Happy Birthday my darling daughter!!

When I look at you , towering over me , in your beauty and gracefulness, your effervescent same old self, sensitive, smart, mature, witty, intelligent, sharp , down to earth and humble still , I forget about the passage of time…for me the years have stood still……!!!
When you stand there jesting with me, teasing me, telling me how to dress differently, giving me makeup and makeover tips like a friend , making movie or swimming plans I still see you as that little girl who held my finger when the roles were reversed…
You sang poems in your little baby voice !
You squealed with joy as I pushed you higher on that dicey swing in our backyard !
You rattled off childish stories nineteen to the dozen while we listened in rapture !
We all clapped…forcibly as per your instructions 😍😍…as you paused dramatically in between endless narrations !!!
We were in awe of the grown up you were at three years so your maturity doesnt surprise us now!!!
It just makes us feel that we probably did something right in our lives!!!

(Ps we did two more right deeds 😜 but thats besides the point at this juncture!!)

Today we hold our heads up high, proud , childlike in our happiness, humbled by the young lady you have turned out to be..
May you always attain the heights and levels of happiness that are truly deserved and know that inspite of every little hiccup we will always be there for you in your highs and your lows.
Believing in you, praying for you and ridiculously proud of you because no one knows as well as us of your capabilty and devotion!!!

Happy happy Birthday my darling baby…nothing has changed this year except that you have continued to make us proud, you have struggled with ups and downs and have come out scathed yet victorious in overcoming your obstacles…you have continued to win hearts with your humility and hard work…may you continue to become stronger with each passing day and remember that we will always love you and be proud of the person you are!!

We will always love you…Have a great birthday!!!

Music Is Not Just Music…It Defines You!!


Image from Terapeak.com


As soon as I tuned into FM this morning I caught the flag end of the English music hour.
For some reason it is assumed on this side of the world that no one knows a word of English!! Therefore 94.3 and 95.0 FM play English songs only after you reach Delhi ..as soon as you come back home your ears are subject to the most truck-driverish Punjabi singers belting out raucous lyrics about ‘gedi routes’, facebook updates, ‘dunalis ‘, LV and thars!!.. interspersed with some melodious numbers too for a change!!
So while I listened to Killing me Softly and then Does Your Mother know by Abba , I was quite pleasantly transported to heaven and back to my childhood days!!
Growing up in Kenya I was introduced to the most interesting mix of songs! My mother was a very clever one with gadgets for that time! My parents were extremely fond of music and one of their most prized possessions was an Akai Spool Player/recorder that Dad bought when posted to Singapore in 1964…my birthplace!…we had umpteen spools at home with the most varied of English and Indian music one could imagine! What a collection my mother had amassed right from their tenure in Singapore onwards…from the Beatles and Elton John to Mukesh , Rafi and all the other legends to Pakistani singers popular back in the day ..Mussarrat Nazir, Noor Jehan , Benjamin Sisters etc belted out soul touching renditions early in the morning even before we left for school!
Simple days when music made the most deep rooted impression on us.
We couldn’t speak a word of Hindi or punjabi but could sing in the language, every word memorised, every beat engrained within us , albeit a bit out of note but who cared!! Our American accents were nowhere in evidence when we were the soul of Indian weddings as we noisily rolled out one punjabi wedding song after the other..words written in English in a most treasured diary and rhythm supplied by me on an upside down plastic bucket..perfect typical taal and a lot of enthusiasm!!
Even today when I hear these songs Childhood memories bring back a tear.. crazy fun days when every song was accompanied by a story , every story still as vivid as it was 40years back.
Some songs still bring back simple emotions.. when I hear ‘Blowing in the wind’ I can see mom in her perfectly tied saree elegantly sifting through her other spools looking for the songs she knew I loved and had recorded for me while I was at school trying to fathom multiplication!
Gloria Gaynor gives me strength to survive, Carole King and Simon and Garfunkal remind me of my second sister ..not by blood ties but ties of the heart..Neeraj, who introduced me them..dancing with abandon as she played them on LP’s in their Mombasa living room.
Whenever  we dance to punjabi songs today I feel as if I am joined by my sis Aashima and our innocently wild ganghood with the Bashir sisters reminiscent of how we used to scream with laughter and gay abandon.
The Ghulam Alis , Munni Begums, Mehndi Hassans and Jagjit Singhs bring Dad’s face before me as clear as the day I sat fighting with him as a youngster to play something that at least had a beat!!
His switching over to Pankaj Mullick, CH Atma, KL Saigal , Jyutika Roy apparently to pacify me etc only served to enhance the fact that he clearly didn’t understand a word I had said for the past hour!!
Abba, Boney M, Marvin Gaye, Neil Diamond, Englebert, Paul Anka, Frank Sinatra, Cindi Lauper, Madonna , Bee Gees , MC Hammer, Wham, dear Bruce, Eurythmics, Boy George, and God knows how many more were responsible for making the jam sessions during school days so much fun……we danced with boys just sprouting the first sign of a moustache while stealing a glance out of the corner of our eye at our latest crush boogieing away with our worst enemy!!
When the Carpenters began to croon we stood on the edge of the dance floor , waiting with thumping hearts for him to come over and ask for a slow dance, while desperately trying to act disinterested and failing miserably!!
Memories are made of this!!!
However many Sias, Chainsmokers, J Los, Biebers, Timberlakes and Sean Paul’s and Meghans we may listen to now, there is no way they can match up to the feeling behind the songs whose lyrics we knew by heart, whose beats we knew to the T, whose every line evokes a lifetime of sentiments..some happy some sad!!
Those were the days my friend I wished they’d never end!!

