Wednesday, December 17, 2014


थोड़ा ज़ाहिर
थोड़ा निहाँ
रब भी तुझ सा
यहां वहां

Friday, December 05, 2014

Legend Gone Wrong..

अब मत आना चातक
ले कर अपनी प्यास
स्वाति नक्षत्र को
मिल गया वनवास

Sunday, November 30, 2014

ਐ ਹਰ ਸਾਹ ਦਾ ਹੀਰਾ

ਨਿਤ ਨਵੀ ਪੀੜ
ਰਾਂਝੇਯਾ ਵੇ,
ਜੇ ਹੀਰ ਜਾਣਦੀ
ਹਰ ਸਾਹ ਸੰਗੀ ਸੰਗੀ ਹੀਰੇ ਵਰਗਾ ਹੋਨਾ ਹੈ
ਤੇ ਸੋਹਨੀ ਦਾ ਘੜਾ ਉਸ ਰਾਤ
ਓਨ੍ਨੇ ਚੁੱਕ ਲੈਣਾ ਸੀ.

ਐ ਹਰ ਸਾਹ ਦੀ ਪੀੜ
ਕੋਈ ਕਵੀ ਨਹੀ ਲਿਖ ਸਕਦਾ
ਕੋਈ ਸਯਾਹੀ ਨਹੀ ਕੁੱਜ ਸਕਦੀ

ਐ ਹਰ ਸਾਹ ਦਾ  ਹੀਰਾ
ਬਸ ਹੀਰ ਨੂ ਲਗਦਾ ਹੈ

A new pain, everyday
Oh Ranjha, if Heer knew,
that this would be her destiny,
she would have taken
the pot from Sohni's hands
that night.

This pain in every breath
cannot be described by poets
nor can it be contained
in any pot of ink

This, the pain of swallowing a diamond
with every breath
Is only known
to Heer.

Review of the play "Bebe Da Chamba"

Once in a while, one watches a play that one is forced to review. Bebe da Chamba is one such play. Disclaimer: I am a Punjabi. I love Punjabi folk music and its ability to express complex human emotions in simple words.

And for me, that was the highlight of the play - the strategic use of Punjabi folk music.

The story is simple - 4 unmarried, way past marriageable age daughters stuck in a suffocating home with a dominating mater and 2 gossiping female servants. The eldest is engaged to a prized catch - presumably bcs of the dowry she brings, while the youngest loves the same man.

The plot is complicated.. but the acting makes it easy to understand. The characters are well sketched and have integrity. You can tell how bebe will act in a given situation. Chaiji deserves special mention.. very special mention. In the brief time that she is on stage, she makes it known that a good actor is easy to spot. Which is a tall order in this play - the casting is almost perfect. Everyone from Guddi to Bebe is sooo well cast. The actress who played Vimla also deserves very special mention. Vimla was not an easy character to bring to life, and she did perfect justice to it.

But my highlight of the play was the scene where the sisters have an impromptu Gidda sequence to talk to each other. They express themselves in "bolis" and "tappas" and the most poignant of all is the admission of the engaged sister - Mahiya pehle nit milda, hun milda karaaraan te (my beloved would come to see me everyday, but now, I only see him on promised days)

A play with layers is never easy to realise, the nuances are too many and far too much depends on each member of the cast. Which is what made this evening - and the play, that much more special.

if you do get a chance, go for this play. If you are a Punjabi, you are likely to enjoy it.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Things I find strange about the World

1. Of all the millions of species on the planet, humans are the ONLY species with the concept of "money" - something not inherently of value, but manufactured and artificially injected with value. And it is the most important concept in our entire civilisation. An entire species.

2. We can allow a person to live for years and years in misery - whether from terminal illness, or depression or any other cause. But we do not give the person even the basic right on their bodies to determine that they want to go. We can give them comfortable palliative care, but we do nothing to end their misery - when the body is theirs and the life is theirs. Did they know, when they were born, that their lives will be held hostage by a million people who don't care about their happiness, have no valid reason for prolonging their misery, have contributed NOTHING to their lives, but who need to give an "approval" for their death. Would we still choose to be born if we knew our lives were hostage?

3. There are, at this time, at least 7 billion human, living bodies around the world. They all have flesh. We are also ok with varying levels of nudity in our personal  and public spaces. A lot of people watch explicit porn, sometimes even at their workplace. BUT the minute a celebrity suffers a "wardrobe malfunction" or does something that shows flesh, we are "scandalised". I want to understand, what is so scandalising about naked flesh? Everyone has flesh and skin. Its who we are!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Quiz on Indian Miniature Painting

1. Indian Miniature Painting flourished because of'
A. Royal patronage
B. Religious sponsorship
C. Public Adulation

2. The Golconda school of Miniature painting is one of the 6 schools of Indian miniature painting.

3. The Kangra valley painting is characterised by delicate brush strokes, and lush green trees.

4. The Jammu School was a separate school of painting with its own distinctive style.

5. In which of these schools do we see the second eye protruding from out of the face?
Jain School
Kangra School
Golconda School
Malwa School

