahan itni khubsurti aur itna dard he. Both heaven and hell simultaneously, exist in Kashmir-there’s unparalleled beauty and gut wrenching pain, everywhere!

With the change in the technology and the increased megapixels that the cameras offer you now, the quality of the pictures is far superior, from my earlier works in say 2010. But when you live somewhere or spend an extended period of time there, drive around all the time, literally chasing the seasons, the moments you end up catching, can’t be caught that easily in a shorter span. But nevertheless, we try.

Solo Travels- Pampore

In a saffron field in Pampore, Kashmir.
Solo traveller in Kashmir
Little babies and I. This one on my shoulder had as foul a temper, as mine. I just needed to call him ‘handsome’ and he was floored.

I hate flying and especially to Kashmir, as then one gets confined to the city. But last time, I was here, I found a very patient and polite gentleman who dropped me to the airport. So, Farooque uncle and I have been in touch, ever since I left and he’s probably the only person other than my ex assistant, and I, who knows what my plans are. See, dealing with my trust issues, trying to prove the father wrong, kissi pe itebar kar sakti hu mein, just a little bit!

So, FU, picked me up from the airport and drove me straight to Pampore, as the last of the flowers were being picked. The Saffron bulb, is said to have come with the Persian Sufi saints and traders to the Valley and though growing it helped the locals , it’s now fast disappearing from Kashmir. The farmers claim the land in the area, can only grow saffron and without it they will have a tough time surviving.

I spent a few hours working, then checked into the hotel. Charged my phones and then started walking towards Residency Road. To hell with Corona, that seems to be the attitude in Delhi as well as in Srinagar! Women and children, thronged the road , accompanied by their husbands and fathers, to the Sunday Market. I was followed by what seemed like 20 year olds. One slowly approached me as I stopped to tie my laces. ‘ Kyaa mein aap ke saath chal sakta hu?’ he asked very politely. I looked at him, SB growling at him, just itching to say something terrible but SC, replied, ‘ Mujhe akele chalne ki adat he!’ He tried to convince me politely, that there are armed men around and he’s just concerned for my safety but I just shrugged and kept walking.

It was past three and I was famished. A Kashmiri Thali at Grand, was what I was craving. The place was packed and a few people stared as I sat down to eat but I just looked at them and smiled as they gawked. Let’s not even pretend, people don’t gawk at women in Delhi, over here at least they don’t say, ‘ kyaa kare madam aap jesso, ko dekh kar hilana parta he!’ Yes! A man said this to me in Delhi recently, when I asked him, why he’s peeing on a flyover. Kashmiri men are probably the most decent of the lot, not all, but most.

Age has caught up with me, for sure. I finished the Thali, which had everything from Meethi Maaz to Gushtaba, accompanied by Rista, Seekh Kabab, Roghan Josh and of course Tabak Maaz ( which is the only Kashmiri dish I’m not a fan off). I polished off the food, with the same kind of pleasure I feel, as I land in Srinagar. Sheer bliss, total and complete love. ‘Please Death, whenever you come let it be here’, I find myself wishing when I feel, eat, do or see something that tickles my senses. It seems just the air tickles my senses, pleasure and pain are intensified!

Anyway, for the first time after gobbling the said Thali, one felt as one was going to explode but duty called. So I walked around making pictures, according to the brief. By the time I was done, it was getting dark but somehow I managed to drag myself to the Dal. Walked or bounced around is more like it (bouncing slowly up and down like a ballon, is more how you would describe my walk) prayed fervently, froze completely. By quarter to eight, I had spent almost two hours, just walking and sitting by the side of the Dal and my bottom was frozen by the end of it. Surprisingly, I caught myself thinking about MJ, a couple of times. ‘Mujhe kissi dewane ne kaha tha, ki mujhe koi dewana, Kashmir dikhayga!’, his message came to my mind. ‘ Would be sweet!’ SC thought, as I walked. ‘This Pathan is just messing with your head and your head is quite screwed up in any case!’ SB shut down the thought, quickly.

All in a day’s work!

Rushed to a small cafe at Nehru Park and gulped down a cup of hot Kahwa. ‘Biryani Madam?’ asked the owner. ‘ I told him, I eat Wazwaan and couldn’t get a bite in. We chatted about Kashmiri dishes, Harrisa which is my all time favourite and Ab Ghosh. His father joined the conversation, as we talked about Kangris and village life. They asked me to stay longer, but it was already 8.15 and it would take me a while to walk back to Dal Gate, so I politely declined. As I walked back, I put the songs ‘ Hawa ke Saath Saath’ and ‘ Paniyon sa Paniyon sa’ on repeat, so that somehow I could miraculously, reach my hotel. They got the job done and here I am all set to call it a night!

