An Open Letter to My Cousin

Dear Cousin,

It has been 30 years. 30 years!

We had weaved dreams after dreams. We had pinned our hopes to the next closest milestone. And the milestone kept going farther away. Now you are married. Married and gone so far away that we have quit making plans. And yet, a flicker of hope escapes me and manifests in the form of a wish. Bangalore. Goa. Pondicherry.

Cousins are supposed to be your first best friends. But things never were in favour of our bonding and the lack of it caused enough damage in our relationship. In spite of all that, there was this underlying connection between us that kept holding us together.

Remember when you used to come home? You never wanted to leave and I never wanted you two to go. I would cry after you left. It was a consistent ritual. Every time you left, I would sit in a corner and cry.

We used to plan vacations after vacations. But nothing manifested. We thought things would change when we grew up. They did. We were further apart. So much so that you seemed almost unreachable to me. Things have been said and done, and forgotten. But that yearning to be together always remained.

And then you got married, and vanished. For about a year, I thought I had lost you completely. Yet here we are, trying to mend the gaps and tend to the cracks. Here we are learning to dream again. You trying to reach out, me trying to pull you out.

Let me dare make a wish again. Let us rewrite our childhood. Let us escape for a weekend. Just the few of us. Let us go back to that childhood we dreamt of having together. For old time’s sake. To prove to ourselves that some things can be achieved no matter how late they are.


This wish is all I have for you, for now, on your Birthday. Next time we meet, we will celebrate both our 30th Birthdays together. 🙂 Until then,


Note: This letter is dedicated to all the cousins who loved each other’s company and gradually lost track of each other with time. If you are one among them, maybe, just maybe you could talk to them, renew the spark and get things going, once again.

I am taking my blog to the next level with #MyFriendAlexa by Blogchatter

Featured Image credits: 1

Letters, Rains, Books, Conversations – A Friendship

100 Happy Days – Day 88

Happiness is friendship in rain, with book, through letters and conversation.

It was 6.50 am. The queue began from the first floor, stretched through the staircase to the ground floor and out. I was on the staircase closer to the first floor. I heard Carnatic music emanating from the room filled with 50-60 youngsters; CA students. A guy with curly hair and sacred ash on his forehead emerged from the crowd, took out his phone and answered the call, cutting off the Carnatic music.

I walked into the classroom after my registration. A friend gestured me to come forward, for he had saved a seat for me. As I took my place beside him, I looked around to get acquainted with my neighbours and there he was, right in front of me. I glimpsed a drawing in his notebook. A rough sketch of Lord Shiva. There was a Shloka written next to it. I asked him about it and as he explained it, I made a mental note to read more on it. But soon, I forgot. I must ask him again. Or maybe, he’ll tell me if he reads this. 😉


In a while, Gopikrishnan, the guy with the Bhasma on his forehead and immense love for Carnatic, and I became friends and then, there was no looking back.

We have these deep conversations at times, but we could easily talk silly too. They happen very rarely; maybe twice or thrice a year. But, it doesn’t matter. It is easy to pick up from where we had left. But mostly, we don’t have to pick up from where we had left. We could simply start a conversation with absolutely no back history.

During one such conversation, we realised that both of us loved writing letters. From then on, we started exchanging handwritten letters. (Heck! That was when I realised that most of the post boxes never functioned.) Whenever I saw the blue inland letter waiting for me in the hall, I knew where it came from. Sometimes, I’d tear it open right away. Sometimes, I’d keep it safely and opened it when I could read it peacefully.

Each of your friends add value to your life in different ways. Gkris, as he calls himself, prods my inner consciousness through our conversations and letters. The things he says, give new perspectives to my thoughts. His words have the power to make me see new things, take me to a new world where things needn’t really work as per a set of rule books.  There is a spiritual connection underlying our friendship and this is what makes it special.

While we spoke about so many things, bonded over books, music, movies, poems, quotes, ideologies and TV shows, we couldn’t meet. When I was free, he never came to my place. When he came, I wasn’t here. And so, after  three long years, it was time to meet.


I picked him up from a common point and we stood there and spoke, oblivious to the place and the time. After a lot of discussions, we decided to go to a mall though we preferred a peaceful place amidst nature. On our way, the rain beat down from nowhere. Though we took shelter initially, the next time we were on the road, the rain couldn’t stop us. Both of us being rain lovers, decided to embrace the drizzle and continued. After a while, I heard him laugh ever so softly.

“What is it?”, I asked.

“You don’t want to know.”

“Now I do. Tell me!”

“Your hair brushes against my face every now and then. Um… and the smell. It smells so good.”

“I know”, I said.

“What is it with Women’s hair really? What smells so good? It isn’t Shampoo.”

“I don’t know. But I agree, it does smell good.” 😀

(The conversation ended there. It was later on that I got to know about Pheromones and remembered this conversation we had.)

Mall is a sad replacement for these rains, I thought. But not after we entered the mall and veered into the crossword book-store. Time flew as we bonded over books. Well read as he was, he showed me the books he liked, he suggested me some, he narrated some of the stories, his eyes twinkled as he described his book-shelf; a mini library.

During the conversation, he picked two books that I hadn’t read and asked me to pick one for myself. I was over-whelmed for that was the first time someone was gifting me a book. I asked him to choose since I had no clue about the two. He gave a gist of both the books and asked me to choose. Since both seemed interesting, I picked one randomly.

Later, as I was sipping a cup of tea, he spoke of his wanderlust, his experiences, and experiments during his journeys. He suggested places I’d like and he described beautiful sights. His plate was empty and yet, I was sipping my tea. He took the book he gave me and scribbled something in it. As he handed me the book, he said, ‘I have underlined some sentences in this book. Don’t read it beforehand.’ and I kept my word.

I returned home that day with the satisfaction you get only after you meet a close friend. When some people say goodbye and leave, we feel low. But when I dropped him off, I didn’t feel sad. Our bond wasn’t made through meetings. It was through words, letters and conversations. As long as the letters were exchanged, the conversations continued and music prevailed, this bond would exist.

WhatsApp Image 2016-08-07 at 4.46.01 PM2.jpg

While there are those friendships; the ones with lots of backstories of trips, heartbreaks, jokes, pranks and much more, there are some friendships that are subtle yet deep in their roots. One isn’t better or worse than the other. As I mentioned earlier, every friend adds value to you. One need not meet them or talk to them often, face tough or funny situations with them or go on trips. Probably, there are just a few silent moments together, just a few stray words exchanged. The bond speaks for itself.

