Thursday, December 30, 2010

Suffocating Sobs

A 14-year-old girl was crouching in the corner, below the flight of steps. It was the space reserved for the huge broom used to clean cobwebs, especially during Diwali. Burying her face in her knees, she concentrated all her energy into suffocating her sobs.

The April day was just not to her liking. While her friends were eagerly looking forward to the summer vacations and a break from school, she was dreading every minute of the two-month break. The two o’clock sun was harsh as she lugged her heavy school bag and walked from the bus stop to her home. The only thing on her mind was having the delicious sambar-rice her mother had promised her for lunch and watching the re-run of Dekh Bhai Dekh on the local cable TV channel. Over time, she had stoned herself against the sinking feeling of opening the lock on the main door of her house and serving herself cold lumps of rice and sambar or daal.

She had mastered the art of lying to her mother about how she came home, kept her bag in place, washed her face, hands and feet, changed her clothes, warmed her lunch and ate the meal while reading the newspaper. The truth was she reached home tired and bubbling with stories to share with someone. She dumped her bag wherever she felt like, mostly at the foot of the sofa. She washed her hands and then rushed to the kitchen to dump some rice and daal on her plate and then proceeded to carefully lift the remote control of the television, making a mental note of where it was kept. She would then switch on the TV and watch Dekh Bhai Dekh, which she thought showed how ‘happy families’ lived. She would proceed to see the Bold and the Beautiful and Baywatch, shows which her parents had told her were not suitable but all her friends watched. She would start tidying up only 15 minutes prior to her mother’s arrival from office. She would pick her bag up, change her clothes, empty the dishes in the kitchen and in the end she would switch off the TV and place the remote control where she had found it with just 5 minutes left for her mom to return home.

She would then open the newspaper and eagerly wait for her mother. Those final five minutes were the hardest and she usually kept herself calm by trying to decide which school incident she would narrate to her mother first and which story would follow which. She treasured the two hours that she got to spend with her mother every evening almost as much as she enjoyed her time at school. Her friends always teased her because she showed a clear preference for school over her home.

However, lately, her daily ritual had been disturbed quite frequently by her father. His dependence on the bottle had increased and even she, a child of only 14, knew that this spelled only more trouble. He was never in a good mood. He would wake up at odd hours and sleep at even odder ones. His eating habits were erratic and there was no saying what would irritate him and earn her mother and her, his wrath. The two women of the household, best described as ever smiling and good natured, started living a dual life.

Wiping her brow and shifting the heavy school bag on her back she sauntered towards her home just to find that her father had once again had too much to drink. As had become the ritual, he had decided to bunk office even today. Over the last few months, he had begun to vegetate the whole day in front of the television and had taken to the habit of taking huge gulps of neat whisky from the bottle itself. She had once heard him say to his friends, “Water and ice spoil it for me. I like my shirts and drinks neat.”

The man who grunted and opened the door after making her wait for 15 minutes was not her father. He was the drunk devil who replaced her father, unfortunately, very frequently these days. One look at him and she wished school lasted another six hours.

In the evening, the neighbours told her mother that they saw the 14-year-old girl crouching in the corner, below the flight of steps. It was the space reserved for the huge broom used to clean cobwebs, especially during Diwali. Burying her face in her knees, the little girl, it seemed, was concentrating all her energy into suffocating her sobs.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Give Black A Life

A faithful follower

I followed you all your life

With one swift move

My existence you denied.

Your every move is etched in my mind

Silences of your darkest hours

Speak volumes to me

And yet my advice never reaches your ears.

Neglected, battered, broken

Yet this bond of friendship

I have preserved

I no longer wish to follow you.

Leading is what interests me

For once let my shadow shine

Light the dark

Give black a life.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Wish of a daughter!

She braced herself and asked
‘What kind of a husband do you dream of?’
Irritated by the blank look she received,
She continued, ‘List the qualities you desire.’

