A need to pray

I had never been the person who would go in for elaborate rituals. Never had that much patience. At home my mother used to light the diya by herself at the altar and each would offer their obeisance at their convenience. I had to go to the altar room every day in the morning after bath of course, but she never insisted that I say any mantra specifically. But then I liked to converse …..with God. It could be as mundane as ‘I want to get good marks’ or ‘I hate that girl’. 🙂 And these conversations went on the whole day.

I remember I used to converse at an audible level until one fine day my mom said that I was quite grown up and would I reduce the volume of my monologues because everyone was taking me to be a bit …you know ‘loose’.

And so soon the conversations stopped.

In college my friends would keep some or the other vrata while I never did. But yes my morning ritual of paying obeisance carried on.

And then the toughest time of my life began and then I realized the power of prayer. It filled me with strength, peace and a balanced mind. It was during that period that I discovered various shlokas. Near to my working women’s hostel there were three temples. I used to visit all three and learned that I enjoyed there too. I mean unlike people who get irritated with too many people around, I didn’t. It was a place where I had the direct connection with the deities.

And then I got married. Unlike my parents place at my husband’s, sandhya aarti is an elaborate affair. There is bhajan, aarati et all. And I discovered that I enjoyed that too.

Today I do not pray for something to be got or hurdles to be removed. I pray to remain always at the Lotus feet of the Lord. Nothing gives me more pleasure than serving HIM or his devotees, eating prasadam, singing and dancing to kirtan and of course writing about HIM


This post is in response to Everyone has a reason to pray organized by Cycle Pure Agarbathies in Association with Ripple Links.

With our busy  life and the traffic jam on the roads,  this festive season I would opt for a Lakshmi Pooja pack, because I would get everything for  the Pooja in one pack and there would be no need to go hunting for things in different places. The energy saved can be used to making delicious prasadam, and of course to sing and dance. 😀

A cut, a nip and a tuck

It is the 1980s, J has not conceived even after repeated tests she does not know the reason why. Morose she leads her life.

Her vision gets faulty suddenly and she goes to the Ophthalmologist, he suspects something awry and sends her for a brain X-Ray. His suspicions come true. She has pituitary adenoma. A malignant tumor on the pituitary gland. She goes to Calcutta where a neurosurgeon cuts open her skull, the brain is lifted up and the tumor is removed.

The trauma is huge, the moment J comes out of the ‘why me’ stage, she is assaulted by her shaved head, the incision marks and the other effects.  Recovery is slow. It takes long to heal.

Though her eyesight becomes almost normal, she is never able to conceive. She discovers that she has trouble in remembering some things, sometimes she has difficulty to focus and her right hand is a bit… different than before. She has difficulty now to hold things with that hand.

Eventually she adopts a girl. Thankfully there is no recurrence of the tumor and she lives a satisfactory life with her daughter and husband.



Its 2004. R has not conceived and is undergoing some treatment to conceive when suddenly she has loss in vision in one eye. She is sent for an eye check up where in the Ophthalmologist suspects some thing and sends her for an MRI. The MRI reveals clearly that it is pituitary adenoma. She is advised to go to a neurosurgeon who specializes in endoscopic endonasal surgery. The traumas of opening up the skull and locating the tumor can be done with, with a small surgery even though the tumor is big.


And so she opts for it. She is admitted into the hospital the previous day for the pre-op check ups. The day of the operation she walks into the Operation Theater. She is given anesthesia. But as soon as the camera is inserted inside the surgeon discovers that there is a hemorrhage and there is heavy bleeding. He tries to arrest the bleeding and the operation is abandoned for that day. A CT scan is done which reveals that the tumor has grown further (from the day of the last scan) and has gone to another direction but the bleeding has stopped. And so the next day R is operated again and the tumor is removed bit by bit until there is not a trace left of the tumor.

R walks out of the hospital the third day.

She conceives later.

