The story heading seems straight out of a Harold Robbins novel, doesn’t it ?

 But, it  doesn’t have the remotest connection to the fast paced and steamy novels which most people my age now( *sigh* well into middle age) surely stole from their parent’s collection to read .

Rather, its about a small device that is placed in the chest to help control abnormal heart rhythm. It is about how this small device has led to such big changes  in my world.

It needed much coaxing, cajoling and finally outright threats – of the ‘no single malt & kebabs’ type–to get my Dad to agree to  a cardiac check-up at AIIMS ( All India Institute of Medical Sciences), New Delhi ,this August. Despite the long queues and tiresome waiting, it is always the doctors at  AIIMS that I trust with any health issues of  my loved ones . It is here that the finest medical brains with an impeccable commitment to the noblest profession of all, work tirelessly.

Daddy’s cardiologist, since the last five years, has been Dr Ambuj Rai. I really have no words to praise him , so I will turn to Shakespeare  for help :“His life was gentle; and the elements so mixed in him, that Nature might stand up, and say to all the world, this was a man “. The immense faith I have in Dr Rai’s professional brilliance as well as approach will possibly be echoed by all his patients and more importantly by his patient’s families.

Well, all these years, just some minor hitches in Dad’s  splendid Leonine heart and little up-downs in the blood pressure were indicated. In August, the doctor after a thorough check-up, said that it was time to install a pacemaker.

I remember my Dad’s face when he heard it. A myriad emotions flitted across. The dominant one was that of denial. He refused to accept  that now he would need a machine for his heart to beat properly. He could not believe that age had caught up with him despite his exasperating/melodramatic  taunts to me and my sister about ‘his sunset years’.

And , let me confess, I was devastated too.

The father -daughter relationship is a very special, very beautiful bond.

Adriana Trigiani in the ‘’Big Stone Gap’ says  “I’ve made it my business to observe fathers and daughters. And I’ve seen some incredible, beautiful things. Like the little girl who’s not very cute – her teeth are funny, and her hair doesn’t grow right, and she’s got on thick glasses – but her father holds her hand and walks with her like she’s a tiny angel that no one can touch. He gives her the best gift a woman can get in this world: protection.”

 I realized that my Dad had become  old . That it was a time for a role reversal . That it was I who needed to protect and care for him. So Adriana Trigiliani says again “And all the things that the world expects from women – to be beautiful, to soothe the troubled spirit, heal the sick, care for the dying, send the greeting card, bake the cake – all of those things become the way we pay the father back for protecting us…”

Oh, let me hasten to add, he doesn’t look his age. At 79, his hair hasn’t greyed, his back is ramrod straight, he has a bounce in his walk and his smile still gets the ladies all weak kneed ( much to the annoyance of his Scorpion wife).

But, who can beat age ? It is inevitable.

So the pacemaker was installed.

I was a wreck on the day of the surgery. Foolish tears crept into my eyes when he was being wheeled into the operation theater. He looked a little lost and helpless.You see , I had never seen my Dad, in any situation in which he was  not in command. From a very daring young SP ( Superintendent of Police) to a highly respected DGP ( Director General of Police), I  had seen my Dad totally and always  in control-unflinching in his dedication to policing and the people of his beloved home state, Odisha. And yes, facing  many difficult/delicate/desperate times with an arrogance that comes out of impeccable integrity.

Those few days in the hospital marked the start of a new phase in my relationship with my Dad. While he still treats me as if I am still fourteen and not forty, I have turned into a benevolent despot. I watch what he eats like a hawk, his medicine timings have been fed into my mobile,his walks ( which he hates) are closely monitored,the air conditioning and room temperatures  are regulated for his comfort etc etc. All this , of course, is complemented with the occasional butter chicken, long discussions on music,  a late night movie on TV and me ,.meekly accepting his tirade against Facebook, Whatsapp, Instagram. ”All this is criminal activity”, he rages thunderously when my mobile pings 🙂

And I realize, that it is these tender moments of love, laughter, silly fights and half-hearted tantrums that will stay on with me ,till very long-perhaps till the time when I might require a pacemaker.

Life doesn’t stop for anybody.

So go hug your Dads,guys.




( While you read , listen to this



This story is about Layla, a Great Dane.


Layla wasn’t just a dog who was rescued by Friendicoes and adopted by me five years back.


She and I , in the words of the beautiful JIm Morrison, were riders on the storm.


She came into my life and rescued me ,actually. Layla silenced my demons and danced with my angels.


I was going through a major personal crisis.


