Monday, November 7, 2016

Birthday Musings

43 learnings that took me 43 years and hope to live them the rest of my earth time.
1. This too shall pass - good or bad
2. There is no age for learning. Want it, Go for it.
3. The tree with the heaviest fruit lies the lowest. Humility is a good way to lead a lifetime.
4. Never forget ur roots. Soar high remain grounded.
5. You are not your label. Someones daughter, someones wife or mother or sister. YOU are all this and more. Pause and think about the more ever so often
6. Loving yourself means accepting yourself zits and all. It does not mean that you are selfish.
7. Go out and have some casual friendships, it means people you can laugh with, people who do not know your baggage and dont care to.
8. Reinvention is the name of the game. Dont say but idk how these kids do it. If you want to, pls figure it out. Keep up with the generation.
9. Humara zamana is the most bs thing i have heard. Till the time you are breathing it is your "zamana". Dont let anyone make u feel otherwise.
10. Girlfriends who make you laugh is the best therapy. Get some.
11. Everything is a tool. How you use it makes it good or bad. That includes ur notions of money, love,sex, knowledge, fire, spirituality, religiosity everything
12. We dont have to tolerate others' views on religion, we just simply need to let us and them "Be", respect it. Tolerate seems to carry negative connotations and an unease about it.
13. Dont shy away from owning up if you have messed up. I don't whether prof or personal.
14. There is no age to start volunteering for social work. Dont wait till you retire.
15. Travelling teaches you more than text books.
16. Travelling solo is empowering as is watching a movie alone.
17. If you dont own up your responsibility towards you being happy who will?
18. Doing your own work whether it is making ur bed or changing a tube or even clearing a blocked pipe is not lowly, it is a sense of ownership
19. People try to box you, it is upto you to live in your essence. I am not a CEO's wife so i dont need to behave or dress as per that i never was a chief enggineers daughter and so behave with certain airs. I was born to my papa and i married my best friend. When their labels shed i am.still ME and they are them. Most beautiful souls radiating their inherent goodness.
20. Each of my scars tell my story. I want to age gracefully though i still may hate puffy eye bags.
21. Physical challenge is just that, a challenge we the society make it a disability for those afflicted with it. Make wheelchair ramps, provide safe access and braille instructions and see them empowered just like u and i
22. If you can be a candle to someone be. I used to feel bad when people use to call me "only" to ask for help. I soon realised that maybe i am blessed that they think of me as their candle when the wind is blowing strong for them.
23. If you can help someone without troubling yourself or compromising with your principles, do it.
24. Goodness always comes back sometimes in forms we dont understand.
25. Saying No or claiming your boundaries is empowering. Try it. Anyways no point.doing stuff against your grain.
26. Credit shd def be given where due. As a creative person it feels heartbreaking if someones thunder is stolen.
27. Nothing lasts forever not diamonds, not situations, not relationships
28. It is easier to make bahanas than showing up. Note to self: make less bahanas
29. Art of receiving is tougher than art of giving. I had a major block in receiving i felt burdened and one day i just realised that what what when I give and ppl receive it reluctantly? the joy for both go. I am becoming more gracious in receiving now, it means i am lovingly accepting compliments, help, blessings and even gifts.
30. Art of giving is art too. Having volunteered with NGOs i have seen people give stuff what they dont even need anymore as charity with an attitude. They think they are doing the world a big favour. Giving as well as receiving both require humility. Put a blessing out there while doing each.
31. The amount of satisfaction i get from recording for the blind no high paying job can come close to it. Its a deep penetrating sense of calm
32. Nothing is free and it should not even be. If you buy you value more.
33. Thats why i dont like to gift my pottery pieces. Cause if i do, you will think its free for me, no it is built with my sweat, blood and love. If you buy, you will get heartbroken if it breaks and savour it longer.
34. If you want to compliment go ahead, but unless u are my mother dont ask me why i have lost or gained weight. Why i look a certain way or anyone looks a certain way that they do. Its uncouth in my dictionary to make fun of physical appearances. You dont know the struggles of that person, keep it at that.
35. Judging is not a bad habit. Its a tool, how you use it makes it good or bad. You cant even cross a road without judging the manner in which to cross it. Its a natural human instinct.
36. Rituals unless they leave you glowing with positivity are just over burdening. I love the smell and community family feeling of doing havan in the house. And i hate to feed over fed pot bellied pandits with more food or dakshina to appease my stars.
37. Karma is not a bitch. Its a word that denotes action, you can always transform your karmas to suit yourself. It is not static though whats done cannot be undone, you can steer future actions.
38. Love is overrated. "Connection" is underrated.
39. No one "likes" to live or die painfully. Please dont say in front of the family of someone who is suffering, that i want to die in my sleep blah blah. They would too if they had a choice.
40. Which brings me to i dont want to die strapped to pipes in a hospital. I dont want futile treatments, teary eyes and broken hearts around me.
41. My prayer ceremony shd have beer and srk movie. Who wants to sit and listen to crap. Not my soul.
42. Each time u think of me think with a beaming smile.celebrate me , like a i try to celebrate my Sumi
43. Picture abhi baki hai mere dost. Life abhi chalu hai. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Just BE

