She Is Whiskey In A Teacup

 When  ‘Sephora’ opened shop in New Delhi, I cheered. For I was reminded of a beautiful memory. It was in  August 2010, in   the ‘Sephora’s’ flagship store in Champs-Élysées, Paris. The beloved was buying me perfume while the pretty sales girl at the counter smiled indulgently. He picked up Guerlain’s ‘Samsara’ and checked the fragrance on  the habitual  strip of paper. He then gently rubbed the perfume on the nape of my neck and while inhaling the fragrance said  ‘  I need to see how the perfume smells on you ‘. The sales girl’s smile turned envious . My knees went all weak and I possibly have never felt so beautiful, so loved and so womanly like I did at that moment. But then, Adi taught me a very important lesson. That a fragrance needs to be personal .

Walking through the ‘Sephora’ store in the Select City Mall in South Delhi, I came across the fragrance range by the  perfumier ‘Commodity’. I had never used the perfumes made by them and was intrigued with the bottles that said ” Whiskey”, ‘Gin”, ‘Tea”, ‘Mimosa” etc. The bottles were very simple and elegant.


 Googling ‘Commodity’ on my smartphone led me to their site : . I was floored with their statement ” Our mission is to make fragrance personal’ ! I picked up ‘Whiskey’, which is has a warm and woody fragrance, for Adi and ‘Tea’ for myself , which is very fresh and spunky as it has citrus and bergamot as its main notes. An interesting tagline says of the perfumes that  ‘you can either have it neat or mix a cocktail’ 🙂

Adi loves whiskey , while I love tea.  But I love a cocktail he makes of both, whiskey and tea, for me. Its a pretty recent invention of his! Here:

 I wine glass  The Yamazaki Single Malt Whiskey from Japan
2 wineglasses of  hot fragrant Earl Grey tea
3 heaped  teaspoons of  raw honey,orange rind, nutmeg

 The honey needs to be dissolved in the tea, whiskey added, and garnished with orange rind and a dash of nutmeg. It is served warm  and infuses you with gladness!

When I first had this on a cold January night here in New Delhi, Tom Waits sang on the gramophone. The vinly spun out that characteristic growl which sounds like “it was soaked in a vat of bourbon, left hanging in the smokehouse for a few months, and then taken outside and run over with a car.”(Daniel Durchholz). I smiled at the lyrics of one of Adi’s favorite song :

“She’s my Black Market Baby
She’s a diamond that
Wants to stay coal
I swang out wide with her
On hells iron gate
Anything that you wanted
You could have
My eyes say their prayers to her
There’s no prayer like desire
There’s amnesia in her kiss
She’s a swan and a pistol
She’s whiskey in a teacup
She gives blondes a lousy name
She’s a Bonzai Aphrodite
And a ticket back to Spain
She’s a hard way to go
And there ain’t no way
To stop
She’s my Black Market baby ‘

Oh yes, I keep reading ‘I would rather be someone’s shot of whiskey than cup of tea”. Me ? I am, both, for the beloved and in the age of reversible’s, whiskey in a tea cup as well as tea in a decanter.

Over and out,guys.

‘Unke Nashe Main’ ( In his Ecstacy)

Friendship day satori :Nothing  is more beautiful  and intoxicating when your best friend and  the man you love are the same person.

Neruda, come on man, say something!

“Don’t go far off, not even for a day,
because I don’t know how to say it – a day is long
and I will be waiting for you, as in
an empty station when the trains are
parked off somewhere else, asleep.

Don’t leave me, even for an hour, because then
the little drops of anguish will all run together,
the smoke that roams looking for a home will drift
into me, choking my lost heart.

Oh, may your silhouette never dissolve
on the beach, may your eyelids never flutter
into the empty distance. Don’t LEAVE me for
a second, my dearest, because in that moment you’ll
have gone so far I’ll wander mazily
over all the earth, asking, will you
come back? Will you leave me here, dying ?”

And in this moment, I swear we are infinite.




( Photo from the Internet for illustration only)

He: Let’s be butterflies…we are butterflies

Me: See, we were never about butterflies. We’ve always been about burning stars. All about us is unearthly and radiant….

You and I are echoes of each other…cave like…unintelligible and nocturnal.