6. What were miniature paintings mostly used for?
A. Murals
B. Palace decorations
C. Book Illustrations
D. None of these

7. Which of these is an oft found theme in Kangra Valley painting?
A. Ram Sita
B. Radha Krishna
C. Brahma Saraswati
D. None of these

8. Indian miniature painting used light and shadow effects to create an illusion of 3D


Monday, October 20, 2014

Information Security Quiz for the average internet user

1. When browsing the internet, it is ok to allow cookies on all sites.

2. All sites have the same privacy settings, so its ok to accept without reading.

3. I cannot be tracked to my house using the pictures I upload on Facebook.

4. Most websites recommend that we should sign in using our facebook account. It is fast and easy and secure.

5. Anti virus Software does not protect us from the internet.

6. It is great to post when I am with a friend to facebook.

7. iCloud is automatically enabled on all Apple Devices.

8. Apple has the best security in the world.

9. The "Darknet" is a fictional space in the Game of Thrones online game.

10. Online shopping is absolutely secure.

Friday, October 03, 2014

The Citizenship Quiz - India

This quiz asks basic questions related to being active citizens of India.

1. The fundamental rights of the Indian Citizen are legally enforceable. True / False?

2. The fundamental duties of the Indian citizen are legally enforceable. True / False?

3. To vote in a constituency, a citizen should have lived in that constituency for at least _____________.

4. To vote, one needs :
     A. A voter ID Card with the address from the current constituency.
     B. One's name in the voter list of the constituency.
     C. Both of the above.
     D. None of the above.

5. All the voter lists of india can be checked online for inclusion of name. True / False?

6. What determines the no. of Lok Sabha constituencies in a state?

7. Match the body with what they are supposed to do:
A. Legislature        1. Execute the decisions / laws
B. Executive          2. Decide on disputes raised on matters of the law.
C. Judiciary           3. Make laws.

8. Indian state is governed by the state list, union list, and the concurrent list. "Police" which is a very important pillar of governance, is in which list?

9. Which of these is NOT a valid government issued ID card in India?
A. Aadhar Card
B. Ration Card
C. PAN Card
D. Voter ID Card
E. Debit Card

10. The basic principle of the Indian legal system is with reference to persons accused is:
A. Deemed Innocent until proved guilty
B. Deemed guilty until proved innocent.


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

sansaar / संसार

साकार और निराकार
दोनों में है सार


Monday, September 15, 2014


इश्क़ करने का बहाना चाहिए 
दिल को कोई अफ़साना चाहिए 

तेरे मेरे बीच कुछ तो है ज़रूर 
ज़लज़लों को भी निशाना चाहिए 

देखिये तूफां बड़ा मायूस है 
आशियाँ हमको बनाना चाहिए 

इस कदर मेरी वफ़ा महदूद है 
तारीकी में भी पैमाना चाहिए 

तारीकी : darkness.

My first ghazal...

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Crows and Eagles

If the crows evaluate an eagle on his flying skills, this is what the report will say "Abnormal values. Outside the reference range. Overreaches and too ambitious. Social misfit. Needs therapy."

Having said that, not everyone who fails the crows' aviation test is an eagle.
But no eagle will ever pass the crows' aviation test.

Be careful where you go to prove yourself. Be careful how you interpret failure.
Failure by itself does not make you a misunderstood genius.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

How to study right

This post is triggered by a facebook conversation where I had footinmmouthitis and mentioned that its not the duration of study but the technique that matters.

Which got the poster to ask more . And since Gallup says my responsibility strength is strong , I had to explain self.

How to Study Right - Getting more by spending least time at the Study desk.

This is a parent's guide and is based on what my aunt taught me and what was then used on other children of the family by yours truly. I have topped consistently, and so have my other students.

1. Everyday, from Class 1, have a study hour at home. An hour is one hour - 60 minutes. This is the time devoted everyday to studying. This is serious time. If you don't have enough homework to cover that hour, spend the time reading with the child, reading to the child, but it has to be pursuit of knowledge.

2. Some foundational skills are very very important. They have to be taught to the children at the right age, otherwise course correction is very difficult.

3. It is NOT your job to do the homework. It is the child's job, and you are helping them by investing time in that. Make that absolutely clear from nursery. Whenver ur child throws a tantrum abt homework, close the book and reiterate - this is NOT my homework. it is your homework. you are not doing me a favour by doing it. I am doing you a favour by investing time in it. If you make homework your business, you are doing the kid a big disservice because you are taking away the earliest opportunity of responsibility from them.

4. In Class 2, make reading a habit. Every single night. It doesn't matter that the child only sees the pictures and goes to sleep. it doesn't matter that the child hates it and whines. you read your book and let the child read theirs. just before sleeping. end of story.

5. In class 3, start the dictionary habit. The child makes a separate notebook called dictionary and learns 5 new words everyday and writes them down - alphabetically. then they take a quiz from a previous page  - guessing the meaning of words from an earlier page. This is a vital foundational skill and if the child does this till Class X, trust me they will need no prep in GMAT, CAT etc for vocab. That's why I call this a foundational skill. Vocab will help the child read more easily with age.