My marriage of twelve years had broken up.Although, I was very sure that I would not spend my life with a man who had turned into a stranger,  all those who have gone through it would agree that it is tough. And tough if you are a woman. And especially more tough, if you are and also perceived to be from a higher “ status’ family vis-a-vis the husband who spared no effort in painting  a picture of me as a  spoilt-arrogant-rich- bitch.


Rant:I am so bloody glad he is out of my life. It was my mistake all along. I failed to read/recognize the warning signs! The chap didn’t like dogs or Led Zeppelin


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Yes, let me not digress by talking about a deplorable human and a loser .


Let me tell you , instead, about a beautiful animal and a winner.


Layla’s story is a typical one which I have seen in my many, many years of being associated with animal rights and welfare. A pedigreed puppy bought for a huge sum of money to enhance status. The puppy grows into a huge Great Dane who requires love and attention,daily walks,exercise, grooming, nutritious food and supplements- all of which cannot be handled by Chotu or the private security guard, who proceed to abuse/hit the dog and keep her chained.The  Great Dane turns aggressive, falls sick and is then promptly dumped in Friendicoes.


‘Can you take her in , Aparajita ? “, asked ( the very wonderful) Geeta Sheshmani of Friendicoes, a trifle desperately. That evening, I remember, nine dogs of various pedigrees and age  had been abandoned at the already overflowing shelter.It was human callousness and cowardice at its worst!Abandoning that dog who was completely dependent on you for no fault of his except that he was either sick or old or you were leaving town!


I hesitated. I had never kept a Great Dane before and knew nothing about the breed. I worried that I stayed in a first floor apartment. I had a demanding job. The dog was aggressive. And  I also was not ready for another dog I felt. I had just lost my Boxer girl and my three other ones had been dropped off in my parents’ home as I planned to take a break and just travel ( Read: wander)


One look at that regal face and the  Eric Clapton moment happened ‘Layla, you got me on my knees”. We both fell for each other! ‘’Alpha females bonding” , laughed my sister, when I told her about bringing Layla home.


That is how a great friendship and love story started . MIne & Layla’s.


Her world revolved around me and me alone. Though she was attached to my family when they came visiting, her eyes would search mine out and signal that she loved me best. She would sleep the whole day ,  only to wake up at 6 pm, when she knew I would be returning.She never lost that aggressiveness towards people and her fierce protection towards me sent many a Romeos wanting to come up for coffee, scurrying. Those fact and fiction about a single woman being ‘hunted’ ? Well, Layla jaan pooh-pooed them away with her  deep throated bark that struck fear in the most amorous male heart and other male appendages! Great Danes are called gentle giants. Yes,  with me she was gentle …an exquisite tenderness which wrapped my heart and soul in deep layers of unconditional love.


As for me. Layla was the most important person in my life too. Even in the dead December cold of Delhi, I would wake up at 4 am and take her for a two hour walk every day in the Jahanpannah city forest and park.  That did me a whole lotta good actually , saving me from stress binging!When my  Bong cook would disappear because of the repeated excuses of “ami bemaar”,’’ bou bemaar’’, ‘baaacha bhishon bemaar”, I would exist on leftover pizza, but  would cook Layla’s food every day. I preferred spending time with her instead of attending all the happening do’s that I keep getting invited to. My holidays were infrequent too. Not because Layla wouldn’t have been looked after, but because even a few days away from her seemed an eternity. Life felt so incomplete without that beloved face next to me in the morning.


LIke all Danes, she was great fun and goofy too!  Those moment of Dane craziness resulted in many broken vases and punctured cushions. And the Lord help me,she honestly thought she was a lap dog ! Her great weakness was Britannia’s ‘Little Heart ‘ biscuits and chicken tikka, a weird snack combo, we adopted for our Friday night JIm Morrison, Led Zeppelin, JImi Hendrix etc etc jam sessions.  Oh yeah, we were solid , old school rocker chicks!


I lost her to the dreaded bloat disease.It was very quick.She thankfully did not suffer much.I rushed her to the vet praying like I have never prayed before in my life. But, we both knew in those fleeting seconds before she collapsed, that we have to let go of each other. Her eyes looked into mine and I read them .’’ This is the end, beautiful friend… only friend”, she told me.


She died in my arms.


I wept like I have never wept before and understood for the first time what being broken meant .


I know I will never get over that feeling of complete loss and abandonment. I dont want to also.It is a very bitter sweet feeling ,you know. Thinking about her causes me great pain and great happiness, both. I will adjust to live in that love and loss,once again…slowly rebuild myself. I will become whole again but I will never be the same.


