Battling the lockdown blues

As the world encounters an invisible battle

We have been forced to remember allthat we ached to forget

While love and compassion flows

There are tears intertwined with nervous laughter

As we come together to fight a microcosm

We also battle a never known before anxiety

A miniscule virus has the mightiest warriors on their knees

Even as our bodies fight the fear of it

Our minds seem to battle their own fiends

All that we brushed under the proverbial carpet

Is overflowing from the crevices of our homes

There’s no noise and din

To drown our solitary songs

Suddenly there are no closets

To hide all our demons

All our fear and battles

Are raging afresh

All that we garbed under the shadows of busyness

Is for everyone to see

Even as we cover our faces with masks

To protect ourselves

Our masks of false bravado have fallen off

Unmasking the vulnerable hearts and raw emotions we feel

Leaving us to find comfort

In the most uncomfortable recesses of

our overwhelmed minds

We are the same

Beneath those wispy veneers we

Are all the same

The same kindred spirits

The same bittersweet suffering souls

The same festering fears

The same inky insecurities

The same neurotic obsessions

We all have the same wounds

Yet instead of walking in

Each other’s shoes

We choose to tread on

Each other’s toes

And build walls around

Our vulnerable souls

Instead of building bridges.  

Different not less

I don’t want your empathy

I don’t need your sympathy

All I want is the space to be me

I certainly don’t need to be judged

Labelled, and pigeon-holed because

I can’t do what you can

I don’t feel the need to

conform to society’s boxes

I let boundaries blur

And distances fade

I don’t have what you do

But that doesn’t make me

Any lesser than you

I may be different

But I am no less

I just see the world

Through different lenses

I get enraptured in the detail

I find beauty in the mundane

I have the power to

Conquer my pain

I love sans conditions

and I give without expecting

I happen to remember

All you forget

I can remember routes

You don’t even know yet

Just because I can’t

Put my emotions in words

Just doesn’t mean I feel

Any less than you

I am not eccentric

I just refuse to walk

The trodden road

And follow your rules

I’d rather weave

A world of my own

And make my own rules


Confront your chaos

Dance with your demons

Soak in the shades of solitude

And longing

Wallow in a pool of self-pity

Drown in the ocean of endless tears

Only to discover you don’t drown at all

It’s a mere dip, a mere trough, a detour

Your buoyant soul can fight it endlessly

Soak all you want

Light is only one battle away

placid waters

Don’t let the placid waters hoodwink you

Into believing she is an equable ocean

She brews a raging storm in her soul

She is the blizzard that can ensnare

She’ll be a sinuous river

If you let her flow

the harmony of opposites

The darkest of roads

Bring us to light

The loneliest walks

Show us togetherness

The turbulent storms

Awaken placidity within

The hardest of days

Make us value the easier ones

Setbacks or frailties

Tell us to count our blessings

Making peace with our vulnerabilities

Stirs our strengths

The demons in our closets…

We’re all wrestling the monsters of our own making.

The wounds that define us.

The demons that rear their ugly head.

Threatening to swallow us in their womb.

What is it we won’t do to evade them?

Just about anything not to confront them.

Fill the voids with meaningless banter.

Drown the screams in a busy din.

Seek solace in any passion or addiction

Fill our searing soul’s hunger with food

Punctuate our aches in the arms

Of retail therapy and coffee

All of these are nothing

But temporary refuges.

With the touch of the traces of time

These monsters become home for us.

Another year slips by

End of the year is for celebrations of a year gone by as well as some stock taking and reminiscing about lessons etched in the echelons of memory.

They say you should look ahead, but how can you ever do that without looking back, ruminating of the days gone by and drawing the right kind of lessons..

1) You never quite have it all. There’s always room for more. What eventually matters is learning to remain content as long as the basics are in place.

2) To win some battles you’ve got to lose all you’ve got. The first step is to conquer the insurmountable walls of our ego.

3) No one can give unconditionally all relationships personal and professional just reflect and echo what we give them.

4) With time our inner circle will shrink only to a few people who’ll stand by us through thick and thin. But even when no one’s standing you’ve got to walk a mile or two alone.

5) Time and space can heal anything.

6) Everyone is struggling with something or the other. Life isn’t a bed of roses for anyone. Be kind to yourself, be empathetic towards others, just makes the roller coaster ride called life easier.

7) Acceptance is the key to sailing through. Acceptance of the lows and the highs instead of battling it out in our minds helps us keep our sanity when life is tough.

8) Steer clear of all toxicity in  your relationships, your job and nip negativity in the bud.

9) Invest in the future: spend time with yourself,children, make time to meditate,read.

10) Disconnect from social media and technology and connect with yourself through anything that gives you joy and peace.

I might keep going back to this list as a reminder of how I would want to spend this year, what is on your list of reflections?

The darkest moments

The demons we wrestle

the darkness that envelops us

Our loneliest days

our solitary journeys

the days when

we’re at the end

of the rope

these moments enrich us more

than we’ll ever hope

they happen for a purpose

they smoothen the jagged edges

of our souls

and make us feel fallible,

human and whole..