This post has been written in association with Chaayos & Blogchatter on occasion of Friendship Day

My Black Velvet Unicorn

To the world, I am invisible.
But in my eyes,
I have a world of my own.
Where right & wrong
aren’t the only options.
In my world,
there are in betweens & beyonds.
There is a right for everyone.
And the rights are all respected,
even if they’re disagreed upon.
In my world,
Infinity is just the beginning.
The difference is this.
You see me riding
The broken wooden horse,
While, in fact,
Is my black velvet Unicorn.


In my world, fairy tales are real
And your world is fake.
But if you believe your world is real,
In our world,
We respect your belief.


My World.


Bangalore Calling

100 Happy Days – Day 81

The year began on a really happy note. A trip with friends.

Being a woman from Kerala, there are some of the privileges I haven’t enjoyed and so, my wishlist has got these simple wishes that weren’t easy to fulfill. Yes, ironic it is. Being a woman, certain simple things are hard to get. A few among them were fulfilled during the the second week of Jan in Bangalore.

  • Having food at midnight from a street side stall (Thattukada in Malayalam)
  • Strolling in the city streets after midnight.
  • Going to a pub (The moral police in many of you just woke up and you are judging me with your flaring red eyes, smoke escaping through your ears.)

Let me back up a bit. After our CA Final exams, a few of us decided to go on a trip to Bangalore. Many of our common friends are working there and so, we had to go there! After lots of planning, researching, discussions & creation of whatsapp groups, everything was set. It wasn’t a simple trip with friends. For me, it was an experience;

  • Traveling with tickets that are not confirmed –Three tickets were confirmed, while two were still in RAC status. The numbers were almost close to confirmation and so we hoped they would get through. But unfortunately, even after talking to the TTR, we were in no luck. At times I have wondered how it would be to travel without confirmed tickets. Not bad huh?We started off by playing Dumb Charade and soon the lights were off making it impossible to see anything. We began singing and talking alternatively. After a couple of hours, we tried to sleep; two in one berth which backfired terribly! All of a sudden, all of us were hungry and so; we had bread & aloo bhujia. It isn’t bad, you know! We spread the bhujia on the bread and hogged away.We sat up and with lots of efforts – note the point: only and only due to our efforts – it dawned! :DIt wasn’t difficult after that. Bangalore was nearing and sure enough, we were beginning to feel the cold. The view outside – the sunrise, the green fields, the waters half hidden by fog – was magnificent.
  • Cricket & Kayaking –We met up with the rest of the team exchanged some really loud pleasantries, clicked way too many selfies and reached our first destination, a resort, by lunch time!
    I love cricket and I have always wanted to play. I used to play with my cousins as a child and after that, I didn’t have a chance. And so, the nine of us decided to have a really serious match.  I gave the bowlers strict instruction that they HAD to aim at the bat my hand. 😀
    Amidst the game, we lost the ball to a coconut tree and while two of them went to get another ball, we sat on the floor and played Uno, the way people gambled with playing cards!This was followed by some lovely Kayaking in the pond. I was a bit frightened due to the fact that I didn’t know how to swim. I have rowed in a coracle before and so this wasn’t too difficult. It was super fun when I knew I was closer to the bank. Though these two weren’t on my long term wishlist, they totally got in there and was checked off! 😀

    Kayaking at Urban Valley
    The Captain is in control of the Ship

    For those interested, this was in Urban Valley Resort, Bangalore.

  • Trekking –We had planned on a midnight trekking at Skandagiri. The trip turned out to be a twisted one and that story could wait.
  • Street Food –What do we do when something goes wrong? Eat! We so a couple of roadside stalls and got out to have some tea. This was followed by halting at another location. We had lots of omelettes and some maggi. In this manner, my wish to have street food at midnight was fulfilled. The best part is, when half a dozen hands are tearing one omelette, you really enjoy even that little piece you have had!
  • The Pub –The crowd was nice and it wasn’t too shady in here. We danced for a while, sat for a while and commented on others, again danced when peppy numbers came up, ate something (I have no clue what that was since the others had ordered), danced again and so on. By the time it ended, there were some really amusing events that I shouldn’t mention here. You know, the type where your friends were embarrassed, you rolled on the floor laughing and promised not to tell anyone?
  • The Midnight Food Hunt –My favorite part. We started walking in search of a food joint. A friend was very very hungry and so the walk began. We found some authentic eateries, but apparently they weren’t the type that would satiate his hunger. Anyway, we walked & walked & walked until I sat down on the street. Though it was painful, it was nice. 1 am, not so empty street, five friends, just walking aimlessly; I haven’t experienced that.

Our trip ended with a visit to the Bannerghata Biological Park. My good friend and an awesome blogger Anoop had written about this place in his blog and that is how I got to know about it. It was a day well spent. You don’t always see tigers, leopards, bears, lions & white peacocks. My favorite was the marmoset. We did not click his picture, but I could show you one from the web and you’ll know why I loved him.

Courtesy: BERND SETTNIK / Getty Images via Buzzfeed

Though they belong to the Monkey family, are only around 20cms in length with a huge tail. I wonder how they carry them.

The trip ended well and it gave a fervent start to this year. I do not know what the year has in store for me, but at this moment, I am at peace! 🙂

This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on IndiBlogger for the launch of the #Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors. You can apply for a test drive of the hatchback Zica today.

An Angel With Wrinkles


I held her hand as she took a couple of small, slow steps. She shirked my hand off and then held me.
“It is more comfortable when I hold you.”, she said.

After half a dozen steps, she stopped. She looked at a stall nearby, pointed and asked, “What is that?”

Her eyes were wide with curiosity. Round, wide and beady, twinkling.

“That is the shop with antiques. That must be something they use to adorn the elephants in the temple.”

She was only half listening. Her attention had shifted to another shop. My mother and I were discussing something when I looked around and she was missing. I looked around and found her. At a shop counter. Her hands were on the counter and she was scanning all the objects on the wall one by one. The curious twinkling back in her eyes. She wasn’t here. She was elsewhere. And we let her curiosity be.