I grieve her and I know it is forever .For grief and love come together.I realize that no one can take Layla’s place . I have loved many a times…all the beautiful animals who have been a part of my heart and life. But, she will rule over them all . ….the queen of hearts.


Here are a few photographs of Layla & me. I smile , through my tears as I listen to the very recognized, very loved riffs of Clapton’s ‘’ Layla’….remembering and yearning .

Camera360_2016_7_27_090952.jpgPicsArt_05-03-2016 13_06_07.jpgcamera360_2016_5_29_071051camera360_2016_5_28_122619camera360_2016_3_26_024504camera360_2016_3_26_024427camera360_2016_2_27_010421camera360_2014_11_12_072955camera360_2015_10_1_110933camera360_2016_1_10_012013camera360_2015_6_6_093549


That awful empty feeling haunts me once again. I lost my English bulldog, Jigar ka Tukda, this morning. She was adopted by me six years back from Friendicoes and named after the Janis Joplin number, ”Piece of my Heart”.

I remember the day I saw her while I was feeding boiled eggs to the dogs at the shelter. She came and sat a little distance away and watched me. I was shocked at her appearance. She had no hair and was covered with sores all over. There was a terrible stench emanating from her body.

( Abandoned @ Friendicoes)
Maybe she realized this? And possibly was shunned because of it ? So she was careful not to come near me? I smiled and held out an egg to her. The look she gave me is one that I will never forget in my life….one of joy and implicit trust. That was also the day she took away a piece of my heart, tucked it into her tubby lil body firmly and named me ‘Egg Lady”.

Jigar moved into my heart, home and life and went on to become a Facebook sensation amongst my friends. They loved to hear about her antics and marveled at her recovery. Fed on a diet of love and generous slices of pizza, Ms Jigar had a thing for wearing lingerie too and loved Victoria’s Secret stuff. She was inordinately proud of her butt which she believed rivaled Kim Karadishan’s. Many a times, I would wake up in the morning, finding it difficult to breathe! That bully-butt would be on my chest!
She became firm friends with the New Delhi-Bhubaneshwar Rajdhani express First AC staff when she travelled with me frequently. A breakfast of boiled eggs and paneer cutlets came especially for her from the pantry car! Her snores and farts were deafening and shattered the peace of my Dad’s reading time. ‘Disgraceful”, he would mutter and fix a baleful eye on me. But, many a times, I did see him sharing his buttered toast and omelet with her.

Here are some pictures of her. She led a happy, pampered life for seven years with me.


( The famous butt along with her teddy called Marylin Monroe)


( Relaxing)


( The Love For Lingerie)



( On the Rajdhani Express train)


( Playing with her teddy bear called Marylin Monroe)



( Momma’s piece of heart)
I hurt…. I hurt so bad. <blockquote>”It is a curious thing, the death of a loved one. We all know that our time in this world is limited, and that eventually all of us will end up underneath some sheet, never to wake up. And yet it is always a surprise when it happens to someone we know. It is like walking up the stairs to your bedroom in the dark, and thinking there is one more stair than there is. Your foot falls down, through the air, and there is a sickly moment of dark surprise as you try and readjust the way you thought of things.” ( Lemony Snickett, ‘Horseradish’)</blockquote> I am trying to re-adjust too… not check out lingerie with her online, not share my pizza, not dance to item numbers ( she loved <em>’Shiela ki Jawani'</em>),not getting her stink eye, not holding that paw she extended when she thought I was low.

So Jigar is gone. She had been unwell since the last two days and was refusing food. I was not with her to say goodbye. But she played ball with my nephew, whom she adored, one last time , this morning. And yes, perhaps she remembered me too…her ‘Egg-Lady’…for she had a boiled egg, one last time, before she left me. About that piece of my heart? She has taken it with her.

317202_10150284618668716_1657978_n                        jigar 1

Appeal from Jigar & Me : ADOPT!PLEASE DON’T SHOP!

Forty & Mushy on Valentine’s Day


 Valentine Day this year was truly a horror. Not only was the beloved not around, I was forced to sit through a dinner with people I normally run a mile from!  I also felt miserable because I couldn’t meet a friend, who is very sick with cancer, before he left for New York. Amends to my tragic situation were made at a later hours party with my beautifully insane friends though and I got back in the wee hours of dawn, all the time missing my guy…and thanking the Lord, that he is in my life.