Walk away

They say it takes courage to

walk away

Instead courage is what it

takes to stay

To stay and yet distance yourself

from all that no longer soothes your soul

Detachment from all that no longer

lets you feel whole

Stay and yet allow all the hurt and pain to walk away





Words can hurt

Sticks and stones

only break bones

But it is words that seer through your soul

and tear it apart

Choose your words with wisdom

They have the power to hurt

and the power to heal a broken heart

Words alone can be the binding

glue for a world scattered like

shattered glass

The journey of self discovery

Serenity is born

in moments of volatility

Peace emerges from chaos

In darkness we discover

the depths of our soul

In the peaks and troughs

of strife and struggle

We learn to conquer our demons

and emerge strong…..

Beauty in Brokenness

Hold your fragmented heart

Paint it into a piece of art

Let the fragments fit

and let the jagged edges meet

Let it scatter into a beautiful mess

Till you see the beauty in brokenness.


dancing with the storm…

Every once in a while

A storm brews

throwing life as we know it

out of gear

We grapple , grumble, grouse

We walk against the winds

Trying to battle it out

Until it dawns what the storm

needs from us is to dance with it.




The art of accepting life


With the traces of time and the touch of experience, we learn to stop fighting what life throws our way. It’s a rather slow journey which starts with us trying to battle what happens to us, question it and finally we learn the art of graceful acceptance. From a baffled why me you move to a never mind and finally settle for ‘ it happened for a reason’.

There comes a time when we learn to stop wrestling the darkness, stop letting tumultuous days get to us and start learning the art of accepting life in all its uncertainties, ugliness and veracity and finally we learn to embrace those uncertainties, and enjoy the roller coaster ride that is. It is all about making peace with the demons that haunt us.

A place called home

Brimming with joie-de-vivre
With dreams dancing in hazel eyes
She walked into a world unknown
She waited on the fringes with trepidation
She waited with bated breath
to find acceptance not ownership
to be loved not judged
she waited for the comfort
to unmask her fears
She ached to be her quirky self
She craved spaces in togetherness
and the freedom to speak her mind
She waited until eternity
to be understood not labeled
Until the fringes became her own
A place she could call home.

Songs of silence


A source of strength

And solace

A vortex that can

Twirl the soul

A comfortable home

A lonely, dark recess

A harmonious tune

A jarred refrain

Stirring chords of solitude

Or stringing lyrics of loneliness

Silence is a strange melody

You can turn it into

What you want it to be

small talk



Of stringing joys

And streaming pain

Of love that hurts

And hurt that remains

Of unfinished books

And solemn songs

Of that what is right

And all with the world

That’s wrong

Of all that touches

The heart

And all that tears it apart

Of the ideas set me on fire

Of the heart’s unbridled ire.

There’s so much to be said

While we walk

And navigate through

Life’s maze

But often it just ends

With small talk

Wrestling darkness


Darkness will entice us into its tentacles

Envelop our lonely hearts

Throw us in a volley

But light always has a way

Of creeping into hearts cold with fear

Through the unlikeliest corners

And crevices

Fleeting into forever

Punctuating voids

With meaningless banter

Trying to find ourselves

By drowning

In work and wine

Masking the cracks

Behind traces of


Or a plastic smile

Containing volcanic

Emotions beneath

A serene veneer

Chasing ephemeral

Happiness in

Impulsive bargains

or Epicurean indulgence

We saunter

And wander

Hoping somewhere

Wishing fervently

That moments

Turn into forever

And the masks

Become our reality…..

Who we really are…


Just read this the other day and it got me thinking. When do we probe enough to peel the layers? How often do we scratch the surface and look at ourselves or other people sans the layers? Do we care to scrape the masks and see people without labels? Without trappings of a function or a designation. We live in such transactional and mechanical times, where people matter to each other as long as they are of some use to each other. The moment they stop being of utility, they cease to matter or exist. Then there are others who become a role. They identify themselves so obsessively with a particular role that it percolates into all spheres of their lives.

What are we beneath all those layers?  What are we beyond the trappings of labels, societal expectations and materialistic paraphernalia? We’re all achingly vulnerable and trapped in longing. Lost in translation.  We bear the burden of buried dreams, of having loved , of winding in a sense of loss, of being trapped in fear, aching to be liberated from the lies we weave around ourselves. We’re waiting to be accepted, hungry for approval. We’re seeking our space, creating a metier. We’re all wounded little children waiting to fly away from hurt.

Seize the moment

We live for the moment and we die in moments. I wonder why we fret over the future or dwell on the past, while all we ever have is a sequence of moments. Life is interspersed across those peals of laughter, in the eyes that brim over with tears, in the curve of lips that silently twist into a smile or in an energizing effervescent exchange of ideas. Life is squeezed between the moments when you reach out to someone in need, or when someone wipes off those tears, in moments when you give of yourself without expecting anything in return. When you stand up for what you believe in or brush your knees after a fall. Moments where you rise from the ashes or start from scratch.  Life is transient, ever-changing, always evolving and yet we hold on, cling to its familiarity, hang on to its sameness. Seize these moments, yet let go of them. Carry their essence and yet leave room to embrace new experiences.