When she was out of her reverie, we walked back to our room. I let her hold my hands and walk slowly. One step at a time. She would say every now and then, “My legs are aching.” and stand still for a while and then continue walking.



The bus stopped and a few children got out. Next was my stop. I had to run if I wanted to get down first. I said a hurried ‘bye’ to my friends and then reached the door. There was already a scuffle going on and so I decided to stay out of it. Moments later, the bus turned round the corner and I stood on my toes to get a view of the people waiting in the stop. There she was. Waiting to pick me.

Her day went thus; she woke up, took bath, made breakfast and lunch, when it was time for my school, she would make sure that I was well dressed – the polished shoes, ironed uniform, the belt and badge in place – she braided my hair, prepared my lunch and then took me to the bus stop which was quite far from home. She got back and did all the house chores (the two words comprise of too many things.) When it was time for my school bus to arrive, she would hurry all the way to my bus stop to bring me back home. She did this invariably for about 2-3 years.

On the way back, I’d whine, “My legs are aching.” Sometimes she’d pick me up. But sometimes when she can’t, she would promise to buy me chocolates from the next junction and I’ll happily drag along. Sure enough, I’d get my chocolates.



She walked into the room and saw me eating a chocolate.

“You are eating chocolate without giving me?”, she said

“You don’t like these. They are the bitter, dark ones.”

“Okay” she said sadly.

I fished my bag and found what I was looking for. I scooped out a few toffees and gave two to her. Her face lit up and then she pointed at my other hand.

“Bring those here”, she took two more chocolates.

“They are so tempting.” she said and slowly opened the cover and popped one into her mouth.


“Bring some oranges when you come in the evening, will you? Kondhai loves them.”

“Anu! Can you buy some potatoes? It has been a while since I made potato fry for kondhai.”

“You have been studying for so long. Here, have some ice tea!”

“Ranjiniiii! I have made coffee for you.”

“You should take some break from studies dear. I fear for you. If you study like this , what will happen to that tiny brain of yours? Go take a walk outside.”

“Look at your bed! It is in a state of mess. Why don’t you clean it up?”

“I got some toffees. I have kept them for you.”


Happiness is having an angel and calling her Grandmother ❤

My Ammamma (Grandmother). Ever since I remember seeing her, she has been like this. Silver haired, wrinkled beauty, with a shiny three-stoned diamond nosering that makes her look like the Goddess Mahalakshmi, draped in a cotton saree devoid of even a single crease. When she walks, a fragrance, a mixture of Mysore sandal, Vicco turmeric and baked cookies wafts through the air. That is the smell of home for me.

She was and is my everything and now, I am enjoying her second childhood. Holding her hands and making her walk, taking her to the doctor, buying medicines for her and giving her chocolates. Yet, she never fails to remind who is in control ;). Being the ever loving person she is, she has had a lot of impact on me. She still takes care of her grandchildren as though we are babies. For them, we never really grew up.


A Diary of a Kind

100 Happy Days – Day 76

Happiness is an out of the world Diary

In my previous post, I had mentioned that I received a peculiar diary from my cousin as a gift last year. She knew that I am passionate about writing. being a very thoughtful person, she got me this unique diary. It is called Q&A a day – 365 Questions, 5 Years, 1825 Answers.

This is the note behind the diary

This particular diary has 365 leaves with 5 sections. Each leaf has a question. I must answer these questions every day of the year in the first column. I answer them again the next year in the second column and so on. After five years, I can compare my answers and see the difference.

The questions

You might wonder what these questions are and how could there be 365 different questions. Well, I was astounded when I came across them first. They do have some queer questions I must say.

While some are serious and insightful, some are as simple as ‘what color dress are you wearing today?’ Or this.


And then, you have the ones that would claw you from within and remind you, your priorities.

It had been a while.

Some are for the record of it.


I kept filling the pages until the last two months of 2015 whence, I couldn’t continue. So, I decided to resume writing in there from the beginning of this year. It felt good writing again and hoping to see it filled in the next 5 years.

This diary will remind you of five years of your life. You could compare the answers and know the progress. It might sound strange. But a simple point in it might remind you of a nice event that you thought you had forgotten. This diary will also make a lovely and unexpected gift. I am not sure if this is available in India though. I feel they should make more like these. 🙂

You could also use the five spaces for five members of your family. You won’t be able to use it for five years. But, this is also an alternative. 🙂


The Year in a Capsule

100 Happy Days – Day 75

Happiness is A New Year! Happy New Year!

31st Dec 2015, 11.49 PM

I hear a lot of activity around. The dogs are barking mad since the fireworks have begun. There are a lot of vehicles on road and an ambulance is rushing past. I pray that whoever is in it gets well soon.

As 2015 comes to a close, here I am doing what I love the most; writing. I cannot help but remember where I was 365 days back, at this time. I was on my Lavy (Hero Pleasure) with two friends, exploring the roads of Cochin on New Year Eve. The roads were heavy with traffic and we were wished a Happy New Year a thousand times by random people. We passed through a street whose walls were entirely adorned with lit candles. Later, we had ice cream and reached our room by around 2 am.

Fireworks explode in Marina Bay against the skyline of Singapore during New Year's Day celebrations

And now, I sit here, by my laptop. Look at the difference. The year has been similar too, with its highs and lows.


  • Won a couple of contests and a really big, unexpected one. I still wonder how that happened.
  • Two of my poems were published in the Magazine Writer’s Ezine. You can read them and let me know if you like them.
    One Lie
  • Ventured into freelance writing and wrote for half a dozen entities. I learnt a lot from each experience. Also, rejected some due to exams and I regret that deeply. This is how we learn, right? I know what to do next time I get a lot of work amidst exams. Go for my passion. 🙂 It isn’t as easy as said, but I’ll fight it through.
  • I completed the 30 Days Book Challenge where I discussed various aspects of different books I have read.
  • I began the #100HappyDays challenge, recording my happy moments in my blog. I couldn’t finish it in 100 consecutive days, yet I decided to complete it as and when time permitted. This is one. 🙂
  • Lastly, I changed my ‘Shades of myself’ page. I have been intending to write a proper one for a long time. I made it by the end of 2015.


Not much progress on the CA front.