Sometimes a stranger teaches you a lesson that even tomes of gyan cannot. At the pottery classes we had a senior lady who joined pottery but was mostly not able to work on the wheel. A dignified quiet lady, with unsaid sadness in her eyes always wearing a saree and politely conversing with the teachers. On the other hand, it was the rambunctious us always chatting and me in the typical loud Punju voice. She used to sit quietly on the wheel and try to center a lump of clay, mostly unsuccessfully, but her dedication was exemplary. We knew she was doing pottery to keep busy and get over some recent grief, but beyond that we knew nothing of her story. Soon she discovered that she can hand build with clay rather well. She has the patience of a monk, and her pieces- small statues of Krishna with a cow or the gopis were amazingly detailed, intricately carved and life like. Many times seeing her carvings I did my oohs and aahs in chirpy encouraging sort of way.

I left the studio when my tenure ended and life continued, till one day I was at the colony fair and someone announced that “do not miss the ceramic stall”. Being a potter I naturally gravitated towards the stall and instantly recognized her work. At that time she was away from the stall but spotting me rushed towards it and shyly hugged me. I was happy to see her and as usual my bubbly self. At the time of saying my byes to her she hugged me once more and said “do keep in touch”. She had tears in her eyes and I was a bit surprised, she sensed my confusion and said, “you know what I had a daughter named Anubha I lost her”. I was shocked to say the least. It hit me that though my story is playing out in a completely different set up, she probably was always trying to catch a glimpse of her daughter in me. I cant explain how I felt but realized that for her it was enough that I am Me. My Just Being. Simply Existing. That’s it. Isnt that beautiful? We spend our whole life being this and being that, playing several roles, juggling various tasks whereas, all we need to do is just Be. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The Making of My Ganesha

This year was a landmark in my bringing home the idol, since I made it all by myself. I felt responsible doing my bit and though my son was a bit sceptical if I will be able to make it, for me it was a zidd and I decided big or small, however it turns out this is it, this time our Ganesha would be the one I will make. 
As I promised a couple of my friends and as mentioned in the last post, I am listing out a couple of tips and procedure as to how I made it. Of course being a ceramic stoneware potter made it that much more easier for me. But don’t fret, it is not difficult at all and the rewards include a heart that sings, deep creative satisfaction and of course the feeling of being Parvati (mum to my baby Ganesha) that I cannot shake off. Makes the visarjan that much more difficult but well even in there is a huge  lesson of loving and letting go. Isn’t that what life is all about anyways. Before I get into a philosophical tirade lets just do this:

Material Required:
Shadu Clay (I got from Pune, but it should be available in Mumbai too)
A knife not very sharp
A small tub to knead the clay (I got it in powder form)
A sponge
A cardboard

Try to begin the process when you have a couple of hours in hand so that you complete the entire idol in 1 sitting. Cause if the clay is at different stages of drying, chances of developing a crack are higher.

Step 1:

Knead the clay with water. This is a toughie, will make some muscles for you. Knead it well and go on with it till you achieve a nice smooth ball, almost like roti dough. Start with smaller amounts of water and go on adding as you go.

Step 2:
Pull out enough quantity to roll it into a thick slab. Do the entire process on a piece of wooden board and it will not stick as the wood will absorb the wetness.

Step 3:
Roll out dough and start with shaping the bum and thighs first, keep your fingers moist (not wet) and then add lower legs shaping it the way you want to position them. I shaped one leg in crossed position and supported it with a ball of newspaper. Newspaper will not stick to the clay, you can use it to support the extremities.

When you are sticking 2 pieces of clay together you could scratch both the surface a bit with the blunt knife and while sticking add paste of clay (wetter clay like fevicol consistency) and ensure that you press them in place stiffly. Keep wiping off the extra wet clay with the help of a sponge. Once the shape is done, you can create the crown, the halo, his jewelery, his drapes, go wild with your imagination and adorn bappa with what you want.To remove small bumps and to finish it well take the sponge and squeeze all water out of it and give a good wipe to the idol.

