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Pluto and the other planets!

Dil Dhadakne Do is about Pluto and his solar system (family) – the Mehras. As much as the planets have a motion, speed and characteristics of its own, every member of the Mehra family has a life, pace and individuality of their own. However as much as the solar system binds those the together, the concept of family keeps these individuals together under one roof.

Dil Dhadakne Do is definitely set in a strata of society which is probably that is enjoyed by very few in India. However the problems they face are something universal across any society  I think the idea of presenting it this way was great since people who do not want to really understand the issues, the subtle humour, sarcasm and emotional connects can definitely watch this one for the amazing cruise, the beautiful places and the tastefully dressed characters.

Let us discuss the characters and the issues in this so called ’dysfunctional family’. There is a husband and wife (Kamal and Neelam Mehra) who have lost love for each other, but are sticking together since divorce is ‘not acceptable, in the society’. They have a daughter (Ayesha) who is trying to make an unsuccessful marriage work since a divorced daughter may ‘not acceptable in the society’ and who is repeatedly reminded she is no more a Mehra. The daughter reminds us of the son –in –law of the Mehra’s (Manav) who in this century thinks that by ‘allowing’ his wife to work he is a man of today and is professing the concept of an independent woman. The son Mehra (Kabir) is the most common of them all – someone who hates his job and is scared to take the ‘risk’ of following his passion. Delete the cruise, the lovely locales, the super-rich family and these characters sums up almost every other family we see in India.

Dil Dhadakne Do is not my favourite movie of Zoya Akthar, but is definitely a movie to watch out for just to see the way she has dealt with these characters, the amazing narration, the absence of jarring back ground music (which was refreshing), the subtle humor, the even more subtle use of sarcasm, the sea, the adorable Pluto, the fearless Farah and my favorite Sunny!

When it rained




4. Lets place this one here!

What if…..

This according to me is the most dangerous phrase in the world. As much as it leads to you to explore the innumerable possibilities in the world, it also leads you to question everything that happened in your life.

What if Lakshmi had not gone for shopping that day?

What if I had not agreed to baby sit so that Lakshmi could go shopping?

What if I had agreed to baby sit but not let her take the car?

What if Meenakshi had cried a little more like every other time and made her change her decision?

What if she had worn the seat belt?

What if it had not rained so heavily that day making visibility so poor?

What if a Mumbai had shown the so called ‘spirit of Mumbai’ and ensured she reached the hospital on time?

What if the hospital had her blood group available?

What if she had survived a few minutes more just to see Meenakshi and me before her last breath?

What if I had not decided to move out of our house post Lakshmi’s death?

What if I had not requested a lift back home with a stranger from the airport?

What if I had not noticed the same stranger sitting at the window and drinking her tea?

What if Meenakshi had not smiled back at her?

What if the same stranger had not let Meenakshi and me into her life?

What if Meenakshi had not accepted the same stranger as her mother?

What if…………..

The thoughts were just about to wander away when Meenakshi’s giggles brought me back to reality. Mom and daughter came into the room, completely drenched. They seemed happy and in a world of their own. I didn’t feel like disturbing them.

She quickly changed Meenakshi’s dress and gave her to me. She seemed to be not in a mood to change and was longingly looking at the rains outside as if she wanted to go out and get drenched. As soon as my gaze caught hers, she quickly picked her clothes and went to change.

There was a lot of silence between us. But it’s a comfortable silence. A silence we both enjoy. The rains continued.

When it rained


Somewhere between and

It was yet another rainy, in Mumbai. The rains make the city a lot dirtier and disorganized than it is. Ever since the monsoon started travel in the city has been difficult. Half the cabs in Mumbai break down during monsoon and the rest get stuck in the traffic. Yesterday had to forcefully share a cab with someone staying in the same building, because of the non-availability of cabs. The lady didn’t seem quite pleased with my request, but obliged. I probably would have never asked a stranger to give me a lift had Meenakshi not been at home. I wanted to reach home and be with her at the earliest.

