I write about what affects me, enthralls me. I write my experiences, I write my emotions. To grow, to learn, to live, to celebrate Life. I write.
Monday, January 31, 2022
Darling Coco is no more
Friday, January 28, 2022
Jaipur Journals- Kitchen Struggles
It’s been 14 days since I cleaned my kitchen. From the day I returned from Kadapa, I didn’t clean the kitchen. I cleaned out the space where induction cooker lies and tried my hand at cooking.
No brainer, when you have a dirty kitchen, you don’t want to mess it up more. But, a noob at running the home, I used all my utensils, tried cooking, failed miserably. Lived on juices and anything that doesn’t need me to clean the pans and clean, chop, cook the vegetables.
Mostly, I lived off carrot orange juice and ragi malt. I find cleaning the juicer everyday also, very hard. But, I didn’t want to have 3 meals a day from Zomato. No, I can’t regress to that lifestyle.
After 12 am, when I couldn’t sleep, I decided to clean the kitchen and removed everything from the kitchen slab and put on the floor. Cleaning the slab, I did but, to put things back at their place. I’m still struggling.
I heard that “girls dont mature faster than boys, girls are punished from an early age for the same behaviour that boys are allowed to indulge in well into adulthood" I wish I learnt a lot of things during my childhood.
I neither cleaned nor took care of my belongings at home. I realise how I struggle now.
I’m surprised how terrible I’m at taking care of the place I live in. I left home in 2012.
I lived in a (college hostel, 2013) villa where there’s house cleaning staff who’d clean the place. Then a (college hostel, 2014-16) apartment where house cleaning staff would clean the place. Later, I had house maids who’d clean the place and do all the household work. After I moved to Rajasthan, I did some basiscs. Dropping the trash, cleaning the utensils, mopping the floor once in a while. Now, I’m living alone and I realise how difficult it is to keep the place clean all by myself.
With the frequent official travel trips, I stay one week a month at house. At hotels, as bed is made every evening we return, I expect my bed to be clean everytime I come to the room. Surprise, the bed is still in the way I left it at the morning.
Glad I identified the issue rather than pointing the frustration to some other cause. Slowly working on these habits.
Friday, January 21, 2022
Storytelling Session- A lot of questions and more stories
Rahila invited me to host a session for the students she teaches. "They've a lot of questions to ask." She mentioned. Let's do only Q n A, I thought and I began the session. Darhaas, Sudarshan, Apoorva, Moksha, Nikitha, Beena & Harish were present in the class.
Sudarshan asked, "What do we need to create stories?"
Darhaas asked, "What should we do to create a story or any app?"
I was amused by the way they were thinking through stories and apps. Through a story, we discussed on why do we stop ourselves from asking questions. "nervous, fear, anxiety" were few responses. Subtly discussed how assumptions can stop us from asking even though when we want to ask.
A student surprised me by a question, "How do we know when a person is acting?" After requesting for an explanation, the student mentioned, "How do we know when a person is acting or being honest with us?" Well, students do have a lot of questions, it's our responsibility to keep the curiosity live.
I realised, I don't need to find a specific answer for their specific questions. We always don't have to get answers, it's okay to stay in the questions also, I reflected. We shared a few more stories. Students also shared a few more stories. All of us decided to read some books and discuss on 'books' in the next class.
Looking forward for more discussions. Thanks Wafa for inviting me for the session.
Wednesday, January 19, 2022
Books- Tolstoy's List
Here's the Tolstoy's book recommendations. Interesting list. Will try to buy the copies at least.
Movie- Red Notice
Watched it for Gal Gadot. To passively spend the time, one can watch this comedy movie. Two Cons, one police tries to steal the precious stuff from the museum. With a good action and obvious suspenses, the movie ends with all the cons trying to grab their hands on the gem.
Music- Rajasthani Folk Song- Holi Aayi Re
For the first time, I heard this song at Jawahar Kala Kendr by a band in a progressive rock style. This is raw and gripping.
Tuesday, January 18, 2022
Jaipur Journals- Ghevar and places it went.
