Daddy Diaries : And she turns one

Dear diary,

Anika turns one today. In the last few weeks, she gave us one jolt after another. First, teeth started sprouting all over inside her mouth. I know that is normal but it was strange to see her with teeth. She looks like a bunny when she laughs which she does a lot nowadays. She farts and laughs. A lot.

She has started walking too. She did a drunk dance for a few days and then one day, got up and crossed a room. Everyone fell silent and looked at each other, as if we have realized that there was a green alien from Mars sitting in the room with us. Then everyone fell upon each other to grab their mobiles. She clapped and laughed and walked. She is still getting the hang of it. Her gait is funny.

She has started eating all kind of food – eggs, yogurt, butter, panner, khichdi – you name it, she eats it. We usually have to put up a song when she eats. Thank God her relationship is over with Justin Beiber’s Baby. The affinity was driving me crazy. Nowadays, it is plain, old Lakdi ki kathi. Bless the Lord.


A few days back she made the first connection between a word and what that word means. It was a bit surreal. I don’t know how to explain it. It is like that moment when you understand the first word in a French movie because you have started learning the language. That happiness. That first click. I felt that for her.

And that was the first time I felt how far away she has come from being an unknown face floating in liquids that she was a year back.

Last year, we were worried about everything going right, worried about her grand entry in the world. And when the doctors brought her out – a pink mass of flesh, completely dissatisfied with the change in her quiet existence, hungry, crying – I felt a surge of blood to my face. Something changed inside me. I went to the nursery, saw the nurses put some identification on her as she tried to open her eyes and look at me. I stood there a long time trying to comprehend what had just happened. I became a father. Holy crap!

Dear Diary,

It had been a crazy one year journey. Geet and I went through myriad collection of emotions. Our limits were tested. Sometimes, there were cloudbursts of happiness. Sometimes we went through volcanic eruption of frustrations. But we clung to each other. We watched her face change every day. We saw her pick up new habits and discard the old ones within weeks. We saw her smile one fine day and smiled with her. I won’t lie if I say that there weren’t times when we wanted to break free, when we wanted our own personal space, when all this got too overwhelming for both of us. And that is when our families came to our support. I don’t know what we would have done without them.

But you know what, Diary? We always felt guilty about leaving her behind whenever we went for a movie or a dinner date. We kept talking about her. I remember both of us getting restless when we went to watch a movie leaving Anika with her grandparents for the first time. We could not sit through the second half. And that is when we realized how much our lives have changed. How much this girl has crept up in our thought process. How much she means to us.

In January ’14, Geet and I went on a holiday with Anika to Kasauli. She was seven months old and everyone scared us to bits about taking such a small child to the hills. We still went ahead and immensely enjoyed the trip except for that one time when we had to go to a temple on the top of a hill and taking her there in the pram was not an option. I picked her in my arms and climbed the hill and then scared a monkey away who tried to kidnap her. I was Superman in Geet’s eyes that day. Her jaw scraped the ground and she had no idea how I did that. Neither did I.


 I wonder what is in store for us in the future. I am scared that she might not pick up my habit of reading or watching movies. I want to discuss books with her. I want to discuss old Hollywood classics with her. I know, I should not be imposing any sort of career choices on her but I want her to an artist – a singer or a painter or a writer or a dancer. I want her to love her profession. I want her to choose a career that fulfils her, not something that just pays the EMI of  her apartment. But, well, I think I am thinking far ahead. We will cross the bridge when we come to it. All that makes her happy right now is her plastic fruit basket that she loads and unloads relentlessly with plastic mango, papaya and bananas.

So, one year has gone by Dear Diary. Who knows what the future holds. But I do pray that the fun continues.

Happy Birthday Anika.


Daddy Diaries : About working hard and Kissing feet

Dear Diary,

I am delighted to announce that the days of the tribal dance are over. As soon as Anika completed her third month, she started adjusting to the fact that a dark room means that she is supposed to go to sleep. Then, my sister-in-law sent her this miraculous gift all the way from America and everything fell into place like a jigsaw puzzle.

fisher price

Image from here

Now when she has to sleep, she starts rubbing her eyes as if she is hell-bent to claw them out which is a signal to put her in the cot. Then we switch off the lights and switch on the hallucinator (that is what we have named the device) and she goes to sleep within five minutes.

Anika completed four months on Earth on 21st September which means she has completed one-third of a revolution around the Sun. She has started turning sideways. She laughs now and for some spiritual reasons, loves to put her whole hand in her mouth. A few days back, Geet and I took her to her nani’s house. She stayed there for four days. When we returned, my family pounced on her like hungry vultures as they have never lived without her for so long. We were hardly inside the doors when my mom and dad swooshed her out of our arms and started cuddling her. We were scared that she might get crushed between them. Now Anika was confused as they had been erased from her memory in the last four days. Dear Diary, you cannot imagine the ruckus she created. She screamed like the bathroom lady in Psycho for half an hour and leaked a bucket-full of her tears. We were perplexed and kept checking her for any injuries. It took her a day to re-adjust and understand that no one was trying to cook her for dinner.