Soul searching


An epiphany has a way of unfolding in the most chaotic of moments. In one of those rare reflective moments, it dawned on me that we attract the difficult situations and people we need in our lives. These are merely a reflection of all that we refuse to confront in ourselves. Our relationships or conflicts with other people will always reveal something about our own selves that we refuse to own up to, they hold a mirror to the chaos that we mask with our seemingly calm exteriors. All that we deny or brush under the proverbial carpet surfaces during tumultuous encounters.

If you’re the kind of person who is essentially non-confrontational, you will inevitably be thrown into situations with aggressive people who want to corner you and pin you down. People who go please others at their own cost, inevitably attract people who want to exercise control and those who refuse to be pleased with anything you would do. These difficult situations and people keep manifesting in one form of the other, until we draw our lessons. Until we unfetter ourselves from all that holds us from being our authentic selves.  .  Life has its ways of catapulting us into situations that force us to wrestle and confront our demons rather than shoving them in a quiet corner of our souls. We can choose to resist and close our eyes and carry on the business of life. Or take on these demons head on and emerge wiser and buoyant.


Boundaries blur

At the touch

Of time

Memories fade

Into nothingness

Moments melt

And dissolve

Emotions crystallize

And harden

But the weary

Soul traverses

Through chaos

Is the only

Constant that remains




Raging volcanoes

Don’t burn

Calming voices

Can’t contain

Dark fears

Don’t drown

Joyous moments

Don’t stay

But the winter

Of indifference

Can freeze a

Loving heart

For eternity

Keeping the spontaneous streak alive


There is only one thing that adulthood teaches us. To curb our spontaneity and natural instincts. The more I observe my little one growing up, the more it dawns how messed up we adults are. Social conditioning ruins us. We say not what we want, but what others want to hear from us. We don’t do what our heart wants, but what is expected from us. We don’t ever grow up, only get better at putting on an act of being able to get through the days and years with a veneer of knowing what we want. Even if we’re crumbling inside adulthood teaches us not to let our defences down. Because people shouldn’t see our vulnerabilities, because being an adult means you can hold your own. We think by not letting other people get a peak of our helplessness, we’re being strong and not giving them ammunition against you. We’re so edgy about giving out information about ourselves, wondering what will be held against us and thinking of ways and means of letting the world know only what we show on the surface. We don’t realise our strengths lie in accepting our weaknesses not masking them.

Parenthood is so meaningful, only because it allows you a chance to undo all the damage we inflict on ourselves and on others. It gives you a fresh perspective and an opportunity to see authenticity and experience pure emotions from close quarters. I observe my son and realise children are more sorted than we are. They cry when they are upset and smile when they are delighted. Their emotions and actions are so pure and authentic. They’ll turn up their little noses at what they don’t like and stay absorbed for hours fascinated by everyday objects we don’t even bother a second glance at. As children we’re all mindful and authentic. We get so caught up with trying to be the plastic, politically correct beings who toe the line and live by the rule book that we forget who we really are. Our true selves get buried in the debris of societal expectations, gender stereotypes and conditioning. We  think we evolve as we grow older, but at a certain level we regress. We just learn to tame our impulses and with that our ability to be curious and creative dies a natural death. We lose the ability to express ourselves while being true to our emotions. I sometimes wonder, we mask our true dreams, desires, fears and wants under so many layers that we dissolve who we truly are and settle for a shadowy existence. Every once in a while, try saying what you really want, give in to the impulse to cry your heart out or laugh till you’re teary-eyed. Confront and embrace your quirks and eccentricities. Try awakening the spontaneous, artless and natural child within. Every once in a while give wings to the child within who is hiding beneath layers of dos and don’ts and societal sanctions.

The darkness in self-indulgence

We live in decadent times. Hedonism starts early where parents fulfil needs and wants even before children realize they have needs and wants. They are given easy access to mobiles, gadgets and tabs which ensures they get to tap into a host of information at the touch of a fingertip. How will that ever leave room for creativity and curiosity to find roots? I too have been guilty of leaning on nursery rhymes to soothe a bawling toddler. Yes that is the trouble. We’re so busy strutting about like zombies starved for time that we look for quick fix solutions for everything. Even the things that matter like relationships, parenting, friendships. We think we can compensate for the poverty of time by amassing material possessions. We think we can punctuate our emptiness by acquiring brands and gadgets we’re going to lose fascination for soon. We are so gladly ignorant of the long term ramifications of all these quick fixes. Our parallel existence in the realm of social media is yet another space where we seek instant gratification by getting instant likes for our rants and rambles, narcissistic selfies or vacation snapshots.

As a parent and a bystander I shudder to think about the self-gratification seeking monsters we’ve become and the little monsters we’re in process of rearing. We’re heading towards a world where we’ll find it hard to think beyond our own needs and wants. A world where we’d want instant solutions for all our troubles. We’ll be men and women who’ll find it hard to look beyond their own noses and whose sympathies will be narrower than Kendal Jenner’s nimble waist. Where nothing will hold our attention and instead of finding solace and satiation in real human interaction we’ll depend on the deceptive virtual world to seek companionship and derive sense of self-worth.

Is that where we’d like ourselves or our children to be?

