These are a few of my favorite things

New neighbors  moved in  this afternoon. A friendly couple with two daughters, a parrot, a swanky car, surprisingly very less furniture, many plants including an impressive bonsai collection.

In the evening, when I returned from walking my dog, I heard the two little girls singing ‘My Favorite Things’ from the movie ‘The Sound of Music” very seriously and prettily.

That got me thinking.What are my favorite things? Ummm…here goes.

1.Fireflies: I don’t get to see them anymore.Probably because I live in a city ? No. It seems they are no longer visible in the countryside or in the villages too. As a child, I used to be fascinated by them. I wanted to make garlands of them and wear them around my neck. Much later , I read ” Woman who run with the wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype” by Clarissa Pinkola Estes. She says “I learned about the sacred art of self decoration with the monarch butterflies perched atop my head, lightning bugs as my night jewelry, and emerald-green frogs as bracelets”

2. Incense: I am not talking about the smartly packaged incense sticks that one gets in the market these days , along with  designer holders. To me there is something elementally lacking in them.Perhaps , because I long for the rough, earthen/clay holders, of my childhood, where lumps of  grayish black incense were burnt and our then cook would take it around the entire house. This ritual began with my Ma doing the evening “puja’,chanting ‘shlokas’ in her soft, husky voice.In the distance, I would hear the temple bells.

3.Darjeeling Tea in fine white bone china cup with a delicate gold ring: The second flush from Margaret’s Hope Estate. The tea is full bodied with exhilarating muscatel notes.During the 1930’s Margaret Hope Tea Estate was owned by Mr. Bagdon from London. His youngest daughter, Margaret visited with him on one trip and fell in love with the garden, the people and the Darjeeling area. She had hoped to return when older and manage the estate for her father but tragically fell ill on board ship during the long sail back to England and died shortly after. The estate was named in her memory.

So Muriel Barberry says “Yes, the world may aspire to vacuousness, lost souls mourn beauty, insignificance surrounds us. Then let us drink a cup of tea. Silence descends, one hears the wind outside, autumn leaves rustle and take flight, the cat sleeps in a warm pool of light. And, with each swallow, time is sublimed.”

4. Rains on the beach: I love the sea and the beach. As much as I love rains. I have sat for hours on the beach in Puri ( that’s in my home state Odisha, Eastern India) when it rained. There is something so free about it. Many years back back I had seen a movie called ‘Point Break’, starring Patrick Swayze, who was a huge favorite of mine. The movie’s ethos was about living dangerously for philosophical reasons.In the final scene, its raining very hard on the beach, the sea is majestically rough…and Swayze goes out on his surfboard, never to return.( Check it here : )Some reviews said of the movie ‘that is bypasses the brains..plugging directly into our viscera,our gut”. That’s the feeling I get when I am on the beach in the rains. Alive.

5. Mosquito Nets : Weird, right ? But they are part of awesome memories.During childhood and right upto late teens, I slept under a mosquito net. These were huge , white, airy cotton ones, wash diligently by the dhobi and mine was scented with lavender. Not like the modern day synthetic ones which I feel stop air circulation. This ensconced space was my Neverland, where I spun many wondrous tales and magic.Much later, when I was 17, I had my first   “proper” kiss under this  mosquito net and the ‘loveria’ continues 😀

6. Old Spice After shave: That’s what my Dad used. I loved to act the barber and shave him  as a kid. I would put the after shave on him and hug him, burying my face in his neck. To get that nobody-can-touch -me -coz-my -Dad’s-here feeling 🙂 I saw this very brilliant movie  ‘Haider’ recently ( ). The main protagonist, in astonishingly lovely and poignant scenes, puts ‘ittar’ on his mother and buries his head in her neck. I smiled when I saw it.

7. Toe Rings and Anklets: I wish I could wear them in gold, but I am not ‘allowed’ to do so.For gold is considered to personify the Goddess Lakshmi by Hindus and would be sacrilegious to  wear Her on the feet. Only a Princess or Queen i.e of royal birth can do so. So I stick to silver, and little stones or the famous “meenakari ” work.( . Talking of anklets or ‘pazeb’, I guess the attachment to them comes from this : 🙂 This scene is from a classic Bollywood film ‘Pakeezah”.The note says “I have seen your feet. They are beautiful. Please do not place them on the ground. They will become dirty. –A fellow traveler…”(Aapke paaoo.N dekhe. Bahut haseen hai.N. Inhe zameen par mat utariiyega. Mele ho jaaye.Nge –Aapkaa ek humsafar ) What a killer statement and ‘andaaz’! I absolutely love the movie 😀

These are the beautiful  feet  of the legendary actress Meena Kumari,that is central to the exquisite romance in the film 🙂


8 .Cactus Flower:The accidental sufi is a cactus flower. It had pained her once because she wanted to be that flower which is put in vases and smiles in homes, or adorns a loved one’s hair , or is offered to the Gods. But then, she laughed and gloried in the knowledge that many or rather most would not have  a beautiful ,strong ,  cactus who loved her madly, nurtured her and grew thorns to protect her.So she remained unapproachable and wild to all except the cactus to bathe him in an aching sweetness and purity.

9. Led Zeppelin: When I am haunted and hungry, I explode into Led Zeppelin.Their  music is like  sonic scalpels slicing into my brain to remove  inertia and ennui and poising me to  free my self in the sonic equivalent of flight.

10.Rumi:  Because he gave me my Shams.Because he made me understand love… “The way of love is not
a subtle argument.
The door there
is devastation.
Birds make great sky-circles
of their freedom.
How do they learn it?
They fall, and falling,
they’re given wings.”

Whew 😀 Strange list of favorite things,guys ?

Umm..yeah, but the accidental sufi is a mutant 😀

Peace & Love !

And ?


Boom 😀