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Showing posts from 2006

Happy New Year to All

HAPPY 2007.

It is that time of the year again. Making resolutions.
There are some I know I am going to break. So won't even bother to make them.
But there are some I am going to work on in this coming year.

I resolve to...
...Learn to Dream.
...Have faith that Dreams come true.
...know that within me I contain a universe.
...Have a better communication with those around me.
...Be appreciative of the contributions Others make in my pursuit of understanding and happiness.
...Be aware of their support and develope an attitude of gratitude.
...Explore my talents to the fullest.
...Learn to look inside me to understand the outer turmoil and negtivities.
...Be aware that Love is all around me and will be open to it.
...Be aware and open to each moment as I live it.
...not to chase the future. It comes soon enough.
...Know that the rewards I seek are NOT in future. They are with me today, here and now.
...not say I want to be happy.
...Say - ‘I Am Happy’.

For one more drink.

( This story is very much a work under construction. I am experimenting with a style I am not familier with.)

Bhiku sat outside the hut and listened intently. It seemed quiet inside. Shouldn’t Rakhmi have started cooking dinner by now? After that thrashing he had given her, she should have learnt not to cross him. He got no respect in this house. When she fell down after one of the whacks he was a little scared. But had just given her a kick, as if to drive home his point, and left the hut to go find some money for a drink. Saali, natak karti hai. He spat as he thought to himself. Finding money for the drink was getting to be difficult by day. His credit at the country liquor bar was dismal. He always promised to pay the next pay day. That didn’t make any difference to anyone because everyone knew he had no job. When he was sober, he worked as a labourer at some construction site. But because of his unreliability the contractors were reluctant to hire him. Sometimes, just to get rid …

Love is Blind, or is it!

Goddess! Please help me."A soul in distress was calling her. She looked around closely, her myopic eyes squinting a little. All she could see were pink clouds. These mortals were great ones for making a mess of their lives with great regularity. Then the prayers for her, The Love Goddess, would start.She knew the routine. She had helped many with her Advise and at time even with a little discreet magic. The Goddess had a heart full of compassion and eyes which couldn’t see much beyond her nose.In fact she was near blind and that’s what made her a great Love Goddess. She reluctantly put aside her wine, put on her jewel rimmed glasses and the heaven came in focus. Ugh! How she hated seeing things in focus! The pink fog which always swirled around her was so much more comforting. She arranged her pink robes in an attractive pattern, patted her pink cotton candy hair into some order, and sat up straight on her throne of pink clouds. Pigeons, rabbits and other assorted animals frolic…

Aug 15th 1986 - The Independence Day.

The ground was full of people. The Hindustani music filled the air, people were wearing patriotic colors. It was a scene each one of us has witnessed ever since we started attending Pre-school .
The only difference was, it was taking place in Los Angeles -USA.
The Indian community there had decided to make the day a memorable one by organizing a great Arts & Crafts fair with all things indian. I was with a few American friends who wanted to experience Indian event. Our main interest was the food stalls of course. The main event of hoisting the flag was just a formality that needed to be gotten over as speedily as possible.
Every one was waiting for the chief guest to arrive. A few hungry souls had already done a round of food stalls. The fair promised to be a gala occasion ending with a Jagjit concert in the evening which of course we were not attending. There were parties happening with friends, again with Indian themes and more Indian food.

The Chief Guest, The Mayor of LA, arrived …

My Friend Suman

As a ten year old growing up in secular surroundings I learnt to never judge or question who my friends were. Therefore being friends with Suman was as natural as being friends with a girl next door. Her job of looking after two small children every day gave her plenty of time to play with us. In fact sometimes I felt that she looked after all of us along with those two kids.

Suman was a little older than us. Fourteen to our ten. She was tall for her age and definitely taller than us all . Slim to the point of thinness, she was always neatly dressed. I don't remember if she was good looking. But she had nice teeth and a lovely smile. She was like any other lower middle class teenager you might say. But she had the sharp tongue and pushy manners of a slum dweller when dealing with troublesome boys and we admired her hugely for it.

