Monday, October 10, 2016


Nana ji. I never called him Nana, it was always Nana ji, Nani ji et al. Though I always wondered how it would be having an informal relationship with a grandparent. Same as I often wondered as a kid how it would be to have an informal relationship with my father. Nana ji is no more. And I do have a more informal relationship with Papa now. 

Someone sent Nana ji's pic to the family group today. Looking at him so many memories of childhood came rushing in. Memories I had long put a lid on. Memories which quintessentially involve an estranged cousin/brother/bestfriend. Memories which involve delicious simple meals that we would have sitting on a carpet on the floor along with other cousins. That involve teasing elder sisters, cheating younger cousins at games and the like. Stuff that makes for a great childhood. Oh yes, and amras, bhindi ki sabzi (okra) and roti (Indian bread). And when it would be too hot- it would be aam panna and a Rajasthani fruit which I think is called kaachra.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Savour it

How long can you keep yourself wrapped in the hijab of everyday life. How fine the balance. A few words stringed together are enough to shake you out of reality and into the world you love most. And you stand at the threshold - to enter or not to enter? Setting foot is oh so comforting. Into the world of words and music and books and passages upon passages and of cryptic conversations that seem to melt in your mouth and warm your heart. 

But you keep yourself away. Why? Is it the lack of courage? 

But for now let me savour it. 

Saturday, July 23, 2016

While you are away.

I was just thinking. Actually I was trying not to think but could not dodge the thought. You and I spent 5 whole years apart. I spent the first two years dying every day. You don't know what it was like. I have tears in my eyes writing about it right now. Every.Single.Time. 
And no, it is not because I cry easy otherwise. The only time tears well up like this at the mention of something is N getting ill. Anywho, we spent all that time apart. As apart as can be. Usually people drift off. We did not it. I did not. A part of me would not budge. The pain was so much at one point of time I felt dying would be easier and would make more sense. The pain was so much at another point of time I felt perhaps our apart was not 'meant' to be. It was an epiphany. In pain. The epiphany told me that perhaps there was some cosmic equation that did not quite add up, some providential circuit that had got disrupted. So strong was this instinct that I paid heed to it and called you once around Christmas. To tell you what that pain was doing to me. 
How it was changing who I was. As if I had disturbed a whole butterfly-effect thing. Touched what was not to be touched, something sacred and the dominos lined up started to fall, like a fort of sand. 
Invariably I tried to put an end to it. In having you I was unfulfilled. In leaving you I was miserable. I chose to leave to allow both of us a better chance at love. 
I don't write like a lover here. It is not impossible to leave someone, I know. I had left someone before I met you and I have left someone after you. I have parted and been in pain but it was bearable. But our parting changed me forever. I had touched the outer limits to how much a human being could endure, or so it felt to me. 
If you asked me what it was that caused the pain- if I missed going out with you, being with you, hanging out together - I would not know what to say. I was not dying to meet you. I was not dying to hang out. I would have been able to meet had I really wanted to. I was not a drug addict but my withdrawal was the same if not worse. I was miserable like one would be without  oxygen. Like a fish would struggle with water only enough to wet its gills but not enough to allow her to remain submerged in water. I did not have a clue why this was happening to me.
With time I learned the tricks. And I buried all of 'it' somewhere. Knowing I was never to return. Knowing that this would happen only once in my lifetime. 


In missing you like any partner would since you are away, I am thinking of those 5 years. And I am thinking of this one week. And I'm scared for myself. I am scared that so many years ago I could feel that epiphany, that cosmic thing. And here we are, together. That I was right in sensing all that even though I could not decipher it at the time. But it turned out to be true. 

How strange that we once spent 5 years apart and this one week has been difficult for me. Why am I like this? Why can't be more 'normal'. Why feel so many feels. 

This is not a love letter. This is more like how Neil Armstrong must have felt seeing the galaxies fromthe outer  space for the first time. Thousands of stars and the planets glittering against a colourless universe, traversing their path. The awe. The beauty. The infinite mystery. And the fear of being so lonely even when you have conquered the universe.


Saturday, June 4, 2016


Where does one get the conviction to say something - anything that takes form in the shape of an opinion? I used to be able to write so much. Unbeknownst to me were the limits to my own understanding of an issue. The more I have learned, the quieter I have become. I have realised one knows only so much. I have gauged the depth of my own inadequacies (which might still be substantial for some) and this knowledge has had me paraplegic. Excess of everything is bad. Holds true for so-called virtues too?