Jaipur Journals- Home
The sense of home. Here I come to Jaipur after a month and I'm relieved. It's been only six months since I moved to Jaipur but I told myself that this is my home. staying at different places at different times, I feel I'm a visitor. Whichever place I call home, I feel it as home. And when I move away from it, I try to completely be in the new place and consider it as home rather than finding that one place which I can call home.
Even when I speak to mom, Naa intiki ra nuvvu, 'come to my home' Whose home is this then? She replied. "It's yours of course. I don't live here, it's not mine, I explained. In return I got scolding, "Kaalu irrokadatha, nee illu naa illu ante." Will break your legs, if you differentiate saying, your house, my house.
This reminds me of the Tolstoy's story I read. How much land does a man need? Instead of calling one piece of land as homeland, can we be grateful for the land we live in currently?
Books- The Lok Ayat Prakashan
44 Years ago, a man used to hang two bags of books on his chetak and roam around the streets of Jaipur to find buyers for his books. When did you start this? I asked eagerly. Looking into the blankness, he rubbed his hands together and said, “Zamaana hogaya.” He speaks whenever he talks of his past, otherwise a silent book store owner. A small store at the junction of Tarbuja Mandi. A place where people used to sell a big sized watermelons grown in the Banas river. “Now the river has gone dry and where do the watermelons come from.” The owner narrates the past. The watermelons have got vanished but the name stayed. Tarbuja Mandi.
Racks of books packed in a small space is filled with children’s literature. A main distributor of NBT (Nehru Book Trust) and CBT(Children Book Trust). There are three people who run the shop with two shop boys in the store. They got several godowns for several publications.
|The owner and his son in the frame with the backdrop of the shop|
How small does this shop look, I thought. But, they make business in big numbers. A well known shop for all the NGOs in Rajasthan.
“We have fixed customers. A few from Theatre and a few more readers come. Other than that, we get our business at the fairs. We go the exhibition fairs conducted at Bikaner, Sirohi & Jodhpur. That’s where we get our business.
|Books for children|
They have amazing collection. We spent a day, buying books for our schools. More than 1000 books.
|My books from Lok Ayat Prakashan|
For my personal collection, I got a few books from Eklavya Publication. Also, there was one book on Begum Akthar and another journal from Ruskin Bond. I was going broke but, however made money for this purchase. A good buy. Satisfied.
Jaipur Journals- The walk
I’ve decided to walk around my neighborhood. Yes, it’s one way to explore the place I live in. Let me walk around and see what lies around. I thought. On a cold evening, I wore my thick jacket and bright blue shoes to stroll around. I took a a few turns and wanted to go to the ground- the one that’s just behind my house. I always saw it from distance but, never entered it. This time, I walked into it. In the ground, has a small krishna temple, and behind it has a open gymnasium.
It’s been six months and I never knew of it. Glad to have such an amazing public space near my house. I tried all of the equipment for a while and continued my walk.
I took a road that has towering white apartments on one side and a dark boundary walls on other side. I walked ahead and found a park with a pavement on the borders and green grass at the center. Jaipur residential areas seemed to have a lot of parks. Looking at the parks, I got reminded of the paragraph from the book I was reading, The Comfort Crisis by Michael Easter
“This is why it’s important to stop thinking that nature, as Yale Professor Steven Kellert said, is “out there, somewhere else.” Like it’s a place that exists only a National Geographic or on voyages to Alaska, Nature is often right outside your window, in your bakcyard, lining you block, and in that park down the street.”
I enjoyed the walk in the park and I walked till I couldn’t feel the cold anymore. I continued my walk and came across this salon. At first, it was silent and then a few people joined and began to play loud thumping random Punjabi songs. I miss the old salons, in which either people talk to you or others in the salon or silently does their job. Soon after the hair cut, I returned home with a bag full of carrots and oranges for the juice.
Saturday, January 15, 2022
Book- The Reluctant Mother by Zehra Naqvi
"Gift me a book for my birthday.” I asked Elsa. Looking through my wishlist, she picked the book, The Reluctant Mother by Zehra Naqvi. “This is something I can relate so well. Read this.” She suggested.
