The Rise and Fall!

Of the ups and downs,
and the smiles and frowns.
Ins and outs,
and the cuddles and shouts.

Of the cliffs and troughs,
the hearts so shallow,
Of getting to know,
and being a stranger thorough..

I am tired.

Of the inserts and deletes
and the hope that depletes.
Of building it back,
and getting back on track.

Of removing the knives..
healing the wounds..
kissing the scars..
and standing back

Like nothing happened ever..
with hope, it reoccurs never.
All is well
the next one will forever dwell.

but it happens again,
I land in the same terrain
and i have destiny to blame
for my heart burning in flame.

I have no other option,
but to regain my posture
and be strong
to face another storm

O my dear Lord,
will this ever end?
i trust you with my all,
but now i am tired of the fall!

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In love with the rainy season!

Someone recently happened to ask me – ‘Which is your favorite month?’ and it took me almost no time to blurt the answer out ‘August’.

I have always had a whirlwind romance with rainy season and for that matter, all the rainy months are apple of my eye. Each one adds its own flavor to present the dainty dish.

June marks the onset with lightning and thunder. It adds its own scent too, in the form of ‘petrichor’.
July is its boom period. Heavy rain pours being its true charm.
August has the perfect blend of not little and not too much rain. Sun and rain manifest a cordial relation to embellish August.
September waves it a good bye with serene tungsten lighting and lightning and thunders yet again.

May be it is the amount of rains that makes August special for me. As if sun and rain keep playing hide and seek and rainbow is the nature’s way of calling out “Olly olly oxen free”.

The green carpet that gets laid as soon as it starts drizzling makes everything around, look like a colorful landscape. Every nook and corner seems decorated. This makes the setup perfect for some wonderful outings. Plan a hike – where you get to completely submerge in nature’s beauty while actually getting soaked in rain. Or plan a visit to nearby hill station – fog, mist, waterfalls will drown you down in their mesmerizing views. Waterfalls around you will be so many that your group can actually get a personal one. Lip smacking plate of locally served onion pakodas and steaming hot tea will surely be cherry on the top.

Rains are enjoyable from home too. There is no pleasure like watching it rain like cats and dogs from your window while sipping your customized self-brewed cup of coffee. Birds fluttering their drenched wings and Animals seeking shelter, Car wipers waving all the way and bikes snaking through the pot holes, Kids jumping into the water puddles and adults trying to completely avoid them, Farmers thanking the rain god and regular office commuters blaming him for the wrong timings. This makes for a perfect rainy day scenario.

Rain sometimes transforms the easy daily routine into a nasty one. Daily commute to office has to bear the burden of huge traffic jams. Walking in the rain is yet another task – adjusting the umbrella according to the direction of wind and walking slowly and carefully in order to avoid getting mud painting done on the clothes. Rainy season surely makes one put their creative hats on and develop their own sartorial style that can either hide the mud paintings completely or can at least dry them off sooner if you have to erase them. Despite of all this, i think, the uncertainty that the rain brings in, definitely adds to the thrill of it.

As a kid, I remember, my joy knew no bounds when it rained too heavily. Getting to bunk the school and spend entire day playing in it, sailing colorful paper boats through the rivers flowing all around, will always remain a fond memory.

Well, I can simply go on and on, wax lyricing about it. I am completely head over heels and rainy season makes me fall in love with itself over and over again.
If something refreshes me more than the cup of coffee, it is surely the howling wind, pitter patter raindrops,dancing trees and the romantic weather.

Spiritually golden!

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Some places of worship are immensely powerful. The prevailing impact that is cast, each time one visits, makes the knots of beliefs even tauter. An extraordinary connect is established in no time, that surrounds one with positive aura and liberates of all worries, leaving one feeling immensely tranquil. The actual experience is completely beyond what words can describe; truly and completely divine.

I am sure, each person must have visited at least one such place. The special one – the one someone would really like to keep returning to. May it be a temple or a church or any other place of worship or may be a silent beach or any place one feels deeply connected to.

