Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The blood on your hands

Not very far from the border which was once manned by many, then my father, now my brother
Dreams were killed, bullets were sprayed, life of one was claimed by another
Little hands of a great tomorrow are no longer busy and no longer pink
They lay in coffins of wood and cotton.


One like the many was woken early by a mother ‘you must go to school, my dear”
“Ma, just one more wink, please can I stay back today”, said the little one and let slide one tear
No my child the sun is up, the future is yours, the canvas is white for your paint
So wake up, walk out, and embrace the world.


Another one asked a father, can we draw the sky and in them some birds
Yes my child, why not said he as he laid out for the little on some bread some yogurt
While the mother was laying out the clothes for the shrine we all call school
You see she is a teacher of those little souls to guide them through


O believer what is your belief that makes you wake up one fine day
Not to serve humanity but to slay
If you were not wronged, then how could you so many innocents to death lay?
If you were, was there no thirst to heal, to love, to live, to stay?


You of my belief, you so called Muslim, what is this god you pray
I don’t know because the one I do says love and prosper, give and take
You chose to be blind you chose to be a blot
You have no Allah you have no god

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

May god bless you and keep you mahfooz

My Dear Darling Arisha,

You turn one. What a milestone. What a year. Motherhood feels as ancient as much as it feels novel. You dear girl have filled my life in ways I did not think was even possible. For that I thank you.

I can pick for you a million blessings. And I do. But I will tell you this ... Just be!! Live and love and do both well.

Right now you have two teeth half erupted in your lower gum. You look
adorable. One day you will have a full smile. You will look beautiful then too. And the secret is ... Just to be.

Your skin is what you live in. Get comfortable in it. It might be fair or mocha or dark. It's yours. Keep it healthy.

Your heart is another matter. It's hidden. That is that would guide you. Render it  limitless. Love your self because when you have enough of something you can begin to share. Sharing is beautiful.

Moral high horses neigh about. They are from great varsities, from affluent families,  from poverty, from struggle, from mediocrity. They are everywhere and from everywhere. If you ride all of them at once you won't get anywhere. Ever. So it's better to let them neigh. You walk on. Do your business.

Giggle as much as you want to. Frown little and alone. Long faces look terribly pathetic.  And laugh full heartedly.

Do eat cake and sip tea. It's soulful. Do eat spicy bhujia and sip tea. It's soulful. Basically eat anything and sip tea. Sorry it's a family norm. No negotiation there. And yeah I will not be kind if you come home crying when things don't go your way. Sissy girls are utterly tedious. Sip tea and think of how to wade through the mess. It helps. It helps when you cut your self very little slack. Be on top of your game girl.

Read. A lot. Everything. From Kafka to Mills and Boon. Yes right now we are at Splish Splash Dog Bash. But that's a great start. You will travel with wonderful companions. You will never be lonely. Inshallah.

Finally don't let anyone tell you that fashion is for blondes!!!  Fashion is how you are when no one watches you. And your fashion defines you. Be highly fashionable. Classically fashionable. I just don't mean clothes here. But that too.

Happy birthday toffee. Happy life. Fly high but soar light!!!

All my love,

Ps: continue your life long affair with your father.... He is hopelessly in love with you...

Monday, December 01, 2014

Wafting through alphanumerics

F10 smells of Maggi. Orange blossoms on the two trees flanking F10 do nothing about the instant noodle smell. They look nice but are very reticent about fragrances, these orange blossoms. At 7AM this waft of instant noodle wreaks assault on my olfactory sense. I turn away disgruntled. One morning I saw a small boy running near F10 in his school uniform. He was being chased by a man.
I think it was his father. I have not seen anyone after that one time. The two St. Bernards tied opposite to F10  are a different matter. They go wild everytime I pass them. Well, someone does. I wish men frothed in their mouths for me. But ...Cest la vie !!

E2 houses a beehive. The sweet sick smell assaults my nostrils each time. The untidy approach is replete with 3 weird sized trees: neither bonsais nor full grown. It's as though the dwellers of E2 wanted bonsais and got distracted by the many shrubs on pots and the trees grew beyond the respectable bonsai size. But when you start out to do something you justify the end. By any means. So they must have cut off the primary roots of those unfortunate trees, freezing them in time.

C8 is one of the 8 Gargantuans as I like to call these huge 5 bedroom homes. Tucked away in a corner, it shows-off shamelessly the 5 shades of Bougainville. Neatly trimmed. Rattan chairs adorn the top floor balcony. A life size portrait of the seer Sai Baba at the doorstep transforms the edifice to a shrine. The ones who inhabit this shrine though are very robust. God had surely blessed their bellies. With enviable geometrical rotund shapes.

T3 has three identical tricycles lined outside. There are odd assortment of tiny footwear. An upturned plastic basket ball net is unceremoniously ignored. Eggs fry inside.

