Breaking eggs

An omelette.

A fluffy golden omelette was my introduction to the world of food.

I remember standing in the kitchen with my mother during a Suratgarh winter – must have been around 7 or 8 years old – when she showed me how to make an omelette.

At that time, I thought I was well ahead of all my friends and puffed up in my own sense of responsibility because 1) I was pretty sure none of my friends from school knew how to make an omelette and 2) my mum had finally let me use the burner. I could do some real cooking… and had finally graduated from messing around with my doll’s tiny pots and pans for make believe dinner parties. 

My grandparents were visiting us around that time. Grand mum, aunt and dad were chatting, uncle peeped in from time to time rubbing his hands together to share some news he caught on TV, I was feeling very important serving the omelettes that I had flipped and my brother was looking suitably grumpy early in the morning with such uninteresting chatter at the table. Everybody had omelettes that day. I made 3 of the 7 served.

While flipping them, I remember how the early morning light caught the glow of the golden yellow side. With the pan safely back on the burner, I looked up…the window across the kitchen sink showed a sparse brown clearing, a fallen tree trunk on a bed of dry brown leaves and the fog breaking to allow a ray or so of the sun from time to time… a cool, grey winter morning.

That old tree trunk used to be our rickety wooden bridge and that clearing, our playground when the fog cleared in the early afternoon. My grandfather would often accompany us and walk alongside as my brother and I walked from one end of that log to the other, treading carefully, maintaining our balance…the first one to fall off would lose that round only to run off to the other end and start all over again. Somehow, we never tired of this…

All the while, the wind whispered in those trees and few of the fallen leaves crackled as my grandfather’s foot trod on the dry ones. I loved those afternoons.

Decades later, I am older by far and wonder if am wiser by as much…something of that old perseverance is there still but clouded and seen through webs of doubt and questions associated with ‘practical reality’. I wonder if by growing up we actually hem life in and consider the wonders that this world has – and there are far far more than the 7 old or new – unreal. 

Maybe the version of realism and practicality that I am used to, are actually just my thoughts and doubts…curbing not only the freedom I seek but also the one I had. If so, I will break that shell this time.

You see to make an omelette, one has to break that egg.

Bringing in 2017.

Lewis Caroll once said,

In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take

So I hope this year brings us all opportunities to take a chance on the things we always wanted to. I hope we all get another shot at bringing our wild ideas, whims, fancies and dreams, to life. Hope this year, you take a chance on everything you always wanted to.

Use these 365 days to make the kind of memories you want to, change things around and do whatever makes you happy.

And for those who – at times – agonize about how things will work out, it’s just 365 days out of I don’t know how many years of our lives my friend. If you don’t like how you spent them, you can always change that…

Happiness, prosperity, peace and love, always.

Hope you get your wonderland. Happy New Year!

Demetria, Demetria, where art thou?

A while back, Demetria had left me a note about my blog. It was encouraging and it’s always nice to hear something good. Since then, I’ve been looking for her site to thank her but have been unsuccessful so far. You see, she forgot to leave the address of her site.

So Demetria, if you are reading my posts, thank you for your kind words :). Do drop by again sometime and leave me your site’s name or url.


Letter to self

(Based on the prompt From You to You,  a letter to a 14 year old me. )

I can’t even recall what I was doing at 14…seems such a long time ago. When I chose this prompt, I couldn’t think of anything that I could or wanted to say to a younger self. Now I think I can.

Do you remember that quote in Reader’s Digest?

Don’t be scared of darkness. It simply means that there’s a light shining nearby…

That stayed. Let’s start with that.

Don’t worry. About anything. Everything is a whole lot more and much much better in every way, than what you are hoping for and even perhaps, than what you can imagine at the moment.

Everything is alright. Everything always becomes alright.

You do get what you truly want and what is right for you. Not in the way others think of “right” in terms of “should” and “ought”, but what is truly right for and by you.

You will do everything that you want to do and a few things you haven’t planned on. Turns out that you have more courage than you know and are smarter than you think. Life is good, people are well and God is great.

And you know how you think you are bad at Maths? Turns out you’re completely off on that one and realise that now.

Few people you care about, will pass. It’s alright. It’s time for them to go. Doesn’t hurt after some time – the essence of your relationship, what you learnt from it, what it was like and about – all that stays with you.