6. In Class 4, learn speed maths and mental maths.

7. In Class 5, learn memory techniques and start using them.

8. By class 7, you should know speed reading and should be speed reading as a matter of course.

9. During the study hour, do the following everyday:
     A. Start the hour with pranayama. This carries extra oxygen to the brain and prepares u for the time ahead.
     B. Revise everything that u studied at school.This is the time to use those memory techniques. Use whatever works for you - story building, mnemonics, Picture creation etc. Use the technique the first time, so that you never have to memorise or do rote learning.  Read the text chapter, understand the concept, and make notes that simplify the concept in your own words.
If you do this, you have achieved the following:
            B.1 You have understood the concept and therefore don't need to remember anything.
            B.2 When you sum it up in ur own words, you have revised and then written. This commits to brain like few other things do.
           B.3 because you have to read ur notes and not the whole book, u will be spending one tenth of time in the pre revision time.
   C.  After 25 minutes of study, take a 5-10 minute break. For younger children, this break can be used to run around. For older children, this time can be used to do pranayama or meditation.  Then study for another 25 minutes. Then break.
   D. If you have time left in that one hour, spend it revising something you have done earlier but not revised. But stick to one hour.

10. Find the study time that works best for you, and then study at that time. Not the time that other people tell you to.


Monday, September 01, 2014

Financial Wisdom I got from my grandparents - II

This came to me from my grandparents. But I also found another parallel in Chanakya Sutra. Will cover both.

My grandparents version:

Keep one third of your earning for ur past, one third for your present and one third for ur future. Out of the 33 rs you have put aside for ur future, take 10 rs out and spend it on punya - on doing a good deed.

What this means in modern speak:
1/3rd for the parents: Even though we don't believe in providing financial security for our parents, cultures and families that do, its a very good equation to work out. 1/3rd of the income of the child ensures that there is a steady flow, and also not too much burden on the child, no ad hoc requests etc.

1/3rd for the present means to spend on living expenses et al (imagine what that will do to the McDonalds of the world)

1/3rd for the future, means investment. If we take out 10% for philanthropy, a 23% savings rate is awesome for most households.

Amazing advice, so nicely put!

The Chanakya Sutra advice was in a different way, but roughly amounting to the same things..let me look it up.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Why money is called Maya in Indian culture

It is very good to make money. Money is important. Money lets you do things you truly want to do, and not just the things you have to do. Money allows us to focus on things we want to focus on. It gives us the luxury of leisure. Money makes it possible for us to spend more time with our loved ones.

But there does come a time, when money stops being the lubricant in the hand, and starts being the noose around the neck. One of the most important self realisations you will have, is to know that point. And one of the best decisions you will take, is to stand at that point, look money straight in the eye, and say, "Bas! Enough."

That point is different for different people. Different things make different people happy. And its very possible that the persistent pursuit of money does make some ppl happiest of all. But when I interact further with them, I realise that they are not really deriving satisfaction out of more money. They are trying to fill up an emptiness with the most handy material. And because you cannot stuff rocks in a water bucket without leaving gaps, this solution works for a limited period in some cases.

But the ones who do find that point and say, "Stop. Enough" and turn back to enjoy their lives in the current state, aspiring for things that fulfil them, and freeing themselves up. You will find that they are happy.

I don't think I have explained myself well. There is a reason why Money is called Maya in Indian culture. Maya means "Illusion". Like a magician's trance, it bewitches us, but only for as long as we want it to.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Nakhuda to Khuda kaha hai to phir, doob jaao khuda khuda na karo..

So, I'm just curious.. exactly what were you expecting after voting for the CM of the most polluted state in India, one who has publicly come to power with industry money, with the backing of the RSS.. what were u expecting? A man who concealed his own legal marriage for only 17 years was expected to respect women?

On the eve of the polls, I wrote "I have never seen a democracy so eager to vote ...a dictator to power."

Those of you protesting rapes, and lawlessness and religious bigotry and continued inflation and .. PUHLEEEZ!! Please spare me the tyranny of having to hear how things are not mutually exclusive and how he is still the best choice and how he is anyway responsible for all sections of the country..

When you voted, I just said that we agree to disagree on political views and that was that. As you have made your bed, so you must lie in it. Please do not make me lose respect for you by now denouncing the very choice that you were promoting merely a few months ago.

I have always maintained that in this country, the most corrupt is the voter, because he sells the country for a bottle of country wine, or over a drawing room conversation. the voter sells his responsibility to his country for a little bit of convenience, a little internet bandwidth. You had a choice, you based it on propaganda. What use was your education? What use your google skills, which you would have employed even for your college assignment, but didn't employ when it was time to do your ONLY patriotic duty.