Solo Date #67- Mehrauli

One has fallen in love, with where the Stones Speak. On Saturdays I don’t work before 9 p.m and since one has to catch an early morning flight tomorrow, it was nice to spend the day lazying around in Mehrauli.

In the afternoon, I caught the poetry walk organised by Ramit and Prerakh, a semi bathak of sorts discussing the various Urdu poets, in the park. Nicely done, though, one would have wanted to hear a few more anecdotes about the poet’s lives. I guess, when you’re moving from one place to the other, it’s distracting. Plus, one isn’t a fan of the herd, one likes things to move at snails pace. Nevertheless, it was an enjoyable afternoon, the facilitators friendly and easy going.

But, miye ki daud masjid tak and one is a creature of habit. So, off I headed to the Dargah, where I sat for probably fifteen minutes as the qawali came to an end and got invited to the Qawal’s son’s wedding. Which I regretfully, had to decline due to the travel plans. I love this part of my job, getting undeserved access into other people’s lives. While walking back, I just stopped for a quick bite, picked up a kathi roll, sat on the steps of Bhool Bhulaiya, which has become my favourite spot in the city after my flyover and eat. Just when I was thinking, this would be a nice spot, for a date- Qutub minar on one side, a monkey climbing the board infront of me, sensing this, a stray dog came and sat next to me.

We had a few moments of what I think dates should be like, with plenty of non verbal communication -looking into each other’s eyes and eating. His stomach full, he went off to sleep near my foot, as I listened to Ahista, ahista and watched the shabe roz ka tamasha, mere aage, the hustle bustle of a street in Delhi. After what seemed like time moving in fast forward, I got up and started to walk towards my car. Tomorrow, it’s going to be a different place but one will remain, bheed me tanha.

Solo Date 64- Wok The Walk

Sometimes I don’t realize that this blog, is not my private diary but a platform, that is followed by my friends. The minute I posted last night, I started getting messages and calls from concerned friends. This year has been especially good at sieving the good from the unimportant.

Went to grab a meal to clear my head. On the Boulevard, there’s Wok The Walk. A quaint little place with an open kitchen and decent chinese food. The food is alright, the view and the service good. It seemed like the kind of place, which is frequented by students. Check it out.

Koi Apna Nahin

Koi apna nahin sevaye ye Dal ke kinare ke,

Jisme humare ashq behete he.

Kal usne mere aansoone ke saath, meri duae bhi shayad kabul kar li. Ankhon se dard bahaa aur hathon se tazbi ki aadhi motiya pani mein shareek ho gayee. Shayad sab salamat rahen ge.

A few days ago, I got a message from an acquaintance from Punjab, who I keep bumping into at the hotel in Kashmir, with pictures of Srinagar, asking me to visit. I’d been meaning to come here, ever since mum passed away because no other place in the world, makes the enormity of my feelings seem so insignificant and make me feel more inconsequential in the larger scheme of things. So Kashmir is always, the slap that I give myself, my reality check. I got the message while I was sitting with my Dad, who literally pushed me, into going, which is hilarious. I said to him, ‘you have to be the only father in the world who will push his daughter to go and meet some man, you’ve never met, who will be staying in the same hotel, by himself. ‘ To which his reply, was the same as always, ‘ you’re not a child, I know you can handle men and right now, you really need some company. Go just talk to someone, you need to.’ He’s right, I needed the company, of the Dal.

So, I arrived here, armed with my camera and books, which I haven’t opened and got right down to it. Worked, walked and then informed this friend, who like me, comes here on official business. Since the restraunt is shut, we sat in his room for a couple of hours talking about politics, religion, being Sikh ( his version being very different from mine, as I don’t follow anything and he’s a Jato da Munda from Punjab) , Kashmir etc as the sun came down. I excused myself and walked towards my lover. Now, I have two. One is my car and like I’m apparently the love of Shets life, the Dal Lake has to be the love of mine.

Have you ever kept a long distance lover? Someone you meet once in a year and when you do the sight of the person, gives you goosebumps, your heart pounds in your chest, your eyes well up and you’re so overwhelmed with emotion you’re ecstatic and devastated at the same time. Those days are part of my history but it’s the way I feel each time I approach the Dal after a long haul. Unlike most lovers, though, it’s great at handling my tears and it does comfort me in my weakest moments.

Like I said, I’ve replaced men with technology. I forgot to mention what else.

Flying During The Pandemic

Rapid test at the Srinagar Airport
Flying Vistara- The airlines no longer leave one seat in the middle to maintain social distance. The flight was jam packed. Though, they were nice enough to give me an upgrade.
The person sitting on the middle seat, has to wear the coverall. Very few people chose to eat, for safety’s sake and because it looks so comfortable.
Air hostess giving instructions.
Air hostesses in their coveralls at the Indira Gandhi Airport, New Delhi.
Travelling solo to Kashmir. First trip since the spread of the pandemic. I chose to carry my own safety shield.
No one maintains social distance, at the airports.
This is the way Indians maintain social distance.

