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Designed or Destined?... A Lockdown Tale

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…a virus...challenged our potential…(and) intimidated our very existence as ‘social beings’...(but) “Maybe everyone can live beyond what they are capable of…”

It’s been a year. Though the first 7-8 months of blogging were difficult, defining, and yet gratifying, very much like nurturing your own child, the last four months have suffered distraction and distance. In fact, even right now I feel like the way Malala Yousafzai (well-known author of the book ‘I am Malala’) felt on her twelfth birthday, which she spent in Haripur. She was upset and certainly missed a cake, a couple of companions and a celebration. Yet she made a wish and so did I.

Strange and at times, surreal is how I can describe my past few months. Most of you might prefer to concede to having a similar experience. While we were busy enacting our so-called remarkable roles in the absurd theatre of life, a virus (coronavirus) invaded our domain. It not only challenged our potential but exposed our petulance. It intimidate…

Gastronomical Gratitude

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...we need to go back to our grandparents, re-examine their lives as a whole and then try reconstructing our own on those very principles that pervaded theirs.

Besides politics, these days the next issue which is being talked on, diligently discussed, argued about and fought over for finality, is food. Every day, you will come across articles, messages, videos, advertisements and whatnot, about the way you should deal with your gut. Be it something as understandable as managing your bowel movements or something as incomprehensible as the workings of the solar plexus, some information or the other is being served up perpetually. Then again, most of the knowledge that is gained is contradicted with a new set of ideas and guidance even before one has properly taken to it. Mind you, each time it is said to be supported by more advanced scientific research and even further delving into the Ayurveda and other systems of medicine. And so, what happens to a person like me? I am left baffled an…

Mango fish and a cook's heart

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Fancy feeling the fervour of cooking? Then don’t just satiate your taste buds but let the spirit of your kitchen brighten the hearts in your home. Set about with this sumptuous Mango Fish recipe.


Have you ever experienced the ecstasy of being able to cook something delicious, nutritious or even otherwise? If you have, then you are no stranger to the alluring sizzle and warmth of your kitchen.

My two kids are always peeking inside the pantry to conceive a dish or meal that mom could cook that day. Once an image pops up, they are ready to deliver it to mom so that I get moving on my part of the project. The most familiar way my kitchen wakes up every morning, and I enjoy it.

Sometimes, my food cravings also drive me to the kitchen to prepare something. If I watch a good cooking show or a food tour, I almost always spend an experimental and engaging evening cooking for my family. Being the heart of my home, I love my kitchen to be alive and animated every day.

Hundreds of no-cook recipes …

I’ll Just be Happy Today!

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Cherishing the simple stuff of life, staying close to nature, using a positive vocabulary, hanging out with the right kind of friends, rejecting retirement, inculcating new hobbies to boost the brain and the brawn can add to the inventory that holds the secret to a-century-and-still-batting league.

As I had mentioned in my previous article, a steady purpose and a somewhat slow pace seemed to be the secret makings of the successful life-stories of centenarians. But research reveals that there are many other cogs in the wheel that engage to make the motion that is likeable and long-lasting.

Vigorous veterans mostly rely on a plant-based diet. The emphasis is on fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and low consumption of salt and sugar. Two other aspects related to food are also watch-worthy. They stop eating when they are almost 80% full. To facilitate such discretion they use bowls and plates of smaller sizes that can hold smaller portions. But that should not steer you into thinking…

100 Not Out!

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Why would you wake up tomorrow? Why should you take it a little easy?

Being a teenager who was fascinated by the ‘carpe diem’ concept (seizing the now), popularised by poems like Robert Browning’s ‘The Last Ride Together’ and as a woman who still binge-watches on shows like ‘Little Things’, the present and the little are all that matters and makes sense. It’s a different thing that tall talk mostly remains idealistic when it comes to implementing them for real!