He: What I meant was that we went through terrifying changes to reach the beauty of us today…

Me: I just died in your arms tonight….*smiles*

( The accidental sufi was reading the poetry of Anna Akhmatova. Her rapture rider was just being his beautiful self) 🙂

Without Shores

It  rained very , very gloriously in New Delhi this morning. The sky line looks a pearly salmon pinkish grey from my office window, now in the evening. There is a luminescence  in the sky which is truly lovely.  It seems like it will rain again soon.

I am listening to this very beautiful song by Vishal Bharadwaj, lyrics by Gulzar saheb.

‘Bekaran’ is an Urdu word which means limitless , without shores. I fell in love with the word when I understood its meaning.

 The song begins with the lines “ik baar to yun hoga, thoda sa sukoon hoga,Na dil mein kasak hogi, na sar pe junoon hoga”

Translation :Someday, it will be so – I’ll find my peace
There will be neither this longing in my heart, nor this madness in my head.
 “Bekaraan hain bekaraan,
Aankhein band keeje na
Doobne lage hain hum,
Saans lene deeje na”
 Translation: Will you please close your deep, enormous eyes; for I am drowning in them? Allow me to breathe at least…
I am so reminded of Pablo Neruda : “How could one not have loved her great still eyes”
 “Ek zara chehra udhar keeje, inaayat hogi
Aapko dekh ke, badi der se, meri saans ruki hai”
Translation: Do me a favor and turn your face the other way, for your beauty has taken my breath away. And if I keep looking at you, I’ll surely lose my breath.
 “Ek zara dekhiye to
Aapke paaon tale
Kuchh to atka hai kahin
Waqt se kahiye chale”
Translation:Take a look, there’s something beneath your feet. Oh, it is time ! Its not moving. Would you give it the permission to move? Because it stops when you stop.
 “Udti-udti si nazar
Mujhko chhoo jaaye agar
Ek tasleem ko har baar meri aankh jhuki hai”
Translation: Every time your gaze touches me even fleetingly, I lower my gaze in salutation.
 “Aankh kuchh laal si hai
Raat jaage to nahin
Raat jab bijli gayi
Darr ke bhaage to nahin”
Translation:Did you stay awake last night ? For your eyes are a little blood shot. I hope the power cut last night didn’t scare you.
 “Kya laga honth tale
Jaise koi chot chale
Jaane kya soch ke is baar meri aankh jhuki hai”
Translation: What is that bruise under your lips ? I don’t know what thoughts cross my mind as I look at it and lower my gaze.
 “Aankhein teri bekaraan
Aasmaan hi aasmaan”
Translation: Your infinite, limitless eyes. Like the sky!
 So, I will sign off here. But there is a longing in my heart. I do not want peace.  That madness dances in my head….as I wait for night to fall.. to hear his voice. Perhaps, he will say ‘Lilah” ? 🙂
PS: Actually, he will not say ‘Lilah’, that damned half breed guy of mine, but ‘Baby’! Or worse! Sometimes it is  ‘Bebo” 😀 Ah, well…

Rang de Rangrejawa

The night is balmy here. Its way past midnight. I finished with an official dinner and now sitting by a poolside with my feet in the water.Its in  one of my  friend’s farmhouse where my beautiful people are partying. I can hear the sound of laughter,the clink of glasses and  JJ Cale crooning ,coming from inside.

I have tried calling up my guy in London many times. But he refuses to take my call. He is mad at me and possibly I deserve it ? I went incommunicado yesterday, switching off my mobile. He couldn’t reach me and was frantic. When I saw his texts, missed call alerts late this morning, I knew I was in trouble , oh boy!

Me: Ummm…before you yell..

He: Baby, where the f**** were you??

Me: You needn’t be so nasty..erm..stop being worried! I can take care of myself..umm

He: *hateful, icy cold voice* Well?

Me: Sorry * God, I never like saying sorry*

He: *softens…he knows I hate saying sorry*. Brucie were inconsolable.And it was also the day  Jim Morrison are so damn nuts about this day..I just got worried baby..

Me:* smiles…aah yes..the  Morrison connect is there only with him* Cosmic mate, do you how know much I love you ?