R3 is a gardener's paradise. The 10 feet by 15 feet kitchen garden has neat arrays of tomatoes and coriander and chilly and turnips and broccoli. My earlier gardener , a 12 year old lad with many pimples, was forced a pilgrimage one unsuspecting morning by yours truly. Needless to say that was the last time the poor chap was ever seen. I hope he shows up to collect his wages. I will be humane and fair and so I will pay him his dues both in money and verbal spanking. For taking off and denying me turnips. Which I hate.

O10 has an annoying Dachshund hybrid. A runt if you please. He runs away and defecates on well manicured lawns. I am safe. His name sounds fierce. Gunda. In colloquial  Hindi it means a "goon". He is too. At odd hours I hear whistles of a pressure cooker go off.

M1 is somber. Mr. C looks gaunt. Mrs. C is a very private lady. And a very practical one at that.
It has been a few full moons now since I have seen Mr. C setting out for his 6 AM and 6 PM steady walk. Mrs. C has been of late planting a lot of tall palm shrubs barricading her portico.
There are hanging horizontal  bamboo shells, cleverly morphed into plant tubs, that dot the awning of her portico. Once upon a time Mr. and Mrs. C could be seen sitting on their dining table and holding rendezvous. Now the peek into their dining area stands obfuscated. The waft from the kitchen is not strong. Some mornings, when the light within is stronger than the early morning light, I just see a faint outline of one head instead of two sitting on the dining table.

M8 has squeals of a toddler reaching my ears. I enter the portico. Black gram is cooking on a sonorous pressure cooker.  I open the door gingerly to be greeted by a little girl with pudgy fists. This morning's run has ended. I did not hear the niggardly calories suffer. I sure am sore. I am happy

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Bow wow: the good bad girl

Mom's in town. And food's abound. Just not for the belly but for the soul, for the laughs. Topic du jour? Canine duo Mexi and Rexi. My Grand mom loved dogs. Like there was less chaos with 7 kids, their friends, million visitors , nosey neighbours, Bangladesh War, Meghalaya Liberation, Dylan revolution , BBC 7 AM news, ... You get the drift ... To the whole pandemonium please  add dogs. Mad dogs.

Rexi was a dawg. Snapping at people's heels. Making Ina and Meena Aunty run in Sarees and making Melony's "cow" in her stomach moo.. Melany was the neighbourhood kid who ate cow instead of beef for lunch.

So Rexi was chained to a cemented stilt that supported the  cottage like home. Next to the pear tree. Not that it mattered. He dint care about no pears. He just wanted freedom. To chase Ina and Meena Aunty. And Melony who ate a cow ... For lunch.

Mexi is the kind of girl everyone deserves. You know that almost bad ass girl who is not so bad after all but so loyal that she is hopelessly ... Good??? That's Mexi for you... Mexi-quo

Now back then Big Basket was not a mini tempo ferrying stuff four times a day. It was a Nepali Daju or Khasi Mama carrying a tookree aka basket with baked spoils. Grand Mom's little globe required tons of food. Loaves were quintessential to compliment  her endless jelly n jam loot. The footie food soldier brought them loaves once a day to the whole neighbourhood. Going door to door. No matter how diligently he counted his inventory he was always running short of a few loaves. It one day occurred to the poor bloke that the inventory loss was occurring at Grand Mom's residence. So one day he waited to catch the thief.

It was Mexi. She would steal a loaf. Eat half and keep the second half for her partner in crime Rexi. Twilight Liberty meant a stashed away half a loaf !!! Kept secure by the almost badass girl.

Now ye all know that's a girl you need ... A good bad girl.
A good bad girl with food in mind. Bow wow ....

Friday, September 12, 2014

Venus : Wise, Mad, Tough, Beautiful

The Shakti of my Life ... The Noor of my soul

I wish I could call out just one name but such is the strength of their souls that I must call out all their names.

Mummy: My earth, my sky, my best friend. From God to raunchy sex talks n everything in between I owe it you. I have always loved you n more so now. Such is your magic in my life that I can't think of myself without you. Maa tujhe sahdah!!! I know Allah is beautiful because he made you n made you my mother.... The best!!!! If I could I would make a white neat edifice , spread Kashmiri kaleens, keep a teak wood sofa in pure white, have a platter of fruits and cheese and invite you to talk. I would call that shrine Shabira's Orbit and capture your memories in different art forms. N we would talk sitting on that sofa... Till cows came home !!! I love you. 

Arisha: My heartbeat, my weakness, my pride. You are so tiny and yet so pivotal in my life. You have helped me complete every aspect of womanhood. One look in your baby eyes and I find my ground zero. The best thing I will ever make in my life. There I was in an eerie zone when I lost your elder brother. But He sent you to wipe away those tears and give hope back. You are an embodiment of hope and a live example of the fact that He exists and loves with selfless abundance. After being your mother I realize that there is nothing I cannot do. I  pray you grow up to be a tall woman: in deeds and in stature. Let there be limitless flights and glides in your life Jaan. I love you.