Don’t dry the idol in direct fan or sun, let it dry naturally covered with a clean cloth or a newspaper, it took 3 days for mine to dry. And then I painted him with poster colours and voila, my baby was set to rock my mandir. 

The best was when my son approved and fell in love with the idol, he was proud of his mommy and I was on the top of the world, really!

I wish you eco friendly Ganesha next year and the sheer joy that comes with it. Craft it, it’s a feeling like none other. 

Friday, September 23, 2016

Oh ji Sadda Kanaada

Haan ji Sarla penji ! assi land ho gye hain. Vaddi soni country hai te Trudeau… hai marr jawan kina cute hai usde dimple vekhe…hore ki
Before you wonder why I am channelling Pummy aunty getting into a verbal diarrhea in Punjabi language, hear me story. So this year we were slated to vacation at my brother’s place in Canada. Now you know how that airports are a mile long and can be a pain for senior citizens with knee problems etc, so I had requested for a wheel chair access, not that my brave mom used it, though wink wink if she had at every exit we would have breezed through. Well on touching down at Canada airport I insisted she take it since her feet were swollen and it had been a long tiring journey. To enable that when the doors of the craft opened, I asked a very gori chori, “hi where can we find the wheel chair?” and she went, “Oh ji tussi idhron bahar jaoge the tuanu uthe….blah blah.” I was like Jaw Drop What?! After paying almost a close to a lakh of rupees here I land in phoren country and get directed in my native even I am not as fluent. Face palm.

Jokes aside, I guess this is what Canada is all about, lets each one celebrate their diversity like no other. 2 days post landing, we attended my nephews school for their presentation on South Asian cultural show, and I must commend that though Bollywood ruled, all the countries were celebrated. My nephew was part of the dragon dance. It was a wonderful feeling, only if this love and diversity gets celebrated all across the world, we will be in a peaceful place. I wish “Vasudev Kutumbukam” to all. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Gannu and I

Ganpati Bappa Moraya

Ganpati started visiting my house on a whim and zid of my then 6 year old who at that time watched the movie ‘My Friend Ganesha’ almost on loop. Being an indulgent mom I gave in to his wishes and decided to bring home the deity. Now, I am absolutely clueless about the rituals and didn’t know anything about the procedure. For me praying is personal communion. On his insistence I agreed and lemme confess I am ever so happy that I did it.
To begin with I called up my hubs cousin who lives in Mumbai to ask her what it entailed and how to go about it.  She sent me a detailed instruction on sthapana. Feeling a bit more confident with her details, on the D-day we ventured out to bring him home, and there found a couple of people who were buying the idol. We asked one of the ladies and she further elaborated as to how to take the deity home and welcome it etc. We felt happy and now knew more about the pooja. The 2 days went past beautifully, with my son feeding the Ganesh friend all his favorite food and believe me it was most endearing to see them bond over food. Ana would take food in the spoon, place it near his tusk and ask him to eat and then after a minute ask “Ok eaten? Tummy full?” That year clueless about visarjan procedure we went to Okhla barrage and again as luck would have it got guided by a very sweet lady with whom we shared boat space and did the visarjan. This was a classic case of when the student is ready guru will appear, the entire process seemed guided by the lord.
This was the start of a tradition for us as a family. However, past couple of years the urge to do the visarjan more responsibly kept gnawing at me. Last year I went to the potters who sell these idols and told them I want to do home visrajan and was looking for an eco friendly idol. He sold me one promising that it will dissolve soon …blah blah. Little was I aware at that time that he conned me. My home visrajan was not successful, later I realized the idol was POP and not clay.