There is a recurrence five years on but because of repeated check ups the tumor is detected much earlier and it is thought better to opt for a surgery than radiation. This time the operation takes just 10 minutes-yes just a cut, a nip and  a tuck.


As most of you must have guessed R is me and J was a neighbor in Bhilai I fail to even think of what would have happened if there were no MRI /CT scans and I shudder to think what if there were no endonasal surgeries. Thanks to modern science  what could have been a catastrophe was averted by breakthrough technology.

Written as a part of Indiblogger and Apollo Hospitals How does Modern Healthcare touch lives

Apollo Hospitals


Going nuts over the coconut

We Konkanis love our coconut.  The morning begins with the sound of garr garr i.e the scraping of the coconut and then the mixer goes whirr with it  being ground for the chutney. In earlier days, once breakfast was over the women would oil their hair with yes…some coconut oil and then plait it. Next would be the turn of the kids. As soon as they were caught their hair was oiled and then it was the turn of their massage. Yes, kids were massaged  with oil regularly till they were 10 or so. And I believe that it is for that reason my ma-in-law, & my parents still have healthy skins even though they are in their 70s.

And then again started the process of garr, garr, the scraping of coconut for the lunch. The process of scraping coconut comes naturally to us. I never remember our elders ever teaching us how to  scrape coconuts… we just knew. Coconut is used to make chutneys, in gravies, in desserts. My mom I remember used to panic if there were no coconuts in the pantry, ‘how will I cook’, she used to scream.

So dependent on coconuts we are that the very first thing that the women used to do whenever some land was bought, was to plant saplings of the coconut. Men would just have to build their buildings around it.

My earliest memories of my tryst with coconut for personal grooming is when my mom would call me to oil my hair. I would do my best to avoid her. And if I got caught I would keep screaming, ‘enough’. So there was no scope of oil massages but then I went to hostel. Few months gone and I understood with the state of my hair and skin, that indeed I needed something. With my hair I was not that adventurous and stuck on to the good old coconut oil. But for skin I did. I tried everything that my hostelmates did, ripened banana, papaya, egg whites (ughh) everything and then realized that there was no need for all that. The family potion was good enough. And just before bath, applied some oil to myself and rubbed it nicely. Not for me the packs of egg whites and messy papayas. I was  fine with my coconut oil.

And then post delivery, my ma-in -law arrived with some special oil. It was of course coconut oil with some added herbs. My mother used to apply it liberally and then bathe me with boiling water. It was torturous then but my skin … it was soft and glowing.

Today I am a busy mom juggling too many things. And I do not have the 10 minutes required prior to bath. So what do I do, I just reach for my Parachute Advansed body lotion. Result a soft and glowing skin which does not need any more botheration.

This post is a part of Women’s Web Goodness of Coconut contest

The day I met ME

Sitting in the waiting room I wish I had opted for my hair removal.

No, I was never drop dead gorgeous. Guys never turned their head again and again to look at me. And my sister always told me….Do take some care of yourself. But did I ever listen to her, no.

Yes I passed out of my PGDBA with a gold medal and all but  the finance market  was down at that time and I was left searching high and low for a job. Yes, I gave exams, interviews but all to no avail. I passed the written examination of a bank and my parents were so relieved. You see I had laid down the condition that I wanted to work at least for a year before they could search for alliances for me. Till then marriage could wait

And so I dreamt of a job wherein I would go wearing a starched saree, with a mobile in one hand, a file on another. Till my mother gently tapped my shoulder and said, ‘now will you prepare for the  interview’. The first round went well. The meeting with the GM was next.  The answers for the preliminary questions were all fine. But he kept on looking at me. No, nothing indecent but just kept on looking. The he asked me, ‘So you get a job here. Tomorrow you get married. Then you get posted someplace else; that is you are transferred, then what you will do?’

I said, ‘That we will have to discuss amongst us’. I mean what could I say about the future partner.

He looked at me again and said, ‘that is it’.

And no I was not selected.

