Sucker Of Time and Mind



It all started with an innocent mail. Words enticing, almost leaping to create imagery you would want to fall in love with. Couple of days later, a meeting. “Harmless”, I told myself. “At least, I should check out what’s out there for me”, was my argument. He was handsome, creative, and brains too. Just my kind. I resisted, the temptation. He persisted. I tried to step back, he leaned forward. He was adamant. I have to admit here, one part of me was all for him. So I gave in.

After 6 long years, someone was serenading me.

One of the best companies with a lucrative job offer! What were you thinking?   An MNC silly, which wanted me on board his ship. Not any ship, mind you. Not the majestic Titanic either but a wonderful fleet that had many adventures to offer. So I decided to not let it go.

So here I am, sitting again in a cubicle, sipping coffee and working on software products. This time around, loving it even more.  Some close friends who knew I was job hunting, warned that it would end my creative streak; I didn’t take them seriously. But as it turned out, it did. Well, I won’t say end because you can’t take that writer phenomenon, the voice out of my head. It keeps nudging me at regular intervals. That’s another story that I sometimes stop feeling and hearing it.  But I digress.

So not end, but it did bring a drought. Drought of ideas, time, and inspiration.  Earlier, I kept looking at every little thing happening with me or others around me as potential material to build a post on. Now, perhaps, I just don’t have the time and energy to stop and look at the miracles that unfold when I zip past them in an unassuming hurry.

Is the corporate job here acting as a sucker of time and mind? Or is it me who hasn’t yet found the secret formula of compartmentalizing the profession and the person? I would say me because I know many of you balance it perfectly – a different day job and an active blog with heart tugging writing. I am struggling, metaphorically.   Probably, I should start taking little pauses in between the fast walks and look at the stories revealing themselves partially in the interchangeable cubicles.

Life happens in them too. I just have to look closely enough. So be prepared if I bring you the broken pieces of code, the happy or broken hearts behind them, the animosity and love behind coder-tester fights, the ego clashes and the blood thirsty managerial principals. Are you up for it?

The Days In Between


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I saw him smiling at me the other day. We looked at each other little longer, reading the play of words, but not through language. The gaze said it all. It was not for the first time but it was the first time I realized that the magic which existed in the mundane moments – in between, when life is just passing by – is far more than the days we mark as ‘special’. There are some images that last with you for lifetime and they are not of the first Valentine’s Day or the first marriage anniversary. They are of the plain, boring days when you are just doing what you do, every day.

Like the day I saw him in his green sweater and black jeans on a cold foggy January morning, fourteen years back, walking with a fat book in his hand in the college corridor, right opposite mine. It was not the first time I saw him but that day I realized that I could never get enough of him.

Few months later, standing in a group, he cracked a silly joke. It was not the first time we could hear each other laughing but I knew that instant that this spark that glinted in his eyes and the smile that played on his lips is what would make me go weak in my knees, always.

Surprisingly, it is not the moment when we confessed our love to each other that remains etched in my mind. It is the time when he held my hand to console me for the loss of a dear one, few months later, sitting on a bench, in an empty classroom, that makes me all mushy from inside. That day, I realized that this was the hand that had the power to take away all my worries in an instant.

The day we got married is undoubtedly the weirdest day of our lives but that is not something I am glued on. When on the petal filled bed, the photographer asked us to look into each other’s eyes and we burst out, doubling up in laughter loud enough to startle all the relatives downstairs, that gawky moment defines our relationship.

I was kicking and hand butting him the entire night while he was giving me sips of water, patiently. The morning after, when they were wheeling me to the labor room, he asked the doctor to tag along. She refused. He gave me a warm smile, thumbs up and said, “do well” with a wink. The stretcher moved past him. I looked back; he was still looking at me. I realized at that moment that though our lives were about to change beyond recognition after this little trip from where I would come out as two, the friend in him would always be my anchor.

When our 6 month old fell down for the first time, he ran across the room to hold him closer to his chest. I was wincing over the blunder that happened under my watch. He looked over our little munchkin’s shoulder and while patting his back, he said, “It’s ok.” I knew it was not just meant for him. He was talking to me too.

Or the day when we realized we were parents. No, not the day when our son decided to rise. But when he had very high fever in the middle of the night and we had dialed every damn doctor in the vicinity, not settling down even for a moment; cross checking with each one of them to be sure if it was the right thing to do.