‘The world won’t fall if you’re not holding it up…just take a minute, put your mind on ice. And you try and you try and you’re trying. But the burden is heavy and overgrown. And God knows that we all get tired. It’s a long night, when you have to do it on your own and I hate how you talk to yourself. It’s not weak if you need to be held. So cut off a little slack and roll all your cavalry back. My love take care of yourself.’ The song by Maisie Peters plays on and I wake up from my slumber, thinking I’m in bed listening to it on repeat as usual, SC trying soothe SB.

But I was on a plane, landing in Kashmir, after the ordeal at the airport. So, if the travel bug is biting you, drive down because flying is a terrible idea. Now, don’t go blaming my fear for it. The pictures should be self explanatory. The chances of picking up an infection are terribly high. I should have worn the PPE kit, I had bought and covered my hair. Also, it would have been a good idea to get the boarding pass printed, instead of downloading it because the wait and the chaos at the airport, thanks to that, was maddening. Incase, you are planning to fly, reach there not 2 hours earlier, in fact I would suggest two and hours before your departure. There’s absolute chaos at the airport and flying would have been a better idea, two months ago, when the flights were empty.

More than seventy percent, of the people on the flight were of course from the CRPF, BSF and the Indian Army. How I know this is because there was a separate queue for them at the airport. We should brace ourselves, the shit is just beginning to hit the ceiling.


Aaj humne sunah mohabbat shaheed hoti he. To humme khyaal aaaya ke khwaisheen, chahahate aur hasrate shaheed hoti he, yeh kambakht dil, mohabbat ko kaise shaheed hone deta he.

Mohabbat to kuch tare banke, asman mein tim timati he. Kuch aziz jo jald hi raakh ban gaye, unki yaad dilati he. Kabhi hum unko dekh, kabhi woh humme dekhte hue, muskurati he. Tasveere, ghar ki chaukhat, aur har ek kaune mein bas jati he. Halak mein ek cheekh ban kar tham jati he. Mohabbat kaise shaheed ho jaati he?

Mohabbat to kabhi chand ban jati he. Eid ka chand. Unn ratoon ki yaad dilati he, jab koi madhoshi mein, darwaaze pe dastak deta tha. Ankaheen batoon aur hum dono ke haathon mein woh chup jati he. Mohabbat kaise shaheed ho jati he?

Mohabbat to zare zare mein buni jati he. Ghar ke saman mein payee jati he. Har ek kamre mein, unke hathoon se banayee, kuch tutti hue lakad ki cheezon mein payee jati he. Jab mathe pe haat rakhe to, unn thapado ki yaad dilati he. Humesha, Palash Sen ki awaaz, mein payee jaati he. ‘ Kesse bhulegi mera naam?’ cheekhte hue, pucch jati he. Mohabbat kaise shaheed ho jati he?

Mohabbat to aankhon mein aur duaoon mein payee jati he. Dal ke kinare, kuch paani se mile aansuon me chamakti he, ya shamshan ghat mein kissi ki bahoon mein ashk bahate hue dikhti he. Mohabbat to jism pe sihahee se, aur dil mein tanhai se, gadd jati he. Mohabbat to inn sabh mein bat jati he. Mohabbat kaise shaheed ho jati he?


We kept assuming that the media frenzy would come to an end at some point but it goes on and on. On the other side, ‘ Roses are red, violets are blue, let’s crush the patriarchy me and you!’ is the status of my left leaning friends on fb. Twitter comes out in ‘joint support’ for Rhea. I should be standing with her….I tell myself. But my mother’s life, comes in the way!

Everyone man or woman should be against the media trial, that the Chakraborty family is being subjected to and this is not the way to treat a woman. What Sushant’s family is allowing to happen to this woman, the vilification of her will not bring back their son.

Having said that, I want to know, how many of you have lived with someone with Bipolar Disorder? I agree if smoking weed is that serious a crime, then half the saffron clad men in this country should be behind bars. But have you ever been on psychiatric pills? I have overdosed on my mum’s pills and I have been hospitalised for it. My mum was on them for over 32 years before she died. Do you know what a lethal combination, that is? I understand you can’t stop someone, we tried to stop my mother from downing cough syrups and failed many times. But if you are procuring weed for someone who is on those drugs, then I really don’t think you have their best interest at heart.

Forget the weed, what business does anyone who is not a person’s legal heir, related by contract or blood have of wanting to control the wealth of a man who is not well? I’m asking this question based on the leaked audio that Rehea’s team has put out, as defence. How can a woman who has been living with a man for not even two years, want to form a trust and become a trustee? He wasn’t of sound mind? I beg to differ, more than fifty person who have been diagnosed with this, choose to not be on medication and continue to live productive lives, managing their time, assets and wealth. Yes, there is the risk of being suicidal, at all times. Anyway, he came from a huge family, why were they not present during these conversations?

