Sunday, August 10, 2014

5 things i was grateful for today

  1. Rakhi- even though I could not be with my brother today, thanks to Skype, I was atleast able to see other sisters tie the rakhee to him (including mine)
  2. The monsoon-ish rains in the morning today- reminded me so much of India. I conveniently found reason to go out (to buy the not so needed tomatoes) and came back pretty much drenched ;)
  3. A nap in the afternoon- exhausted from the cooking spree today, I was able to nap (although just for a few minutes) today in the afternoon. It was quite relaxing, I must say
  4. Doing nothing all evening- sofa-bed-bed-sofa. The simple pleasures of life, so very welcome after a very busy few weeks- seemed liked the first time I had done this in a LONG time.
  5. A long conversation with Ma. The voice of sanity in my life.
  6. A nice book- have been looking for a good book for some time ( I read Bite when I was in Malta and quite liked it!) and was delighted when I finally decided what my next book is going to be.
  7. Episode 6 of 'The Honourable Woman'- during to sofa-bed-bed-sofa thing that I was doing, I finally caught up with the episodes of this absolutely fantastic thriller. Must see for anyone interested in Israel Palestine politics

I wanted to write 5 things I was grateful for, I paused at 2, told myself that there are no more and then finally stopped at 7. Goes to show that often we don't even realise what we have.

Have a nice week.


Saturday, August 09, 2014


So the last few months have been crazy busy.
We finalised our first house and shifted.
And I was working on both my second and third books.

Which is why we have not been on a holiday in a long time, which is a very rare thing for us. So, inevitably, there soon came a point when both Sid and I felt that we had to, just had to take a break.

And with that noble thought in mind, we booked our tickets to Malta.

Some highlights of Malta:

It was the first time I actually swam in the sea. Okay, in my defense I did not venture towards the deeper mysteries of the sea and stayed as close to the shore as possible, but I swam in the sea! *somersaults*

Here is a picture of where I swam. Crystal clear waters, striking blue of the sea, the bright son and cliffs jutting out here and there. (And no, that is not me in the bright yellow bikini)

I sat on a ship as it cruised the waters, legs dangling out of the ship into the sea, squealing with delight each time a wave crashed against the ship and spurted saly sea water all over me! And here is a picture I took of other travellers sitting where we sat on the return journey:

And that's me lost in the sights of the sea (in the background you can see the city of Valetta):

I trekked pointy cliffs to the stunning azure window. I could have spent hours there, just staring, but time, you constantly moving element that refuses to stand still even for a minute forced me to move on much quicker than I would have like to

I also explored little nooks and cranies around the island:

We walked till we tired. And then came back and hit the gorgeous swimming pool in our hotel.  We spent so much time in the hot sun that we came back all tanned.

It was a wonderful break and one of the rare places I did not want to come back from.....


If you are thinking of going to Malta, don't think. Just go.


Thursday, August 07, 2014

What's in a name?

If it is a book, a LOT!

I really like the title of my second book.

It's a little bit filmy,
And quite cheeky,

Three brave soldiers tumble around,
Trying to make sense of the word and the sound

Its a lot of fun,
Let's see if you can guess it, hun.

:) :)

Let me know if you guess it. Should not take you more than a few seconds!

Have fun,


Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Book 2


And it is that time again.

Has to be my Christmas, only it seems to happen not once each year, but once in 3 years!

The manuscript of Book 2 has been read and re read and re re re read for misplaced commas, spellings and grammar.  Even the tiniest of elements of the plot have been dissected. The acknowledgments and dedications done. The cover finalised. The author bio written. The author pic decided.


Needless to add, a LOT of work has gone into the book and I will share details of it all in the next few weeks. Add that to a full time job that has me travelling across the Nordics at the drop of a hat, buying a house  and shifting in, and generally just keeping my self alive , fed and watered and you have one completely mad woman.

When I was flying in from Malta this Tuesday, for the first time in what seemed like forever, I did NOT have a manuscript to either write or edit. Instead I read. Just relaxed and read to my heart's content as clouds flew by beneath me. Seemed so alien, really :)
[ I also tried to forget all about the last two nights in Malta when I was up till 2 and 3 respectively eyes boring into manuscript proofs, but that is another story for another day]

For the time being, even if just for a little bit, I am just kicking off my shoes and resting my head on the wall. A moment to breathe deep.

Before all the madness begins. Again.


Thursday, June 26, 2014

So long, so long…

Tonight is our last night in the apartment I have called home for the last 4 years. Not a big thing, you would say.
Only for me, it is.