Now I am a studio potter myself and this year the thought that I should make one kept niggling at me, especially after a friend suggested that “this will be your ultimate gift to Bappa”. Last year I had seen a friend post some pics of the Ganpati she had made, and she told me that the eco friendly clay used for the idol is Shadu mitti that is easily available in Pune. Getting this in my head I just casually asked my husband if he will be travelling to Pune and to my amazement and absolute delight he said “next week”. I piled on to him to find out and buy me some, which he did. Now it again did seem that the entire thing was guided. My son had apprehensions about whether I will be able to make a nice one worthy of keeping for the pooja, but I was confident and firm that even if I am able to make a much smaller one this is what it will be. We had decided we are not going to buy it.
Must thank my pottery teachers coupled with my experience in handling the clay, I DID it. I actually created one that looked awesome, and in any case Ganesh ji is such a cute idol that it looks beatific in any form. Have you ever seen how a couple of strokes on the canvas and it takes the form of Ganapati.
Anyway the joy of creating the idol myself was as satisfying and creatively fulfilling as birthing minus the labour pains. Yes, I felt like Parvati. I created him. Then painstakingly painted him with poster colours. The happiness, satisfaction and the meditative calm that I got from the entire process far superseded anything that I have done before. I can sum up by saying that my heart sang.
The visarjan was done at home and the next day the plants were watered with the same and the clay distributed in the plants. To say that I felt great is not enough. I thank God for guiding me and being present at every step. And while celebrating I did my bit. Each drop counts, every action matters.
So long Bappa. Till Next year, I am already itching to dip my hands in the clay.

To read the step by step tutorial on how to make Ganpati using Shadu clay, click HERE

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Tobermory Tales

When this year we planned to descend on bro’s family in Canada, my brief to him was that I wanted to do “different” things except for a trip to Niagara without which my mum’s agenda is incomplete. She is absolutely smitten by the gushing waterfall. One of the soujourns that the bro zeroed in on was a cottage trip to Tobermory and are we glad he did!

Sauble Beach
On the designated weekend we loaded our cars with essentials, luggage and a whole lot of sense of humour. After all it was a three and half hour journey in the SUV that was packed to the hilt and 3 young lads (almost teens) all of whom did not want to sit at the back. Anyways onwards and upwards (not really) we moved to Tobermory, stopping at the Sauble Beach. At this time of the season the beach was almost like one private beach for us, the blue of the water was shinning crystal and the water chillier than the beer I had. 

Some beach cricket and sea gull chasing later we left for Tobermory. As an aside I don’t know why but everytime I said Tobermory I thought of Sabarmati, weird eh but there is weirder stuff out there.
Once there, we checked intoTubby Lounge, a nice well maintained place with cottages overlooking Lake Huron. For a small village town and almost end-of-winter season the town was pretty well packed and teeming with activity. Popular with divers for the shipwrecks, Tobermory also happens to be Canada’s largest fresh water harbor and is divided into the “Big Tub” and “Little Tub”.   The town is dotted with quaint art galleries, a huge supermarket and patio restaurants overlooking the dazzling lake. Post settling the luggage in our cottage, we moved out to the lakeside to catch one of the most magnificent sunsets that I have ever seen, and believe me I have seen many, I heart them.
The next day we planned for a cruise that would take us to the Flower Pot island. On asking a few people the idea that we had was that it was a smallish island that will be covered in a heartbeat (well not literally). So, we hadn’t factored in much time, we should have. Cause the island is amazingly beautiful with many trails that take you to caves, grottos and open up to beauty. We did some and had to miss some since we had to take the boat back, and weren’t willing on being stranded, accessible only by boat, on an island ! though sometimes I do fantasize about how it would be like to be stranded on an island, but in my fantasies there is loads of beer, books and no snakes or slithering biting insects, add SRK and it looks perfect.
We booked us with Bruce Horn Cruises and were whisked away in a glass bottom boat that revealed a ship wreck within 5 minutes from our embarkation point. 
Hospitable pleasant hosts, narrated some of the history of the island peppered with humour. Once we left the shipwreck area, we literally zoomed towards the Flower Pot Island, the lake was enveloped with fog that lifted only in parts to reveal a vistas with even more water and a stray bird or two. With droplets showering on my face and strong winds in the hair I stood at the stern and loved every moment.
Lighthouse Big Tub 
Approaching Flower Pot Island
We disembarked at the island and a couple of steps away encountered a snake, eeewwww a real coiled snake sunning itself. Moving onwards we found a nice cosy bench where we offloaded our bags full of goodies and hungrily took a lunch break. Munching on a huge roasted chicken while listening to the sounds of the lapping water and shooing away the sea gulls was quite funny and satiating at the same time.
Tummies full, we started our hike, while the father joined us mommy sat and relaxed. Surrounded by tall trees that won’t even let the sunshine fall on the trail, we marched ahead on the mushy ground and soon reached the first look out that opened out into a glorious view of the lake and the flower pot shaped rock. A couple stone throwing by the kids and selfies over, we ventured to the sea cave that was to become our next stop. A flight of stairs led us to the naturally formed cave. It is interesting to know how this cave was formed, Do read about it in the pic.
One of the most fascinating natural haven, a trip to the Flower Pot Island should def be on the list, while in Tobermory. Initially we thought it was just one rock formation that some artist type perceived as a flower pot and hence the name, but NO, we were wrong. Flower pots are actually rock formations, a type of sea stack that is created due to natural wear and tear in a manner that the top remains heavy and the bottom becomes narrow.
We wound up before the last boat exited the island and reached where we had parked off and set out to drop the tired kids and  grandparents to the cottage. Me, bro and sis-in-law decided to go and check out the tall viewing tower that would give us a birds eye view of the island located in the Fathom Five National Marine Park. Huffing and puffing up the tower on innumerable winding steel steps, we finally reached the top. The effort seemed worth its while, we were way above the tree tops and could see far and wide, and like the sis-in-law pointed out it will be a wonderful view with the trees all aflame with the fall colours, I can only imagine it.
All of this activity later, me and bro decided we had earned our beer and the pit stop was at a nice place with the patio overlooking the lake and yes free wifi from where I posted all the pics back home to hubs dear. 
A pitcher or 2 (who remembers!) of the really smooth Sleeman draught later we went on the pier to catch a yet another beautiful sunset. Life is Good.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Saturday, April 30, 2016