For me, more typically it is a temple. Sai baba temple, Shirdi has always topped my list. Always end up in tears as I enter the sanctum sanctorum and fold my hands in front of huge idol of Sai Baba. The feeling of devotion is completely soulful. I find my eyes actually welled up even while penning this piece down. When the imagination is so influencing, the actual experience is undoubtedly so much the better.

Siddhivinayak temple and Mount Mary church in Mumbai were the ones I used to solicit the blessings of, each time before engineering exams. Positivity to study harder and strength to make progress were the answers to my prayers.

Every time I sit in the hall way in front of Ganpati bappa at Ganesh mandir, Dombivli and recite ‘Atharvashirsha’, I am left feeling extremely lighter.

At Ambejogai temple, it was as if goddess herself had called close to her, happily accepted all the offerings and in turn gave us sweets like a dearly grandparent.

Sometimes it is simple recitation of some powerful ‘stotra’, sitting at home which fills you up with feel good effect. Recite ‘Ramraksha stotra’ and boom goes the anxiety away and I end up feeling good.  Recite ‘Shiva Mahimna stotra’, and gust of positive energy and assertion fills me up.

Most recent experience was at Golden temple, Amritsar. We had our trip planned to north India with flights to and fro Amritsar. Day was reserved for Golden temple on our onward journey.

We went to Golden temple as planned. Long queue to enter the temple, made us resist joining it.

There is a large pond surrounding the golden temple, adding to its golden hues and beautifying it even more. We took a round around it and sat by its sides which felt absolutely soothing. After having spent the evening in the temple premises, we returned to the hotel room.

Later, in the trip, got to hear miraculous tales of golden temple from the cab driver of the virtues of golden temple, how the water of the pond is powerful and of its healing powers which cured many people with disabilities.

We regretted skipping the entry into the temple, in spite of being in its premises for so long.

Later, things shaped up in such a way that we could return to Amritsar one night before our flight. We visited golden temple again, this time joining even longer queue to seek the blessings of “Harmandir Sahib”. Our desire to visit the temple was fulfilled in the same trip.

And do I need to mention how the experience was? It was surely “Spiritually Golden” 🙂

Quest to seek the king!

While I write this, I am sitting in a jam-packed airport lounge, with AC running at its lowest pace and chitter-chatter is at its highest possible decibel. Kids running helter-skelter, often bumping up, splashing eatables, eventually snowballing the messy affair. To add to it, the flight is delayed by another hour.

But nothing does irritate me, not even to a slightest possible extent. I sit here, peacefully penning this piece down, intermittently wiping sweat off my gleeful face. Even I am surprised, as this is not quite me. The usual me would get irritated even by 1% of this. This is when I realise, the magical effect of the super-duper vacation, I was returning from. Yes, certain vacations do this to you. They wave their wand to suck out all your frustrations like a vacuum pump and set you freely floating like a cheerful butterfly.

Kanha national park was the destination chosen, which lies in the heart of India and ends up coloring it green. Our day here, would begin as early as 4.30 am, getting fully equipped with winter jacket (yeah, winter jackets in summer, that’s the beauty of it), scarf entangled with only eyes and nose wriggled out, neutral colored clothes and a pair of sunglasses. All this to protect from cold in the first half of safari, sun in the later half and dust all the way.

At 5.45 am sharp, park gate would open and fleet of gypsies would enter, dusting the dawn in it’s full glory. Quest to seek the king of jungle would commence. It would still be slightly dark,  making the sighting probability shoot sky high. Tracing the paw marks, listening to the animal alarm calls, scanning through the water bodies, we would pray for the mighty king’s sight. 

Getting to see an hour full of road show, 5 in 1 frame kind of bonanza, hunting scene, passer by look, sleeping beauty, just a glimpse, all of these or none of these – is all in lady luck’s hands and of course of the king himself. With the day’s ascend, hope would start descending the ladder down from “hunting scene” to “a mere glimpse” and then further down to at least a Leopard or a  Bear, if not the tiger himself. 10.30 am, morning safari would end. On the way back, we would start reading the faces in the fellow gypsies to make out if they could spot a tiger. Nothing can hide the ecstasy of sighting a tiger or distress of not spotting one, off the faces.