Few dependencies petered out – which is a good thing. You have your own apartment, catch-up with friends on the weekends and wear heels now by the way. From time to time. Sneakers, jeans and t-shirts are still your favourite go to items…and you have a pair each in green, yellow and black – yes green and yellow too and no, you haven’t gone nuts. Wear them to office too and no, you are not working in media. Someday you want to though.

Your dreams are changing and horizons have broadened…worlds have opened up and I think they will continue to…

If I had to say something to you, I’ll say live freely.

Dance. Write. Smile more, say what you want to. Faces and places keep changing

Enjoy the present – how you are now is perfect great. Perfection is boring…and so limiting.

You have faith in yourself and your abilities already – do also enjoy what you have and how you are.

Whatever you want to do now, do that. You are fine. Things are great.

and they just keep getting better and better.

Found two new quotes recently. Hope you like them:

It’s time to start living the life you’ve imagined.
~ Henry James

Your current boundaries, were once unknown frontiers.
~ Anon

Bylanes of Barcelona

It must be there, I didn’t see it the first time. Maybe I put it in the other pocket?

After rifling through my bag and turning it inside out five times, it was becoming more and more difficult to block the thought that my bag had been picked. Cash, wallet, cards, keys…all gone.
Standing at the tube station in Barcelona, watching the metal arms of the exit turn as people kept passing through in a blur, a single thought echoed through my head –This can’t be happening to me!

I was in a foreign country for the weekend. Alone. Didn’t know anyone there. Had limited balance on my phone card – which was on roaming. Also, this vacation was taken while on another trip to Luxembourg for work. Home was a continent away.
The enormity of how alone I was broke in on me when I considered this. How did I get here?

I need to think. Breathe. One thing at a time. First things first.
Get back to a known place.

In Barcelona, this would be my room. Booked a trip back with the three of the five or six euros I had in my pocket. Walking back to the hostel from the station, I began to calm down and wondered how to deal with the situation. Ten steps from the hostel, I remember seeing its dome and wondering what to do next.

Place to stay? – Check.
Passport? – Check.
Flight booked? –Check.

All the warnings about the dangers of solo travel that I had heard in the last two weeks, came back in a rush. Given all this, do I want to take another solo trip, ever?


An answer that was as true as it was unbidden.

It made me realize that I was meant to travel. I discovered that I travel just because it was right for me. Regardless of the worries, the fears, the possibility of such problems, I will travel… and if anything went wrong, I would handle it.

I roamed around those two days without a care in the world. Pondered over Picasso’s genius, was moved by an aria under the arches of Liceu, strolled through the colourful La Rambla, walked on the beach as people whooshed past me on roller blades…
saw someone enjoying a quite coffee on the steps of La Catedral, turning up her face to soak in the sun…watched a grandfather trying to have his three year old granddaughter sit still for a photograph at Placa Reial…followed the strains of music through the cobbled grey alleyways of Barri Gotic and was held spellbound by the performance of some amazing street musicians.

Best trip I had so far.

For the love of the road

I like empty roads.

Driving through a stretch with the windows down, wind in my hair, the road stretching out without an end, with clouds gathering at a distance. A lone signpost shows the way…a silent milestone watches as I draw closer and pass on…

The car, the wind and I move on. The road further down and the horizon in the distance, keep beckoning.

Of late I have been thinking of just leaving everything behind me. Pack up everything and just leave- with a backpack and the money in my pocket (can’t ignore the utilities), with a notepad, camera, tickets and the landscape for company.

All for the love and charm of the road.

Stop only to walk where the yellow fields thin out into shallow squares of earth, grass and piles of hay, slow down only to round another bend, move off the road only to explore lesser known tracks…

The journey and time become synonymous, till the world begins to look like a loom, with a scene or an aspect replacing the threads. Stand by to just pick out and observe a particular thread or note how they come together – interwoven by the common weft running through them, unseen at first but definitely there. Or move at will and become a part of the weaver’s rhythm, the movement of the loom and the cloth of life.

I read somewhere,

Dreams are the whispers of your soul

I’d like to open the gates of mine.


Solitude for me, is the time when my soul speaks.

Thank you Hugh’s Views & News for this week’s photo challenge 🙂

Solitude is a kind of freedom”
~ Umberto Eco

Solitude for me, is the time when my soul speaks.

Where the “demands of time” imposed on our day to day lives, cease to exist and thoughts take wing, ideas suggest themselves, memories suddenly come to life or just one’s awareness of that one moment, deepens.