Though my shy son does not like me to publish what he pens, the proud mum in me won and here it is a poem written by him.


Sometimes I sit and think
And sever my outside link
I sit cooped up in a corner
As a mourner
But inside my head is a whirl of things
As i think of the worlds many wings

I wonder why birds were meant to fly
In the glorious indifferent sky
Why humans were stuck on the ground
Stalking here and there like a mournful hound

I wonder why fish swim and lizards crawl
While we are stuck thinking how we can fly up at all
I dont get the answer to the queries that in my heart sink
As i sit there and think!

I also wonder why the earth is round
With garbage piled on it in a mound
I let my imagination wander
Over yonder

As i think why the sky is blue and the trees green
I do think it is mean
That humans are generally a single hue
 Even though it is easy to tell who is who

As these thoughts bubble furiously
I sit there and think mightously
Why we blink
As i sit there and think!

Arnaav Bellani 
13 years

Sunday, April 24, 2016

When 25 years just Melt Away

Not a post on Liposuction or debate between Ambani baby’s diet VS Bariatric. Then you may wonder how the 25 years melt? Well, thankfully we are living in an age where reunions are a rage. And 25th year of passing out of a school is HUGE. A milestone that one wants to celebrate reliving some moments and making some memories.
After school i visited the campus a couple of years later and came back with a heavy heart. The corridors that we owned, the places we frequented, the classes that now housed a different unknown set of students made me realize the transient nature of life. And the cyclic nature of life. It was almost like I was watching the scenes in school like a distant witness.
However, a 25th anniversary called for a going back to the same corridors that have witnessed our growing from children to young adults. After all these are the corridors that have witnessed our first crushes, giggling phases and so much more. To give the devils the due, had it not been for the immense drive of Kapil and Sandeep this reunion would have just remained a dream. These two stood like rocks and pillars driving the arrangements, recreating the nostalgia, planning on ground, taking commitments from a now non-committal generation and eventually executing it like a dream. I think both of them got reunited so many times just to get the plan going, they almost became a couple and I am sure are suffering major withdrawal symptoms now that the event has seen a super closure.
The teachers were invited, gifts were wrapped, small introduction speeches were made, some teachers who were not present were remembered fondly. What was funny was digging into collective consciousness and realizing that though we were all together the take aways were as different as they were the same. Mona, who had been entrusted with the task of inviting teachers couldn’t get over the fact that this was the longest relaxed conversation that she had made with the teachers ever. Ashish kept recalling anecdotes while intros were on and even enacted a small scene from a skit that was performed well more than 25 years ago. Infact Mrs. Sharma who had written the dialogues was amazed at the recall. Mr. Bharti, Suman Khanna mam, the ever gorgeous Mrs Geelani, the voracious Mrs Lumb, the reticent Krishna mam and others kept laughing and indulging and I am sure were equally proud in the knowing that their students have fared well.
However, some things never change like the awesome chutney with the bread rolls. Most of our celebratory occasions were marked with a treat of these and this was no different. Vivek Ahuja sent a cake all the way from Canada. Vikram Kalra a student of class ’83 sent inscribed personalized mugs for all of us as gifts, what was heart breaking was that his wife was in the ICU and he told Rachna Pant mam to hand over these mugs to each one of us individually, our hearts went out to his situation.
A fond farewell to the teachers, a round trip of the school and collection of house t-shirts later we all proceeded to Buzz where the sundowners awaited. Loud, dark and noisy that was the mood and it became only better with Mojitos, beer and more alcohol flowing. Ashish had a title for everyone who was present and that added to the spice. A question that evoked most oohs and aahs came from Namrata aka Rinku and that was who had a crush on whom? The responses evoked many ceetees and cheering, ah I am so dying to jot down the responses but well…What Happened at Buzz Stays at Buzz.
Lokesh took the responsibility of clicking pictures and man he did a wonderful job, prompt posting too. Kapil was seen nodding his head with eyes shut like as if a huge task at hand was now successfully wrapped up. Maninder was teased mercilessly on his comment of “jawan ho gya”, laughter roared over the din of the music. Shivani was most particular about her drink and sent the guy back with gyan on how to make it. Must comment that she was most gracious and sporting when teased by Lokesh. Alok Matta’s dancing transported me to the reckless era of our bachpan, of course I am not commenting who his crush was, psst: hint she was present. Rinku as always peppered up the talks and the gathering with her infectious giggles and smart comments. Ritu of course again like always was happy being part of the gang and quietly without creating a noise just soaked in everything. Sudhir’s efforts of always showing up and supporting were much appreciated, as was the huge efforts of having put it all together by Kapil and Sandeep. Neeraj told us about why in Sweden he couldn’t call sweet dish that cause it sounded so like Swedish. Hemant jain kept wondering till the end who me and Mona were? Sandeep kept the smirks up and yes without “skirting” the issue, we got to know how much the length of the skirts were noticed. Ah well, the secrets that spilled out from the boy gang are notorious enough to not be disclosed publicly. A few drinks down and all we wanted was some Bolly tadka music to shake our booties too, nagin dance included.
Those who were there missed those who weren’t there, but those who weren’t there Missed it all. However, the absentees were thoroughly remembered and talked about and we know that they were with us in spirits. And that’s what matters isn’t it?