Dear Diary,

My daily schedule is so tiring that I am hardly able to spend much time with Anika. I leave home at 7 and come back by 8:30 at night. By that time, I am donkey tired but I do try my best to hover over her and remind her of my face. I can see the difference now. She laughs much easily with people who are with her for the whole day. She has difficulty placing me at times. This really scares me. I don’t want to be like those filmy fathers who earn money for the family and are distant from their children. Twenty years down the line, I don’t want Anika to turn around and tell me that I was never there for her when she wanted me, that I was always busy with my work. God knows that will kill me. I have to find a way to be around her and my family, to give them more of my time. I know she will need me more and more as she grows up.

I do not understand the men who say that they are working hard to provide a better future to their children. What is that supposed to mean? Isn’t this what our parents thought too? But we are still working hard, aren’t we? What about the present? What about spending this moment with your child? Diary ji, people might call me unambitious but I will prefer that to my daughter calling me distant.

Dear Diary,

Anika has developed a strange habit. She can’t stay still. At any given point of time, only her head and torso is visible because she is flailing her arms and legs like one of those mutants in X-Men. Now this poses a great difficulty when she is to be fed. Geet and I magically fell upon the solution one day. You have to kiss her feet for her to stop. Keep kissing both her feet and she turns into this obedient entity. I hope this practice does not continue till adulthood.

Time is flying. A few days back we kept aside a few of her clothes that are too short for her now. It was such a surreal moment. She was such a small tiny girl weighing 2.6 Kg when she was born. Now she is 6.5 Kg and 14 cm taller. Isn’t that amazing Dear Diary? She is such a calm kid, laughs all the day and is a perfect recipe to raise your spirits. After my hectic day, all it takes is her smile to drain out all my tiredness.

Life is beautiful. It really is.


Fog Lake


Nani passed away when I was in UK. Geet and I were returning to Manchester from Halifax. I had gone there for a week-long training. I remember sitting in the train when dad called up and broke the news. I remember staring at the hills as they rushed past. I tried to remember the last time I had seen her. It was ten years ago in a cousin’s marriage.

A few days before her death, I told Geet that we will go to Dalhousie and meet Nani as soon as we go back to India. Nani had not attended our marriage that happened a year ago. She was too old to travel from Dalhousie to Delhi. Mom told us that she took out printouts of our marriage pictures and showed them to her when she went to Dalhousie. She kissed the pictures and blessed us.

She died three weeks before the end of my deputation in UK. 

I could never understand why mom and nani cried every time they met. My father and nana looked out of the window uncomfortably as the women went all teary eyed. Later I realised that it was the distance. We were not very rich to afford a yearly visit. 

Dalhousie was the only hill station I had seen while I grew up. For other people, it was Manali or Nainital or Shimla. For me, it was always Dalhousie. It was a home away from home. It meant looking at the lines on my nani’s face and listening to her stories. It meant that intoxicating aroma of pine and deodar trees. It meant the scents of the creaking wooden floor of her house. It meant the flavours of the apples that fell off that tree near the stone stairs of the first floor of her house. It meant the smells of her kitchen, smells of kasrod pickle in a clay jar.  

Dalhousie always brought peace to my mind. There was this deafening silence there that was hard to find in Delhi. You could hear the winds passing through the trees. You could smell the whiffs of earthly smells that came from the fog that rose from the belly of the valley every morning. I could see a few terrace farms below nani’s house. The farms ended abruptly over a cliff. The valley below was a reserve forest full of lush green trees. I could see hills beyond the forest and serpentine miniature roads with toy buses plying on them. The hills covered the whole landscape till the horizon. There were times when I would get up in the morning and sit alone in the balcony of the upper floor. The place smelled of nature. Then sometimes fog would rise from the lake in the forest below and engulf the whole valley. Sometimes there would be clouds and they would turn the whole sky to various shades of deep blue. It was surreal to take in the smells of Earth and trees. I remember feeling as if I had tasted heaven. I remember taking deep breaths and wondering if my parents could leave me to stay with nani forever. I remember thinking that I could die happily sitting forever in that balcony. That is all I wanted from life.

As time passed, life became more and more busy and years passed between my subsequent trips to Dalhousie. There was always some important exam or hostel life or job in another city. Before I realized, I had not visited Dalhousie for ten years. Never a day passed in those ten years when I had not yearned for those mountains, for that smell of pines, for touching that cloud once again that visited nani’s house once. I felt guilty and frustrated at times. I saw nani grow old in pictures. She told mom that she missed me every time mom visited her. The yearning to see her and the mountains was so strong that I promised myself every year to visit her as soon as possible. I knew she won’t live very long. She was bedridden now. Her back was bent. Her skin was peeling off. I knew I had to go and meet her.