Feel free to (dis)please

I still remember the eager beaver I was in the first few years of working in the corporate worlds. Brimming with ideas, going that extra mile to make a positive impression on my seniors and trying to strike the right note always. Time and experiences leave no one untouched. Our optimism gets tempered with realism. The enthusiasm makes way for the ability to question rather than conform. But one lesson that stayed with me both personally and professionally was that there is only one recipe for disaster : trying hard to please everyone around us. By falling into an incessant trap of saying and behaving in  a manner which we feel will go down well with those around us; we’re signing up for misery. What we don’t realize early on in our lives is that how people judge or perceive us has little to do with how we are. And a lot to do with how they are. By trying to please all and sundry with end up pleasing no one, including ourselves.  We bear an unnecessary burden of supposed expectations we think people have of us. We’re too self conscious to notice that everyone has their own baggage bogging them down, to scrutinize or judge us is probably the last thing on their mental screen.

While I am not suggesting we behave in an obnoxious or atrocious manner, but donning a veneer or mask can’t last forever. It perhaps is best to be as authentic as possible while staying civil. We can voice alternatives, opposing ideas and our concerns without stepping on someone’s toes. The only caveat is we need to be prepared to leave our egos in the cold storage. We need to be prepared for our ideas to be shot down, our suggestions to be shelved or opposed. I still am trying to learn to strike that balance. How do you tackle this?

Of being too thin skinned!


I still remember being this child who would break into tears at the slightest admonishment. I would internalize other people’s opinions and judgements and try my best to be accepted and liked.Being reared as a cosseted and overprotected child made sure I was oversensitive to criticism and rebukes. I used to be someone ever ready to take these to heart. And then life happened. Life has a way of making sure we grow up and evolve. It dawned on me if there was one recipe for disaster  in life,it was trying to please and placate everyone. The futility of trying to be someone to everyone. Allowing ourselves to be steamrolled and ride an emotional roller coaster depending on how people blew hot or cold. We’re never the people we once were. Forever changing, evolving and sometimes wondering how could we metamorphose into someone we never thought we could be?

With time I learned being too thin skinned was like handing over the world ammunition to judge you and hurt you. By being too sensitive one was allowing oneself to internalize and reflect other people’s opinions of you. And experiences drove home the fact we are all much more than people’s opinions of us.

As a friend puts it,motherhood helps us become more immune; almost indifferent to what people think of us. We become so used to being scrutinized, judged and harangued for how we choose to raise our kids.

And then we  gradually develop a veneer of indifference and devil may care attitude.It can be a rather liberating experience to decide what we choose to accept from other people and what needs filtering out.  The realization comes with time that how other people evaluate us is none of our business, it is their problem alone. Perhaps the first step towards emotional empowerment and autonomy.

Love or Fear?


All of life is a choice between love and fear. We can choose to open our heart to new experiences, people and situations. Take each day as it comes, dig up opportunities to grow and learn and jump into the helm of action instead of spending all our time overthinking and pondering over the imponderables. We can muster courage to make our own choices as well as the gumption to live them down immaterial of the consequences.  We can decide to embrace change as a way of life and look at each tricky situation as an opportunity to grow and learn. Not antagonizing over people who think differently than we do. Instead we can entertain their perspective to enrich our own. We can navigate through ups and downs by seizing the moment, by choosing to change what we don’t like and exploring the world for its diverse people, places, flavours, sights and sounds.

Or we can choose to be shrinking violets cower quietly in a corner, allow ourselves to be overwhelmed by people and situations. Walk through life with our eyes half closed and half engaged, dwelling in the zone of inactivity and endless speculation. Hoping if we shut or eyes to them or shove them under the carpet our troubles under the proverbial carpet; they will disappear. Magnifying and feeding of each other’s fears. Resisting and shunning change and shutting ourselves from new people and experiences. We can choose to stunt our personal growth, find solace in sameness and monotony. Lead an incestuous existence where we meet and accept only people who think and talk like us. Shun newer experiences, revel in the sameness. Crib and complain about our existing relationships, jobs and situations yet refuse to change. Because change is catastrophic and what is familiar is a solace even if we don’t quite like it. We learn to get comfortable with the discomfort because only the known is a safe choice.

The mind keeps waltzing between choosing love and faith and getting paralyzed by fear and inaction. We can choose to overcome our mental hurdles or to stall our lives fearing a catastrophe all the time.  We’re forever fighting this battle at the back of our mind at each juncture of life. I personally have found myself swinging between the two extremes when faces with all of life’s major changes and choices. As the ancient fable goes, much of our life depends on which of these two we choose to feed and grow.

Embracing Imperfection


Thanks to social media we’re bombarded with a volley images of beauty photo shopped to perfection, picture perfect relationship moments and postcard like vacations. We share carefully scripted and manufactured moments of our lives for sharing with friends and family. What about our fears, our weak moments, our vulnerabilities and fragilities? Well, they lay buried under the debris of the stories we weave and the images we share on-line. What makes it worse is most people who consume these anecdotes and stories consider this our only reality

Everyone has their own set of demons to fight. Battles to conquer. No one I know has ever had it easy, a smooth run. There are peaks and troughs, but what we see instead are airbrushed moments of joy and success.

This has set most of us on a wild goose chase .But this quest for perfection in any sphere is a mirage. It takes away from us the ability to value and cherish what we’ve got. We’re forever searching for that ephemeral perfection which we’re never quite able to meet. Because we seldom know what it looks like.

