Wandering with Words

Random musings of a reckless soul.

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34 Things I Have Learned in 34 Years

Every birthday, I write down the things that have made me wiser over the years. I am still learning and discovering life every day, but here are the things that made the list:

1. Learn to love your life and yourself.

No matter how messed up you or your life may seem (or people say it is) there’s always something unique about you. Find that. It’s there somewhere, you just have to look carefully. Be grateful and appreciate being alive.

2. Chocolates, books, and music can uplift your mood.

In that order.

3. The sunrise, the sunset, and the moon are three miraculous beauties that come to you every day.

Learn to appreciate it. Find some time in your busy life to sit and look at these beauties and calm your mind and soul.

4. Never stop learning.

‘One who stops learning becomes old. One who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing you can do is keep your mind young’ Henry Ford said that.

5. Improve. Mature. But never “grow up”

I have seen people give up on many things just to look more “mature”. Make sure you never lose the inner child in you.

6. Smile when you wake up and forgive people before you sleep.

Somethings you should do for your own peace of mind.

7. Eat, sleep, laugh, and talk in moderation.

Because an excess of anything is bad. But smile a lot! Smile and shine!

8. Give charity and gifts regularly.

Charity softens your heart and gifts increase love between the giver and receiver. It doesn’t matter whether it’s small or big. It’s the intention that counts.

9. Make time for your family. Family is very important.

Love them. Serve them. Be with them.

10. Make sure you spend some time with people below 7 and above 70 regularly.

They know the magic to make you feel better.

11. Tell your parents you love them. You may not have the chance later.

And I mean, tell them! Like, tell them on their face, “I love you, Dad” or “I love you, Mum”. The regret of letting them go without letting them know is too much to handle.

12. Spend a day without your phone. Spend another without looking at the clock.

Experience the slow-mo life!

13. Selfishness is a virtue.


14. Stop complaining about how life sucks.

It doesn’t. Even if it does, get up and make it better.

15. Spend time with people who support and believe in you.

And be that person for others. Be someone that is happy for others’ success. Remember, what you give out comes back to you.

16. Travel

It’s the only thing that money can buy that makes you richer. And travel to places to explore the culture, the history, the food, the language, and the people, and not just for the Insta-worthy selfies.

17. Do yourself a favour and follow your passion.

Figure out what lights your fire and then chase the match.

18. When in doubt, always ask mom.

She carried you safely for nine months. Trust her. Remember, when in doubt, ask mom.

19. Not everybody will like you. Stop trying to please everyone and get with it.

After all, you are not the centre of the world.

20. Chivalry is not just for men.

Courtesy before chivalry. Always.

21. Listen to your body.

It talks to you. Befriend your body. Listen to its signals and you are sure to feel calm, peaceful, and aligned.

22. Think before you speak and read before you think.

So basically, read more, speak less.

23. Let makeup empower you.

But never be ashamed of your natural self. Believe in your beauty.

24. Drink more water.

And when you do that, your skin, hair, mind, and body will thank you.

25. First impressions are worthless 50% of the time.

So try not to judge people over that.

26. Never cease dating your spouse.

That’s a fine way to keep the spark alive!

27. Dream, dare, and droll.

Get a wishbone, a backbone, and a funnybone.

28. Nurture nature.

Beauty lies in the green of trees and this earth needs nature to survive and we need the earth, don’t we?

29. Stop eating after 7 pm.

Call it intermittent or whatever you like. Just give your body the time to reboot and refresh. 

30. If you can not find a door, look for a window. 

Life becomes even more beautiful with an optimistic attitude. 

31. There is always time. 

Each morning is a fresh start. If you couldn’t do it yesterday, now is a good time to start. 

32. The world is not white or black. 

“The world isn’t binary. Everything isn’t black or white, yes or no. Sometimes it’s not a switch, it’s a dial.” Jeff Garvin said that. 

33. Do not waste time trying to “fit in” or “stand out”.

Just be yourself. 

34. When you buy something new, give away something old. 

It helps you simplify your life, declutter and improve someone else’s. 

