My Amateur Tips For Loving Your Travels With Your Love!


10 unorthodox tips to enjoy your holiday with your partner which nobody will tell you!!

1. Make sure you pack the right type and quantity of clothes specific to the destination in terms of weather and vibe. Nothing can piss your partner off more than landing there and discovering that you don’t have appropriate clothing or end up sticking out like sore thumbs!! This can be extremely exasperating if your partner isn’t into shopping or if you’re travelling in a group where you can’t afford to look as if you’re a total misfit or ignorant. Imagine carrying only jeans to a place where dunners involve fancy restaurants and formal settings. Or freezing to death in cold weather until your partner is forced to buy expensive jackets which were never on the bucket list. Always do a full recci online about your holiday destination and arrive well prepared for all eventualities.

2. Talk about your budget and dos and donts before launching on your journey. This will allow you to understand what the holiday is intended to be like so there is no irritant during the trip. If shopping is  one thing you plan to do, say so and discuss budgets and amount of time to dedicate to the activity. This ensures you don’t end up arguing on the sidewalk because you want to check out that last mall while your partner is rushing to try his hand at paragliding. Be clear about your intentions and then maybe things will just work in your favor cos the good moods may earn you brownie points for doing that extra shopping.

3. Always plan your stay in an area that works for both of you vis a vis the kind of activity you are intending to indulge in. There’s nothing worse than having to travel the extra two hours just to get to the beach or adventure sport Centre when ure already on a time crunch. Neither will it help to stay in cheap suburbs some 100 miles out if you intend to shop downtown or catch some shows and nightlife in the Centre of the town. The travel alone can shake up your budget so don’t actually end up being economical with time or money. Don’t be penny wise pound foolish!!

4. Make sure you get enough z’ssss cos however excited you may be to do everything you can in that new place, you need your rest too to keep the energy and enthusiasm up..particulars if you’ve flown half way across the world and are already tired from the travel. Some people just go crazy trying to be over energetic and then pass out somewhere in the middle of the holiday or end up falling sick!! Nothing better to ruin your holiday plans !!

5. Fight the jet lag wisely. After travelling extensively and hearing horror stories of how people pass out even due to jet lag or need two to get into the zone, I realise that the only way to beat it is to consciously change your own body clock to the destination time by sleeping at the correct times… Force yourself awake during their daytime right from the flight onwards by reading a book or listening to music or watching a marathon of movies even if it’s nighttime in your home country. Take the help of a sedative or alternative means to sleep in their nighttime again from the flight onwards. You could ask for chamomile tea or hot chocolate or whatever helps you to drop off .

6. Make sure your stomach clears at the right times. Indian Ayurveda gurus believe all evil emenates from the stomach and it has proved to be true!! Make sure your bowel system is right on point…take the help of fibrous foods, laxatives or whatever your system needs to throw out all wastes and toxins from the body at the right time..preferably first thing in the morning. There’s nothing worse than gases and constipation to mess up your entire holiday.. These will not only give you headaches and bloatedness but will also kill your appetite…what’s the point of a holiday if you can’t partake of the scrumptious local fare!! Not to mention the bad breath which will mess up your bedroom stories!!

7. Don’t throw tantrums, don’t be selfish, don’t insist , don’t be stubborn. A holiday should be something you both enjoy so discuss and agree on the venues, distribution of activities, budgets etc. Whatever you can do together is superb but if for some reason your partner does not want to be a part of a certain activity don’t insist or sulk or deride! Give him his do your thing and let him do his. Meet up later and exchange stories and experiences. He’s not a dog to be dragged everywhere by the collar. And vice versa of course!!!

8. Don’t go wild and ruin things and don’t be dull or a wet blanket either!! Enjoy each moment by giving it the correct amount of attention it needs. Don’t get drunk and embarrass your partner by flirting with everyone in sight but at the same time don’t sit out like a wall flower sulking cos this just wasn’t your cup of tea!! Live in the moment and make it as much fun as you can without going overboard. A long face is guaranteed to piss off the partner and ruin the rest of the holiday!

9. Don’t forget your body limits just cos ure on holiday cos being sick in a foreign country can be scary, expensive and just no fun!! If you know late nights or drinking doesn’t suit you.. Avoid!! If ure allergic to seafood don’t go near that lobster just cos the restaurant recommends it!! If the heats gets to you easily don’t be stupid and forget the sunscreen and hat. Better still go out in the evenings and get your afternoon siesta in order to be charged up for the evening. If you get seasick don’t go scuba diving just cos you want to show off the photos in a wetsuit back home or I’ll spend the rest of the trip in bed moaning and puking!!!

