Wednesday, June 28, 2006


artist: vasudeo kamath

in my baby-dreams,
my baby dreams.

eyes shut
yet seeing all,
not talking yet
but saying it all,
touching none
still stirring deep,
love and peace,
the sweetest sleep.

my baby's dreams
are my baby-dreams.

Monday, June 26, 2006

chanda hai tu, mera taara hai tu

here's an akbar-birbal story i read as a child.

One day, Emperor Akbar asked Birbal to find the most beautiful child in the whole kingdom. He granted him a week for what he imagined would be an exhaustive and difficult search. Birbal was amused at his Jahaanpanaah's strange whim, but ever-obedient, paid his respects and took his leave.

When Birbal entered the palace just a few hours later, the Emperor was surprised. "You found the most beautiful child in the whole kingdom so soon, Birbal?", he asked doubtfully. Birbal replied confidently, "Yes jahaanpanaah, come and see for yourself". Curious, the Emperor followed Birbal.

There he saw a child standing and staring at him. To Akbar, this child seemed the ugliest he had ever seen. So much so, that he did not want to look at the child at all. He turned and glared at his prime minister, "Is this some sort of joke Birbal?" Before Birbal could respond, the child's mother came rushing into the room, "My baby, my sun, my naughty child, I have been looking for you all over!!!! My beautiful, beautiful child, don't you ever disappear like that again."

Birbal smiled at Akbar, and said evenly, "You see Jahaanpanaah, this IS the most beautiful child in the kingdom. For the mother."

as a child, i found this story sweet but obvious. now, i totally love it!

PS - heard my little teddy's heartbeat. magical.

Saturday, June 24, 2006


in my belly, in my soul
the formless is taking form

and at a golden moment
my baby will be born

Sunday, June 18, 2006

the sweet smell of summer

artist: ajay de

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

beta, you must eat MORE!

introducing my dad.

he is very 'old-school' punjabi - "khaate-peete ghar ki lagni chaahiye", "sukki padi hai", and so on. it is an exercise in futility to try to provide evidence for my above-average eating. it's a battle i had lost before i'd even begun to fight it. 'beta sirf do roti? ek aur lo'. one more roti later, 'kya, sirf teen roti? woh bhi ghee ke bina?! jab main aapki umar ka tha...'. and so i have heard stories of how my dad/chachas would consume 23 aloo-parathas smeared with 'desi kyo' in one sitting. how "paanch-cheh aam tho bete pataa bhi nahin lagta". and lectures on how just because you have had cereal with milk doesn't mean you have had milk.

anguished arguments on the topic of food continued through my years at school, college and even after. the way i am built would have everyone believe i live on love and fresh air, so that didn't help either. i thought when i'd start working, it would ease off. it got worse! now, it was "beta, you work so hard...14-15 hours a day is no need energy". and of course, no amount of 'energy' that i consumed was ever enough.

dad is visiting me now, and i have been gorging myself on moti-choor laddoos and theplas and date barfi. the other day, as i bit into a 2nd delicious laddoo, my dad says 'beta, i'm so happy to see you eating...these laddoos are pure ghee". my reply, "pure fat is more like it'. pat comes my dad's response 'not pure fat beta, pure ENERGY!' haanji papa.

dad is horrified that we drink half-full milk. and even more horrified that we don't use ghee on every chapati. 'beta tum log aaj kal ke bachche ho...kuch pataa tho hai nahin'. haanji papa.

and of course, it ALWAYS ends with 'beta you will only understand when you become a parent"! SIGH! i surrender. yes dad, i must eat MORE!

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

for dweebz

you pulled my hair when we were 2
me the ever-forgiving still loved you.
you saw your folly then and brought me toffee,
though now you can't get why i don't drink coffee.

i wrote you a poem for your 18th birthday
we learnt lyrics together, of random songs we played.
we hid french fries and shocked your dad
we had terrific times, and then we had the bad.

yes we've come down a long and winded path
we've become opposites in life and it's aftermath,
our name is all we have in common, i know.
you love cats and me...oh, you know!

you laugh at my blog and i laugh at you
and i don't even understand what you really do
and you say you don't get what i'm on about,
we wear different lenses, without a doubt.

you think you're on the 'outside'
i say it's all in your head
the problem is that you
never listened to what i said :)

yet we have fun, we have to agree,
who else can come and make me bhel-puri?
and who entertains you as much as me
you have to admit that "you luuuuuuuvrrrrrrrrvee me"!