Thousands of points rolling in her head
Caused a turmoil that the blank look masked
The daughter, took her time to answer
The most important question of her life.

‘Let him be educated, not just literate
Have a sense of humour
Sense of responsibility
Manners that would put the British to shame.’

Ignoring her mother’s raised eyebrow
And the multiple rolling of her eyes
The daughter went on to list
What she wanted in her perfect man

‘Ensure that reading books tops his list
Travelling comes a close second
Family and friends fight for his attention
And his undivided focus would be only for me.’

The mother tried to get in a word
But the daughter with a simple show of hand
Resisted all efforts and continued
Giving a look which said, ‘You asked.’

‘Absence of some qualities I might ignore
To live with some flaws I will learn
But one thing I will not tolerate
Mom, please a nose digger, I don’t want!’

Monday, August 23, 2010


Sitting on my park bench seat

I saw a child playing with a paper sheet

He folded it once, and then twice

I saw several slices of life as he folded it thrice

They say pre-decided has been each fold

Each crease is living its destiny I’m told

But I was amazed to see the wrinkled mould

As life in a million ways I witnessed unfold

The fist that folds the first love letter

The kiss that treasures promises of a future better

The eyes that hold a thousand dreams

A wedding dress that has happiness stitched in its seams

These I could count on my finger tips

Several were lost by the time they reached my lips

I concentrated hard to remember what I could

I was sure I could carve more sculptures from this folded wood

Before more mysteries I could unravel

My little guide decided to greener pastures travel

He picked up a twig next

Challenged me to come up with a philosophical text

Without a word I surrendered to the master

Complex folds I can understand but twigs offer simplicity I cannot factor

I’m not done with analysing the folds I pleaded

He just smiled the smile of a saint and receded

Thursday, July 22, 2010


A long sinuous road

lined with trees green

The bright orange sun

surrounded by grey clouds

This morning reminds me

of the walk we took

late summer that year

*A one-minute poem. Exactly 30 words.

Monday, June 07, 2010

कुछ पंक्तियाँ

जो तुम्हारी अहमियत राहे-ज़िन्दगी में महसूस होती
इजहारे दिल करने की गुस्ताखी ना की होती

गुरूर तुम्हें हो ना कहीं अपने ही होने का
गुज़री शामें जों, वो तुम्हारी जुस्तजू नहीं
मेरे दिल की लगी थीं...


मैं अपनी दो बादामी आखों में समां रही हूँ तूफ़ान
और यह विशाल अम्बर कुछ बूँदें ना रोक पाया

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Raise A Toast To My 100th Post :-)

Last night my blog came to life

Will you not write, till I put your neck on the tip of a knife?

With a shudder I thought I had breathed life into my enemy

Attacking me in my sleep, how can my blog such a coward be?

Then it smiled, the smile of an old soul

Gently reminded me of my own goal

Writing to your heart’s content

That love in your words, I wonder where it went?

It is still there I confessed

I have a long list of words too, I professed

But this time, in my 100th post

Your companionship I want to toast

My dear blog, you found me friends

A world where no one pretends

Teachers who taught without preaching

Moments, which will have consequences far reaching

And then my blog showed me some angels dear

Fellow members of this world we have created-the blogosphere

With tears in my eyes and a smile on my lips

I was glad to realise I could never count you all on my finger tips

On June’s second day

I request you to, today

Raise your glasses to toast

My 100th post

Trust me the toast is not in the honour of the words I spilled

It is to honour you and the voids in my life you filled

You showed faith and helped me survive

Each of your comments made me come alive

To you I owe the last 99 posts

Thanks for coming to this space from near and far away coasts

I have more to offer, I believe

Lots of stories still in air, which I need to weave.

This post, my 100th (never dreamed I could do it), coincides with my 27th birthday. Please wish and pray for my long-lasting relationship with words this day. :-)

Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Drought

Droughts are a frequent occurrence

For the masses they bring sufferance

Only four species benefit from the drought

The Sarpanch, the Leather Tanner, the Dog and the Vulture.