The Avoidable Fruit!


It’s a flood…a free flow torrential downpour of festive offers, discounts and temptations!! I’m sure even Adam and Eve had it better..they had only one thing to resist which they couldn’t!! So no one can blame us for crumbling when every audio visual medium is urging us to drop everything , pick up our wallets and shop!!

No cars are needed, no need to dress up either or negotiate traffic they say!! Sit in your living room and indulge..online .. in your ac environment..no need to sweat it..just spend it!!!
70% off, two plus one, buy one get one free, pay later, COD available, itne kam mein, bachao, cash back, exclusive, pamper your loved ones, pamper yourselves, more for less, sale sale sale, EMI available…endless ways to convince you to loosen your purse strings are doing the rounds nowadays.
Instead of the melodious music or your favourite soap you are met with voices going yap yap yap…while you twiddleyour thumbs and drum on your coffee cup , you get a free session of hypnosis turning you into a prospective shopaholic!!
It actually takes a monstrous amount of will power to direct your thoughts towards the overflowing wardrobes, the museum like living room filled with artifacts that would put the Louvre to shame, the amount of rejected gifts handed out and returned with a tweek of the nose in distaste by relatives ,sitting there never to be replaced, the shoes pouring out of the shoe rack that were bought in a hurry and now either killed your feet, were out of fashion, too high too low, peeling off or just sitting their mocking your impulsiveness and silliness!!
Every few months one has access to changing fashions and beautiful new products so do we really have to go crazy in the pretext of discounts and splurge on stuff we really don’t need and then have them occupy space in our Almirante quite uselessly!! Shouldn’t we wait till it is imperative to buy something new even if we shell out a bit more for it!! At least the need for it makes it worth its while!!

The need of the hour today is to protect our environment therefore other than clogging our homes, the cycle of buy, use and throw , particularly bio nondegradable products , are cloggging the earth too. What we so callously reject is going indiscriminately into untreated landfills causing more harm to the environment than you and I can imagine!!

The true wealth or treasure we have is nature..Mother Nature needs to be nurtured, protected..if we can slow down our frequency  of acquiring and desposing in such a nonchalant manner , maybe we can slow down the inevitable destruction of the earth as we know it..allow future generations to enjoy a non polluted breathable environ and prevent the expensive onslaught of having to treat waste at a furious pace. After all it’s our inheritance, one we need to hand down for our children!! What we throw out, the plastic used to manufacture it, the plastic used to ship it across to us, the toxic materials it contains… everything contributes to the mountain of waste building up which is a worse form of mass destruction than terrorism even in today’s and the deistant scenario. Therefore……!

Shopaholics and kleptomaniacs…please resist, defer,deter,  avoid, control!!!!

Where the H… Is The Indiscipline!!!


“There is something wrong with this country “, she groaned ,as she sat in her over comfortable coach seats on her five day tour of the West of Canada!!
Agreed, God made this one of the most pristine and gorgeous countries in the world, with abundance of nature, miles and miles of untouched natural landscapes..awe inspiring snow capped mountains, lakes in all shades of blue and green possible, waterfalls that gushed and rushed, wildlife typical only of this habitat, seashores that boasted crystal clear waters and gorgeous white sands stretching endlessly. The list is exhaustive. The less said the better.
To top it all a human population so sparse that you actually wonder where the sea of people actually was. Has the whole country been exported to India? “No no, stupid, can’t you see those two people across the road” ??!! “Stop exaggerating “, she thought to herself!
“And, dearie, arnt you travelling on a road that definitely does have lanes of cars occasionally whizzing past you in mind boggling straight lines, every half hour or so”!! Exhaustingly disciplined in their driving sence, it was actually frustrating to see the car drivers not taking advantage of long empty stretches of the eight lanes road and weaving in and out of the occasional traffic and stand patiently instead , meticulously enlined to the inch behind the vehicle in front of it!! God, abnormal people!! I felt like sticking my head out of the window and yell ” Guys, you have a horn and an accelerator in your car…use it crazy people…. Honk like madmen like any self respecting driver would and zip out of your lane right into the oncoming traffic, and cut across all four lanes regardless of other cars, and just move on in life”!!
After all which crazy idiot sticks to his lane, pretends the vehicle manufacture forgot to put a horn in and allows cars to cruise past him on both sides of the road!! Where’s your pride people!!