While Sid’s Dad was in the Air force and hence the entire family shifted based every couple of years, my father is a doctor and once we moved into our house 20 years back, we stayed put. A change in house is a bigger deal for me than it is for the rest., particularly Sid who has done this every 2 years for the first 20 years of his life.
You see, this is only the 3rd house I have ever lived in.

I came her fresh off the boat ;). A 25 year old newly married girl (really, did I marry that young??), unsure and possibly a little intimidated by everything around. Everything was new. Sometimes I now wondered how I did it all! I had left my job, family and friends- heck- my entire life behind me to start a new.

Exciting? Yes.

A tad scary? YES!

The house saw me get to know Sid. It saw us fight, it saw us make up. It saw me not comprehending why anyone would want to put mirchi powder in food, it saw me begin to put atleast some every once in while…

It saw me change. It saw Sid change. It saw us both adapt to each other’s ways in ways neither had expected.

It saw me wonder if I could possibly even consider considering a book. It saw me sign the contract of the second one.

It saw me confused because of health issues. It saw me finally able to go to the doctors on my own.

It saw me take some tough decisions…it saw me grow.

It was the home I came back to from work.

We are moving to our own place. Our first house together. More on that later because tonight it is all about the house that has been my home for the last 4 years.

So long, Flat 31, you shall be missed….

Flat 1, here we come J

Monday, June 23, 2014

Men, Indian and errr...not so Indian :)

So there are workers in our new house. We have a 2 week overlap between leaving this place and moving to the new place and in that we intend to get all the work done (read transform it from the 1840s , no kidding, flat that it is into a trendy, modern house). Any way, last week, I was there and the workers were..err...working. Two of them. Both South Asian.
After the usual pleasantries, they began to open up to me. One of the called me 'didi' and the other called me 'Baji'. Something oddly heartwarming, by the way, about being called didi/baji by people in a foreign land.
As it turned out, one of them was from India and the other was from Pakistan. And they are best friends.
'You know, baji' said the man painting the ceiling of my living room ' when I heard bhai jaan speak I was sure he is from Karachi'
In all fairness, Sid has begun to use 'aap' and 'hum' quite a lot since he married me.
I laughed.
'Did you?'
'I am from Rawalpindi...and I had no doubt bhai jaan is from Karachi. I told Patel bhai also' he said pointing to the other worker 'that this couple is from Pakistan'
I smiled.
'Then' chipped in Patel Bhai 'when we were painting the cupboard, I saw Lakshmi ganpati and I knew you are from India'

We are so similar that even we are not sure which side of the border the other one comes from.
And as Ma remarked, sometimes religion, which intends to unite, ends up dividing.


I was in the IKEA store, tired after a very long day at work, waiting for Sid to join me. I decided to head to their cafeteria and have something to eat.
After looking at the food , I decided the safest option was chips. You can never really go wrong with that.
'Can I have some chips, please' I said without looking up.
'You sure can' came a bright voice. I was too tired to look.
'Thanks' I said when the chips appeared.
'Not a problem. Have a nice evening, Madam'
'You too' I said politely and was about to head off.
'You first' he said.
I looked up startled. A handsome young man stood infront of me smiling a warm smile.
Exhausted, tired and cranky yet I laughed.
'See' he said pointing a finger at me ' I made you smile'

Even now, a few days later, I still smile each time I think of the little incident.


I was in the lift. My Nokia Lumia in one hand and iphone in the other. The lift stopped and an elderly man enetered it. I cast one look at him and went back to my phones.
Just as I was about to leave the lift, he spoke up./
'If you hand another hand, you would have another phone, would not you?'
I paused and reflected.
'Most probably, yes' I said grinning.
He shook his head and gave me a 'you-younger-lot' look.