One sunny day, I heard someone say

"Prosperous days are here to stay"

The Sarpanch nodded his approval

The Leather Tanner wore a smile so cruel.

I'm a Gemini curious by nature

I had to know the conversations' matter

I sighed heavily, sat down besides them

Seeing Sarpanch's hand, I said, "Those are beautiful gems"

"One from each drought I've earned" he said.

His face was alight with pride instead of dread

"Each year the village gets funds for drought relief

I keep major portions for myself, as I am the chief"

The Tanner boasted, "I too have earned a fortune!"

"From the dead cows leather?" I asked in tune.

He replied, "I've tanned 40 cows, you know;

With a sharp knife from head to toe."

In their eyes I saw a drought of emotions

I realized how wrong were my humanitarian notions.

Drought represents not only climatic condition

It also exhibits human nature's variation.

I walked ahead, instead of using my car,

I met a Dog and a Vulture not very far.

The Dog barked, "The prosperous days are here to stay."

Giving it company was the vulture—the bird of prey.

Suddenly, I dawned upon the similarity

Between the animal and human personality.

Dogs and Vultures follow animal culture

We humans are worse we exploit each other.

Droughts are a frequent occurrence

For the masses they bring sufferance

Only four species benefit from the drought

The Sarpanch, the Leather Tanner, the Dog and the Vulture.

Blast from the past: I wrote this one ten years ago in 2000.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

A cup of coffee and an evening stroll

Unfinished never-ending friendly lively talks

Discussing books music films over long walks

Eternity was never our goal

We were content with a cup of coffee and an evening stroll

We had our fair share of horrible mistakes

Not to forget a couple of massive heartaches

Fortunately immortality was never our goal

We were content with a cup of coffee and an evening stroll

The marriage of two souls

Walking on burning red coals

Well that was never our goal

All we wanted was just a cup of coffee and an evening stroll

This is an attempt to write a poetic fiction in 100 words. A poetic drabble if you will. :-)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Ranneh Falls and Panna

I have no plans of converting Priyanka's Point into a photoblog. But there are many pieces of writings, I believe, these photos can inspire. Here are some photos from my recent vacation to Ranneh Falls and Panna.

I had gone to Khajuraho, for an official conference with my colleagues. You can see the Khajuraho photos here.

Ranneh Falls is a 1 hour drive from Khajuraho.

Below is a volcanic crater, which now is the abode for alligators. Rain water falls as waterfalls on these hard lava rocks. When we reached this spot, there was an eerie silence engulfing this place.

After Khajuraho , my friends and I set out to Panna. We stayed at Ken River Lodge. The USP of this place was the Tree Top restaurant and the huts where we stayed.

As the sun set, the lights on the pathways were lit.
After a long-stretched antakshari session and dinner, we counted the lamps back to our huts and had a peaceful sleep of merely 4 hours.We, a bunch of city slickers, woke up at an un-earthly hour and this is how the sky looked with the moon still high at 4 o' clock in the morning.

In the next hour, the sky changed its colour several times, exhibiting its true beauty for us.Our gang of girls, boarded a safari jeep and set out for Panna Tiger Reserve, in the hope of spotting a tiger.
The tiger it seems was scared of us and decided to hide, but some other animals were more friendly. The Panchatantra gang came out in full force to greet us. There were sambhars, langoors and peacock.

and a fly-past by the white cranes over the river Ken.

The most interesting find, however, was this open toilet and as a group of editors, the sign board was what got us even more excited than a sure-shot chance of spotting a tiger would have.

After a fun 4 hour drive in the open safari jeep, we returned to the Ken River Lodge. The blackened tree stubs that were lined on the pathway caught my fancy.

