चाय और चर्चा

सूनी सी
इन शब्दों में
क्या बात कर पाऊँगी मैं

जब सोच ही है
समज के परे
कैसे कर पाऊँगी मैं
इन सुनी सी शब्दों में
अपनी दिल कि बात

और फिर
कह भी दूँ तो,दोस्त
तुम समज न पाओगे
मन कि गहराईयों को
किसने नापा है अब तक

छोड़ दो, चलो, चाय तो पी लो

New kid on the block

‘There’s more love in me,’ said Nimmy. ‘Adopt kar loon, ek bachi ko. Acha lagega. Yeh to badi ho rahi hai. Dekho, she doesn’t need me. Then what do I do?’

‘Did you ever tell her?’

‘She!!! Goodness, she was so upset. She asked me to do anything but bring another child to the house. She is ok alone it seems. ‘

‘When I wanted a sibling, you ignored my request. Now I am good

alone, ‘ added a voice from inside.

Nimmy looked at me as if asking for help.

‘I am discussing a friend, bacha,’ I said, trying to soothe Asmi’s anger.

So we were stuck. I wanted to help my friend.

‘But’ ,said Nimmy, ‘I am not sure, do I want this really?

What am I looking for?’

‘Love’ ,said I ‘but first learn to love yourself, Nims’, I added borrowing her wisdom.

‘So, you are using my lines against me no, sly creature’, she hit me playfully.

‘I am thinking of doing something, but this corona, this pay cut, has cut my wings.’

‘Hmm, it is tough, it is perhaps going to be tougher, ‘I added not keen on false assurances.

Take care of yourself.

Stay cheerful.

After all, didn’t they say, this too shall pass.

We smiled catching each other’s eyes and nodding….

Ps: so much love, so much miserliness and loneliness!

The escapist

From mint chutney, to gongura chutney to dosa podi to sambhar powder, my kitchen was witness to frenetic activities.

As glass jars were filled one after another, and as excellent sambhar and rice, with pappadam made its way to the dinner table, I realized how I was busy circumambulating my area of fear.

How I was not doing what I was supposed to do.

How when I sat down to write I was busy writing exactly what was not incumbent upon me.

It became clear to me that I was playing the quintessential escapist.

It was also clear that this was going to land me in trouble.

I sweated out as I tried to write.

I was so nervous that I shut the system and pretended to sleep.

My young garden bore green chillies that makes my maid go..awwww didi, nodi, nodi, eshtu chanagithu nodi! in Kannada.

The tomato plant is brimming in green and the aloe vera is still trying to find her own space in a new home.

Hopefully I too will find my niche and be sure footed in my academic writing.

Surely it can’t be difficult.

It must the mental blocks that is making me so jittery.

It is just a matter of getting a hang of it.

Stay on

Your sunshine is seeking you.

Maybe this is not escapism.

Maybe I am just trying my best to get ahead in this new area of work.

Maybe I am just about there.

Yeah, maybe that’s it.

Soldier on

How often have you felt that you are stuck?

How often have the odds been against you?

Stacked high and unyielding, threatening and intimidating.

Yet, she said, Anu, you have patiently, almost lovingly crossed those hurdles.

It has been difficult, but tell me, what is not?

Now again, you are faced with a hurdle, of your choice, yes, as a result of a decision you made in good sense.

It does seem impossible.

I see your pain, your struggle so evident, your bewilderment.

I also see your desire to cross the hurdle, move ahead, and a faint hint of a smile, perhaps in the hope of a better time.

There it is.

It has to be.

Go on the path so breaking

step on to the shaky grounds

fearful, yet sure footed

cause there is no option

of turning back

unless you are a coward

hold your breath

look within

find your strength

your friend is set to appear

possibilities of good cheer

are far yet approaching

go on, be yourself

even if it looks ridiculous

be bold, fear not

the universe

that brought you this far

will chart your course further ahead

she commands you to soldier on

don’t dare to disobey

the mighty voice of the inner self

yield now and reap later

be your own commander

the foot soldier and the cavalry

be your own flag bearer

be thou thy self

see you soon

on the other side


Research paralysis

I signed up for research for reasons that made sense to me.so I thought!