Forget the money, who records these private conversations and makes videos, plus leaves with a person’s prescriptions unless and until they are accumulating evidence, to prove on a latter date that the person is not off sound mind? Why were fellers being sent to the media immediately after she left his house? I might be a woman but by no stretch of the imagination can I stand by her side. Yes, depression can be a genetic disposition but it is also something that gets triggered and aggravated by events and people. I blame Sushant for not having known better. The trick to our sanity is knowing who and what impacts us positively. Exercise, the right food, the right people can have a positive impact. The highs and lows can be dealt with in other ways and even if medication is the way, there’s no way to know how much is too much. My mother’s doctors recommended electric shocks, they recommended what we only got to know later were excessive meds when her body started to reject them, towards the end. The doctors recommend what the person who takes the patient with will vouch for. If that person, claims that you are violent or too moody or too depressed, the dosage will be given accordingly. That person, the caregiver, what their view of your illness is, will skew the way the doctors will look at you.

Plus, if you personally know anyone with advanced degrees in psychology, you will realise that they are not some great readers of the mind. Their conversations and their mentality will mostly convince you that you’re fine making your decision by yourself. Everything depends on the doctor’s life experience and that is too subjective. At my brother’s death, Dr Sandeep Vohra, who was my mother’s psychiatrist during a session with me, started crying! Here I am in a complete shock, the man who is supposed to help me deal with it, is crying. Once, during a session with my mum, he called me into the office and asked me to not marry a particular man. My mother’s first psychiatrist in Jor Bagh, Dr Kothari, got into depression himself, due to which we had to change psychiatrists. This the reason why abroad, where mental health, is considered a serious issue, therapists have their own therapists to speak to. Dissing all shrinks in one go, wasn’t my intention. The psychotherapist I respect, they put in the time and effort. The psychiatrist, I find, takes the shortest way out. I’ve been lucky enough to meet some nice one’s in my life. Forever I will be grateful to Akash Dharamraj, who taught me the spiritual path, will save me, from my own demons. It’s a pity, she’s no longer with us.

We live in a society, where when you talk about your issues, people say you’re wanting sympathy, you’re weak or attention seeking. They ask you to brush your feelings and your thoughts under the carpet. ‘Don’t be so sensitive!’ ‘You think too much, feel too much!’ ‘ Look at how we dealt with it’. If you are man it’s worse. We are taught day in and day out to think less, feel less and in my case even write less. Itni bhi jagaah aap ko nahin milti he. Everyone wants you to sound and behave exactly like them. If you are a celebrity and you’re fighting to tame your mind and the system that has been designed for you to fail, I can’t begin to imagine what it must have been like for SSR. To see a lifetime of work and charity to be reduced to being a ‘charsi’ ‘ difficult’ and ‘crazy’ is not how anyone should be remembered. Where is the justice in all this?

m I taking this personally?

6 months


Can’t believe it’s been almost six months since you left. SC misses you a lot, sometimes just the sight of something that you wore makes her sob uncontrollably but SB quickly shuts her down. ‘ Wait a while,’ she keeps telling her. For an hour a day she lets her out, when I go for a walk or exercise but SB keeps SC on a very tight leash. She can get all of us into a serous jam and get the system, spiralling out of control.

Though, right now, she’s out and nothing SB says will calm down her nerves. Your husband is a little unwell, has a cold and is slightly feverish and you know how panicky and anxious SC gets, always imagining the worst. Its unfortunate that the people who would do anything for me , are either not in this city or have elderly parents to take care off. I wouldn’t want to impose incase of an emergency. Hopefully, he should be up and about tomorrow but I am sleeping in the drawing room. I should have done that, on your last night, had I known it was your last!

Sometimes, when I feel like this, I do long for ‘my person’, someone I know for certain would be around without any conditions. But alas! unconditionality is an illusion, like love. The rest of the lovelies I know, have been cribbing about coming to the hospital to meet me when I was unwell, picking up flowers for your funeral and what not, you don’t want to know. Fills my heart with joy! What you taught us, we should do for strangers and we did, is apparently too much to do for friends.

That’s why this midnight disturbance. Otherwise, all in all, I look like I’m better, na? I’m sure the love of my life ( Dustu) and the light of my life (you) are having a ball. I worry less about him, since you’ve gone. What crazy stories we tell ourselves! Sometimes, I imagine you both are the stars that I look up at and smile. Makes it easier. In any case, who the hell knows where you are? Ahh, your son, the saint, of our house may have landed in heaven but you my darling, I doubt would have got an entry there! Your lovely escapades, would have landed you in trouble and you would be getting a rap for them. The last minute pandering you were doing to the Big Man, should have made me suspicious, you were about to split. So, stars in the sky is a better story! Your tat which the Wall is helping me with, is going to have a few stars, too.

