Happy Birthday, Papa

आज दिल थोड़ा उदास है 

आपके प्यार से भरी निगाहों की तलाश है

जो कभी ना बुझी यह वो प्यास है 

१२ साल बीत गए लेकिन आज भी आपकी कमी का एहसास है।

आज आँख नम हैं, और मन गुमसुम है 

लेकिन वोह थकान थोड़ी सी कम है

दिल को समझा लिया मैंने, अब सवाल नहीं करता है 

बस कब वोह यादें ताज़ा हो जाएँगी, इस उम्मीद से डरता है।

आज होते महफ़िल में तो जश्न हम भी मनाते

आपको ज़िंदगी का यह ७६ वाँ साल धूम धाम से सजाते 

लेकिन थोड़ी जल्दी थी आपको, जो समय से बहुत पहले ही गुज़र चले 

बढ़ी कशिश थी की इस शाम, एक जाम, हम आपको भी पिलाते।

यह रात

खामोशी में लिपटी, यह पूर्णिमा की रात

जैसे जश्न अभी होने को है ​

अँधेरे में सिमटीं यह तारों की बारात, 

जज़्बात कुछ ठहरे से हैं 

इस सन्नाटे को क्या रंग दूँ . क्या रूप दूँ?

ना चुभता है ना ही चिल्लाता है, इसे मैं क्या आकर दूँ?

इस सहमी हुई, शर्मीली सी रात, को जाने में क्या नाम दूँ?

the potter’s wheel

Tonight I sit at the potter’s wheel

Shaping my life, and my dreams

In pursuit of excellence, purpose, and growth

I seek new goals, within my reach

I seek no glory, nor do I repent a defeat

I am just here to assess my will

I come to the wheel, every so often

To shape the cup I seek to fill

I seek to serve others, and I lose myself 

Trying to be what they want me to be

I come to the wheel, when I think it’s time

To give shape to my dreams, to be who I want to be

I set asail, I grow again

And just when the vessel comes to shape

I come back to the potter’s wheel, and ask myself

Where to, my friend? What shall we make?

I leave the cup to bake in the kiln

I attach no emotion to the end game

Tonight I am ahead, of where I was yesterday

And that’s all that matters in the end

It is not in my destiny to see the results 

Of what I sow, I shall never reap

I have but memories, and memories galore

And they are all mine to keep!

A long dark night

This ain’t my country, this ain’t my soil

This ain’t my battle, and neither my toil.

But when they kill a man because of the color of his skin

I wonder in this country if justice will no longer win

We had barely stopped mourning, for those who lost their lives

Was the virus not enough to kill, that we took out guns and knives?

Did man not just succumb to his powerless unwilling state?

Was nature not enough, that we quickly turned to hate?

Although, this ain’t my country, and this ain’t my soil

Watching scenes of horror, still makes my blood boil

I might not be a victim today, but my color is not white

I pray we all see better days, for now it seems like a long dark night!

Lyrical relapse

A picnic afternoon with friends while social distancing, a new rasam recipe that absolutely rocked our senses, fresh orange juice from our friends’ garden, amarettis and matcha cookies dropped off by our Ninja friend, sunshine, backyard tent time, birthday wishes for a 96yr old neighbor, binged on season #1 of Money Heist, chit chat with in-laws and my sister about the various things under the sun, and deep cleaning our bathrooms. Just a few of the things that made this weekend epic.

We’ve started spending more time on the deck under the shade of our giant pine trees. Tara and I go over in the morning and close our eyes and listen to the birds. And then we drink our milk and coffee and chit chat about the day. We do the same thing in the evening while Agam wraps up work and we wait for him to go for soccer with us. I got the deck done by sheer persistence. Agam was skeptical, as always ;), but I somehow clearly saw what that deck will provide for us. A quiet and shaded respite on summer days. And it delivers! As a bonus it also serves as my lyrical inspiration. Here’s something that took shape this morning, on the deck.

Give me the storm

And I’ll learn to sail through

Give me unrest

And I’ll find my peace

Give me the challenge

And I’ll cultivate the will

Give me a reason

And I’ll find purpose

Give me a dream

And I’ll make it come true

Just trust my word

Today, that is all I can give to you.