And then UK happened. The promise was locked away. I prayed to God to keep her alive till my return. She passed away three weeks before I came back. 

I have visited numerous hill-stations in India. I have seen the highlands of Scotland. I have seen the Alps. And all of them remind me of my nani’s house. Whenever I am surrounded by mountains, I can just close my eyes, take a deep breath and transport myself back to Dalhousie. The smells of a creaking wooden floor of a house in the mountains brings a smile on my face. The smells of winds wafting through pines bring tears to my eyes. The sight of peaks leave an ache in my heart. Whenever a relative brings kasrod pickle from Dalhousie, I can smell my nani’s kitchen in it.

I haven’t been to Dalhousie after my nani’s death. I still have to summon enough courage to do that. I wish I had taken out time to meet her. I wish I had understood how ephemeral life is.

I wish I could go back and meet her once. And then sit on the balcony and smell the fog lifting from the lake. 

[image from here]

This post have been written for Ambipur contest on Indiblogger

Daddy Diaries : Timings, Fire and Nosy Aunties


Dear Diary,

Anika turns two months old tomorrow. She is taller by a few centimeters and weighs almost double of what she weighed at the time of her birth. She now has layers and layers of baby fat on her arms and legs and has a double chin that can shame Adnan Sami (older one). She also has started smiling although she does that more while staring at the walls than the family which scares the shit out of us. We believe that there is a ghost in the house.

Sharma Clan is famous for its sense of timing. We have a 100% track record of understanding the importance of a perfect sense of disruption and I am proud to announce that Anika has picked the trait in just two months of her existence. So, the moment I put her to sleep and tiptoe towards my laptop, she suddenly opens her eyes and start wailing. The feat is repeated when we are eating food or trying to take a nap or basically doing anything that does not involve her. She pretends to be asleep and the moment you happily turn your face emancipating a sigh of relief, she opens her eyes and give an evil grin.

I am so proud of her.

Dear Diary,

We had Anika’s naming ceremony a few days back. It was just a formality as she already has a birth certificate with her name on it. She slept throughout the ceremony, flailing her arms in alarm as if the world was about to end when the priest dropped a utensil on the floor. When the fires were lit in the hawan kund, we deported her inside. The priest had too much time on his hands as he had no other appointments and he took his own sweet time to finish off the ceremony.

Now I really like the fire part of such rituals. I was adding ghee to the fires, just like those vamps in our daily soaps. It is an art. You have to drop the ghee at precise locations so that the wood catches fire properly and you don’t end up suffocating to death. It’s basic survival skills. So the whole Sharma clan was more interested in strategically burning the wood rather than what the priest had to say. He was anyways into too much of Sanskrit. In the end, I had to lower a mini coconut in the fire and I loved to see it burn with the rest of the wood that the family had successfully reduced to ashes.

Then the eunuchs arrived. Their leader was a towering personality (imagine The Great Khali in a saree) who made us shudder by her dance. We had to part with 7500 Rs because the gang repeatedly threatened us that they will be taking off their clothes in front of us. I was amused and actually wanted to see if they are capable of doing that but I got glares from my family and we finally gave in to the blackmail.

nosy peopleI can’t describe how much I abhor all those nosy ladies from Mom’s kitty who came for the ceremony. One of them has a granddaughter of her own who is a month younger to Anika. There is some problem with her eyes as they water very frequently. The doctors say that they might have to do a minor surgery. Now this lady finds solace in scrutinizing all the babies in the colony to find watery or uneven eyes. The first comment that fell off her mouth after seeing Anika was – Don’t you think one of her eyes is smaller than the other?

“Really? Just like your boobs?” I wanted to ask. Of course I held my tongue back. Then she did what we were avoiding to do throughout the ceremony. She smeared Anika’s forehead with the red tilak and then plonked a few rice grains on top of it as if she was a ceremonial goat tied in a temple.

Another lady had a huge issue with what Anika was wearing. She behaved as if we have draped the baby in woolens in peak summers. Then she had a problem with her name too.

“Why Anika? It is a very old fashioned name,” she remarked.

Another one had a problem with Anika’s upper lip. Sigh! Dear Diary, I must tell you that my middle finger was twitching to be raised throughout their stay in my house. I am contemplating putting a sign board outside the house specifying that dogs and nosy aunties are not allowed inside.

Dear Diary,

Anika got two injections in her thigh as well. The moment the needle went in, there was an expression of utter shock on her face and then the scream came 5 seconds later shattering all the glass windows of the hospital. I think she was quite brave, given the fact that her mother still holds my hand while facing an injection and makes a face as if she has swallowed a frog.

Time is flying by. I can feel it. A few days back Geet and I were discussing about how Anika will grow up and leave us one day to find her world. Silly, I know. It all started when I took a policy in Anika’s name that will mature in 21 years. Now I have two policies to take care of in addition to a home loan. The dent in my pocket is so enormous that I can fall through it and out of my pants.