If that was a strong statement, I am not sorry.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

अपनी पहचान / Self Awareness

कभी मैं होती हूँ बोटी ,
जिसे नोचा और खाया जा सकता है 
कभी मैं होती हूँ 
निर्मल, शीतल नदी 
जिस से प्यास बुझाई जा सकती है 
(पर पथिक को, प्यास बुझने के बाद, नदी की क्या ज़रुरत?)
कभी सर की छाँव 
कभी पैरों तले की ज़मीन 

पर असल में मैं हूँ
अफ्रीका का पश्चिमी किनारा 
जो ढूंढ़ रहा है 
दक्षिणी अमरीका का
पूर्वी किनारा। 

Sometimes I am
a piece of meat
to be torn into
and devoured
At times I am
the gentle, sweet river
that can quench thirst
(But what use is the river to the traveller, after his thirst is quenched?)
I become the roof above a head
Or the ground beneath the feet.

But actually, I am just
the Western Coast of Africa
looking for
the Eastern coast of
South America.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

On Guru Purnima day..

Always, it has been like this.. I have been a severely under confident child, thinking of self as the bumbling idiot, with no talent or potential. Always, my teachers have believed in me and made me excel.

In Class 4, it was Seema mam who thought a shy child like me could do oratory. She put me on the stage for debate competitions and for the next 3 years, I won the inter school junior trophies for the school. If you saw me in class, no, you couldn't see me in class. I was that invisible.

In Class 7, it was Manickam mam who believed I could study physics. For 4 years, I managed with just about passing marks in all 3 streams of science - Physics, Chemistry and Bio. Of the 3, Physics was always the toughest. For 4 years, she never once scolded me , or even asked how a child can consistently top every single subject, but manage only passing marks in Science? She just patiently waited. In Class X, I managed more than the passing mark. I managed 75%. But more importantly, I read the subject and actually tried to understand it. Still remember bits of Class 10 Physics. (Did I mention? I also managed to top my batch at school that year)

In 11th and 12th, it was Sheela mam, our Civics teacher. She told the class, this girl will get a state rank. She praised my essays and just kept believing, and guiding. I scored 95 out of 100 in a theoretical subject like Civics. And yes, I did get that state rank - 5th in Andhra Pradesh.

In college, it was Sr. Romana. She saw me through some really difficult days and simply said, "I believe you." I topped the college in academics, did well in NSS, Creative writing and even choreographed a group dance.

In masters, it was Lin Chats, who was responsible for the only A+ I got there. and Monk, who did an EQ test shortly after we entered college and it was found that I have the highest EQ on campus. And the other teachers. I got the gold medal for HR Stream. I wasn't there to take it, because I never thought one could get a convocation gold medal at such a prestigious institute.

And the same thing happened yesterday. I truly believe that I have no future as a dancer. I don't have the age, body shape, technique, or talent. But my Guruji insisted that that the Ghungroo pooja has to be done and one has to become a committed student of Kathak. He simply says, you will stay with dance for a long time. You have it inside you. And once more, I take a leap of faith into the unknown, because the teacher trusts me, even tho I don't trust self at all.

Here's to Guru Poornima.  Now we know why the Guru is so important..

Friday, July 04, 2014

gem from the Sanskrit Lokokti Kosh

किताबों में बंद विद्या और किसी और को दिया हुआ धन समय पर काम नहीं आते। 
इसलिए न वह विद्या है और न वह धन है. 

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

kavita mein panchbhoot / कविता में पंचभूत

कविता में होते हैं

कविता का जल
अपनी राह स्वयं ढूंढता
किसी भी भाव को भर दे,
चाहे कैसा भी , और कितना भी हो,
उस का आकार । 

कविता का व्योम (अंतरिक्ष)
इस संसार से ऊपर, बहुत दूर ले जाए
अपने पंखों पर बिठा कर
दुनिया अपनी हो न हो
कविता अपनी होती है.

कविता , ज्यूँ वायु
गर्मी में शीतल झोंका
और कभी
ज्यूँ आंधी
तब तक उड़ाए
जब तक "होने " का भ्रम
मिट न जाए । 

और कभी कविता
पृथ्वी की तरह
बनती है सहारा
उठा लेती है
सारा बोझ
अपने शब्दों के कन्धों पर
हल्के  हो जाते हैं
हम । 

कभी कविता अग्नि बन
जलाती  है
तन मन ,
राख हो जाता है
आस पास का संसार
हम देखते हैं, मूक.

कविता में होते हैं


Friday, May 30, 2014

Dr. KK Sethi, Dr. Pradeep Mathur, Dr. Nikhil Kumar and a mother lost.