So, talking about the Wall, on nights like these, I wish I would have listened to you. If I would have, he would have been sitting here, right now, holding my hand, telling me not to worry and I would have worried less. You were right, he is the most dependable man, I’ve ever met. No games, no drama, he always says what he means and means what he says. He knows about every man, every aspect, everything about my life, so no one can yank me around via him. No one can spring something on him, that he wouldn’t have heard. It’s a different story no one will dare to. You knew he was fiercely loyal because once you jokingly tried to crib about me to him and he very politely asked you not to. After that, you were floored! How much you insisted I should marry him! But I was busy waiting for love. What’s love got to do with it? Apparently, nothing!

You know my greatest fear about marriage is – that people will control me through my man. My life can’t be a repetition of yours, I keep telling myself, otherwise I too will be given electric shocks!!!! Use the ‘ good guy’ to keep the lady in check!. You know the drill, you experienced the whole drama, it’s not the man’s family, it’s your own people who do it. If the man will pander to them, they’ll switch sides in a second. He could be doing the worst things to you but he should listen to them and you’ll be the bad one! But this one is quietly fierce, very sharp and hard to manipulate.

Though, men are different, when you’re friends with them and very different otherwise. At the end of the day most of them end up marrying someone like their mothers. Do I behave like anyone’s mum? Amma, how can I? I’m a terrible mix of you two, coupled with shit loads of cynicism. So fleeting thoughts, tomorrow morning I will wake up and if your husband is alright, yet again, I will think, ‘ I don’t need nobody!’ Hopefully, he will be.

P.S- It’s a good thing that we have cameras in the house and I wear a Fitbit. It seems technology is my only counter, since conversations are out of the question! Thank God I have never chucked a single phone/ camera/ letter/ photo/ card in my life. This Truman show that they all seem to interested in, should at least have some grain of truth to it. I’ve decided, to deal with the grapevine, I should wear a go pro on my head all the time. Then at least I’ll have proof against their malice. Before I die, it can be be put up, with ‘ fuck you, assholes!’ as it’s caption. Just kidding! But on a serous note, this how much money, where, what time you do what etc etc makes me wonder what kind of upbringing most people had. I know I have a self deprecating humour and my flaws are out there, for everyone to see but at the end of the day, God and you know what I did. I just hope it’s enough for you, two. Thank God you were not ‘normal’. I find these normal people, to be quite a strange lot -conference calls, call recordings, call up people to get info, my God! How boring are their lives, that they are sooo interested in our’s?

Solo traveller in Kashmir

I took the flight day before yesterday, hoping the journey would be less frightening than last times. More than a month ago, I got on an Indigo flight to Srinagar. Due to turbulence, the journey was so uncomfortable, that the thirty people who were returning from Umrah, started chanting Allah’s name, a woman started vomiting and I too was left feeling sick to my stomach. Due to my general absentmindedness, I told my Dad I was flying Go and throughout the misadventure, I kept thinking that if the plane crashes, my parents wouldn’t even know I was on this particular flight. But this was better, we landed ahead of time. Comfortably? Nothing about flying makes me feel comfortable, in the first place!

The lamba chauda Jat ( reminded me of the ex) who I met at the hotel last time, had sent me photographs of the tulips from his official, weekend trip. Assuming, I too would be able to find some, I dropped my bags and rushed out. I got on a shared cab, which took twenty bucks from me and dropped me, close to the garden. I walked, bouncing away to glory, as I usually do, listening to something cheesy, while the uniformed men, eyed me suspiciously. The sign at the door said, ‘closed to general public’. Since, I don’t understand signs, I end up pulling where it says push and pushing where it says pulls, invariably I’ve headed right into the men’s loo more times than you can imagine (absolutely sober,fyi) I just pushed the door and walked in. Once, I walked in, then they couldn’t throw me out. I searched for tulips and found a few, which had withered. Two older gentlemen working there, then took me to the official area, where I found the last tulips of the season. As I was walking out, there were a lot more men at the gate, who looked at me curiously. One tried stopping me, ‘aap aayee kaise, andar madam?’. ‘ Jadu, se sir, aur ab jadu sai ja rahee hu!’ Off I ran.

In the evening, I went for the Urs of Batmaloo Sahib. My experience with the boys of the area, hasn’t been pleasant. That’s the only place in Kashmir, where the stone pelters have hurled abuses at me and I genuinely feel scared of them. Not having any of the boys, who have worked with me earlier, doesn’t help. I no longer have a mediator. My main man, is sitting in a far away land, trying to earn money for his entire family and should hopefully, be back on vacation, before my next trip.