I need to stop. She is awake and quivering her lips like Sharmila Tagore.

So long.

[images from 1,2]

Daddy Diaries : Mind Un-pooped


Dear Diary,

There are some things more scarier than L.K. Advani becoming the Prime Minister of India and him dozing off in his swearing-in ceremony. More scarier than him suddenly waking up and saying – Now I can die peacefully – and then doing exactly that. I wonder how our President will react to that. Wait! Who is our President nowadays?

Sorry Dear Diary, I went a bit off track. I was talking about scary things. Right.

Ever since I have seen parents handling their kids, the one thing that has scared me the most is the act of cleansing the child off undesirable and discarded belongings. I have always found the act repulsive and the mere mention of a diaper would give me cold sweat. I really could not understand eager parents who would open the diapers at the drop of a hat to examine the insides, the same way they would examine their child’s report card years later. There are some who do not take the pain and simply sniff the diaper as if they are strolling in the annual flower show in the Mughal Gardens. Then there are some who put their hand underneath the diaper and weigh it to guesstimate its approximate weight and act accordingly. There are times when I have seen parents indulge in incredibly horrifying and nauseating multitasking like eating Rajma Rice with one hand and handling the diaper with another.

I must admit Dear Diary that I have turned my face away with aversion whenever I have seen the act. But as they say – You can run, you can hide but you can’t escape God’s sadism.

When I discussed it with Geet, we hugged and cried with relief because she felt exactly the same but was always afraid to discuss it with me. She told me of one lone incident when she tried to change her nephew’s diaper and then could not eat anything for the rest of the day. There was a soothing calmness in knowing the fact that we were equally hopeless. Dear Diary, you cannot believe the burden it took away from our shoulders.

The fear returned when Anika was born. Geet was too weak to do anything for the first few days and it fell upon me to do the inevitable act that I have dreaded all my life. The moment of truth had arrived. I waited with bated breath for the sound of release. I had no idea how it would sound like or whether there would be a sound at all. And then I heard it. It sounded like a dormant volcano that has come alive. My heart was in my mouth as I opened the diaper with trembling hands. Beads of perspiration were glistening on my forehead. Geet looked at me with an expression that smelled of pity, helplessness and amusement.

Dear Diary, what happened next was so unexpected that I still find it hard to believe. My mind was un-pooped. There was no feeling of revulsion or disgust. I did not choke. In fact I smiled as if I have discovered diamonds in the diaper. I cleaned her, changed her diaper and then closed Geet’s hanging jaw.

I don’t know how it works. How does your mind behave in an entirely different way when it is your own child. I have been fighting this phobia for such a long time but when the time came and things actually happened, my mind behaved as if it was the most natural things to clean butts smeared with refuse with a straight face. I guess, there are a few switches that are turned on after you become a parent.

This, Dear Diary, has been the most fortunate turn of events. And it wasn’t just me. Geet too did not feel a thing. In fact, there are times when we examine everything closely and discuss various factors like colour, graininess and flow before using the wipes. There have been times when Anika has done a ‘Balam Pichkari’ on my clothes and I have laughed at that too.

I have done it 230 times till now. Yes, I have been counting. It is an achievement dammit. I have also realized the fact that diapers are so expensive. I keep telling Anika to use them judiciously and she has been a nice girl.

Dear Diary,

Time is flying. She is a month old now. Geet and I are already discussing investments for her. Oh wait! There she goes again. Oh! That sound is so amazing. Etna has erupted.

Time to go.

[image from here]

The vocabulary I thought I would never understand

Children, the ultra energetic innocence on two feet, scare me at times. I do not have a child of my own, not yet, although the clan is raising its voice vociferously from the last few months.

My sister-in-law came from USA for a month to spend some time with voltage fluctuations, power cuts, scorching heat, dust and the family. The trauma is yet to end but I am sure she is looking forward to it. With her came her two sons. Lets call them PR (6 years old) and PA (2 years old).

PR is the sensible one as you can make him sit quietly by switching on the television and hurriedly tuning in to cartoon network. PA is a different story all together. Let me add that PA is the cutest kid I have ever seen and I love to throw him up in the air and catch him, but what really puts a smile on my face is his vocabulary. I have seen parents having serious conversations with two year olds and I used to give them bah-crazy-people looks, but PA somehow changed my perception. I thought of writing this post mainly to remember him as he is now, freezing him in time.

Addressing the Family

Nani, Mamma, Bhaiya, Maasi, Aunty, Didi are the words PA could speak with dexterity. The problem was with Uncle – the word he used to address me. It came out as ‘Ikon’ and somehow I had to stop myself for a few days from turning around on the roads and see if a FORD IKON just passed by when he addressed me. He added another mind twister in his kitty when he started addressing my sister as A.C. Didi. How my sister turned into an air conditioner is still a mystery.