I do not want to generalise, but Indian men...*sigh* are...*sigh*
So these two young men,  late twenties I would imagine, investment banker types, Indian, were in the train with me. And you know how it is in the tube, everyone looks at everyone but pretends they are not. I soon busied myself in my book and regained consciousness (;) ) only when the train had reached my stop and it was time to change trains.
The men left the train with me. It is a busy station and in the crowds that thronged around us, I found myself just a few feet away from the indian men. And I realised with a start that they were talking about me! In Hindi and loud enough for me to hear every word.
They concluded that I looked intelligent. One man rated me higher in the looks department than a white girl who had been standing next to me in the train but the other man disagreed.The checked my hand for a ring and found none. One of them commented on how seedhi saadhi I looked. They wondered if I have just finished studying and am probably an intern in a bank or something (smug look- meri twacha se meri umra ka pata hi nahi chalta). Then the first man, the one who had rated me higher than the other girl, decided he wanted to ask me out. His friend egged him on and told him to seize the moment and the girl (Which had me very worried for a moment!). They concluded that i was probably Italian but he could convince his mother that I was indian because I did look a little bit indian. (Really?) By that time we had walked to a part of the underground where I had to take a left and the men, I could guess from their body language, had to take a right.
The men hesitated waiting to see if I took the same lane as them.
With a swift turn, I faced the men. Cleared my throat and spoke in clear hindi to a stunned audience of two indian men.
'Sudhar jao, mere dost. Aese koh ladaki nahi milne wali'
The men stared open mouthed. I tossed my hair, and walked off into the sunset, my high heels clanking against the floor. In my imagination fireworks filled the sky and I found it difficult to wipe the smirk off my face the whole day that day.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

I am now part of their story!

Today was sunny and on sunny days London blossoms into a stunning, gorgeous beauty, much like a woman  under the admiring gaze of the man she loves. On such days, I often find myself in our little balcony, staring not only at the river that glistens in the sun, but also at the families that troop by laughing, talking and enjoying the day.

Sid had gone out for a run and i was about to start my 40 minute yoga session when my eyes fell on a couple by the river.

I often see couples by the river but the moment I set eyes on them, I knew something soecial was going on. It took me but a few seconds to figure out that the man had just proposed. The girl, taken aback but visibly over the moon with joy, obviously had said yes and was laughing and crying as they stared at the new ring on her finger. I tried hard to not stare. The couple kissed about 200 times in a matter of ten minutes. The  man wiped tears off the girl's face and then a little later i saw the girl wipe tears off the man's face. He kissed her on her lips and when that did not seem enough, he planted tender kisses on her forehead. He held her and hugged her. She wrapped her arms around his neck and smiled and cried. Together they stared at her hand admiring the ring that i have no doubt shone in the Sun. Even from a distance I could make out her expression, i could imagine her tears and i could sense her happiness.

Like, i said, i tried hard to not stare yet i stared for the moment was so beautiful and the couple was so much in love that i found it impossible to peel my eyes away. It was a private and a very special moment and I felt like an outsider (which I obviously was, but who cares!!)

And , in this day and age what do you do when something special happens around you?

You whisk out your iphone and click pictures and that is what i did. I clicked a few pictures and tried to forget about the couple. Afterall, it was their moment!

Only i could not, they were still there , staring intermittently at the ring on the girls finger and the river, still mumbling sweet nothings to one another. I flicked through the pictures and knew in that moment that were i that girl, i would love to have those pictures.

Of course going over to the couple to give them the pictures seemed weird. No one does that in London. We all pretend that we do not have eyes.

I decided to wait for 5 minutes. If the couple were still there, i would go them.

As i readied for yoga, i kept an eye out on the couple. They stood there, talking and laughing. They tried taking selfies which the girl seemed dissatisfied with. Then they asked another man with a baby in a pram to click a picture of them. Then they took pictures of each other. And i stared at what i felt was a beautiful picture of them on my phone and felt my heart bleed.

In london you do not interfere with what others are doing, a voice in my head said warningly.

'WHat the heck, I am Indian!' said the other part of my brain.

I threw on a coat, put on slippers and dashed out of the house. I ran to the startled couple and said ' Excuse me, I live in the house there' pointing to my house ' and was in the balcony taking pictures of the sunny day when i witnessed something special. I have some pictures of the two of you, would you like to have them?'

'Oh my God' the girl squealed, her eyes already wet as she stared at the pics on my phone.
'This is so special, this is so special' she kept mumbling.

I was so excited for the couple that i seemed to be taking ages to send a simple email to the man's ID with the pictures as attachment. I finally handed my phone to the guy who, as men generally are, seemed to be the only with his wits about him (I certainly did not :) )  They both thanked me profusely and I congratulated the couple.

I leave you with two of those pictures. I think they are beautiful mainly because that the two of them were madly in love was obvious even from a distance. And love can make life extra ordinary. Let alone a picture.

My heart felt very full, still does even though the incident happened a couple of hours ago. The Sun shone in all its glory; the Thames sparkled as if jewels were strew all across it; and the two of them stood there wrapped in love...

It was a special day for them and a special day for me too! I wish them all the happiness in their life together :)