As soon as I walked towards where the Ferris wheels were, I wanted to crawl underground. There were so many young boys there, some who I recognised and most who recognised me. They stood there, pointing towards me, all their heads turned in my direction. ‘Mar gayee, aaj to tu mar gayee’, I hummed to myself. Tried to make some photographs but the constant surveillance, hassled me, too much. I called one of them over to clear things, ‘kyaa hua?’, I asked. ‘Kuch nahin, hum aap ko jante he!’ replied the eighteen year old. ‘I’m not here to take pictures of any of you, I’m not looking for trouble, I’m just here for the fair!’ I said, feigning a sternness, only SB can pretend to have. He nodded, smiled and then went to inform the rest. I took some pictures, went to the Dargah, to which I was followed but by then I knew, they weren’t going to do anything, for now. Made some more pictures, walked out of there, knowing I was being tailed, caught an auto and stopped at the Boulevard, went to a restaurant to eat (hide) and then came back to my hotel.

You would assume, this would stop me from going back but a girl’s got to do, what a girl’s got to do! So, last evening I went back. The rain kept most people away and the boy from my hotel reception, came to check on me. He took me around, showed me his family graveyard and then we stood in one corner, in plain sight, chatting as it rained. Once enough people saw me with a Kashmiri man, I knew I was safer. As soon as it stopped raining, he went away and I went back to my business. Made a live video, distributed my card, by the time I return today, hopefully, they will be rest assured, I am not an Indian spy!

Solo Date #60- pushkar

One is travelling for leisure, for a change. Three days without the camera, away from home ( In Mumbai too but over there it was a family emergency) is a first. Ofcourse it lies in the room with the many books that lie on my bed. I don’t sleep alone, you see.

As I wandered around aimlessly through the market place, picking up gifts, I heard the sound of the Nagara coming from the ghats. It pulled me towards itself as my body moved with the rhythm. A group of foreigners played the nagara with two Indian drummers. I was invited to join them. So there I sat with drum sticks after ages, playing away with the rest of them as the sun set infront of me. Jamming with Nathulal Solanki’s boys on the ghats of Pushkar, is a first. Starting the year with that priceless.

Solo Date #59- Hyderabad

A visit to Hyderabad, is incomplete without visiting the old city. The famous Charminar a monument and mosque, stands tall in Laad Bazaar. There are various accounts of why, the Minar was built, some mention that when Cholera was eradicated, the spot where the Minar stands is where Qutb Shah prayed for the end of plague. According to folklore it was built on the spot where he glanced at his future wife- Bhagmati.

Whatever the reasons for the construction, the security personnel came under scrutiny in 2016 , when they tried to stop a single female traveller from entering the terrace. Apparently, they said it was for her own safety as a woman had committed suicide from there in the past. With my camera bag and all, I usually don’t have to prove that I’m a tourist, unless one is in Kashmir, that’s where I’m going around pointing at my Dad’s Sikh name on my Id, to prove it! But in Hyderabad, I face no issues.

I make my way to the Makkah Masjid, which is one of the largest in India; break some bread at Nigeen Naan, which makes me nostalgic about cold winter mornings in Kashmir and then head to Bawarchi for the famous Hyderabadi biryani. Nothing about the city, makes me uneasy.


Flaunt your flaws, as flaunting

your goodness, is the norm of this world.

Hide your passion, prayers and your kindness.

The intensity of your emotions and the blessings that will be bestowed upon you, will be mitigated by display.


Flaunt your flaws, as flaunting

your goodness, is the norm of this world.

Hide your passion, prayers and your kindness.

The intensity of your emotions and the blessings that will be bestowed upon you, will be mitigated by display.

Solo Date #58- Kushinagar


One wishes one was in Kushinagar, on the occasion of Budh Purnima. The Parinirvana temple, which I visited this April is a Buddhist stupa and is said to be the death place of Gautam Budh.

Notes from the road- Guzarishe or Shikayate

Random thoughts that run through my head while driving…incase you are wondering what I do by myself. Mein aur meri tanhai aksar bateein karti he…

Solo Date #57-Gorakhpur

Since I will be updating all the solo dates from the past years travels on the website, I am skipping the chronology. Anyway, having arrived at Gorakhpur at a reasonably decent hour, I stepped out for dinner.

It would have been better if I had stayed in my room. As it is the beautiful pimple on my lip, no it’s not a sore, I checked, is making me very uncomfortable. To top not only was the food bad…even the beverage was!


As the first public display of Photowalli Gaadee nears the end, one is so impressed with one’s own ability, to mingle. Driving over 16k kms is easy peasy compared to socialising, for this pokey creature. One finds oneself missing having a man, for this purpose. Did I forget to mention that the only common traits between the men I dated were- fabulous memorising abilities and great social skills? I have been unconsciously compensating for my lack of both, I guess.

Anyway, since neither the brother nor the boy nor the bodyguard were there to hide behind, one has handled all social protocols as well as one can, but of course with a few goof ups like forgetting to invite a lot of people. That’s ok, I guess.