Sunday mornings becomes useless during these months. I do not get to do my early morning run or go for play tennis. Now days the baby’s cries wake me up in the mornings. Unlike other kids, Meenakshi wakes up very early in the morning. My mother insisted that I leave Meenakshi with her since she needs mother’s love. After Lakshmi’s death, I did think that it was a reasonable decision and did leave her for a few days with my mother. But then I realized that at the cost of getting a mother’s love from her grandmother, she should never lose out on my love. She does not have a mother and she will have to live with it her whole life. But she does have a father and hence she need not live without him. Though I think my reasoning is logical, I do think I am selfish too. I hate to be alone and she brings in life to the house.

The rains continued stopped for a bit and I was worried about my plants. The heavy rains and strong winds end up spoiling my terrace garden every year. I was taking a quick glance at them from the window when I saw my new neighbor across the window. She seemed to be having her morning coffee sitting at the window still – completely lost. She did look familiar but it took me sometime to realize that she was the one with whom I shared the cab the day before. She did look different then– detached and very un-emotional. She did look lost today but not un –emotional. Our eyes didn’t meet and I was glad. It would have been embarrassing.

The nanny brought Meenakshi to me. She looked fresh, lively and all ready to play with me. As always she started pushing the window and didn’t stop until I opened it. She was a free child and loves fresh air, wind and the rains –very unlike me. Her giggles and cries did attract the neighbor’s attention. And I think their eyes did meet. I saw her smiling at Meenakshi and got surprisingly got a huge smile in return– quite unusual of Meenakshi.

Suddenly I realized that I was very similar to Meenashi as a kid. Used to smile at everyone I meet. I was a happy child and very sociable. After Laskshmi’s death I have been socially very awkward. I just feel that everyone around wants to talk about it and hence withdraw from any kind of general conversations. But every minute I spend with Meenakshi, I revive a part of me I had forgotten or rather have been dormant. Old memories re-emerge fresh and new and in a completely different form. Today she taught me to be socially active, just by a smile of acknowledgement.

As my thoughts wandered away she kissed my nose and looked straight into my eyes as though she is reading my thoughts and will lead me to revive those emotions of the past!

My wonder girl!



Sleeping, watching television, going out with friends occasionally and watching movies (the trailers of which interests me) are things I end up doing over weekends. The first movie I saw in the new city is O Kadhal Kanmani , which I loved. Will soon write about the movie and why I loved it.

This post is about the second one I watched –Piku. One of the major reasons for me to watch the movie was Deepika. There has been a lot of news about her which were not connected with her performances. Two major controversies were with respect to her interview on depression and footage on women empowerment – both of which I loved.

Well, Piku. The posh Delhi that it is set in, the portrayal of a typical Bengali family, the beautiful Deepika Padukone, the super talented Amitabh Bachan and Irfan Khan does form an integral part and brings in a lot of beauty and character to the movie. But all of this does not take away the most beautiful relationship portrays – that of a father –daughter.

The childish and persistent behavior of an aged father and the irritation that causes to the daughter is something that we see in everyday life. It is great that the director chose to show the real side of life. However I would have loved to see the way the two individuals react and manage the situation had they been put in a surrounding which did not have luxuries like driver to take Piku to office, man –servant to look after the father, a spacious house in CR, Delhi, a doctor who comes to home upon a phone call, an office/ business which gives you flexible working hours, a good financial status, relatives who are not judgmental, friends/ colleagues who are understanding.The reaction of the characters will definitely be different, ,may be unpleasant and definitely much more closer to reality.

All said and done, I still love the movie for the unadulterated elements it gives you – be it music, dialogues or life. I wish to see more movies like this.


I have never liked or taken a keen interest in English songs. It’s a friend who introduced me to the limited number of songs that I can recognize. It was during the time of Google /Yahoo chats . The friend used to sent me the names of the songs that he liked and felt I should listen to. One of the first songs that the sent me was a Bob Dylan number (The answer is blowin’ in the wind) and I loved it.

Years later another friend introduced me to this beautiful song -Rise up (Yves Larock). It’s her caller tune till date. I still remember there was a time when other than hearing to her happy voice, hearing the caller tune was an added incentive to call her!