Oh what a wonderful 🌎

Spring has been stolen from us this year 
We live in malaise, gratification  and fear 
Yet the flowers 🌸  don’t fail to cheer 
Oh what a wonderful world 🌎 
The kids are home and shops are shut
The grass in the parks is left uncut 
Yet the roses 🌹  bloom in this rut 

Oh what a wonderful world 🌎 

Nature has stopped us in our tracks
It will be a while before we pick up our backpacks 🎒 
Yet the fields are full of poppy and lilacs 
Oh what a wonderful world 🌎 
No cure, no relief and no end in sight
In Zoom and Meet we find delight
Yet the sun ☀️ doesn’t fail to shine so bright
Oh what a wonderful world 🌎 

Will you come?

If I ask you to accompany me
To an alley full of possibilities
With no future no past no strings to last
Will you come?

If I ask you to see this world from my lens
And see it’s beauty in despair
With no promise to fix no intent nor care
Will you come?

If I ask you to let me be your shadow
For it has been long and windy road
With no need to lead nor to follow
Will you come?

Because, yesterday

I think you had asked me to stay back
You wanted me to walk with you.
Not too far. Just a few steps, together.

I think you had smiled with your eyes
You wanted me to acknowledge your glance.
Not overtly. Just a blink of the eye.

So, tonight if I ask you to join me
Let us walk side by side all night
With no promises no prejudices nothing wrong and nothing right
Will you come?

A tad bit sad

आज अगर मंटो ज़िंदा होता तो हैरान होता
पहले ज़मीन बाँटी और अब पहचान भी

जाने क्या हासिल कर लेंगे ज़मीन पर लकीरें खींच कर
ज़रा सोचो, क्या बांट सका है कोई आसमान कभी?

Just a tad bit sad about the affairs in India. Ended up writing a few couplets out of sheer frustration.

२४ घंटे

यह जो २४ घंटे मैंने घर पे बिताए

माँ का आँगन, सुबह की चाय

एक प्यारी सी नींद और

चुपके से दो चार आसूँ भी बहाए

माँ के कुछ परदे खूँटी पर लगाए

कुछ देर टी॰वी॰ देखा

कुछ ख़रीदारी की और गोभी के पराँठे दबाए

और दोपहर में ख़ूब सारी बातें की और फिर नींद के ठोंके लगाए

कुछ तस्वीरें दिखाई और तारा के बड़े सारे क़िस्से सुनाये

माँ की तबियत का हाल पूछा

और बस इतने में ही २४ घण्टे ख़त्म होने को आयें

और फिर चल दी समेट कर माँ की प्यारी दुआएँ

मेरी माँ अकेले रहती है

मेरी माँ अकेले रहती है

सुबह की चाय से लेके रात की दवाई तक

सब कुछ अकेले सहती है

मेरी माँ अकेले रहती है

आज सुबह चाय बनाने जब उसकी रसोई में गयी

तो उसके अकेलापन का एहसास पहली बार हुआ

नौ साल हो गए हैं पापा को गुज़रे

और उसकी रसोई में बर्तनों की कमी का एहसास आज ज़ार हुआ

देखने में तो सब कुछ है लेकिन

आज इस रसोई में रौनक़ नहीं हैं

किसी के आने का इन्तज़ार नहीं और

किसी के जाने की जल्दी नहीं है

धीरे धीरे सारे काम करती रहती है

किसी से कुछ नहीं माँगती

किसी को कुछ ना कहती है

मेरी माँ अकेले रहती है

सुबह की चाय से लेके रात की दवाई तक

सब कुछ अकेले सहती है

मेरी माँ अकेले रहती है


यह घड़ियों की आवाज़ कुछ ऐसे गूँजती है जैसे

हर पल को एक नाम देने की कोशिश कर रहा है कोई

क्यूँ बाँटा है समय को इन छोटे छोटे हिस्सों में ?