Please take out some time to read this.
People are asking my family and I, "what had happened?". Let me answer that for you today. November 10th, My mom had bee...n complaining that she was suffering from a minor chest pain. My family took her, for her profile tests, to the hospital. The reports said that she was going through an angina episode and should get admitted immediately. Mom was admitted at DELHI HEART AND LUNG INSTITUTE - PANCHKUIAN ROAD. Doctors had said that they have to perform an angiography to see if she had any blockage in her arteries. As soon as that was done, they told her that she had 90% blockage and should get operated asap. There were two options, either an angioplasty or a bypass surgery. As she was a type 2 diabetic patient, since the past 17 years, doctors said that a bypass would get too risky. Thinking for her benefit, my family encouraged her to get the angioplasty done. They put 2 stents in her arteries, so that the blood could flow through her arteries, to her heart. They changed her medication and discharged her.
As the months passed by, All of us were getting worried. Her breathlessness, which should have been gone, had increased. Her blood sugars were fluctuating, more to the higher side.
In April, I got back from Canada, earlier, so i could get her treated asap. A week back, we took her to go get her blood tests done, which had shown that her kidneys were now getting deteriorated and her glycosylated haemoglobin had exceeded to a great extent.
Although, she was physically and mentally stable, looking at the condition of her kidneys, we were worried to find out what was actually going on with her, we got her admitted to one of the finest known hospitals in Delhi - FORTIS GURGAON.
After showing her history, the doctors had told us, that she had not needed an angioplasty in November, as there was less blockage and medication would have treated her. We were told that the diabetologist in november had prescribed her with the wrong medication and insulins that led to her kidneys getting deteriorated and uncontrollable sugar levels.
Later on, the doctors asked to get her admitted to control her sugar levels and were demanding for her to get another angiography.
We got her admitted on Wednesday night to get her sugar levels in control. Due to unprofessionalism, the nurses gave her the wrong insulin and kept delaying the rest of her medication. That was the first sign of medical negligence. Mom had kept telling us that she was fine and just wanted to get her kidney functions/sugar levels in control and get out of here. She was scared to get another angiography done. She was hesitant. The next day, the doctors took her in for another angiography, which was "apparently" successful.
Minutes later, she had collapsed. Doctors said that she was going through a cardiac arrest and put her on ventilator. They knew she was dead, i knew she was gone, we all did, but they still took her in for an open heart surgery giving us false hopes that she would survive. They tortured her body, cut her open and god knows what they did to her inside. Right after that, they told us she has 5 hours to become stable otherwise she is gone. After one hour, at 3:27pm. They declared her dead by turning of all the machines.
There was a time when people used to worship doctors. Medical has become a money making business in India now. No one can accuse them of anything because of the rubbish they get signed from us before any operation. A perfectly fine human being was killed by these doctors. They knew she had not needed another angiography as it was risky to her health. Medical negligence!!!

My mom wanted me to become a successful doctor. I will, just for her and prove to the world that good doctors do exist! Just for my MOM!
Sorry for not replying to any of your messages, i just have no strength or courage, and no words. I am devastated. Thank you for keeping her in your prayers.

-Aashnaa Jolly

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Bade Khaandaan

बड़े खानदान  बनाते हैं
बंगले  से मकान
मकान से कमरे
और कमरों से
"२५ गज़ की जगह,
ऊपर घर, नीचे दुकान"

कमल  महल
बन जाता है
एसटीडी पीसीओ की दुकान
सोच कर बढ़ाएं खानदान

Monday, May 26, 2014

Today's gratitude

Today's gratitude is for a circle of friends and family that hold a family up when it needs support..

For the friend who insists that we use a room in his hotel (next to the hospital) to sleep instead of the ICU waiting room, so that we are fresh for the next day.

For the friends who keep coming to visit, even on working days, at all times, so that my mother is not left alone in the ICU waiting room for even 5 minutes. They talk to her about dad, about the weather, about the elections, about anything at all, but they keep her talking, and they keep her company. She doesn't sink.

For friends who reached in under 5 minutes to rush dad to the emergency. No ambulance, just 2 calls saying "Come NOW" and they never asked "Why?" They just came.

For doctors and nurses and ward boys and the parking staff. Everyone who understood that it is not a "patient" in there, it is "your father" . They never once call him "your patient".

For friends who send lunch, just because... raw banana dry sabzi, dal makhani, a feast..

For friends who pray for your father just bcs you send out a message saying "please pray for him" and they tell you "He will be just fine."

For the nurse who says, while waiting for the CT scan, "When it is my next shift in the ICU, your father will not be a patient there. I can tell you that." She says that when you don't know which way it can go. You squeeze her arm gently in a gesture of gratitude, because you are too overwhelmed to even say "Thank you"

 For people who see you after 15 years, and hug you so tight because they really do love you like they did 15 years ago. They saw you grow up, and they accept you growing old.

For friends who hear about it and volunteer to babysit your child.

For people who get up at 4 every morning and walk to the Gurudwara to pray for your father. For good folks who pray for him and then call to ask how he is doing.

For old world ties that belong in small cities and towns. And for the new bonds that are so strong.

Today's gratitude is for the awareness that the challenge may have been ours, but the solution was made up of everyone around us.

It takes a village to bring up a child. It takes a village to handle an ICU.

Thank you, Universe, for the opportunity to see how blessed we are in the love of folks around us..

The ICU continues, the Reiki continues.. but how I have changed in just one week...

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Lessons from an ICU

Over the last few days, I have learnt a lot.