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Gift of love

In the caverns of each soul,

Different talents wait to grow.

Each one has been given to lift,

One of the special gifts.

Some have the gift of verse,

Some are blessed with brevity,

Music, beauty, athletics and dance,

Innovation, imagination, luck and chance.

Some get the gift of strength ,

Some get the power of healing.

Some with the power of endurance,

And some have the gift of intelligence. 

But there’s one that’s very rare,

And needs to be shared,

Of all the gifts, it stays above

And that, my friend 

Is the Gift of Love. 

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Timeless present…

This watch was given to me as a gift by my father in 2002. I remember because I had cried. Cried, not because I was overwhelmed or happy but because I had asked for a headphone (those were a rage and rarity back then) and instead, he got this watch!

How many times as children do we think that our parents just don’t understand us and that what they do are just their attempts to hold us down?

I remember many times when I would mentally stomp my foot and tell myself that I would never be the parent my parents were.

All that went into the drain when I actually became a parent.

Sure, there’s a layer of toxicity that we all lose when we become parents because it softens our heart and soul.

When I graduated, I was pretty sure that I would be parceled away as a bride. It was my father who told me to get a job and experience the real world. He taught me how to ride a bike. He supported me when I wanted to get my Diploma in fashion design. He was my adviser when I wanted to pursue post-graduation and later encouraged me to get an Education degree. All this did not just help me attain financial independence but it also prepared me to handle real life situations. It made me wiser and better as a person. I gained confidence, became bolder and learnt how to take a stand. I learnt both- when to give an opinion and when to shut my mouth.

Now as a parent I realize what a difficult task it is to manage a toddler who hasn’t fully developed a personality yet. I can only imagine what I made my parents go through at times. I wish my father was here so that I could let him know that I’m sorry and he was right and I am so proud he is my dad!

So, if you are among the lucky ones who have their parents by their side, just try to be more appreciative of all they do and tell them you love them before it is too late.

P.S. the watch is, to this day,  one of the best presents I have received.

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Old books

Turning the book over in my hands I wondered how many people must have handled it. To the unseeing eye, it was only an old, tattered book- unworthy of any praise. But a lover would know its worth. I wondered how many stories it held, apart from the printed one.
How many moments it treasured?
I love reading for all those well known reasons- for visiting unknown places, for the new eyes, new adventures, new friends, the knowledge, the wisdom. I love the musty smell, the sound of flipping a page, the feel of a book in your hands. I love it all!
But I love reading a borrowed book most. I love reading the tales hidden in them. Faded covers curling at the edges, browned papers… Finding a dried petal or flower in between the page connects you to some stranger-friend. Words scribbled on the edges and careless doodlings. Favorite passages marked and dog eared pages!
A stain here and a stain there, telling stories within a story. Chocolate marks, candy wrappers, names of lovers scribbled in tiny hearts drawn at the corner of a page. How many stories could a book tell? And how many could you read?

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You know those kinda crazy people who love collecting stationery. They love buying new pens, fancy pencils and above all the stationery-notebooks. They may or may not use it but they just gotta have it! Yeah, I am one of them.

Maybe it’s about how they come in so many different sizes and colors and themes. Some of them have squared edges, others rounded. Although I am not a knowledgeable collector, there is something about notebooks that attract me.

Maybe it’s because a notebook is an item in which I can unleash my emotions, creativity and thoughts. Or maybe it’s the idea of something fresh, something new, something untouched…. The act of writing down my thoughts and ideas is extremely satisfying.

Also, anything handwritten has the power to generate excitement in a way that emails and text messages just can’t.
Most people these days don’t even carry a pen, let alone a notebook.

So, here’s a suggestion- own a notebook. What you fill it with- favorite moments, ideas, grocery list, budgets and expenses, poems, favorite quotes, songs, drawings, doodles, 3am thoughts and ideas, dreams, passions, bucket lists, places you want to visit, jokes, love notes, your feelings – is entirely up to you.

Thank me later.

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Souls on ice

Normally, my mouth rarely takes a holiday. But I often fall into the arms of silence when I travel or commute.

Silent, because I’m quieted by that which meets my eyes.