 I attended my first interview, got the job in one of the hot shot companies. With time, I realised that the corporate life alone would kill me. I realised that more than earning in lakhs, I preferred earning less and having more of ‘Me’ time where I could rejuvenate myself with some art and writing. I learnt what sort of job I shouldn’t take up. 🙂

Random Acts of Kindness

I came across the Flower Granny and with the help of some lovely friends in the Blogosphere, gave her some money to pay off some of her debts. You can read about it here.

I also came across a group of students from USA who decided to buy a toy to a child who was running around in Marine Drive. I stood their watching the kid’s reaction, the students clicking pictures with the kid and when I had the time, I too took a picture. He was very happy. So were we. You can read about it Here.


  • A cousin of mine whom I have never met, visited from US this year. His wife, knowing me through Facebook, gifted me a queer diary. It has 365 leaves with a question on each page to answer every day of the year. There are 5 slots to answer the questions for 5 years and finally compare the answers and see the difference. I absolutely loved it!IMG_20160102_001859.jpg
  • Another cousin who is of the same age as me stayed at home for a couple of weeks. As children, we have craved to be together a lot. But it was never possible. But this time, we enjoyed like never before. This time, I got to know her better and moved a hundred steps closer to her.
  • I was sleeping one evening and my little sister ordered pizza for me from her savings ❤ What more can I say? It was a big moment for me 🙂


  • Went on a trip to Ezhattumugham & ThumbormozhiIMG_20151218_145536.jpg
  • Explored my very own Kochi and even now, I feel like going back there.
  • Read Divergent, Insurgent, Life in the time of Cholera and half of Book Thief this year.

This were just a few among the hundreds of things that turned the hands of the clock this year. How can I not mention the lovely friends I found here? There is one thing about friends from blogging. You could know them too well because they write their hearts out. I have been wanting to know more and become closer to some of them here. I wouldn’t mention names here. Let it happen with time. Hopefully, 2016 would help me with that.

Here is to writing more, making more friends and laughing more. Here is to living! Wishing all my blogger friends and readers a mind-blowing New Year! 😀

Do let me know how yours went by.


PS – The image with the red fireworks is from a compilation of pictures of New Year from celebrations around the world by The Telegraph. You can see the compilation Here.

I’m sharing my #TalesOf2015 with BlogAdda

A Gift that Returned a Smile

100 Happy Days – Day 74

Happiness is finding something you had created many years ago, preserved.

Have you ever wondered what happens to all the gifts you give away? I gift things to see the smile on people’s face when they receive it. I did not know that some day, the same gift could make us smile.

In my previous post, I wrote about my visit to my friend’s place. I had put up a picture of the card we had prepared for her birthday in our college. There was another card given to her in the final year. I decided to keep that one for a separate post. Because, meeting an old friend is a happy memory. Knowing that your gift is preserved carefully by her is another unexpected happy memory. Right?


We painted the chart paper first, drew the pictures in another paper, cut them out and stuck them on the painted chart.

That is all I remember. I had forgotten about this one. But she had preserved the card along with her engagement album. 🙂

The Years Changed, Nothing in Between


As I walked into my room for the first time, she was sitting on a cot. I kept my luggages and looked at her uncertainly.

‘Hi’, she said.

‘Hi’, I answered.

In a few days’ time, we became cot mates. In out hostel, we had a cot for two and we took turns sleeping on the cot and on the floor.

Both of us were Bcom first years, both of us were in the music & bhajans group. We had so much in common except, she was silent & I wasn’t. College unleashed the prankster in me. The real me was out there running about to everyone’s surprise. I have no idea how or why I suddenly became myself. Maybe because, there were so many lovely people who were willing to accept my quirky side. She was one among them.

2nd & final year took us through many ebbs & flows and to our surprise, the room shuffling did not affect us. We both. Just the two of us were in the same room all 3 years while the rest changed. It rarely happens. Most of the students have stayed together for only 2 years.

I found her changing with time. She had her naughty side. She wasn’t silent as we had all thought and before we knew, she was cackling away with us. I’d like to know that I brought out her naughty side. But I’d never know.

In our final year, we were THE seniors and as always, our room was the happiest, noisiest and the most happening room for the punishments.

We used to discuss about how she would visit Kerala and how beautiful the place is. Towards the end of every year, I used to force her to come to Kochi. She would agree and never come.

We used to bunk certain sessions and prepare Haldiram’s bhel puri & eat during that time. We used to switch off the lights and prepare the food using torchlight to avoid being caught by the warden.

We had a “Pichakkari Rock Band” where we used to hold dust pan, broom (our guitar and mic) and sing some really weird songs we composed and dance on the cot. Don’t ask me what pichakkari means.

We used to enact how exactly I will be meeting the love of my life. God! We used to look stupid. To satiate your curiosity, I was supposed to meet him in a temple. There was a song sequence after that.

We found two kittens in our hostel. She took one and I took one. She named hers Poona & I named mine Poocha. They mean cat in Tamil & Malayalam respectively. We used to walk around the hostel with the kittens in our hands.

We used to sit on the floor and pretend to be carnatic singers giving a concert. We used to spread Vibhuthi (Sacred ashes) on our foreheads – three horizontal lines like the sages – fold a towel and place it on our right shoulder like the ideal carnatic singers and then commence with, “ek… ek… chathuranaar, karke singaar”. There used to be unnecessary emphasis on the ‘R’s. I wonder how our seniors bore us.

Image courtesy:

We also had our own Bhajan sessions where we sang ‘Kambaqt ishq’ as a bhajan. Don’t try to imagine anything. It really did sound like a bhajan though. We had this huge hardbound notebook that we used like a harmonium and another one that we used like Ganjira and some more crazy friends who pretended to sing after us.

She was my partner in crime and craziness. She had a soft toy dog named Rocky. She was very very very fond of him. She used to hold him close and sing,’O Rocky re… tere bina bhi kya jeena.’ 😀

After all those lovely days we parted our ways. Soon after college she got married, and once when I called her up, she told me in that very same childish tone of hers, “Ranju, I’m going to have a baby.” She said so like a baby and I’m sure no one could ever put it so sweetly. I was so happy for her and wondered how she would look after her baby when she herself was one.