Being the oldest and ablest she won in all our games and was unanimously elected as our leader. She planned strategies for scaring off the boys from t…


When everything else was failing, Mumbai Help was active and doing a great job, providing information to Mumabikars. There is information available on this blog about
Mumbai Help blog has been providing a marvelous service by giving latest info about conditions outside Hospital addresses and numbers, shelters in the various areas and most imp. connecting with people in Bombay whom the relatives couldn't, from outside and letting them know every one is safe.
Today you will find post blast scenario.

Please check it out. The link is posted on my blog,

A message from an Indian away from home.

Friends of my family, who are currently away in Australia for a vacation, have been much disturbed to read news of events back home. Here is an e-mail I recieved this morning.


Heared about the explosins in Rails in western side in Mumbai here in 6 am news i.e 1.30am there in Bmy.
What is happening. Bhivandi, Shivajipark and all maharashtra and now BMy railways. Always crowded all the time and during the peak hours. Read Maharastra times web page that almost all in bmy offices have provided place for stay at the working place, schools etc.

Who is doing all this. Why not Military take over administration for some time and free the public from these political fat tummy politicians. They are for making money for them selves and least bothered about progress which any way they know Indian people manage from thousands of years history.
Sorry since stunned wrote this long
Hope the climate will improve.

Prabhu and family

Mumbai Blasts

I was at college. I had kept my cell on silent, so didn't get the calls warning me about the blasts. None of us knew.

Our principal rushed in and asked the class to be dismissed immediately and sent all of us home. Just then it had started pouring. I took with me three students who lived in my area, and found a cab and left for Chembur. It is a debatable point as to who took care of whom but we felt better just by being together.

Calls within Bombay were not going through, but a cousin called from Pune. I sent message home through him. I knew family must have been trying to contact me franctically.

By avoiding the main roads, bygoing through the lanes of Hindu Colony, we all reached Chembur within an hour. There was a relief about having coped with one more crisis that seems to be a frequent scenario in Bombay.

The unnecessary and totally preplanned and staged riots on sunday, the attempts of the same group to impose Bombay bandh in a few areas on Monday, the blasts on tuesday...Bomba…

Fifty seven years ago, on this day.......

Today is my parent's wedding anniversary. Fifty seven years since my Mom entered my Dad's household as a shy bride. She was seventeen, he was twenty six. For her his twenty six was a very wise old age.
She joined a family diametrically opposite to everything she was familiar with, and proceeded to become a part of it. She did it so well, that her mother in law was her biggest admirer. Mom has earned this love and esteem the old fashioned way. By loving and giving.
Mom is a natural leader and an extrovert, while dad is an introvert who loves to be left alone with his books. A man of few words, and even fewer friends, he never clipped my mom’s wings. He hates women who confine themselves to household chores. It was important to him that she explored all her talents and abilities. Even if that meant, being known as 'Mrs. Joshi's Husband'. She had become quite a public figure due to her numerous achievements.

She has hair she can sit on and then some :) Dad would purchas…

A day out

We have to get you a hair cut today. Normally I give you one myself. But today you have made a fuss. You want to go to the proper salon at the corner and get it done, you said. I argued, it looks nice longer. But to no avail. I ran my fingers thru your ringlets, and with a sigh agreed to take you there. After all, it was summer and cropped hair is cooler.
You can't go there alone I knew. There are roads to cross, and vehicles to negotiate. How can you do it alone? Plus you are a little wobbly on your feet…sometimes.

You are looking forward to be going out. You ask me what else can we do while we are out. I suggest having ice creams.
We leave home. You carefully, slowly climbed down the steps. I walk a few steps in front of you. So if you were to take a tumble I was there to break the fall. Offering you my hand was meaningless. You have a mile wide stubborn streak, just like me. Blood will tell, mom always says.

We come out of the building and slowly walk to the gate. From now on you…

Distress of Spices

Once upon in the far away land called San Francisco lived a drop dead gorgeous young lady who had never stepped a foot out of her shop. She was forbidden. Like the Lady of Shallot, she viewed the world from her shop window, and chatted with her spices for company. Perhaps there speech was easier for her to understand than the assortment of accents floating around.

There were stray customers, ex-pat indians, who were finding it hard to understand why their young grand daughters, born and bred in the USA wore make up, didn't wear a bra and wanted to marry for love. After all THEY had never loved Their wives, and it never hurt them. The girl listened and made pickles for them.