I have learnt that you develop a strange kinship with the others waiting outside the ICU to catch a glimpse of their loved ones. When you pray for your father, you also start praying for everyone else in the ward. You learn that when your brother comes home from his shift, you ask about your father, but you also ask about all the other critical patients with equal zeal.

You learn that the kindness of the doctors, nurses and other staff members matters as much as (if not more than) their professional competence.

You learn that prayer is a very powerful thing. That when you really need to call upon the highest power known to you to save someone you love, you never think of a human being. You fold your hands, kneel, and pray.

You learn that in an ICU, all life moves in slow motion, and you have a thousand gratitudes to send up. In an ICU, you realise more than anywhere else, how much is right with your life.

You learn that when you come in and tell your father that you raced straight to reach him by his lunch time, and does he have any idea how hot it is outside, the look on his face tells you that he would do anything to find out how hot it is outside. That what you are complaining about is the very thing that he craves the most.

Yes, you learn a lot in an ICU.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Pain, like Moon

Pain, like moon, waxes and wanes

Just when you think
it is gone for ever
it peeps through
just a little bit
and u realise
what you thought
was he
was only
the new moon night.
कितनी अजीब बात है न,
रिश्ते खोखले होते हैं, और शब्द गहरे

चीज़ों की उम्र कम होती जाती है, और कीमत बढ़ती जाती है

गाड़ियों का साइज़ बढ़ता जाता है, और परिवारों  का घटता जाता है

तिजारत बढ़ती जाती है, और मोल घटता जाता है।

Sunday, March 09, 2014

The Danger of the Single Story of Gender

I do believe in a Womens Day. But not in some of the messages coming my way - She is the nurturer, the creator and the bestower. She has infinite patience and love. She is the reason for our happiness.
.. Not saying that they are not true. These could possibly be true. Just not for all women.

I refuse to believe the Single Story of Womanhood just as one refuses to believe the Single story of manhood.

Not all men are good providers. Not all men are abusers. Not all women are martyrs. Not all are nurturers. Not all women are manipulative.

There is no one story of any gender, or even country, or society.

Womens Day is important because a lot of us are still facing similar challenges. Not all, a lot. It is time to go back and remind oneself that it is time to be you, and being a woman is a big part of who we are. But what is it to be a woman? and strangely, one cant think of any one objective that applies to all women. Not one.

Happy Being your own person day. Happy being you.

Monday, February 24, 2014


बच्चा नहीं है ये -
कच्चा कागज़ है
रफ वर्क का काम लेते हैं सब इस से
लोग लिखते हुए
अपने दिल की भड़ास...
भूल जाते हैं
के कागज़ याद भी रख सकता है सब

"ये तो कुछ नहीं समझता " गलत है एकदम
सब समझता है कागज़

मत लिखो इस पर कुछ भी
रफ वर्क की तरह
ये रद्दी कागज़ नहीं है
- बच्चा है
फिन्केगा नहीं किसी कचरे के डिब्बे में
बड़ा होना है इसे

ख्याल रखो इस का।

Sunday, February 23, 2014


ਤੇਰਾ ਜੋਗ , ਕੇਸਰੀ ਝੋਲਾ
ਮੇਰਾ ਜੋਗ , ਲਾਲ ਦੁਪੱਟਾ

ਤੇਰਾ ਜੋਗ , ਮੰਦਰ  ਗੁਰਦਵਾਰੇ
ਮੇਰਾ ਜੋਗ, ਨਿੱਕੇ ਨ੍ਯਾਨੇ

ਤੇਰਾ ਜੋਗ,  ਸੂਫ਼ੀ ਕਵਾਲੀ
ਮੇਰਾ ਜੋਗ,  ਤੁਲਸੀ  ਦਾ ਦੀਵਾ

ਤੇਰੀ ਕਬਰ , ਰਾਂਝੇ ਦਾ ਟਿੱਬਾ
ਮੇਰੀ ਕਬਰ , ਐ ਮਿੱਟੀ ਦਾ ਚੁਲ੍ਹਾ

ਤੇਰਾ ਮੇਰਾ , ਬਸ  ਪਾਟਾ ਵਰਕਾ
ਨਾ ਜੋਗ, ਨਾ ਸੰਜੋਗ

तेरा जोग, केसरी झोला
मेरा जोग, लाल दुपट्टा

तेरा जोग, मंदिर गुरुद्वारे
मेरा जोग, बच्चे सारे

तेरा जोग, सूफी क़वाली
मेरा जोग, तुलसी का दीपक

तेरी कब्र , रांझे का टीला
मेरी कब्र , ये मिट्टी का चूल्हा

तेरा मेरा, बस फटा सा पन्ना

9 lines, one life


PS: the title comes from the analogy of "Nine Lives"

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Notes to Self

  • What you can get from others is support, not strength. Strength, my dear, can only come from within. And remember, the strongest pillars cannot support a weak and hollow structure. Strength gets better with support, but support gets nowhere without some strength.

  • If you are not dead yet, then it isnt fatal. Find a new adjective and get on with the living.

Thursday, February 13, 2014


In the crevices of rocks
are lived
many fulfilled lives

In stardust survive
many, many planets.