Anyways, I saw a video this weekend, which once again activated my brain cells and tugged at my heartstrings. It is about people. They are frugal in number when compared to the vast population of the world. They have been leading happy and healthy lives for as long as a hundred years or even more. I was intrigued. Sounds nice but like an oxymoron, right?

As we all know, various researches are being conducted to study the conditions conducive for physical and mental health favouring life and longevity. Out of the infinite investi…

The Shutter Story

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A photograph is just a moment captured. It is alive in its stillness. Be it a place, a person, an emotion or an event, a photograph is the only way to cling on to it, physically or otherwise.

Our friend who furnishes photographs for our articles is, by profession, a wedding photographer. But as any creative space cannot be constricted within the confines of common understanding, so is hers too. Her shared album of photographs is an alluring array of instants that exhibits existence in its entirety.

It was on a leisurely evening as I was going through her album, I perceived, almost impetuously, the potency and the promise of a photograph. What is a photograph? Just a moment captured. A tick thought beautiful and worthy by the photographer and turned into truth. The little while, as a matter of fact, exists only through the photograph. The link to the past and the license to the future. A medium that enables you to travel through time.


Take a look at the above photograph. It encapsulate…

An ‘August’ Affair!

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Engaging your child with artwork can be more effective than you ever thought. It is emotive and expressive at the same time.

August was an assault of activities. We were moving. To pack my world into boxes and bags was itself a challenge. More daunting than the previous time. On top of that, it was vacation time for my kids. With an explorer on the loose and a terrific toddler in tow, working my way through was barely feasible. I was running out of resources to fittingly engage my little one when a proposal popped up to my rescue.

I was wrapping the goodbye-gifts for our near and dear ones. I called my son. I asked him if he too would like to make ‘little somethings’ for whosoever he wanted. Just tokens of love to be presented before he parted.

He considered the suggestion for a while. After all, it meant relinquishing his extraordinary exploits in favour of sedentary and organised occupation. Somehow he seemed convinced. I think it gave him a sense of importance. Little did I gather t…

What is your Freedom?

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Freedom is a purely personal prerogative. It is inclusive and unique. To each his own.

WWhen the fervour of the celebrations and the big questions of the nation got mellowed into the rhythm of quotidian life, one evening, quite unexpectedly, I found myself inclined to ponder on the word 'Freedom'. It's contemporary relevance in my life. In our lives.

So much has been spent and so little saved of this abstraction, which is, by the way, the most potent emotion, that for a moment I was incapable of even having a thought on it. But then the urge to look at it simply, without its baggage, swelled up within me.

I felt that for the unborn child, release from the amniotic sac and into a blurred but beautiful world was freedom. An unsteady crawl and an ardour for the unexplored could set a baby free as did school and friends to one in his growing up years. A movement beyond the familiar walls is the first taste of freedom that one can relish, I realised.


As years yield to eagerness …

Unfamiliar Friends

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There are many friends around us. We are unfamiliar with them. Let’s unravel them to appreciate their importance.

As I was browsing through the chapters of my childhood, one of them stood out. "Friends." Perhaps due to its peculiarity and distinctiveness. Coincidence, if you may call it, around the very same time, the celebrations of 'Friendship Day' were going on in full swing. My daughter was coming home every day, almost for a week, with 10-15 friendship bands and rings! Happy to have so many friends and hell-bent on making more. Good for her, I thought.

My chapter on friendship is, I must admit, a little different. Of course, it includes my friends from school, neighbourhood, college, tuition, university and so on and so forth. But it reaches beyond that. It is inclusive and expansive in its own way. It nourishes and nurtures itself out of every life experience that it encounters. And before I sound poetic and redundant, I’ll try to explain what I intended.

I wou…

Chapters from Childhood

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When did you last visit your childhood?

Last Friday, I went to an exhibition. I had read about it in the papers. It promised fun and nostalgia but with a difference. Conceived and created by an aspiring artist, Aahel Iyer, it was called the 'Playschool'. What a memory-inducing name, I thought!

