Sunday, November 23, 2008


Do you have the feeling that the understanding of world hasn’t come to you yet? Do you, maybe, also feel that you haven’t learnt enough? Are you satisfied with your life, your job, your friends, your love? Are you essentially a happy person or do you yearn for that something or someone special missing from your life?

In Coventry, on a bus, a while ago, I met this old woman from India who kept beaming at me and finally I smiled back and asked her did something special happen? She said she’s going back to India after 20 years. Then my 80 year old neighbour in Bombay, Daulat asked me what kind of law I practiced, and if I could initiate proceedings against her husband. She saw the concern on my face and burst into peels of laughter and said that she only wanted to sue him for leaving her alone 10 years ago (he had a terminal illness). Today at the airport, in transit, I met a woman who lost her child in a miscarriage two days ago and kept smiling at me and asking me about my job. Lost and found. Lost sadness, found happiness. Have you, yet?

Smoke from the book

She had not made up her mind. It dilly dallied between and weighed the pros and cons. The sound of shahnai zoomed through the speakers and she tilted her tired head when she remembered old times, the lost school of grey and blue, the forgotten college of black and white, and the faraway university of snow and green. The insanities of life had been hovering around her head and finally came crashing on her petite mind in one swish blow. She is taking time off from the world to find her lost self again. She opened the book and like a waft of wind, the words rose from the pages and collected into a smoke cloud of thoughts over the paper. Like enchanted dust, it swayed and formed a mind of its own. It was going to teleport her, yet again :-)


7:25am (Swiss time) November 22, 2008

Today I have no news to read, no connection to the internet and for some strange reason, my Wi-Fi seems to be acting up. Armed with a book, a laptop, a cuppa green tea (the best I have ever had) and a Danish pastry, I start my day at the Zurich airport. Off one long flight and shortly to be on another long one. So here I am, embarking a new journey, visiting new countries, exploring more airports and still no one to have a conversation with except a brief exchange with the Punjabi woman travelling to Florence, out of Punjab for the first time, let alone India. I took her up to her terminal and bid adieu, lost as she was otherwise. Humans humans everywhere and not a word spoken. Conversations I do not understand, gestures that I can’t interpret, lonely empty shops, a lot of lights and yellow/red chairs. Thank god for my little red PC, or I wouldn’t know what to do for six whole hours. And then I met a wonderful lady from Bombay at the internet spot, who had just suffered a grave medical mishap. She was all smiles and help despite her condition. There is something we find, in the places least expected, in the corners of the world where we seldom go, and that something is compassion and uncomplicated, unconditional love. I sat and set my vacation responder for my professional email ID. Adios work- for a whole three weeks!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Coffee and news- the world becomes a “disturbia”

We get up in the morning, go to work, make coffee, read newspapers and wonder what has our world come to. Honestly, I am getting sick of how we as a race are progressing, because we aren’t progressing at all. Malaysia announced yesterday that it is considering issuing a fatwa against practising yoga. The draft of the edict has already been submitted for review and consideration. We talk at length about freedom of speech, expression, movement, to practice religion, to live to get justice. But then which nation really allows us this democratic freedom, and worse, what about the nations which are not a democratic state? Yoga is an ancient medical, holistic, meditation system and for all its wonders, it does not purport to change or challenge any religious views or violate written texts of any religion.

On the bright side though, the lawmakers in U.K gave their final approval to a bill committing Britain to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent by 2050 and became the first country to have such a legally binding framework on climate change. Ah, at least someone’s trying. May I suggest to all who may read this to at least get a green friendly email signature and also not to print excessively.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


We are all made of stars. Well some of us are. The last week flew by, like so many others and held in its fold, some beautiful surprises. Kush bought a brand new Yamaha piano in Singapore (with his own money!!) and called me up the other day and played “comptine d'une autre été” from Amelie for me. It was lovely. Then a friend and I jiggled on “desi girl” in the parking lot of a convention centre. Then I cooked up some complicated dishes for some friends and generally had a good time. And of course, the Charlie’s Angels continued their tirade all over south Delhi, generally spreading Zingoo virus and infectious smiles. Life has been on a good roll, where one doesn’t mind the work, loves the friends and lives in the moment. (*Knock on the wood*). We are all made of stars.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


