Saturday 26 December 2020

Winding down 2020

We are spending a week at the Outer Banks in North Carolina. A summer destination for most, but I will take it in the winter any day. Take away the heat, humidity, and crowds and give me some peace and quiet, warmer temperatures than our place in Virginia, and a chance to do nothing. I have been surprised by the beautiful trails here. Maritime forests with oaks, beeches, and hickories jostle against massive sand dunes on the Atlantic Ocean. It has been a real pleasure to go hiking on these beautiful trails where we have most often not seen a single soul. 
Come December, we are usually on a vacation hundred or thousands of miles from home, flying here and there, keeping to a rigid schedule. This year has been so different.  We go back, and we have another week before the winter vacation ends and kids get back to their school routine. I somehow like this much more than our usual crazy holiday plans! But then this year has thrown all rules out of the window.
The vaccine is out. There is some hope at the end of this long tunnel. We have our annual family meeting scheduled for next week where we will talk about how the year has been, and our individual goals for 2021.
As I note down all that I managed to accomplish (and not achieve) in 2020, I realize, yet again, that there is so much to be grateful for. I have been nourished by the company of my kids and husband, the fulfillment of doing useful work, by zoom conversations with family and friends, by the indulgence in my many hobbies. I hope 2021 will help us get back to pre-covid normal, but I hope some of the good habits formed during 2020 will stick! 

Friday 18 December 2020

Snow watching

I realized yesterday, that watching snowflakes drop out of the sky is one of the most mesmerizing sights. Millions upon millions of pure glistening white flakes, airily orbiting through the atmosphere, swooping and swirling rapidly, finally hitting the ground in pin-drop silence. What an experience! 

Wednesday 16 December 2020

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening/COVID Parody poem

Thought of doing a parody poem based on Robert Frost's "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening". Here is the original poem followed by the parody :)

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Whose woods these are I think I know.   

His house is in the village though;   

He will not see me stopping here   

To watch his woods fill up with snow.   

My little horse must think it queer   

To stop without a farmhouse near   

Between the woods and frozen lake   

The darkest evening of the year.   

He gives his harness bells a shake   

To ask if there is some mistake.   

The only other sound’s the sweep   

Of easy wind and downy flake.   

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,   

But I have promises to keep,   

And miles to go before I sleep,   

And miles to go before I sleep.

Thinking about COVID on New Year’s eve 

Whose fault this is, we think we know  

There are a lot of theories though; 

Some say nature is striking back - 

2019 sure seems a long time ago. 

At first I found it very queer 

To see people masked from ear to ear; 

Finding toilet paper and sanitizer 

At the grocery was cause for cheer.

Some people had a different take; 

That the whole thing was a conspiracy, a fake 

Some decided to take up hobbies,  

Insta was full of sourdough and cake.  

The scars of 2020 will go deep  

Making a vaccine, was a mighty leap 

The price we paid was very steep, 

There are miles to go before we sleep.    

There are miles to go before we sleep.    

When you think of me (poem)

 Cross-published on Medium.

When you think of me

How will you remember me, I wonder? 

Furtive I crept in, to consume you.

Will you remember me as an interlude?

A pause, a reset, a time for repose?

Or will you only recollect 

the hunger, the chaos, and the misery?

The injustices, the rebellions;  

the battles we won and lost? 

The children you held close, 

the families that entwined and unraveled?

The people you grieved for?

The causes you held dear, 

and those you couldn’t even see 

through your tinted lenses.

Layer upon layer, you and I,  

we build our shared history.

What sense will you make of me?

My turmoil might yet colour

the remainder of your days.

Wednesday 9 December 2020

Cacophony (poem)

Cross-published on Medium

They tumble over themselves,  

coming in through the door.

The silence births a manic cacophony.

What a scene! They arrive jostling, 

and shoving, and vying for attention. 

“One at a time, please!”, I cry

“Let us be organized, gentle and calm.

There is time and space for everyone. 

I invite you, my dear friends,  

and acquaintances of long-standing. 

Welcome to my home, do come in.” 

Doubt flashes past me, rudely and abruptly;   

thrusting fear, anger, and envy ahead of her.

She is a hydra, funneling up up malice and hurt,

even as I frantically chop off her serpent heads. 

“Stop! Stop! I cannot deal with this!

This disarray, this confusion!” 

I plaster a smile on my face;  

I am still learning how to entertain.  

Let them come - doubt and fear and anger,  

and envy and malice and hurt. 

The pain you give me, I am grateful for. 

The cold is nothing without the heat; 

the sweet nothing without the bitter. 

And finally, my now-mellow guests, 

they shuffle past in an orderly fashion.

Like a good hostess, I spend time with everyone.

I enquire about their well-being. 

Love, kindness, and empathy were at the back of the line-  

no wonder I hadn’t spotted them. 

We really need to spend more time together.  

“I’ll call you.” I tell them earnestly.

“Let’s meet again soon.”

I take a deep breath, 

and open my eyes.  

Saturday 5 December 2020

Bombay Blues

Originally published on

On weekend mornings, the maidan reverberated with the cries of children. The soft thud of cleats banging against football, the sharp crack of a leather ball hitting bat or wicket, and the booming voices of a herd of elderly uncles on their daily constitutional. At 9 am, the sunshine would momentarily blind as I stepped out of the building, drawing perspiration almost immediately as the humidity of the coastal city coalesced around me. I ambled along the boundaries of Cooperage football ground, feasting my eyes on the wilting green grass and trees, slowly making my way to the sandwich-wallah at Nariman Point, the only breakfast option open on weekends within my budget. 4 slices of white bread (no organic or whole-wheat!), Amul butter slapped on one slice, and mixed fruit jam on the other, the whole deftly wrapped up in a neat paper packet, to go! A cup of tea from the chai-wallah a few meters away completed this humble breakfast.