He: Never again ?

Me:* mutinous* Nobody tells me what to do.

He: *severs the line*

It is strange but I keep remembering his hands now. They are so  strong , so beautiful…range de, rang de rangrejawa…that’s what I want to tell him.

And yes, this is for him. Photos of Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe. He will understand…don’t you Adi ? Us, non ? Since we were just kids…

Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe 1969



“What will happen to us?” I asked. “There will always be us,” he answered.” ( Patti Smith, ‘Just Kids’)

A Thank You To All The Ex -Men

 “This is a note of thank you to all the men who never had the balls to claim me.

Although I am a strong and independent woman, I have a secret cavern inside my heart that is open to be claimed—but never owned.

And while I realize I still have so far to travel on this journey, I also feel immensely thankful for all those “maybes” and “what ifs.”

I’m thankful for those that were intimidated by my wild heart because it taught me that I have two choices in life—to either live within the boundaries of their comfort level, or to say f*ck it, and be my own self—wild and all.

Thank you for teaching me to embrace, love and revel in my wild.

I am appreciative for those who I made uncomfortable with my truth. It was only through learning how much others don’t like the truth exposed, to learn for myself how much I crave its very existence—if truth were a drug it would be my favorite high.

Thank you for teaching me to never be afraid of the darkness that the truth may hold.

I’m gratified for each and every time that I felt I wasn’t getting what I needed from a man—because in fact I wasn’t. It was only through looking at what I didn’t have that made me realize what I do want. While I may travel along empty back roads by myself at times, I also have realized that it’s okay to not accept less than what I deserve, regardless of if it makes sense to others or not.

Thank you for showing me everything that I don’t want, so that when I finally come face-to-face with what I do want—I’ll have the courage to go after it.

I am thankful for the insecurities that your actions brought out in me, because if it hadn’t, I wouldn’t be the woman I am today. In looking at what emotions the behaviors of the others were triggering in me I had the ability to look at myself and make the choice on how I wanted to feel. It was only through this experience that I learned no one can make me feel a certain way unless I give them permission to do so.

Thank you for helping make me into the strong confident woman that I am today.

Even though at the time it is never easy, I am simply so grateful that you never loved me enough. We never love the same way twice, and while I know in your own way you did love me, it wasn’t the kind that could keep me warm on a blustery winter’s eve. Thank you for showing me that I don’t want someone to be only half in love with me, or to merely appreciate me—but to leave them breathless.

Thank you for teaching me that the love I seek is the one that is extraordinary.

I am so grateful that I was able to feel what it was like to be trapped by normality, because it taught me that I will never fit into any sort of box or label. I was not put here to make others feel comfortable, but instead to make them feel alive.

Thank you for never appreciating me for my individuality and spirit, because it taught me how important it is to stay true to myself.

Although being alone was tinged in isolation at times, I realize now that it was in those moments that I was able to take root and bloom into myself. Finding our own way in this world where so many think they know what is right for each of us is the most difficult work we will do. I will always be grateful for you trying to change me so that I was able to realize I am exactly as I should be

Thank you for leaving me with my loneliness so I could find my way back to myself.

I am so appreciative for you having tried to make me the woman behind the man, because it was there in the shadows I learned that I am meant to be a partner and nothing else. I can create a lot more trouble in this world next to a man who appreciates the burn of originality.

 Thank you for attempting to dim my light so I learned that I needed to burn as bright as I could.

Thank you for being afraid of the power of my sexuality, and the mysteries of my eyes because it taught me that only those who can match my passion should be allowed to share in it with me.

Thank you for being scared of my intelligence and the depths of my mind, because it taught me there is a difference in loving how I look, or how I make you feel versus loving who I really am.

Thank you for not being the man that I needed, so that instead I was able to see the woman I already was.

Thank you for never having the balls to stake a claim on my heart, because it left the space and opportunity for someone who will be brave enough to take a chance on the wonderful desire of the unknown—someone who will cultivate every trait you tried to suppress.

Thank you for being all wrong, because it showed me what right will look like—and for that I will always be eternally grateful.

