azadi- what do you really mean?


I wrote my view on what freedom means to me three years ago in my diary and I just wanted to share:

When I first opened my eyes to this blighted world, I could feel the warm air, maybe- the air which said that I am a part of this free and beautiful country, India. Little did I realize that when I will turn two, the riots will break out in my small city, Saharanpur. No that time I didn’t realize and only know this incident through the elders in my family. But now being a grown up little woman, I question myself, “Was that freedom?”

The religious disharmony in a secular country, communal riots, the corruption- the poisons in the society more poisonous than the most poisonous snake’s bite, the warm air of that free nation probably deceived me. I see bad examples of being free when a four year old has to sell pens on the red light instead of writing with pens. I hear the bad example of freedom in Kashmir where the commoners still cry, “azadi” even after 64 years of Independence. I feel the lack of freedom when I and many other girls are engulfed with fear of ‘eve teasing’. I read about bad example of freedom when authors like Taslima Nasreen and Salman Rushdie are banned, they are not even allowed to pour out their feelings (I don’t intend to hurt anybody’s sentiments, just my thoughts)

I am still learning the meaning of Azadi, still yet to feel it.

Happy Independence day……….everyone (still).


Maybe it was the lopsided smile of the old lady monk that I remember,

Maybe it was that little spiky haired boy, who did Kung Fu as if he was the next Karate Kid,

Maybe it was the bearded man, who sold chicken kebabs on the silent corner of the road,

Maybe it was the lonely old, experienced farmer, who still tries to get clean water after the cloud burst,

Maybe it was the otherwise bored cassette shop keeper, who sang the melodious local numbers,

Maybe it was the bunch of locals, who complained about the noisy tourists,

Maybe it was those small rocky houses on the countryside that I have never seen before,

Maybe it was the thrilling ride on the narrow, difficult road to the highest motor able pass in the world,

Maybe after climbing 100 stairs of Shanti (peace) Stupa did I get a peace of mind,

Maybe it was the lake as clear as the sky that captivated me,

Maybe it was the custom of sitting on the floor and eating,

Maybe it was walking within the city that made me feel lively in many years,

Maybe it was the monastery bells that chimed beautifully during the night and I needed no bedtime stories,

Maybe it was the Rocky Himalayan Mountains with snow capped peaks or the silent yet sharp breeze that made me energetic,

Maybe it was the everlasting blessing and happiness I received from that place,

Maybe in unconditional love you never find answers and that not finding the answer is the answer why I love Ladakh.

Ladakh: Tourist Trap

It wasn’t as if the boy



it wasn’t as if the boy was a thief and regularly stole money from his mom’s purse.
but it was his craving so strong and he wouldn’t know the spell to break that curse,
for he was the innocent child who fours months ago was forced to have that blighted cocaine,
from the drug peddler of the dark alley street, since that day the boy was in pain.


It wasn’t as if the boy never wanted to play basketball with his dad,
but the once well built boy was now so weak, seeing him his dad often got mad,
his Bambi eyes were now puffed and red, his girlfriend left him for he made her sad,
the boy who was once the topper of his class had now failed, humiliated and left emotionally drained.


It wasn’t as if the boy never wanted to confess his guilt but became a slave to his addiction,
whenever he wished to tell his mom, he would become enchained by that thirst and left the room unsaid,
the boy just longed for a mere hope of care but was often left neglected,
in his silent hope that one day he would gain the same older days of joy and love.


It wasn’t as if the boy was never caught, one day his mother caught him smelling, the police came and arrested,
the boy wailed, “Mom and dad please don’t leave me alone, without you both my future so grim.”
but the boy was unheard and ushered in the police car while his helpless parents uncontrollably sobbed,
the boy couldn’t say but seeing his mom for the last time he just wished to be hugged.


It wasn’t as if the boy was not optimistic of getting cured but the unbearable suffering was something he was never prepared for,
the boy almost always now spitted blood, the frustrated boy wanted his mom and his eyes so full of tears,
the withdrawal symptoms went disarray, he was never so tough and had it so rough,
that today he died cured of all the worldly pains but yes without his mom’s hug.





