Monday, March 20, 2017

Meeting the Treepies for the first time!

It was a quiet afternoon in the Delhi Autumn. The Sun was not yellow hot but was sharp enough to make the day balmy. And perhaps just that tad bit warmer because the trees were mostly disrobed.

The air was still. There was not even the light swaying of the thin branches on top of the Neem trees, which normally would move at the slightest nudge of the wind. The October breeze, it seemed, was enjoying a quick siesta.

The surroundings, this Saturday afternoon, were so starkly silent that you could hear even a leaf fall. Strangely, there were no pigeons roosting on the Sunshade at this hour. No parrot, or two, sat on the barren, unclad branch of the Frangipani tree on the neighbour's terrace.

The resident Peacock and the bevy of peahens strained one long neck to look around and finding nothing of major interest sat themselves down on the giant Neem tree, nuzzled their faces into their hind feathers and collected themselves for a shuteye.

And in this stage of stillness and silence, I witnessed another drama unfurl. I had left the bedroom window open to keep the stuffiness out and allow the pleasing scent of the Rangoon Creeper float in.

As is the case on good days, I was at my workstation thinking up a clever idea to flesh out into a business article. The chain of thoughts was broken by a sudden surge of shrill, squeaky noise from the adjoining garden. The avian sound was unfamiliar. It was constant and seemed to be in some sort of an angry monologue.

I got up to move in the direction of the sound and peered out my bedroom window beyond the green iron grills and at an angle to the slanting Banana tree. There, perched on the low-hung branch of the medium height bottle brush tree with its red flowers, were two birds engaged in a serious confabulation. They were definitely a couple, it was decidedly a heated exchange and most certainly one-sided.

A few minutes of eavesdropping and it became clear to me that one party was quite displeased with the other. But it must have been something grave for the erring partner to bring such fury upon themselves. The heckled, cantankerous mate made no bones about letting their umbrage amply known with high pitched, scathing, scolding, shrieky bird sound, accentuated with angry eyes and a severe silhouette that towered over the meek one.

To my stereotypes-strung mind, it appeared that the silently suffering partner was a male who had stepped on the wrong side of his visibly infuriated partner and was now showing a semblance of wisdom by being quiet and letting the scorching winds of wrath blow over. The sagacious soul suffered the scourge with steely resilience till the vexed bird seemed to quiet down.

The interesting scene played out before me for the better part of the hour; depicting how similar we all are, regardless of our habitats and outward physicality.

And this is how I made my first acquaintance with the Rufous Treepies. These striking birds are known to have a wide repertoire of bird sounds ranging from squawks to musical notes. But this pre-winter day it stayed on the clear notes of a harsh call!

Note 1 – Incident happened on 17th September 2016
Note 2 – This piece was penned on 19.3.17

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Sparkle with a Champagne Party!

Note - This article was first published on Purple Velvet Project on 1st March 2017
Link -

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Stranger in the Mirror!

For one
the view is blurred,
Through watery eyes
and a heart heavily stirred;

You, Stranger in the mirror
have we ever met?
Socially, or in passing
on my being, or in my head;

I don’t have 
a recollection
I don’t recognize you,
Lost in an 
achy time zone
you are no longer me
that’s true;

My thoughts are 
in a tizzy
my memory 
struggles and fails,
Did we ever 
know each other?
or are they just fancy tales;

The spunk, the spirit
that once put a spring 
in my stride,
Have drowned in a 
sea of sorrow
swept into an 
ocean I cried;

The smile is crooked
it’s more of a charade,
I crumble deep within
and outside 
put up a façade;

There was a time
when I rode the 
crest of fortune,
Now I look up to the sky
and catch my beloved’s 
face in the moon;

You, in the mirror
I don’t see you laugh
or with mirth 
and joviality cackle,
I see you steeped 
in anguish
and the cross you bear
is heavy enough to tackle;

