Monday, 23 December 2013

Those were the days

“Pluckh!” She fell into the cold water as I stood staring at her. The sound alerted amma who was enjoying a swim. Suddenly before I realized what was happening she was hauled out of the water safe and secure. ‘She’ here was and still is my best friend - my younger sis. Well, that fall in the pond was our first tryst with beauty consciousness. She was a babe of a little over two and me a child of four. 

We were on a short vacation to my mother’s ancestral home. The pond in question was one attached to the house where the ladies took a dip and enjoyed a swim. The two of us fascinated by the sight of a pond and people swimming in it made it a point to accompany amma for the swim. The obedient we, never dared disobey amma’s orders. But that day it so happened that lil’ sis   decided to roll in the lap of mother earth and in the process smeared herself with mud. The elder sister in me decided she needed a scrubbing and a dip and off started the bathing process. Soap applied I led her down the steps into the water. But the slippery stone decided to play spoil sport and there she went “Pluckh!” into the water. Well this was not the last of our adventures. In fact it was the first in a series to come in the following years.

On another occasion we decided to join amma at the pond near my paternal house. Sis was just three and I was five. Just as we were sneaking out through a side gate our cousin a boy of sis’s age insisted on joining us. So off went the three of us on our mission “Pond Visit”. The rain the previous night had left puddles of mud and water in the narrow lane at the side of the house. Hardly had we covered 100 m when suddenly our cousin got stuck in the mud. Our efforts to rescue him having failed we left him there all alone after assuring him we’d call amma and get him out of the mess. But once at the pond we coolly forgot about him and sat watching mom washing the clothes. We told her that we had informed Dad. So happy were we watching the fish playing in the waters and children swimming, that we did not notice Dad arrive with a stick. It was only then that mom realized that we had told her a lie. We ran all the way home avoiding coming into contact with the stick. Later we came to know that our aunt alerted by our cousin’s cry had sent Dad on our trail. 

Our tryst with beauty and danger did not end there. One cold winter morning Mom sat on the charpoy outside with the neighbouring ladies stitching a sweater for Dad, while the two of us played indoors. Little sis still a baby of three attracted by a picture of a girl with rosy cheeks on a magazine cover, expressed a desire. She too wanted rosy cheeks.  The genius I decided to grant her wish. When mother came she was aghast. Little sis was proudly showing off her ‘rosy cheeks.’ I too was mighty pleased and proudly revealed the secret of the transformation. I had bitten her cheeks till they were rosy red. Luckily mom let me off with just a small session on the dangers of my action. That was the last time sis ever expressed a desire for rosy cheeks and the last time I ever bit her or anybody for that matter. My incisors learnt to vent their love only and only on food. They vowed never to dig into human flesh any more.

Ahh! As years fled by we grew and with it our beauty consciousness and pranks. One hot summer day in the afternoon Mom sent us off to take a short siesta. I think I was in the second and lil’ sis was in the kinder garden. We had for company our neighbour’s daughter who was three years my senior. Well, we decided siesta could wait but not our desire for a catwalk session. So off we went applying a liberal dose of talcum powder on our face, neck and hands to look shining white, a bottle of red liquid bindi served as lipstick and the kajal as mascara. Hair tied up with ribbons, wearing mom’s heels we started our ramp walk only to find ourselves falling head over heels and inviting mom’s wrath. In the process one of us also shed some blood. That I believe was our first and last attempt at catwalk.

As years passed by and we grew in age our pranks too took other shapes. We started becoming more sober, more mature and more responsible.  By the time we reached our teens we had outgrown the kind of pranks we played as kids.  But the days we spent as kids, the pranks we played, the fun we had still remain with us and once in a while we relive them, share them with our kids and laugh at ourselves. Those years will never come back but those memories are there forever.


Amma- mother
Kajal – a black cream of sort applied in the lower eyelid
Bindi – a sign worn on the forehead usually round in shape.


This post is written for thDove   contest on Indiblogger

Inviting you to visit my blog Fabric of Life too to read the latest  

Please leave your footprints in the form of comments and suggestions. Your words mean a lot to me.

