तुम होती तो क्या आज साथ होती

डिअर नानी

(तुम अभी होती तो डिअर का मतलब समझाते तुम्हें खालिस जौनपुरिया भोजपुरी में ).

कुछ दिन ऐसे होते हैं जब आप बस कहीं छिप जाना चाहते हो, एक ऐसी थकान जब किसी होने के न मायने समझ आते हैं और न किसी न होने के कारण दिखते हैं, ऐसे ही दिन आज तुम मुझे याद आती हो.

सोचती हूँ कि तुम होती तो कैसी होती: कहानी सुनाने वाली प्यारी सी नानी या क्या तुम हमें बगीचे से आम चुराकर तोड़ने पर डाँटने वाली नानी होती, क्या तुम रोटी में घी चुपड़ कर ये कहती कि “घी खा नहीं तो बच्चे कैसे जनेगी” या हर बात पर “एक हमारा ज़माना था” वाली नोस्टालजिक नानी होती.

illustration by pragon fine art

तो डिअर नानी, इन सभी “क्या “ के जवाब मुझे कभी नहीं मिल पायेंगे क्यूँकि सच तो ये है कि मैंने तुम्हें कभी देखा ही नहीं और न ही मैंने तुम्हारी कभी कोई तस्वीर देखी है. फिर भी आज याद आती है तुम्हारी, बिना देखे, बिना सुने, बिना जाने क्या किसी की याद आ सकती है? पर डिअर नानी, आज जो तुम्हें मैं ये चिट्ठी लिख रही हूँ तो तुम्हारी तस्वीर बनाना भी जरुरी है.

कैसी दिखती होगी तुम?
सोचती हूँ कि अगर मैं माँ जैसी दिखती हूँ तो माँ तुम जैसी दिखती होगी. तो मेरे मन के पिक्चर फोल्डर में तुम दिखती हो मुझे माँ जैसी, सफ़ेद बालों के साथ, सीधे पल्ले वाली साड़ी पहने, सर पर पल्ला डाले, सिन्दूर भरी बीच से मांग निकाल कर बालों को बांधे और माथे पर बड़ी सी लाल बिंदी .हो सकता है तुम वैसी न दिखती हो, पर मेरी कल्पना में लाल बिंदी वाली मेरी नानी ऐसी ही दिखती है.

न तुम सिर्फ बहुत जल्दी इस दुनिया से चली गयी पर “पता है मेरी नानी कहती है” वाली मेरी कहानियाँ भी अपने साथ ले गयी. कहानियाँ – मेरी माँ के बचपन के किस्से, नदी किनारे रहने वाले उस भूत की कहानी जो खाना न खाने वाले बच्चों को पकड़ता होगा, राम सीता की वही कहानियाँ जो तुम अनेको बार दोहराती, राजा रानी के किस्से जिसमें शायद तुम हमें सीख ढूँढने बोलती, बूढ़ों वाली चिढ़चिढ़ाहट या फिर तुम्हारे हाथ का बना कुछ अच्छा सा खाना, सब कुछ तो ले गयी तुम अपने साथ.

लाल बिंदी वाली तुम

पर कभी कभी तुम्हारी याद आ जाती है जब कोई अपनी नानी का ज़िक्र करता है या कभी बिना किसी मतलब के भी और उस याद में तुम दिखती हो माँ जैसी, लाल साड़ी पहने, सर पर पल्ला डाले, माथे पर बड़ी सी लाल बिंदी.

डिअर नानी, तुम्हें फिर कभी लिखूंगी कोई और चिठ्ठी, कितना कुछ तो है तुम्हें बताने को और उस चिठ्ठी से तुम्हें ले आउंगी कुछ देर के लिये अपने पास क्यूँकी याद आती है तुम्हारी.
आज बहुत याद आ रही है तुम्हारी.


No Country for old men

Population ageing is a global issue, which has been recognized to have implications on the health care and social welfare systems. The process whereby the proportion of children in the population decreases and those of old persons increases is known as the “ageing of population”. The global population of elderly has constantly been increasing during the second half of the last century. This has been possible due to easy availability of life saving drugs, control of famines, and various communicable diseases, better awareness and supply of nutrition and health facilities and comparatively better overall standard of living. These achievements have resulted in drastic reduction in mortality rates and substantial increase in the life expectancy at birth and the overall span of people.