She ordered way before my birthday but, it took more than a month to deliver this book. The more I wanted to read it, the more it got delayed in delivery process. Disappointed with the book delivery process
At first, Zehra was a reluctant mother, doubtful of how to let another little human invade into her beautiful cocoon built with her love, Salman. Through tears of shock and dismay, she realises that she’s pregnant. She didn’t wanted any of this at that point of time. She couldn’t imagine letting her dream slip through her fingers. The dream of working, the dream of living with her loved one, her husband, the dream of loving and just being with him.
She writes the journey of carrying her baby in humorous style. However, there’s immense pain, effort, struggle throughout her journey. So is every mother’s journey. Reading through it, I could relate how Elsa must have gone through out the journey.
Talking about care, love, marriage, relations, Zehra takes us through the rooms of Aligarh, Delhi where she dreaded being a mother, struggled to raise the child single handedly when her husband was away at Oman, trying his best to get Zehra and the baby to relocate. The possibility of relocation remained a possibility until Salman gave up and returned to India after almost an year. That separation almost killed her. Introspecting on marriage, love, care, she wrote her story.
It’s an honest account written in most humorous and raw style. It’s a courageous feat to write one’s fears, vulnerabilities and apprehensions about being as a mother. This must be read by everyone, especially men to know what it takes to bring a child onto this earth and raise them with love. Also, Zehra shares her life- her father, family, husband and all who complete her.
Be it about Hamza’s journey through the woods or zehra’s 30th birthday trip, I just couldn’t stop being in awe of the author for her honesty and the way she narrates the anecdotes.
I’m surprised by the way I was hooked to this book. I was reading this book even while I was cooking. I was reading this book, while I was waiting for my cab. I couldn’t put it down. Quoting her favourite books, lines and poems, she wrote her journey making the reader feel, “I know zehra, her mom, hamza, Salman and the granny who keeps irritating poor Zehra” That’s the kind of impression the author has left through her words.
Zehra’s words on love, care, peace, romance are worth quoting.
“People prove their love by telling you how much they care about your well-being. Yes, you cannot love without care. But you can care without love.”
“What is it with husbands and their absolute fear of transparency? You never share actual problems with your wife because you don’t want to ‘burden’ her or make her ‘worry’, when in truth, she would bee more than happy to lend you a sympathetic ear and more than eager to help out in whatever way possible. What worries her more ironically, is that you don’t trust the relationship enough to be frank and open about your problems, that you don't consider her competent enough to support you or help you out. Most husbands think they are protecting their wives this way, when in truth they are just isolating them.”
“Peace is not silence. It is not stillness. It is not found merely within building and holy lands. Peace is hidden within the patterns of our mind, the images constructed for years which suddenly come to life. Peace is contained in the heart, n its responses to the universe around us, in the love we hold that enables us to experience everything more fully. Hardened hearts, emptied of love and mercy, can never experience peace.”
Order the book through this link. You’ll love it.
Friends- A meet with long-last friend after a decade
In the year 2008, during my school breaks, I used to walk to my senior’s class to strike a conversation and wished the breaks were longer.
After 14 long years, I met her at her home and still wished the days turned a bit longer.
On Jan 2nd 2021, I (virtually) met my school senior, Rahila Wafa, the one I admire for being herself. Elated to meet her after such a decade or so. Both of us decided to meet in-person to catch up on our lives.
Earlier, we planned to meet during Eid but, due to COVID, I couldn’t travel. I travelled home on various purposes but, didn’t wanted to meet her by chance. I wanted to make our meet a special one indeed. A meet after 14 years deserve to be special one, right?
On 29.Dec.2021 I traveled from Kadapa to Chittoor to meet her.
I started my day at 7 am but missed the direct bus. I hopped on various buses to reach the destination. At first a luxury bus to Raychoti, then a express bus to Pileru, and then a local bus (a palle velugu) to Chittoor. Sitting on these buses, I could retrospect my times in chittoor. Is it really that long since I met her, I doubted.