Won’t it be just be a whole lot easier to breathe easy and share instead what we really feel and not what we want to project? Focus on how the imperfections and quirks in our lives and our relationships actually add the extra zing and spice. It is actually our fragilities, our imperfections and scars that make us more human and relatable. Let us just make peace with them instead of battling them.

Of breaking molds and barriers


We’re brought up to believe patriarchy eulogizes men and downgrades women. It considers men superior to women!   I’d grown up thinking our society is unfair to women alone.  We are expected to be ideal wives and mothers, daughters-in law and doormats that don’t let out a whimper despite the demands made on us. Women aren’t given equal opportunity, nor pay parity.  Ironically it is women who are not only the perpetrators of the myth of male superiority even as they are the biggest victims. But are men really meted out any preferential status? Even though they are raised with a sense of entitlement and are labeled as the preferred gender, they too are slotted in fixed moulds early on in life and are expected to toe the line.

Men really are in no better position in our country. They are pulled in diametrically opposite directions when they have to choose between giving up their dreams to meet societal and familial expectations. A patriarchal mind-set enslaves men just as it chains women to zany ideals and exacting standards of how they ought to behave and act. With time and experiences I am willing to believe that the masculine ideal is as exacting of men as it is denigrating of women.  If women have to conform to ideals of beauty, men too are forced to fit into the ambiguous macho image. If society expects women to be soft, feminine and mild it encourages its men to fit into stereotypes of being the strong, resilient and silent ones sans emotions. If women are expected to put their career on the back-burner and meet familial responsibilities men are thought of as nothing but primary providers and are balked at if they ever display an instinct to nurture and care. Things are changing but most people still remain wedded to the ideas of traditional gender roles. The only legit emotional expression in a man is often anger and in a woman silent acceptance of her circumstances and calm even in the face of the biggest storms.

These gender stereotypes are thrust into our faces early in life. Gradually they seep through the layers of our skin and embed themselves in our impressionable minds and malleable little souls. We become clones of people in the generations before us. They start early on in life, when we dress our boys in blue and girls daintily in pink.  When we give our daughters a Barbie to hold and tell her fairy tales that endorse the fact she needs to be pretty and her life’s sole purpose is to wait for her Prince Charming ( Who is more often than not a prince harming in the Indian context!)  Or it stealthily creeps into our psyche when we give our sons cars and guns and overlook their rowdyism and aggression with the done to death and rather blanket ‘boys will be boys ‘expression. Or when an eyebrow is raised when our daughters and sisters are boisterous and all hell breaks loose at home if our sons are sensitive enough to express emotions or shed tears. They get crystallized when we praise our daughters for their beauty and our sons for their achievements.

Stereotypes perhaps came into being for us to slot people easily based on gender or race, because we can’t comprehend and are intimidated by anyone or anything that we can’t label or put in a box.  But they are at their very root judgemental and burdensome. They dilute our individuality and compel us to subscribe to a set of pre-conceived notions and societal expectations.They are tied intricately with our complex social fabric’s need to maintain status quo.

Of course we have the odd rebels and the  far and few thinking intellectuals who often break barriers and defy societal stereotypes. But such people are far and few.  When we’ll stop judging and alpha female or a woman who is a go-getter at work and stop praising men for pitching in at home or participating in parenting is when we’ll truly overcome these traditional societal typecasts.

For people who mock feminism, it’s time to see it in a new light. Feminism isn’t the opposite of patriarchy, rather it is based on a balanced and healthy world view. It puts individual before gender, people before labels and demands equal opportunities immaterial of gender. Women’s liberation not only empowers women it also liberates men from bearing the cross of traditional gender roles. Unlike patriarchy feminism works with the assumption both men and women have equal rights and that they are humans before being ‘Men’ and ‘Women’.

Choice or Chance?

I’ve forever struggled with an existential question, is most of life sheer chance and destiny or do we have choices to make?  Are we mere puppets dancing to the tunes of destiny or is our life governed with the choices we make? It is so easy to blame circumstances and blame everything on sheer chance. Isn’t it? This stand saves us the responsibility of making difficult choices and living with their consequences.  But with time I have reached the conclusion it is much a dance between choice and chance, an intricate web of destiny and giving our lives a conclusive direction.  Destiny can only give us a framework and surreptious opportunities disguised as challenges. How we respond to these chance encounters is our conscious choice. Few of us have the courage to live down our choices and own up our mistakes. We need an  alibi or a scapegoat to incriminate and often circumstances or fate are the most common refuges. I wonder what if we don’t give ourselves an alibi or an exit route? If only we were to own up even the most messed up of choices and believe we are fallible ! Accept we are entitled to falter, yet dust our knees before we amble on. Own our entangled choices and brace up to face their consequences. If only…

The Parenting Jig

Nothing drills in us a sense of inadequacy as does parenthood.  Or rather motherhood. Especially in a country like ours where we’re always bothered about what will people think and we’re forever poking our nose in everyone’s business. As if in India we are programmed to play on people’s sense of insecurity and inadequacy. Relatives and ‘well-wishers’ hound you with comparisons of how XYZ’s kids is smarter, healthier, chubbier, quick to meet milestones! The list never ends. And as a first time parent you descend into a pall of gloom fearing you’re no good at this parenting jig.