100 Happy Days – Day 73

Happiness is meeting up with a long time friend

She never came to Cochin. But I used to know about her daughter from her. A doll, she was. Finally, fed up of calling her, I visited her. When I reached Bangalore, that was the first thing in my mind. I went to her house, met her husband, a very amiable person and her daughter, she is one angel like her mother. 🙂

She cooked lunch and I had hot and yummy Aloo Parathas and since it was Thiruvathira, she had also made Puzhukku which was also very delicious. Her daughter Oviya (a beautiful name meaning art) wasn’t very drawn to food and her mother took around 2 hours to feed her. My doubts had vanished by then. You don’t have to grow up to look after a baby. It was all the more better if you were a child.

She hadn’t changed at all with respect to looks and behaviour. She was the very same person I said goodbye to in our campus on the last day. I asked her about Rocky and she said that, in college, she had gotten Rocky married to our roommate’s doggy and send him with her. I do not remember that at all. Hope they are living happily with their puppies. 😀

She showed me her engagement album and also the birthday cards we had given to her during college. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I had painted them and I don’t remember how. I wouldn’t be able to do something like that now.

Shameless boasting: I painted and drew most of them with my roommates’ help 🙂

We spoke about college, life after college, about Ovi; the child liked Ranju aunty a lot! When she realised that I was about to leave, she kept saying, ‘Stay here. Stay here.’ She made me sit down and refused to let me get up. When I finally walked out, she held my hand and said bye to Mamma & Pappa. 😀 We told her that I was going to the doctor and that I will be back soon. That was when she let me go.

As we parted, she also gave me a gift. It was so very unexpected and over-whelming. It was a beautiful dress material she had purchased. She asked me to choose from two and I was confused since both looked beautiful. I asked her to choose and she did. Every time I look at it, I remember those three years and that day in her house, not that I need a token to remember them all.

Never Compare Those Trees

She gaped at the tree so tall and sturdy, the stars and the lights shimmered in her eyes. The shiny colorful balls hanging, the candy canes,  the presents wrapped and left so carelessly beneath the tree, She looked at them all and her eyes widened with awe. Not for too long though, for she looked away. She stood there thinking for a while. The tiny marigold plant, they called the Christmas tree, drooped from the weight of the tattered, colored paper ribbons. It wasn’t even a quarter of this tree.

She sighed. She had always wanted to have those huge, green, plastic trees, to climb atop the branches and hang the different shapes and colors. But they were poor. Mamma had to earn all alone for her and her three sisters. She walked past the house, longing for those balls of happiness, looking back now and then, as though she might own them at her will.

I watched her looking at my huge plastic Christmas tree. I couldn’t bear the sight and so, I decided to follow her sans her knowledge.

We turned the corner twice and the road became steep. We walked a mile further and then she stopped in front of a tiny hut. She opened the tiny wooden gate. I gaped in awe at all the marigold blooms. Her hut was lit with yellows and oranges solely from the marigold plants that had spread around. As my eyes traced the plants one by one, they fixed on a particularly large one with color papers and bits of confetti hanging from the tiny branches.

She ran to her golden Christmas tree, opened the tiny ball of paper she was holding, took out some broken balls and stars and adorned her tiny tree with them. I gaped without tearing my eyes off the field of yellows. I yearned for a marigold. I did not have a single plant at home, for there was no space in my apartment.

I’d prefer a hundred marigold Christmas trees to the single plastic one I had. For nothing could beat the feeling of real things around you. Plastics are just that. Unreal.

I walked to the shop nearby. I could hear the carols playing in the background. I bought some balls, bells and stars of different colors, tiny Santas and snowmen too. I gathered them all and walked to her hut. There she was, arranging the broken balls.


She turned around and recognised me, “Hi”

“I was passing by and noticed that you have a lovely Christmas tree here. But, the stars and bells seem to be broken. I have some extra Christmas decorations left and I have no room in my tree. Do you mind decorating all the marigolds with these?”

“But Christmas is over. I was just hanging some things I found in the street, just the bits and pieces. We generally decorate the trees before Christmas. I don’t think I’ll need anymore. Thank you.”

Her answer came out gradually. A reply well thought of.

“Do you still see decorated trees around the neighborhood?”, I asked softly.


“If Christmas is over, they should have taken them all down. Right?”

“Yes. But…”

“Christmas doesn’t get over in a day dear. It is a feeling. You can choose to keep it as long as you want. Similarly, you can choose to decorate your tree whenever you want.” I said, extending the packets.

She looked at my hands and then back at me. A smile spread across her face. Then came the suspicious look.

“Are you sure that you don’t want them? My mother tells me that I shouldn’t trouble anyone.”

“Oh! I am very sure. If you don’t take these, I’ll leave them in the cupboard. They’ll turn sad and lonely. Besides, I am the one asking  you a favour and troubling you, right? Won’t you help me use them?”

“When you put it that way, erm… I will take them.” she said. “Mamma wouldn’t say no to that. Mamma says we should help everyone.”

She took them from me and wobbled as she walked. There were too many for her tiny arms. She placed them near the plants and then turned to look at me.

“Thank you so much.”, she was beaming.

“Can I ask you for another favour?” I asked.


“Can I join you in decorating all the trees?”

“Yes! It will be fun. I will call my sisters too.”


Image courtesy: Here

She ran inside and called the others. We decorated all the plants around her hut. They brought some light bulbs with only a few working lights. I ‘remembered’ I had some lonely lights at home and brought them some. After an hour of shouts, laughter, joy and giggles, I stood in a heaven. I do not remember a Christmas more beautiful and lively. Their hut seemed to nestle amidst a thousand colored fireflies. I do not remember seeing children so gay and happy. They invited me inside and insisted that I have some soup.

That night, as I walked back home, my heart brimming with joy, thinking of all the tiny happy faces and giggles, I resolved to spend every Christmas this way. “Mamma look! Our trees look the best in the neighborhood!” the girl had cried. She was right. Her happiness was contagious.

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer was playing in my head. I was the Santa for those children and those children were tiny Santas for me.


Image courtesy: Here

I reached home and looked at my plastic Christmas tree. It wasn’t too bad. I pined for some real plants in my apartment. But it was too small and I had no time to water them. This tree is what compensates for their absence. I wondered about how our desires differed. Those who had real things around them preferred the unreal ones and vice versa.

I sighed and smiled. I was about to retire to bed when I heard a thud outside. I went to the balcony and looked around. There was nothing there. As I was about to go in, I heard it again. And then, some swishing. My eyes gradually accustomed to the darkness and I saw it. My neighbours were dragging a pine tree across the road.

