The family that votes together…


… (hopefully) keeps the country together.

It’s been a long, bitter and frankly, the most disgusting election campaign I’ve witnessed. We did what we could – by voting. Here’s hoping for harmony, unity and peace of mind.

You made my day!

Footsteps in sand

As I make my way to the main road outside our home, I take a quick look at my watch.

Quarter to eight.

Dang! No time to walk.

It’s a Saturday morning. I should be lazing under the fan, pressing snooze on my alarm for the fifteenth time. But no time for wishful thinking.

There’s an auto rickshaw on the other side of the road. There’s not much traffic. I cross over as quickly as possible.

“Metro station!”

The driver nods and we don’t speak a word till he’s reached the station. Thoughts of the big day ahead, how ill prepared I feel, and the pressure I had been under for the past two weeks begin to overwhelm me.

I mumble a robotic thank you as the driver returns the change.

At the station entrance, I dump my bag on the x-ray machine and nervously glance at the train timings.

My sandals are slippery. I skid my way to the frisking area.

The lady with the metal detector looks at me and throws me off guard.

“Ma’am!” She squeals with delight.

“You are looking so amazing!” Her smile is big and genuine.

For an instant, my mind goes blank.

Oh my! Thank you so much! That is so very nice of you! You know, I was under so much stress. And I feel so much more relaxed now. You just made my day…

That’s what I want to say. I want to go on and on and pour my heart out to her.

But my throat is dry. I just about manage to blurt out a thank you, and a rehearsed “how are you?”

For what I lack in words, I try to make up by returning her wide infectious smile.

She says she is is fine, and I rush to collect my belongings.

I run down the stairs, as fast as my sandals allow. But I am late. The train doors close and it leaves the platform.

Sigh! Missed by a whisker.

The next train is 5 minutes away. I sit on the bench, take out my phone and stare at the smiling reflection on the black screen.

* * *

In the mad world where we are constantly running, racing against a faster, invisible opponent, towards an infinite goal, when was the last time someone smiled at you while doing their job?

More importantly, when was the last time you smiled for yourself?

Who made your day in the recent past? Whose day did you make?

The Tibet in Delhi


Earlier today, we visited Kashmere Gate. About a kilometer from the historical site is an old Tibetan refugee settlement. Within the settlement is a Tibetan monastery, and a thriving market, popularly known as the Monastery market. Our main agenda today was to visit this market. Despite the peak rush hour—Sunday afternoon—we managed to explore the shops and lightened our wallets a bit (okay, make that a lot!)

My real aim today, though, was to visit the Monastery. The Tibetan Monastery has been on my wishlist of places to visit for almost two years now. Despite having lived for over two decades in this city, I had no idea of its existence, until early last year, when I asked a Buddhist colleague of mine where she went to pray.

Having come all the way to the market, we made a quick stop at the Monastery. It may not be as large or grand as the ones in the traditionally more popular Buddhist cities, but it was every bit spiritual.

Tibetan Monastery, Delhi

We admired the seated Golden Buddha, and for a change, we took no photos of the interiors. There were many devotees, several of whom were dressed in traditional attire; and we felt it would be insensitive to behave like crazy tourists. We turned to leave, when a middle aged gentleman stopped us. “Have you taken the prasad (sacred offering)?” he asked us. And then quickly went inside and brought our two cloth bags and gave them to us.

We asked if it was a special day. Indeed, it was. It was the third, and last day of an annual fast, and an auspicious day, that we had happened to visit. Lucky coincidence, or divine intervention? I’ll leave that question alone; the world works in mysterious ways.


Photo taken with a Moto G3, edited with Befunky. Click/tap to enter my Flickr Photostream and Instagram feed.


This is post #19 in this year’s NaBloPoMo, or as Ra calls it Nano Poblano

NaBloPoMo = National Blog Posting Month = Thirty straight days of blogging

Weekly Photo Challenge: Mirror


When it rains, there is nothing better than sitting by the window, sipping tea in the company of a friend.

Kettle Couple

These kettles seem to mirror that thought – as well as my hand!


For other reflective imagery, bounce over to this week’s photo challenge.

Grainy phone image edited on the Befunky Android App

If winter is here…

bougainvillea

Delhi’s winters used to be chilly*, with icy weather in the peak season of mid December to mid January. But over the past few years, the winter season has become shorter and shorter – no thanks to global warming. This year was a huge disappointment. The New Year was exceptionally warm with many people giving woollens a pass.