Bachpan wali feeling. Keep the inner child glowing and keep spreading the happiness. Hoping to meet in larger strengths soon! Amen. 

Thursday, April 7, 2016


A small lesson in ‘How to teach our kids to press Ctrl+S for nature?’ 
Yes, I am! And this is not one of the posts trying to push or decode parenting styles. There can be no better time than spring to revel in the bounty of nature. Flowers blooming, perfect weather for long nature walks, listening to the chirping of birds or just watching the fluffy clouds float by. This spring me and my son plunged into an activity that we will remember all our lives. We nurtured and raised a small caterpillar into a magnificent butterfly. That’s the reason I choose to call myself a Butterfly Mom.
While spending some time tending my plants, I noticed a small little worm clinging to my curry leaves plant and munching them away. I won’t lie I did have murderous thoughts and contemplated on squishing them to save my plants. But my little son got excited looking at them and I decided to check what they were. Asking a naturalist friend I got to know that they are baby caterpillars and that she wsa tending some of her own. That’s when I got inspired on raising my own. We gently picked them and placed them in a plastic box with holes on top. We were daily feeding them with curry leaves and by god those little buggers, they hog ravenously. A couple of days later I saw one of them turn into a light green chrysalis with no movement, of course it had reached pupa stage. And then the long wait started for it to become a butterfly and fly its coop. The wait seemed so long, but man was it totally worth it? Yes, yes and triple yes! Today morning when we went to feed its siblings, one of the most beautiful sights awaited us, a lovely black beautiful butterfly with orange speckles fluttering away in that container. My god, it’s an experience we will never ever forget. I was bounding with joy and then I slowly opened the box and let it go…
A lesson for me in letting go and still be so happy that I raised such a lovely creature that found its wings. I really do feel a Butterfly Mom. I hope to remember this lesson when my son grows up and is ready to fly the nest. I hope I rest in the knowing that I did well.

Clinging to my curry leaves 

Found home in plastic box 

Growing Caterpillar 

Gorgeousness: My Baby  

This is dried shell 

I’m blogging about how I’ll remind kids to press Ctrl+S for nature for the Shortcut Safaari weekend activity at BlogAdda.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