*More reading

*More learning


*Belief in a cause

I definitely did not sign up for research thinking it will undo all my learning and experience so far.

So, it is not free writing, oh, not at all.

Plus there has to be a structure.

A certain kind of structure, not just any!

It meant reading but reading a research paper to decode the objective, the method, the tools, the out put and identifying the research gap.

God! why am I doing this to myself!!!

My heart cried out when my ability to deliver extempore became a liability.

My head heated up when jargons brushed way ahead my poor head, trying its best to grasp at the crux of the maze of words, theories and references and make some sense.

It looked rigorous, nay it is rigorous.

It drains my energies. It does, really.

It makes me feel like a proper nincompoop, as the heaviness of my ignorance hits me, the huge gap between what is expected and what is being delivered widens, I realize to my dismay, the problem of my many inadequacies!

It is exhausting.

It is tiring.

It looks meaningless.

Often it feels like I am groping in the darkness, no light to be seen anywhere. I yearn for a research buddy, someone who knows the pain and has a heart full of empathy. Who can just nod and say, ‘I know, I know’, ‘It’s difficult’, ‘You will get there’, ‘Don’t worry’, ‘Sleep’, ‘No, you are not mad’, ‘No, it is normal’, ‘You are doing great’, ‘Gosh, you are even smart’, ‘Oh! I so admire your skills’, ‘Let me do this for you’, ‘Want some coffee’, Oh! you poor thing’ and many such endearing consolations.

I even thought of creating a Rinder for research buddies, how may we overcome the grind!!!

I could have done anything else, travel, maybe, go to parties maybe, all these are equally out of my comfort zone, then why in the world did I stand up for research!!!

But there is a strain of Dr. Faustus in me, one that relishes learning, one who is at home with books in a world far away from reality, to whom library is next to heaven, no, that has not made me intelligent or smart, just an eager reader and learner, with a penchant to get to know stuff.

So, fear of failure is my Mephistopheles, fear of failing my guide, fear of making an absolute fool of myself and now I have to harness that fear to progress in this terribly exhausting and at times exhilarating task.

Looks like a bumpy ride ahead!


Stay on road, stay alive!

OF Ennui

Anu wanted to sleep. A long sleep. More sleep. Then just sleep. Her insistence on sleep annoyed and frightened me.

I wondered if it is loss of interest in living,a setting in of ‘ennui’, but I did not probe, more out of my own fear of a truth that could be too much to handle.

She smiled as cheerfully as always yet she clearly was like a tree trunk that wanted to sit or lean against a wall or just lie down.

This could be burn out I suggested helpfully, ‘nah!’ she ruled it out immediatlely.

I looked on at her ‘so whatness’ and ‘ whateverness’ in distress, not knowing what was there for me to do to help or whether I should just standby or perhaps just move out of the view. I did not know.

She did not know either, I thought, or she should have stopped me when I moved out, declaring my disinterest in one so less interested in self, but, no, she did not call or revert or show any sign of my needfulness, I kept quiet.

That was our last conversation.

I said good bye to a friend who could have been around longer.

Some said it was an accident.

I did not believe it.

I had been witness to her unresponsiveness.

Perhaps I should have checked.

But again, who knows what is right or what is wrong in life.

Everything looks so unclear from from outside.

I picked my bag to visit my second best friend and surely

I am going to stay a bit longer, ask afer a bit more, that should help.

Perhaps she wanted me to realize it.

It is easy to assume what could have been done or could have made a difference but to do what is needed in the moment is the real difficulty.

Anyways, keep the cheers up!

Earth woman

Being born of the skies

raised by the earth

fragranced by the winds

pregnant with monsoon raindrops

hued bright by blossoms

she refused

to be a mere signboard

weather beaten, broken, twisted and torn

holding up signs to

others dreams and dwellings

their maps, their routes

some non existent

some inconsequential

some too contrived to be real

some too small for her

she preferred to instead

leave sign posts

for others to find

‘catch me’, she said

‘if you can

love me ,if you can

just as I am

else forget me forever’.