Friday, February 07, 2014

Languages are rivers.. a metaphor

I love languages. I love how they flow, just a little bit different from each other.. I find English confusing and Punjabi intriguing.. Hindi soul nourishing and Gujarati fun, Deccani fantastic and Sanskrit impressive..

Languages are like rivers... they flow on, unmindful of the banks, the villages on the side. When they are polluted, ironically, the only people who suffer are the polluters. The river itself, continues on its journey. It is the same, and yet different every day.

Sometimes, they may change course suddenly. But usually, the change is slow, imperceptible. but certain. Then one day, someone picks up a map from a century ago and whoops out of surprise. Or, we pick up an old book and wonder if its the same language we are reading. It is not. The name is the same, the flow is similar. But its not the same river.


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

ek sher..

naa sahi mera imaan qaabe qaleesa mein...
hua main hua toh kaafir hi sahi...

charchaa tera zehen-o-lab din raat......
par ab bhi shaayad tujhe main jaanta hi nahi

ho kyon naa gumaan khud par, e buut tujhe
nazar shamsheer toh hai, chahe dil sang hi sahi

palat kar aa pahunchi khud tak sada meriintehaa meri ibteda se naa-waakif hi sahi

I know who wrote it, but have been told to not mention credits..

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Mountains and Hills

If you want to trek up a hill, you can do it alone. And with some practice and grit, do it really well.

But no one, and no one, can climb a mountain alone. To conquer a mountain, you must climb with a team. And the rules of the mountains teach much.

There is no hierarchy. The respect is earned not by who pays whom, but by who knows what and who does what. The Sherpa who, strictly speaking, is a paid porter, gets much respect. Because he has been up and down that mountain many times, and because he has spent his life observing this mountain, worshipping her. He understands her moods way better than you ever will. When he tells you to turn, you always do. Because he knows better.

Imagine if we ran organisations and countries that way.. how would it be different ?

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Narendra Modi loses elections to stray dogs

Namo is sitting in his office. Shocked. He thought he had nailed it -a GOOD manifesto, promising growth and development and positive policy change. With that, his Analytics team had assured him, the thinking public will vote, and vote for him.

They had voted, but they had unianimously voted AGAINST him and his party.

Namo lost no time in asking his team to find out what exactly happened here. Such defeat was entirely unanticipated.

The team came back in 2 days, having run focus group discussions and boy, were they lucky! They had got a unianimous answer from all the people they spoke to.

The story is simple. The condominiums had stray dogs. These dogs should have been sent to a dog shelter duly created and run by an animal rights NGO. BUT each of the residential complexes had received threats when they tried to evict the stray dogs. The dogs were a source of danger to the inhabitants, but that was not the concern of the animal lovers, who didn't move a finger to create a dog shelter. The main irritant was the letters - they were open threats.

In one case, the president of the RWA was taken to the police station and threatened with a case of physical assault against the 75 year old mother of the resident activist. When asked why the said activists did not take the dogs to their own houses, the residents received further insult and threats about their criminal behaviour towards the innocent, law abiding citizens who were also animal rights activists. Never mind that their activism was directed at social adoption of all stray dogs but no personal adoption.

The residents then did the only thing they could do. They found out who was the person behind all the threats, and where they derived their power from. (they were intelligent, remember?)  The power came from being a BJP MP.

En masse, the BJP was not voted for.

And that, my dear friends, is how NaMo lost a whole parliamentary constituency to stray dogs.

GLOCAL is not such a bad word after all.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Lohri Traditions - 2

Asking for Lohri

Once the Bai Khichdi and the Til Mooli rasm are over at home, young boys and girls, dressed in their finery, form groups and go from door to door, asking for "Lohri" . The Lohri songs, with full text, are here:

And you can also hear the boys's song here:

And this is one Lohri song that really took my heart away :

If they sing well, they are rewarded with popcorn, peanut, gajak, rewri and other Lohri goodies. If the group is happy, they sing: Dabba bhareya Leeraan da, Ai ghar Ameeraan da (A box full of rags, this house is of a rich man)

If they are not happy, they sing:
Hukka bhai Hukka , Ai ghar bhookha
(Hukka o Hukka, this house is of paupers )

At the end of this trip around the village, the children share their booty.

The Lohri itself
The sacrificial fire of Lohri is lit up in the courtyard. You can read about the celebration here:

Basically, one does the parikrama of the Lohri Mai and offers Lohri goodies to the holy fire. Only after that is the packet in one's hand considered "Prasad". it is then given to younger family members, and also offered to others as Prasad. People share each other's Prasad and goodies.

The Dancing
After the fire, comes the dancing. Gidda for women and Bhangra for the men.

Lohri Traditions

Lohri is very special to me. Every year. This year, its time to document some of the lesser known traditions of Lohri.