~The smile on the face of the child that fell asleep in its mother’s arms.
~The couple walking hand in hand in the cold winter night.
~The two friends laughing over coffee in the café.
~The family of five on a single bike.
~The young kid crying for the biggest balloon.
~The smell of freshly fried samosas.
~Children playing hopscotch in one lane and galli cricket in the other.
~The man on the cycle selling cotton candy and kulfi.
~Cows and buffaloes crossing the road slowly, veryyy slowly.
~Hymns from the temples.
~People eating Golgappas.
~The crowd outside the T.V store to watch the cricket match.
~Rangoli outside houses.
~Men pissing on the street.
~TheStreet side salons.

And then, as I stop at the red light, the march of the destitute begin.
~The old lady bent double with age.
~The man with the crutches.
~The little boy with charred hands.
~The little girl, selling flowers cheaper than ever.
~The old man who says he hadn’t eaten anything since three days.

The light goes green and I move on.
The world changes.
The dark truth meets the eyes. The smile slowly fades.
People sleeping on the pavements, in the cold night. They sleep there season after season, never properly covered.
I wonder how many of them had slept without food.
The drunkard walking home. What problems might he have?

The woman scouting the garbage bin for something that she could use. What would she give her children in breakfast?
The old man parking his vegetable wagon at the corner of the road. Did he earn enough to feed his family?
The little huts, which had plastic sheets for roofing. What do those people do during cold nights?
The leper still begging on the street. Did his family abandon him because of the disease?
The young boy, was he a runaway? 

The single tear that rolled down my eye was not of sympathy or pain. It was in gratitude.
Gratitude for everything I have been blessed with.

Isn’t it a blessing? Properly functioning body parts, a presentable face, no fatal disease, three times food, a house to live in and clothes to wear.
If this doesn’t make you feel blessed, and you do not feel a responsibility for the less blessed ones, then, somewhere in you humanity has died.

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Home isn’t a place, it’s a person.

When you live with a person long enough, you fall into a routine. But, when you love the person, you fall in love with the rountine too.

The waking or being woken up. The cold hands on the back game. The hurried breakfast on weekdays and the breakfast in bed on Sundays. The lazy Saturdays!

The chai-pavs, the chit chats, the late night movies. The resting of the head on one’s shoulder, the intense conversations of where to go and what to eat!

The arguments and the simmering off. The attempts of appeasement. The inside jokes, the naughty smirks, the rolling of the eyes and the helpless shrugs!

The hidden chocolates, the lunch box love-notes, the Sunday’s sundae!

The morning hug, the night green tea, the see you and welcome back kiss, the holding hands in public and the comforting touch!

All these are offerings of love.

But what does love do in a long distance relationship? With all the distance and different locations and different time zones… love seems to be reduced into pixels and pictures, emojis and memes, videos and audios, texts and tagging and surprise Amazon deliveries! Like they say, love is love, it finds a way!

To be on your own is a blessing everyone needs from time to time. But to have your soulmate by your side is like having a hot fudgy brownie with a dollop of ice cream!

#Mashallah #Alhumdullilah

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The other day I was travelling in the city shopping for sewing supplies. The rickshaw driver on the way to the store was on the phone throughout the ride and refused to leave me at the destination because of traffic! When I pointed out that he has to drop me at the location and it’d take me less than a minute to get down, he started telling me that we live in an independent India and he could do what ever he likes. He was rude, insensitive and totally unprofessional. We had a war of words and I was left disgruntled.

I shopped with a sulk.

By the time I was done, the traffic had doubled and I was sure I would be stuck in a jam. But my driver on the way back home was such a chirpy man! He didn’t haggle and greeted people all the way through. At first I thought he personally knew the people he greeted but I soon realised that they were as much strangers to him as they were to me. He was just being nice and wishing people well!

Such pleasant was his aura that even though (I was getting late) stuck in the traffic, I was smiling. He smiled generously, threw nods of acknowledgement at people and waved hi and hello to almost every third person! His fleeting interactions left others in a better mood in that swarm of traffic.