As we return, hotel staff would all be ready to welcome with steamy breakfast followed by a rejuvenating cup of tea. Knackered by the bumpy gypsy ride (or by not having sighted a tiger), we would take relaxing warm shower and pounce straight into cozy bed to recover for the evening round of safari. 

Evening round would begin at 3 pm. Tiger sighting chances are usually high early in the morning or late in the evening. So the first half would be spent in clicking sambar deers, barking deers, spotted deers, monkeys, langoors, barasinghas, black bucks, bisons, boars, peacocks, mongooses, eagles, owls and plenty of other flora and fauna. When the sun harshness is reduced, it would set a perfect stage for mesmerizing jungle landscapes. Evergreen Sal trees, bright orange fallen leaves, brown tinted bamboo and yellowish meadows would offer a great canvas to thin curvy roads.

End of the evening would again engage us in scanning water bodies for the big cat, as it’s his time to wake up, have water and fight scorching heat by dunking into it. Again, what we would get to witness, was complete stroke of luck, like in the game of poker. Striking similarity, made us assign this, some teen patti terminologies – we would refer “a mere glimpse” as “pair” , “more than 1 tiger in a frame” as “color”, “road show” as “sequence”, “hunting scene” as “trio” and “no luck” as “pack game”.

Although this set of safaris did disappoint us a bit, by a mere “pair” most of the times, we believe there is always a next time and promise “Kanha” we will definitely return. After all, sighting a tiger is just a small part of the overall chain of wonderful experiences and there is no paradox intended ☺

Beauty of closely observing birds and animals in their natural habitats, of dawn and dusk, sunrises and sunsets, virgin forests, abundant flora and fauna and pollution free fresh air – surely leaves the soul purified, mind refreshed and heart overjoyed. As someone rightly said, this connect that the woods have to offer, no wifi in the world can!

​An ode to a fighter!

How could I stop myself from writing this sad yet inspiring story – story of a man who fought the fierce battle of life, all alone. For the cacophony of emotions, it triggered inside me and for the long lasting impact it had on me, it ought to be shared. It may serve as an eye opener for many of us – who complain of the problems so trivial, who end up being sad by the things so petty, who decide on quitting so soon and who keep finding negatives in every small aspect.

He is my dad’s friend, who happened to recently shift to Pune, to a society close to our house. Delighted by the news, dad invited him home for breakfast, last Sunday.

Man in his mid-70’s, he seemed quite cheerful, enthusiastic and active for his age. Friendly and extremely talkative facade of him made it easy to mingle and get the conversation going. One thing lead to another and slowly his story began to unfold.

He was diagnosed with rare type of cancer in its last stage and was recommended treatment only at a renowned hospital in Mumbai. He used to reside at a place, around 6 hours’ drive from Mumbai. Considering the heavy-duty aftereffects of chemotherapy, it seemed quite difficult to manage from a place so remote. But he decided to go for it. He would drive all the way to Mumbai, all alone, for his therapy, undergo the treatment and even drive back alone post the therapy (and I need dad to accompany me even to a dentist). Then he would take complete rest and rejuvenate himself for the next therapy session. This continued till he completed all his chemotherapy and radiation sessions. There were ups and downs in his physique, but he had no other alternative but to get up and get going in order to keep the physical, financial and mental equilibrium maintained.

There was more to add. Amidst all this, he lost his son in law, which imposed a severe blow on the family. Responsibility of his daughter and her young toddler came on him. Keeping aside his sufferings, he stood by her, moved in to her place to help her out and left no stone unturned to support her in her rough time. Meanwhile, he was diagnosed with another rare type of tuberculosis. This made it hard for him to swallow food, which consequently made him lose loads of weight, making it difficult even to stand on his own and walk. He would literally have to crawl around, in the house. But never did he give up. He kept going, continued his treatment with patience and finally after lot of struggle he recovered. He is now so fit, quite enough to start socializing all over again. The person who himself would have needed immense help some time back, now smilingly offers you help. And this is no hyperbole.

People usually get sideswiped only by listening to the word cancer. In addition to medical, need all the physical and mental support to get over it, and all this is quite explicable. But nothing could quiver this man’s spirit and strong will power. This strong will power helped him recuperate from all the grave diseases and situations life had thrown at him all at once.