ऐसा लगता है हर साँस का क़र्ज़ उतारता है कोई।

to be…

To feel so loved, and yet so worthless at the same time

To be so frail and yet to keep your sunshine

To lose and yet smile and keep going on

And wait for yet another promising dawn

To be righteous and yet doubt your self-worth

To feel like a system’s neglected dirt

To hide and share and hate and care all at the same time

To be exhausted and yet appear to be just fine

Happy 73rd Papa

Wish you a very happy birthday, Papa! May your spirit always be joyful, charismatic, and kind. Just like you were. 73 sounds so old. In a way I am glad my memory of you froze while you were still 64. To see my man in old age would have been hard for me.

How selfish is this human soul? Even after losing him, I am more worried about my discomfort if he had lived to be 73. If he had lived to be 73, he would have heard his grand daughter sing a birthday song for him. We just assumed Nanu was around and we sung for him.

This morning after getting Tara’s breakfast ready I stole a few moments from my usually chaotic morning to drink the day’s first coffee on the deck. I enjoyed the sunrise and the first warm rays of the sun that hit the deck. Soon the light filled the sky. And suddenly my world lost its color.

The birds kept on singing

Even the breeze brushed my cheeks

But the world suddenly lost its color

Or has it been this way since a few weeks?

As the light filtered through the leaves

The contrast blinded my sight

As if the sun was showing me its core

Proving to me its might

Sometimes this light can help you

To illuminate the darkest corners of your soul

And sometimes it can burn you

Consuming you as a whole

I am but a work in progress

I claim no glory nor defeat

The sun has made its presence felt

I must not surrender to this heat

I will live to see the color return

Of this I am quite sure

There will be another coffee on the deck

And the sky will be azure

One day everyone leaves…

Good things first – We celebrated the third annual picnic with our loving learning link families today. It is really a fellow mom-friend’s idea. But I tag along and do what is needed to make these lovely people come together and enjoy the shade of Rengstorff Park. The kids play free, and the parents take care of each other’s kids, while enjoying well deserved breaks in between. The teachers are taken care of, and the grand parents join in and share their love with hoards of kids. It’s a very joyful event and I particularly love watching the kids grow up over the years. Tara had a wonderful time and so did we.

It is so deeply satisfying to hear other parents tell me about Tara’s influence on their kids, and I share the same. Adam taught Tara how to eat peppers and broccoli, and Tara teaches him how to be brave and gregarious. Tara also was a mentor to the little one year old Rhea, and she still hugs Ahir’s Mom when she sees her pick him up from school. Also Noah is most social and least shy when Tara is around, and she teaches Mila and Alba how to jump from high benches, without fear. It is so endearing to hear these stories. I can’t believe they are talking about my Tara 😀

I usually shy away from dropping Tara off in the morning since I get super hooked to the lovely little humans in class. But sometimes I pick her up early and spend time with her friends in the school playground. I have not done enough of that lately 😦 So I was particularly looking forward to connecting with her gang from school. I got my full today.

Next good thing is that India won a nail biting match against Afghanistan. I had totally underestimated their capability. In fact I was not even going to watch the match. But when I checked the target India had set for Afghanistan to chase, I was tempted to jump in and dropped all my plans for the morning and was glued to the match. 😀 Once again, Agam could not care less about the match. But I kept him in the loop 😛

I met Dasha in Seattle on Monday evening. It is always so refreshing to meet her. We enjoyed a nice walk in downtown and then I walked back to my empty hotel room. Quite boring. But surprisingly relaxing. Sun sets really late in Seattle, so I was finding it very hard to sleep on time and accumulated a mega sleep deficit. Overall the trip was good. I was in SEA on Monday and KIR on Tuesday. Two very different offices, in more than one respect. The thrill on Tuesday was to race to the airport to make it for my flight. I got there 20min before take off. Phew, that has not happened in a while.

I spent a lot of time thinking about my team and my work on the flight back. My little black diary and little black pen came in handy 🙂 Maido has opened in Santana Row and sells OHTO pens and Mnemosyne notebooks. I am so happy to go back to my old school ways, after trying all sorts of note taking apps. My notebook and a pen, we are inseparable, again. Now I need to remember not to start scribbling on the last pages of my notebook 😉 On that note, Gulzar is coming to Bay Area for a poetry recital.