Or now, when he pulls different stunts on both of us knowing what works with whom. We exchange a naughty but experienced parent smile, pretending, in front of him, that this little secret of his is not yet out.

The list is endless, the moments are infinite. Because they are not caged in the dates. They have happened as we have moved from one milestone of life to another; as we have waded through troubled waters, sometimes holding hands, sometimes on logger heads; as we have pushed each other to do better, to follow our individual dreams while keeping one hand free to hold, to pat, to nudge. Life has changed many faces over the years; what has remained same though is the way he stretches out his hand to hold mine. The days in between are the ones that have formed the memories, that have created a buffet of the days we call ‘special’. So here I go to make some more and revel in their glory.

Caves of the Unknown


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The weather is misty; the clouds bounce on the roads; the hillocks that otherwise look barren turn lusciously green like an untouched countryside. This is Maharashtra in monsoons, nature’s delight. It is a sin not to explore the ghats and the spontaneous little water falls that spring out of nowhere in this season.

During one such trip to a busy, bustling with tourists, Lonavala, we explored a dusty gem. There were no hopes of finding one though. The place is done to death by tourists and the commercialization is disturbingly rampant. But this piece of history was so luminous that we couldn’t take our eyes off it. Amidst the rain spells and the clouds revealing the mighty green hills, there was a high, distant set of windows cut and carved in stone. Windows to heaven, we thought. Someone told us, they were caves. Karla caves, the amalgamation of Buddhist and Hindu philosophies. As we climbed a steep set of stairs, cursing under our breath, the intensely intricate main entrance of the cave made up for all the upheaval in the body. Untouched, splendid in all its original glory, a horseshoe shaped arc and a huge Ashoka pillar stood there as our eyes tried to measure the length and breadth of this marvel. Thankfully, Archeological Survey of India had taken this monument under its wings at the right time so it was best possibly preserved.

As we moved a few steps, a 14 meter high and 37 meter deep cave or prayer hall, as the security at the entrance pointed out, waited for us in all its magnanimity. The carvings at the entrance reached till the top with figures of curvaceous women and meaty men alongside huge elephants. What life these people would have known and lived, with such great artistry in their hands, a skill to dig and cut the whole mountain side and carve it with such intricacy? No modern tools, just a chisel and a hammer.

The design must have been flawless as the structure has endured the wrath of weather for almost 2000 years. The whole chaitya was lined with giant pillars, engraved and carved on the top with figures of men and women riding on elephants and horses, on both sides that led to a huge dome. A big sun window made sure that there was enough light that filled such deep cave with brightness. I was left wondering what wonderful view it would be when the first rays of sun would hit the cave and light the entire pathway slowly but serenely taking away all the shadowy grimness. There were darker aisles on both sides just behind the pillars with no explanation to why they existed. Some kind of architectural significance?

There is a strange relationship between art and religion in India. Some of the finest works in the history are found at the religious places. The women, somehow, in all these works, are always dressed in just a tiny piece of cloth, large enough to make two bikinis. That’s how the women must have lived in those times or why else they would be portrayed so scantily clad, that too at the places of worship. Then how, in this era, Indian culture is equated with women being covered from head to toe? A knee-length skirt raises a storm bigger than hurricane Katrina. The transition raises curiosity, isn’t it! If only one of those sculptures could speak. If only I could time travel. If only I could just stand near one of the pillars and see their day to day activities.

Sadly, nothing that I imagined happened. The sculptures stood there as they were, the elephants didn’t raise their trunks, the chanting didn’t fill my ears. But I returned back with the images which still remind me of a world, so different from the one we live in. Here are some shots that enthrall me every time I see them.


This post is part of the WordPress Daily Prompts : 365 Writing Prompts program where the aim is to post at least once a day based on the prompts that they have provided. Today’s prompt is, “If you could pause real life and spend some time living with a family anywhere in the world, where would you go? ]

I am one of the guest authors at We Post Daily for the month of September.

Love And Acoustics


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When you have a sibling who is way older than you, you are forced to live with the habits and hobbies he or she is already neck deep in. In the process, you pick some too. Why do you think I became a fan of Michael Jackson in the first place? Or loved the power serves of Boom Boom Becker?