On one hand, therefore, is the need to be able to say some more. So that the more you say the better you get. As goes the process to anything we do, really. But on the other, the handicap of the knowledge of not knowing enough. 

In any case one should not go quiet, right?

Thursday, May 5, 2016


I write this on the small screen of my phone. I just wanted to check in. Tell you I missed you. And tell you how much you mean to me. 

Saturday, April 30, 2016


I return after a long hiatus. Time I needed to gather myself and my thoughts. Time I needed to come back from the self-inflicted purgatory, as it were. I intend to write more, though how much I am actually able to write is unbeknownst even to me. For writing doesn't come easy to me now. But try one must. 

I often deliberate how important it is for one to be honest to one's writing. I started off as a firm believer that every word that one writes is reflective of one's integrity. My previous posts are a testament to that, however cryptic the posts might have been. My brief departure from here has given me some time to ponder. And it has humbled me. It has taught me that writing for writings sake is as important as breathing for the sake of living. Till the time 'it' is coming to you, you must write. The day you find yourself at a loss of words, quite literally, could just be round the corner. 

This post here is partly an effort in that. 

PS: I got married last month. 

Thursday, October 1, 2015

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (and others) - Douglas Adams

“For a moment, nothing happened. Then, after a second or so, nothing continued to happen.” 

Crime and Punishment - Dostoevsky

“Pain and suffering are always inevitable for a large intelligence and a deep heart. The really great men must, I think, have great sadness on earth.” 

Sunday, June 21, 2015


The need to get away was never more pronounced. To go away and take with me whatever I can salvage. Some love, some cover, some laughter and a lot of freedom. Oh wait, that is mine, right?

It is surprising how memory works and whether it is talking to us. I often and much more often now than ever before think of London streets. Streets that hold no special memory - shops I just passed by unmindfully at the time are all so clear to me now - yes now - almost 3 years after. Some cupcake shop, some turn, Kingsway, some corner at a busy crossing - none of these holds any meaning for me. Nothing happened there. I walk on those streets even now. Flashes of a quaint streetlight of a busy road, a decrepit wall, an empty street by night, wet tarmac and the reflection of light. And I am transported. I can feel it, smell it, I make an effort to come out of it.

I do not now why these vague memories. Nothing was left unfinished there. There is no real reason too I know. But the memories come and go, pass me by and more often than not I associate them with freedom, or is it longing?

Thursday, June 18, 2015


It was disgusting how I ran when the aftershocks shook Nepal. It was shorn of dignity when I ran each time a big aftershock occurred seeming to claim us all, only to stop suddenly as the earth would become still again. Again and again it happened - and again and again I found myself on my feet, with or without slippers, sometimes in slumber, in the hotel lobby - lunging for the door. My insides revolted for this ignominy the moment the earth would go quiet again. 

Saturday, June 6, 2015

John Steinbeck - Of Mice and Men

"With us it ain't like that. We got a future. We got somebody to talk to that gives a damn about us. We don't have to sit in no bar room blowin' in our jack jus' because we got no place else to go. If them other guys gets in jail they can rot for all anybody gives a damn. But not us."

Lennie broke in. "But not us! An' why? Because… because I got you to look after me, and you got me to look after you, and that's why." He laughed delightedly. "Go on now, George!" 

Julian Barnes - The Sense of an Ending

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Black omni

In the darkness of the backseat of the omni cab she sat with her legs spread open. Like guys sit. Like guys have the freedom and the approval to sit. With their thighs taut and comfortable - all weight falling on their feet and hands clasped in macho design. How sitting with legs closed - so close and together - is the hallmark of feminine posture while sitting with such open swagger is so male, so authoritative and decisive. She sat with that authority. As if blood rushed through her legs in surprise. It felt good and definitely felt so much more in control. The driver won't turn back to look, would he? Sit back, she said to herself. Even if he does, it is comfortably dark.

This is her little secret in darkness of a black omni.

Saturday, November 29, 2014


It is fascinating and almost a relief, finding delight in oneself. Some months ago, I found myself deeply troubled, grappling** to find a plausible answer to what was the fundamental purpose of living (as opposed to life or simple existence), of doing anything at all, really. I was questioning the basics of work, routine, taste, recreation, vacation ― what was the underlying reason that we did those things and if living, every single component of it that we call 'doing' something, meant anything, or whether it was supposed to mean anything. After days and days of looking into myself I felt that the only purpose to living (as it happens to us, not as we go ahead and make of it) was to come to know oneself better and as a corollary 'replace' oneself. For some days this 'deduction' helped,provided some relief and I started to test it against my everyday actions.