Finally, when I reached the place, I had to go interiors to reach home. Luckily, an old man helped me to reach the place. I hitchhiked from the main road to the street my senior lived. Even the old man wanted to make this meet happen fast.
Finally I reached Chittoor by 1 pm.
“Abhi, is that you?” she said in her soft voice, watching me from her corridor.
The gate was opened and I see my senior, along with her cute little daughter and their cat, Suzie. I’m living my dream, I thought and couldn’t stop smiling. Finally I’m here meeting her! I told myself.
I was welcomed home by my senior's mom. “Hope you had good journey,” she welcomed me.
How does these reunion meets happen. How do I tell my senior, I’m so happy. Do we need to express everything in words. Our smiles say it all. Grateful for this meet, I told myself.
“Abhi, so happy to see you again” my senior told me. Looking at her, I replied, “You look the same. You haven’t changed a bit!”
After being tanned for three days and traveling without a break, I did not know how I looked but, merry I was to make the meet happen.
Fathima, Wafa’s daughter played around, wanting her mom’s and granny’s attention. “Wafa,” fathima calls her mom asking for a lot of things.
Both of us wrote to each other through slam book and that was our las conversation. I was surprised to see what I wrote then. So naive, honest and full of idealism.
Without a sense of time, we went on with our conversations and wanted to share what we’ve been through. “We don’t know much about each other.” I told her. Thinking, I know there’s a lot that happened in our lives and we dont’ know much about us but, still there’s sense of intuitive feeling towards each other lives.
Over a sumptuous lunch, we discussed Wafa’s art work and our work in education. Coincidentally, three of us are into education sector.
Soon after the lunch, Wafa showed me her art work. “I don’t begin any of my work till fathima is asleep. I try to do as much as possible whenever she’s asleep.” She walked me through her workstation, a place where all the items from Rifat Arts come from- expressions that last forever.
As every hour passed, I wished we had a long day to catch up. Why is time running so fast only now?! I stared at the clock.
While my senior goes back to her work, I chat with her mom, Ayesha ji. Listening to her life experiences and watching Fathima stroll around, we spent the evening, waiting for Rafi, Rahila’s husband to walk into home.
While Wafa was engaged with the call, I chat up with her husband, discussing the business he’s into and the way he arrived at it.
My parents were bothered about how I’d arrive home late. I’m meeting my senior after a decade. It’s okay if I get home late for once, I told and decided to spend a few more hours.
After delicious dinner and a lot of chocolate tart, we had dosa for dinner. For the first time, I had home made cheese dosa. Loved it with coconut chutney.
We promised each other to catch up soon and bid a bye. Rafi dropped me right at the bus, wishing me a happy journey. When I was living in Chittoor then, the bus stand had two platforms, now it has got four!
A lot has changed but, glad to see how our relation is still the same. It’s still the same through many layers. Evolved it may be, but, still it’s the same. Still we’re the same in many ways.
Definitely, I’m ending this year on high note. A lot of ups and downs but, this meet has brought a sense of happiness, gratitude and calmness to the tumultuous life.
Rahila Wafa wrote this piece and asked me to finish it. The more I read it, the more I feel it complete.
A decade and more
We finally got to meet
Dreamy was I all the time
Still feels like a dream as I sit to write this|
I wish the moments just seized, while we
Shared thoughts and smiles
Few untold truths
Few spoken words
And lot of unexpressed emotions
But we smiles silently as a lot of emotions
Don’t need words
How like we both are, I wondered may be
You’re my lost twin
Friday, January 14, 2022
Music- Ilayaraja's gems
I feel bad about myself if I spend an hour browsing random websites. I feel I wasted my time. But when I spend hours listening to music on Youtube and do nothing, I feel happy about it. Listening to songs continuously, without being distracted by anything seemed to be an active meditation for me.
This time, discovered some gems of Ilayaraja.
Wednesday, January 12, 2022
Corporate Lessons- Lead by actions
When a leader acts, there are more chances that it’ll communicate more effective than his words. Today, R hosted a call sharing a document to read and reflect. When leaders read and reflect, same can be suggested to the team members. Leaders' actions substantiate their words.