Before Christmas, they had chopped the pine tree from the woods nearby. I remembered it standing tall in their courtyard with all the shimmering decorations and lights. Now that Christmas was over for them, they were discarding it, in the same woods. They took it alive and abandoned it dead. They left it there and walked away and I saw the tears. I saw the blood where it had been chopped. Dried blood. I smelled the sorrow and heard the shivers in the cold of the night. I watched the tree die in the dark and closed the curtains.

I walked back to my plastic tree and smiled. At least I did not kill anyone this Christmas. I valued this plastic tree more than I did, few minutes ago.

It is how you treat a Christmas tree after Christmas that defines who you are.



PS – It has been very long since I wrote a short story. This is a happy moment for me and hence, goes into my,

100 Happy Days – Day 72

Happiness is writing short stories


Found my Christmas Lights

In the earlier post, I mentioned about how Christmas is important to me. There was a twist in the tale though. On 22nd, I was informed that I should accompany my sister to Bangalore for a training. At first, it sounded like a good option. But gradually, I realised that I will have nothing to do in Bangalore, all my Cochin based Bang settled friends will be coming home for vacation and my sister will have classes all day. Even then, it’s just Bangalore! I could do something, right?

We reached on 24th morning. It was Christmas eve. My sister left for her classes. We got accommodation in the college guest house which looked like a deserted, haunted place. The windows faced an empty basketball court and the all the rooms in the floor were locked except ours.

I spent half the day doing this & that abd after lunch, decided to take a look around the area. It looked nothing like the city. Well, the city is 20kms away. This was one of the rural areas of Bangalore. With time I realised that even some of the residents haven’t heard of the place much. Which also meant that I was far far away from them. My hopes were coming down. I couldn’t think of spending 6 days like this.

I had brought two books and a laptop. It wouldn’t be too bad. Besides, my sister had told me that we could get wifi here. It was still okay. With wifi, books & my blog, I wouldn’t have a problem! I slept during the rest of the afternoon until my sister came back.

“They are asking us to shift to the next block in a room with another girl. We are the only occupants in this entire building. If we want to, we could stay here.”

I didn’t want to share a room. But, it wasn’t safe inside a deserted building. Specially when the room didn’t have an attached bathroom. So we decided to shift. We were taken to the said room and suddenly, it felt better. This room seemed more lively and there were people around. We decided to go out for a walk.

The girl whose room we were sharing had asked me, “Do you celebrate Christmas?”

I said we do.

“There are a lot of Christians in Kerala and Goa right?”

“Yes there are. Do you celebrate?”

“No. We don’t”

I knew the answer already. That is why I did not tell her that not only the Christians, but all of us celebrated. I wanted to tell her how beautiful it is. But I knew that she wouldn’t understand. I’d just be giving her some boring lectures. So I didn’t pursue the conversation.

I settled in the cot next to the window and slept early. I will wake up to Christmas the next day. Christmas with no lights and sound. I missed my Christmas tree.

The streets of Cochin dance with rice lights. All the buildings are decorated like brides. You don’t know where to look these days. Year after year, the decorations keep increasing. The streets look all the more beautiful after the rains. The raindrops shimmer around the lights, the cool breeze tickles your ear and you smell Christmas in the air. Every 10 feet presents you with tiny shops that sell stars. Stars in the shape of stars, in the shape of balls and some in the shape of supernova – pretty much an exploded look. There are also a wide variety of christmas trees for sale – green, gold, silver, green with whites for snow that appear and disappear alternatively.

By 20th of December, almost every commercial building and many of the houses have stars hung before them. Santa Clauses hired by huge companies dance to the tune of drums and attract customers. Some have statues of Santa Claus built. You could also see the trees beautifully decorated outside most of the buildings. Some homes simply decorate a huge plant or a random tree. I find that amusing. I like how they find the same happiness without purchasing a Christmas tree. I used to do that. 🙂

I woke up today, 25th December in Bangalore and forgot that it was Christmas. When I remembered, there was no one to wish. I called up my mother and wished her. I have plans for tomorrow. But today, will be just another day. I had breakfast, received so many wishes and replied to them all. I felt like the room was beginning to stink. Since it was cold, we didn’t bother to open the windows. I cleaned up the room and opened the windows.

I smiled.

I opened the next.


There were my Christmas lights.

My christmas lights

If I were to forget that I was in Bangalore, I’d definitely have thought that this is Kerala. The windows faced few trees of which one had yellow-pink flowers blossoming all over. The sunlight was filtering through the leaves and I could listen to the birds chirping. I switched off all the lights and watched as the window swallowed the entire sunlight.

I didn’t have any christmas trees. I didn’t have the rice lights or decorations. I couldn’t listen to the carols. But it was still okay.

I had many trees with the sunlight adorning them so beautifully. I heard the birds chirping and suddenly I felt like I was close to home. This isn’t what christmas looks like. But it sure looks like home. 🙂 I just had to open the windows.

You can see those tiny flowers on the left

Anoop tagged me for the #itsStillOkay challenge and this is my post for the same. I’m defying the rules since I’m posting from my phone. Please feel free to take up the challenge on the topic, It’s still okay.

Much Love

Malls & Friends

100 Happy Days – Day 62

Unlike other post exam days, this time, a lot has been happening. I have already gone out three times to meet friends and it has been crazy. To start with, the next day after exams, we roamed inside a half deserted mall – Gold souk. Somehow, in spite of being on the highway, it is almost always deserted. I’d blame the idea of placing all the Gold shops in a mall where bankrupt youngsters go for hanging out. Why would any school/college students or an unemployed youngsters want to visit a mall full of Gold?

During this week, another group of ours met up in the legendary Lulu mall of Kochi. Finally, I stepped into Costa Coffee (Had been craving to go there). You must be wondering what stopped me until now. When friends are willing to give us treats in expensive places, we barely say ‘No’ ;). Jokes apart, I would have said it was unnecessary, but I was the last one to reach the mall and they had already chosen the place. I had no choice you see? 😉

After a couple of hours filled with laughter, reminiscence, coffees, chilled drinks and pastries, we parted. Only to meet the next day. I was making up for all the lost days, you know!