To sum up for now, there are things one has learnt from this experiment.

About the work- 1 out of 10 people who walk into an eatery actually care about what hangs on the wall.

The people who do care are curious enough to want to know more.

The intellectuals and the liberals seem to appreciate the work. ‘You keep screaming, till they get it!’ one said to me.

Interestingly, most people like the same photographs in order of preference and for the same reasons.

About people- In my head, I’m constantly amused and frustrated in equal measures by most people but I am most entertained by the practical! It never ceases to amaze me how tangled their thoughts become with my impractical ways. Of course they are the ones who want to know the logistics, the conversation rotates around the Moolah baby. How much you have? How much will you spend and how much will you earn?

About myself- It seems one is starting to loose one’s ability to maintain the poker face. One had perfectly, mastered certain expressions and phrases, which due to tiredness or ill health have been failing me, the past couple of weeks.

SC, who has been kept under the radar for a while, has been frantically trying to get out, I guess. So, of course she has had a very tearful reunion with one friend and totally contrary to SB burst out laughing and spilled coffee on herself when someone was trying to mock her. That’s why I like the other one more, she’s better at playing dumb and giving it back lock, stock and barrel.

So, it seems one will be taking this body of work around. Though, when one does realize it’s of no consequence, in the long run. If there is anything one has learned from her travels -one on one all human beings are tolerant. Put them together and then watch tamasha. One does wonder then, what is a person’s true nature? That which one is, when one is alone or what one becomes, in a herd? Also, if intrinsically we did not want to be surrounded by homogeneousness, to make ourselves feel safer in the first place, wouldn’t it be harder for people to manipulate us, into hating each? The acceptance and the hate exist in equal proportions, though people who have lead more tumultuous lives, I find are far more tolerant.

Single Women in India

What do you do when you are sleepless, yet too exhausted to work or read? Not what you’re thinking! The rabbit has been put to rest since the beginning of the year. One is channelling all the pent up energy and of course the enormous ego into work. A month from now, the rabbit will come out of the hole and Gadhadhari Bheem ( a nickname I was given during a shoot) shall become shaant.

Back to the point…checking out random posts on Fb. Chanced upon the post my chic Bengali friend had shared- a debate on NDTV: No country for single women? Apparently, there has been a 39% increase in the number of single women in India since 2001 and at this moment, there are 12% single women in India. There are a number of women I know, who have never been married for various reasons, one of the most important being unable to find a mate who is as well educated or well settled, as they are.

Why am I single? Well, one is such a pleasing concoction of being commitment phobic, more than a little nuts and when in love, oh so clingy- like a guy. Uff and so in love with the chase. I don’t particularly care who plays cat and who plays mouse, as long as the game is interesting. Also, dude when I hear married women speak about their lives, I find myself thanking the boy for his ambiguous ways. Blessing in disguise! I literally know only a handful of married women who look happy to me and no, none of them are married to rich men!

The debate on NDTV, with a panel comprising – Sreemoye Piu Kundu-author Status Single, Deepa Narayan, the author of Chupp, Sanjay Rajoura stand up comedian, Shikha Makhan film maker, Kanika Tekkrikal, Geet Oberoi- founder/ president of Orkid and a couple of other people, is worth a watch. For all of us, single women it is just reaffirming our realities. We are all used to terms like ‘ slut’, ‘ lesbian’, ‘selfish’ and ‘arrogant’. Arrogant we are, for knowing we can live our lives according to our own rules!


Though I was supposed to leave a day before, the gut said-‘ not today’. (The gut is always right, unless it is a matter of the heart and in that case it leaves it all to the head!). So I listened and left last morning. The alarm rang at some God forsaken hour, though I did haul my ass out of bed, I still only left at half seven.

After spending a couple of hours on the Yamuna Expressway, I realised that the Rs 415, you spend on the route is worthwhile. I did take the same route while returning from my last adventure but leaving Delhi at dawn, my dear, always has me grinning like a Cheshire cat. It’s freaking magical!

But the minute I got off the expressway and on to something called the Ab Road all hell broke loose. Mind you, despite the 54 days I spent driving through the best and worst highways this country has to offer, I have yet to get accustomed to traffic coming from both sides, on all the lanes of a highway. If you want to test your patience, your driving skills and your Gk of cuss words, try driving from Agra to Bhopal! Almost 13 hours later, I reached the city of lakes.

Delhi- Agra-Gwalior-Shivpuri-Guna-Bhopal route that I took, had me driving on potholes and being diverted towards villages as the Highway is under construction. The almost 800 km journey only offered some respite, when I reached a district, about a little more than a hundred kms from Bhopal called Rajgarh. Though, my butt and my back will beg to differ, the journey was worth it. Bhopal is an incredibly beautiful place, with the right mix of traditional and modern and I absolutely loved the vibe. It has one of the largest mosques in India, which I spent the afternoon debating over and the evening researching to come up with no conclusive answer. Let’s say there is a tie between the Jama Masjid, Delhi and the Taj Ul Masajid, Bhopal and thankfully we shall soon be able to put the matter to rest as the largest Mosque is being built in Kerela.