The Double O

A lot of words PA utter end with a OO, examples being – BooBoo (which means that he has hurt himself and he is going to cry very soon), DooDoo (milk, for obvious reasons), TooToo (a broken thing). The other day, PA banged his head on the door and incidentally there was a red pen mark at the exact spot. He spent the rest of the day BooBoo-ing and putting his finger on his head and the red mark convincing us that that was his blood and he was badly hurt.

Car (r rolled), Maar (r rolled), Baar (r rolled) and Pyaar

You buy him a car and the first thing he will do is to take the rubber tyres off. Piss him off and he will make a very dangerous face and raise his left hand to his right side. Just before the punch will land on your face, the word “Maar” would be uttered, giving you a very small window to defend yourself. As far as Pyaar goes, he has a hair (women only) fetish. All of a sudden, while playing, he will take Geet’s or AC Didi’s hair in his hands and smell them. The expression on his face is quite similar to what the girls have in those AXE advertisements. And when he is hell bent to go out of the house, he will keep saying “baar” and bring your clothes and shoes so that you hurry up and do not waste his time.

Play Lea and Tuys

Both PR and PA are crazy for Play Lea (Play Area) and Toys. Go to a mall and leave them in a play area and you can shop all day. PA will go quietly and sit in a toy car for the whole time. He somehow enjoys the madness of a play area by just observing it and tsk-tsk-ing the children jumping needlessly around him.

That is PA, sitting in his car in the play area and trying to understand why everyone around him is jumping.

Taap Taap on Ipone and Pone Neena

I am surprised at times how children are so quick with gadgets. PA just needed one lesson from me on how to unlock the Iphone and play games. He somehow loves Tap Tap revenge (which he calls Taap Taap), Need For Speed (Carr), Tom the Cat (he loves hitting him and then giving him some milk). He would not eat his food till the Ipone is in his hand. And weird as it might sound, but he loves to watch his own videos and chuckle loudly – the activity which is judiciously used by my Sis-in-law to put a large chunk of food in his mouth.

Finally when he has played for a long time, I have to take the phone from him and tell him that now it is the time for the phone to sleep (Neena). I even put a pillow under the phone and a sheet over it to make sure PA gets it. He taps the phone gently till it goes to sleep.

Ellooooo and Powwwerrrr

The moment PA wakes up in the morning, he flashes all his teeth and hug you with a Ellooooo (Hello). He has a habit of saying hello every time he peeks in and enters a room. He has to say hello to whoever is there on the other end of the telephone and then he goes aaii-aaaii-aaii. Powwwerrr (Power) is any superhero. Whether he is wearing a T-Shirt with Batman, Superman or Spiderman on it, they are all Power.

Peepee, Poopee and more Poopee

PA is still a diaper boy. You should see him doing Poopee in his diaper. Anyone who is not used to the strained, red, angry face might think he is trying to move the dining table. And if you try to change the diaper before he thinks you should change it, he makes a duh-I-am-busy-here face and simply says – more poopee.

Sometimes when Pone Neenaa doesn’t work, I have to tell him something like – Pone Poopee. It works at times.

There are so many more words in his vocabulary but this post is getting really long. His innocence tugs at my heart and I will miss him and PR when they go back to Amrika. PR needs an entire separate post because of the number of queries he has asked me about Fantastic Four and the Silver Surfer. I think I have answered each one of them 10 times but he loves to ask questions.

Anyways, what really makes me sad is that the next time I see him, PA might not be this funny kid with this funny vocabulary, but then, sadly, we all grow up. No matter how tired I feel after spending a day with them, I crack up the moment PA enters the room, say Elllloooo, start smelling Geet’s hair, hug her and say – IPone?

Life is like a Men’s Beauty Parlour

Cucumber face

Forrest Gump once said – Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.

I beg to differ. There are no horrors in a box of chocolates.

Life is like a men’s beauty parlour. You never know what unimaginable activity is going to hurt your eyes.

Now there is drama in this. A box of chocolates is all too sugary, just like rose-tinted glasses.

Here is the secret. I have been to one of those….places. But I swear on my virgin eyebrows that it was the first and the last time, largely because of the eye-popping climax.

*Flashback. Misty eyed. Looking at the distant past with Aamir’s Satyamev Jayate look*

I was about to get married in five days. My mom, in a sudden urge, captured my face with her fingers and looked intensely at it. I felt like a fish, spluttering helplessly in an eagle’s claw.

“Too many whiteheads! You have to go to the parlour. I want you to shine.”

“Over my dead body”, I said.

If I have not clarified this before, let me pause and take this opportunity to clear out a few things. I am a guy. Guys do not go to beauty parlours. Period.

My sister joined the chorus basically because she was having fun on my expense. So, I was pushed into having a five day course at a nearby Men’s parlour with a completely forgettable name and an ugly owner who could have used some of the parlour’s services.