ਬਈ ਖਿਚੜੀ / बई खिचड़ी
 At night, the family makes chana dal khichdi. Please make sure that you add jeera, heeng and saunf to the khichdi. The khichdi is kept overnight. In the morning, the family is supposed to sit together and have khichdi together at breakfast. This Bai Khichdi (stale khichdi) is the last reminder of the year gone by. With the Bai khichdi, we bid goodbye to all the anger, resentment and disappointments of the previous year. We let go of the attachments and the things that hold us back. The Bai khichdi is saying Bye, to the year gone by.

ਤਿਲ ਮੂਲੀ / तिल मूली
This tradition needs at least 2 members of the family. On Lohri morning, each member of the family gets a small slice of radish in the right hand and a few black sesame seeds in the left. They dip the radish into the sesame seeds, hold it up in their right hand, and ask "Til Mooli Chakhaan?" तिल मूली चखा? (Should I taste this Til Mooli?"
The other member of the family responds to this by saying "चखो जी!" (Please do!)
After this first, the person with the Til Mooli uses the next 4 bites to mention the things that they want to keep/ wish for in the new year. A typical sequence for an older person might go:
Til Mooli chakhan? (Should I taste the Til Mooli)

Maa pyo rakhaan? (Should I have my parents in the coming year?)

Dhan daulat izzat ikhlaq rakhaan? (Should I keep money, respect and love?)

Ghar di such shanti, deh arogyata rakhaan? (Wishing for peace at home and health)

Aye paraune da maan, guruvaan da naam rakhan? (Wishing for respect for all visitors who enter my door and prayer in the coming year)

A student might wish for Vidya da daan (gift of erudition)

A young married person might ask for harmonious relations in his/her married life.

And so on.. its a beautiful tradition - that allows you to be grateful for what you have, and also to make resolutions for the coming year.

I love the way these resolutions are worded. They are not "should I ask for". They are "should I keep" - placing the onus entirely on the efforts of the  individual making the resolution.

One by one, all the members of the family make their resolutions.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Population Tax

I have this bright idea.. instead of income tax, we should have a population tax. Why? Simple. When we tax income, we are taking away from people who succeed. We are not taxing the use of our resources. But every child that is born taxes the resources of the country. And its time to start taxing them.

The thought was honestly a continuum of that post where a 2 year old child was out in the cold and adult women sitting near him were clad in shawls. These children are brought into the world so they can be free farm labor, free begging resources. Not to be loved, cherished, and nurtured, but to be used, abused and left to fend for themselves.

So methinks, in a country where female foetuses are killed bcs they will ask for dowry in some years, what is the fastest way to dissuage this practice which doesn't help anyone? And pat the answer came - start taxing them for producing more children, make it impossible to receive any govt benefits unless the child is registered, and you have a winner. nothing succeeds like money.


Sunday, January 05, 2014

2014 - resolution uno

I have decided to laff. a lot more.

All my blog posts are serious!

This is not on.

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Should children be taken away from abusive parents?

This is not an impulsive post. It has patiently brewed in the head for a full day now.

Last evening, while driving home from office in the cold Delhi winter, I noticed a child who looked around 2 years old. This child was wearing a shirt and sweater on top and absolutely NOTHING underneath or on the head. Next to him were 2 women wearing the ghaghra and with a shawl each. I stared incredulously at that sight. One of them was presumably the mother, bcs the child was not shivering. it was playing merrily. The temperature outside is likely to be about 8 degrees. I asked the woman to dress the child properly in the cold, and she used that opportunity to ask me for money and clothes! I was too flabbergasted to even comment! I know for a fact that these people are NOT short on winter clothing. As a mother, I would have used my shawl to cover the child and would have kept the child close to give it body warmth at least. At any rate, its hard to imagine a parent that lets their child play in the cold with absolutely no clothes on!

The image of that child has not left my mind yet. Because that child is no exception. We all know enough parents - moneyed and otherwise, who abuse their children.

Should the parents be allowed to keep these children and actively abuse them? Or should the children be taken away from the parents?

What do you think?

Thursday, January 02, 2014

2013 - 2014

"वक़्त के गोल पहिये पर
किसी  ने एक जगह
बिंदी लगा दी
तब से हम सब
नया साल मनाते हैं "

शायद पिछले साल ये लिखा था , पर ये कौमी जूनून, अच्छा बहाना है, बैठ कर सोचने के लिये

३६५ दिन बीत गए
एक के बाद एक
पेड़ पौधे ज़िंदा रहे
बच्चे बड़े हो गए
दवाइयां कुछ बढ़ गयीं हमारी
और वक़्त की रफ़्तार
कुछ कम हुई है
खाना खाते हुए
अब अखबार नहीं पढ़ते
पूजा करते हुए
अच्छा लगता है
गहरी सांस और प्राणायाम
अनायास ही हो जाता है।

इस साल हमें पता लगा है
 पुख्ता सबूत के साथ
कि पेड़ हैं हम
धूप और रौशनी न मिले तो
एक दिन में सांस लेना मुश्किल हो जाता है

 बस, यही इस साल का सरमाया
इस साल की बिंदी आने तक
बस यही हो पाया है।

अगले साल का कोई दिशा निर्देश
अभी नहीं बनाया है