10. Last and certainly one of the most important things!! Do not deny having a good time !! It’s amazing how the mind of men especially suddenly become totally focused on the rollicking time they were going to get in their round bath tub or their private pool or whatever , the moment they buckle their seat belts on the plane out!! It’s as if the previous night in their own beds never happened and the pot of gold was actually at the end of the rainbow !!! If you want the moods to remain romantic and positive give tume to each other when the desire is surfacing!! You will both enjoy the intimacy more maybe cos both are away from mundane routines and stressful workplaces!! Or their are no screaming kids or mother in laws knocking down the romance!! Don’t let squabbles get in the way of discovering each other in a new place , new situation. It will certainly keep the man happy for sure!! Experience speaks!!


My Pedestal has Tipped!!

  1. at least five months I have ventured to foray into the world of active exercise again!! The last time I indulged in this noble activity was in October 😱😱 . I am not proud of it considering my history of activity since school days…4-5 hrs of jogging, PT, tennis, hockey, swimming, softball, netball, name it, I HAVE DONE IT!! And that too at school and district level!!

Since then I have tried to keep a steady flow of activity throughout my life!! If nothing else, a love-hate relationship with my treadmill and elliptical trainer or those long walks on blessed Mall Road , the stretch of which ensures you keep walking for a minimum of 45mins to an hour, since you have no choice but to reach home once you have had the bravado to stride out!!…No hopping off the treadmill after 5 mins out of boredom telling yourself it’s enough for the day after a Clap on the back!!

The euphoric state .. mental as well as physical ..of being menopausal and hypothyroidism at the same time is out of the world, believe you me!! You wish you were out of this torturous world!!

Deadly combination..turns you into an almost dried out, fat and aging moody freak, who hasn’t slept in years, doesn’t fit into yesterday’s jeans, feels like she is exploding on the inside while looking exploded already on the out!! Her crankiness would put any industrial machine to shame, her mood swings make those in Disneyland child’s play!! Her hair can now be pinned back with a toothpick and her skin gives competition to the newest embossed crocodile skin handbag on the stands minus the sheen of course !!
Her toenails have crevasses and her finger nails are blue chip..Nothing to do with Silicon Valley!!
She still loves to travel but each part of her body leaves separately!Her bums are going east west while her breasts are headed south!! Her cholesterol and BP is heading north while her libido stays put..doesn’t move a muscle… fear of long untrodden, presently unfamiliar pastures I say!!!
To top it all, did I tell you the state of her memory??… Oh I forgot!!!

Well to get back to the topic of exercise, I don’t think I will garner enough sympathy if I don’t mention and use as an excuse for shirking my daily huffing and puffing schedule, the osteophytes or spurs as they have alternately been christened, on my feet!!!
Woe is’s like been beaten to the ground mercilessly and then being trodden upon on top of that!!! As if the menses-less, thyroxine-less problems weren’t enough, my body’s natural response to injury appears to be the formation of stalactites and my bloody feet!!! Can’t we have contained them to those exotic mineral abundant caves on some remote part of this planet?? No!! They had to make their appearance between my toes and in the heels for company!!
Much as the excruciating pain limits my activity and reduces me to a bumbling useless lump of lard, that’s actually the least of my dilemmas!!
The most heart wrenching , ruthless, torturous and soul-reducing phenomenon that has been the aftermath of all this is actually the pain I face when I open the doors to my pride-of-place shoe cabinet, lovingly adorned with 100 plus footwears of all shapes and styles…..stilletos that compete with Burj Khalifa and pointed toes that were the inspiration for the Concorde. Close toed, open toed, strappy and silly, sturdy and sensible, corporate and boardroom, slutty and party-type…I have them all!! All shades, all hues…I don’t match shoes to outfits..I match outfits to shoes and that’s the Gospel truth!!! My friends will vouch for that!!
The pain that grips my soul, tears out my heart, reduces me to a whimpering wailing banshee is unparalleled when I realise that I may never be able to wear half of this lineup again!!!
The bodily pain I may live with, sans the shoes, I cannot!! They are my alter ego, they define me, give me stature and confidence, put a slippery skip in my step, dance in my toes! Without them I am a shadow of what I can be!! A mere mortal destined to roam this earth on flat feet forever!! Not the towering Inferno in my mind blazing on , but the washed out post-snow melting slopes with skis on my feet!!
Now I shudder as I eye platforms or clogs or foamed flats at a shoe store instead of this sexy Lubes ..I am ashamed of myself for I am now vitally considering and trying on footwear which were once below my dignity and had no right to co-exist in the same world as me!
But I guess as some wise man once said..”What you resist, persists”!!