That night as I reflected on the day, I understood that just by giving out pleasant vibes -no matter how much traffic you’re stuck in- you can make your surroundings better.

It’s really up to you which kind of driver you choose to be in your life.

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My aunt and uncle got this yummylicious cake for us without any occasion.

The word ‘beti’ in the Indian language means Daughter.

Letting the daughters of the family feel special and loved without any occasion is such a beautiful idea. 


When new parents display a tinge of sorrow when a girl is born, when they talk about saving up for their daughter’s wedding instead of educating and empowering her, when a mil passes on the abuse she received from her own mil, when a woman is always reminded of her duties and less about her rights…there is nothing honorable about that.

I do not understand why parents agree to pay exorbitant amounts to get their darlings married! And what does it say about those who ask or accept dowry?

To all the parents out there, here’s my humble advice – invest in your daughters. Raise them well. Make sure they are confident and capable by themselves. Feed their conscience so that it doesn’t die. Support them in their aspirations. Teach them to be caring and kind and brave and bold. And then, help them find a partner who would do all of these things too!

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Just do it!

More often than not, our obsession with making Instagram moments or the fear of what people would think or the the lack of belief in our own ability to venture out of our comfort zone keeps us from doing the many things that we would otherwise love to do!

So if you are waiting for a moment, this is it! Live your dreamy/ imperfect uninstagrammable life now!

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Field of flowers

The first person that came to mind while painting this piece was my late aunt. My dear phuppu.

She was a spirited woman with a love for greenery and pets like I have seen in no one else.

I miss her. Her laughter that shook the house, her joyous presence, her unconditional love- I miss it all. She has left so many memories behind that whenever I visit my mom I half expect her to show with that wide beam that always adorned her face.

Different corners of that house are filled with memories of different times.

At times, it is too overwhelming. But then I remind myself of how blessed I am to have such people in my life whose love leave a mark.

People who have lots of possessions spend so much energy trying to protect what they have that they lose sight of what’s important in life. But remember- Being able to hold your loved ones whenever you want is a lucky luxury.

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Delicate powers

If I were to ask you to list all the things you love, how long would it take until you list yourself?

The word “self-care” has been doing the rounds for the past few years. What about “self-love” though?

I have seen people follow tough regimes to take care of their face, hair and body. But when it comes to pampering your mind, heart and soul… Self love is the most valuable and most needed form of self care there is.

Before going further, let me just clarify that self love is not the same as narcissism.

Narcissists are self absorbed people who are selfish with a constant need to be better than others.

Self love leads you to completely accept yourself – with flaws and imperfections. People who love themselves strive for a healthy mind and body. It is the care, support and compassion you give yourself to bring out the best in you.

The world we live in today is mostly shallow and superficial. Many people try so hard to make their lives look awesome on social media that the forget to enjoy it. The amount of body shaming, name calling and hate spewing online is astonishing. Many a times all this negativity results in low self esteem, doubts, and depression.

That’s why one has to learn the art of loving oneself. Being comfortable with who you are and what you have while striving to become a better person is what self love is about. It helps you remain optimistic, gives you the motivation to do better in life and to help others.

It is the beginning to have a happier, healthier life while being a source of happiness for others around.

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What teachers make?

The following illustration by Zen Pencils is my personal favourite as it combines my love for comics and poetry.

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Wander often, wonder always.

One of my favourite places to be is at an airport. Yes, airport! I could spend the entire day at an airport and never get bored! 

For starters, it’s the best place to do some people watching! Just sit and look around and you’ll see people of so many ethnicities, races, nationalities and classes. I like to create little backstories for every person that catches my attention. The woman slowly sipping on her Starbucks coffee while typing away on her laptop, the old man video-calling on the phone, another man dressed impeccably in a suit waiting impatiently in front of the gate, the man next to him silently reading a book, the woman next to me trying in vain to feed her toddler before boarding the plane, the group of teenagers dressed in t-shirts and Bermuda shorts clicking innumerous selfies with planes in the background, the guy sitting far off in the café munching on a burger or the man sitting opposite me staring at me intently as I peruse the crowd! All of them have stories that will jump into narration if you listen closely.