When its time to say GoodBye

It is tough to see your loved ones go, it is tougher to see them going painfully and dying each moment and toughest when you have to deal with the exorbitant prices of medicines along with it all thinking it may work like a miracle when you know there is no hope. Not to say that I don’t believe in miracles if it keeps that last shred of hope afloat but there never has been anything that was born and will not die. I have encountered death, up close and personal of dear ones. My bro-in-law my best friend was cruelly snatched away in an accident and my cousin and father-in-law died slow painful deaths courtesy cancer. It was a feeling beyond any measure of pain seeing them suffer, seeing them search your eyes for a glimmer of hope, them getting in and out of ICU almost every second day. Don’t know who to blame, cause doctors were doing their job flogging them to life and care givers their duty by spending lakhs so that they could live and breathe just a few breaths.
My question is what was more important at that time? Making them comfortable and letting them go peacefully under non intrusive loving care OR keeping them almost lifeless with life supports. When both the parties; the medical fraternity as well as the care givers knew they were at the point of no return. It is difficult for the family to give up sometimes, at the hospital I heard stories of families coming over from the village having sold off their agricultural lands and living on streets just so that their loved ones can live last few days in the ICU bereft of being around families!!
I did the same. Even when I was told by a very sensible doc about end of life care. I also chose to put him on ventilator all the time saying “all we want is that he goes away peacefully”. I plead guilty. I do not know if all those meds running in his veins that had made him groggy and oblivious to the world, helped. I would never know. All I saw and felt was when I took my son, papa’s fav person this side of the world to the ICU to meet him a day before he passed on, his pools of eyes gleamed with joy and he held my sons hand in a grip. That was a flash of life. Sometimes I wonder if he was home, would he have been happier? His passing away has left a vacuum in our lives like it does when a parent passes away no matter how old they are or you are. But I was happy for him. I know he is in a better place. He was a fighter, a man whose laughter used to resonate and fill the entire house. Life of a party, he never stopped even when he got his knees replaced, never stopped playing with my son games like TT and cricket, the best dadu in the world. I was upset he was reduced to being a mere shadow of himself in the last weeks. I was happy in the knowing that he would have found peace.

I introspected a lot. I thought of myself and if I may say so very selfishly it has brought me to a decision. I would want to go in peace, I will like to die being aware, being happy, please do not tie me to life supports, do not spend hours counting down. After I am gone celebrate my life, donate my eyes and organs let someone live a better quality of life. I came across a video by Indian Association of Palliative Care and I pledge my support. I pledge for palliative care.

Monday, February 1, 2016

What the Red Traffic Light Could Not Do

Ah well, it’s a funny place this Dilli of mine. A city full of contradictions brimming with the old and the new at each corner and in each one of us!
Last week while on the road, a guy honked incessantly and jumped the red light to race ahead of everyone and everything, throwing caution to the wind, the attitude reeked of “tu nahi jaanta main kaun hun”. I rolled my eyes and made that typical hand gesture somehow all drivers in Delhi make, doesn’t matter who is at fault. 20 seconds later the light turned green and I moved on only to spot that same car a couple of meters ahead of me and then he suddenly braked in the middle of the road and pulled on side leaving me wondering what the heck happened. It is then that I spotted a cat had crossed over the path…I could not control and laughed aloud all alone to myself and gaily drove off. It was like divine intervention with me feeling vindicated and smug.

What the traffic rules couldn’t do a small cat achieved. Cant help laughing. Do you know what it means when a cat crosses the path? Well, it means it is going somewhere. Haahahha

Friday, January 29, 2016

Tring Tring…Hellooo its Me!

Ya all it takes sometimes is a single call to a old dear friend to travel past in time and reconnect. We all are so well connected that we do not feel the need to “connect”. Yes, we whats app, post pics on Insta, hashtag our experiences, share memories and do much more on fb, but somehow the real kind of connection is absent in all of those interactions. The old fashioned phone call is all you need to bring a huge smile on your face, take a trip down memory lane and infact create new memories and re-connect at a whole new level. This is exactly what happened when I recently called an old friend from another life I was so called “in touch” with on fb. It was such an instant perk me up, and guess what though we were speaking to each other after a gap of 19 years it was amazing how much we remembered about each other, our quirks and families. She called me by my maiden name, remembered menus from the birthday parties and we chatted about old times we spent together, new lives and everything that had past in between. And trust me all it really took was courage to make “that” call and conversations flew. Ofcourse we promised to keep calling and stay in touch, doesn’t matter if we fall back on whats app-ing again; we did renew our friendship and really do know what stage the other is in now. Maybe one day we will make the 2nd call and then the 3rd and then meet up for a coffee and rediscover each other.

I think I will now call my cousin and ask him how is he doing !