That was the second rejection. Earlier one was in Chennai where in I had gone  for a floor manager’s job in one of the leading malls. The interview had gone well but I had not been selected.

Still ‘dimaag ki bati nahi jali’ ie the tube light did not flash even then. I did not understand…….

And here I was sitting amidst all these smart girls/ women in Mumbai. Who looked impeccable and me….. a hairy goat. I got up and went to the ladies room. And peered at myself. Yes this girl (me- I have always been a girl for myself :)) looked good. Only if ….some finesse was needed.  At that time I wished I  had opted for my hair removal. But no; that had to wait.

The first round went well. The second round was on the next day.I rushed and got myself a Gillette satin care and did the needful.

Then rushed to the nearest saloon and did the rest- threading of eyebrows etc. And then I went home and slept.

The next day at the second round, the coordinator looked at me for a full 5 minutes and said, ‘You look different’

I said,’ Just different….’ and gave him a flashy smile.

‘You look gorgeous mmmm very refined ‘, he said in a very ‘refined ‘ way.

I got that job. Yes, people looks can build confidence too. And Gillette Satin care gave me my much-needed confidence.

My sister had the last word ( sentence) though, ‘I told you, take care of yourself.’ Sisters I tell you they know best.

This post is a part of the Gillette Satin Care contest in association with Yes I never participate in contests but this I want to win, so that I can gift the Ipad to someone special-the man who stands by me 🙂


What next?

I straightened my hair

With the promise

That I will use Sunsilk from now on

Though Dove does send me samples now and then



Then I went on a virtual tour

Of shopper’s stop

And shopped this and that


What next you may ask

Well I asked my man to shave

His stubble, and I say;

And while you are it

Can you write about it or should I

Well there is a trip to Paris, you know.


And while I write and write to Get published

While oohing and aahing at Vikas

I ask; What next??

Life or so…..

“Coffeeee!! Teaa!!”
“Coffeeee!! Teaa!!”
The vendor called out as he passed the coupe.
The baby fell on its knee trying to walk across to his mother.
The mother ran to pick up the child and is busy placating him.
Ravishing young lady sat across him checking her flock of hair in the mirror of her mini clutch bag.
The chatter from the group of young boys engrossed in a card game relayed from above.
The train had halted at Varnasi for 15 mins. He hadn’t moved or uttered a word from the time he got on.
The newspaper covered Sanjay’s face; his eyes peered through his bi-focal spectacles and his hair rested neatly combed sideways.
A pencil in his hand was losing his grip.

The mother tried to console the baby. She had had him after 7 long years of wanting a child.  And 10 years of marriage. A single scratch on him scared her. Will it become a sore, was it paining a lot. Her mother always told her not to be so attached, so in control of her child. But how could she not. Until Aditya was a little bigger, she had to take care, didn’t she?

Aditya by now had got fed up of all the cuddling and wanted to go off again. He wriggled but no, his  mom would not leave him.

Sanjay meanwhile was doing the sudoku. At least trying to do so. His mind was far away. He was a journalist and was used to travel. But not like this. He just did not like this sleeper class travel. but he had been forced. Yes forced.

His wife of 5 years had left him. Because she said that he had become mechanical. His sensitivity, emotions had all left him, she said. He did not respect her, for that matter she said, he did not even respect himself. Always being perfect, always complying to his expectations was getting on to her and so she was leaving him. To add to his misery, he was not given any dicey assignments. When he had asked why, his superior had said that he lacked sensitivity. On the verge of a nervous breakdown, the same ‘boss’ of his asked him to take a train ride and rediscover ‘life’,

‘Hey you’, he called out at one of the boys playing cards,’ Why are you throwing the banana peel down, can’t you get up and throw it in the bin? And hey you’, he called out at the mother, ‘can’t you see your son wants to be free.’ And then he gave a look at the beauty Khushi too who dropped her mirror into her purse.

The mother had let go of her son and Aditya in his curiosity had gone near to Sanjay. He pulled his cheeks and gave a smile but Sanjay in his fury just glared at him and Aditya ran back to his mother.