Those were the side effects of having an elder brother who junked on hard rock. No kidding. When I used to indulge in housie with the tens of dolls, he would put on high volume the Guns N’ Roses hits. The heavy metal along with the menacing lyrics would make me and the neatly turned out barbies turn their heads 360 degrees. I swear I had imagined many of them thumping their feet on the ground and playing air guitar, in my sleep. Such was the terror. Metallica used to be served in breakfast with a lull of few hours as he terrorized the school; snacks and dinner would literally put the house on fire with The Rolling Stones. What to say, we were a music loving family. After all, what choice does one have when it continuously plays in the background and blurs your foreground?

The secret, however, was that we were loved by our local chemist as we boosted his ear plug sales. The ear plugs would filter the unnecessary and we could go about our daily tasks without drilling a hole in my brother’s skull to see what screw God decided to keep with Himself while manufacturing him. But what I didn’t realize at that point was that my hands would suddenly stop moving and my ears would get trained to hear the in-between high voltage guitar piece that would come into play in almost every heavy metal gig. The ear plugs would come out and I, for a moment, would be lost in the acoustics.

The strings of the guitar and the rapidly moving fingers on it would make me look wide eyed at the guitar player in the video and wonder, “How the hell can he play such brilliant music, that too with his eyes closed?” The fingers would just automatically find the next string, the previous one and the next one again to create a cloud of trance. Every pluck, every strum would become the background music of life. It still does.

College was the perfect time to pursue this hidden desire to be the lead guitarist of my imaginary band. I tried, I really did. But could never understand more than one definition of G string. Ahem. The fingers developed blisters and in a week, I had decided that listening to guitar was more therapeutic than actually learning to play it. My attention had also shifted to something else. Actually someone else. Few months and plenty of dates later, this guy, in a weak moment, hummed a few lines, from his favorite song.

So close, no matter how far

Couldn’t be much more from the heart

Forever trusting who we are

And nothing else matters….

Never opened myself this way

Life is ours, we live it our way

All these words, I don’t just say

And nothing else matters…

A power ballad from who else but Metallica. Heavy metal had entered in my life, again, minus the ear plugs. He loved it for the guitar and I loved him for the love of it. He still enjoys it as much. Last I checked, he was making our son listen to this number.

I still yearn to learn the guitar someday, understand the major and minor of it. To play it for the boys who brainwashed me into loving it during the pillow fights and the cuddles. Till then, it’s rock and roll with the air guitar.


This post is part of the WordPress Daily Prompts : 365 Writing Prompts program where the aim is to post at least once a day based on the prompts that they have provided. Today’s prompt is, Tell us about a talent you’d love to have…but don’t.”]

I am one of the guest authors at We Post Daily for the month of September.

The Convocation


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Image Courtesy:

The phone rang incessantly as if trying to gain importance in the house already buzzing with activity. Suzie picked up the phone expecting it to be another one of her business calls. Being one the most respected names in the industry, her days were always a whirlwind of phone calls, meetings, conflict resolutions and site visits.

“Hello”, she said in a formal but authoritative tone looking quizzically at the clock. The hands were trying to outrun each other to reach the number nine. Not many people called her this late in the night.

“Hello.” Said a soft female voice.

“Shaiiiina….How are you?” Suzie’s voice turned calmer and heavier as she directed the people sitting around to leave the room. Hearing her daughter on the other side instantly lifted her spirits. But it was not one of her weekly calls. They had a long conversation just two days back. It had never happened in the last three years that Shaina broke the ritual and called in-between. It worked for Suzie too, given her erratic work schedule. She kept their pre-decided time totally free to talk to her beloved daughter. And everyone knew that. They never disturbed her. Though she wished to pester Shaina with all the motherly concerns every day, it made more sense to have just a weekly call to avoid any distraction in the studies. So what was it and that too so late in the night?

“I am doing fine.”

“Then what is it sweetheart?” Suzie asked with worry lines appearing on her already wrinkled face. At sixty, her face told more stories than her words did. Shaina had taken her exams. It was her last year. She was already interning with a reputed company. Had she fallen ill? Were the results out? Did she flunk any of her exams? In fraction of seconds, Suzie mentally ticked all the bad news checkboxes.

“Everything is ok. We have our convocation lined up next month. And I want you to come. I wanted to talk to you about this the other day itself but couldn’t make up my mind. ” Shaina said preparing herself for the storm this small request would ensue.

“Ohh. And I thought….”Suzie trailed off feeling relieved.