Tuesday, January 11, 2022
Friendly conversation over a flight
"I get a chance to meet some interesting personalities at the airport and flight," I mentioned it to Harry leaving to the airport.
"Woah. This is a fantasy. Did you write about it?" he asked
"Yes. I wrote." I shared with him and headed to the airport.
At the airport, my flight got delayed by 30 minutes. We stood near the queue trying to board the flight as soon as possible. The crew comes out with the speaker dangling to her waist. Coimbatore passengers, the gate has changed to 102. Please take notice. The gate has changed to 102. She announced and walked. Half of the passengers waiting at 105 for Jaipur flight began to walk towards 102. No thought. No confirmation. Everyone in a hurry to reach, walked to 102.
"Right message at wrong place." I thought loud.
"Yeah. Unnnecessary way of hurrying people." a gentleman affirmed.
Wearing photographer jacket and cargo pant, he carried a cabin sized suitcase with leather bag attached to the suitcase handle.
I Phone in hand, salt and pepper hair, combed backwards. He reminded me of Ranjit Barot except Ranjit got a different hairstyle.
"Where are you based out of?" he asked.
"Hyderabad." I replied. "Oh. What's making you go to Jaipur?" I work at Jaipur.
"What about you?"
"I'm an Artist. I'm Nikhil Bhandari,"he replied.
"What art forms are you into?"
"I'm a painter and sculptor."
"What about you, where do you work?"
"I work at Azim Premji Foundation."
"Oh. That's nice. I know the foundation. Know Azim Bhai well."
"Recently I picked up interest in painting. Glad to catch up with you," I began sharing my interest.
Nikhil shared his work. "Have you been to T3 airport? I made the Mudra." he referred to few of his works.
"We're not going to make it to the rescheduled time."
We spent talking about how he pursued engineering at first in IIT and then got dropped out to pursue Fine Arts. Both of his doctor parents were okay with him doing what he likes.
He works out of Jaipur as well as mumbai, having workshops at both the places. Currently, he's working on a art installation for a big hospital in Hyderabad.
I got a chance to check out his work before we could land in Jaipur. I liked one of his work that has a lot of faces on the giant black shoe. One has to walk under the shoes.
Here's the link
Monday, January 10, 2022
Corporate Lessons- SMART Plans
Anjali & I- Elections, Nominations & Positions
Movie- The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
The movie is visually a master piece. We get to see through the eye of the Jean-Do. Awesome direction by Julian Schnabel.
Jaipur Journals- Food
Sometimes, it's just carrots, beans and broccoli.
Sunday, January 9, 2022
Music- O Kadhala by N.Studios
Saturday, January 8, 2022
Gratitude Diaries- Little Notes
Looking through the old books, I found the notes I wrote long back. When I joined Gratitude circle with Shobha mam, she suggested to write a note everyday on what are we grateful for. I could find five notes randomly in old notebooks. Gratitude make me feel contended and full of life. Grateful for everything.
Poetry- Drapes of Rituals
Quote of the day- Tree & Tears
"if I were to sit under a tree and tell you the sadness we have to suffer, the leavesof thmthat tree would fall like tears."
-Pg 220 aidsutra
Friday, January 7, 2022
Holidays with Harry- Stories, Stories & More stories
Just before I was leaving to Rajasthan after a long break, Harry called up for the lunch.
Over the steamed rice, dal & chicken, Harry and I discussed ‘storytelling.’ Over the years, I reflected on what I should work on. I thought of setting up cultural centres, libraries and various random ideas but, whenever I think of storytelling, I sense a lot of opportunity and scope in it. “Take it as a project. Write about it.” Suggested Harry, “Over the time, you can crack it.” He supported.
We discussed the humans of New York project. I thought of the stories I encountered everyday on every visit. There’s a lot to write, I realize whenever I talk to Harry. I have enough ideas to work on.