For once there was silence in the compartment.

‘Hatto, hatto’, there was a voice and a lady in her 60s battled amongst the crowd and came and sat there.

‘Excuse me,’ said Sanjay, we are already too many here, so can you find another place?’

‘Sure. But you see I have a RAC ticket and as soon as a TC comes and gives me a berth I will move’, said she.

The train left Varanasi. In no time the mother, the old lady and Khushi had become friends, In time, boxes were opened and food shared. Sanjay was irritated. He was hungry and secondly it was a long time since he had had home cooked food.

‘Beta’, it was the old lady and she was offering him some laddoos. He looked up to see that all the others were having it too.

‘No’, he said rudely.

‘Why? Do you have diabetes?’, asked she.

‘Why, does it matter to you whether I am diabetic or not?’

‘No but I have some other munchies too if you don’t want these….’

‘See you old lady, mind your own business, don’t mess with me…’, said Sanjay.

‘Hey you, keep your frustrations to yourself but be respectful to an old lady,’ it was one of the boys playing cards.

The old lady sensing that a fight was about to ensue sat down signaling the other guy to be quiet.

‘You had come to visit Kashi Vishwanath aunty’, it was Khushi.

‘Not really. I came to meet my daughter.’ And then with a look at Sanjay she added, ‘Priya lost her husband and her 10 year old son in an accident. After that for a few months she was lost in her own thoughts’

‘Then?’, it was the mother.

‘Then she read an article of how some widows were left in Varanasi to fend for themselves. That changed her life. She came down here and with the help of NGO’s, benefactors and even some government agencies, she set up her institution for widows which help them make self-reliant. Today she helps to help women like her- widowed and lonely’. She said this with pride.

By then the TC came and allotted her a seat at the other end of the bogie.

As she was leaving she tapped Sanjay on his shoulders and said,’Son, a number of hurdles come in life, personal, professional but the trick is how you face them. It’s very easy to buckle under them but the trick is how you survive them.’

When Sanjay reached his destination it was with a new vigor and hope.



Taking part in the Tell a tale contest
And the rules are

1. Contestants should complete this story in 750-800 words(Excluding my start).
2. Contestants should tag two(minimum) other bloggers to participate in the contest.
3. Contestants should leave their suggestions/appreciations on fellow contestants post
4. Contestants should tag this post while making an entry to the contest.
Create a new post in your blog, link it here and leave a comment for me to know!
5. Contestants will be judged on
a. Creativity
b. Originality/ Fresh thoughts
c. Climax of the story
d. Good written English
e. Message of the story

A Contest closes on 31st January 2012.

Hope I have complied to the rules.

Have to tag two persons so tagging two of those who like to ‘fiction’.



When the stork visited

This post is in response to Women’s web; Passport to a Healthy Pregnancy Contest

When I conceived within a few months of getting married, we were ecstatic. We both love kids and there was never a thought to wait to have babies. I didn’t have any morning sickness but was always sleepy and when the home pregnancy kit showed positive, we rushed to the best gynecologist in Bahrain. There were no complexities at all, I ate well, slept well and put on weight well too.

Around the beginning of the fifth month I was feeling a piercing pain around the navel. On my next visit when I mentioned this to the Doctor, she just told it’s because the baby was growing well. The heart beats were alright, so everything was fine, she assured me.

However the same night I went into labour. I was kept on drips but the next day I aborted.

It was almost 18 months later that we came to know that I had pituitary adenoma and maybe that was the reason I had aborted. After the surgery it was clear that I needed some hormonal support if I wanted to conceive (as the gland producing the necessary hormones was not functioning properly, I had to be on injections) . And so I was kept on injections. It took me about a year to conceive and thankfully this time when my pregnancy was confirmed I was with my parents.