Ageing is a continuous, irreversible, universal process, which starts from conception till the death of an individual. However, the age at which one’s productive contribution declines and one tends to be economically dependent can probably be treated as the onset of the aged stage of life.With the rapidly increasing number of aged compounded by disintegration of joint families and ever increasing influence of modernization and new life styles, the care of elderly has emerged as an important issue in India.

The common psychological problems that most of the older persons experience are : feeling of powerlessness, feeling of inferiority, depression, uselessness, isolation and reduced competence. These problems along with social disabilities like widowhood, societal prejudice and segregation aggravate the frustration of elderly people.


We start our Speaking Cinema with a movie that is winning critical acclaim all over for its  tale  of emotional depth and understated paradox, Hotel Salvation (Mukti Bhawan) describes the tragicomic ordeal of an over-worked modern son who is forced to set his job aside and accompany his elderly father to the holy city of Varanasi to, presumably, die.

Driving Miss daisy is about an old Jewish woman and her African-American chauffeur in the American South have a relationship that grows and improves over the years.

The Bucket List features two terminally ill men escape from a cancer ward and head off on a road trip with a wish list of to-dos before they die.

The bolywood movie Baghban was a tell tale of the ignorance and loneliness that ensues after a family betrays its old ones.A love story of an elderly couple resonated with many.

Cheeni Kum was one standalone movie depicting the emotional and sexual desires of an aged man who falls for a girl much younger of his age.

Perhaps the greatest portrayal of one’s final years is Kurosawa’s Ikiru in particular the scene where Takashi Shimura unexpectedly sings in a crowded nightclub, the boys and girls around him silent, reminded of their own fleeting mortality.

As a standout portrayal of the elderly in film, Tatie Danielle stands out. for its delicious subversion of the kindly old lady role. At 82 years old Danielle is not sweet, considerate or cute, she can be smart, cunning and deliciously bad, non- angel types.


How to speak about your mental condition #H #AtoZChallenge

OK. We have made a lot of hoopla around mental health and the forms of illness and we will continue that.

But the question that i was asked by a reader was how to speak about it. And gosh, that is important and we completely missed it.

If you recognize symptoms of any common mental health problem and are worried, or if you feel that something isn’t right but you can’t put your finger on why, we recommend that you speak to someone in family, someone who cares and then therapist.

Some of the most frequently experienced symptoms include:

  • loss of apetite
  • feeling low or constantly anxious or worrying
  • thinking negative thoughts about yourself
  • irritability or moodiness
  • finding it harder than usual to concentrate
  • not enjoying your life as much as you once did
  • finding day-to-day life difficult (not feeling up to washing or eating, for example)
  • trouble sleeping, or sleeping too much
  • seeing or hearing things that other people do not see or hear

One thing is important- You may be generally sad and not depressed even with these symptoms, it’s the persistence of these symptoms over a period of time that is crucial.

It can be daunting to speak to someone that you may not know well about your mental health, but most people find that speaking  can make all the difference to their lives.

And this “Speaking Up” is not a cake walk and we know that. Make some pointers before you speak to your therapist:

  • Be patient, the treatment mat take time.
  • Communication is the key- Your doctor is not a mind reader or an astrologer, communicate clearly about your life events or thought process so that he/ she can come up with proper diagnosis.
  • State your expectations and understand his limitations
  • Be a good person with timely follow back.
  • Remember that diagnosing and treating depression takes time and expertise, so if your goal is to make your symptoms disappear immediately, you’re likely to be disappointed
  • Treat him/her as a friend rather than a doctor.

Speaking Cinema

One movie that hugely impressed me with a patient- therapist relationship is Dear Zindagi. This  exploration of the inner life of a young successful, ambitious woman confused with relationships (Sounds familiar……Na?) is fairly unprecedented in Bollywood. In Tanu Weds Manu 2, we do get a chance to see Tanu’s  bipolar struggles. But the shabby treatment of the movie and a predictable attempt to make it comedy with punchlines like

“Tu Kaun hai be?”

“Main kandha hun”( I am that shoulder on which girls lean). ………….Oh please, give me some better jokes.