So I wrote him a letter of thanks. Last year on Valentine’s day, I had written a letter to my guy, Adi, and published it on my blog. Here it is :<a href=”; target=”_hplink”></a&gt;

It was not only my first ‘love’ letter ( we need to ignore the embarrassingly gushy teen missives to Amitabh Bachhan, Imran Khan, Michael Hutchence, Eddie Van Halen etc ), it was also the day I acknowledged to the world and most importantly to myself, the depth of my emotion for a man who is my best friend since two decades. Yes, I guess I wrote my first love letter when I am very much in my middle age! To cut a long story short, here we are both, after going through various loves and half loves, realizing the truth of Jonathan Safran Foer’s words “I love you also means I love you more than anyone loves you, or has loved you, or will love you, and also, I love you in a way that no one loves you, or has loved you, or will love you, and also, I love you in a way that I love no one else, and never have loved anyone else, and never will love anyone else.

It is not that love takes a back seat on other days, but February 14 th , does have a charm of its own, despite the rant of the baiters and haters. What can be wrong about a day which celebrates love and romance ? C’mon, we belong to the land of Lord Krishna and Radha. And Vatsyana too! So there I was on Valentine’s day eve , middle-aged, mushy , most certainly  uh horny, thinking about my man, who unfortunately is in London.  Reports did reach me that the good man celebrated lovers’ day by falling into a vat of Scotch.

But let me tell you the reasons why I love him deeply, truly, madly….think I beat Eilzabeth Barret Browning “s ” How Do I Love Thee” 🙂

Dear Adi,
Thank you for……
1. For telling me that you love me more than rock n roll.

2. For never letting me win at chess and not feeling bad about it.

3. For waking me up on a cold December midnight in 2011, to ask me “If I say your voice is an amber waterfall in which I yearn to burn each day, if you eat my mouth like a mystical rose with powers of healing and damnation, If I confess that your body is the only civilization I long to experience… would it mean that we are close to knowing something about love?”  { Aberjhani, ”Visions of a Skylark Dressed in Black ‘ )

4. For holding me when I cry as I read.

5. For loving my family and my dogs.

6. For painting my toe nails.

7. For always answering ‘Baby, its sexy’ to my eternal ‘Does my arse look fat ?”.

8. For opening up and allowing me to curl up inside your rawness.

9. For kissing me on my forehead as I wept at Jim Morrison’s grave @Père Lachaise cemetery, Paris.

10. For telling me you will still want to caress my skin at 60.

11. For having the guts to admit that you hate my favorite author, Vladimir Nabokov.

12. For quoting Neruda to me.

13. For siding with my beloved sister against me all the time.

14. For, making love and pasta, sensationally and ready to do both 24 x7.

15. For not hating the great love of my life, the divine Jimmy Page.

16. For having separate book shelves and tooth brushes.

17. For agreeing that in the next stage of evolution men should get the periods and women need not squat to pee.

18. For believing that the scars on my heart and soul hinge with that of yours.

19. For knowing my mind as you know where the eleven moles on my body are.

20. For letting me be ‘ME’, never insisting on ‘US’.

Perhaps, next Valentine day, we shall seal our love with the epitome of all bonds and connections of the soul ? Ooh yes, we shall drink from a single coconut with two straws on the beach. That will be a first for me. I trust you haven’t had this epic togetherness moment as yet too.

I remain in love forever with the wild beauty of your heart and the beauty of your wild heart.

Happy Valentine’s Day! ( I hope you had a bloody awesome hangover too)

Yours as always,

The Warrior In Your Life

 Ola! Do you have a warrior in your life ? I sure do 🙂 And this is what he tells me!

To my sweet wild woman, I know why it hasn’t worked out with anyone else—you don’t need a man, but a goddamn warrior.

You are the strength of Turkish coffee at sunrise darlin’ and don’t try to pretend that you’re not.

You are one of the wild ones, and no matter how you tried to hide that fact, you can’t be anything other than what you are—and that’s okay. You are just as you are supposed to be, magnificently wild in all of your chaotic beauty.

I know you’ve had your heart broken and I know that you don’t understand why it always seems to never work out, but I’ve finally figured it out:

You don’t need a man, you need a goddamn warrior.

It doesn’t matter if this warrior drives a Jeep or a shiny sports car, and it won’t matter if he wears silk or cotton—it will not even matter if he works in a high-rise, or on the night shift.

What is going to matter is that when it comes to taking bets on your heart, he is going to be high stakes—all the way.

This warrior of yours will crave your strength, and your intensity. He’s going to look at you and not see something to tame, but something to just fuckin’ admire. This warrior of yours won’t be someone that you can manipulate or play with as you have in the past, so honey, don’t even try—and trust me, you’re going to love him even more because of it.

Because you aren’t just a woman, you’re a goddamn goddess.