She was also forbidden from touching another skin. In fact this disheartened her so much that she gave up all the attempts at dating as the spice made very effective chaperon.

Every time a handsome hunk passed by the shop on his Bullet, the spices all gathered around the girl, and hissed and booed him away, chilli…

e-Classics anyone?

You know what I did today ? Browsed the web for e-classics.
It was heartwarming to see that so many titles were available for free. I could find free books in all categories, fiction & non fiction. I was thrilled to find a lot more titles available in the selection of Bret Harte's short stories. I thought I had read them all. Same was true about Jane Austin whose 2 more novels are available online -but not in the book stores.

Are e-books here to stay ? I somehow feel it will be a long time before the society becomes truely paperless. The harm this constant reading online is going to do to our eye sight is something that is not difficult to imagine. But a true reader doesn't fear myopia
I remember - when I was young, my father used to scold me that I will go blind before twenty if I keep reading day & night !!! I just doubled the quota of books -Because I better finish as many books as possible before that happens and even toyed with the idea of learning braille !!!!�…

The face of a revolution

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. With this one logo Mumbai based graphic artist has given a voice to thousands of protesters all over the nation about the reservation issue. Certain communities and castes are being given seats in all educational institutes, job opportunities in government offices. This policy hits the students badly who can not get in to universities because they do not belong to the favoured caste, while the seats many a times go empty.
In the past too government has implemented policies with an eye on the vote bank. Favouring certain communities and castes in return for their votes. The current reservation policy which has no logical base has been created with similer aims.

Delhi based Vikrant Nath and Bombay based Hemant Suthar got together to create this logo, to be printed on t-shirts to be worn by protesters and any other sympathetic citizens. Logo is designed by Hemant, and the entire cost of making 1000 t-shirts is born by Vikrant nath.
" The l…

A Spam mail.

( After reading countless spam mails, I just had to try my hand at writing one :))


Attn Lucky Winner,

We are pleased to inform you of the result of the annual draw of our Lottery International Programs.
The online cyber draws was conducted from an exclusive list of 25,000,000 e-mail addresses of individual and corporate bodies picked by an advanced automated random
computer search from the internet.


You are therefore to receive a burial plot in our prestigious cemetery
‘ City of Silence’, Connecticut, USA.

City Of Silence,
the theme Cemetery at Connecticut, the best final address in the world.

At City of Silence, we have come up with innovative ways to make your final days memorable and enjoyable. Who says the final wait has to be boring? Now we bring you several options and themes to choose from.

1. Wild West / Gold Rush - A complete mining town with cobbled Ma…

Happy Mother's day Malini!

Malini entered the office and saw her colleagues suddenly hush their laughter as they greeted her with fake cheerfulness,
"Hello Malini, Good Morning".
She had been expecting something of this sort. She waved to them cheerfully and went to her cubicle. The conversation resumed in whispers, and when they forgot to whisper, very audible to her even across the office.This happened around every Mother's day. For one day she was an out caste. She was not a Mother, nor did she look like ever being one.

For past ten years on every mothers day she had listened to the stories about teenage sons buying their mothers flowers and cheap perfumes or trinkets, daughters cooking messy dinners in an attempt to give mom an evening off, husbands taking whole family for an outing. A celebration of motherhood in which she had no part. She heard these happy stories every year. She had tried to tell them she really didn't feel unhappy on mother's day. It was ok not to have a child. But th…

Back to school.

I was visiting a college after a long time. The aroma of Paav Bhaaji wafted in from the canteen. In my days canteens didn't serve paav bhaaji, not even vaada paav. That came much later. We lived on the staple of Idlee sambar in canteen and paani puri & bhel outside the college. Gastro not yet invented, eating out rarely hurt us.There were students dressed in their best all around. Young people standing around in groups and chatting. Volunteers wearing various colored badges strode purposefully through the crowds.I stopped one formally dressed young man, sporting an impressive looking red badge on his shirt, and asked him to direct me to Competition halls."You here as a judge Ma'am?" He asked me reverently. "Please come this way." He took me to a large meeting hall, chilled to the max, respectfully pulled out a chair with super efficient wheels. It tried to escape and roll away like a trapped animal.I had to firmly grab it with both my hands before low…

Fate. an exercise in cliches.