Shonali : My 3 AM sukoon. With you I have bared it all. Other than my blood kin and my spouse you are the only one I could get away with atrocious kiddish behavior. Thanks for not judging. Thanks for loving. Thanks for crying with and for me, laughing for and with me, talking with and for me. You always have counted me in the same breath as your mother and sister. What an honor. You have evolved , exulted , weakened and resolved all in front of me. You have taught and learnt too. Thanks for being magically enduring. My special something with you is such an important part of my life. Best friend is too loose a word. You are my soul sister. I love you.

Neha: In my darkest hour you held my hand. You let me cry when I lost my son. And you cheered me on till the day He gave me Arisha. What can I say but that you will know how lovely you are when all the stars in the heavens will shape a beautiful baby for you who would be beautiful like you : strong, steady and righteous. You are so the baby sister I never had till I met you. Thank you for harassing me to publish my work. I love you

Nirupama: Boyfriends, exams, hostel, bus rides, PGs, job, marriage... Basically life. We go back a long way. We were teenagers when we met. We are women now. You loved Maths, bright colors, butter chicken and I loved anything but Maths , earthy colors and fish. My college days and post college days and pre wedding days had one constant: you. Thank you for having Maggie and tea with me. Thank you for loving chicken too... Hahaha. I love you

Naina: You are my first Assamese friend. You are so delightfully quirkily cute. If not for you, those 12AM ISB hauntings would have been impossible thanks to which an insatiable hunger of studying in a good varsity would have been half hearted. The hunger is still on. I am so incredibly proud of you. Thank for loving me, making me laugh and granting me the honor to plan and execute my first bachelorette ( its also the last I think). I love you

Supriya: You baby. You pretty child. You junior. For me you are the prettiest little girl I know. I can't resist pampering you even now. I love you.

Charu: I met you through a person I simply can't tolerate. Yeah I am no peaches and cream. You are that giggly girlfriend I can flop down with and talk just about anything. You are so guileless , so true and so honest about your self. Yours is also the loveliest home I have ever stepped into. You keep it dazzlingly warm. Just like yourself. I love you

Anjali: I never thought my husband's B school batch mate will become such a quintessential part of me. Your positivity , your tremendous resilience , you charm, your confidence, you √©lan  and your fine taste leaves me feeling so upbeat. You represent the colour yellow in my life. Not cause you have Basanti in your life ( ok fine that too and your woof power) but because you are the undisputed Queen of Fun Times. I love you 

Arvinder: You are a piece of work. The quirkiest Sardarni every girl needs. Ok I definitely need one. You met me midway on every filthy dirty tasteless adult joke and laughed so wholeheartedly that I can sum up "Mumbai" in your laughter. You are wit, mischief, raunch, badass all rolled into one. I love you

Malathi: You just awe me. Your resilience, your strength of character , your resolve and your never say die spirit. I respect you so much for your wisdom. You embody the statement " modernity is not in clothes but in thoughts, in maturity and in forgiving and laughing". Your affair with culture , your interlude with tradition and your pride in your heritage gives me immense platform to be comfortable in my skin no matter where, when or how. I love you  

Monday, August 04, 2014

No jelly custard pudding I

Ask n you shall get ... And try giving someone something  they dint ask for ?? They take your sacred and  lofty intensions n hurl it back on your face. Heehaw!!! Too much of care these days is cloying. I learnt it a hard way.  I remember that a guest in my house was once down with food poisoning. And what lay ahead of this 10 times up chucking person was a 17 hour international flight. So what does a super caring Sarah do? Well she rolls her sleeves up and storms into her kitchen n whips up a perfect pishpash for this oh so poor up chucking unfortunate ... Guess what ??? This person refused ... Once again let me repeat for the sake of the  theatrics  ... Refused to accept the food . I was never so embarrassed or annoyed with myself. Why on earth did I assume that a grown adult would need my tender loving care ?? 

I took a step back and I visualised myself sick n someone offering me "convalescing" food. Would I accept it  ?? Yes. Why ?? I may eat it or I may not either but just to keep up a good show n definitely more not to hurt the poor caring soul's sentiments. But that's me ... No that's my problem!! I judged the other person by my standards. And I learnt a jolly good lesson.. Or two.. Ok more than two .....

1) over delivering does not get you browny points. Stick to the basic. Saves time effort n well... Self respect 
 2) I am no mommy or mother Teresa  .. I am mommy only to my baby ... That's it 
3) care means different to different people. Food means different to different people ... Different folks different strokes
4) in today's world letter writing is extinct, and so are many things. Cooking something n packing it up is strictly ... Strictly ... Reserved for my mom and my dad. They do it for me. I do it for them. Period
5) make things too easy and suddenly people think it's their entitlement. So... Stop being an off season Santa Claus !!!

There are a few people who deserve all your butter drizzled on croissant  love. Let's say I have no doubt who those precious yummy ones are!!! For most others I rather be a dark chocolate with 90% cocoa than a jelly custard mushy pudding: expensive, hard and bitter !!!!

Oh and fate let me have my sweet revenge  .... Muhahahaha ....that person who refused my food, had to another time take  another flight. From my place. At 4 am just before the flight there was an ask of if there was any bread and jam at home. I said yes... In the fridge ... Help your self please !!!