On to sad things – Last night we went to Palo Alto downtown, just to hangout by the fountain at Lyttton Plaza. Tara has lovely memories of getting soaked in that fountain and we love going back there and telling her all about it. She is taller now so the risk of being soaked is little. She enjoyed the fountain and Agam and I criticized the open air bhajan session held by ISKCON at the plaza. I was a little disappointed. We don’t need to bring God to humans. We need humans to seek God within, in their actions and in their words. But who am I to rage that war? I was just sad that our fun Friday evening turned into a loud and noisy one.

M is retiring. I saw it coming. We grabbed lunch on Wednesday. I didn’t want to talk to him about him leaving and nudged him to help me with my side project that I really must get going on. So I did not tell him how upset I am about not having anyone anymore to run to when I have my “wait, I have a question?” moment. I have lost two mentors at work in one month. It is sad. But I know I can reach out to them whenever I want. I just don’t have them on ping. And especially with M, I cannot just run down to the 2nd floor anymore and draw him out of whatever he is doing, and make him hear me out. I learnt so much from him. Humility is a skill I am learning, thanks to him.

One day everyone leaves. That’s just how this cycle works. I know this. Yet, I stay vulnerable to it. Some day I will give in to this truth. That day, I will learn that it is not about what I got from you in the moments that I will miss. But what we created together, and how it grew both of us in ways we did not know then, but I will know and feel, and experience, in your absence moving forward.

Looking at the little kids playing in the park today I felt a sudden calm. And I scribbled something in my notebook –

I cannot hold your stare long enough; you look so deep and even beyond

Unnerved, calm, giving, and with my consent, you shake up my world

I sit there helpless, and a little restless, hoping those tranquil eyes will drift me ashore

And then I look within, deep within, and I find the anchor that you had left there, last time we talked.


Wrapped up in a thin white cotton sheet, she is looking at her sun, feeling the warmth of his eyes. They have kept her warm this winter. In that moment she is not silly, not stupid, not ugly and neither is she a mess. She is herself. There is nothing in between them. Just a passage of unsaid words and deeply satisfying glances hangs in thin air.

Sometimes she catches herself out of line and corrects herself, only to see him smiling back at her. She looks deep into his eyes for a moment, he acknowledges her presence there, even welcomes her in, but then she withdraws. She is afraid his eyes will break the code of silence.

She does not know what she has done to deserve this warmth. Her sun must also burn deep inside. Can she help? Perhaps she can share her winter with him…

Let it be

Regret has settled into my abyss
Broken is how I feel today
It’s been a few long weeks of gloom
And it looks like this phase is here to stay

I roam the streets with an open wound
And sometimes someone heals it up
It helps me mend my broken heart
And it temporarily fills up my empty cup

I am the gap I hope to fill
But I don’t feel I have it left in me
To heal myself and stand back up
So I give up, and just let it be.

Perhaps someday I will find the strength
To reclaim what is meant to be
Perhaps someday I will fill my cup
With courage that is somewhere hidden in me.


I looked at the bougainvillea from my kitchen window. I bought it towards the end of last summer, finally got to planting it in fall, and then it was soon bare. Not a single leaf survived. Yet, it bounced back this spring. Back to its glory. The poem was born this morning, as I looked at the bougainvillea and my messy yet colorful living room. I bounced back from several set backs this week. Just like the bougainvillea.

वो भी दिन थे, और यह भी दिन हैं 
और बीच में कहीं गुमसुम हम हैं 
वो भी दिन थे 
जब पेढ़ों पे पत्ते नहीं दिखाई देते थे!
और आज उन्ही शाखाओं पर गुलाबी फूल मुस्कुराते हैं 
वो भी दिन थे जब घर ख़ामोश था और आँगन वीरान था। 
और आज खिलखिलाती हँसी और छोटे छोटे पैरों का शोर 
सारा दिन दिल लगाए रखता है
वो भी दिन थे जब रातें लम्बी थी 
और सुबह का कोई निशान नहीं था 
और यहाँ आजकल किस्से कहानियों के चक्कर में, दिन छोटे पढ़ जाते हैं
वक़्त ना ही वो रुका था, ना ही यह थमेगा 
यह कारवाँ तो ऐसे ही चलता रहेगा 
और हम इस कारवाँ के मुसाफ़िर, यूँ ही हर मोड़ पर संभलते रहेंगे।
वो भी दिन थे, और यह भी दिन हैं 
और बीच में कहीं गुमसुम हम हैं 