Your fierceness is going to bring him to his knees every single time he looks into your gorgeous eyes, but the difference is, unlike the others, he isn’t going to be scared off. No, this time, you will have finally met your match—because a simple man for you just won’t do.

You need someone to match the fire in your eyes with his own. Not only that, my little wild thing, but this warrior of yours is going to want to encourage the flames instead of trying to douse them with his own insecurities.

Because for you, a warrior is the only man who will ever live in the wild with you.

He may not have to slay any dragons to earn your love, but he would still walk through fire if it meant seeing that amazing smile that you hold in reserve for only him.

This is the thing, free spirit, this warrior you seek….he’s seeking you too.

For he’s had failed relationships that have left him wondering if maybe he was meant to be alone for the rest of his journey—and you’re going to change all of that for him. You both have been travelling along on your separate journeys and have been doing an okay job at it, but that about to change too.

Because baby, when you and this warrior of yours meet and collide—it’s going to be a love set on fire.

 Don’t try to run this time—I know your heart has been broken before, and that you’re not used to things working out, but this time it’s different. Give yourself time to see that.

This warrior of yours needs to see that it’s possible for someone to see all of his wild, and still be there when he craves his freedom and ventures off into this world for a bit. You won’t always need to follow him, just as he won’t always follow you. Let yourself stay wild, even when all you want to do is curl up in that spot along his side and forget the rest of the world exists.

Let yourself still wander naked under the full moon, and drink moonshine with the stars. Let yourself feel the pull of the wind on your heart, and the sun toward a new journey. Because this warrior is going to love you because of your wild—and he’ll want you to keep it.

You’ll be in this together now, this amazing, crazy, chaotic, wonderfully heartbreaking life—because it takes a warrior to love a goddess. And it takes a goddess to show a warrior what real love is.

So pack up your insecurities and your ideas about picket fences, because that was never you anyway. You were born knowing that you were destined for more, and now is the time for you to see what all those dreams look like.

There is no stopping a love like this, so promise me you’ll hold out just a little bit longer.

Have a little bit of hope, and always give love just one more try, because I promise you my sweet wild woman—the love that you seek is seeking you as well.”

( Credits: Elephant Journal )

Over & out , guys! Gotta Skype the warrior 😉

Friends & Lovers: That is how it should be!

robert &amp; Patti

 This is a picture that I got framed today and kept on my worktable in the office. Its a photograph of Robert Mapplethorpe and Patti Smith. I love both of them. Both brilliant artistes and iconic. One in the field of art/photography and the other in music.I also love this picture.It depicts the bond between two people who can/could never be apart. Great friends and lovers, the relationship was tested when Mapplethorpe discovered he was gay.But I guess people who are meant to be together, just be together, no matter what. There is such tenderness in this picture that my heart breaks at its astounding beauty.

Reading about their story in ‘Just Kids’ by Patti Smith, I cried at the letter she wrote him as Mapplethorpe lay dying.

Before I let you read the letter, here is what she writes: ”The light poured through the windows upon his photographs and the poem of us sitting together a last time.Robert dying:creating silence.Myself, destined to live, listening closely to a silence that would take a lifetime to express”.
Here is the letter:

Dear Robert,
 Often as I lie awake I wonder if you are also lying awake.Are you in pain or feeling alone ? You drew me from the darkest period of my young life ,sharing with me the sacred mystery of what it is to be an artist. I learned to see through you and never composed a line or draw a curve that does not come come from the knowledge I derived in our precious time together. Your work, coming from a fluid source,can be traced to the naked song of your youth.You spoke then of holding hands with God.Remember, through everything, you have always held that hand, grip it hard, Robert, and dont let go.

 The other afternoon, when you fell asleep on my shoulder, I drifted off, too. But before I did, it occurred to me looking forward at all of your things and your work and going through years of work in my mind,that of all your work, you are still your most beautiful. The most beautiful work of all.

 That is all from the accidental sufi tonight 🙂

Have a great weekend,guys. Listen o Fareed Ayaz & Abu Muhammad…enthralling.

Wise Ones # 21


“What was it like to love her/him? Asked Gratitude.
It was like being exhumed, I answered, and brought to life in a flash of brilliance.

What was it like to be loved in return? Asked Joy.
It was like being seen after a perpetual darkness, I replied. To be heard after a lifetime of silence.

What was it like to lose her/him? Asked Sorrow. There was a long pause before I responded:

It was like hearing every goodbye ever said to me—said all at once.”

( Lang Leav, ‘Love & Misadventure” , made gender neutral by me)