“But wait, you… want me to come to your convocation?” She added hastily registering Shaina’s wish. The words suddenly felt so heavy on the tongue.

“Yes, I do. And I know you will say no. But you are coming and there are no two ways about it.” Shaina said authoritatively.

Suzie didn’t know how to respond to that. Hearing her daughter give orders brought an innate satisfaction, a role reversal that any mother would be proud of. But almost immediately, it stung her. Just like the very first time when her daughter returned home from school and wouldn’t stop crying. After a lot of prodding, she told her that how some boys in the class teased her by making fun of Suzie. The tears in her daughter’s eyes shattered her. She could fight any pressure, any societal deluge against her, but not her precious daughter.

“It is not a good idea Shaina”, she said sans emotions, sidelining the thoughts lingering in her mind.

She had never been worried about what people said about her, the constant uproar; she was used to it. But she couldn’t afford to mess up her daughter’s life that hadn’t even begun properly. The very reason for sending her away was staring at her face again. Though it was the hardest decision of her life, Suzie was sure that Shaina had to be sent away. In a locality with two madrasas, a dhobhi ghat, and a tiny, local municipal school, what could have she possibly learned if she remained stuck there. The same city would have also made sure that she remained under the shadow of biases, prejudices. Shaina was the purpose of her life, right from the time of her birth. Sending her away meant losing the grounding of life but Suzie was ready to do that as it meant better future for her daughter. She had never even visited her college to avoid any kind of confrontation.

“You don’t want your friends to ridicule you, alienate you. You don’t even understand the repercussions yet sweetheart.”

“I do. I have thought about it. You are my family. Those who can live with that are the only real friends. I don’t want those people around me who can’t see you in the eye. You are coming. And it is final.”

She argued, she reasoned but lost to her daughter’s determination. She hung up, feeling torn between the love for her daughter and the respect her daughter stood a chance to lose.

When she adopted Shaina from a neighbor who died during childbirth with her real father finding no use for the newborn except considering her a burden, she didn’t think there would be a flipside to it. She always wanted to be a parent. Could it have happened in the community she lived in; the society that didn’t even recognize her as she didn’t fit the ideal description of either a man or a woman? Shaina brought that happiness to her. She gave her a name, an identity, of a mother. In return, Suzie ‘created’ a family for her which fitted no societal norms. ‘Abbu’, father, as she was for Shaina despite being a woman/man, a hijra for everyone else, an ‘Ammi’,mother, her disciple Neelu and a ‘grandmother’, her guru, a ‘he’ for everyone else.

She learnt parenting, the ropes of it. Visiting the doctors to know how to feed the baby, to burp her, to play with her, spending sleepless nights when the baby writhed with colic, high fever or a bad stomach. She was more of a mother, by heart, trapped in the body of a man. Was it her fault? Was it her choice?

Shaina initially felt very awkward growing up in a household full of men/women blurring the defined boundaries, with no one like her around. When she was little, she would see her Abbu going to weddings, to gather badhai, to dance and bless. While growing up, she saw her acquiring a higher status due to her reputation but still would find it difficult to see many members of this big joint family working in petty professions. Suzie knew that Shaina didn’t like it but she also knew that age would make her realize that life was not a fairytale especially for those who were different, who didn’t fit in the set moulds of the society. And it had. She realized that calling her over to the convocation was Shaina’s way of breaking even with the world.

Was the new Supreme Court ruling, finally accepting their existence, was leaping out of papers and finding grounding? Were people accepting it for real? Or was it her daughter’s insane attempt to walk the talk? After all, she was soon going to be a lawyer. Hopefully, a good one at that. She had certainly won her first case by convincing Suzie to be there, at her big day.


Through the window inside the huge convocation hall, Suzie sheepishly glanced at the commotion the flowing black convocation dresses caused. She had carefully chosen a sober saree, light jewelry and subdued make-up trying hard to be just another face in the milieu. It wasn’t the first time she was around a huge crowd. That’s what her work entailed. She wouldn’t have thought twice walking into the rush, if it was her work, creating a space of her own, having every eye on her. But that’s exactly what she didn’t want here. She just wanted them to be indifferent to her presence, at least for once.