Instead, in the opening scene, Tanu manages to turn marriage counselling into an opportunity to get her husband locked up in an asylum.(WTF) In Queen, Rani needs the trip to Paris to transform herself into this confident avatar (But we ain’t geeting Paris dear ladies)

It’s soothing, therefore, to hear Khan tell Kiara that she doesn’t have to forgive her parents or confront them for abandoning her. To hear Khan tell Kiara that she is not “cheap” but “superfine” to not settle for the first man who comes down the pike. Kiara has  nightmares about society judging her for being unmarried and unloved. (Happening with definitely me).It’s even more soothing when Khan tells Kiara that no society — no matter how judgmental — doesn’t have to think well of her, as long as she thinks well of herself.

The best part about this movie is how Gauri shinde doesn’t create any love angle between therapist and Kaira. And that is how it should be, we all are left crushing over Shahrukh and a rocking chair. But what we leave behind is :

When Kaira confesses about life being an interminable musical in so far as the new singer guy in her life is concerned, SRK’s Dr Khan is quick to retort with a good humoured jibe: “Aur tumhein to dialogue pasand hain (You like dialogues)”. Or when he himself says “we are all our own teachers in the school of life” and then comes back with “ye kuchh zyada heavy ho gaya (it’s too heavy-handed)”. Oh, we love you Shahrukh.

Dear Zindagi is a breezy change in the rare movies pertaining to mental health. I will leave you with a beautiful deleted scene of Dear Zindagi.


मेरा हीरो बूढ़ा हो चला है

हम सब के हीरो होते हैं, हमारी जिंदगी के वो हिस्से जिस पर हमारा हक होता है, वो शख्स जो हमें भरोसा दिलाता है कि उसके होने भर से ही सब कुछ ठीक हो जायेगा। एक बरगद का पेड़ मेरा हीरो है, जहाँ मैं भाग कर जाती हूँ जब कुछ ठीक न हो, जिसके पीछे मैं छुप जाती थी जब हॉरर मूवीज़ के उन स्टुपिड भूतों से मुझे डर लगता था, एक ऐसा बरगद जहाँ पहुँचकर गलतियों  का स्कोर ज़िरो हो जाता है, एक ऐसा हीरो जिसकी छाँव ज़िदगी की कड़ी धूप से बचा कर रखती है। 
हॉस्पिटल का कमरा है, मैं अंदर जाने के लिये दरवाज़ा खोलती हूँ तो पीछे से एक गार्ड की आवाज आती है “ये आईसीयू है, जनरल वार्ड नहीं कि जब मन करे तब चले आओ” हॉस्पिटल, जहाँ मेरा बरगद है, हॉस्पिटल जो याद दिलाता है कि मेरा हीरो बूढ़ा हो रहा है।

पापा कमरे में आ गये हैं, एक लंबी रात है हमारे बीच में। पापा को अपनी लिखी कहानी सुना रही हूँ, ये एक रोल रिवर्सल है जो मुझे पसंद नहीं क्यूँ कि मेरा हीरो बूढ़ा हो गया है। पापा कहते हैं नर्स से कि मेरी बेटी प्रैक्टिकल है, डॉक्टर है ना, वो रोती नहीं , बड़े होने के इस पूरे प्रोसेस में हम झूठ बोलना सीख जाते हैं, अपने हीरो के सामने रोना भी किसे पसंद होता है।

अपने हीरो को बूढ़ा होते देखना भयावह होता है, अपने बरगद को खुद पर टिकाने के लिये आप कभी तैयार नहीं होते, ना एक डॉक्टर का मास्क लगा के ना बड़े होने का। आप भी सोच रहे होंगे कि मैं ये सब क्यूँ लिख रही हूँ, लिख रही हूँ क्यूँकि नास्तिक होने के नाते मेरे पास “ऊपर वाला सब ठीक कर देगा ” वाली सबसे ओवरयूस्ड लाईन नहीं है। लिखना मेरा escape point है, लिखने से मैं खुद को बचा ले जाती हूँ।

बड़े होने का एक हासिल यह भी है – लिखना और सब ठीक है ऐसा सोचना। पर हॉस्पिटल की वेटिंग में लिखी इस बकवास का एक सच यह भी है कि मेरा हीरो बूढ़ा हो रहा है।