It looked like a regular day to Pooja as she left her home for her work. What she didn't know was that Fate had some other plans.

She reached the office a few minutes late and was rushing to reach the lift before the door closed.The lift door almost closed on her delicate foot when a pair of strong hands pulled her inside the lift, thus saving her life and her foot. Pooja looked up into a pair of masculine eyes flashing admiration, concern, annoyance and irritation turn by turn.
"Can't you be more careful? That was an utterly stupid thing to do!" He barked at her.
"Sorry" she mumbled as her eyes filled with tears. Why did he have to be so horrid? As it was she was a nervous wreck already. She was going to start working for her boss's son from today. Her new boss. She had been worried about it all morning, And now this.

She took a discreet peek at his face, still stormy with annoyance. He was so handsome! She had never seen anyone like him at such a close ra…


This is an under construction piece. all the comments are most welcome. This is an attempt to croniclize every day happening and ironies of small lives. Sonu bai's and mine.


"Bai, you tell me what are we supposed to do? Where are we supposed to go? How can he even think such a thing! And I had thought that my daughter will be happy in that house! After all he is my own cousin's son."

Dad & I could hear the conversation between sonu bai who was our maid and my mom in the kitchen. Dad was a bit upset at the tranquility disturbed so early on a sunday morning. He asked me to go in the kitchen to find out what the matter was and warn mom discreetly not to get involved. If Sonubai needs help we will help of course. She was almost family. But this daily soap opera getting rather monotonous. Anything that could go wrong usually went wrong where Sonubai was concerned and then my mother would be ready with medicine, money, clothes, a pat on the back, a kind word, a cup …

Radha Shrivastava.

Where is the rascal ?? Hiding under the bed again! Radha muttered to herself, as she tried to look under her bed for her kitten. Her aching joints didn’t allow her to bend much. The age hadn't been kind to her.
Radha went in the balcony to look for the missing cat. She looked out on the street suspiciously. She always looked at everyone suspiciously.
"The only way to rule men was by kicking their ass" had been her husband's favorite refrain. He was a hard man. She thought wistfully. Tall big man with moustache that curled at the ends. How she had loved him.
As she returned to the living room, she glanced at the tall teakwood cabinet which displayed Major's rifles, guns and medals. Most of them were empty, but she always kept one gun ready, just in case.
She opened the cabinet in the living room and tenderly took out his gun. He had taught her to use it well.
She still remembered those lessons. On the ranges in the afternoon sun, sweat getting into her eyes, she had tr…

Vignettes from my teen years.

I was 16. A few of us were in a movie hall. In the darkness I felt an elbow poking me in my ribs, it belonged to a young guy in the next seat. I pointed out to him that it is bothering me. He apologized and took his arm away. A few minutes later the elbow was back. Once again I objected to it, once again the profuse apologies, this time accompanied by amused chuckles by his friends. I realized I was a source of amusement to these young studs. The next time that all too familiar elbow came to visit me I was ready. I gave it a gentle jab with my safety pin . There was a surprised ‘ouch’ in darkness and I gently told the young guy that I did not like his elbow in my ribs. I was not bothered by himfor rest of the movie show. I have always believed that actions speak louder than the words in such cases. After that day I never left home without a safety pin in my purse. I have had to use it many times. A crowded bus. I feel hands behind me pushing me and touching me with an unnecessary fa…


Part one.
Summer was unending this year. Temperature kept rising every day. Every day people looked hopefully at the sky, waiting to see a dark patch which promised rain.But the days remained dazzling bright and evenings poured bright merciless colours all over the earth, yellow, orange and fiery red. Slowly the green turned yellow and then arid ochre and then brown. Wells went dry, and rivers turned into parched sand filled wasteland. Cattle started chewing dry grass and thorny bushes.'Too much sin... in high places.', the idiot sitting on the temple steps kept muttering to himself. The flower vendor listened intently and nodded wisely. It was believed that God spoke through the simpleton. The flower vendor made a note to himself to discuss this matter with the priest later. This needs looking into. Meanwhile the sun kept pouring flames from the sky, and air was heavy with dry dust.Ujhaali sat next to her father's dead body. There were no tears left in her eyes. Her mind w…

Thus spake Kala Ghoda

They are at it again. gathering around me... having some kind of festival. I wonder what it's all about. They keep talking about Kala Ghoda- Black horse. I think it's very rude. I have a name for God's sake. And a good one too, I can't recall it right away....
I remember days when I used to gallop about, make out with ever willing mares and generally having a good horsy kind of life, till they captured me.