This photo was taken on a cold misty day, near Dochula Pass in Bhutan. We were walking back from Dochula, when I happened to spot this corner.

It reminded me of a time when my friends and I would sit together without a care, laughing and chatting…just happy to get together and do just that. It has been more than a decade since we grew close and although some of us live in different countries now, each answering the demand of odds and ends in her life, leading a different routine…when we speak, we pick up exactly where we left off. Of course we have grown and changed in so many ways…but the essence of our friendship …of what drew each of us to the other as a person, remains the same. I could see each of our younger selves on a chair, all of us sitting together and laughing and chatting as we did and continue to do.

Then I thought of other groups of people who matter to me and they all had that characteristic oneness in common.

But this place, belonged to us.

A moment of solitude made me feel true companionship. How could it not? That moment, the place, the setting and the weather –  all of it was perfect. Just like us.
Add mugs of tea & coffee… and we are all set.

Thakumar Jhuli

I was named after another girl, my grandmother met once. People often think it was the river I was named after, but it was the sprightly, charming and friendly 2 -3 years old girl, she named me after. Odd thing is, I don’t think they met more than 3-4 times at most and that too, at someone else’s house.

She’s a pretty good sort, my Mum-mum. I have no idea how we came by that name for her, but we did and passed it along. My brothers, I and even my close friends, have called her that for years now. She’s the sort that cooks well, turns the house into a home, is affectionate, loves children and flowers, your friends, calling people over and hosting lunches…the typical nice warm grandmum. But she’s also the sort who will emotionally blackmail you relentlessly. However, when you don’t get affected by that and give it as good as you get many many times, she’ll chuck that tactic and show you how spunky she can be… and you’ll enjoy a nice laugh together.

Born in pre-partition India to a Zamindar family, my grandmother is older to me by 2 generations. Technically she should spin tales of yore, be superstitious and stick to age old misconceptions of how society should be. But I realized how cool she truly was, when my mum told me that she didn’t want me to be named after the girl, as she was sickly. My mum-mum never told me that. She just noticed the bright eyed innocence of the little girl and enjoyed her company. That day, I was more proud of her than I have ever been.

So even though she is a little vain about her looks (when I say “little”…), loves dressing up and getting others to do so, likes others to think that she prefers to read books (she reads a few), when she actually LOVES watching family dramas and soaps in general and is disappointed that I’m not married yet, she’s the best sort around…and the only sort that could be right for me.

This post is named for her. Thakumar Jhuli refers to the repertoire of folk tales and stories that grandmothers have and often narrate to their grandchildren. When I started out, I was supposed to write about my namesake but words have a funny way of pouring themselves out.



Now you see me…

but then (and let’s face it, mostly) you don’t.

Although I am more about disappearing at will to go somewhere, instead of just becoming invisible within the confines of the same physical space.

Nope. No self-esteem issues, don’t sit out or fade into the crowd… I just have this innate ability to whoosh from “may go” to “long gone” in a trice.

Given this ability, its hardly a surprise that I have gone missing from my own blog for more than a month now. But I have been thinking about coming over to stay (hopefully for a while), removing the covers and settling into a cosy couch.

And this prompt seems to be just what I needed.

About the ability – as of now it really comes in handy when I find myself in small parties promising long conversations with people I am more keen on avoiding than not.

But if I could, I would also use it to travel. Hassle free, paperwork free vacations, that can be taken during the weekends or during a really dull work week and may then be, as short or as long as I please.

I wouldn’t mind using it for regular commute as well. Skip the traffic and catch-up with friends!

Incidentally, just a few hours ago, a couple of us from work were debating the pros and cons of disapparating. Well, I was thinking of the cons, A wanted the ability and the rest were neutral and more interested in their steaming hot mugs than what A was convinced, is going to be the future mode of commuting.

Now that I have mulled this over a bit more and remembered what I really like about it, I’d have to say, this is one ability I wouldn’t mind getting an upgrade on.

Part II – What the boy thought

Cars honk at each other. He looks to the road while sprinkling water on the pots. Few drops land on his bare feet. The water feels cool.
He wipes his face and runs a wet hand through his tangled hair, more white from dust than the black he was born with.

Bikes and autos honk and beep, trying to wiggle out of the crowd.
His friends hop on the pavement across the street. Work done, maybe he can join them.
Mother calls out to him from the doorway. He keeps the mug down and runs off…heels kicking high.