Today when I look back, I realize that the little that I know about English music and the perspectives I have, is all credits to them and a couple of other friends who did the same. They are people with a genuine taste for good music and hence I got a bit of it too. Does this not apply to any environment or any kind of perspectives that one has in life? I have always formulate a perspective based on the exposure I have got on that subject. My perspective may be different from each one of them but the foundation will always decide the range or probabilities of the perspective I can have. Today, my perspective on English music is different from the two friends who introduced them to me, but definitely somewhere X to Z (assuming the first friend’s choice scores an X and the second friend’s an Z).

An idea

I will definitely rethink before I start the sentence by saying , “I hate the idea of ………………”. Want to know why ?

Read on!

“It is difficult to hate an idea. That requires a certain intellectual discipline and a slightly obsessive, sick mind. There aren’t too many of those. It’s much easier to hate someone with a recognizable face whom we can blame for everything that makes us feel uncomfortable. It doesn’t have to be an individual character. It could be a nation, a race, a group. . .anything.”
Carlos Ruiz Zafó

When it rained (0)


Somewhere before narcissist in me loves this piece of fiction that I wrote! I have been curious to know what happened before or after this the happenings in it, but never got myself to write beyond a few lines. So that I do not keep changing the “her” past and present according to my mood or the song that I am listening to, I have decided to post the few lines as and when I write. This will give me the scope to improve or further the story only on what has happened –just like life. I have also given my self-permission to give the story a second chance at times – like life does 🙂

Blue was her favorite colour and I hated it. But it was fine as long as only she liked it. Her likes did form an integral part of my life – the curtains, the cutlery, the house as a whole in fact and of course the husband. I loved all except the colour. I wonder at times if it is really the dislike for the colour or the idea of not having at least one thing that she liked removed from my life. It just helps me feel that this life is mine.

I have never seen her in person and probably would have made good friends if we had. But today I stand where she stood year ago. Though I am ever grateful to her for the life she gave me, the selfish soul in me at times cringes on the fact that my existence and my happiness today is was hers. I just happened to be at the right place and more importantly at the right time. Meenakshi was a few months old, when Lakshmi passed away. It’s at that point in time I moved in to the same biding where Meenakshi and her father – Arjun stayed. I met Arjun, my husband for the first time at the airport. We both were trying to take a taxi home. The line for the pre-paid taxis was insanely long and we were standing in two parallel ques. He overheard me saying the address to the customer care and requested me if he can join in. I was initially hesitant, but the observant in me did notice his company ID and realized that he is a gentleman. He did not try to strike a conversion all throughout the journey . It was raining heavily and the cab took a long time to reach the building. For some reason the silence in the cab was comforting except for the occasional dialogues by the driver.

Driver : “Baarish aaj bahut hain. Lagta nahin yeh rukughe”. [Its raining quite heavily. Don’t think it will stop any time now]

Arjun : “Hmm”.

Driver: “Main aap dono ke building ke samne hi rehta hoon”. [I stay close to the building the two of you stay]

Arjun : “Acha”.

I wanted to clarify to the driver that we are not together, just in case he thought so – but did it really matter to him? It didn’t.

Driver: “ Aap dono kahan se hain?” [How are the two of you?]

Arjun : “ Hum Kerala se hain”. [We are good]

“Hum!” [“We”] – the word rang in my mind a couple of times. Did he speak for me as well. It did sound odd initially , but then I developed a weird sense of liking to it. It’s been long since someone else spoke for me. I was weaving a lot of assumptions and probabilities around the usage, only to realize that the usage didn’t mean anything more than the fact that he was brought up in Lucknow and hence the language. Though I am not good at Hindi, I did know that the people who speak Nawabi Hindi did use “Hum” instead of “Main” for saying “I”. By the time my thoughts landed on the reality of things the conversation between Arjun and the cab driver had reached way beyond formal introductions and talks about the weather.

Driver : “ Mere ko laga tha app lucknow se hain. Nahin to in madrasiyon ka hindi bahut bekaar hain”. [I thought the two of you were from Lucknow, because spoken hindi of people from Tamil Nadu is bad]

Arjun : “Hum Keral se hain. Madras se nahi hain”. [We are from Kerala, not from Madras]

Driver: “Sab wahi to hain”. [Well, both are the same, isn’t it]

Arjun: “Hmm”.