Sunday, 22 December 2013


Image courtesy of Stuart Miles

The temperature outside was minus two. No one dared step outside. Yet little Riya and Raghav wished they could just jump out. The heat inside was scorching. Dad and mom were at loggerheads. As usual the bone of contention were grandpa and grandma. Raghav and Riya could not understand why these two sweet beings were always the target of Dad and Mom’s anger and frustration.

Ever since they could remember, Grandpa and Grandma had been with them, taking care of all their needs physical and emotional. Mom and Dad were too busy in their own special world, a world of luxuries, parties and night clubs. They never had time for Riya and Raghav. Hence they never could bond with the two. For Riya and Raghav grandpa and grandma were the best. But since the past few months Grandpa seemed to be acting queer. He seemed to be forgetting things, names and people. He spoke to Riya as though she was his mother. He acted as though he was a college student. This had grandma worried. She tried to speak to Dad. She wanted him to take grandpa to a doctor. But dad had left it to mom.

Mom, was least interested in grandpa’s health.  She put off the visit to the doctor on one pretext or another. Finally things had come to such a pass that grandpa now failed to recognize people and was throwing tantrums as a kid of four would do. Now they planned to send him to an asylum. Grandma had vehemently opposed the move and what followed was a war of words, words that made it practically impossible for little Riya and Raghav to stay indoors. The sight of grandma broke their heart. That day the two did not step out of their room, neither for lunch nor for dinner. The maid called them. They sent her away saying they did not wish anyone to disturb them. Dad and Mom let them be.

The sound of a crow woke up Mrs. Kapoor . Slowly letting out a yawn she turned the knob and opened the door. She was just about to step out when she saw colorfully wrapped packets at the doorstep. She wondered what it was. She called out to Mr. Kapoor. The two took the packets in and slowly started to unwrap them one by one. Their eyes popped out in surprise. In one were small woolen clothes, clothes that Mr. Kapoor had worn when he was a child, clothes knitted by his mother. Another held an old worn out album containing photos of him as a kid. Slowly browsing through the same his eyes welled up with tears. There lay sweet memories of his childhood, memories of the love and care his parents had showered on him. In another box lay knick – knacks like an old thermometer, a camlin pen, a box a crayons, a geometry box ……. Each item brought back a memory. The thermometer reminded him of the nights his parents stayed up when he was sick and suffering from typhoid, the camlin pen a favourite of his father was gifted to him for his board examinations, the box of crayons reminded him how his mother spent hours with him teaching him to draw, the geometry box brought back the sight of his overworked father a man who did overtime so his son would get the best education. He broke down.

One peep into the last box and Mrs. Kapoor was left speechless. There lay a beautiful box filled with colourful glass bangles, bangles her mother- in-law had gifted her when she had entered the house as a Bahu. Her mother- in- law had wanted her to lead a happy and colourful life. The bangles were her blessings for her. Slowly caressing the bangles she turned to Mr. Kapoor when suddenly she noticed an envelope lying unopened on the table beside one of the boxes. She opened it.

It read, “Dear Mom and Dad, Hope these gifts will unlock some closed doors in your inner self and hope you will realize what you will miss when grandpa and grandma leave.”

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for 
Indian Bloggers
 by BlogAdda

This time the prompt was " Do not disturb"


Inviting you to visit my blog  Fabric of Life too, to read the latest

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Gifts for Life

Life is queer
We never know
What the morrow brings with it.

Life has its twists and turns. It is unpredictable. The king of today may be the beggar of tomorrow. However we can to a certain extent lessen the pain and suffering if we plan for the morrow well in advance. Now how do we do that? It all depends upon one’s perception of what is needed to secure one’s future.

Gone are the days when there was a big family to take care of our children should we parents not be there for them. With the disintegration of the Joint family set up and the setting up of nuclear family units, it’s now up to the parents to secure their children’s’ future. The earlier one starts, the better. For me the process begins from the point the baby is conceived.