Everyone’s impatience at the baggage carousel has a different story to tell. 

But my most favourite part at any airport is the range emotions at display! You just need to visit an airport if you want to witness the purest of emotions. Watch families separate outside the departures. Watch them cry and give last minute instructions and advices to each other. Before boarding see how they send a message or make a call to their loved ones. Then watch people reunite with their families at the arrivals. The feeling of being home. The feelings of anticipation and excitement as they wait to see their family and friends! Children jumping into the arms of their grandparents who had come to receive them. Happy tears being wiped and smiles spreading from ear to ear! 

Airports are places that allow you to live the lives of others for fleeting moments. Airports are magical places! 

The only thing displeasing about an airport could be a crying baby on the plane and more so if that baby belongs to you! 

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The blossoming

I watched her stop and stare

While mother kept walking, unaware

She jumped and grabbed

From the rooftop of a silent car

A fallen flower

She ran with that burden

T’was her school bag

And presented the dying blossom

To her mother

Just for a smile in return

And something in my heart

That had died

Was flogged to life

Ah, I wished to be a child again!


Small things; infinite happiness

All this time and nowhere to go gave me the opportunity to relive some old school memories. I was going through my treasured stuff from school when I saw the slam books from then. Along with all the nostalgia came a lot of surprise, embarrassment and self realization. You see, the first page of every slam book was filled by me and my own answers made me cringe. Boy, was I a silly girl back then? You betcha! 

Throughout my school-life I had wanted to be extraordinary. Who doesn’t? Wouldn’t we be all lying if we said that we didn’t desire to have that glory?

The road to nostalgia was filled with chagrin at every turn and it reminded me of all the things I had wanted to change about myself back then, beginning with my name. Yes, that bad. 

I mean, what kind of a name is Irfana (it means wisdom, meh!) anyway? The fact that Irfan Pathan gained fame during my adolescent years wasn’t helpful either. People who mispronounced my name went as far as calling me Irfan Pathan. 

I wasn’t happy with my nose either. It felt too big for my face. Could I be anymore Asian? The two slightly crooked teeth in my mouth bothered me too and how nice would it be if I could get rid of all that baby fat? My feet seemed too big to me and I was invariably desperately in need of a wardrobe makeover. 

And then there was all that stupid acne! Young chocolate lovers would know what I mean. 

Besides these physical changes, I wanted the freedom an Indian teenager never gets- to see the world and rule it. I wanted answers for my philosophical self. I lacked confidence and knowledge but there was no worrying about it because I lived in my own bubble of ignorance. 

I had dreams but no plans. And to top it all, I was hopeless romantic ! 

Years passed, ups and downs and bumps later, I made mistakes and gained experiences. A lot in me changed. Not at once of course, but I know I’m not the same girl I was in school. 

With time, confidence filled my mind and optimism filled my heart. I learnt to be content with things I have while striving towards the things I want. 

While I pursued my passion, I found my calling in teaching. When I started working as a teacher, I became a student of life. I fell in and out of love and realised that it’s fine. I learnt how to nurse a broken heart. I hated the world and fell in love with it all over again. I found peace at libraries and orphanages. I found solace in poetry, stories, prayer and friends. Different things worked for me at different times. 

And one day, I just woke up with the wisdom that happiness resides in the little things in life. 

I love people who just don’t talk about their big achievements but more about how much they love life, how they see beauty in others, how they appreciate every little thing and how they have the hunger and enthusiasm to serve this world. 

Striving for an extraordinary life is foolishness. Putting all your efforts for that one entitlement is foolishness because it makes your happiness conditional. Don’t you wonder if you are anything more than mere titles? 

Rather what’s extraordinary is to discover the joy and marvel of an ordinary life. 

Waking up to the sun bursting through the clouds, seeing an old friend after a long time, a child’s innocent laugh, a blooming flower, biting into freshly plucked fruits, an old tattered book, a text from someone you love, a cup of coffee on a rainy day, random gifts, finding money in your old jacket, the glint in the eyes of your lover when they look at you, a kiss on the forehead, smell of freshly baked bread, being barefoot on grass or beach sand between your toes, the first hug from your child(well, that’s huge!), stories told by grandparents, silence… All these and much more!