The next day, we were on an entirely different level and in a different place – The Central Mall. People are flocking into this haven mainly because of their gaming section. Bowling and air hockey is what pulls me, while the metro construction right outside the mall repels me. But that day, I had to go. We clicked umpteen number of selfies in such a manner that, the word selfie was the trigger to click. If anyone said ‘selfie!’, a picture was taken. No matter how scattered we were, all ran and posed before the phone. 😀

Here We Are!!!

This wasn’t all, we also began our plans for a Bangalore trip scheduled for Jan 2016. If not anything, the New Year will start on a happy note.

A Boy, a Toy and the Smiles

I can’t get the image out of my head. The boy looked at her, as she extended the bright yellow thing towards him. There was an unsure smile on his lips, a glint in his eyes and disbelief etched all over his face. He looked at the thing in her hand – A brand new truck – and then again, at her. He then looked at the rest of the group.

“This is for you.”, she said lovingly.

He didn’t understand a word.

“Take it! It is for you.”

Two more from the group knelt down and asked him to take it. He must have understood. He turned to look at his mother. She stood a few feet away from him, smiling. She nodded her consent. He looked at the toy and slowly extended his hands. When the toy was entirely in his possession, a brilliant smile bloomed across his face. If he were a star, he would have been the brightest. The exuberance, the gratitude, the excitement were all clear from his face. Only if I could capture that moment with all its glory…

He looked at all those unfamiliar faces smiling down at him, saying things in a tongue he couldn’t understand. The kind lady asked him, “Do you like it?”

He looked at his mother and then back at the lady, smiling all the while. A boy from the group asked, “Can we take your picture?”

“Yes! Let us click a picture together”

“Come on.”

As one of them took his camera out, the child seemed to understand. He stood up and smiled. They all gathered around him and clicked some pictures. The moment the snaps were taken, he stood on his toes trying to peep into the camera.

“He wants to see the picture. ”


“Show him the picture.”, someone piped in.

The boy who took the snap, knelt down and began showing him the pics. The little boy excitedly pointed at his image in the photo.

My sister and I were watching this from a distance. I was touched beyond measure. A bunch of students from overseas had come here, to Cochin. There was a little boy in old clothes and unkempt hair running around. As they walked through marine drive, they must have seen this child. What happened then?

Probably someone said, “Look at that kid. He is so cute.”
And then another must have said, “Why don’t we buy him something?”

Or, he must have been looking longingly at the toys in a stall nearby. And then, one of them must have decided to buy him one.

Probably, one of them had a policy of ‘One good deed every day’ and they just chanced upon this boy.

Whatever the reason, I thank the blessed moment that inspired them.

I found myself walking forward and asking, “Do you mind if I take a picture of you all with the boy?”

“Sure! No problem!”

I took a snap.

The students and the boy
The students and the child

“Thank you so much. Where are you all from?”


As I walked away, I couldn’t stop smiling. I am sure that apart from the boy, my sister and myself, there were many others who were equally heartened seeing this. It isn’t a life changing event. I agree. But it is one that brings a smile. After all, isn’t life made of little things and tiny smiles?

On our way back, I went to the boy. He was playing with his truck. I asked him if I could take a photo and showed my phone. He smiled and sat still with the toy ready to be captured. I took the picture and once I lowered the phone, he came running. I showed him the snap and he grabbed the phone. He looked at it for a while and handed the phone back. His mother who was selling something nearby, came to me & smiled. I thanked her and left.

That smile :)
That smile 🙂

I have looked at these snaps a hundred times. But, I still can’t get that image out of my head. The one etched in my memory. The one where his unsure smile, the glint in his eyes and disbelief transformed into pure bliss.

I don’t know those students. I don’t know that boy. But of all the times, of all the days and of all the places, I was at Marine drive, Kochi at 6 PM on that particular day when some students from West came to East and gifted a toy to a child. I wasn’t there by chance. I believe I was there to tell the story. 🙂

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.

PS: The image has been shared after obtaining the consent.

And I am not proud of it!

100 Happy Days – Day 55

Happiness is childhood. Childhood is happiness.

Today, R, my favorite friend is here with a guest post. This is the first guest post in my blog and I am proud to say that she has come up with a brilliant one. I would say no more. Please give a big round of applause for Aaaarrr!!!

I cannot do this in my blog because they all know me. I decided to do a guest post here since I am faceless. These are my confessions. You have no idea what you are about to read. I don’t know what you will think of me after you are finished. (Do I want to know?)

Note: If you have children below the age of 10 years, please make sure they don’t read this. If they do, it is at your own risk.

I would have left by the time you finish reading this.

  1. I used to stand behind the TV and sing to see if I would come on screen. Once my grandmother saw me sneaking behind the television and asked me what I was doing.
    “Looking for the ball.” *Innocent smile*
  2. When I listened to my recording on the tape, I thought I was on Radio. 😀 (Oh come on! That sounds reasonable!)
  3. We use brooms made from palm tree leaves. The spine of the leaves are all tied together to make a broom. When I was 2 years old, I used to stealthily get hold of the broom, untie the thread that held the sticks together, see the sticks fall one by one because it was a lovely sight. And then, run away.
    This is how a broom made of palm leaves look


  4. I must have been 3 years old. I used to dig out mud from the backyard, pour water in it, make balls out of them, pluck some leaves, place each of those balls on the leaves, in a line and leave it there. I did this everyday as though that was my job. Once, when my grandmother, tired of throwing them, asked me what they were, I said they were rat poops. 😀 Just laugh okay!? I too would like to know what that ‘Me’ was doing then.
  5. I painted a lot during those days. I kept all my precious paintings – which were in par with Picasso’s – in a cover. I saved them all and when I had quite a lot (over 20 masterpieces), I vaguely remember taking them to my neighbor’s house, to sell. I marketed them quite well. The price was Rs. 10 for a painting. Dammit! Why didn’t my parents stop me?
  6. I used all K.S Chitra’s and Yesudas’s song cassettes to record my melodious voice. I spoilt every possible cassette at home. I not only sang. I talked. I recorded things simply when someone was having a conversation. This was the talk of the house for the next 10 years.
  7. News headlines: “The princess of wales – Diana – passed away”Me: What? The princess? Are there real princesses? And that too of whales? Wow! I kept asking my father to repeat what he said. I asked him to explain. He said that Diana was the ‘princess of whales’. The previous day, she had died. I sat there wide eyed, finally happy that all that I read were coming true. There were princesses after all! And if whales had princesses, there should be mermaids. Right? I imagined a crowned whale and felt a gush of joy.63928129
  8. “Hellooo! Aww you are a sweet girl there. No. No. You have got me wrong. We don’t pull out teeth here. First, I’ll keep this ointment on your gums. After that, I’ll place this cotton. In a while, your teeth will melt. There would absolutely be no pain.”The dentist began to apply the ointment with so much care. It took a while and at some point of time, it hurt a leeeettle bit. He said that it hurt due to the numbing feeling that the ointment gave. Once he applied it, he kept a cotton there.“There! You are good to go! Now, your teeth will melt. You can go.”