“It’s okay Abbu”, Shaina whispered while slipping her hand in Suzie’s with assurance. Suzie looked apprehensive. As they walked towards their seat, with Shaina greeting hoards of people, Suzie couldn’t help but notice many anxious, perplexed, curious faces. But to her surprise, some were unperturbed too. Shaina was oblivious to the whole drama. The skip in her step didn’t take any beating. She halted near a group who were talking animatedly and laughing loudly.

“People, meet my dad.” Shaina announced cheerfully to the group turning their attention to Suzie. Everyone smiled cautiously and wished her. Suzie looked admiringly at the youngsters with a silly grin. She pushed aside the nagging thought if they would jeer her daughter later or would cut the ties altogether without a word. The awkwardness was visible on both sides.

“Relax guys. She doesn’t bite”, Shaina broke the silence and everyone burst into laughter.

It was time now for the pass outs to approach the podium. As she saw her daughter galloping towards the stage to receive her degree, Suzie knew if she was the shadow, Shaina was the light. With every heart and every hand now clapping for the young lawyers, her difference drowned in the cheers. For once, she was just a parent, the one she set out to be.

[This post is part of the WordPress Daily Prompts : 365 Writing Prompts program where the aim is to post at least once a day based on the prompts that they have provided. Today’s prompt is, “Grab the nearest book. Open it and go to the tenth word. Do a Google Image Search of the word. Write about what the image brings to mind.” I picked up ‘Sita’s Curse‘ by Sreemoyee Piu Kundu and the word was ‘Trapped‘.]

I am one of the guest authors at We Post Daily for the month of September.

A Gremlin in the Imps


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Once upon a time there was a gremlin. Mischievous but good hearted in a bunch of ‘thinking ’ imps. He thought too, a little mechanically though. It was difficult for him to find friends because the way he looked at the world was not the way everyone else did. He liked moving in circles while the rest of the world loved straight lines. While the world loved talking, his mind was filled with pictures. How much he wished if he could talk through pictures too. While the other imps kept themselves busy by learning the dynamics of the world, his mind was fascinating enough to engage him.

A square peg in a round hole?

Very much. But the problem with the world is that it does not like square pegs. It tries to rub off the edges with the social formalities, the etiquette, the step by step procedure of fitting in until you decide to give up. It was no different with the gremlin too. To make the world go round, you need to first understand what a round is. So mamma gremlin and papa gremlin took him to the school to learn the basics. Every imp had always been studying in this school. But not the gremlin. They looked at him and told him off. He had to be taught differently, he had to have the concepts modified a bit to suit his brain’s wiring.

Couldn’t they do it?

Of course they could, with little extra effort and the willingness to improve the life of someone who was an asset by not being round. An asset by the virtue of autism, a difficulty, not a disease. A different way of thinking, not a shun down as the school wanted it to be. But papa gremlin and mamma gremlin knew that he had the right to study wherever he wanted to, where every other imp went. The school had to make arrangements. Why wouldn’t they? Just because they had rankings to maintain and not create a pool of better individuals to face the world. Did they care about creating a future generation prepared for the challenges? They did not. So the gremlins decided to invoke the highest power to intervene. It is known as RTE or Right to Education Act now.

This gremlin can be any kid, the one who likes to just huddle in the corner in a birthday party and watch the fan move or the one who likes to be just with himself in a park. The one you have noticed making unusual sounds, unaware of the social decorum or the one you have pin pointed for being unresponsive to your helloes . He might not be intentionally rude. He might be just too engrossed in his mind.

Does it qualify him to be not eligible for an admission in a mainstream school? The words- integrated, inclusive- just flow on its own in the conversation you have with the schools. But only on paper. When it comes to actually admitting a child with difficulties, the excuses are many, the ways to overcome RTE are plenty.

“There are no seats available for such kids. We have to maintain a ratio.”

“We only have one special educator who is not equipped to handle such specific needs.”

“You should try a special school.”

When government created this act, the idea was to let everyone have equal access to education so why this apathy towards some who think differently? The schools can certainly have these facilities to not let this amazing talent pool waste. But no one cares. In a country with a population of 1.2 billion, it is no one’s business if thousands miss to create a life for themselves due to a difficulty, a difficulty that can easily be their strength.

Thousands of gremlins fight with the system every day, with the public apathy, to change the perceptions of the people around them.