तारा और मैं

क्या करें कि यह दिल घबराता है

इस सोच से ही सहम जाता है

कैसे समझें इस कश्मकश को

तुम्हारी फ़िकर रहती है हर वक़्त, और तुम्हारी प्यारी  बातों से दिल बहल जाता है

कैसा रिश्ता है यह समझने में भी डर लगता है

तुम्हारे साथ गुज़रा हुआ हर लम्हा मुस्कुराता है

याद आती है वो तनी हुई आँखें

और वो थोड़ा सा ग़ुस्सा जो मेरी हँसी में डूब जाता है

नज़रें ऐसी मिलती हैं जैसे समंदर और लहरें

इतनी गहरी की नज़र हटाने का मन नहीं करता

तुमसे बहुत कुछ समझने और तुमको बहुत कुछ समझाने का मन करता है

अपने प्यार में पिघालने का मन करता है

तुम्हारे साथ गुफ़्तगू करने का मन करता है

कुछ कहने और बहुत कुछ सुनने का मन करता है

तुम्हारी आवाज़ में जैसे लहरें की गहराई सुनाई पढ़ती है

तुम्हारी हँसी में नादानी और चाल में लचक दिखाई देती है

मालूम है मुझे कि एक दिन यह लमहें जो तुम मेरे साथ बिताती हो, यह जो हँसी के ठहाके जो तुम मेरे साथ लगाती हो

उनमें मेरी कोई गुंजाइश नहीं होगी

बढ़ी हो जाओगी तुम तारा, और अपनी ज़िन्दगी कि उधेढ़ बुन में मश्रूफ हो जाओगी

यह तुम्हारी बचपन की यादें तभी मेरे काम आएँगी, यही तो मेरे मायूस दिल को बरसों तक लुभायेंगीं

यह सब सोच के यह दिल घबराता है

और इन ख़यालों में उलझ जाता है

हर वक़्त तुम्हारी फ़िकर रहती है

और तुम्हारे साथ बीता हुआ हर लम्हा एक प्यारी सी याद बनके ठहर जाता है ।

tear drop

A tear drop holding still at the brim, 

Creating a blurr, and a stir within

Beckons a hope that is far and forlorn

Kindles a desire, yet to be born

Don’t blink, hold still, or the tear will roll

Causing a stream, crushing the soul

Don’t shush the silence, let it speak a little more

The fear is faultless, and intentions are pure

This tear drop holds a memory within

If I let it fall, will I give in?

I lean on to the memory, and let the drop recede

Rolling it back, I crush the need

धुंधली सुबह

कोहरे में लिपटी थी आज की सुबह

यकीनन ऐसा लगा जैसे कोई  ख्वाब देख रही हूँ मैं

दूर दूर तक एक सफ़ेद चादर बिछी थी

सूरज का भी आज उठने का इरादा नहीं था

दूर से गाड़ियों  की टिमटिमाती बत्तियां देखि तो ऐसा लगा,

जैसे तारे ज़मीन पर एक सीधी लकीर में बिखरे हों

माहौल चाहे  गुम सुम और थोड़ा संगीन था लेकिन

रंगो की कमी बिलकुल मेहसूस  नहीं हो रही थी

नीला, सुरमई, भूरा और धुँधला था सब कुछ

जैसे किसी ने एक ही कूंचे में पूरी तस्वीर बना दी हो

आसमान आज तफ्सील का मौहताज नहीं था

और हवा का जूनून भी ज़ाहिर नहीं था

चंद मासूम ख़यालों में मसरूफ थी आज की सुबह

धुँधली आँखें थी या धुंधला था समां, किसे मालूम

खुली आँखों से अगर कुछ ख्वाब देख भी लिए तो क्या 

आखिर अपनी इस लियाक़त का हमें इल्म तो हुआ 🙂