Arjun chose not to correct him and educate him about the difference between Kerala and Tamil Nadu. This was probably one of the first instances in my life, where he taught me that it is not necessary to explain – clear everything to everyone, if it does not make a difference to your life. It did not make a difference to his life if the driver does not know the difference between Kerala and Tamil Nadu. The discussion between him and the cab driver continued while I remained a listener – occasionally taking my flight to my world of imaginations.

It did take about 2 hours to reach home. Was tiring, but the sight of the sea as we drove down the queen’s necklace compensated for it. Though congested and expensive, I loved this part of the town and the fact that I could see the sea every morning. As we got out of the cab, Arjun paid for the cab and refused to take money from me. It irritated me, more so because I am not used to someone else paying on my behalf. But his no nonsense look discouraged me from arguing.

I was sure that Arjun lived a few blocks away in the same housing society. However I proved myself wrong when he got into the same lift as me. It didn’t take long enough to realize that the both of us stayed on the same floor. We both were trying to press the same floor number. He didn’t seem as surprised as I was. Either it is because he didn’t care or he already knew it. For some reason I chose to believe that it was the latter. Soon enough we reached the floor and we went into our respective flats.

Of new places, people and experiences …..

“……. .sometimes one feels freer speaking to a stranger than to people one knows. Why is that?” “Probably because a stranger sees us the way we are, not as he wishes to think we are.”
Carlos Ruiz Zafón, The Shadow of the Wind

It’s been quite some time that I have been craving a move to a new place where people do not know me or do not recognize me through anyone, unless I choose to be recognized. I wanted to be in a place where people see me in the way I am.

The last time around when I wanted a break, I got an opportunity to travel to Spain for three weeks. The travel not only did give me the required break, but also prompted me to pursue writing and my blog started rolling. This time around I hope will help me pursue something different and also explore the “me” in me a little more!

Plethora of thoughts in my mind. Just a matter of time before I pen them down. For now some random shots as I find my way in the new city!











For the love of a son…


The wind was blowing incessantly and bringing along the monsoons. It was around 1 a.m and the whole village Teekoy was fast asleep except the few people gathered in  Ayrookuzhiyil house. Tippi and Rambo were howling, and Ammini’s moos and cries felt like she was seeing the unseen. Muthu on the other hand was sulking in the coir door mat in the verandah just outside the drawing room with an occasional glance to the gate as though she was expecting someone. It’s said that the animals see death way before the normal beings like us realize it. Never believed in it until today – may be they see it coming – may be they know that the angels are on their way to take Ammachi      along or for all you know they are around just waiting for the right time.

Ammachi’s daughters (including my mother) and her sons – in – law were seated around her along with some women who apparently are distant relatives but take charge of things when death is looming over any household in Teekoy. It surprises me as to how some beings can be so active and feel responsible towards handling death and the associated services. May be it is important to maintain balance in the society – every person has a role to play in a certain circumstance.

 Her only daughter in law was busy attending to the extended family whereas her son was sitting quietly next to Muthu. It seemed like he was introspecting into his own life and his interactions with Ammachi. I never saw any streaks of regret or grief on his face or maybe I was wrong. After all she loved him the most- after all it was the love for her son that changed her life –

 Her life…………..

 For the first time in life. I found myself doing exactly what he was doing and more  importantly feeling that it was the right thing to  do – remember the memories associated with the beautiful being who probably is waiting for the angels to take her  home – for this was never her home.

 Her home, as I remember was one of the most beautiful abodes I have seen. As you go uphill in one of the many small hills in Teekoy, nestled  among the hundreds of mango trees, jackfruit trees and other trees whose English translations  I do not know – the L –shaped home with tiled roof was indeed one of the biggest houses in Teekoy.  The cemented courtyard was a play ground for ammachi’s grandchildren and the space to store hay during the harvest time.

 I was never into games like hide and seek or seven stones. But I loved sitting on the half wall at the end of the courtyard and looking down the hill slope which slowly merged into the paddy fields. The paddy fields extended beyond what our eyes could see and I was told all of it belonged to Ammachi. Ammachi was rich.