Goodbye my love I hope happiness comes along your way



No point in thinking of what went wrong now,
no point thinking of impossible me,
because now when that morning before the crows cawed,
that was the last time those beautiful eyes of yours that I saw,
as silently I left your house…… with the same silence we parted our ways,
we never did much talking anyway, so no point regretting our day,
goodbye my love I hope happiness comes along your way.

You know honey babe I have walked a mile from you today,
though somewhere I wished you would come back and hug me like in the beginning days,
but what’s the point we have always fought and cried, tried but we both got tired,
no point in weeping for the lost cause……it is the love that we now loath,
let’s forgive each other because anyways I would never want to be your foe,
goodbye my love I hope happiness comes along your way.

I just got suffocated because I never understood you so well,
even though I tried and failed in my attempts,
but what was the point when we had conflict of interests with both of us adamant on our points,
it’s just that we both wasted each other’s precious time but that’s quite alright,
we both might find somebody to ease our pains,
goodbye my love I hope happiness comes along your way.

My darling I admit there were more faults of mine but you have also been unkind,
this is the line I hope you wouldn’t mind, hardly matters if you think twice,
you made me a better person though, but even I would like you to know,
that sometimes it is unbearable with you gone, but relax I wouldn’t mourn,
because I don’t need you to take care of me, anyways it wasn’t an unconditional love,
this day had to come because I was always fire to your air and hence we didn’t blend so well,
goodbye my love I hope happiness comes your way.

That man with books and a cup of tea contd…..


(this part is to be taken as part of chapter one only and not as the second chapter. This is a continuation)

“Okay but what about my skirt?” asked the anxious girl.

” Hmmm….right but what I was thinking is that since you are very fond of reading, how about I buy some books for you instead of a skirt? I mean it’s just a suggestion. You see a skirt might make you look more beautiful but a book, my friend, will make you feel more beautiful. Rest….is your choice?” replied the man

‘How can absent- minded people be so smart,’ thought the girl and after a brief pause of roughly five minutes agreed to his suggestion, “You win. I will let you buy me some books.”

“Hey, it’s not about winning or losing. It was about a simple choice you made and I am not a judgmental kind of a person. So, Hauz Khas Village here we come.”

“Smart ass he is,” the girl whispered but it was loud enough for him to hear.

“Thank you mademoiselle,” smiled the man.

“Listen, I didn’t mean to say that but had you told me before that you are not judgmental…I might as well have chosen the skirt,” retorted the girl.

“Hahahha,” the man burst out laughing. ” so do you make decisions according to how the other person would perceive you as, not from your heart?”

“Well decisions should be made with brains and brain alone, not from your heart. Yes and I like everybody do think that what other is thinking about me,” answered the nervous girl.

” Not quite everybody thinks that way buddy, some people live with their heart and are quite satisfied with it.”



That man with books and a cup of tea


The sunshine of the beautiful Spring morning fell graciously upon Delhi town. Out in Connaught place the warmth seemed to infuse into daily walkers, the newspaper hawker, young and old lovers, the policeman among many others. The otherwise grumpy old man tipped the chai wala generously, the coffee shop guy put the extra creme in the coffee cup of a trendy North Eastern lady. This shriveled beggar approached the task of trying to persuade perfect strangers to bear the burden of their maintenance with that optimistic vim which makes all the difference. It was strange yet happy morning!

But this girl who looked eighteen but was actually twenty two, was in no mood of imbibing that brightness, that joie di vivre. It was as if she took a flight from Mars like a perfect stranger- lonely and lost yet curious. So, she walked aimlessly humming Bob Dylan’s Mr. Tambourine Man, when she banged into somebody not quite the man with a tambourine but a man with three books and a cup of tea.

“I am awfully sorry ma’am,” said this book man.

“Look you Mr. absent minded, What you did to my white chicken cloth skirt, it’s all brown now- because of your yucky tea. Already, I am uncomfortable in this strange little town and you have made it worse.”