But what is worse is when we as parents internalize these comparisons and start looking at what is missing in our children. When we allow these comparisons to get the better of us and we become exacting and demanding of the little beings that need nothing but unqualified love and acceptance from us.  When we begin to view our children with society’s lenses, we dilute their sense of individuality and uniqueness. Constant comparison is the death of uniqueness. We begin to treat our kids as projects instead of individuals. We enforce our standards of judgement and success on them rather than allowing their individuality to flower and for them to discover their own path.

There is absolutely no harm in reveling in your child’s achievements but no point turning them into puppets and asking them to conform to societal expectations of success, beauty or achievement.

Children are the happiest and most successful when they are allowed the space to make mistakes and the courage to make their own choices. We as parents forget we don’t own them; they are their own little people.  Loving them does not mean we control them or not let them fall. It means a safe space where we don’t judge them or compare them with someone else’s child.

More than a homily or rant, this is a reminder for me as a pre-schooler’s parent to allow him to grow at his own pace and set his own standards. I am hoping somewhere I don’t turn into a parent who expects her child to bear the burden of her unfulfilled dreams and half-baked desires. Sometimes hope is all we need.

The Working Mommy’s Dilemma

Back in college when I was an idealistic feminist, I was always told we women have to work twice as hard to prove we’re half as good as men. I would roll my eyes in sheer disbelief! And then the words echoed true when motherhood happened. Along with being flooded with a plethora of emotions primarily the nurturing instinct I became familiar to a perpetual feeling of guilt. It became a constant companion when I went to work leaving a cranky toddler or came back from work. Till it dawned on me, we women often prey to paralysis with over-analysis. Life is best lived when we go with the flow. What needs to be done has to be done sans guilt.  I realized how millions of working mothers walk a tight rope and often the noose is of their own mind’s making.

We allow ourselves to be shortchanged, when we aren’t considered for challenging assignments and are often given the excuse, how will you manage ? No one has the gumption to ask men how will they juggle parenthood and careers. Then why does the buck stop at women alone? Why do they get derisive stares when they want to leave early to pick kids from daycare or when they are on leave to tend to sick kids.

It is okay to delegate and ask for help. Both at work and on the personal front. You can’t be a lone ranger fighting a solitary battle. Having a strong support system works and what really helps is the close circle of non judgemental women who look out for you and egg you on to get it all done. Let’s lean on each other as we juggle the balls of work and life.

Work And Life

We are forever doing the trapeze walk between work and life. We are searching for that ever elusive balance between these two ends of the spectrum. This balance is like chasing a firefly, you’re never able to catch it! There are times when life becomes a lot of work and work becomes your life. With time it dawns on us neither is mutually exclusive of the other. The answers lie somewhere in the middle. We juggle, we falter, get our act together and keep walking. While scouring for answers I came across this evocative excerpt from former  US supreme justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s recent Stanford speech. Here is the link if you too are looking for answers Link to the video

Would love to hear back on how you figured it all out.

At Twilight


At the twilight

Of my existence

All that will haunt

Is not doing

What I want

Words trapped

At the back of my


Tears half shed

Masked beneath

A veneer of calm

Dreams that gathered

Dust beneath duty

And the mundane

The shadowy

Existential ghosts

Shoved beneath

The carpet

That never lay to rest

The Parenthood Journey

From smoothening the jagged edges

Of raw emotions

To have ourselves catapulted into

A volatile emotional jazz

Scouring the world to seek equanimity

To striving to become it

Meandering for meaningful existence

To finding it in the eyes

Of a pint sized doe-eyed baby

From looking for warmth

To find it in the tiny fingers that tug

At your heart strings

Traversing the globe

To have tiny footsteps

Leave eternal imprints

In erstwhile unknown

recesses of your heart

Pursuing warmth of home

In unknown alleys

To becoming your child’s safe place

On expression

Emotions are so transient and yet we allow them to get the better of us. Getting swept by a pool of tears or swamped by joy, or to experience soul seething rage, they govern so much of our existence. We deny, digress, avoid hoping these emotions disappear. Yet they surface and erupt like volcanoes, when we try too hard to escape them.

But the trouble is not expressing emotions, instead being asked to repress them. Ours is a society that exists on brushing everything under the carpet and pretending all is hunky dory. We’re judged when we say what we feel and often are conditioned to express ourselves in how society would like us to respond. Which is a sure-shot recipe for disaster. As I juggle the role of a parent I make a conscious choice to let my child express all emotions; the pleasant ones as well as the non-pleasant ones. Because with age it dawns on me it isn’t an anomaly to feel and express ourselves rather it is the lack of feeling and expression that is an aberration.

Life’s little lessons from my 1 year old

If there is anything I have learnt from life lately it’s been by observing my 1 year old gallivant about the place from close quarters. It keeps reminding me how societal conditioning and upbringing curbs our natural instincts. As children we know what life is all about, we just lose the plot during our journey into adulthood!

My son’s teaching me to wake up with a smile each day.