“The right man will love all the things about you that the wrong man was intimidated by.”  ~ Unknown”

( Source: )

Since then, the accidental sufi has found her rapture rider 🙂


Melting Into You

I was so enchanted with the photo and the words…I completely identified with it. Maybe, you will too.


“Three years ago, we awoke in darkness and made our way to the beach, and there, surrounded by candles and gray dawn morning, forged a bond stronger than all the trials and tribulations of life, stronger than the glittering distractions the world throws at us, stronger than the whisperings of our scars and inner demons.

Somewhere along the way, I stopped fretting about the ways our edges were blurring together like the silver of a developing photograph beneath red light and iridescent water.

From birth I’ve felt I was meant to join, commingle, intersect, and become more real in the process.

Now, my nuances are more apparent, the subtle details of my soul more tangible, touchable, knowable.

You do this to me.

You make me the moon in an Ansel Adams’ landscape, the wet wide rivers of Venice, the ocher span of the Golden Gate Bridge before a backdrop of black ocean. You are the mountains aching as they reach for the sky, wooden gondola, lighthouse blinking a warm welcome home after a long journey.

Yes, it’s become hard to find the needle-thin line where you end and I begin — sometimes I wonder if it still exists at all.

I have moments of sorrow and joy inside of my body that may in fact be yours, one-liners dropping from my California-girl lips that sound like your droll Midwestern humor, and images appear in my mind born from the way you track the uneven edges of the roofs and eaves of dilapidated buildings.

I notice you humming jazz standards in the shower that you didn’t know when we met, and the way your the lilt of your language is changing, softening — except when you’re drunk, or murmuring my name as you pull me against your chest in the darkness of our bedroom, your face lit by streetlight.

My girlfriends gather to compare notes, bemoan their luck, blame your entire sex for their unhappiness, and yet they were the ones who raised their eyebrows when you moved into my San Francisco apartment from a life amid snow, cornfields, and lakes, after only six months of expensive late night phone calls and red eye flights. Isn’t it kind of fast?

They made bets while we rolled hot and heavy in the sheets, schemed about buying a house to fix up, dreamed of traveling together during our happy golden years, and made hundreds of pretty promises to one another in those quiet moments between waking and sleeping.

Promises that we’ve kept.

Again and again.

You do this to me.

You make me keep my promises, believe in myself in grown-up ways, renew the foolish dreams of my childhood.

You hold me like a bowl of rose petals in the rain, taunt me into torrential storms of anger and passion, bear the brunt of my thorns with flashing eyes and, later, forgiveness, and teach me to use those same thorns wisely in defense of home, young, and creativity.

So come, my gondola — sweep into my rivers, and we will dive forward and become even more one joined heart, one deep soul.

Without fear.

With abandon.”

( Source: )

Being A Daughter

 At a certain point in your life, your parents become your children. They need a lot of care and understanding. They require very patient handling. They are prone to irrational outbursts of temper, resort to emotional blackmail,throw tantrums! Yes, I am talking about that time when our parents become old.

 I am in that boat today.I am sure many of you would be too,right ? If not, you will be one day. Let me tell you all about it 🙂

My Dad is here with me in New Delhi for sometime. He has come for a complete health check up. The medical facilities in New Delhi are excellent as compared to that in my homestate. Of course, I have also got him here because he is a great bully! Years of ordering people around ( he is an officer of the Indian Police Service) has made it very difficult for him to listen to anyone 🙂 My elder sister, who is a doctor, and he are normally at loggerheads about his diet. The man loves his Scotch and all the  food,  that are are a complete no-no at his age ( red meat, sweets, butter, cheese,fried chicken etc ). The spice levels in his preferred dishes is alarming! He is not really into exercise. Walks with his friends and cronies turn into gossip sessions on the embankment of the river Mahanadi, liberally doused with ‘cutting’ chai and ‘samosa’ from the  nearby flourishing vendor ( the chap has got rich just because of this senior citizen gang!). My sister vainly tried to reform him. To her remonstrations, his standard reply was ” Live Life Kingsize”, followed by an all-knowing, infuriating chuckle. Thus , he has been packed off to Delhi by my sister to ‘set him right’ 🙂 Her words : ‘ Beware! He is going to drive you nuts!”.