These Goddamn spurs..cut them out of me or be dead trying!!! For the life of me I can’t understand who gave them the right to invade my body and destroy my life without permission!!
Lesser women rant and rave about life and PMS…greater souls like me have to something more magnanimous to berate…TMS…i.e. thyroid, menopause, spurs!
God give me strength!



Give Them A Chance!

It’s high time we stopped trying to perpetually give our children advice as per our knowledge and experience  whether required or not cos times have changed and so have experiences and circumstances.
We need to move with the times, accept the new , throw out the old. What we learnt from our experience may not be the ideal solution to today’s problems.
While we slept, the world moved ahead, new inventions were made, new solutions devised accordingly. They don’t need our answers , they have Google, they don’t need to be hands on and work like donkeys. Technology has made the toughest scenario more accessible and they know how to use it. Everything is online and they are online too unlike most of our generation.
We walkd the mile to get a small task completed. They have telecom and technology to do it in a fraction of the time and effort .
In fact maybe we should stop giving advise all the time. Just befriend them , act like dinosaurs and take advise from them. After all we have used our brains and resources to do our best for half a century. Now let them use theirs and figure it out for themselves.
Our ancient ways may actually be hampering their growth in this fast moving world and we may actually be doing them more harm than good by forcing them to see things our way!
Have confidence in their ability and your upbringing, push them to be independent and learn the hard way. Don’t force your ideas onto them for they will only resent you for it, not thank you. Be their wings, not the knife that cuts them down. Learn to say” Ok go ahead, I trust you to do the right thing ” instead of “Listen to me because I know Better”!!!
Remember, they have access to much more knowledge and advancements in this world than you do.
Learn to let go!! They make make mistakes or do things different from you but they will thank you for letting them find their own way in life! No one wants to live your life as you did, they want to live their own lives their way with their own experiences. Don’t be an obstacle in that journey. Hold their hand and walk alongside. Be the child not the parent for a change but be be available to them when they genuinely need you… to hold their hand, guide them. Lend them a shoulder to lean on. Laugh with them, assure them of your support forever and ever.
Just step aside but dont fall behind..keep pace!

A Letter from Every Parent to Every Kid!

