In the hindsight

Why am I thinking of this word for so many days. Seiche. The turbulence of closed body of water. The rocking of water that has nowhere to go. A co-worker taught me the word. Seiche. The to and fro of captured water. The victory-less motion. Victory-less, if that was a word. My kid-brother used this one, long ago, when I didn’t know this word. I didn’t connect with it then. It wasn’t right in the context. But the context has changed since then. It wasn’t meant to. But it changed. You know. Like everything else we were fighting to keep from changing, changed. Context too, changed. I know now, the meaning. The feeling. The being. Victory-less. From belong-ness to victory-less-ness. What a journey in hindsight!



Dear Sir,

It is a beautiful letter that you shared with your grandchildren and with all of us today. It inspires me to follow, and to question. And I know absolutely well that I possess no right to comment or question on the values or guidance one shares with their children. But my immense respect for you, gives me courage to question. And to disagree.

You say, in the letter, that people will force boundaries of their thoughts on us – girls. And it is both our right and responsibility to not blindly adhere to those and choose the path with wisdom.

However, in the very first line of the letter, you drew a boundary, I hope unknowingly, that Aaradhya carries the legacy of your father, and Navya of her father’s grandfather. Do you really believe that? Why, my mind wonders, are both children bound with the legacy of their fathers’ families and not their mothers’?

I am certain that Aishwarya’s grandfather must have had some beautiful values flowing through their family that Aaradhya must possess.  And equally, I believe that Navya would feel great pride in carrying the legacy of Sri Harivansh Rai Bachchan. Don’t you agree? Why then, in the very beginning, you tell your girls, and to thousand other girls like me, that this society is male dominant, and that she or her mother will never be the head of the home and that just because she holds her father’s surname and not her mother’s, she belongs more to the family of her father. Is that not one of the boundaries she should rather break?

Unfortunately, my dadaji passed away before my birth. I imagine him based on my parents’ descriptions, and oh how I wish I had met him. But I haven’t. Nor has my brother. All that I know of a grandfather was my nanaji. All the stories of Panchatantra and Ramayana, I learnt through him. I am sure my brother tells those stories to his kids, and someday I will, to mine. And I believe very strongly, that through those stories and the values he imparted in us, his legacy will be carried through my brother’s kids and no less, through mine.

I would not have my children not know or carry the pride of being their nana-naniji’s grandchildren. And equally they will be the bearers of their dada-dadiji’s legacy. No less. No more. If a child is equal part of two people, how can she be any less a part of two families and their cultures.

I love my father and mother. I love the stories of both their childhoods. I imagine being a part of both their families. Please don’t tell me that I don’t belong equally to both. Please don’t say that because I am a girl, my children will never be the bearers of my mother’s legacy. I am a very proud daughter and it will break my heart. And somewhere in the corner of my heart, I know that it will break Navya and Aaradhya’s hearts too.

That said, I truly hope this letter is taken in the essence is it written. A blurb of a girl’s heart to somebody she respects. Because after all, we disagree with those who we listen to.



Look here, old sport!

“His dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it.”

If it was a song I would be humming it all day. It flowed through my veins and it talked to me. Those must be powerful writers who can make you feel for their creations. I connected with Nick. I smiled when he could write only to the assurance and then you can always burn it. I liked his infatuation towards what Gatsby was. I was eager for him to meet the Gatsby and I felt nothing for the one that Gatsby was.

“He smiled understandingly-much more than understandingly. It was one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it, that you may come across four or five times in life. It faced–or seemed to face–the whole eternal world for an instant, and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor. It understood you just as far as you wanted to be understood, believed in you as you would like to believe in yourself, and assured you that it had precisely the impression of you that, at your best, you hoped to convey.” 

Don’t we all want that. For a someone to smile that to us. I was happy for Nick. I could feel what he felt. Prejudice is good when in favor. It stinks only otherwise. But till now all I related to was to Nick. I never had thought, that moment on I will feel every straw of emotion that Gatsby felt. The writer played me. Oh so good.

I was in love with Gatsby before I could know. I guess so was Nick. We all wanted him to see Daisy. We all just wanted so bad for him to see the girl. No judgments. No morals. No preaches. It’s funny how clean you feel, how easy you open, when you are not feared for being judged for your loves and hatreds and dreams and decisions.

“He talked a lot about the past and I gathered that he wanted to recover something, some idea of himself perhaps, that had gone into loving her.” 

And how wonderful it is to hear someone open up their hearts when you aren’t practicing righteousness. You only like the truths. Not their side. He sat there telling his stories…

“Then came the war, old sport. It was a great relief, and I tried very hard to die, but I seemed to bear an enchanted life.” 

I shared his restlessness. The helplessness that kills, but just doesn’t kill enough to make you dead. I shared the perfection of his dream. The foolproof idea. So much that he couldn’t see through it. There was no reality beyond it. He was waiting for the longest day. Just like the last year when it came and passed.

“Can’t repeat the past?” he cried incredulously. “Why of course you can!”

I knew a few minutes before he died that he had to. And I didn’t want to stop it. With all the love in my heart for him I still knew that there was no retreat from the dream he once lived and the dream that was broken. He had to live with it, much meaninglessly or he had to die.  I would choose death.

On the other hand…

“I couldn’t forgive him or like him, but I saw that what he had done was, to him, entirely justified.” 

‘sI know this one is not at all like any of my posts… but well I am not very much able to write these days…

I am listening these days. A lot. Silently also. And sometimes asking questions… like this one.. So tell me… when was the last time you listened to something like this…

Not heard… listened… like while doing nothing else.

Kabhi kabhi to awaz de kar mujhko jagaya khwabon ne…  and while typing this, I wish I could translate this.