Which he has! His reports aren’t good. When I confronted him with it, he blithely told me that ‘Reports are wrong.  Get a re-test’. I gnashed my teeth and screamed at him. He annoyingly disappeared behind the newspaper! I asked the cook to make a simple, non-oily, balanced lunch of chapati, dal, subzi, steamed fish, curd and salad. He happily ordered ‘Butter Naan’ & ‘Mutton Roganjosh’ from the rather fabulous take away near my house!Oh yes, he topped it off with ‘moong dal halwa’ and merrily chomped on a ‘Zarda Paan’! When I snarled at him on the phone, he boomed ‘ Oh, I have lived my life now. Few years more I have. Do you think I want to be Baba Ramdev?’

I sat and fumed. I was very worried about his sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol levels. It needs immediate remedial measures. I didn’t know how to tackle this new situation in my life!  And that is when I realized that my Dad is like a  child now! Somewhat like what I was years back! Not listening to his good advice, rebelling, being sneaky, mouthing smart- ass comments!

My strategy changed yesterday. I took him out for a  long, leisurely, fabulous lunch. Conversation centered around how hectic  my life in Delhi is,  my long office hours, my inability to eat healthy, irregular exercise, late nights etc. I told Dad that all my friend suffered from the same lifestyle problems too. He listened with  growing concern. The parent and bully in him kickstarted as he thundered ‘ I am here now! I shall see that you lead a healthy life style! Proper diet and all. Yes, you are looking a bit peaky! That’s not like my beautiful daughter!”. He hrrumphed and snorted in righteous anger, he brandished his fork and knife maniacally, his eyes glittered with determination. I managed to look guilty, crestfallen and rebellious. The same expression I probably had when I was a teenager :).  Which perhaps reminded him nastily of my by gone wild days 🙂 Which acted like the proverbial red rag 🙂

This morning we were up for a brisk  one hour walk by 5 am. We ate a healthy breakfast of oats and papaya. Our lunch is steamed vegetables and yoghurt. Dinner will be soup and salad.Oh yes, my Dad is outrageously handsome! And since his sun sign is Leo, he is inordinately vain about his looks and loves flattery too 😀 While we were walking this morning, a good-looking guy jogged  past us with a ‘Hi’ to me. My Dad frowned at my smiling response. I hurriedly told him ‘Dad, the chap must be at least 25 years younger to you, non ? Can’t hold a candle to you!’. His beam was enough to light up my entire day 🙂

 My Dad brought me up like this :

“Do not ask your children
to strive for extraordinary lives.
Such striving may seem admirable,
but it is the way of foolishness.
Help them instead to find the wonder
and the marvel of an ordinary life.
Show them the joy of tasting
tomatoes, apples and pears.
Show them how to cry
when pets and people die.
Show them the infinite pleasure
in the touch of a hand.
And make the ordinary come alive for them.
The extraordinary will take care of itself.” ( William Martin, ‘The Parents Tao Te Ching: Ancient Advice For Modern Parents)

Its now my turn to make the ordinary come alive for him 🙂

PS: I have to put up with a few supremely annoying things though:

      1. No Led Zeppelin on my deck. In case, I switch on music, its at embarrassingly low decibels!

      2. Late night partying has stopped. Friends of mine were pretty stoned from his lecture on the ‘Vedas’ & the ‘Shastras’.    They  have gone into re-hab voluntarily.

       3.  Overseas Skype conversations with the beloved in London have been reduced to saying goodnight to the poor guy sharp at 10pm, Indian time. Jeez and Arrgh.

       4. My new summer collection of ‘kurtas’ with ‘choli cut’ backs, halter necklines etc were so glared at  that, they had to be packed off. I also wear loose, granny jeans now. No screaming red lipstick, too. Only ‘sober’, decent’ ( my Dad’s favorite adjectives) colours. * Face palm*

        5. Nodding assent to his ‘Facebook is for criminals’.

 Roald Dahl ( Matilda) says “It’s a funny thing about mothers and fathers. Even when their own child is the most disgusting little blister you could ever imagine, they still think that he or she is wonderful”. That’s the  kind of love  we all have to give back to our parents, right ? 🙂

 The accidental sufi signs off with a favorite number of her Dad’s ( Robert Plant, where art thou ? * Deep sigh* 🙂 ).