A Happy Environment

The moment a baby is conceived the mother experiences many changes in her body both mental and physical.  Our ancestors were well aware of the need to keep pregnant women in good spirits. The rule was that they hear good things, eat good food and think only of good things. Brooding over anything was a ‘no-no.’ Mothers, grandmother, aunts and cousins would all take great care in fulfilling the wishes of the pregnant lady of the house. It is said that the child’s mental well being begins right in the womb. The greatest gift a mother can give her child is being cheerful. There may be times when she goes through untold misery like frequent nausea, cramps, etc. But then one thought of the life within is enough to buoy her spirits. The misery vanishes.

Once the child is born the one thing he/ she yearns for is unlimited love.  Is the child asking for the heavens? No. It’s just asking for something that’s easily available. But then it’s upto the parents to gift them that love without a thought of what they will get in return.  The parents need to keep aside their differences and provide the child with a happy environment. It’s always best to remember that the child is like a bone china cup on a tray.  Here the tray is the parent’s combined. If the tray breaks the child automatically falls and shatters.  He/ she become bitter and withdrawn or rebellious. Either way it affects the child’s future and personality.

A happy family environment does not cost you a penny. It’s only the attitude that matters.


A happy family and righteous parents are key to character building. A lot of money and pampering can ruin your child’s future. Teach the child the value of money as soon as she/ he is able to talk and walk. At times it is difficult to say “No.” Yet we must. Giving in to all whims and fancies can have disastrous consequences in future. What if the child is not able to afford all the luxuries he or she is used to, tomorrow?  The child may either undergo untold misery and trauma or may land up in bad company and may acquire bad habits.

We often see parents taking pleasure in certain acts of their child that are not exactly pleasant. They laugh off even the smallest acts of misdemeanor forgetting that these acts may latter be the stepping stones not to success, but to ruin.  Each little act good or bad counts when it comes to character building.  When I say character building I also take into account the influence that friends have on each other. One bad friend can lead to ruin. Hence as parents we need to keep a constant vigil on our child’s moves, their company and protect them from evil.

Character building also decides the child’s future, whether he or she will turn out to be a responsible citizen or an irresponsible one. The responsible one has nothing to fear but the irresponsible one is under constant threat. Hence “Character” is the second best gift a parent can give a child for a secure tomorrow. It will stand him/ her in good stead.


Vidya dhanam sarva dhanam.” 
(Education is the best and ultimate wealth)

Education is not only about learning to read, write and speak. It is much more. Education too contributes to character and personality development. When I speak of education I am reminded of my parents. They believed that education was the best “Sthri dhan” that they could give their daughters. And they were right. Education helps develop the intellect. It augments the lessons we learn at home. It helps us to stand on our own. Education is a great source of strength, something that each individual requires in abundance to take on the challenges in life. Hence access to quality education is the third perfect gift for a child.

Times may change, people may come and go, wealth may say good bye but education will never leave one’s side. It is faithful as a dog.


A healthy child is a source of pride.  What use is wealth without health? Parents are custodians of God’s creation, the child. To ensure that the child is hale and hearty and turns out to be a fine being we need to provide them with the best source of nutrition that we can provide.  Here again this exercise should start right in the mother’s womb and should continue right through their youth. By doing so, we secure not only their future but also the future of their progeny. This is a sort of a chain reaction. A weak link can lead to weaklings in future.

Human nature tends to love and care more with each passing generation and so I am sure no one would want their grandchildren, great grand children and generations down the line to be weak. They would always like the chain to grow stronger with each addition. Hence it is upto us to ensure that we gift our children with good health.


Last on the list is wealth. To lead a comfortable life one does need money. A hungry mouth cannot think rationally. Often we come across petty thieves. An analysis of their past history reveals that the first time they ever tried their hand at robbery was for ‘food.’ Queer are the ways of life. The rich have plenty and often waste. The poor have not and are often forced to snatch.  Hence it’s always advisable that we parents secure our child’s future by adding up a bit off and on for their future. There are many options available in the market today. All banks and insurance companies have schemes of their own. You just have to have the will to save. Every little rupee saved can help your child in times of need. Along with saving for their future one can also impart lessons in thrift to them at a very early age itself. So that it becomes a way of life for them.

Gifts are the love parents give to their child hoping to see them sail smoothly through life. Hence it is upto the parent to understand the importance and necessity of each of the above and set their priorities accordingly. Gifts should be tokens of love. They should not be a show of wealth and power.