She stared at the photograph for a while, wondering about what the future may hold for her, was this to be a part of the life to be? The smoke made spiralling curves and rotated away in the thick air. There were the insane number of pending things, a bane for the ardent procrastinating soul. There were the calls to make, the proposals to write, the drafts to finalise, the letters to be written, the research to be done, the painting to complete, the bank that needed a visit, the friend with a cold who needed chicken soup, another one who needed her anyway. So she still stared blankly at the photograph. A man standing in someone else’s kitchen. A man who lived in another reality, or maybe existed only in her vivid imagination. She enjoyed her work and her evenings and didn’t want to break that routine. The vines in the garden grew deeper and darker and made evil gestures at the budding roses. The roses stood quietly, with complaints to make, but making none. The vines stood in combat mode, but not yet attacking. One day the twain shall meet and who knows, when they both mature, they may make the loveliest little garden.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Thank You

A lot of people have asked me why I have renamed by blog as “Woman with Parasol”. Well, I love a painting with the same title by Claude Monet and also generally tend to think of myself as a woman holding a parasol over others. Where our parasols are held high and the mind is without fear... That would get Tagore turning in his urn/grave/Ganges.

I have made some new friends and found some old ones in the closet of the dreamy past. I have a stand-in miia of course, in the form Mr. Gill, despite the amount of time we spend insulting each other.

There is a general prevailing feeling of gratuity and I would like to thank a long list of people here (I generally do not go into a tirade of my personal life, but well, there is a first for everything). I have met so many people in the last 26 years that I feel a need to tell them, that I care and thank them for being there:

Mum/dad- for being you and letting me be me and for the blood in my veins, for your honesty, help, TLC, and for being super

Karan Bansal- The balanced, mature younger one, for being born

Karanvir Gill: For being my pillar, my support, my friend and so much more, and for always being the ubiquitous sounding board, miss u Gilly boy

Sayak Sahu: For teaching me about love and life, for being the one but not nearly, for teaching me the meaning of "unconditional"

Shikha Khera: The silent love of my life, the one who endures and endures my oblivion and frequent disappearances and is still found standing by me

Nitin Aggarwal: Tintin, the misadventurer :-) the most honest friend one can ask for, the one you can count no matter what, the one I will always care for no matter what.

Bani Dhillon: The teddy bear, softie inside, softie outside, the ever forgiving and loving friend

Navneet Gill: for knowing and loving and caring and being there

Anna Puthuran: The soul sister, the fellow vagabond, the mutual admiration society, the witch and the lover, the child and the mother, all rolled into one, I live my life through her, things I can’t do, she does them for me

Shreya Datta: The older sister I never had, hell the sister that I never had. The hardcore bong, the one who I just can’t do without, and have never needed a reason to be friends with her. We connect ... period... right Gina?

Priyanka Chirimar: The senior I care for the most, the confidante and the mentor, the lone weed in the willow, the strongest thread in the weave

Rohit Syal: My friend from the last century, perhaps the last birth, my friend who is me in so many ways, we are the same people in different circumstances and situations, same wine in different bottles

Gurman Singh: For the being fellow prankster, the joker, the friend and now the doctor

Kanwar Brara: The boy who became a man, someone I admire deeply for his perseverance, there is nothing we haven’t shared and talked about, he kept me going through the toughest phase in my life.. Thank u Kanwar

Titli Datta: Means so much more to me than the butterfly will ever know. I value her opinion, love her sense of humour, admire her outlook on work and life, the friend from my last job I hold very dear

Supriya Mahajan: For being the kali maa, the lovely feisty lady, the lovely friend and the super confidante

Xerxes Ranina, Kamni Ahuja, Thomas James, Vani Panicker, Ajit Anekar, Liberata Fernandes, Manav Raheja, Shabana Raikar, Vishaka Vaswani: For making my first job easy, for making me feel like I was going to school every day- sans exams, for being such a big emotional support in Bombay