One of the activities

Everyday someone would drop me there and then pick me up in an hour. What I witnessed in those five days was a revelation. I told the guy who was attending me to do whatever he wanted because I was least interested and was about to close my eyes for an hour. He smiled and bombarded my face with one cream after another. Packs and massages rained down, sometimes followed by a lot of steam from what looked like a spare part from an alien spaceship. For five days, there were cold and hot sensations, stinging, steams, sprays and god knows what. I behaved like a patient in coma. The only time my eyes popped out of their sockets was when he applied a green cream which looked like fluorescent poop and felt like needles. I asked him to immediately remove it before he turns me into carrot and himself into a pulpy mass of flesh and broken bones. His fingers revolving on my cheeks was bad enough.

What really got my goat was that the parlour was chock-a-block with boys and men. To be honest, I did peek around to satisfy my urge to understand the need of existence of such a place. There were men discussing face packs and hair colours, waxing their arms and legs, getting their eyebrows done, replacing eyeballs with cucumber and getting a haircut which took hours to finish and hard to spot. Sometimes, I felt like sitting at one of those unmentionable places with red bulbs where people do inexplicable stuff. This was way off my radar of comprehension. This was a really bad dream. My eyes hurt.

Oh! The climax! I almost forgot. On the day of my marriage, when my face was finally revealed in the unnecessarily huge mirror shimmering with the shiny teeth of my attendant at the background, I could hardly make out any difference, except that I was a bit whiter. I guess, that was the whole idea of clogging me with all the creams. I sighed and gave him the remaining amount from my pocket. He asked me to wait and picked up a glittering tube-ish thing from his stuff and started applying it on my lips.

“Err..what is this?”, I asked a bit alarmed and looked all around to make sure no one saw what was happening.

“This will make your lips look red.”

The first thing I did after paying him and coming out of the parlour was to spit and hastily rub my lips with a handkerchief before anyone saw me and start rolling on the ground laughing his head off. Then I inhaled deeply. I felt like Andy Dufresne in The Shawshank Redemption, finally free after digging a long, painful tunnel and swimming in a glittering, red sludgy liquid.

Nothing so dramatic!

Everyone at my home recognised me. I was not expecting to do a Jassi on them anyways.

*Flashback over. Eyes closed after the painful remembrance*

Well, that was then. I have never felt the need to dwell near any such establishment. The taste of that glitter still haunts me. Forrest Gump was wrong. None of the chocolates would have tasted this bitter.

Life is definitely like a Men’s beauty parlour – sometimes like the pain of seeing a man waxing his arms and sometimes like a cool facemask outlining a moustache.

[images from 1,2,3]

Coal and Chilies

Religion comes naturally to my parents. For me it’s like an invisible sibling with whom I have a love-hate relationship. It’s amazing how the rituals and processes to appease Gods which you were very sure your parents were never aware of suddenly resurface during ceremonies. And then there is our family astrologer. I was so amused by his predictions that I sometimes prodded mom to take his advice just to see what he would come up with. He had surprised me time and again and mom had deep faith in him. There are two incidences which instantly surface in my mind. Till date I am not sure whether it was plain luck or the astrologer actually waved his magic wand.

Offering coal to rivers and feeling foolish

I had finished my Masters and had dropped for a year to study for IIT’s GATE exam. I failed that exam and was in a completely suicidal mode. There was darkness all around and no candle of hope was visible. My career was finished.

(Exaggeration alert)

It was then when my mom went to the astrologer with tears in her eyes, banging his door and asking for help.

He patiently saw my birth chart and did some quick calculations and conveniently conveyed to my mother that I was going through a very rough seven and a half years phase of my life called “Sade Sati”. My mom gasped, sucking in two tears by mistake which were racing down her cheeks.

“Don’t worry sister. The good news is that the seven and a half years are almost done. Only a few months left. But yes, there are ways to negate the remaining effects quickly,” the astrologer said.

Mom’s eyes sparkled with hope, her heart racing towards her mouth.

“Please! Please tell me how oh! great astrologer!” she said.

“Ask your son to go to a river for three Tuesdays and offer coal to the flowing water. Take around a kilo of coal every time. This bad phase will pass quickly.”


I laughed loudly when I heard of this. Mom threw ice spikes from her eyes which effectively closed my mouth. I could have said no and that would have been the end but then I wanted to do this mostly because it sounded fun. I didn’t really think of the implications.

So, there I was, standing at the banks of Hindon River dropping coal in it and feeling utterly foolish. It was bearable the first time. By the time I reached the count of three, I wanted to kill the astrologer.

I forgot about it as soon as it was done and went back to my life which was basically twirling my fingers everyday. Surprisingly, things started to iron out soon. I cleared my NET exam, cleared JNU Ph.D. written exam and interview (only ten students were selected from all over India) and was accepted for M.Tech in Kurukshetra University. Suddenly from nothing-to-look-forward-to, I had too much to handle.