The Pure Present

A long, leisurely lunch at the  wonderful ‘Smoke House Deli’ in the Hauz Khas village, overlooking the lake, with the beloved today, will go down as one of the beautiful and breathtaking moments of his  soon- to- end- trip this time.I guess most of you would wonder what is/was so spectacular about it ? I would reply nothing,actually.And ask you whether happiness is to be found only in remarkable circumstances ? What about quiet,  ordinary and unremarkable moments? Can they not fill us with joy ? We perhaps don’t notice them, waiting for some vague momentous thing to happen. The smile in your parents’ voice when you call them up at not the ‘usual ‘ time? The grin on your child’s face when junk food is allowed ? The  tender,green lissomness of your indoor plant as you water it ?The gleam of your car after you have washed it very lovingly ? That old vinyl record scratching out Marc Bolan’s magic ? So Mary Oliver talks about  such ordinary moments when there is a ‘seizure of happiness’. She says “Once, years ago, I emerged from the woods in the early morning at the end of a walk and — it was the most casual of moments — as I stepped from under the trees into the mild, pouring-down sunlight I experienced a sudden impact, a seizure of happiness. It was not the drowning sort of happiness, rather the floating sort. I made no struggle toward it; it was given” ( Mary Oliver, ” Long Life :Essays and Other Writings)

 I LOVE burgers.I  can never eat a burger in a lady-like and proper manner, though.  Till date , after countless burgers, the sight of one makes me beam and sink my teeth  hugely into it. The juice drips down my chin!Burger freaks will understand and appreciate that moment when the juice runs down your chin, it is one of incredible delight. Thus, this afternoon when I impatiently had my first bite of the ‘Smoked Cottage Cheese Double Burger’, I guess my face was a mess.And was that the moment when I had this ‘seizure of happiness’ ? No.It was when my guy, with a very resigned look on his face and an amused smile, wiped the juice off my face with his napkin. I really can’t describe the feeling I had in my heart then. Something like being wrapped in  rich, dark,warm molasses.

Then we went to my  bookstore and I pottered around happily,looking for my April ‘To Read’ list. I selected six books and he bought them for me. He did put a condition that I should read them only after he leaves as we have erm.. such other nicer things to do!Me nodded my head  vigorously in agreement 🙂

 Here are my April reads. They will always be special and timeless. ” The timeless in you is aware of life’s timelessness. And knows that yesterday is but today’s memory and tomorrow is today’s dream” ( Gibran).

april 1

1.Balzac & the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Siije 2.Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer 3. In the Country of Men by Hisham Matar 4.The Gospel According to Coco Chanel by Karen Karbo 5. The Garden Of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng 6. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doer.

april 4

  We picked up a cookbook too, ‘Flavours of Avadh’. While the recipes look real promising, its the mix of history and cuisine that the book depicts, is what that  caught my eye.The introduction to the book speaks of ‘legends of culture and cuisine’. ‘Avadh’, in British India, was known as the ‘United provinces of Agra & Oudh’ and is  still identified as the cultural capital of North Indian society today. It is a region which shaped up to be the cradle of north Indian aristocracy and is a vital link between tradition and modernity. It is the seat of a composite culture best known as ‘Ganga-Jamani tehzeeb”. I am looking forward to discovering more about the ‘tehzeeb’, ‘tameez’ and ”nafasat’ of this rich cultural heritage of my land while I try to cook the fare of the erstwhile Nawabs. I guess I missed my Dad a little too, because one of the recipes is ‘Nargisi Kofta” ( Mince covered eggs in gravy) which the great man claims that he  can make and one which we all ( including my guy Adi ) have heard innumerable tall stories about. But many moons have passed and Dad is yet to make it! The man can spin a yarn, I tell you guys!

That’s all from the accidental sufi today,guys.Got to get dressed for dinner.A small party at home for our friends.Beer, kebabs ( from a fantastic take away joint near my house) and Sabbath! Unbeatable combo, non ?

The beloved just walked in. I look up. An unremarkable moment but yet so special..I have never seen any man that looked so damn great in a white shirt and blue jeans.

Mar jawan, guys.Mar jawan!