The harvest festivals (Lohri/Makar Sankranti/Pongal etc), which usually fall on the 13th-15th of January every year, mark the end of winter and the beginning of Spring. Even as we prepared to celebrate, the lack of a proper winter was a bit sad.

Perhaps the thick air carried our dejection, and precisely one day prior to the ‘official’ beginning of spring, winter finally showed up in full swing. The cold wave has been here for well over two weeks now, and seems in no mood to leave in a hurry!

Meanwhile, the bougainvillea plant in our balcony seems to follow a different calendar altogether. Even as the other plants geared up to brace the winter chill, this plant began flowering for the first time in our home last autumn. Throughout the season, there hasn’t been a single day without a shade of pink amid the grey haze and fog.


On a lazy Sunday morning, I peep out from under the rajaai**. The curtains are only half drawn – there’s no need for them. The fog and frosted glass guarantee privacy. And the sun hasn’t been showing up for work for a few days. I coerce myself to get up, if only to wish my friend. I walk up to the balcony door. It’s all white and grey. A few plants are struggling to keep warm. Most of their leaves have dried and fallen. But one thorny plant stands there defiantly. I step out gingerly and wish her a good morning.

She wishes me in her own way. It’s cold for both of us and she doesn’t mind me going back inside. As I turn around, she smiles knowingly.

If winter is here, can spring be far behind?

bougainvillea
Hope ‘springs’ eternal – even at 5 degrees C!

* No, we don’t have snowfall or blizzards but day time temperatures of 7 degrees C are quite ‘normal’

** a thick blanket, usually stuffed with cotton

For more optimistic pictures, gather around the cozy fireplace of The Daily Post.

Weight(less)


This week’s weighty photo challenge had me jumping with delight. A perfect excuse to share this picture I took at Anandagram last month.

Anandagram offers a beautiful and serene environment to visitors. It houses 3 private museums housing traditional Indian household objects, terracotta and textiles from across the country. The buildings, styled like traditional houses, are surrounded by vast manicured lawns with discarded objects turned into art installations! Kept spotlessly clean, this leaf was about the only item which ‘littered’ the place – and it too was pretty 🙂

leaf_on_the_ground

Incoherent poetry


No matter how late it might get
No matter where I am,
I’ve learnt the hard way;
It’s wise to take public transit
And avoid the traffic jam.


I knew the traffic was bad. But I never expected the roads of Delhi to be so bad. Today it took me two hours to travel a distance that should have been 15 minutes. But coming to think of it, traffic has its place in levelling the field. In a city that likes to flaunt its premium wheels, public transport actually ends up being a better option. And a pedestrian can actually be faster than the fastest car on the road!

The traffic isn’t doing any good to my blogging or writing skills, though.


nanopoblano2015lightThis is post #26 in this year’s NaBloPoMo, or as Ra calls it Nano Poblano

NaBloPoMo = National Blog Posting Month = Thirty straight days of blogging

The locked house


Colonial Building

A Colonial building in a Mughal Garden Complex, living amid ruins of the Revolt of 1857, locked and forgotten, except by park officials and evening joggers.

For whom was it built? Why is it locked away? What lies behind those red stone walls?


nanopoblano2015lightThis is post #3 in this year’s NaBloPoMo, or as Ra calls it Nano Poblano

NaBloPoMo = National Blog Posting Month = Thirty straight days of blogging

Thanks a bunch to all the cheering peppers who have been tweeting and liking posts across WordPress 🙂

WPC – From Every Angle: Spiral Staircase

Spiral Staircase Steps

A few months back, we paid a visit to an old bungalow in Old Delhi, and I couldn’t take my camera off this beautiful spiral staircase!

And here’s yet another angle beneath my feet.

Many thanks to the kind landlady for tolerating this shutter-bug 🙂

More angles of everything under the sun over at the Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge: From Every Angle

The Earth Beneath

Spiral beneath my feet

Cracks on the skin
Resisting a throat parched

Dense eyelashes
Streaming rivers of life

The internal inferno
And tremors of rage.

Does such great power
Lie beneath my feet?

‘Tis such privilege
Upon which I stand.

‘Tis such divinity
Due to which I live.


Spiral beneath my feet
Spiral beneath my feet – staircase in an old bungalow in Delhi

This post was inspired by this week’s photo challenge by the Daily Post