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Journey of a Wannabe Potter

So well, I have been a closet potter for close to three years. Not many know my love affair with clay and it is only now that I have been feeling a bit more confident of shaping it. Like I have confessed many a times I love to dabble in various things and though my father has always been confused as to my most recent shenanigans and wonders why I cant focus, my hubs and mum are ever encouraging me.
To let you in a secret, before I started my journey with clay I hadn’t had any experience nor a friend doing pottery, my reference point was the movie Ghost and that very erotic and romantic scene by Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze the teenage me’s heartthrob (sorry SRK you weren’t around then). So with stars in my eyes I walked into Delhi Blue Pottery studio at Safdurjung and got enrolled.

Thankfully between my enrolling and joining they had switched to electric wheels else my romance would have ended before it began. Since I was recovering from that dreadful Chikungunya (no it doesn’t happen cause I feel “harr bhook ka ilaaj chicken..”). I am very filmy ji.
Anyways, my first session was about wedging the clay and well it didn’t look anywhere close to what I had imagined. Post this came centering a 500 gm lump of clay and if I say it was a struggle I would be down playing it. The studio full of veteran potters at the time centering 5 kgs of clay made me feel pottery challenged. On the flip side the elation that came with a perfect centering was no less than having done fateh on Mars. Just when I used to think now the toughest deal of the process is over; and would be beaming at the tea break came another challenge. From centering to pulling a cylinder 7 inches for 700 grams was back breaking and took me more than 6 months. Well I definitely was a slow learner where pottery was concerned and the frustration levels would mount with each disappointment, the teachers at the class kept my morale going with their wit and encouragement. I kept at it and slowly learnt how to throw a decent piece. My first piece was still a tedha medha vase but what the heck tedha hai pur mera hai.
Sometimes even I am surprised at myself, no hobby has lasted me this long and the passion and thrill grows with each well crafted piece. The thrill of putting your hand in a sack of clay, wedging, pulling, trimming and decorating each piece has a story to tell and is born out of love. Heart rates increase with each firing bisque and glaze and prayers are fervently offered to kiln gods that the piece comes out unscathed and unbroken. The joy at the end of it all is unmatched and proudly displayed at home with lengthy instructions to the maid to not touch it. Hahah an interesting anecdote, when I proudly showed off my first piece to the maid at home, she was astounded acha bhabhi aap mitti ka kaam karte ho, chalo iss baar mere liye karwa chauth ke liye karwa aap banana…I faint.
So now when I participate in a fair and someone buys my piece, there is elation of selling and a lot of satisfaction knowing someone actually shelled out money –ultimate compliment but also a bit of weird inexplicable sadness too at times. However, the best part of selling them is that it gives you an opportunity to create more and still yet more. I leave you with this:

(both the pics are taken from the internet and used here) 

Monday, January 18, 2016

Musings of a Disoriented Punju in Chitto Park

Ok so lets begin at the beginning, which is that I love my meat, chicken, fish and prawns; all tandoori or grilled or in artery choking butter gravy. However, the challenge lies in buying the fish that needs as much discretion as the art of cooking it to perfection. Ab chicken toh chicken hota hai ji, bus tangri ya poora….yeh fish toh ranges from surmai to betkhi to pomfret to singhara and so many more.
Till now I have been relying on the good old Green Chik Chop to deliver fish and to be frank getting freezing stares (all puns intended) at my choice of frozen fish by the Calcutta born and bred mother-in-law. Also not to mention the comments about taste, texture and pricing. So when a Bengali friend volunteered to go “machi” shopping with me I was elated and we headed to Chitto Park. Another friend joined in and to be very frank we felt like virgins in the market that knew its fish and prawns well. Guided suitably we chose to pick up Surmai and Betkhi fillets for a cook off. For obvious reasons we chose fish with “no kaantaa bhaiyaji” oops dada ! We gaped at the rows of fish, fish heads and traversed our way around it. By the way we went to Market No.2 cause our Bengali insider told us that Market No. 1 has snob value and hence the prices are higher.
From the shop next door we also picked up the ready made mustard powder to be able to dish out a perfectly turned in mustard fish. Yum yum. Well if any one of you know a no fail recipe for the same please pass on before the mustard powder expires.
On our way back home a doubt niggled at us, did we buy right? Did we really check the gills? Did we get a good deal? So we called up Green Chik Chop and asked them the price for Surmai which we were told was Rs900 a kilo. Ha ! Ha! And we had managed it at around 560 a kilo. Good deal isn’t it? This sounds almost like a “coming of age” story, but trust me IT IS. Next time, believe it or faint, it will be prawns.
PS:For the equally disoriented Chitto Park is Chitranjan Park in Delhi !