Mom thought it was all due to the blessings of the astrologer. I had my doubts. Maybe things were meant to happen this way but how did that bloody astrologer used it to his advantage?

(6 years later)

Respect me!

Honoring Sun god with water mixed with chili seeds and feeling foolish again

I was in Chennai working for an IT firm. I was there from the last 2.5 years and desperately wanted to come back home to Delhi. My manager wanted me to go to USA for a project from Chennai. No matter how lucrative the offer looked, I was not very keen on it as it meant working in Chennai after I would have come back and I was longing to go back home (at least for a few months). I talked to mom and she had a brilliant idea.

(Exaggeration alert)

Mom was again back to the astrologer. She wanted her son back. She had determination in her eyes. She would find a way no matter what. Her will was steel.

“Sister, don’t worry! I have a very effective solution. Your son will be able to bend the will of Gods,” the astrologer chirruped.

“Is it true? Oh! Please do tell me greatest astrologer of all times!!”


“Ask him to buy a copper mug. Fill it with water and a few red chili seeds. Ask him to go to the balcony of his house for three days in the morning and raise the mug towards the sun with both hands and drop the water slowly on the ground. Ask him to ask the Sun god whatever he wishes to come true.”

The sheer amount of time I wasted to find a copper mug can fill an encyclopedia but I finally did the whole process out of curiosity. In my heart I wanted to prove him wrong but wanted my wishes to be granted as well. And so I made the following wish – “Dear Sun God! I don’t know why I am doing this but if you are listening, please send me home first and then onsite. I do not want it the other way round.”

Mysteriously, due to some reasons, my USA Visa developed a snag and I got a call from a project in Delhi. I got transferred here and eight months later I was off to Manchester.

Now whatever you may call it but the lucky bastard got lucky a second time. I still could not nail him. My mom’s faith trebled.

Looking back, everything I did was crazy but somehow it made mom happy and somehow it worked. I have realized that sometimes desperation makes you do funny stuff. Also, incidences like these spice up your past. You can look back and laugh, regale yourself, smile and scratch your head and be happy that thankfully your family is what it is – Weird.

p.s. And if you are wondering where my mom got the coal from, she asked the local Ironman (no, not from Avengers!! The one who uses a very very heavy iron filled with coal to press the clothes) to get it for her.

[images from 1,2,3]

This entry is a part of the contest at in association with

A country called Uttar Pradesh


Top left is where the fun is!!

It has been six months since I shifted home to Ghaziabad. Don’t cringe. Yes, I have left Delhi for good because the locality where I lived had started looking like a ghetto in Nazi occupied Europe. It used to be an open, green space some twenty-five years back but urbanization (which basically means cars and humans reproducing like rabbits) has choked it. Now Ghaziabad is the next upcoming destination in NCR and has some nice localities like Kaushambhi, Vasundhara, Vaishali and Indirapuram. One of them is my home now. Eventually they will turn into a ghetto too but till then I can breathe. Hell! Sometimes I feel like a well settled nomad.

Ten years ago if somebody would have hinted that I should settle in Ghaziabad, I would have frozen that guy with my stare. I would have preferred eating mud sitting comfortably in a pit full of vipers. My perspective has changed. It’s just another piece of land (if you don’t consider the people).

If you consider the people, to say that Uttar Pradesh is a country in itself will be an understatement. Everything here is so similar yet so different from Delhi. There is something in the air of Uttar Pradesh. Adventures are so tempting in this country. A citizen who is a submissive Dr. Jekyll in Delhi would suddenly turn into Mr. Hyde on crossing the border. Sample this:

The Road is thy playground

Somehow the citizens of U.P. love to roam in the middle of roads. I still haven’t come in terms with people strolling like lazy buffaloes on the roads. I am sure I will pretty soon need toe surgery because of the sheer number of times I have to apply brakes to my car here. And, the icing on the cake is the stare I get later on. Makes me feel like a worm floating in a drain. People here don’t believe in looking left-right-left before crossing a road. They look straight ahead, as if looking in their distant happy future. I can bet it does not include a leg broken in a car accident because I bloody apply the breaks every time. Sometimes I do have the urge to accelerate and break someone’s leg. That will leave one less person to irritate me. You see? I am halfway to Hyde.

Road signs are for hanging politicians

The first time I saw this, I was taken aback. Appalled. Scandalized. I understand stupidity but this was fuc*ing unbelievable. A lot of those huge blue road signs on NH24 are very frequently covered with posters of ugly politicians congratulation more ugly politicians on their birthdays, on festivals, on buying a new cow or on whitewashing their house. And this is on an important highway where people depend on those road signs to find their way; A highway notorious for the sheer number of road accidents that happen on it.

Mr. Politician, its great that you want to be in some hotshot’s good books, but you can send then some darned flowers instead of confessing your love hanging from a signboard.

Uttar Pradesh takes “covering up” to a whole new level.