Shubhra Chatterji: for all the colours in my life, for all the random jokes, the past revelations and jubilations, for midnight snacks, for rides in rain and for being herself. Shu.. love u

Abhay Jhina and Kaustubh George: For being the closest friends in college, the two people I believe in truly, the two who I love for hoards of reasons, but mostly their honesty, affection, mad sense of humour, crazy ideas and intellect

Manvi Priya, Vibhor Juyal, Ronojoy Basu and Jaskirat Bawa: for being the loveliest juniors ever

Shikhar Kacker: For being an unconditional, giving and caring friend

Neha Varma: For being non-judgmental, for being the drinking buddy and the fellow man-hater

Vishal Yaduvanshi: For the reality check he often provides me with, and for being such an ardent admirer of my writing, thanks Yadu

Supriya Yadav: For redefining the word “sweet” and the one Bihari dame who simply rocks

Tenzing Choesang: For having smaller eyes than me, thank God! Just joking. For being a sounding board, a fellow old woman, a fellow single woman, and a friend in need who is really the friend indeed :D

Aman Sidhu and Aparna Jain: For being great friends and comrades, for being there for me at Warwick, for being the family that we didn’t have there

Dwijen Rangnekar: For his unflinching support and concern, for his help when those responsible did not help, for being a wonderful human being, a friend and a professor and for the much needed guidance at all steps

Class of 2005-2006, LLM, University of Warwick: For electing me chair of SSLC and for all the support always

Moneesha Lanba and Vani Panicker: For being the best roommates ever and for the mindless jokes, endless cups of coffee, Reiki and Bruno healing sessions, for knocking some sense into me when I needed it the most

Ajit Anekar and Alok Tewari: For teaching me how not to let success get to you, how to remain humble, young and polite, how much fun Corporate Law Firm Partners can be, and what great friends too!

Jyoti: For finding me and for letting me know you

Indira Jaising: For replying to a year old mail (which changed my life)

For all those who I may have missed, sorry but do let me know ;-)

Monday, November 10, 2008


So here we go into our mid-twenties crisis. In our age and day, the only thing that comes for free and in abundance is depression. Perfectly nice kids like us, feel hollow inside. Everyone I know yearns for a special someone, and has been contemplative off late, and their contemplations circle around the same question- why are we doing this? Why are we pushing ourselves so hard? Is it worth it? Will we reap something in the end?

We will. Really… We have just started our life, just started making money (okay, so I don’t figure on this money making list, but what the hell!) and we will find what we are looking. We just need to stop looking too hard. The crossroads and blind turns may have their dead ends, but mostly, one finds a danger sign there. We know not to take these plunging turns, and we know that its best to take a u-turn and look for the pleasant endings.

Keep on moving

She had a heart which wanted to belong to everyone, but pursued little, or nothing… She didn’t want the permanency yet, she wanted no attachments, no strings, no love, no hate, nothing to like or dislike, no shadows, only endless dawns and dusks to keep her company... Only the static sky to remind her that she’s its own. In this pursuit of indifference, she had moved time and again only to find that one place would always be home for her, no matter where she went. It was unsettling, the thought of having something constant. It stifled her freedom and choked her love for the ones who made what she called home.

The gypsy’s soul thumped blood into her veins, she seemed to belong to the moving canvases and the roll of the horses, from an era bygone. Love and pain, come together, not without each other, ever. Love has gone and so has pain. All that remains is apathy for the unknown. Another journey, another day, soon…

Friday, November 07, 2008

Karan turns 25

Though one avoids posting too much about personal life, I think this deserves commemoration. My brother turns 25 today, one big milestone. My ‘lil one’ as I call him, is all grown up. Don’t worry about age Karan, age is the affectation of the youth. In my mind, I unsettle the complacent sheaves of memories and remember all the childhood pranks we played, all the little words we mispronounced, all the things we discovered together, all the little toys we shared, all the times we wanted to break each other’s nose, and sit recalling the splendour of an innocent age. I miss our tennis lessons, our rants about all and sundry, you teaching me guitar, you being my sounding board, I miss you... So I celebrated your birthday in office with my colleagues. Happy Birthday kinsey-vinsey. XXX