“How was your 40-year old re-union match?” I asked Harry. Recently Harry met his teammates with whom he played tremendous matches and won during his schooling. Excited for the meet, he got all the old archives as well.
Driving through the lanes of Sundar Nagar, Harry said, “The advantage of being a writer is we get into details. We delve into life with keen interest and more observation. If not, the life just goes on and no one remembers the little things. Like the meets we have with friends, jokes we share, stories we get interested on. It's good to write na."
Reading through the old blogs of mine, I could relate. There are so many beautiful narratives of our life which will never be said, if we do not bother to sit and write.
Leadership Lessons- Time Management
Just before I was leaving to Rajasthan after a long break, Harry called up for the lunch.
Last minute hurries, I packed my bags late, made driver wait for 20 minutes, made Harry wait wait for 40 minutes to have lunch. Making people wait, I could see how terrible I was at managing the time and communicating it right.
Talking about communicating the time, Sandy Bhai once told me, "Renny, when you're not going to make it in twenty minutes, do not tell others that you'd be in twenty minutes."
Time management seemed to reflect our seriousness in life. It’s not gonna come by reading some book or some tip. I need to identify that there’s a problem to fix. I need to work on time management, identify the issues and further work on it. Will try to be mindful of it.
Thursday, January 6, 2022
Tuesday, January 4, 2022
Picking one more gem from MUBI, I watched Rudaali.
This movie is based on the short story written by Maha Shweta Devi. I remember reading her Why Why girl story.
Rudaali is about a widow who never shed a tear despite tragic(orphan, alcoholic husband, widow) life gets to meet a mourner who is called to a village to mourn for soon-to-die zamindar. The mourner shares her tip and trick to mourn and encourages her to become a Rudaali(mourner).
Enjoyed watching Marwari backdrop movie after a long time. The language, dialect and the attire. There are a lot of stories from Rajasthan. Hope these stories come onto the big screen soon. Rudaali music director, Bhupen Hazarika gave a memorable background score. I heard "Dil hoom hoom" a alot of time but, never knew that the song is from this movie. A good watch.
<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/qxO1MN67Vtg" title="YouTube video player" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe>
Monday, January 3, 2022
Movie- I and the Stupid Boy by Kaouther Ben Hania
My first short film on MUBI. I watched a lot of short films on HotStar but, didn't like them all. I watched a couple of Vimeo, liked them. On MUBI, I get to see a lot of movies other than English. Enjoyed them.
A young girl gets ready for a date and is stopped by her ex, the stupid boy. What happens further is the story.
Sunday, January 2, 2022
Movie- Arab Blues
After spending a lot of time in paris, she wants to return to her home country, Tunisia, to practice as psycho analysis. Her journey to live in her country with people around is the cinema.
There's a lot for the viewer to think, analyse, connect. The characters are so well written that, there's a connection that forms between the character and the viewer. It's just not about the protagonist, it's the other characters too who drive the story.
My first movie on MUBI. Good pick.
Movie- Minnal Murali
Minnal Murali is the first film I watched in 2022.
Watching the super hero movie with our own context seemed interesting. Like every super hero movie, there's a super hero and super villain who possess the same powers. The antagonist becomes the victim of society's prejudice and thus, acts negatively. Our super hero walks in to save the crowd.
Based on this line, the super hero movies are made. Glad to see Malayalam movies exploring various genres. Loved the conflicts and the character arcs. Sushin Shyam and Shaan Rahman did a fabulous job at music direction and the background score.
Saturday, January 1, 2022
Poetry- New Year's Delight
Jaipur Journals- A find Dine at Gopala
Abhishek suggested to check out the new restaurant, round the corner. Today, he suggested for a lunch in the new place. Malavika, Abhishek ...
https://blog.aladin.co.kr/common/popup/printPopup/print_Paper.aspx?PaperId=742005 Interesting story. Once lived a country full of thieves. E...
I traveled to Mussoorie and Landour was the extent I went on. For the first time, I moved beyond Mussoorie and Landodur. Along with J &...
This is a Korean fairy tale. In this story, there are three brothers, of three the youngest seemed to be good and favorite of the father. ...