Your life seems stricken
tormented by misery 
weakened by pain,
Once you 
romanticized the clouds
now you cry in the rain;

You are of me
likeness of a reflection,
I could have loved you
but you are filled with
angst and abjection;

I approach you
with worry and concern,
I know it’s difficult 
to keep up appearances
when you would rather 
break and burn;

I see you drop your shoulders
and your head hung low,
I rush to extend a hand
but the glass of grief
hits back a blow;

Often times
my heart feels for you, 
I wish those weren’t tears
but glistening on a petal
the hope-filled morning dew;

Your eyes, 
those vacuous pools
are deep caverns,
They shut close
to faith and light
when once
they were a 
gateway to heavens;

Your arms fall empty
in listlessness
 by your side,
The company you miss
the embrace you crave
is long lost and died;

You stranger in the mirror
there’s nothing that matches
yet, you look like me,
A burst of belief glimmers
a hint of wish shines through
with promise to set a soul free!


Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Have you lived my life?

Have you had sorrow
strike across your face,
Leaving an indelible mark
a burden so difficult to brace;

Have you breathed in the same air
the same cubic-centimeter
that I inhale,
The poison of self-pity
the toxin of self-doubt
that turn me pale;

Have you stepped into
the darkest room in your heart,
Where reside death and despair
anger and anguish
where hope and happiness
their ways part;

Have you ever been
trapped inside your mind,
With a maze of paths forgotten
and no road ahead to find;

Have you stared blankly
into a faraway horizon,
And been held back 
by gripping fear
shackled by a sense 
of self-derision;

Have you peered into
the eyes of grief,
Where deep longing rides
on the shoulder of loss
and tears bring no reprieve;

Have you walked on
the same piece of land,
Stumbling on desire, falling into 
an abyss of hopelessness
with not even Almighty 
to lend a hand;

Have you been in a crowd
and felt lonely and desolate,
With abjection, aimlessness
indifference and ennui
sealing your pitiable fate;

Have you wished to let go
but been forced to trudge on,
With days filled with emptiness
leading a life 
wretched and forlorn.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

People I like

I like people
with sunshine
wiping shadows from their faces,
whose heart is aflutter
with a million dreams it chases

I like people
with clean hands
and no blood on their fingers,
on whose mind
thoughtfulness always lingers

I like people
who’ve walked the earth
yet boast cleaner shoes,
Their lives lived well
with no lies
but a hundred truths

I like people
with fine fragrance
those who always smell good,
Of humanity and virtue
and all the values
alongside they stood

I like people
who express and emote,
For; they dive in
and swim out
refusing to simply
on the surface float

I like people
who have a long sight,
People who see
beyond themselves
and for others
pick up a fight

I like people
with childlike innocence
People who are curious,
And for injustice to the underdog
or harm to the weak
they are always furious

I like People
who, with their kindness
and generosity
live in others’ hearts,
People, who like Noah
carry others big or small
with skin or fur or feather
to redemption
and for whom, like Moses
The Red sea parts

I like People
who feel the pain
that shatters other lives,
People who are bound
to man and animal
and nature alike
with love and compassion
and respect and gratitude
as the main ties

I like People
who tread upon this earth
with purpose and meaning,
With lifelong lessons
and tales of zeal and passion
and fascinating folklore upon leaving!


Picture 1 - Rokeby Manor, Landour, Mussoorie, Uttarakhand, India
Picture 2 - Mukhteshwar Temple, Mukhteshwar, Uttarakhand, India

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Take me!