There is a deluge of tweets, whatsapp messages , complaints and jokes about the growing and festering emotion that parents share about the lack of empathy they suffer at the hands of their children. How “our generation is the last to have listened to both the gen before them as well as the next gen”, how kids today have no respect or time for their elders.
Rants about kids being insensitive, rude, brash, selfish, materialistic, indisciplined,shirkers who are comfortable living off their parents in terms of money and comfort.
Complaints about how the oldies are struggling to earn inspite of all their old age limitations, rising at dawn , while the pampered kids wake at noon demanding attention, food, drink and money as if they are doing the parents a favour by simply being there!
Objections about how the youngsters can find time for their friends and to party whereas the odd meal, movie, holiday or simply a sit down chat session with the kids eludes the yearning parents who have so much to share but not the listening ear that they long for!
To be seen with a mom is uncool, to watch a movie with the dad is belittling, to enter a restaurant with them is the epitome of disgrace!!
A little peck on the cheek is met with an indignant push and shove away from them, the idea of a photograph/selfie with a parent is met with such derision as to suggest that they have been asked for their bone marrow or to sacrifice their very soul while shedding their dignity along the way!
The rants continue endlessly on social media, phone calls, web pages and early morning walks in the park. The elderly are worried, worried about the lack of morality, respectfulness, responsibility, sensibility….”These boys don’t do Peri Paina any more!! What are their parents teaching them?The girls dismiss their mother’s pleas to spend time with them at home or on that elusive shopping trip ! For their friends they have ample time and energy!!”
So continues the endless trail of retribution!!
One tries to switch side of the coin and reminisce on the truth of said situation. There is no doubt this is a fact that almost every parent is dealing with today! “Ghar ghar ki kahani “, the old women sigh and shake their heads in derision as if accepting the Gospel truth in submission!
I try to see it from the youngsters perspective but don’t arrive at any conclusive answers! We are from a generation that barely ever thought about rebelling, retaliating, talking back, ignoring the elder’s command, questioning and arguing!! Not that we were brainless or cowardly but more because we were brought up to believe that our elders should be put on a pedestal and no matter how incorrect or ridiculous we may find their theories or behavior, ‘Mum’s the word’ !! Good children don’t argue with Gen above! Case closed.
Logic defies why our kids are so different from us…call it more exposure, influences from cultures around the world, the growing desperation to ‘keep up’, ‘fit in’, ‘surge ahead’, ‘never say never’. A confidence in their ability,(misplaced in some cases), to outshine the others, beat down the competition, shut up those who protest, shoo away those with alternate experience, trample upon those who may know better and the quest to make a quick buck is actually a rampant that is taking away an open mindedness and humility that the youth need to steer their way through an increasingly difficult life…they refuse to be steered or aided in any way, refuse to accept sound advise, refuse to admit they may have been misled by their lack of knowledge or experience!! There is nothing wrong with acknowledging the help of those who have been through it all for it can be a blessing, a shortcut to skipping all the steps in life that could be an obstacle to growth, an avenue to get to their goals faster with less heart ache!
On the flip side I really do admire how smart our next Gen is..they are so much more confident, exposed, global and savvy then we were at their age. What we have learned along a journey culminating in the greying of our hair, they have already learnt with the help of our WWW and an over zealous social life and tons of cans of beer! Maybe that’s why they mock our dinosaur ideology, crush the idea of taking it slow, trash the stupidity of taking advice from those who did it differently!!
Maybe they have a point in their own way cos every Gen has his own can of worms to open, his own battle to fight, a different breed of enemies, a whole new legion of weaponry!!!
Maybe we are not able to keep up or enforce our supposedly lax ideology on them…our attempt to instill in them some caution when it comes to spending and business, socializing , boisterousness , over confidence or disrespect may be met with derision but that’s cos we also have to learn that they are young adults with much greater abilities than we might give them credit for. As a parent we need to listen to them and hear them also…not just dismiss their every idea with a disinterested shrug saying ” I know better”!! Many a time they really know better and it’s time we accept and acknowledge that!! Speak to them, know their minds, listen!!!!
So let this be a prayer from every parent today…and stop the complaining!!!

“My dear child
I brought you into this world , without consulting you , as you so often point out ,and my entire life has served to make you as comfortable as possible under the circumstances…we were not the richest, boldest, or the most informed …savvy we may not have been but honest we definitely were…. honest in our endeavors to bring you up well, shelter you and protect fiercely. We fed you first and ate later, we dressed you first and then draped ourselves in pride for you. We taught as well as we could.. a lesson in morals a la Gen above coupled with what we thought you would need to learn as growing children..we fanned you all night to keep the mosquitoes away, we fought those who sought to tell us what we should or should do for you if it wasn’t in your best interest! And we learned along the journey to today!! Many lessons may be awry or incomplete but we did our best…it may not be so in your eyes but believe me , we went all out!! We continue to learn and imbibe even today, very often from your maturity and sound remarks…we have evolved as humans along with you, as much because of you as due to the rocks life threw at us!! For you are our treasure, our ‘raison d’etre!
Love us or hate us just don’t ignore or write us off!! We need your time, understanding, respect and the fierce desire to scale the walls that exist between two generations! In return We pledge to give you your due as the smartest young people we know…To overcome the drudgery of fighting different ideologies and accepting the best from each in order to live and grow in unison!!
Lets laugh, travel, eat, talk, sing, dance, argue together…not alone! For in spite of our differences we are one!! Just like two sides of the same coin, we cannot exist without each other. Years down the line, when your kids call you a T Rex we hope to laugh together at them!!

Always remember how much we love you and how proud you make us when you succeed or when you pick yourself up after a failure! We are there for you at all times! Just love us ! Don’t write us off just yet!There is many a mile and many a road we wish to walk you upon or be walked upon by you , holding your hand”
All we want is a smile and some return, all we have is yours anyway”!!!!

Yours lovingly
A parent

When A Mother’s Heart Goes Thumpety Thump!!