Little things are far truer, far more genuine and difficult to falsify. 

I’m not condoning a lack of ambition here. A life without goals becomes boring but try focusing on the ordinary things that feel special too. My pursuit of happiness has lead me to become a teacher, a designer, a wife and a mother. It made me read, write, teach, paint, love and nurture. 

Not everything has changed though. I still laugh out loud like an idiot without a hint of feminity, I refuse to diet, I still experiment with my hair, I still do wear my heart on my sleeve and embarrass myself quite often.

I was a git, I still am a git. But a better one now. 

So from wanting to change my name, my nose and my family, the only thing I changed was my attitude and it has been one of my finest decisions in life. 


To the real superheroes!

Identity loss is something almost every first-time mom goes through. Some have it easy, some have it worse. 

Sleep deprivation, feelings of ineptitude, guilt trapping yourself, mood swings, leaky boobs- all of these seem to have a limited shelf life.But Identity crisis has a lifespan of its own. 

For me, it lasted 1.5 years into motherhood. When I was pregnant, my mom continuously told me to be prepared – that life wouldn’t be the same. I nodded dismissively, reminding myself that she was from an older generation and that nothing would be lost and the only change would be that I would have a tiny, beautiful baby soon. Well, never doubt the wisdom of a mother! 

With my son’s grand entrance (How? That’s another story) my world flipped overnight. I did a lot of preparation-mental and otherwise – but everything seemed so less. To say that I was overwhelmed would be an understatement. To say that I still continue to be overwhelmed on a daily basis would be truer than truth. 

For some women- loneliness, exhaustion, raging hormones, self doubt, being self critical, sleep deprivation, cluster feeding, mood swings, body aches, hair loss, weight gain, loss of sexual drive, uncontrollable food cravings- are all small inconveniences that they won’t notice with a tiny baby in hand. For others, these are insurmountable challenges that need to be battled daily. 

I missed my friends. I missed exercise. I missed eating on time. I missed being presentable all the time. I missed looking beautiful. I missed sleep. I missed going out. I missed my hobbies. I missed writing. I missed reading poems. I missed the sunrise. I missed being free. I missed everything a lot. 

I forgot what it felt to be alone with your own thoughts because even when my husband took care of the baby to give me my own time, all I could think of was how to make things better for my son. 

The first few months of me being a mom passed in a blur. Yet every minute seemed so long. The days are long but the years are short. 

But soon as I got accustomed to being a mom and fell into a routine with a lot of love and support from my spouse, I began searching for my former self. I began with my hobbies- I read, I painted. I lost weight. I ate healthy, (well, healthier than before) I changed my entire wardrobe. I was still sleep deprived but now I was happier. 

One midnight, as I pondered and rated myself as a mother, I realised I haven’t lost my identity. Instead, I had gained a new one. One where I am more patient and generous,with a new perspective and understanding of life. I see the big picture. I forgive people easily now. I began to appreciate the littlest of the little things even more- a quiet cup of tea, an uninterrupted chat with a friend, a slow meal and a full shower are all simple pleasures. 

I realised that while I may be many things other than a mom, my son is, as of now, just my son-he has no other identity. He needs me and my undivided attention. Now I knew firsthand the intricate pain of parenthood, the beauty of loving a completely dependent being with all one’s strength. He’s my responsibility and it’s gonna remain that way for a long time now. 

I have made new mommy friends,learnt three new skills, started reading motivational books. I now have an idea for a novel and a business. And all this is baby inclusive. 

Motherhood is beautiful. It isn’t easy though. A new role. A new challenge. A new identity. And no matter what people say, it takes time. It took one and a half years for me. Could be more for you, could be less too. 

Being a mother has changed me greatly. I have made choices for my future solely because I am a mother now.

And then, as I lay there, realisation hit me like a bolt of lightning. My mom had gone through all these “challenges” and much, much more for me and my four siblings as well. When she asked me to be prepared she wasn’t being someone from an older generation, she was just being an experienced, successful mom. I realised how much my mom poured herself out for us. As mothers, women become extremely selfless. 