 Ammachi was rich and giving. Stories, of the era before I was born tell me that when drought used to hit Teekoy she used to distribute grains to all the farmers of Teekoy from her ‘kalavara’. There were no conditions attached and she never asked them to pay for it. However it is said that the farmers used to make it a point to refill her’kalavara’  when they had a good harvest for they knew she would need the grains to help them in their times of need. Ammachi was a true Christian, however for her people of all religion were the same. The only distinction she had was  between a good soul and a bad soul.

 Unlike any lady hailing from a Christian family, Ammachi was strictly against alcoholism. So when Kurumban got drunk and beat Kurumbi Ammachi took initiative to send Kurumban to a ‘dhanyakendram’ [rehabilitation centre]. When Narayani’s husband began to steal her wages to drink, Ammachi used to keep her wages and directly send the money to school for her children’s fees.  She was instrumental in laying down unsaid rules for the husbands and sons and making a change in many families in Teekoy. However in the process she missed out on applying the same to her home or may be her love for her husband and son  was so much that she could overlook the same.

 Her husand was 14 years older to her, successful, helped her be an independent woman and most importantly drank within his limits.  I have never seen a drunk Appachan – period. Her son was different. He was treated differently too. The first son after 7 daughters, two of them who died at birth he was pampered by every member of the family including his sisters. Expensive clothes, expensive vehicles and expensive habits paved way for his destruction and more so the legacy of Ayrookuzhiyil house and Ammachi’s good will.

 Ammachi loved her daughters, sons- in law and her grandkids from her daughters. We were showered with all the love and affection in the world. Amazing vacations, Christmas gifts, bed time stories and much more.  However her son had a special place in her world. After all he was god’s gift to her and the one who would take her legacy forward.

 Ammachi soon handed over the reigns of her empire to her son. Her beautiful abode was demolished to be replaced by an enormous two storeyed building. Her paddy fields were converted into plots of land and sold away  to the first buyer that came across. Her ‘kalvara’  no more existed. Her pillar of support – Appachan passed away. All what was left was her  pride, her generous heart and her unconditional love for her son.

 She  never had enough money with her to give to the poor and needy of Teekoy. So she saved the money that was given to her by her daughters so that she can give to her followers. After all she could not leave anyone who came to Ayrookuzhiyil house empty handed. So Kurumbi still got an occasional Rs.100 to buy a new ‘mundu’  and a few thousands for her daughters delivery. The glory and the richness of Ayrookuzhiyil house no longer existed, however Ammachi’s heart and her giving nature did.

 I remember her visits to my house occasionally. She was never the person I remember as a child and clearly not the hero in the stories I have heard of her. She had become silent and fragile. She spent the whole day reading the newspaper and the bible. She had studied till Class 4 and hence knew to read Malayalam and broken English. I vaguely remember trying to make her say that she was sexy in English which she flatly refused to. She clearly did not understand the meaning, but with her intelligence and worldly knowledge helped her figure out that her granddaughter was trying to put her into trouble!

 She began to fall ill very frequently during the last years of her life.  I do remember at least two times when the doctors also had given up on her. One of them occurred just about a week before my sister’s wedding. The entire family was upset due to her bad health and the fact that she will not be able to attend the wedding of her much loved grand daughter. While people were hovering around  her  she called me to her bed side by batting her eye lids. While I sat next to her holding her soft, fair wrinkled handles she passed a giggle and told me she is not planning to go anywhere until she saw my sister married. And she remained true to her words. She attended the wedding and blessed the couple. That day I realized that Ammachi was indeed special – she had control over the people, emotions and even death. May be her son was an exception to this or may be she never wanted to exercise her control After all the love for her son was beyond all.

I remember her breaking down once and speaking her mind- She missed her golden days, she missed her home – the view of the misty sky beyond the paddy fields as she looked beyond her courtyard. I didn’t know she too liked the view that I used to love!She did not get back anything what she missed in the years that came by except the view that both us loved.  The son’s unaccounted spending and numerous bank loans to begin new business ventures had led to the two storied mansion to be handed over to the bank. They moved to a much smaller house which overlooked the paddy field and she could see the misty sky beyond the paddy fields every morning…………”

 It was around 4 a.m  and the sun was rising . It had stopped raining and Tiipu, Rambo, Ammini and Muthu had gone silent.  I went to her room and found all children asleep around her including her son.  She had woken up from her sleep and looked fresh as though she was ready for her long day of work, like in the past. She looked around and got hold of her sons hand and began to watch the fog move away to give way to give way to the sunrise.  She looked extremely happy and content. I moved away silently without letting them know and went to the terrace to get a better view of the sunrise and more importantly give them space. 20 minutes later she passed away. I was told that she left us while she was in her sleep.