Seek pleasure and soak in joy in the small things in life

Cry when I fall but get up the very next moment as if nothing ever happened

Ask to be comforted when I am upset instead of expecting others to understand my need

Explore, be curious and be fascinated by everything new I encounter each day

Express my displeasure and delight in equal measure

Stand on my toes to reach greater heights and never give up

Be my unabashed, unrestricted self sans bothering how others judge me

These are just a few that come to the top of my head as I watch him scoot around reconnoitering and scrutinizing about the house with an endless energy, while I huff and puff to keep pace with my diminishing energy levels.

Digital Cleanse

Congratulations! If you just made time to read this you aren’t amongst those Indians who spend one in every four minutes logged onto social networking sites. It’s no exaggeration how the internet, smartphones and tablets have ensured we’re virtually connected digitally round the clock. From posting status updates on Facebook, to joining professional networks on LinkedIn, getting a flavor of news on twitter we’re hooked to our phones as if our life depends on them. Phew! There is barely any breathing space we give ourselves from our phones and laptops.

The irony is our virtual connections have overpowered our real relationships. We sleepwalk through the day like zombies staring into our phones. Forget finding time to connect with the people around us we’re all disconnected from ourselves too.

When was the last time you managed to enjoy a breath-taking view without wanting to capture it on Instagram? When was the last time you enjoyed a dinner with friends and family without caring to check-in on Facebook? If you can’t remember, perhaps you’d like to consider a digital detox? Have you ever contemplated spending only 30 minutes a day sans fiddling with a phone or clicking away on your laptop? 30 minutes to contemplate, connect with yourself and the people around you? Beam a real smile at the person who sits right across your desk rather than create several smiley emoticons at a joke cracked on WhatsApp? If that’s something you haven’t tried in a long time, perhaps give it a shot now.

Of an unintended sabbatical from the blog

This place has been languishing in neglect. The blog which was my sanctuary and sounding board is now a place I haven’t visited in nearly an year ! So the arrival of M in our  lives left me virtually at a loss for words or rather left me a tad too overwhelmed emotionally and physically to find time to write. Motherhood took me by surprise, never did I realize I was capable of feeling a plethora of emotions all at once. One little being was capable of throwing my perspective of life as it was leaving me flooded with a gush of emotions I had reconciled in the last three decades of my life I was incapable of feeling.He’s been catapulting my routine existence completely out of gear, I gush over baby blabber and clap my hands in delight at any sound, smile or milestone.  I am loving every bit of the chaotic and uncertain journey for once!

Coming back to the blog, I think I owe it to  myself to revive it and write more often. Let’s see for how long I am able to keep the resolve though!

Latent expectations

Unshed tears

Unspoken fears

Half-baked conversations

Simmering speculations

Feelings which were

Buried beneath the mundane

Forgotten smidgen of

Pleasure and pain

They lay strewn

And crumpled

In the creases

Of time that

Flows between us

They lie there

Restless and listless

Waiting to be embraced

Aching to be owned

Yet we amble on

In laden silence

Letting them hang

In the air pregnant with meaning

Waiting for them

To dissolve in

The foggy winter of

Our prosaic existence

The refusal to change

Something that I haven’t quite able to fathom is the Indian obsession with maintaining status quo. We will go all out to endure misery as long as it is familiar misery. The moment the possibility of change looms large in front of us, we retreat like shrinking violets. We’ll stay rooted in a rotten situation but will shun the possibility of the unknown at all costs. Whether it’s a troubled marriage or a job that sucks the very life force out of you; one is asked to endure it all rather than leap into unknown territory. Why are we so anti-change? Why do we hide under the carpet at the thought of being catapulted into new situations?
What is it that makes us so stubborn and so rooted in our situations? Perhaps our belief in good old karma keeps us from changing, we feel we’re paying for our sins and have no way out but to endure and labour through a despondent life situation. We refuse to entertain the possibility that we can choose to seize the situation and steer it to a better place. It is a strange learned helplessness that is passed on from generation to generation. We never realize, there is no merit in misery and making a martyr of oneself.
We glorify suffering and pain and then expect our future generations to pay the price for the sacrifices we made because we were too chicken to change. Yet we hide our cowardice under the glory of martyr hood and self-victimization. We think we’re being noble, when in fact we’re just being plain and simple rigid and refusing to flow with life. The quote floating around on the internet sums it up only too well, “We can’t see our chains as long as we aren’t moving.” Why don’t we realize that by opening up to new possibilities we open ourselves up to life? We can’t live by rigid rules and archaic notions only because they are familiar and comfortable. Because rigidity and in-elasticity only makes you say no to life’s possibilities and opportunities. You can exist in a cocoon but you can’t grow or live in it ever. Nothing ever grew in the shadows of the familiar and comfort except moss and molds.

From The Fringes

I choose to see life

From the fringes

Where there is

Neither love nor hatred

You just watch life

Unfold in its totality

In Its beatific beauty

And threadbare ugliness

In its charmingly wrapped deceit

And heart-breaking truths

I choose to watch life

From a quiet surreptitious corner

For I can’t muster courage

to take center stage and

Live it, feel it

From the core

The vagabond ways of life

Life seldom unfolds evenly. There are euphoric highs and abysmal lows. There are peaks and troughs. That is how each journey is meant to be. We take the rough with the smooth. There are days you wish you hadn’t woken up at all and days that feel like a nightmare from start to finish. And then there are days when we seem to cruise smoothly sans a hitch. There are days when we have it all going for us and days when our inner world and the one around us in crumbling into pieces without us being able to do anything at all and just amble on helplessly.

