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!


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.

Songs and spirit

I hear your songs

those new ones too

even those you are yet to sing

yeah, I know them all

songs that singe

a private hurt very publicly

songs that pretend

a blue world in grey

songs that dance a dirge in rain

songs that seek what is not there

in the backyard of tangled memories.

I never stopped hearing you

your songs reach me every time

I hear them in sleep

they dance in my dreams

some times they howl

and you would be surprised of the noise

they make, songs and noise

an anomaly, right

but dissonance is important

so I read

to make sense

or who would know

what is a song and what is not

but then I thought where’s the passion

in your songs, ‘what’s the point?’ you said

where is your hurt? ‘what’s the point’, you laughed

where is your anger?’ anger, never, no point’,

you rummaged the soggy papers on the dining table

as if searching for lyrics lost

I should lose myself I thought

but again, ‘what’s the point?’

so I just sat down again.

Dolo Le Lo!

Being stuck to bed not so blissfully unaware of taste and smell for more than a week has been good, except that sometimes a pancrea seemed to cry out or a random bone seemed to screech seeking attention.

All I said was, ‘hang on, you are gonna be fine soon’ but that is what the doc said too.

‘Can I come for a check up?’ No, no, not needed,’ says she. ‘Can I get a test done?’ No, not needed’, said she.

Dolo, le lo, cetrizine le lo, bus rest karo.

‘But how can she say that without checking you’, asks my daughter, ‘doctors can say that’, I explain vaguely.

But that seemed to work, nay, it worked almost. I could almost begin to see through watery eyes and hold up my head a bit more longer.

But was it, the villain, now so notorious, I have no clue. Since I neither see/meet others, nor am I seen or met with, it is just be fine.

Perhaps yes, perhaps not, whatever it was it feels good to have the bones back to their functioning self and be rid of sudden unexpected aches and pains.

Finally, a bit of reading too, and some playing with Andrew.

Aches and pains with fever are becoming more difficult to deal with each passing year, they say, with incessant pill popping , our immunity is lower and severity of the flus are growing.

Some basic lessons were learnt.

Drink hot water preferably the Jeeraka vellam.

Eat home cooked food.

Eat on time.

Prepare sambhar and rasam.

Consume salads.

Start a kitchen garden.

Sit out in the sun.

Clean.Clean. Clean.