There’s a strange yet profound feeling of inexpressible joy when you spend time with your children…particularly now that they are grown and independant..flown the nest, adults with a mind and life of their own..adults with dreams and interests that do not stem from what you intended for them but rather from what their hearts and minds and destiny have steered them towards …consciously or unconsciously .
Years ago you were in the front seat clutching them to your bosom as they nestled to your warmth or squealed to be let go off..squirming off your lap to grab at the volume buttons on the dashboard or to grab your not-so-cool sunglasses off the bridge of your nose!
Alternatively, you were busy trying to stop them from having a go at each other in the back seat, wrestling them apart, distracting them with stories , smiling amusedly as the eldest one bullied the younger ones with her pretend-adult ,all-knowing tone of confidence in her endearing lilting voice!
Now the roles are reversed…the joy you feel at the first glimpse you have of them after a long long unendingly unfairly long gap…is inexplicable!! It just feels as if the sun has risen finally, the Gods are smiling down at you and your hearts beats faster, almost as if it’s trying to leap out from beneath the rib cage right into its rightful place in your baby’s bosom..And then you realise that hopefully it’s already there!!
That first hug and greeting warms you up like melting butter on hot crisp toast! The fragrant baby smell from when you held them close eons ago still lingers in your mind and the waft of these memories bring a smile and sigh to your lips!

The hug which gets over too too soon for us but embarrassingly long for them , makes way for a quick “Come on Come lets go” and you are promptly bundled into the back seat of the car as you watch your kids, now towering over you banter with each other saying” Oh God, she’s back again “!! ,while rolling their eyes in fake exasperation and deciding who was going to take the wheel.
An innocent query from them like “so what’s the plan, when do have to go back”? causes your already unsteady heartbeat to thump even harder while sinking into a crevasse as deep as the Grand Canyon for its too early to contemplate about the return..after all, you are still basking in the glory of having just feasted your starving eyes upon them.

The view from the back seat is endearing! These tiny little adults have moved on…they have a different lifestyle, a new group of friends at work and at play..they are way more savvy, cool, aggressive, worldlywise, beaten, triumphant, scarred, resurrected, open minded and hearted, lavish, conservative, proud, humble, resilient, soft and vulnerable, hard and impenetrable.
They may wear their heart on their sleeves yet fight to protect their emotions from a wayward unseen enemy..they struggle to handle all that comes to them on their plate while preserving the sanctity of their ways , thoughts and upbringing…clutching onto the things they consider worthy and desperately shrugging off that which they consider may weigh them down or hold them back!

They jostle with the music system and fight to control the playlist as diverse as their natures…they yell in exasperation when they don’t like one’s selection and quickly loudly belt out words in sync while doing a jig in the front seats when they finally agree on choice of song! One of them is beaten down when their suggestion is met with disdain while the other keeps playing DJ and dancing merrily.

All this one observes in amusement from one’s spectacular box office back seat, enjoying the bantering, trying to quip in with one’s half knowledge and being told to shut up in no minced words!

Those that we once taught are now our teachers, those that we once held by the hand and led, are now leading us, those that we once ticked off for misdemeanour are now scolding us for dinosaurian thought processes!
Little do they know that one is trying desperately to keep up, to understand, to change and make amends, to upgrade and uplift ourselves, to be cooler, to be more with it..yet we still need to be parents, we still need the instinct to protect and guide as far as we can. We need to be their friends too..feel the need to be needed and wanted amidst all the fast changing scenarios!! Above all ,we just need to be there..for them , with them!!

Amidst all this noise you get the feeling of being infused with life again, like you were just dealt out an intra venous concoction of mineral happiness , protein fortitude and amino resilience!! The grin on your lips is unstoppable! The heart does a fire dance in your chest and you thank God for aeroplanes that fly you to them!!
I guess that’s why we are parents.

Love us or leave us, that’s how we feel about you! We need you to understand us, fit us in, make time for each other in this way, whenever we are able!

We were 20th century paupers when they were little..we wish they become 22nd century royalty in status, ability and thoughts , with hearts of gold, toughness of mind and body , humility of soul!

“How do we tell you how much we love you for we are not wordsmiths! Peep into our hearts and you will be all-seeing”!!

Till then let’s just enjoy the madness of being around these crazy human beings!!

Santa still my unsung hero!