This post is part of the 1001 Gifts Activity by HDFC Life  in association with BlogAdda

Inviting you to visit my blog  Fabric of Life too, to read the latest.

Thank you for stopping by. Look forward to your comments and suggestions. 

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

The stubble

Looking at Ram I said, “Looks like you've just got out of bed. Why don’t you have a shave?” He laughed me off and got ready to go.

“You are attending the interview, aren't you?” I asked.

“Sure, why do you ask?”

“Then, you are sure to be selected,” I remarked sarcastically.  The stubble on his face was irritating. I hate that unclean stubble. I always refer to it as weeds. I have often heard men say, it’s stylish. “Stylish my foot,” I muttered aloud.

“Did you say anything?”

“Nothing,” I said. Just then my little girl came running in.

“Arey! Uncle what is this? Looks like you've not had a bath since two days,” she said and giggled.

Shreya too, cannot stand the stubble She makes it a point that my hubby i.e. her dad does not leave home clean shaven. I still remember the day we had planned to go to her school for the ‘open forum.’ Hubby decided to skip the routine. But Shreya would not have it. She declared she could not accompany him anywhere leave alone school, with that stubble. She had her way. Stubble shaven, we all went together.

Ram gave Shreya a menacing look and left.

On return, one look at him and I knew he had failed to make it. He went directly to his room and shut the door only to emerge after half an hour clean shaven. The stubble had undone his chances. That day Ram learnt a lesson the hard way.

Lesson learnt –

Looks do matter when you go for an interview. If you look untidy and haggard, the interviewer is put off by the very sight of you. You yourself undo your chances.

Office etiquette demands that one look clean and presentable. The stubble imparts an unkempt look.


This post is a part of the Protest Against Smelly Stubble Activity in association with BlogAdda

This post is for P.A.S.S. I was tagged by Anita in her post    here

(Inviting you to write a post in 200-300 words for P.A.S.S. and don’t forget to mention me at the end of the post just as I have mentioned Anita.)

For more details just check out here 

Inviting you to visit my blog  Fabric of Life too, to read the latest.

Thank you for stopping by. Look forward to your comments and suggestions. 

Sunday, 8 December 2013

The parcel

Image courtesy of stockimages

The sky was muddy red. “A storm brewing,” I thought. I quickly picked up my coffee mug and book and rushed indoors. These dust storms got on my nerves. Oh! I thought my day’s labour will all go waste. I knew that the storm would bring with it a flood of dust right into my house.

Cursing the storm I settled down in the settee and started to read ‘Nine lives’ by William Dalrymple. So engrossed was I in the ‘Theyam of Kannur’ that I did not hear the storm pass by. The constant ring of the calling bell woke me to the present. I realized that the coffee had gone cold and that someone was impatient. The sound of the calling bell told me so. Gathering my wits I moved to the door treading carefully over the dust that had already laid a carpet on the floor.

“Ma’am, a parcel for you. Please sign here,” so saying the man at the door handed me a box covered in brown and a delivery sheet. I took them as though in a trance. My eyes were glued to the man in front. He looked as though sculpted in dust. The cough brought me back to the present. I realized I was being rude. I quickly took the pen from him and signed.

Door closed I kept the parcel on the table and set about cleaning the house and attending to my other chores. All the while the parcel lay there unattended.  Dinner over I got ready to retire for the night. Locking the front door I turned to find the parcel right there in front of me.  I picked it and read the name of the addressee. I was surprised to see my name on it.

“Now who can it be?” I thought and searched for the name of the sender. Ms. Nausheen from Lucknow. 

“Hey, now who is this Nausheen?” I asked myself. I racked my brain. No answer. Finally giving up on the name I turned to the parcel.  It was small and compact.

“What is there in it?” I wondered. “Anthrax? Oh no.” The papers are full of it these days.

“Should I call the police and hand over the parcel?”

“What if the powder has already come into contact with my skin?” I feared. I felt my pressure rising. My throat went dry. A little voice inside me said, “No, come on don’t panic. It can’t be that. Come on breath in and out and try and relax.”