What I did this time
->had lots of fruitsand fresh vegetables, less sweets and oily stuff. Even if I had sweets it was sweetened with jaggery as jaggery contains iron.
->Saw that though my weight increased, did not increase much.
->Surrounded myself with family and kids, so that I did not have any negative thoughts.
->Walked but not much, did not climb stairs though as I had been advised not to.
->Read a lot
->Had regular scans.
->Referred both doctors the one in Bahrain as well as in Vizag( where my parents stay)

When I had my C-section and my baby cried for the first time, the whole team sighed in relief. In fact my Doctor told everyone in the maternity ward to visit me and check for themselves how a pregnant lady should conduct herself.

But in the high intensity drama both my Doctors had overlooked one necessary point. My nipples were inward and the baby and me both had a tough time while he tried to suckle. ( as such I had very little milk; the enzymes needed for lactation had been removed while I was operated for pituitary adenoma).

Most of us do know nowadays that during pregnancy we must have regular checkups, scans, should eat healthy etc but also do take care that you are ready to breast feed. After all breast milk is the foundation for your baby’s good health

To the rescue-II

Presenting the conclusion of To the rescue. Though I had presented it as a contest, there were no entries and so my dear readers you will have to bear with my narration only 😦 SO here goes.

When I couldn’t hear Mrs’ Mishra’s footsteps, I was elated. Happy to have made the escape this time, I continued with my work, but I could still hear the knocking sound. Now you may ask why I was so bothered with a sound. But you see, I grew up reading Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys and ever since anything different from the routine makes me curious.I tried to concentrate on the noises outside.There was Azaan from the nearby mosque and the knocking sound. At this time of the day, there were no vehicles.

The knocking continued, I opened the window and peeped out. You may think that how I could lean out of the window but I can. You see windows in Bahrain are without bars. The sliding double doors of the windows are secured only with a tiny button something like the electrical switches. And so I leaned out and listened. The A/cs were off, November is a cool month and also in the day time very few were at home.

The sound came from Mishrajis flat. AT first I thought there must be some carpentry work going on but then my curiosity took the better of me and I ran.

I rang the bell but no one opened the door. Instead the knocks began frantic. I put my ear to the door and listened…..I could hear the faint sound of a ….HELP ME …… And I ran again. the Mishras flat being on the ground floor, all the windows could be peeped in from the outside. I ran towards the bedroom but the window was screened, then I ran towards the kitchen. And peeped in. Mrs. Mishra was lying on the floor her right leg in a bad angle.. obviously a fracture and with her hand was a spoon with which she was making as much a noise as she could. I banged on the window signalling that I would help her. I tried to open the window but it was closed. I tried to break the window but could not.

All this banging and yelling woke up the Filipina living next door and she leaned out with a ‘WHath Happenned?’ I told her that Mrs. Mishra had had a fall. Meanwhile her African boyfriend too came near the window, he signaled me to wait, came out and with expertise (or was it practice… don’t ask me, I don’t know) lifted out the window and we climbed in. Mrs. Mishra on seeing me burst into tears and held me tight and both of us sobbed together. Angelina (the Filipina) gave us water and made her comfortable. We didn’t move her.I had already called for the ambulance and the team arrived and lifted her. I locked both the houses, took my mobile and purse and ran along with her.

Some oil it seems had spilled on the kitchen tiles. Mrs.Mishra had not seen the spill and had stepped on it and had fallen down. She had tried yelling for help but because of the closed windows no one had heard her and when she had heard the sound of the ladle falling in my kitchen had started knocking with the spoon in her hand on the floor, hoping that I would listen.

I became the heroine that day and for once my husband was proud of my butter fingers.

To the rescue

“Crash” the plate went on the floor and broke into pieces. I looked at the floral design all in a disarray. I sat down on the floor and thought of interesting ways to use the broken pieces.You may think that something is wrong in my head to play with broken pieces of a plate that belonged to an expensive dinner set. But that’s the way I am. Nothing escapes my hands, I can drop anything and everything. When my son was a baby, MY mother in law never allowed me to hold him, lest I dropped him too. SO now you know how am I .