“Tell me how can I make it better for you?”

“By buying a new skirt for me for starters.”

It was maybe her figure of speech or her angry expression that made him laugh hard and this infuriated her. But he was smart enough to cut her off in between and suggested an idea.

“Okay I am buying you a new skirt,” said the book man with a look that expressed, “Wow! I have got this new experiment to deal with.” He was amused yet little scared by this petite girl.

It was a scary although exciting proposition but she walked with this polite book and tea man and she carried mountains of heavy thoughts that made her more nervous than having been caught by her dad stealing his Glenfidditch and her class twelve board exams.

“I think I should go or maybe I should walk with him. This is Delhi after all.”

Seeing her nervous the man asked,” Why are you so scared and nervous?”

Does this man happens to have an X Ray vision. “No I am not nervous….haha nervous who me? I was wondering what books are you reading,” she replied trying to find a common interest.

“Okay one is PG Wodehouse, Jeeves novel if you heard of it…very funny, this one is by John McEnroe- the tennis star and the third one is by Gurucharan Das- India Unbound.

“Oh I have read India Unbound and enjoyed it. Mr. Das is one of the few Indian authors who writes so well and Jeeves is my absolute favourite. I love tennis and wouldn’t mind reading the legendary John Mcenroe’s book, I have read Andre Agassi and Rafael Nadal’s,” she replied excitedly.

“Hmm quite a tennis lover you are… So what do you do?

“I seriously do nothing as of now. I am looking to work somewhere, probably I want to get into the marketing field.. What do you do?”

“I, well don’t laugh but I work in a bookstore.”

She let out a whistle hearing this- the whistle that would have made Audrey Hepburn’s in Breakfast at Tiffany’s sound less significant. “Wow! I like the company of book lovers, so where is your shop? I must visit it some time. Are these your books?”

“Yes these are all mine. Come to my bookstore today, it is at Hauz Khas village.”






Old man always whispers words of wisdom.


Sometimes we all need little doses of inspiration, slight emotional encouragement and good thoughts to keep us all moving forward as otherwise we might use big big words like, ‘existential crisis.’ We humans have a knack of making simple things look complicated and not only that we have mastered this art. I love when Avril Lavigne sings this song, ‘complicated.’

I mean look at me how simple my life was, the girl who used to play in the kitchen all by herself when she was three today thinks she doesn’t have many friends. But little does she realize that the friends she has our worth their weight in gold. No extra baggage! How complicated was Holly Golightly’s relationship (Audrey Hepburn) when all the time she loved Paul Varjack (George Peppard). Wasn’t it as simple as that in Breakfast at Tiffany’s? But living in such a world we are all but Holy Golightlies.

Well, I have share of my friends and family who, ‘no matter what’ will want to see me smile and be a better human being. One such person is my grandfather whom I fondly call old man. Whenever my spirits turn into smoldering ashes, he always comes up with the right things to say that makes those ash turn into fire. Like a phoenix I rise and then my decisions are usually wise. There are some of his emails and letters that I wanted to share, if it makes somebody smile then I can at least have ‘one’ saintly moment.

The first email was when I was giving journalism a shot and losing hope

Hello Devika
Thank you ever so much for the very nice card, I am more than very sure u will do very well in journalism There is a marked improvement in the skill of letter writing . The work of journalism is like a potters work where the quality of soil is important but much more important is to give a proper shape .
Wishing all the best

The second email is mine where I thanked him for the comment on my blog and I got a wonderful reply.

Thanks Old man. Sometimes I get the idea and it works wonderfully. I met my French teacher today and he almost hugged me, he said that he was very happy and surprised to see me. Didn’t know till now that I was his  #1 student. I am happy that I met him because he is leaving the country on 22nd of this month. Blogging makes me happy, writing actually unleashes the repressed feeling. I will meet you soon, I am so sorry that I don’t call very often these days and I should. Noddy must be keeping everybody busy these days….I met him after such a long time. I hope some good stuff is coming out of hell’s kitchen.