The last year and a half
has been tough,
Peace of mind
has been shredded
The road trod upon
has been rough;

The heart has been torn
into a million pieces,
The forehead has wrinkled
with worry and woefulness
into a hundred creases;

Back about eighteen months
and a few laboured heartbeats,
I lost the biggest part of me
despite all care
and myriad medical feats;

The precious fur daughter
went away in a whisper,
Leaving me a
painfully long lifetime
to pine for her, to miss her;

Since then I trundle along
through the passage of life,
The world’s hurting becomes mine
It rips through my heart
with the sharpest of knife;

I cry a monsoon
for a stranger’s loss,
Every hurt, every tragedy, every pain
felt by someone, anyone
to bleed my weakened heart
is enough of a cause;

In this time gone by
each time a beloved
bid adieu,
I cried hoarsely, wait
it should have been me
Not you;

 A young friend
lost her partner
well before his time,
I argued with God
told Him blankly
He’d committed a sin
He’d done a crime;

Each time a young one dies
or somebody
kicks off midway,
I tell Him to take me instead
I kneel, I bow my head, I pray;

A neighbor to whom
one hardly spoke,
Took away his own life
as his grip slipped
on all his faith and hope;

I looked at
who all he had left behind,
I again lashed at God
asking about the error in His calling
when taking me
would have been more kind;

Every time I read obits
and hear of a passing on,
I urge Him
to get me to His side
before a new soul is born;

Take me, I tell Him
bring me to Your fold,
Give me peace, bring me respite
allow me the time
when my loved ones lost
I once again behold.


Isn't this what are true love and companionship all about?

A friend wrote about staying up the night to take care of his recuperating furry child, post surgery.

It has been well over a year now; that both my husband and I, and our Man Friday, have not slept for full nights. On a good night, we might catch about four and a half hours. On a bad night, we manage to get about two. In between, there are nights when we get up every hour to see whether he wants to relieve himself or has that urge to walk in circles. He, in this equation, is our precious fur son who has lit up our lives for the last decade and a half.

You see; our 15 and a half-year-old Labrador Son suffers from an acute case of Cognitive Dysfunction Disorder. The complications of this Syndrome force him to circle and pace and pant and stay restless most of his waking hours; which are now increasing more than the sleep time. The Syndrome also becomes severe during the night; but we also have been noticing that with each passing day, it is taking over even the day time.

And then, like in the case of elderly loved ones, our baby's motions are erratic. There are a million Piku moments in the course of the day - yes, the film that had constipation and its tentacled impact on normal living as the central character. We clap and rejoice at each smooth passing of both bodily secretions that tell us that the aging body is still performing to its optimal best.

Our Man Friday hand feeds our Son. The Husband still brushes him each morning, even if it is with the baby lying down on the bed. The periodic baths happen too. I make sure that his eyes, ears, mouth and rear are clean. I brush his teeth every Sunday. I am, forever, on the lookout for lumps, sores, slow-healing wounds. My babies, mercifully, have never had an issue with ticks and worms.

What has stopped are walks in the park or around the house. But we make sure that every time a guest visits us; our child is greeted with as much enthusiasm as he was given to greet everybody. A Labrador’s wild, tail-wagging, smiley face greeting is a joy to behold, as any pet parent will tell you.

Slowly the treats are either not being enjoyed as they were (difficulty in chewing, handling bones and other chewies fast becoming major concerns) or are changing form. We now bring miniature chicken biscuits for our Son who could grate and sharpen his teeth on biggest bones in his younger days.

It is said that the older you get, the more you go back to your childhood ways. So it is with Pasha Baba. Since he has always slept with us on the master bed, we and he will have it no other way even now. Our bonny Master sleeps on Macintosh sheets made warm with a fluffy towel. He gets to use his baby blue, extra soft blankets that we had got especially for him from the Hills. We have become pros at inventing the use of Pampers for pet children, thanks to our Son's immediate and erratic needs.

We wipe his mouth, every time he eats or drinks water. These days water trickles down the sides of his mouth, wetting his lower jaw and leading to skin infections in the area. So we pat it dry after every drink with his own velvety face towels and apply a skin ointment each time I see the silky golden-white hair give way to black patches. We clean his paws with soft cloths and his "Tutu" or “tush” if you please, with cotton. You know, he could do all this with utmost ease when he was young. But now, when he finds it a task to lick clean the difficult to reach areas, he has us - his parents - to take care of him.