The tears, pain, sacrifices, heartache and work parents go through all their lives is unbelievable. The fact that I had only seen the infant and the toddler phase hit me hard. I still had to nurture a toddler, a preschooler, an adolescent, a young teen and a teenager. So then, I stopped rating myself (because it was too early) and instead gave a full 10 on 10 and more, to my parents and made a mental note to tell my mom I love her even more than ever. 

To all the mommies out there- thank you! May we honour your sacrifices in all the ways we grow and may we always become your reason to smile! 


Everyone should have a Hobbes!

Calvin and Hobbes is the only comic strip I have read that discussed philosophical topics in a humorous and relatable manner.

I love the story telling, the art, the wit, the subtle and sophisticated humour, the wisdom but most of all I love the characters – Calvin, the parents, Susie, Moe, Stupendous Man, Spaceman Spiff, Tracer Bullet, the teacher, the Babysitter and of course my favourite, Hobbes!

Every time I read it, I am reminded that we all have a Calvin within and we all need to let our imagination run free once every while.


Book falls open. I fall in.


A book and a cup of tea. Isn’t that a delectable combination?  A book and a cup of tea, or coffee, or hot chocolate …On a sunny day or a sulky one, a windy day or a wintry one, a book never says goodbye.

It’s raining today and I am ensconced in that warm chair-swing in the balcony. I watch the sky celebrate, extend my hand and feel it on my palm and smile as a few raindrops caress my face.Opening my eyes, I watch the steam from the cup of tea, rising with eagerness, forming shapes, trying to reach for the sky but then slowly it gives up and accepts its fate.

Finally, as if following a sacred ritual, I turn my attention towards the book in my lap and run a hand over the cover. It wasn’t a new book. Rather, a very old one. Borrowed from the British Library.

Turning the book over in my hands I wondered how many people must have handled it. To the unseeing eye, it was only an old, tattered book, unworthy of any praise. But a lover would know its worth. I wondered how many stories it held, apart from the printed one.

How many moments it treasured?

I loved reading for all those well known reasons- for visiting unknown places, for the new eyes, new adventures, new friends, the knowledge, the wisdom. I loved the musty smell, the sound of a flipping a page, the feel of a book in your hands. I love it all!

But I love reading a borrowed book most. I love reading the tales hidden in them. Faded covers curling at the edges, browned papers. Finding a dried petal or flower in between the page reminds you of some stranger-friend. Words scribbled on the edges and careless doodling. Favorite passages marked and dog eared pages!

A stain here and a stain there, telling stories within a story. Chocolate marks, candy wrappers, names of lovers scribbled in tiny hearts drawn at the corner of a page. How many stories could a book tell? And how many could you read?

And then as my gaze wander, so do my thoughts. I look up at the clouds and start giving wings to their shapes. Then, I wonder about you.

Do you love the rain as much as I do? Do you too like saunte
ring empty roads? Does the sunset leaves you awed too, every single time? Do you love making castles in the sand? Do you enjoy talking to the birds? Do you find humor where most people don’t? Are you as crazy as I am? Do you too hate the world at times? And then learn to love it again? Do you like to eavesdrop on the wind whispering to the trees or pen speaking to the paper?  Do you sit alone and relive memories? Do you get goose-flesh when you see the rainbow? Do you ever feel lonely in the crowd? Can you too sea the fire in the sea? Do you feel the evening breeze caress your hand? Does spending time with people below seven and above seventy mean anything to you? Do you look at the stars and wonder…?

Poetry? Long walks in the rain? Dancing? Calvin and Hobbes? Kishore Kumar? Clapton? Dcfc? Star wars? Beaches? F.R.I.E.N.D.S.? Duck tales? Fox’s wedding? 

The rain has stopped and the scent of earth pulls me out of my thoughts. Petrichor! Sighing deeply, I look at my book and smile. It had waited patiently for my return. My companion amidst lonely crowd. 

So would you still ask me why I find in it my solace?