After a delicious lunch, some members of the group decided to take a nap and some of my friends decided to sit by the river, near the boat.
I on the other hand, enjoyed the cool breeze, a book, old Hindi film songs and let my feet up at the Tree Top restaurant.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Somewhere in my heart
You will always live
Like a broken smile
Or an autumn chill

A little space in my memory
You will always occupy
Like a shattered dream
Or the winter nip


And one day without a word
Without a smile or an excuse
I'll vanish into the depths
Leaving you in agony of loneliness

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Best Compliment Ever

"What is the best compliment you ever got?” With a mischievous smile that reflected in my eyes, I replied, “Someone said recently, ‘I wish there were more people like you.’” At that moment, I saw a look in his eyes. Those eyes said a thousand words to me. The look told me that I amused him, surprised him, amazed him and left him stunned. Just in case I missed the message, he added, “You are something else you know.” And I thought to myself, “That look in your eyes is the best compliment I have ever got.”

Sunday, April 11, 2010

To the little scared girl

Today, I had a glimpse of my past
And who I used to be
I wish I could reach out to that little scared girl
Assure her everything will be fine eventually

But I will warn - Future is not all that it is made to be
There are hardships, tears and situations you never bargained for
People will die, leaving a void for you to fill
For ever torn between a feeling of relief and mourning you will remain

The way the world sees you will alter
You will hate the pity in their eyes
But at the same time for their empathy you will vie
With tears in your eyes, smile on your lips you will survive

After the initial rush of emotions
The positives I will list
There will be a sense of victory in everything you do
No failure will daunt you, even though people might taunt

You will shine wherever you go
Your presence will be treasured and absence felt
Friends, as good as can be, you will make
Someone will always be there to wipe your tears away

Your values will be different from others around
A hug, smile, long chats with friends will mean more
Than the wealth of the world, and the fanciest of cars
You will see beyond the physical and judge good from bad

Now that you are smiling through your tears once again
I’ll burst the bubble and tell you one thing
Rarely will people look beyond your appearance
Their senses are not attuned to see your past or the promise of your future

After more than a decade of struggle
You will want to come and hug your scared little self.
You will want to reach out to that sobbing girl
Assure her everything will be fine eventually.

Image courtsey:

Edit tips from Charlie of the Scribble Pad fame helped make this one better. Thanks Charlie.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


The look matters not to me

But you telling me about your day…

For me that’s where the attraction lay

It’s with words that I play.

The touch I cared not much for

But your cry from far away…

For me that’s where the attraction lay

It’s with words that I play

The fragrant flowers said nothing to me

But what you ask for me while you pray…

For me that’s where the attraction lay

It’s with words that I play.

The taste of your chocolates failed to last

But the effect of your poem will forever stay…

For me that’s where the attraction lay

It’s with words that I play.

The sound of your breath made no impact

But your whisper in the month of May…

For me that’s where the attraction lay

It’s with words that I play.

Image courtsey:

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Like a medal he wore me

Like a medal he wore me

I was his achievement

A victory to be proud of

Something to show-off

Like a medal he wore me

I was his token of honour

A symbol of his nobility

Something to boast about

Like a medal he wore me

I was his to display

A souvenir to decorate his pride

Something to flaunt

Like a medal he wore me

I was his to possess

A memento of his heroism

Something to exhibit

Like a medal he wore me

I was always his

A jewel to adorn his chest

Something in his heart he never kept

Pure Fiction... Inspired by a dialogue I heard on TV while channel surfing.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Across Three Rivers (Part-III): Of Cakes and Wettest Place On Earth

You can read Part -I and Part II here and here respectively.

After asking, “Are we there yet?” 20 more times in the next 20 minutes, we finally reached the church. The first thing that hit me was everyone was dressed in their finery and I looked like a big trunk of woollens. That thought remained with me for less than 20 seconds as the choir began singing carols and hymns. It was a beautiful service and I was transported to my school days as I sung all the hymns. The best part was that the service was held in Khasi (the local language of Shillong) as well as in English. While I knew almost all the hymns in English, Khasi was a whole new experience for me as this was the first time I had heard the language. I am proud to say that by the end of the hour and half of the Christmas mid-night mass I sang a hymn in Khasi as well.