But demanding and disgruntled as we human beings are we only want to question the bad days and the dark days and seldom seem to raise any questions when the going is easy. We don’t realize life is no buffet spread where we choose and cherry pick what we want and how we feel. Instead life has its own menu and serves us its own varied spread which we’ve got to relish all the way, even if it isn’t always to our taste. Well some of us do think life owes us a lot. Sorry to disappoint you. It doesn’t owe us anything. Only we owe it to life and ourselves to gracefully accept all that comes our way and keep going. All moments are ephemeral and shall dissolve at the touch of time. Both good and bad will always touch us. The tough and the easy shall always follow each other around. Each moment, each incident has meaning and lessons that come with it. The prerogative is ours to draw the right kind of lessons and move on. The irony is uncertainty of what the future holds for us is disconcerting about life when the going is good and the same can be a source of comfort and solace on a not so smooth day.

All we need

All we need

Is a little wisdom

That the dark dreary nights

Will have a dawn


All we need

Is the faith

To be able to

Start from scratch

Be reborn


All we yearn

Is a little love

And approval

To mend

Our hearts

When they are torn


All we have

Is moments

And memories

When people are gone


All we’ve got

Is the choice

To dust our knees

When we fall

And move on

Reflections on acceptance


Romanticism has its pitfalls. All through my twenties I’d always keep assessing the reality of life, relationships and career vis-à-vis vague notions of what they ought to be in an ideal world. Until I realized that these fuzzy ideas I hold on to for dear life are nothing but the concoctions and contraptions of my overactive imagination and hyperactive mind. And it dawned that the ideal world was la la land of my creation.

It took me agonizing amount of time, several battles with myself and unwarranted heartache to finally figure out that the idea of how life ought to be and how it really turns out seldom meet. In fact forget meeting they are miles apart. There is really nothing you can peg life into. There is nothing you can compartmentalize, judge or assess life’s varied situations and people’s unpredictable reactions.After all who are we to assess? And isn’t life meant for living and experiencing rather than wasting it judging, comparing, making notes?

As long as we keep holding on to the notion of how it ought to be, life will always be less than perfect, it will leave us feeling cheated and dissatisfied. We’re letting go of even half a chance at relishing life’s bittersweet experiences. There is nothing we can do, but to go with the flow of things and gracefully accept what is thrown our way. There really is no harm in reflecting or mulling over our actions and reactions. But it is absolutely pointless to slot our life or compare it with zany ideas of how it should have or could have shaped up. People and situations will always be less than perfect, but that really is the charm of life. There is absolutely no one who can complete or fulfill us except ourselves. It is a trap we create for ourselves by waiting people to rescue us from self-inflicted miseries and make us happy. No one or no situation can act as a salve to our souls or make our existential angst or loneliness disappear. We have to falter our way through life, meander, make mistakes, fall down, cry our hearts out and finally find our own answers. Perfection is the biggest myth we feed ourselves and unfortunately our society reinforces it at each step. Making us wallow in the cages of endless self-pity and a bottomless pit of having unrealistic expectations being razed to the ground.

To love and accept people for who they really and not what we think they should be is perhaps the only way we find peace. We can neither cage people or relationships with expectations and naïve hopes. But we can certainly spare ourselves and others much heartache and drama with sheer acceptance and consideration.


Memories don’t live

In photographs

They nestle surreptitiously

In the quiet corners of our minds


Moments aren’t ephemeral

They stay inked in our hearts

For eternity


Feelings don’t fade away

They just learn to bury

Themselves under the

Insignificant debris of the mundane



Relationships don’t

Drift apart

They just gather different dimensions



People don’t change

They just don different

Masks and masquerade

As strangers


Hope doesn’t extinguish

It just blends with dreams

And weaves new realities
















Accepting the inevitable

Nothing makes us feel more fragile and helpless than not being able to reach out to people who matter in times of distress. It leaves one with an aching regret that we tuck away in a quiet dark corner of our being. We’re left thinking about if only life had shaped up differently. We let guilt set in; knowing all the way there is nothing we could have done to alleviate someone’s pain except reach out. We throw our hands helplessly in the air knowing not how to absorb what life’s throwing our way. Until we realize we never had a choice but to accept what life’s given us stoically even if with traces of reluctance.

Yet no matter how expected and foreseeable we can’t escape a sense of loss and the chasm that grief drills into our being. A sense of loss no matter how inevitable still leaves us with a throbbing emptiness. When we lose people who’ve been a part of our lives since we were little children, it feels like our memory and childhood is being amputated slowly. Nothing can punctuate the void again. The irreversibility of it all makes one feel even more abandoned.

We do so much to avoid and ignore pain. (Most of it in vain) We rationalize, deny or lose ourselves in the mindless humdrum of daily activity, yet in those quiet reflective moments the memories come back to haunt us. Nothing can alleviate hurt except yielding to it, allowing tears to wash over one’s soul is perhaps the only way one heals.