    I was wonder-struck. If there was such an easy method to remove teeth, why did my parents take me to dentists you wrenched them out? We were outside the dentist’s and I was prepared for my well-deserved ice cream. I asked my mother whether the teeth would have melted. She asked me to check. I removed the cotton and felt the place with my tongue and let out a gasp.

    “Amma! The teeth melted. Daddy look! The teeth melted!”

    I believed so until a few years back for a while. One fine day I remembered this incident and realized where I was tricked. Well, I am definitely not proud of it. 😛

  9. In my painting class, my Sir drew an eggplant, painted it so well that it looked so real. He asked me to draw and paint one below his painting and show him. And so, I began.I drew the outlines, slowly and neatly.Perfect!

    I dipped my paint brush in water and spread some water on the drawing as he had taught me.


    I dipped the brush in the paint and started from one side of the eggplant. Due to the presence of too much water, it spread beyond the borders.

    Oh! No problem! Extending the border a little bit wouldn’t hurt.

    I took some more paint and painted the entire egg plant.

    The paint on the other side seems to have spread. Extend the border little more.


    Extend the border.




    Now, do I really have to tell you what became of my eggplant painting? A purple pumpkin?

  1. I had this kitten craze when I was 4 years old or so. We found a stray kitten and I wanted to keep her. The name hunt was going on, so was some show on the TV. I asked my Grandmother what the name of the singer was.MinminiMinmini!!! That sounds so kitteny! Minmini it is! We did name her that. I gave no other choice. Thank God Amitabh Bachhan wasn’t on screen then. 😛
  1. I cut my beautiful mermaid doll’s hair. Just a little bit. Because, I loved cutting hair. I loved the sound of scissors against hair and someday, I wanted to become a ‘hair cutter’. Next week, I again cut my mermaid’s hair. This went on until, I was curious to know what was at the other end of the hair. I chopped off the mermaid’s entire hair to find a not so interesting sight. I hid the doll ‘well’ under my cupboard. But my Mom cracked my ‘well thought of’ hiding place. How did she? 😛 But that wasn’t the sad part. The doll’s hair didn’t regrow as I had expected it to 😛
  2. When I was 5, my mother went to get me a puppy. She asked me to think of a name for ‘it’. Since I didn’t know whether it was going to be a she/he, I decided to lookout for both the names. I took a paper, divided it into two. Wrote Girl on one side and Boy on the other. I wrote Scooby as the first name under Boy and then thought and thought and thought. After a long time, I finished the list and gave it to my mother.She laughed, hugged me and said, “You cannot give your classmates’ name for your dog. Just imagine if Meera gets to know that you named your dog after her, she will be very very angry.”“Aww… But I did not get any other names. So I wrote down all my classmates’ names alphabetically so that you can choose from them.”

    In my defense, we did not name the dog after my classmates. Okay?

Now, do not judge. This girl, R, was naughty as hell. I agree. But when her sister listens to these stories, she feels jealous because R was such an interesting child. Well, R is not proud of all this, but you should also know that she has grown up to be a very beautiful, smart and caring human being. I know her very well. And I’m telling you. She is one awesome person. Very sweet.

And charming.


Oh! She loves Chocolates! More than me!

Her favorite color is Purple

And she is crazy about Harry Potter. 


Day 35 – Watching Harry Potter Movies Back to Back

100 Happy Days – Day 35

Happiness is a Harry Potter Marathon – Sisters only!

How many of you have things that you do with your siblings only? Have you done them together any time recently?

It took me a while to realize that my sister won’t be with me forever. When she was 6 years old, I left for my higher studies and we were apart for 5 years. I came back and slowly we started bonding. We couldn’t do many things together because either of us were busy. We made lists and plans of things we should do together. Now, as we started doing them, the tables turned.

She completed her schooling and in another 18 days, she will leave for her college. It does make my heart sink. But we decided to make the maximum use of the time we have. This is where the Harry Potter marathon enters the scene.

Not exactly the marathon you think. It will not be possible for us to do a 19 hour Harry Potter marathon, watching all the 8 movies in a row. Mainly because, we are not alone at home. It becomes difficult when there are other people. But hopefully someday, we will do it.

Right now, we are watching the movies continuously but not strictly in a row. We stop when we want to, and resume the next day. I had gone to the supermarket, bought drinks, nachos, biscuits, cup cakes, chips etc and filled our cupboard. After midnight, we began watching the movies. Yesterday, we watched until half of Chamber of secrets.


Harry Potter – both books and movies – is an important part of our lives. I was the one who forced my sister to read the books. Needless to say she loved them. We went for some of the movies together. We often talk about all the characters, the unfortunate events. We share the fan fictions that are really touching. Sometimes, we go hours and hours, discussing Harry Potter, the characters, the plot, some revelations. There was one point of time when we kept talking and both of us were moved to tears as though we were talking about a close family.


That is how it is for us. Our close family. Or rather, a friend that brought us close.

Many things reminds us of our siblings. In my case, Harry Potter will be one. This will be a memory she will be taking for herself and leaving for me. We also took an unbreakable vow. In future, wherever we are, we will meet every year to watch Harry Potter together.

I know many siblings who don’t even call each other. It might be ego problems or tiny misunderstandings or sometimes, due to lack of time. But if you were close once, you can be close again. All you need to do is relive those days. Pick those moments you had fun, do those things you did together, give a call, send a message, look at those albums for heaven’s sake. Time is flying. My baby sister is going to college. Our siblings are moving apart. Don’t let them go. Keep them in your heart and keep in touch.

Watching Harry Potter Movies will be our way. What about yours?

PS – I call her Rosta and she calls me Bisista 😀