Once the service was over, we wished each other and began walking once again. Thankfully for others, I forgot complaining about the walking and began enjoying the festive spirit. We walked to see naivety scenes across the city. Strangers-driving, walking or just standing having a hot cup of coffee, wished each other. It was an open road party. We had coffee at a shop near Nitu’s home at 1 o’clock and then proceeded to have tea and cake at her neighbour’s house. The best thing about everyone I met in Shillong was that although I was meeting them for the first time, they instantly made me feel at home.

At almost 2 at night, Anthony and I bid farewell to our hosts and left for home. By this time, I was fresh as a daisy. Sleep seemed like an alien concept. However, by the time we reached home, everyone was asleep. We tip-toed into the house and I felt like a princesses when I saw that my bed had already been made. There were 2 HUGE quilts and a hot waterbag was placed under the two layers to ensure I would not feel cold. I was told the next day that my excessive shivering earlier in the evening had scared Prakash (Nitu’s husband) who had insisted on spreading the 12 Kg quilt for me.

After a wonderful sleep I woke up on Christmas day sure that the cold was enough to guarantee snow. Although my hope for a white Christmas were not fulfilled, the view from Nitu’s balcony over a cup of hot tea, boiled eggs, bread toasts and cakes (yes I had cake for breakfast!) was breathtaking. Over tea she made me jealous by telling me that she need not leave the comforts of her home to enjoy the performances of international stars, who regularly perform in Shillong. The stadium, where the performances are held is a stone’s throw away from Nitu’s place and that day we could hear carols while sipping our tea. After a lazy morning which languorously turned into afternoon, I had more tea, a lot of conversation and read my book in the sun. It was awesome.

The day progressed to be even a better one, as Nitu, Neelav (Nitu’s son) and I were dropped at her friend, Lana’s house by Prakash, who joined us later. The house was beautiful and was a culmination of all my British home fantasies. It was wooden, had a huge Christmas tree, a fireplace with a mantle and loads of family photos everywhere. Lana served 5 types of cakes and all I could think of then was… "Oh my friends are going to be jealous when they read about this in the blog." It was a wonderful evening as I met a lot of people at Lana’s house. All of them wanted to know what I did, how I knew Nitu and when they found out that we were blogger friends, they all had a priceless expression on their faces.

When we returned home, I was advised to sit around the fire, being lit in Nitu’s mom’s room. I can guarantee that was the warmest place I have ever been too. Not just because of the fire, but because Aunty is such a loving and caring lady. The six of us – Aunty, Prakash, Nitu, Anthony, Neelav and I sat around the fire warming our hands and watching TV. It was pure bliss.

On the third day Nitu and Neelav took me around the city. We went to the Lady Hydari Park, which looks like a picture postcard. We clicked a lot of photos and then were off to lunch. We had a delicious pizza and then Nitu and I hit the market with a vengeance. I shopped like crazy, picking up souvenirs for friends.

Exhausted with the day's labour, we returned home. At home, I went to may favourite place, near the fire, had a long chat with Prakash and Anthony about politics, while having dinner and watching TV. I was a perfect guest, shamelessly enjoying the hospitality without once picking even a finger.

I was told that the next day, Prakash would drive Nitu and me to Cherrapunji. I was super excited to actually visit a place about which I had been reading since 3rd standard. Charrapunji is the wettest place on Earth. Well it was for several years.

The drive to Cherrpunji was beautiful. There was greenery all around. We stopped at several places to click photographs. Prakash had Nitu and me in splits with his jokes and remarks. There were a number of waterfalls we saw and we clicked photographs at the best ones. I don't want to say too much about this day. So I am posting loads of photos for you to see and imagine the fun we had. Just a request, simply multiply your imagination by 100 and then you might come close to the fun we had that day.

More in the next and the final post. :-)