But it’s the hope and the stories like that of Rahul, who got admission after being rejected by a dozen schools, which keep them going. No school wanted this 17 year old boy with autism who had actually passed Class X ICSE that too without any support. The label of autism weighed more than the certificate which would have easily sufficed in case of a ‘regular’ child. Will we ever be able to look beyond the labels and value the caliber? There are some brilliant kids out there, waiting for a chance. Well, someone has taken a chance on Rahul, even if it is after months of struggle. Let’s be a part of the change and outnumber those with the biases.

[This post is part of the WordPress Daily Prompts : 365 Writing Prompts program where the aim is to post at least once a day based on the prompts that they have provided. Today’s prompt is, “If your day to day responsibilities were taken care of and you could throw yourself completely behind a cause, what would it be?”]

I am one of the guest authors at We Post Daily for the month of September.

What’s in a name?


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When a little baby girl decided to descend on the face of earth in the cot of a robust Punjabi couple, they jumped in joy and landed back on ground doing Bhangra. Why not! They so wanted her to be their doll. Did it make any difference if she had tiny ears, long face, a flattened head and big bobbly eyes? No, not to them. Looked like an ape, if you ask me. Sure, she descended from apes and her features were a definite proof of that.

She cried.

A meek voice?

They laughed. A Punjabi with such a soft voice! The voice would drown in the roars. But she was their doll. Relatives looked at the oval faced wonder and suggested names similar to eggs, papaya and all things elongated. Thank God, the brother was more enamored by the feather weight than the big eyes and doodle head. He picked the doll that looked at him curiously and announced it to the world, “She is my bubble.”

You ask, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet” in the true Shakespearean manner.

But bubble she was. The wind would make her lose the balance; the hops for hop scotch would turn into long jumps as inertia would be close on the heels of her long sticky legs. But she would sway, true to her name, with the wind – carefree, untied, an invisible layer under her feet; she would reflect the color of grass, the hues of sky, the ribbons of rainbow but she would also pop at the slightest touch. The drama played in her eyes, the tears jerked with the smallest of pillow fights. Bubble she was.

So I say, “So Bubble would, were she not called Bubble?

You say, “It would.”

“We doff thy name.”

So Bubble went and entered a new name but the feather weight stayed.

As it couldn’t be her name in the school. After all, what would the kids call her? They would tease her; they would shred her. The holy books came handy, the suggestions came pouring in. The impulse to Google or asking for suggestions on Facebook was so not the order of the day or she would have ended up with the trendiest but oddly unique name. Well, the name was oddly unique now too with the added advantage of being gender neutral. So you pick up a stone, and a namesake would pop up with a big smile nodding the head in agreement. The result – at least three namesakes in her every class with the complete confusion of a ‘Singh’ and a ‘Kaur’ (signifies the sikh-ness). And that was just the start.

But what her new name meant?

‘Someone who sings praises for the lord.’

So she singed, with the soft voice.

First the Shammi melody ‘Aaja aaja’ complemented with a shimmy and then the glorious Michael Jackson. ‘Blood on the Dance Floor’ spilled when The ‘Smooth Criminal’ stuck. ‘Dangerous’ became the anthem until one day her parents reminded her that it meant the Lord up there and not the one living in Neverland. So much for the love of God. Well, now that both of them are up there, together, I am sure whenever I put on ‘Thriller’, I see them holding hands and doing moonwalk. No wonder, the rains are so heavy in my part of the world. The clouds just can’t stop colliding. But I digress.

You ask, “So what about the name?”

The name of course! Friends bent it, cut it, and turned it into jazz in a hippie way.

‘Doff thy name.’

With just the swung notes left, it was now open for the creativity to flow. So as the jazz played in the air, the fingers tapped furiously on the keyboard, ripping apart the code and sending it into numerous iterations to create perfect software. Highly creative, amidst long work hours and non-stop coffee. And then to break the deadly jig, entered another dimension – an extension cord, umbilical cord they say, that marked the journey of creative. Just when the boy stepped out of the tummy, a team somewhere, sitting in a posh office, decided to print a heartfelt article of this mother- to -be. She loved to wield the pen and in a hormonal fit sent this article to an established newspaper.  A week old, the boy, saw his mother’s name in the print. The signal was clear. The snipping of the name and the umbilical cord were working.

So do you still say “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”?

I say, “So Jas would, were she not called Jas?”

You say, “she would.”

Even without the title.