ये चाय की पत्तियाँ बिलकुल मेरे पापा सी

fb_img_1472647228835“ठिठुरती सी सुबह में
अलसायी आँखों को खोलने की कोशिश
चाय बनाने को उठी मैं
दुधीले सफ़ेद को
सुनहरा करती ये चाय की पत्तियां
लगी मुझे कुछ पहचानी सी
रंगों को भरते
सबमें मिलकर ,सबसे मिलकर
कुछ नया गढ़ते
और फिर भी खुद सा ही रहते
ये चाय की पत्तियाँ
लगी मुझे कुछ जानी पहचानी सी
लगी मुझे मेरे पापा सी
जिनके बिना रंग भी ठहरे हैं
और ज़िन्दगी का जायका भी
ये चाय की पत्तियाँ
बिलकुल मेरे पापा सी”


This post is written for Blogchatter’s prompt for the week – INTERNATIONAL TEA DAY

A period horror story that’s causing young dads to message me


So i wrote this answer on Quora and the cutest part is men messaging me that my dad is coolest and they will treat their daughter in the same way. Go ahead men, i know this feminist thing is too much of these days and yeah i strongly advocate your paternity leaves.

What is your most embarrassing period story ?

I have to answer this because it teaches us that in our society we get embarrassed at trivial issues which are nothing to be embarrassed of. We don’t get embarrassed of women being molested, of the lewd comments that come across our ways but that stain on your dress makes the world crumbling down.

The first time i started menstruating: It was when i was in 9th standard and my periods started in school, i was on the volleyball ground when i experienced an unusual kind of pain. It was Saturday and i was wearing a white uniform which was i think stained and i had no idea why. Now one of the teacher calls me and asks me to sit with her, i don’t understand why. She was the class teacher of preschool kids and just asked me to sit on the side of her chair. I sat with kids yelling and crying, you must see what LKG kids turn into when the time that’s near to school off arrives, they turn into literal monsters. She then calls the peon and another teacher comes. Now they have a hush hush talk about something which they don’t care to explain me.

One of the teacher comes to me and asks the phone number of my home. I told her that due to my Grandmother’s sudden demise no one is at home and i go straightaway to my Uncle’s home after school with dad. She asks for my uncle’s number, i said i don’t remember.

Now they dial my dad and ask him to come. They don’t let me take the school bus too and inform me that my dad is coming to pick me up. Now i am dead scared, what did i do wrong that my dad is called to school.

I was practicing volleyball during class hours, maybe that’s why.

Now one of the teacher gets me tea and biscuits.

I think “I don’t identify the world anymore,my dad is called, teachers are so caring and i have no idea why”

Well dad comes and again the teachers have a hush hush talk with him.

I have this feeling of puking out and just few days back i saw a movie on tv where Amitabh Bachhan has brain tumor and he has this headache and he vomits. I remember how doctors were hesitant to tell him.

Then it striked to me……….OMG I HAVE CANCER.

Dad takes me home (not my uncle’s home) and explains me in very simple biological words that i have got my periods and how should i take care of it. I am relieved that i am not dying of cancer.He helps me take a neat cotton cloth and then we both go to my Uncle’s home where my mom takes the baton in her hand.

I wish my teachers were half as cool as my dad.

I wish we talk freely about periods and not make it an embarrassment.


Daddy’s Girl.

Postcard from P: Dear Women, You are doing it all wrong


Scenario 1: The movie called Waiting where Kalki’s husband has met with an accident and is in coma, a newly wed she is so emotionally shaken that she does not understand why it happened with her in the first place and when she does realize that it has actually happened she breaks down. Comes husband’s bag from the police station and she switches on the phone to find 32 messages with some Kiran.

Comes Day 2, the grief stricken wife who was not able to breathe a day earlier turns into “Were they sleeping together! Was that bitch f***ing my husband!” avatar and gives a damn about the husband that is in coma. Later that kiran turns out to be a man…………:-) yes a man.

Scenario 2 : A friend goes on to meet a school friend on coffee. The guy and his wife have recently shifted to Goa and are columnists with a leading newspaper. This journo couple are known for being “an ideal” couple. So this friend asks his friend “Wow you have shifted to Goa, I can come over anytime if I plan to travel.” To this the male friend jumps and says “ No, don’t even think about it. Shilpa (his wife) is paranoid about me talking to any girl. Marriage sucks, you should know it”. My friend came from the coffee shop and when I asked “How was the meet up”. She replies “BLOCKED”.