How did that Ferrari have the audacity to overtake you..that too in his own lane!! Ferraris are to be driven at top speed , yes, but sensibilities and egos demand that they must suddenly vroom past you on the wrong side, cross onto your lane at top speed making you step hard on the brake in shock after your car shook like in an earthquake and then do the same in the next lane!! That’s how you enjoy a Ferrari guys!! It wasn’t made for disciplined driving!!
How boring! As it is no cow was sitting the middle of the road, no dog was running across in gay abandon, no two wheelers with helmet less brave riders were zipping out onto the road from nowhere and worst of all no one was making a dash for it while waving out to you to stop in all confidence …(“my speedometer read 120kph, excuse me!! ). How the f..am I supposed to make a dead stop before your strolling body while hoping not to send you 12 feet in the air , has been a thought that had crossed her mind back home zillions of times!! Here no such excitement. What does one do for the occasional thrills here??
We are so accommodating back home allowing our mothers( read gau matas) to cross the road at will, not hampering them at all.. In fact we have become so deft at swerving past them that any average driver in India can give Michael Shumacher a run for his money..just give us an F1 car and then we’ll show you!!!
On the other hand, these wierd Canadians have built bridges across the highway at frequent intervals , spending millions of dollars on creating a safe overpass for their beloved moose, bears and God Knows what else wildlife populations!! Why are you wasting money?? Just let them saunter on by across the speeding traffic like we do ..if humans in India havnt learnt how to use over bridges how come their bears have learnt to do so???!! What’s the maximum that would happen?? There will be a few traffic jams, a few lives lost and a depletion in the wildlife count. So what!! We don’t care if a few hundreds die in India so why do you behave so miserly with human life!! Let a few go!! Kanjoos!!!!

You don’t have to send a helicopter down the ravine to rescue that silly dog!! We drive past hurt and raped fellow human beings not allowing ourselves to be tempted to help or waste time in taking them to the hospital for fear of missing the first scene of our beloved Salman Khan’s latest release!! Don’t you guys have better things to do with your time and money!!
As these thoughts kept flooding her mind she was getting more and more frustrated!! “Stop looking at the road and look to the side to distract yourself “, she advised herself.
In five minutes, she was on the verge of a mental breakdown!! “Are you kidding me!!! You actually don’t throw any garbage on the roads..not even a teenaie weensie bit little scrap of toffee wrapping paper!! Where is your civic sence!! Don’t you know you are putting your sweepers out of work!! It’s annoying enough that there are dustbins all over the city untouched, not uprooted by the public and sold for scrap,  without you bending down and picking up that inconspicuous dot of litter , (probably left behind by a proud Indian) to throw it in the bin yourself!! “Are you nuts!! Let it be!!”
And those planters filled with myriads of splendid blooms along the dividers .. Why havnt they been destroyed yet?? We supermen back home don’t leave iron grills let alone wooden planters that we can dismantle and use as firewood in winters!! No imagination these guys have!! It probably doesn’t even cross their minds that that are so many alternative uses for things other than beautification of your city! That should be least priority!
Her frustration was growing by leaps and bounds as they came to a halt across the road from a restaurant where they had the option of partaking of a sickeningly hygienic, healthy and wholesome lunch after washing up in ridiculously fresh and fragrant smelling public restrooms… The bacteria in my intestines must be missing their pals these few days..no paani puri made with water from the drain behind the dhaba, no smelly toilets with handles more toxic than the WC bowls themselves!! My stomach must be sterile by now, churning inside out in disgust.
Frustrated as hell , She waited to cross the wide beautifully tarmaced road, no potholes in sight, no chunks of gravel and stone anywhere lurking on the sides. The zebra crossing had a bell on the pole that allows you to indicate that you need to cross and lo and behold, the lights actually change for you and cars actually stop , drivers gesturing with an accommodating wave to cross rather than an angry flick of the wrist and a couple of expletives in Hindi gesturing and questioning your bravado at attempting to walk across that black and white design feature on the road, desperately dodging a sea of vehicles with no brakes!!
This was the last straw..she couldn’t take this sea of humanity, politeness, friendly greetings from strangers, cleanliness and propriety anymore…she was dying of indigestion and withdrawal symptoms!! She need to fly back to Familiarity…she needed the chaos and craziness… And a lot of bacteria!!
Thank God she had her flight out tomorrow!!! She slept well that night with that thought in mind along with a feeling of being at home cos without doubt , at least airports, malls and five star hotels like this one are superbly clean and good looking back home too!! Maybe better!!
Still, Maybe we should do flyovers from the airport to the hotels and then to the malls directly and back to the airport for tourists who havnt come for the earthy or spiritual experience……an overhead city like in the Jetsons bypassing the traffic, litter and chaos that is second skin for us now…
Her thoughts fizzled out on that note!!