[This post is part of the WordPress Daily Prompts : 365 Writing Prompts program where the aim is to post at least once a day based on the prompts that they have provided. Today’s prompt is, “Do you know the meaning of your name, and why your parents chose it? Do you think it suits you?”]

I am one of the guest authors at We Post Daily for the month of September.

Mom in the City: A Book Review


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Mom In The City

Handling career, parenting, social life, womanhood, and family commitments means juggling all the balls 24*7. Add to that peer pressure, not from your colleagues but the mommy friends you have gained by admitting your child to a ‘playschool with a difference’ in a classy and posh neighborhood, you are right amidst a saucy mix of lies, self-created situations and chaos. But not all chaos is bad.

‘Mom in the City’ is a book that has brought mommy-lit genre in India i.e. books related to motherhood, bringing up a child, pregnancy, all things mommy but with strong shades of chick-lit. So I would say a chick-lit adjusted to the taste buds of young mommies. The good part about this book is that the simple tips and advices about tackling little kids are neatly wrapped in good humored sentences without making them sound preachy or even as advices. They just pop in and out of the narrative naturally, helping the story move forward and the young moms gaining a perspective or two. But you know what they say about parenting – nothing teaches you as much as the little monster himself, ok not monster for the mushy mommy types who might take it to the heart.

So is the case with Iravati who is a publishing industry professional, and a single mom trying to pick up the threads of her life in a new city, Delhi where she has moved to from California. To fit into the social norms and social circle of the perfectly manicured moms, she weaves a lie. How this lie takes a life and how this single mother walks on these tight ropes of internal tussles, mothering, desires and professional commitments is what this story is all about.

True to the genre

The moments that stand out are the ones between Ira and her son Abhi. The interactions, the emotional moments, the tantrums are what all mothers or all parents can relate to. The balancing act of Ira between parenting and the career goals is honest; every working woman goes through these conflicts. The priorities have to be set and re-set every second. To remain true to the idea of chick-lit, the story is peppered with lots of high heels, fancy wardrobes, and animated discussions that lead to few good laughs. The parenting pitfalls are real; the need to be accepted is justified after the sudden abandonment by her husband. The struggle of coming to terms with the decision and the utter helplessness that follows also takes you in as a reader. The story though is not of helplessness but is of working your way out of it. Some characters like that of an old woman Ira meets outside her son’s school shouts of the loneliness the big cities bring.

The pitfalls

Most characters, however, are stereotypical. Delhi high life speckled with shallow but shiny personalities brings out the superficiality but at the same time makes it look a little fabricated. Having shades of grey is perfectly acceptable because all of us have them in higher or lower proportions but the character assassination of the main rival at the end seems unnecessary. When the dashing college buddy, Vasu walks back into Ira’s life, whom she loved in college, but she was only a friend to him, it gives you a feeling of déjà vu.  I don’t think I have to tell you which movie it reminded me of. The romantic angle didn’t quite work for me. It could be due to the plot’s predictability. But the mushy moms can still dig the handsome Vasu and his chivalry.

The author has tried to tackle many different issues – loneliness in old age, decision to remain childfree, marital issues, abandonment, societal pressures, fickle friendships, friendships with purpose – through different characters. Some work, some don’t.

The writing is refreshing, the premise is empowering with the protagonist being a single mom. The story is well paced. The style is very simple and conversational which makes you pick up the book. A gossip session with a friend at times. It is a light breezy read which has its emotional moments. With this book, I see mommy-lit making a successful entry in India. The book is what it has set out to be, an entertaining read for the lovers of chick-lit.

Author: Kausalya Saptharishi

Publisher: Random House India

Genre: Mom-lit

Price: 250/-


[ The review is commissioned by the author. The views are my own.]

Ram Bharose


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spicysaturdayI refrain from using Hindi words in an English language post. Not that I don’t like Hindi but I feel mixing the languages dilutes the impact, lowers the value. And yet, sometimes it is the only way you can describe the exact state of affairs, of life around you. ‘Ram Bharose’ is how I define it, aptly, precisely.

The current state of the knowledge that we feed our children through the temples of learning, the schools. Last week, I set out on a journey to know more about the indian education system. The more I explored, the more annoyed I felt about what the schools today think is important for the children. Or what they think lures the parents. Aren’t schools meant to allow children to explore their true selves? Not that they were doing that in the earlier times, but the way world is changing, the system, I was hoping, would take a turn for the better.