**Grapple, because I was fast losing myself to the idea of complete futility. I still think part of it may be true. And now as I look back, as much as a part of me did accept how futile things really are, the rest of my self rebelled against it and it was this bit that struggled to find that which would justify the status quo by arming it with a theory, to be subsequently tested.

(In conversation)

Friday, November 28, 2014


I am good. Delhi is the same as you left it. Dreary mornings, warm days and cold nights. I go for a walk everyday like I used to. It is also my favorite part of the day.

I am not reading any particular book presently. Either go through a huge book on human rights or read poetry on the net. This year I mostly read Hindi books and Urdu poetry. Agyeya I liked. Have you read him? And this another lovelorn Pakistani poet called Jaun Elia.

I have realized this new thing or should I say a new-found pleasure, which I could share. I was always secretly proud of my flexible ways, of being fine with my clothes in luggage bags even though it was an year since I had returned to Delhi, (because the cupboard had no space for my clothes), of being okay with sleeping anywhere, eating impatiently, working in a mess as long as I had the bare minimum. My focus was on substance not form, or such was my refrain.

Couple of months back we got wood work done in my room and now I have a double bed (in place of a single bed), two bedside tables, wooden almirahs in place of the old wall-unit to keep my clothes in, and a new book shelf is on the way. I also bought a bedside lamp for myself which I use at night. To my surprise, I now take pleasure in hanging my clothes (with care) in the cupboards, I have started taking care that my bed stays clear of knickknacks, I also have a money plant in an old liqueur bottle on my table and I like to see it grow. I would now take a moment to place my earrings in the box on the bedside table or duppatta in the third drawer. I know people live like this generally. But the fact that I am doing these things with a certain care and nafasat, believing that a small act of securing little things is also as important as the next article I am reading, is something that gives me a quiet sense of equilibrium and poise, before I return to my routine.

(In conversation)

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Tujh Se Gilay Karoon Tujhe Janaa'n Manaaon Main

Tujh Se Gilay Karoon Tujhe Janaa’n Manaaon Main
Ik Bar Apne Aap Mein Aaon To Aaon Main

Dil Se Sitam Ki Be’saro Kaari Hawaa Ko Hai
Woh Gard Urraa Rahi Hai Ke Khud Ko Ganwaaon Main

Naadim Hoon Woh Ke Jis Pe Nadaamat Bhi Ab Nahin
Woh Kaam Hain Ke Apni Judai Kamaaon Main

Kyon’kar Ho Apne Khawab Ki Aankhon Mein Wapsi
Kis Taur Apne Dil Ke Zamamon Mein Jaaon Main

Ik Rang Si Kamaa’n Ho Khushbu Sa Ik Teer
Marham Si Ik Wardaat Ho Aur Zakham Khaon Main

Shikwa Sa Aik Dareecha Ho Nasha Sa Ik Sakoot
Ho Shaam Aik Sharab Si Aur Larr’khraon Main

Phir Is Gali Se Apna Guzar Chahta Hai Dil
Ab Is Gali Ko Kaunsi Basti Se Laaon Main

- Jaun Elia

Saturday, October 25, 2014


Apne Maazi Ke Tasawwur Se Hiraasaan Hoon Main
Apne Guzre Hue Ayyam Se Nafrat Hai Mujhe
Apni Bekaar Tamannaon Pe Sharmindaa Hoon Main
Apni Besud Ummidon Pe Nidaamat Hai Mujhe

Mere Maazi Ko Andhere Mein Dabaa Rahne Do
Mera Maazi Meri Zillat Ke Siwa Kuchh Bhi Nahin
Meri Ummidon Ka Haasil Meri Kaawish Ka Sila
Ek Benaam Aziyat Ke Siwa Kuchh Bhi Nahin

Kitni Bekaar Ummidon Ka Sahaaraa Lekar
Main Ne Aiwaan Sajaaye They Kisi Ki Khaatir
Kitni Be-Rabt Tamannaaon Ke Mabham Khaake
Apane Khwaabon Mein Basaaye The Kisi Ki Khaatir

Mujhse Ab Meri Mohabbat Ke Fasaane Na Poochho
Mujhko Kahne Do Ke Main Ne Unhen Chaahaa Hi Nahin
Aur Wo Mast Nigaahen Jo Mujhe Bhool Gayeen
Main Ne Un Mast Nigaahon Ko Saraahaa Hi Nahin