I used to think I understand this.. like really get it, as a kid. Not sure I get it even now.

Duniya se jeete… par tujh se haare… yoon khel apna hua…

I have actually listened to my mom singing this, more than the real song. Her voice still seems more real to me, but anyways this will do

Jahan se bichhad kar chale jayein hum…to yeh naa smajhna mohabbat nahi!

And my dad’s favorite. No more introduction…

And so many more… I wish I could post them without any fear of boring you… but that’s okay.

“O, beware, my lord, of jealousy;

It is the green-ey’d monster,


Who dotes, yet doubts, suspects, yet strongly loves!”

I know! But… Well… it’s fun sometimes. It’s so much fun sometimes. My best friend… well so much more than my best friend now… tells me that I should never be jealous… for what I am nobody is. What I have nobody does. And that may be true, that’s okay. But then what they have may be I don’t have.

I get it when people… okay let’s call them well-wishers (so many of them you’ve got)… say that being jealous is a petty petty emotion. I get it. But they don’t get… when I say it’s a magnificent, enormous, grand emotion. And I believe it is second only to Love in not getting accepted in face.

Jealous is a beautiful, fine emotion. And the fineness lies in the fact that it unfolds so many emotions for us that we aren’t even aware of. That we try to hide to ourselves, showing off some grand self. We are human, and no matter how much we blabber otherwise, humans have weaknesses. Hidden uncelebrated unaccepted unexpressed but very real pieces of weakness. You feel insecure. Your fear. You feel competition. You feel obsessions. You feel possession. You feel. You feel even in the moments when you are so determined to show off otherwise. These feelings more often than not don’t have a say. In your heart, in your mind. They can’t express themselves to you in any way other than jealous. Sometime love too.

Jealous is not an emotion may be. May be it is voices of so many meek, dumb emotions in your heart that you refuse to accept as being yours. Jealous is the voice of all that is within you, well… not all, but so much of it is within you, un-celebrated, un-answered. Jealous hurts you sometimes. Of course it does. But then so does love. It hurts others sometimes but then so does an ambition. It can make you reach undesirable extremes. But then so does – well any emotion at extremes can do that. Why do we hide hate condemn jealous so much then?

Give it chance. May be a calculated one. Sometime. A chance may be to say something that’s inside you. May be to say something that you haven’t got around to hear till now.

Oh.. And yeah… did I mention… Jealous is fun… like love.

Leave a note

“Was in the city…” Kabir found a yellow post-it flapping its tongue by the side of his keyboard. It had no name, no number, no meeting timings, no nothing. Absolutely un-actionable, un-informative piece of yellow paper flapping its tongue. “Was in the city…” Kabir could read this all day long. After so many years…

“Leave a note when you leave.” “Leave a note when you are done.” “Leave a note if you happen to come by” Or just plain “Leave a note”. And she would. Leave a note. They won’t mean much but she wouldn’t miss to leave one. “Leaving”, “Done” – most meaningless notes. But like a thread. Always there. Like a line- always open. standby but alive. Like a phone call where you slept off talking. Like a conversation where we remain silent. Like a thread. Like a very thin very important thread holding their lives together.

“You mind leaving a little better note?” Kabir would ask. “You asked me to tell when I am done. I did” She would sound honestly confused. “Yeah but… yeah fine.” Kabir knew the honest confusion was just a cover up for the hesitance. He wouldn’t mind. She knew he wouldn’t mind. He actually liked the note. She would know he liked. No talks. Only knowing. Like a conversation when we remain silent.

Kabir wondered. He moved a step further to take off the yellow fluttering post-it. He looked at the handwriting. The curves of ink, the corner of letters where ink was pressed harder. He surfed his thumb on the writing, feeling the ink, feeling the slight carvings on the paper. She was here, writing the post-it. She must have took the pen out of that holder, must have bent down throwing her untied hair backward. He could see her. Being there. Writing the yellow note. So near. So light but so real. Like a thread.  Like a line – always open. Standby but alive.

Sau gram Zindagi yeh…

Please don’t keep wondering which song this is… or you will make me sad. This one https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=saH2Shlup1Q

Listening to it since morning in here. In here it’s a small world. In here I get to smile without anybody noticing. In here I can shed a tear or two without anyone listening. In here it’s all my space.

I am in here. I don’t know how much of it is me. I don’t think if at all it defines me or I define it. I don’t know how much I belong in here if at all. But this feels home. Like there are rains and dark clouds and chilled wind outside and in here there is a lantern or a stove – a small one. And I have earned enough in the day’s labor to make me a small tea. May be not enough milk but that’s ok. May be not enough sugar but that’s okay too. I like my tea. I like holding it in my hands. I like the warmth in here… ‘gungunahat’ I don’t know if warmth is the right word for this.

It wasn’t always the same in here. There were times with broken roofs. There were times when I had a window broken and times when I was a wall short of four. There were times when I cried so hard that people passing by could hear. It has taken time in sewing itself. It has taken it’s time in here with the walls and roof. Some things I did. Some things it did for me. And we have come to make it – to be this. This place in here. This place I am starting to find home.  This place I am starting to call mine.

There are bad days. But there are okay days too. And then in bad days I have a lantern in here – yeah the same one I talked about. I have grown to live with the winds may be. Or this place in here has learnt to protect me better. Which one of the two – I don’t care. In here I don’t care to know the reasons. In here unanswered questions look like magic. In here things are simple.  In here I feel good.

It’s not left much. The roof will go down in the next rain. The door hinges are gone. It will break with a strong wind. I know. I can see. I fix a hinge or two sometimes. I try to save it. I try to preserve. I can’t. But I try. I don’t want to let go. As if it’s me. As if it defines me. As if I belong… in here.