Obeying the voice I did some breathing exercise, something my Dad had taught me when I was a kid. Within five minutes I felt calmed and relaxed. I told myself, “No, it can’t be Anthrax. After all as per media reports all those who have received the deadly powder till now are big shots, people at the helm of affairs, people with clout. They received it via mail. Not one commoner has received it.”  The word “mail” rang a bell. All those who had received it had come across it in the letters and envelopes. No one had received it by way of a parcel. The discovery gave me some solace.  

“Then what,” I asked myself. No answer. I don’t know how long I sat there like that deep in thought.

“What’s the matter? Why are you sitting there like a statue? Seen anything scari?’ That was my husband.

“Oh! Nothing,” I replied.

“In that case why don’t you go off to sleep?”

I got up. It was then that he noticed the box in my hand. “Now, what’s that?” he asked. I shrugged and replied that I did not know. He opened it. There lay wrapped in silk, a book with pages yellowed on account of age. A book I had treasured since I was five, a book that brought live memories of fairies and fantasy.

Tears of joy filed my eyes. Here at last was that treasure I had thought I had lost forever. I took the note that lay above the book. It said,

 “Dear Geeta,

I don’t know whether you still remember me. I am Nausheen your childhood buddy of five years. I apologize for having kept you waiting so long for this book of yours. But then as you know we shifted to Lucknow in the middle of the academic session when I was in the third standard and this book came along with me. I found it among my books on reaching Lucknow. I was scared Dad would scold me if he knew about it, so I hid it from everyone. Only the other day I was clearing the store room when I came across a chest containing my toys and books. Going through the same I chanced upon this book of yours. I knew I had to return it to you even though its’ years since it left you and you may have already forgotten about it. It is a priceless treasure.

Well then, I contacted Richa your High School buddy who stays near my place and got your address. Hope this book reaches you intact. Once again sorry for the delay.


Caressing the book I kept it among my other treasures. Then sat down at my desk to pen a note of thanks to Nausheen.

The storm had swept in with it a treasure. My very own copy of “Andersons Fairy Tales.

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for 
Indian Bloggers
 by BlogAdda


This time we had to write a post containing- :"I was surprised to see a parcel with my name on it."

Inviting you to visit my blog  Fabric of Life too, to read the latest 

Thursday, 5 December 2013

I too feel

For 'Verse First ~ The Owl'

Image courtesy of criminalatt at

The setting sun called out to me
Telling me it was time to stir
The mice and insects could now be seen
Scurrying, hurrying to home afar

Looking up at the moon above
I smiled and wished a happy day
Witness to all my deeds I found
In moon a friend who is there to stay

Ah! What is that I see scurrying below
Above dried leaves fallen in the day
A  tiny bundle of fur it looked
Someone I had to have without further ado

I swooped down in one swift and silent move
Ears alert, eyes wide open on the prey
My legs then held a creature small
Silky, squeaking, beautiful I must say

Holding it I thought to myself
What am I doing with this bundle small?
The philosopher in me came to the brim
The predator in me was overpowered

I thought of my little ones
Sweet and silky as this little being
I thought of the predators that prey on them
My eyes were filled with melancholy

I turned the bundle in my claws
As softly as I could and felt
Waves of fear I felt in my paws
The little thing was scared I knew

I turned my head round and round
Saw if there was another of my kin around
Then gently I swooped down again
And placed it in the leaves below

I heard a squeak and knew it was 
Of the bundle of silk I left below
I heard another and knew it was 
Of the mother joyful at having her babe safe and sound

The night was long and I had to wait
A long, long time to get my prey
Yet regret I not the wait long
I knew I had done a wonderful deed

The setting moon waved me a smiling goodbye
The morning sun rising over the horizon smiled
I felt elated and at peace
I had not snatched a babe from its mother’s warmth

Linking to

Inviting you to also visit my other blog – Fabric of Life

Thank you for stopping by. Look forward to your comments and suggestions.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

The Intruders

Vidya opened the door to the incessant ring of the door bell. “Who can it be?” she wondered. Raghu was out of station and would not be back till the next evening. Tying her hair into a knot and adjusting the ‘pallu’ of her sari, she moved to open the door only to pull back her hand from the handle. The Surabhi murder case was still fresh in her mind. It was only the other day the incident was splashed all over the newspapers. The media had run reels and reels for hours on the same. Surabhi an unsuspecting housewife of just 25 years had opened her doors to strangers in broad daylight; little knowing that she was inviting her end.