Soon the house was flooded with people. The entire Teekoy had come to pay homages to her. ‘Kurumbi’ and ‘Kali’ were wailing and crying out loud . Narayani’s son had come all the way from madras – after all Ammachi had paid for his education – gave him the life he had.  Pujas were conducted for her afterlife at the ‘kaavu’ at Teekoy and entire Teekoy walked along with her to the church 10 kilometers away from home. Tippu and Rambo were not there usual self when she began her journey from home. Ammini tried to break free from where was tied. Muthu was sulking as usual.

  I did not tell anyone what I had seen in the morning. But deep inside I was happy that she left the world while  she was with her most prized possessions in the world – the misty sky beyond paddy fields  (which was once hers) and her son….

City of Nawabs !

Not being able to pen down my thoughts creates claustrophobia of sorts within me. May be writing has sort of become an addiction – just the way I am addicted to tea. I do not intend to propagate the latter, but definitely think the former is a ‘good’ addiction.The last few months have not been super busy and hence that is not the excuse I intend to give. I have been lethargic and lazy and hence the blog was neglected.Amongst the few fun trips I did, visiting Lucknow has been an amazing experience mainly due to the company, the lovely bride and her family (yes- I went to attend a wedding) and of course the beautiful city.

Just like ‘Sarah’ is an anglicized version of the Malayalam name ‘Saramma’ (that’s a some history of how I got my name), ‘Lucknow’ has quite a bit of history of how ‘Laksmanauti’ gave way to ‘Laksmnaut’ which further made way for ‘Laksnaut’, ‘Laksnau’, ‘Laknau’, and finally Lucknow! Though we did not get much time to explore the all the historical places in the city of Nawabs we did squeeze in some time to see some of famous places and of course hog on the world famous kebabs! So on a satuday morning, after a fun filled ‘sangeet’ on Friday A, N and I ventured out to see a bit of the Nawabi Lucknow!

Our first stop was at ‘Bara Imambara’ in Hussainabad built by Nawab of Lucknow, Asaf-ud-Daula. The guide who was more than happy to explain the history told us that the Imamabara has largest hall in Asia without any external support from wood, iron or stone beams – which, I refused to believe until I ‘googled’ it. Led me to wonder about my dependency and trust on google rather than the people around.

The walk through the Imambara, listening to the guide who was speaking a mix of Hindi and Urdu and getting lost in Bool Bulaiya added to the fun! Respect to the 22000 laborers who toiled day and night in creating this architectural beauty. I don’t think my pictures does justice to the beauty of the place, however adding some here  – the rest remains in the memories!



The chota Imambara is another architectural beauty which is situated near the Bara Imambara. Known as the Palace of lights, it’s said to look breathtakingly beautiful at night. My love for chandliers and lamps is quite evident to the numerious pictures I uploaded here. Adding some more to the collection, with the ones taken at Bara Imambara.






A friend had mentioned about Hazratganj the moment I mentioned about my travel to Lucknow. Hazratganj, is the city’s main market, where you get to buy the high end brands as well as Lucknow’s own Chickankari. A long walk around the place and a late lunch of amazing Kebabs, was indeed a beautiful end to the sight seeing in Lucknow. Between all these visits we did manage to squeeze in time to do some shopping too.Though we wanted to see more of the place, we were more than happy to end the trip and get back to the hotel and get dressed for one of the most awesome weddings I have been.

What more do you need when you have been part of a journey where people were amazing, place was beautiful and experiences worth remembering for a life time. Lucknow definitely showcases and will always be known for the ‘Nawabi’ and regal splendors however what I take away from the city is the warmth of the people, charm and beauty in their language!