The way he narrated his story with an unbroken grin and not even slightest hint of complain, spoke quite a lot about his positive and equally practical approach of looking at things. To accept what comes our way, work hard to get out of it and move ahead is what we can do, were his words. 

How we look at the problems in our life and prepare our inner self to deal with them is of utmost importance. If we think weak of ourselves, weak we will be. If we think strong, strong we will be. If we think grave are the problems, graver they will be.

If we start thinking positively, in a strong demeanor and top it up with immense patience, nothing can stop us from adding a happy ending to our story.

Life doesn’t give us an opportunity to choose our story, it is the story that chooses us; but the choice of being a hero of it, is totally left to our discretion. Hats off to one such hero!

Mother is always a mother!

She gave birth to a litter of four kittens last week, in a property next to our house. We were super excited to see the cute little fur balls, but to our distress, could neither catch a glimpse of the cat, nor the kittens for the next few days.

 One day, the new mommy came in. Her eyes reflected the zeal she had, to shoulder the new responsibilities nature had bestowed upon her. In no way could she resemble her older self, who would spend entire day sleeping.

Akin to a CID inspector, she began keenly inspecting every corner of the house to find a place apposite for her babies. Eventually she came across a box in one of the corners. To ensure everything is apt, she went in, made few amendments by pushing things here and there and then headed straight to her kittens.

After sunset, when the risk of attackers was at the bare minimum, we spotted her running to our house with one of the kittens in mouth. Dotingly placing it in the box, she fed it, stayed with it till it got accustomed to the new setting and then hurtled to bring the next one. Before leaving she meowed at me, as if instructing me to take care of the baby in her absence. This entire out of the box process continued until all 4 were in the box.


She was dead tired by now, but had no choice of skipping her meal. Hunting, inorder to fill her stomach up and in turn feed the kittens, was her prime chore.

This caring mother would turn into an aggressive fighter on finding a harmful male cat hovering near our house. The little tigress would manifest all the power to keep him at bay and protect her children.

She was the whole and sole for her babies and managed everything so perfectly well. Only a mother can be so multifaceted. 

Mother would always be there for her kids through cliffs and troughs..stand strong like a wall to protect them from all odds…cross mountains to fulfill their necessities and yet be warm, caring and full of unconditional love.

The fact that even animals demonstrate motherly traits to this extent, left me spellbound. Salute to all such mothers and to the nature’s instinct of motherhood!!

My Holi story

The image I had of Holi, in my growing up years was quite negative. Dodging water balloons, house arrest for an entire day, banging doors to drag people out of their houses and those who fall prey, showering them with colors, oil paints, eggs, gutter water and what not. For the next few days, you get to see colorful faces and palms all around. Girls end up spending fortunes on hair spas and facials. All this had made Holi reserve space in my hate list for several years.

Then, in engineering days, as my exam cycles had changed, we once decided to visit Nagaon, our native place, for Holi. To my utter surprise, I got to see an entirely different face of Holi here.

On the evening of Holi poornima, all proceed  to an open ground designated to the community. There is a small pooja, with banana trees set up, mantras being chanted and people offer naivedya to Holika devi. With full moon itself to shower the blessings from above, the feeling is totally divine.

People then gather again late at night to arrange a pile of woods around this and light the Holi fire. “Let all the sufferings and hardships burn away in this Holi fire” is prayed, coconuts are offered and few bad words uttered as Holi mantra.

The next morning, kids take charge with their organic colors, turmeric, gulaals and pichkaris. Elders too become kids this day and join in. Once they run out of colors, the spirit is still kept going by forming a large circle and dancing to the Holi numbers. The fun continues till the elderly ladies of the household give a callout for lunch. Delicious onion pakodas and sumptuous puranpolis surely take the celebrations a level higher.

Males get chance to cook dinner. Songs, chitchats and late night coffees is the way to mark an end to the grand celebrations for the year.

 I had found the essence of Holi here in the village, which went somewhere missing amidst the “Bailala dhols” and “Bhaangs” of the city and this makes me continue celebrating Holi every year at Nagaon then on 🙂