There were days of action, a few battles lost, a few battles won...

And then one day they made me stand on this pedestal in the sun and rain with birds shitting on me. Nobody asked my opinion. Nobody ever does anymore. Such indignities for an old warhorse, who was accostumed to having his own stable and meals on time.

If they want festivals, I could tell them about the kind we used to have, with jousts and trots. We would dress in the brightest fabrics lined with golden lace. And we had personal attendants to shine our mounts. Now all I have is a government worker who s…

The Messenger

'Gopi! What is that sound? Can you hear a clip clop?"
….just a branch tapping on the window pane I guess…

At eighty even a cold can keep you in bed, but I am not ready to go. Not yet. There is still work to be done. Builders are trying to get their hands on my lands. They will raze down the Haveli and chop down the orchards… I am alone…last of my line….

What am I living for? Wife and sons… gone. How many more deaths do I have to see? What is it that I haven't done yet?

Clip clop, clip clop…..I can hear it…a faint sound in the distance, but very clear…

The legend said, when the master of the house was about to die, he heard a clip clop of a Black horse, the messenger of Death. Have you come for me this time? Not yet….not yet!

“ Gopi wake up ! Call two servants. I need them as witnesses. Give me a paper and pen”

Clip clop,, clip clop….is the sound a little closer?

……All my worldly goods, I bequeath to my servant Mr. Gopichand Parmar and his children. I wish them to carry forward…

Black Merlin

Faster and faster she and Merlin flew... she could feel the wind in her hair, her body moving in perfect sync with his gallop. This was what she loved most, Merlin and her, riding together, his black body glistening in the sun and dark mane flying like a cloud. Black Merlin, as she called him.

In a bustling house Merlin was the only one who belonged to her, her best friend. She had no other and had needed no other. When she was younger she used to tell every one that he was her brother. Her mother, growing red in face, had tried to hush her.

She was allowed to ride him only in a slow trot and with a servant who kept begging her to slow down. She had taken a bad fall when she was just a baby. The doctor had been worried about her concussion. Speed was not good for her. Keep an eye on her, she is fragile, he had said.

How could she make them understand that Merlin and she were made for galloping across the hills and valleys, unrestrained, free as wind? When she rode him, she became a beaut…

Just what I always wanted to do.

" Ma'am, how would you like to win a free gift ?" He asked me in a tone a game show host uses on unsuspecting participants.

I was visiting Shopper's Stop. I had lost my friend at the cosmetic counter somewhere among the young bubbly girls spraying perfume on passers by. I was looking around for her and I became aware of a young man addressing me. One overly cheerful, overly respectful and overly friendly young man was looking at me with a winning smile on his face.

" NO, thanks.” I said curtly.
That man must be earning good bucks to put up with people like me. He continued with an annoying persistence.Finally I relented and said,
'Yes, I would LOVE to win a free gift , what do I have to do ?"
He jubilantly thrust a microphone in my face and said
" Just laugh in the Mic please."
" Excuse me ? " I was taken aback. His smile widened as if he had seen this reaction before.
" Today is The Laughter Day Ma'am! Yes!! That's all you ha…

Meeting with my Angel.

He walked away from me, jumped off the boulders with an agility of a mountain goat, looked back to wave at me, turned the corner and vanished.
I had realized by this time that in these mountains anything was possible. Maybe it's the air, makes everyone a little light headed, a little other worldly.

Let me begin at the beginning, as all good stories should. Like, how come I was sitting on a mountain alone, looking at the valley below me and wondering if it was real.
I had come to Kullu valley as part of a trek group. For past week I had been sleeping in damp tents, walking up to twenty kilometers per day and eating food that didn't agree with me.
Just before we reached Malana I had suffered a nasty fall which made it impossible to continue forcing me to leave the group. The relief on the Leader's face hurt a little. No, it had hurt a LOT. Not one person had spared a thought on how I was planning to walk those seventeen kilometres with a busted knee, so keen they were on gettin…