Rudeness rules

This one was observed by my father. Most of the shopkeepers here are downright rude. You might enter a shop and stand there till the end of the world and wither away and chances are that the shopkeeper might not even acknowledge your presence. They have a what-the-fu*k-do-you-want attitude followed by didn’t-I-just-fuc*ing-gave-you-what-you-wanted? The shopkeepers here are doing you a huge favor by allowing you in their shop and expect you to kiss their feet before you leave. While in Uttar Pradesh, brace yourself for that why-are-you-even-here-as*hole(?) look in the shops.

Lanes are for the retarded

Driving in the wrong lane is considered some sort of trophy here. It makes you a real man. It is something about which you could brag to your future generations. I have ducked huge trucks coming towards my car in the wrong lane. I almost pissed my pants that day and had nightmares for a few days. People here do not take the pain to go till the next U-turn to reach the proper lane. They just drive in the wrong lane even if they have to drive like this to their bloody destination. And they are so proud of this fete. A few days back, the rickshaw in which I was going home was almost trampled by a car speeding (!) in the wrong lane. The driver after hastily applying the brakes actually glared at the poor rickshaw puller.

To think of it, most of the people settled in these localities are from Delhi and they have completely lost it and turned into Mr. Hyde. Well, lawlessness is a virus hard to contain.

A special note for the driver of the bus which drops me home – You rock! You make the Pod race sequence in the Phantom Menace look like a couple or turtles taking a stroll.

Laziness is a gift

It took me four months to have a gas pipeline reach my house. The Electricity department is so unabashedly lazy that you have to take your meter reading yourself, go to their office and submit the amount. They won’t send you a bill or come to take the reading. Complain about a burst water pipeline in your locality and the concerned department don’t even bother to ask where. The postman does not bother to deliver mails. Online bill payment is something unheard of and the online websites look like rape victims – disarrayed and bewildered. Everyone seems to be so tired of their lives and are just waiting for it to end.

After being born and brought up in the capital, I had a pretty grim picture of Delhi in my mind. Twenty years ago, I might have written a similar post about Delhi. Uttar Pradesh seems to have pushed me back twenty years. It’s like living and breathing a Deja Vu. Now how many people get that golden chance of reliving a nauseating nostalgia?

The funny(?!?) flowers are here

I was going to write a serious post this week, but then I got up early on Sunday morning and thought of taking a walk in the garden which surrounds my apartment. I saw a few species of flowers which I have never seen in my life before and thought of taking some pictures and that is why the serious post will have to wait for a few more days! 🙂

There were so may colours around that I went crazy clicking. Have a look and you’ll know what I mean! And, oh, before I leave you with the pictures, I would like to thank Archie for giving me the Treasured Blogger Award! Thank you Archie and here are a few flowers for you! 🙂



The blue flowers are like a ready made bouquet. They are blooming all over the city right now.


These are leaves, not flowers, as you can see. They were green once, but then they started turning white from the boundaries(as you can see the ones in the background) and then completely white. What happens next? Will they turn Red? Orange? Or fall dead just like that? Kya Hoga! Jaldi hi dekhenge! Hum Log! Railgaadi! Railgaadi! Ahem! Sorry, got carried away!


Rose! Thank God! One familiar flower! The Roses here are quite huge. They are infact humongous. If you are walking down a road and feel tired, you can just sit in one of them and take some rest. No kidding! And, by the way, all that water is dew drops, in case you are thinking that I spat on them to add the effect! 😛


The bouquet again! This time in Pink! Just what you need for an angry girlfriend! 😉




I know! This is a leaf! This was the lone red one in a huge green bunch. The outcast! Maybe the bohemian.


I call them the red bulbs! They are the first one I see every morning because they are growing in bunches just outside by bedroom window.



Dewdrops again. No! I did not pee on the plant! You guys are disgusting! How can you even think like that?


Ok! This plant reminded me of Independence day. Not our independence day! 😐 The movie! The big blue ones are the large mother ships which stayed above the Earth’s atmosphere and the small blue ones are the small alien ships which were sent to fight our aircrafts! 😀 Do you think I am watching too many movies? Oh! And do you see the green leaves below? That is the Earth! Right now the alien ships are all cuddled together and having some sort of a conference as to which city to attack first.


Do you see the small yellow insect? Well, that is the new micro robot I am working on right now. Its not perfect yet. It can’t fly(although it doesn’t need to but I am trying to add that functionality). The project was funded by Vicks Vaporub. They want a new product where this micro robot will come loaded with an advanced form of Vicks fumes. You just have to leave it into you nose and it will travel inside your body and by morning, there won’t be any trace of cold and cough.

Are you thinking where this machine will end up finally? In your commode, ofcourse!


Capillary action at work I guess! No, I did not inject it with blue ink!


Again not flowers! But look at all that spit dewdrops!


Hope you liked the show! Now go and do something meaningful! 😛