Mujhko Kahne Do Ki Main Aaj Bhi Ji Saktaa Hoon
Ishq Naakaam Sahi Zindagi Naakaam Nahin
Unko Apnaane Ki Khwaahish Unhen Paane Ki Talab
Shauq Bekaar Sahi Sai-Gham Anjaam Nahin

Wahi Gesoo Wahi Nazar Wahi Aarid Wahi Jism
Main Jo Chaahoon Ki Mujhe Aur Bhi Mil Sakte Hain
Wo Kanwal Jinko Kabhi Unke Liye Khilna Tha
Unki Nazron Se Bahut Door Bhi Khil Sakate Hain

- Sahir Ludhianvi

Saturday, October 4, 2014


Don't know what it is. But my mind seeks time. Some time and lots of books. Just books and time and patience. Books and coffee. Many reads and my mind. CONSUME. The way it's your fantasy to make love on a tabletop.. sweeping random objects off the surface with a single continuous thrust of the arm, before swiftly placing your lover on the counter and then go on, go on loving..

Roll back.. rewind and revisit the sweeping part in slow motion this once. Feel the strength of a man's arm, the relentless, the careless, the reckless gesture as things 'important' tumble down one after the other, slowly charging down against the weight of time and bursting into tumultuous fractures on the tiled floor... making a deafening (defining?) clatter - the clamour of the broken pieces and the din of all that breaks loose - hell as well as your own mind. Heedless of the mess, unmindful of the broken pieces of glass on the floor, blotched sheets of paper lying about - some crumpled some not, stationery, knickknacks strewn about. And on the mind just a blurred frenzy, a stupor in a spur.. a ruffled fazed uncomfortable delicious odyssey..

Wanna do that. Just that. Right now.

Wanna sweep off the tabletop all that claims its place there... all that impedes my flow.. and obstructs my path. To renounce everything and every thought that was so far the 'subject'.  The path! As if the landscape is itself evolving. That everything else is a distraction, a disturbance, a speck in the eye.

That there's only one thing you're accursed to do. And that you must do. And what peace in such damnation!

- Reposted from Nov 2011, London

Friday, September 26, 2014


I miss writing. As if I have lost it somewhere - I don't know where I have kept it. I come to you looking for it..but it is no where to be found.

Friday, September 19, 2014

मेरी जान फक़त चंद ही रोज़

चंद रोज़ और मेरी जान फक़त चंद ही रोज़
ज़ुल्म की छाँव में दम लेने पर मजबूर हैं हम
इक ज़रा और सितम सह लें, तड़प लें, रो लें
अपने अजदाद की मीरास है माजूर हैं हम
जिस्म पर क़ैद है ज़ज्बात पे जंजीरें हैं
फ़िक्र महबूस है गुफ्तार पे ताजीरें हैं
और अपनी हिम्मत है कि हम फिर भी जिए जाते हैं
जिंदगी क्या किसी मुफलिस की कबा है
जिस में हर घड़ी दर्द के पैबंद लगे जाते हैं

लेकिन अब ज़ुल्म की मियाद के दिन थोड़े हैं
इक ज़रा सब्र कि फ़रियाद के दिन थोड़े हैं
अरसा-ए-दहर की झुलसी हुई वीरानी में
हमको रहना है पर यूँ ही तो नहीं रहना है
अजनबी हाथों का बेनाम गरांबार सितम
आज सहना है हमेशा तो नहीं सहना है
ये तेरी हुस्न से लिपटी हुई आलाम की गर्द
अपनी दो-रोजा जवानी की शिकस्तों का शुमार
चांदनी रातों का बेकार दहकता हुआ दर्द
दिल की बेसूद तड़प जिस्म की मायूस पुकार

चंद रोज़ और मेरी जान फक़त चंद ही रोज़ …

फैज़ अहमद फैज़ 

(अजदाद = ancestors, मीरास = ancestral property,  माजूर = helpless) (महबूस = captive, गुफ्तार = speech, ताजीरें = punishments, मुफलिस = poor, कबा = long gown) (अरसा-ए-दहर=life-time, गरांबार = heavy) (आलाम = sorrow, शिकस्त = defeat, शुमार = inclusion)

Monday, September 1, 2014


What would you cook for someone if you knew it were their last meal?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Untitled. Incomplete.

हक़ तुम्हें भी है 
रोने का 
बिलखने का
अपने आसमानों से सवाल करने का 
और बादलों के बरसने पर खामोश हो जाने का

हक़ तुम्हें भी है 
मर जाने का.