Once upon a time there was a Santa… in my heart , all around me…in spirit.
Growing up in a place like Kenya where all religions lived under one all encompassing roof, I got to choose the religion I enjoyed if not the one I was born into.
I studied the Bible, attended Sunday Mass, sang hymns like a native, celebrated Eid and Christmas also, not cos I was a Christian or Muslim but because my friends were and it made no difference to me.
I have grown up believing in GOD..not a segregated one with some ten thousand names, but the one Universal force that I prayed to every night lying in bed or kneeling by it cos Enid Blytons characters did it that way. I knew as a kid that I had to talk to someone, thank someone and request someone…and that someone was an intangible force they say is all around us even if not visible to the naked eye..and I believe them.
I don’t feel less religious if I don’t cover my head and seek sublimation at every occasion in front of a statue of God in a mandir cos I feel I don’t need to seek him there alone.
I sat and watched in awe as my young friends dedicatedly read their namaaz so sincerely like clockwork, not understanding what they did but respecting their beliefs and admiring their sincerity, impatiently waiting to be doled out generous helpings of mouth watering biryanis, sevaiyan, and I forget what not else!!
But what I enjoyed most was Christmas.. I guess one of the biggest influences in my growing years was the world of Enid Blyton and Disney , initiated, introduced and encouraged by my readalholic parents!!
I wanted to believe in Santa like the famous five did, I wanted to understand the spirit of goodness as Uncle Scrooge learnt, I wanted to see the Jerrys hug the Toms of the world just cos it was the season of love and forgiveness…
I aced all the hymns, watched the proceedings in church while gazing in admiration at the structure and ambience . I lit candles and partook of turkey and pudding with my Christian buddies…I hung up my school socks knowing that I would find them overflowing in the morn!!
The red, white and green colors all around me brings a smile to my lips even today… I believe there is a Santa in the North Pole..I refused to eat reindeer in Alaska cos I thought I was doing my old friend Rudolph a misdemeanor!!….
I want to knock on doors and sing hymns for smiling folks who hand out goodies…I want to sit on a fat Santa’s lap and ask him for the gift of happiness for my family…I want to sneak out of bed and catch him as he slides down the chimney shouting Ho Ho Ho!!!
I know I have been good so I’m sure he’ll come this year too!!
My babies grew up too soon so they couldn’t be conned too long into believing the tooth fairy put that crisp ten rupee note under the pillow, or that the Easter bunny left that box of chocolates on the mantelpiece, or that Santa was pleased with them and knew exactly what to put in the long red stocking borrowed from my daughter and hung by the bed!! Sad!!! I wish they still believed!
We watched Christmas themed movies every year on the huge bed in the living room with oohs and ahhs from the littles ones warming my heart all over again! I believed and I wanted them to believe because something about the myth of Santa gives you a strange kind of happiness and assurance that something good and fun still exists!
I missed the days when my kids and I decorated the arocaria tree in the garden with silver bells and little stars and paper strings much like what we saw on tv and watched them fight and laugh gleefully as they did so…!!

But today I felt young again!
I felt like my little babies were still shorter than me and still full of mischief and madness cos today my son brought home a six foot tall Christmas tree replete with all kinds of cute decorations to adorn it and the sight of it made my heart soar again! I wanted to give him a tight hug but he ran for his life like he was being ravaged!!
I admonished him playfully and quickly got to work singing jingle bells in abandon while he slapped his forehead in chagrin and shook his head in dismay at my antics! All he did was rant that he may have made the gravest mistake of his life bringing home the tree if I was going to behave in this exasperating manner while taking photos of my idiocy!!
As I stepped back after a while to admire my handiwork, singing even louder oblivious of the threats from my son that sounded suspiciously like he was contemplating wringing my neck on Christmas Eve, a disturbing thought crossed my was the 24th already and Santa as to leave with his trusty Rudolph and company in an hour!! What if he didn’t have enough cash to get the toys ready on time cos of the demonetization! What if the Elves couldn’t get all the goodies loaded onto the sleigh on time!! Oh horror of horrors!! All the little kids of the world would have been good all year to no avail! If they weren’t going to get their gifts this year they might just as well have a more exciting time being crude and brash and misbehaved for all the good the abstinence did them!!
Soon better sense prevailed and I heaved a sigh of relief as I realized rupees must be redundant on the North Pole..they probably use Euros or Dollars or something unpronounceable there, I’m guessing!! Thank God!!
So get ready kids, Santa’s on his way …Jingle Bells Jingle Bells!!! Go to bed dreaming of a White Christmas, snowmen, Partridges on pear trees, Three wise men tramping down a dusty path enroute to a certain manger wherein lies a harbringer of peace and hope….. and the promise of our friend St Nicholas!! The morning may make your dreams come true!!
Next year I want to spend Christmas where it is celebrated the way it should be, where the decorations are as they should be and where Yuletide is engraved in the places heart and soul! I’m not choosy..USA, UK, Canada, Australia, Europe ..maybe even Iceland!!!….feel free to choose….India done…the rest of the world awaits!!!
Santa you listening???  My Babies..are you???

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!!


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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 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 .. in your ac 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 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 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!!