There was a time, not so long back when the thought of getting back home from the office or anywhere else was filled with the joy and anticipation of being welcomed by our over-enthusiastic fur babies. Today, he may not jump and prance and express his joy in a physical expression, but his eyes speak volumes, as does the curling up of his mouth in half a smile and the way he rests his badly fibrillating head against my chest.

In his younger days, our fur son looked after us, watching over his house with utmost attention. He didn’t like strangers crossing the front gate. He, with his own devices, would not let harm come our way. He guarded us, played away stress that we experienced, was the perfect walking companion and boy, did he bring in such extended moments of merriment into the house with his antics and adorable actions. Today, there has been a role reversal of sorts. I shoo away any fear he may feel of the inexplicable symptoms by clinching him in a tight, warm embrace. I brush off the fly even before he begins to flap his ear. We joke with him and talk to him and sing him a familiar song (there were several compositions we had created for our babies, remakes of known ditties that we would sing to them) to assure him that all is well with his fast disappearing world.

Fifteen and a half is a very unkind age for a pet child; just as a 95 or a 100 is to a human. Regardless of how good a life you may have had and however healthy you might have been, the ravages of time and the toll it would have taken on your body and mind begin to come to the fore in the most ungainly fashion. The walk becomes a limp before arthritis takes over any form of stable movement. You drop more food than you manage to gulp in. Even chewing seems like an onerous task. The daily ablutions and the need to pass out excretions is a whole together different mountain that you are wary of but must laboriously climb day after day after day.

We have always been very particular of the food we fed to our babies. Nothing but the best passed our litmus test. Now, we need to be all the more mindful; so it is a special Renal Diet that is imported into the country by Royal Canin from France mixed with a home-cooked meal of Chicken breast mince, porridge  and rotis. Upset tummy and flatulence is something that we have to frequently contend with. And yes, the mini meal of medicines that needs to be fed to him on a daily basis, four times a day to ensure as pain and discomfort free life as we possibly can.

Still, his presence in our lives, the big bag of past memories and current experiences, his positivity and unconditional love for us more than makes up for anything we may endeavour to do, to make his twilight years just that bit better.

Till the time we have together, here’s to many more of sleepless nights, missing of heartbeats each time something goes awry with him and a million prayers shot up to seek a trouble free end of time for our beautiful Son.

May we continue to share each life with you as a familyfamily; if there are six more births to come back in! And may we meet you over the Rainbow Bridge to play and bound around the heavenly grounds beyond the pearly gates.    

Saturday, December 31, 2016

A Verse for 2017!

May your sky
Be bright and clear
May your heart
Be brave and
never fear

May your sea
Be calm and blue
May you stay
To yourself true

May the Sun
Always shine
on your parade
May your goodness
Never fade

May you ride
Your favourite Star
May your dreams
Take you far

May you
in yourself believe
May all your goals
You charge out
and achieve

May your heart
Be always kind
May your true purpose
You strive and find

May happiness
Always hold you
in its arms
May life besot you
With all its temptations
and charms

 May you find promise
Even in your darkest hour
May you learn rich lessons
From every hurt and every scar

May through all of
life’s tumble
And roller-coaster ride
You face it with
faith and conviction
Showcasing your
brightest, bravest side

May you fill your cup
With aims,
ambition and hope
May you always be able
And strong enough to cope

May you always lend a hand
And add sparkle to
someone’s tomorrow
May you always raise it
To smooth out even
a strange forehead’s furrow

May you find your wings
May you fly away and soar
Still, may you have roots
That tie down your very core

May love be your music
Passion your playmate
May your life remain promising
Keeping you on
the right side of fate

May the divinity in you
Rise above and shine
May you lead a wholesome life
And stay a soul always so fine! 

Note 1 - Top Picture - Mukhteshwar, Uttarakhand, India
Note 2 - Bottom Picture - Half-Moon, Landour, Uttarakhand, India