Scenario 3 : A friend who is at the one of the most prestigious administrative services and almost got a viral stature for his progressive symbolic act of ending discrimination of a woman by society completely goes offline as soon as he steps inside his home as his wife checks his phone at any random time and he never knows what she may pick up to start an altercation. He does not want to “get caught” and we wonder if this check mechanism is what a marriage has turned into.


These are the educated, rational women we are talking about. Dear women: What the hell is wrong with you? We’ve all most likely been at one or the other ends of this scenario; we’ve either been the worrier or been with the worrier. Chances are, we’ve actually experienced both.But do you realize this kind of insecurity is toxic to the relationship. the very acting out of our insecurities can push our partner away, thus creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. Because this struggle is so internal and most of the time even independent of circumstances, it’s important to deal with our insecurities without distorting or dragging our partner into them.

Relationships shake us up. They challenge core feelings we have about ourselves and evict us from long-lived-in comfort zones. They tend to turn up the volume of our inner voice and reopen unresolved wounds from our past. If we felt abandoned as a child, the aloof behavior of a romantic partner does not mean he is going to abandon you. If you have witnessed a troubled childhood, it doesn’t mean that acting as a phone or internet police will act as a preventive measure.

Just remember “Prevention is better than cure” is not an explanation for your paranoid insecurities, so stop using them. I am sorry if your husband was once a cheater, if he wants to cheat, he will anyhow do that. So kick that asshole and move out but don’t make your partner’s life hell by “What if he cheats” loop in your head.

There is no “ Aww” relationships nor are their any working model except one key word – Understanding and Respect. Don’t undermine the very fundamental of a beautiful relationship. As hard as it may feel to connect our contemporary reactions with a behavior pattern, it is an invaluable tool for getting to know ourselves, and ultimately, for challenging behaviors that don’t serve us or even fit with our real, adult life

We all have an “inner voice” that says “OMG! I think he is cheating on me”, don’t let it overpower you. The goal of any relationship should not to get into a “S” size LBD to keep his interest intact. You are a goddamn person and not a season of game of thrones to keep his interest intact. People with low self-esteem not only want their partner to see them in a better light than they see themselves, but in moments of self-doubt, they have trouble even recognizing their partner’s affirmations. In other words, we shouldn’t forego essential parts of who we are in order to become merged into a couple.

Snooping through their text messages, calling every few minutes to see where they are, getting mad every time they look at another attractive person – these are all acts that scream of reassurance. Remember this kind of attitude comes from within, and unless we can overcome them within ourselves, it won’t matter how smart, sexy, worthy or attractive our partner tells us we are.

When was a relationship meant to be between equals. It’s marriage and not a voting right.We have to accept that our partner is an individual, a separate individual. We don’t always express our love in the same way. This doesn’t mean we should settle for someone who doesn’t offer us what we want in a relationship, but when we do find someone who we value and love, we should try not to enter into a “I am watching you” relationship.

When we love someone and allow us to be loved, the emotional invest brings with it insecurities but trust is one big word. When we don’t let our insecurities make us do something that we ourselves don’t respect, relationship is one happy journey. What would be the worst possible thing – He will cheat.

No my lovely ladies,”Men are polygamous” statement is just another sentence that says “I have to tolerate his bull shit”.  Get rid of that negativity and you will find you growing within. No time is wasted, never are the emotions wasted that taught us to love, that showed how vulnerable we can be and that made us learn a lesson or two.

So have a rocking marriage ladies and men, you can thank me later.

P.S.- The feminist brigade can start an attack on me now.







अपनी माँ का चेहरा मैं अब भूल गयी हूँ………

बात कुछ साल पहले की है.मदर्स डे और उस सभी की तरह सारे “दिनों” का बुखार तभी तभी चढ़ा था। हमने सोचा यही तो मौका है बताने का कि “माँ कितना प्यार करते हैं तुझसे “( भले ही दो दिन पहले एक दोस्त के जन्मदिन के यहाँ जाने को लेकर इतना घमासान हुआ था कि मैंने भगवान को जी भर कोसा था कि किसी अमीर माँ बाप के यहाँ पैदा नहीं कर सकता था क्या मुझे)।