Vidya opened the window instead and looked out. There were two young men in military uniform waiting at the doorsteps. They introduced themselves as Capt. Bikram and Capt. Shyam Sundar . They said they were Raghu’s colleagues. Raghu spoke often about the two. She opened the doors and welcomed them in.

Capt. Bikram – “Ma’am we’ve come here to collect the file Raghu Sir has left for us. There is a command meeting today and the same is required urgently.”

Uma remembered that Raghu had been working overnight on a file. He had said it was important. But before parting with the same she had to be sure it was the one they wanted.  So she took them to Raghu’s study and showed them the file. They took it and got ready to leave. Uma insisted they have a cup of coffee. So back they went to the living room while Uma headed for the kitchen.

The maid had already left and Uma was all alone. Kettle on stove, she hummed as she waited for the milk to boil. Suddenly she became aware of a peculiar fragrance. She wondered from where it could be. Coffee ready, she headed for the living room. The scent of the perfume was now more strong and pronounced. Suddenly she felt dizzy. The tray shook in her hand. She steadied herself and moved forward. Six more steps and there she went crashing to the ground.

Uma woke up to the strong smell of medicines and chatter all around. Her eyes felt heavy and drugged. It was with great effort that she managed to open them. She found herself surrounded by anxious eyes and nurses in white starched uniform. Her head was aching and throat was parched. Someone helped her sit up and have water. Later she came to know that Mrs. Suja her next door neighbor had found her lying unconscious in the living room amidst broken crockery and spilled coffee.

Mrs. Suja had come to invite Uma for the ‘Satyanarayana  pooja’  to be conducted in her house the next week. She rang the bell but there was no response. She rang it again and again. The door was slightly ajar. She found it strange that no one should respond. So she gently pushed the door and entered the house only to find Uma lying unconscious on the ground. She alerted the police immediately. Uma was brought to the hospital.

Feeling better Uma narrated the incident to the police. Capt. Bikram and Capt. Shyam Sundar were summoned to the hospital. Uma got the shock of her life when she saw them. The two were not the two who had approached her in the morning. Uma realized that she had been fooled.  But then who were they and what about the file she had handed over to them?  More shock was in wait for her.

The intruders had vanished with the file. Further investigations revealed that Raghu’s computer and table lock had been tampered with. CDs kept in the drawer were missing. “Oh! What an idiot I am,” thought Uma. “How could I fall a prey to their designs.”

The next few hours saw Uma lie on a bed of thorns (literally). She worried what Raghu’s reaction would be when he came to know of the missing file and CDs. Uma  worried whether  Raghu would get into trouble because of her.

Suddenly there was a flutter. A nurse came and told Uma that Raghu had arrived. Uma’s eyes welled up with tears on seeing Raghu at the door bouquet in hand. She closed her eyes unable to face the ‘scowl’ on Raghu’s face.

“Relax.” That was Raghu placing a hand over her shoulder. She slowly opened her eyes, tears trickling down her cheeks. Raghu wiped the tears. She parted her lips to seek forgiveness. He smiled and said, “Relax. That file you gave them contains nothing but my income tax calculation papers. They can be reconstructed. Don’t worry.”

“What about those CDs. Will you be in trouble because of them?”

“No. The one they came for is safe with me. I am an army man well aware of the dangers lurking around me. So I saw to it that the CD was kept away safe before I left. The CDs they took away don’t contain anything of importance.”

A sigh of relief escaped Uma’s lips.

“Now, my dear wife stop worrying or else those lines on your forehead I fear, may become permanent. And by the way, I could do with a smile.”

Uma smiled.

The dark clouds gave way to sunshine.

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for 
Indian Bloggers
 by BlogAdda


This time we had to write a post including the words -'idiot,' 'perfume,' and 'CD'

Inviting you to visit my blog  Fabric of Life too, to read the latest