Thus, she spake, the woman of earth.


I hid a butterfly in my heart

at times it flew apart

dancing in the shadows

when mostly my limbs lay fallow

the doctor turned an angry face

eyebrows lifted glasses low

she glowered

what took you so long?

I smiled a little tinge

hiding under the table

I murmured ‘just like that’

what? she thundered

look at you

and such nonsense

I looked at myself

saw a grey hair and a dimple

I laughed

this time much annoyed

she tore a sheet off the book

searched for boxes

ticked everything red

go get these tests done

she said angrily

come again

two days after

bring to me the reports

damn you woman

have these 5 tablets

will keep you in check

then I shall give you more

that should really teach you something

oh! I said

weary of the list

thank you

woman in white

I will never see you again!

Then the Mom doc called

to prescribe-

Hot water daily

oil bath everyday

some sun bright and strong

a walk

a few smiles

some rasam

no skipping work

or I might just spank you

ok, start with some chavanyaprasam

and kada, don’t forget that

turmeric milk in the night

You are fine, girl!

And that was that.

sky bits

a bit of a sky

sits in my heart

deep in the folds

beneath the aorta

she giggles and smiles

sending waves of joy

rippling through my veins

the finger tips then dance

to a song of its own

a lilt in the walk

a skip and a jump

of a box here

a mound there

a wink

a bounce

a rip roaring laughter

then silence

in the evenings

she dances with me

lulls me to sleep

hugs me sweet

we read a bit

& listen to

Farukh Balsara

his athletic frame

charming face

life is good

in silence deep

just that.

Times Now

Anu wondered why it must be so.

You see, said she.

I am keen to have a social life. Okay, I nod eagerly.

‘So, sometimes I reach out and try to connect but then I withdraw as quickly and am increasingly reclusive when a friend tries to reach out and tries to be friendly, you see the contradiction, don’t you?’

‘I do, I do’, I said thinking to myself that she is quite an anachronism even otherwise.

‘So what is this with me?’

The rhetorical device expects no answer,so I just sigh.

The agent, the loan agent of all people, expected me to be dead, imagine, how annoying it can be, ‘something must have happened to you, said the cunning fellow, coz madam is not lifting call’

‘When did I promise to receive this fool’s calls?’ , stomped Anu, prancing in the room.

‘Somebody asked at least’, I thought of telling her .Knowing her well, I know how difficult it must be to keep up the courtesies with Anu especially!

To someone who should have been on her call list who politely enquired of her welfare, the lady asks, ‘who are you, pray?’

Funny right!

Must be the blues.

Must be the microbes.

Must be the air of winter here, dark and so cold.

Must be the chills.

The general coldness all around.

‘A lady’, she said broke down without rhyme or reason, and cried to the world, ‘I know what you are doing, don’t pretend!’

‘It’s funny’, said the boy ‘but kinda sad too, you know,’ puffing at his cigarette.

A far off dandy who lived his life committed to self, mused,’ may be I should adopt a child.’

‘Oh!’ said his sister, ‘when this happen?’ wondering at the softer side of her so called materialistic brother.

The elderly doctor woman would not let go of her patients. As they chatted on, the patients waiting outside cribbed, ‘the poor thing must be lonely, what if she lives in a mansion, loneliness can kill her too’. After an hour and more, the doc woman turned to call the next patient, while seeing off her former patients,’ check if you have forgotten something’, come again day after, take care ok, your green sari is good’.

The green sari came out with the red t shirt and murmured, ‘sorry’.

‘It’s been an hour., the girl said. ‘I have to study for an exam’.

‘Oh but why didn’t you tell me? Don’t look so annoyed’ and the girl smiled.

The maid looked annoyed that her employer had the luxury of staying at home to enjoy her sickness.

‘Tumba kashtagathu’, ‘very difficult’, she said generally, ‘ I don’t get any rest, bus kelasa, kelasa’, what to do, have to get the girl married!

‘So what makes you so irked when someone asks after you?’ Coz, who cares, really? ‘ She said annoyed.

‘No wonder’ , I said as I got up bidding Anu good bye.

Take care, girl

Cheer up!