गुल्लक को तोड़ा गया और माँ के लिये चूड़ी ख़रीदा मोतियों वाली। एक आत्मसंतुष्टि कि हमने भी हैप्पी मदर्स डे मना लिया।मिडिल क्लास परिवारों की जो माँ होती हैं ना उनका सिर्फ शादी के बाद का वो पत्नी वाला पार्ट ही शहर आता है, रह जाती वो गाँव में ही हैं बिटिया,रानी, लाडो बनकर। इनको मदर्स डे समझ नहीं आता, बच्चों पर बहुत प्यार आता है ऐसा कुछ अलग करने पर और इस दिन को भी वो अपने “बेफिज़ूल खर्चों “ की एक कभी न ख़त्म होने वाली लिस्ट में डाल देती हैं ।ऐसी लिस्ट अमूमन हर घर में, हर माँ के पास होती है और हर जगह एक ही निष्कर्ष – वो तो मैं ही जानती हूँ कि किस तरह घर चला रही हूँ ।

खैर चूड़ी आ गयी, अलमारी में चली भी गयी और संडे के स्पेशल खाने पर मैंने माँ से पूछा “ माँ, आपको नानी की याद नहीं आती?”. माँ थोड़े देर शांत रही फिर कहा:

“ याद तो आती है पर अपनी माँ का चेहरा मैं अब भूल गयी हूँ, कुछ ठीक सा याद नहीं कि वो कैसी दिखती थी “।

निवाला मुहं में ही रह गया।कोई अपनी माँ का चेहरा कैसे भूल सकता है. एक इंस्टेंट हैट्रेड हुई मुझे अपनी माँ से जो अपनी माँ का चेहरा भी भूल रही थी ।लगा कि फ़ालतू में ही गुल्लक तोड़ दिया,फादर्स डे में काम आ जाता।

मेरी नानी माँ बहुत पहले कैंसर से गुजर गयी थीं, तब जब हम पैदा भी नहीं हुये थे। एक वो भी दौर था जब स्टूडियो जाकर शर्माते हुए, संकुचाते हुये, सर पर पल्ला डाले स्त्रियाँ अपने पति के साथ अपने जीवन की एकमात्र ब्लैक &वाइट तस्वीर खिंचवाती थीं।मेरी नानी माँ उस दौर से पहले ही गुजर गयी।मामी बताती हैं कि उनके मरने के बाद क्रिया कर्म के लिये उनकी एक तस्वीर नाना के मेमोरी के अनुसार बनाई गयी थी। हाँ एक ऐसा भी समय था।

आज जब हम हर मोमेंट को तस्वीरों में कैद करते हैं, हर दिन सेल्फी लेते हैं, एक अच्छी कॉफ़ी पिया, चलो सेल्फी, किसी जगह गये, लो सेल्फी तो हम कोशिश कर के भी किसी को भूल नहीं पाते।ज़िन्दगी तो नहीं रूकती पर भूलना कितना जरुरी है जीने के लिये।किसी रिश्ते का टूटना, किसी का चले जाना, कुछ ख़ास गुम हो जाना, कोई ऐसी बात जो हमें चुभती है अगर हम उसे भूल जायें तो? क्या कितना आसान नहीं होगा फिर से मुस्कुराना, फिर से आगे बढ़ना, फिर से ख़ुशी ढूँढना, फिर से जीने के नये बहाने ढूँढना ।पर ये वक़्त बेवक्त की इतनी सारी तसवीरें जो हमारी खुशियों को फ्रीज कर रही हैं क्या इन सब के ख़त्म होने के बाद किसी unseen pain, किसी आह, किसी टीस के लिये हम  पूरा साज़ो-सामान तैयार नहीं कर रहे? अब आसान नहीं है भूलना, अब आसान नहीं है जीना।

क्यूँ ना आज मदर्स डे पर हम मदर को सेलिब्रेट करें, न डे को और  न तस्वीरों को।

P.S.- अगर मैं एकदम माँ जैसी दिखती हूँ, तो माँ नानी जैसी दिखती होगी और नानी अपनी माँ जैसी …..शायद. दिल को खुश रखने के लिये ये ख्याल अच्छा है।सभी एक जैसे दिखने वाली माँ- बेटियों को भी हैप्पी मदर्स डे।

This post has been written in association withBlogchatter and Chaipoint for their Mothers Day Specia