Right from turning basements into playgrounds to just having a single counselor for 2000 students, that too because the government says so, business is an apt term. They know that there is nothing wrong in commercializing and selling the agenda of education. Because the parents will anyways trickle in, the brand will grow, the branches will flourish. AC rooms –are they a requirement or a vast ground for the budding footballers? The exteriors are polished; they train the future gymnasts too. The fees, skyrocketing.

Then you come to the question for which you are willing to pay that humungous amount. You inquire about the methods of teaching, ‘Ma’m it is concept based. Not rote learning. Individual child attention’. You smile with relief. That’s what it is ‘On Paper’.

But in a hushed tone, if you can read between the lines, one size has to fit all. You cannot be a different fish; you have to grow the stripes, just like everyone else.

You have to fit in.

“Didn’t you say concept based? The child’s way of learning? A fish has to remain a fish and not turn into a zebra.” You turn around and ask. “But Ma’m, in effect, that’s how it has to be.”

That’s right. That’s what is needed at every level. And you are trained to do so; that’s individual child attention. You are trained to toe the line. Now, that’s what is missing in the old schools.

The old schools have prim buildings, large playgrounds, and open green fields but the methodology would put even the buried British to shame. With more than 50 students cramped in a room, does the teacher even remember the name of the back bencher? She writes and writes on the board because she has a target to complete, syllabus to finish. The students will go home, cram it and then spit it out on the exam paper.

Mission accomplished. In old and new alike.

We did that. Sadly, our children are doing the same. Unfortunately, the schools are focusing more on material than actually doing something to change. To make the children think beyond the curriculum, ahead of their time, allowing them to perceive the facts in their own individual manner.

Ram bharose, the children move from one class to another, knowing little about what and where to use what they are reading. If someone happens to be rapt in the class, he or she has more chances of growing big, the rest settle down and accept to be dwarfs. They are made to accept, if they don’t. Because old or new, only the methods have changed; the ideology remains the same. You have to be a diamond to begin with. They will dust you, a little polish and you are ready to face the world with your 3 Carat glow. But what happens to the raw carbons, needing a little heat, a little more nurturing, a potential of 8 Carat, perhaps? They simply suffocate in the rubble without a whimper. Some courageous ones find their calling after years and pave their way. But no one knows how many have died an untimely death in that rubble because the oxygen, the caring hand never reached out to them. Just because they couldn’t comprehend the workings of the world, the way rest of us did. The scenario hasn’t changed. The make-up is on; it looks beautiful. Still no one is ready to make the effort to find that ‘Extra’ to put in front of the ‘Ordinary’. A Website Review


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As I graduate from the beginner to the mid-level online shopper status, who loves to experiment and dares to buy furniture online too, a great deal is a must. A deal that doesn’t burn a hole in the pocket, gives more than the satisfaction of a real bargain, and does that without saying a word. The reason why I like online shopping in the first place. I don’t have to talk, can survey the store in quiet, I don’t have to haggle but who says I don’t want to save a few bucks. I want to get the best price possible and the retailers don’t help me with that. What helps is a site like Zoutons which makes me want to buy more than what I really set out for. The doorbell just does not stop ringing.

Zoutons is a website where you can find discount coupons and deals for almost all the favorite haunts right from Amazon, Jabong, Myntra, Yatra, BookmyShow, EzeeGo to Apple, HTC and Dominos. Pepper Fry too if you like occasional indulgence in furniture. And heavily discounted coupon codes for Flipkart too if you keep buying books on whim just like me.

Zoutons pic

Let’s be specific and look at the aspects that impact a shopper the most:


  • The site is user friendly, easy on the eyes.
  • Navigation is virtually glitch free.
  • The coupons are easy to spot and use.
  • The search bar is big enough, the words are clearly visible.
  • The design is neat and clutter free.
  • The home page has popular coupons displayed that can be activated with a single click.
  • Well defined categories.



  • The search results are less specific; can be made more relevant.
  • The content is generic at times to define two different products in the same category.

Zoutons coupons

I liked the fact that the start-ups are hogging the same limelight as the veterans at Zoutons allowing them to make a mark. New stores are displayed as credibly as the established ones. If you also enjoy online shopping as much as I do, then I would recommend this site to you for all the extra discounts available and the whole gamut of offers it throws your way.


Author’s note: It is a sponsored review. The views are honest and unbiased.


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