Take Care( and I know you do)
THANKS young lady   keep on writing   not only this permits you to vent you repressed feelings but is a creative art too. Any creative art which brings out your hidden talents and helps make you a better person is worth it. So be at it with more efforts to do better. 

We all have made blunders in life but the good part was that we learnt out of them and didn’t repeat.
Miss you a lot. Noddys presence has warmed up the home though for a very short time   he leaves on 21st evening
lots of love
old man
The third memorable email to him  was on the Christmas Day, 2012 
Hey old man,

 Merry Christmas.

It is very cold and I need to buy for myself a pair of gloves or mittens. I went out today, didn’t want to be stuck up in the house and that was a very good change. I bought this wonderful book, “Maharani” by Ruskin Bond. The best words to describe the book are, “rib tickling.” A story of spoiled, selfish widowed yet charming maharani who has a reckless drinking record. The story is about love, death and friendship. I wanted a light reading and this is perfect.
 I love my new hobby- blogging. Don’t know when it might come to an end and I have to start some another one. I am slightly bored without Amrita but I hope she is happy and keeping well. Delhi is not a very warm place and people are even colder. Basically, Indian people usually are not my types. They always live to show off. i find rare exceptional cases at Saharanpur house. 
Long letter and good wishes,
and remember the reply by heart
Hey young lady,

nice to go through your mail and this feeling is a constant one as far as I am concerned . Time, when you should have your own definition of life. As for me it wasnt  much about the achievements but more about how played my cards when I had a very poor hand
this gives a satisfaction and makes you wiser too. I many a times got a much poorer hand than what you have in your hand at the moment Nothing to worry about, you will not have a hand like this for ever. We strongly wanted you  to come and join us so that may do a better planning for the future but as you know we are not usedto use force of any kind  on the young birds that are learning to fly. Communists had a battle formula which they called ‘ONE STEP
BACKWARD and TWO steps FORWARD. Hope you understand that.We  also enjoyed your surprise of getting a book as a gift. He must have assessed you as a good reader 
its very cold here wanted to write a very long mail but my fingers are not supporting me
you are a brave girl indeed but always remember not to work as in reactions but with a positive aim will go through your blog now
lots of love
This was when I gave him one good write up. I will value these lines, made me feel special.
 Proud to be your grand father , grandfather of a person who does not believe in looking back. WELL DONE
I wanted to write more but then dear readers might want to kill me by now. Trust me you all have a reason to feel good about, just be happy and content.
Thanks and regards,
Old Man.

The toughest year, 2012


Today is 31 December, 2012 and I am sure everybody is reflective and introspective on this particular day, no matter how busy a person you are. Well, I have been deep thinking today as to how my year went. I didn’t live this year, I survived it (and not because of that 12.12.12 stuff). Yes, I survived it, I reiterate because I want to get that impact.

Somehow on the very first day of the year, I got mixed signs. So, on 1st December, 2012, my diary entry was, “ Didn’t spend New Year day with family, politely declined a lunch invitation, instead stayed with my roommate who was alone on her birthday. I got a cake for her as well.” The second diary entry on 27th March, 2012, read “The worst morning ever, my birthday morning. The very same girl who I choose to be on her birthday ditched me for other friends. But still my birthday went fine because I was saved by some very good people who made me feel like a princess. It may sound kiddish but it did hurt!

Secondly, there are some handful of people who gave me tough time, in a sense if I have to use three words for those people, the words would be, “Wretched, Cheap and mean.” But at the office of Asian Age (a daily broadsheet), I came across some of the best people and they taught me a lot. Probably if my writing skills have improved, I owe it to them. I respect them from the bottom of my heart.

I also came across people who motivated me and stayed with me during my gruesome days. I made new friends and my old man is the best. I had a fight with my good buddy but then over a cuppa coffee and chocolate eclairs everything melted. I have a friend who sees the life; same way as I do and believe me it is comforting. I met my old friends who always make me feel wonderful and I danced with a 77 year old man. Kind of Crazy! I got a new job. I opened my account on wordpress and met wonderful people.