I navigated through the city painlessly today and other than a couple of fussy women I chanced upon, near a statue of our dear Mother India (yes there are those too), the people seemed open and welcoming. If you like me enjoy being a Single, Single, Tanha Begum, this is the city for you.

P.S- I still have to update all my solo dates from the previous adventure, so give this one some time.

Solo Date #51- Kochi

After Kashmir, if there is any other place where I can see myself settling down, it is in Kochi (if I miss Kashmir, there are lots of Kashmiris to chat with especially around the Fort area). Quaint, with the right mix of traditional and modern, I absolutely fall in love with the vibe and the people.

Solo Date #10- Nehru Planetarium

Nehru Planetarium, New Delhi

Nehru Planetarium, New Delhi

I’m sure I must have visited the Nehru Planetarium as a child, on the usual school trip but I don’t recollect it.  Have I found the second most romantic place in Delhi, after my flyover? Hell Yeah! It’s also the perfect place to take yourself out on a Sunday afternoon before you head out for the evening. That’s exactly what I did.


Caught the 3 p.m show at the planetarium, that was once the official residence of Jawaharlal Nehru. Forty minutes in a darkened auditorium, looking at projections of galaxies merging into one- one devouring the other, the planets and their moons-juxtaposed with the screeches of little children. If you don’t want the disturbance, visit on a weekday.


The place was packed… in fact the 250 seating capacity was full to the brim, for the four p.m show. The exhibition area, the bookstore and the souvenir shop are soon to be upgraded.

Address– Teen Murti House,

                   Teen Murti Marg

                    New Delhi

 Nearest Metro– Race course (Yellow Line)

Show Timings– English-11.30 a.m and 3 p.m

                                Hindi- 1.30 p.m and 4.00 p.m


Solo Date #7-Crafts Museum.

Crafts Museum, Delhi.

Crafts Museum, Delhi.














It’s the birthday month and one is just looking to spend more and more time with oneself. Although, there are fewer cars on the road than usual, there’s a lot of hustle bustle at the Crafts Museum. A few years ago, the institution that was set up by a freedom fighter to preserve Indian arts and crafts, would be quite deserted even on weekends.  But Cafe Lota, that is nestled inside the Museum has managed to increase the footfall. I’m not there to enjoy the ambience of the completely packed restaurant but to check out the Folk Craft Festival Of Gujarat. I interact with craftsmen, pick up a few tit bits and enjoy the performance (although the music is playing on a phone and isn’t audible). The only thing that hasn’t changed about the place is the mismanagement.

Address-Pragati Maidan, Bhairon Marg. 

Nearest Metro Station-Pragati Maidan


Closed On Mondays


A little while ago, I contemplated discontinuing the monologue section of this blog. Actually, it’s not really a section yet- it will eventually become one. I was in process of forming it, therefore, none of those posts were being shared on other platforms. But I chickened out…just for a little while. It’s easier talking about this, that and the other: rather than what one is or probably feels in the present moment. I’m unusually frail and hypersensitive these days.
One would have made a great case study for Walter Cannon. Bypassing my rational mind, with my impulses quickened  and going into Fight or Flight Mode is a usual occurrence. But that can not remain my modus operandi. It’s eventually, going to become counterproductive. Didion said that writing is an ‘aggressive, hostile act’. How can one surpass the chance to impose oneself?
 This one goes out to the people who are kind enough to search for this blog, to read my personal thoughts. The things I couldn’t understand myself, I tried to explain to others! So I guess, it’s no longer just about the city I live in and the people I meet. It’s slowly becoming about my gypsy soul, the ‘Being’ in transit. Thank you I’m flattered.


“Dekha hua sa kuch hai,
Socha hua sa kuch
Har waqt uljha hua sa
Mere saath  hai kuch.
Hota hai yun bhi raasta
Khulta nahi kahin,
Jangal sa phail jaata hai
Khoya hua sa kuch.
Sahil ki geeli ret par
Bachchon ke khel sa
Har lamha mujh mein banta
Bikharta hua sa kuch.
Fursat ne aaj ghar ko sajaya
Kuch is tarah,
Har shay mein muskurata hai
Rota hua sa kuch.
Dhundli si ek yaad kisi
Qabr ka diya,
Aur mere aas paas
Chamakta hua sa kuch.
Kabhie kabhie yun bhi
Apne jee ko bahlaaya hai,
Jin bantoon ko khudd nahin samjhe
Auro ko samjhaya hai.”-Nida Fazli

Gratitude List

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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