The moment I entered the hall, a splash of colours, bright colours dazzled my eyes. I’m sure you’ll agree that colours have their own way of affecting the mind. Mine was immediately swept away from the subtle shades of my present to the effervescent and energetic hues of my childhood.

There were quite a few interesting installations, coloured art pieces and impressionistic presentations, if I may call them, in the exhibition. I was very keen to know the story behind each one of them. A tag, which included more than just a name or a title, was attached to every exhibit. The purpose, I believe, was to offer a vignette of that particular memory of the artist.

Another thing that intrigued me…

Without Water

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Are we heading towards the Third World War?


What did I see? An arid land, dry and dusty. The brown predominates the landscape and the lustreless green is hardly there at the fringes. Right in the middle is a bottle, announcing itself as the elixir of life - “water”. Next, I see a giraffe, necking in, as if, to get a hold of the bottle. But immediately, by suggestion, is contested by another animal, an elephant.

What follows is a remarkable replication of the finest move of a game called soccer. As the bottle is flung high in the air, my mind, almost spontaneously, gets ready to relish some more excitement. But oh! The very next instant, I am flustered. Taken aback to see the game turning brutal. The ghastly grip of the giraffe on the trunk of the elephant is gruesome to the point of being monstrous. Wasn’t a giraffe a harmless, peaceful neophyte animal? My school-book knowledge was getting all mixed up and thwarted! A giraffe puts up a fight only to defend or when attacked. Shockingly…

My Dot

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I am happy the way I am. I will not let others decide how I should look or appear.

"Badi mushkil baba badi mushkil
Gore gore gaalon pe hai kaala kaala til" ~ a song from the movie Lajja, (a 2001 Bollywood drama) in which Madhuri Dixit had performed.

I am a big fan of Madhuri Dixit. Her distinctive dance moves and animated expressions seriously make many skip a heartbeat. This song from the movie Lajja, is even more special. Because there’s Me in it somewhere.

My parents were ecstatic to have me as their firstborn. "How gorgeous she is... and her dot... the most heavenly brown that can ever dwell on an earthling!" Conch shells were blown as Baba picked me up towards the slit of light from heaven to declare… "She is a princess, born to live happily ever after!" The breeze slightly ruffled the curtain to ratify the blessing that imprinted itself on my heart.

Well, that’s the dramatic start that my dot had! Adorable, in the eyes of the happiest parents on ea…

Children are Special

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Every child is special. Do we have the heart to feel it?

These days my 9-year old seems to be obsessed with Ninjas. She loves to watch their movies, read about them and even use the primary karate moves (picked up from weekly lessons in school) to emulate them.


Last night as she was intensely watching an animated Ninja episode, she blurted out a phrase. Without any conscious effort, it caught my attention. ‘Ninjas never quit!’

As I moved out of the room and into the verandah to take off my daughter’s uniform from the clothesline, my eyes fell upon the ‘Niketan’. The school-cum-residential that stands just across the street.

It is a home in which, not one, two or even a few children live. It is one which accommodates 150 - 200 children. They live there, not with their parents or relatives but under the supervision of caregivers and special educators. Though they are like us and our children, they are often referred to as ‘special’. Apparently, they have physical, mental or sometimes eve…

Do you know A Mrs Sen?

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With years of roles foisted upon her, she has forgotten what it is to be herself

A certain Mrs Sen was staring hard at life. Four decades of scathing remarks and constant belittling had reduced her to an entity she could hardly recognise as being her true self.


Irritable and lost, all that she could remember of her past was the warmth of her childhood home and the amassing accolades for her performance.

Marriage had bestowed on her, activities and engagements, but untimely and unknowingly, halted the flowering of the self. Doing the chores and tweaking her life in the larger interest of the family soon became her habit and the only way to be.

And then one day, life seemed to have passed by in a whiff. With her fledgelings flying out of the nest, age and ailments catching up on her, the gnawing presence of the spouse and every morning a span of twenty-four long hours hurled at her, she barely knew what to do.

In those yesteryears, she never had the time (though she did nurture a sec…