So the year hasn’t been too bad but believe me I was given tough days and the only solution  was to face those days and be patient. Towards the end I felt loved and cared for, not rejected and dejected. I learnt the harsher realities of life, the practical side of it. I still day dream but dreams are what takes you to the next level.

So, as I finish my blog I would still say that I survived this year, it was the toughest. It made me shed more tears than I could have imagined.

Bookstores Bad Hair Days


If it hadn’t been the case of too much traffic or bad weather or the government closing few metro stations, I would have totally hoped on to my favourite bookstores.  Well, I believe I have many excuses and the day has not ended, so I must go to the nearest one. I sometimes also feel that I may be the privileged one who has a chance to go to a bookstore; my grandchildren might not ever get to visit one, owing to the popular Tablet culture.  It is one of my impossible dreams to open up a bookstore but Dear Tablets and internet downloads gives me a bad feeling.

The thing is when I go to a bookstore; I usually don’t know which book to buy. Sometimes I might know the topic (humour, politics, inspiration, love stories, history etc.) I have no idea and I am very picky and choosy that I end up spending two hours in a store. And this is the best part. Sounds like a mystery to me. One of the storekeepers called me a killjoy because he thought that after spending two hours, I might end up buying ten books but to his disappointment, I had only one book.  My best pick till today has been a PG Wodehouse and Tim Harford’s, “Undercover Economist” and the worst has been Twilight (A very emotionally abusive novel).

I have had some of the best and nostalgic times in the bookstore.  I used to visit this (when I was around ten with mummy) store called the Knowledge Store- a two storied book shop. A paradise for any book lover but twelve years later I see no Knowledge Store at Green Park (New Delhi). I do respect online stores like Flipkart and Amazon sometimes but seriously half your fun is killed, although you do get a book at discounted rates.



This is weird but have you ever smelled a book, I have and please don’t be judgmental here. I do smell books till now. Some people donate old books and sometimes in those books, you find a pressed flower or a deep note. In one of the books, I don’t remember which one- A grandparent wrote to his/her grandchild, “Honey this is my last gift to you, hope you enjoy reading the book.” My grandfather jokingly said that when I die, I will leave all my books to your sister and you. Sometimes, I think with stores like Barnes and Nobles closing down in America, wouldn’t India be impacted in coming years?

I see if not every second face but every fifth or sixth face reading a novel on the iPads or notebooks and it leaves me with such an uncomfortable feeling. I tried reading on that miniature screen too (somebody else’s tablet) but I have got glasses and I do care about my eyes. Haha, who would review the book as, “A Page Turner” in coming years? The popular gifting culture will also die….I believe not everyone can afford to gift his child or loved one- a tablet. My sister was lucky enough to convince my father to buy a bookshelf.  No matter how distressed or dull you may feel, a bookstore transports you into another world.

So, looking at the Nargis flower (a very rare flower) pressed by mom in a book, I ponder over the good memories. I think of the second storied attic of Knowledge Store, the heavenly scented perfume and flower adorned Readers Paradise bookstore, the wooden furniture bookstore and the methodically placed books and much more. Still on the optimistic side, Agatha Christie says, “While the light lasts.”

Christmasy Feeling: A cup of coffee


I could have made a simple cup of coffee for mother or better I could have treated her with the finest cup of latte made by the best brewers of the world. But I wanted a tinge of love entwined with coffee powder, milk and water. By beating coffee powder, sugar, water for just 10-15 minutes, I was able to see a smile on her face, twinkle in her eye. She said, “My, my you make me feel so special and it’s such a relief that you can at least make a good cuppa coffee.” 

This is what will I call my Christmasy coffee……it creates magic.


I don’t know how to give designs but with the help of Hershey’s was able to do something creative. The coffee was good….oh c’mon, see the love behind it.

What is it that will do more to transform a man from a fiend into an angel than baptism in the River Jordan?

It is the first cup of coffee in the morning! 

Mummy the above lines in italics are not meant for you, you are an angel. It is just for devils around.

(This post was originally written by me for my blog on  but I want to share it on WordPress too and is modified a little)