‘Sneha, open the door’, there was loud banging on the door. And then, ‘I know you are inside’.

It was Mrs. Mishra, the lady who lived downstairs. I knew why she had come and wanted to hide in a hole. They had shifted to our building, just 3 months back and since then, I always got complaints from her, ‘about sounds from our flat’.

‘Sneha, open up,’ she screamed and I leaped to the door.

‘Why do you always drop things, I am fed up of noises from your flat…..’, she went on, ‘I mumbled a sorry, made her sit, made some Iced tea (to cool her down) and then waved a goodbye.

I did not want to narrate this incident to the hubby but did so in the end. It was better if I told him, rather than he being told by Mr. Mishra. The poor hubby has stopped chastising me, he just keeps on calculating how much it will cost to replace the broken items.

For some days I was extra careful and then the routine began.

It was a Sunday, when the ladle fell with a such a sound that I was sure< I was in deep trouble. I Sat down waiting for Mrs. Mishra's arrival. But she didn't.

Instead there was a knocking sound from the flat below…..


Alright people, if you like challenges and love to write fiction, go ahead and complete this story. The rules are simple:

1) DO not make it too long, remember this is a short story.
2) Link back to this story
3) You can participate till the 15th of October
4) When you continue, just see that there is a link between the title and the beginning made.
5) I will publish the links to all the entries on the 16th of October.

Have a nice time.

Roller Coaster

Way back in 2002, I was getting bored sitting at home, not getting any jobs which I liked. There were many who suggested that I take up a teacher’s job but I was a bit apprehensive. Patience is a virtue that I do not possess.

But then there was an opening for a Commerce ( Business Studies) lecturer and I thought why not. I could make the subject interesting and how difficult would it be to control 15 year olds.

And so I walked in. I had come to know of the opening at a short notice and so had not got much time to prepare, also I was wearing a trouser suit after a long time and was a bit uncomfortable.

The Principal of the British Curriculum met me, we had a pleasant chat and then he asked me for a demonstration, I explained that it was a long time since I was out of a classroom, my subject knowledge was a bit rusted. He said it did not matter, they just wanted to see my style of teaching. Now we turned out to be a panel of 10 academicians including the Principal.

I gave my demo using lot of current business topics, giving lot of examples imagining the audience to be 15 year olds rather than the experienced academicians that they were. I was stopped midway; the Principal shook hands and said that they loved my deliverance especially the common examples which I had taken to make the ‘students’ understand. And that i would be hearing from them soon.

I was ecstatic. I had never believed that I could teach and then to be appreciated thus by a British was really ‘something’. And I floated out.

I was just going out when a messenger came running stating that the Chairman wanted to meet me and then slowly added that it meant that I was selected and so I flitted to the Chairman’s chamber.

The Chairman gazed me from top to bottom and my discomfort on the suit returned. AFter the introductions were over he said that the panel had appreciated me but did I have experience, I replied in the negative. Any experience, he asked, I just replied that I used to assist my sister when she used to give tuitions, but that is not experience he said.

The next question that he asked stumped me. Do you have kids he asked, when I said no he said that how could I understand the psyche of kids when I was not a mother. I argued that its my knowledge and my way of teaching which should be the criterion for my selection. I did not have experience but as an MBA I was trained to give presentations, group discussions etc and that should help me in teaching but he didn’t buy that logic.

I could have argued more but that he was a septuagenarian and somewhere the values being instilled in childhood to give respect to age came in between.

And so I came out with mixed emotions. On one hand I was happy that a panel of academicians had appreciated my skills, on the other hand I was dejected that I had been rejected just because I was not a mother yet.

The Principal did call me a couple of times later saying that I just had to be in his team. I refused. The spirit to be a teacher had died in me.

Ultimately the students were at a loss, they missed being taught by a dynamic ME. 😛

Did you ever have such a fire freeze experience? If so, share your story and link into Close Up’s Facebook page. You can even share your story as a comment and that too could make you a winner