And of course you won't admit that...coz that'll mean that you agree with me :)

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


a picture speaks
a thousand words
but i find none
to express even one
which can say
what i really feel

they said this
and they said that
but it's none of this
nor any of that

it's just something else.
you must know it's true
that i'm so in love
with the very thought of you.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama

Yesterday, i attended an award ceremony. the 'Light of Truth Award' is presented on behalf of the International Campaign for Tibet to individuals and institutions who have made significant contributions to the Tibetan struggle for human rights and freedom. This year, there are two awardees. Archbishop Desmond Tutu, for championing the rights of the oppressed and for his vocal support of the Tibetan cause. And the Herge Foundation, for upholding the legacy of the author of Tintin in Tibet (the author, Georges Remi, long dead, was lauded for having resisted politicising Tibet and highlighting themes of friendship and spirituality, way back in 1958).

I, of course, had gone for the sole purpose of seeing the Dalai Lama, who was to present the awards. Yes, I saw him, that too from quite close. He looks exactly like he does in his pictures, beatific, benevolet and peaceful. He doesn't walk...he glides. He didn't climb stairs, he floated onto the podium (not unlike Sri Sri Ravishankar). He got on to the stage along with the awardees and a few others, and he was the first to fold his hands and bow low to the hushed, standing audience. Others simply followed suit. Apparently, the Dalai Lama is always childlike and playful, and has to be be constantly reminded to stop behaving like a child and to act like a "Holy Man" (so said Desmond Tutu). I was not priveledged to see him in that avataar.

The programme began with a live performance of Tibetan music. A girl sang a few songs with an instrument that I am ashamed to say I could not recognise (it was a cross between a sitar and a of you music gurus may know of it). The music was simply soul-stirring, though I didn't understand it. After some random but thankfully brief introductory speeches, the Dalai Lama presented the award to Desmond Tutu, who was then asked to "speak a few words".

From the word 'go', Tutu rocked. He regaled the audience with little anecdotes, lavished genuine praise on the Dalai, laughed at himself, narrated jokes...and had the audience enthralled the entire time he spoke. I have a particularly bad attention span (considering I've been out of school for a year and remain jobless!), especially when it comes to so-called World Leaders. But Tutu had me hanging on to every word he said, and asking for more. The most amazing thing I thought was not that he had such an inspiring command over himself and others or that he spoke with such elan, but that he did so with an almost contradictory sense of humility and love, and enjoyoed himself immensely. One look at him and you knew that he had no presumptions. And along with his little jokes and trivia, he sent out his message loud and clear. One, that this is a moral universe, and ultimately, truth will win. Two, that the Chinese government must "Please do the right thing". And three, "God is not Christian". I loved the way he put this last one across..."The Dalai Lama is easily THE holiest man I have ever met. Do you think God is thinking, 'Hmmm...this Dalai Lama, he's not a bad guy...but he's not Christian'. No...God is not thinking that, because God is not Christian". This was said with a real sense of amusement and conviction, and followed by thunderous applause (here, in Brussels, i have sensed a genuine disillusionment among Christians with their religion and the Pope, and perhaps he said this because he was aware of it).

The Dalai Lama gave an address to formally close the ceremony. This was probably the most eagerly awaited part of the event. But it was disappointing for me, because he spoke in Tibetan and his translator spoke in French. So while I managed to gather the gist of his speech, I failed to connect personally with him. Yet, his sheer presence was more than I could have asked for.

After the ceremony, I chanced upon Desmond Tutu in the crowd, and I grabbed the opportunity to fold my hands and tell him what an absolute pleasure it was to hear him. He held my face in his warm hands, and gave me a look that I cannot even attempt to describe. I had no such luck with the Dalai Lama, he had disappeared soon after.

PS: Did you know that the Light of Truth Award has been conferred upon "the People of India" for their support of Tibet? It was collected by the then President R. Venkataraman.
PPS: As a gift, they gave each of us a copy of Tintin in Tibet. except, it's in Esperanto. in the hope that one day, we'll all speak the same language (a bit much, don't u think?!).