School begins -Violin episode

It was great to see both my kids get up, make their lunch and get ready ahead of time for their first day back to school. My daughter starts middle school. No wonder she was very excited.

She looked up her schedule and saw that today she has orchestra. She looked for her violin and it was not in the usual places. This time Mommy was guilty of misplacing it. She put the viloin in the back seat of my car. “Mommy, drop me off today. I have a ton of school supplies to carry.” “Sure, no problem,” I smiled.

My son decided to walk with his stuff. He had his backpack, violin and folder. There was no room to carry his water bottle. I thought for a bit. The water fountains will have to do the job.

I parked near the curb. If I get inside the school, it is easy to get stuck behind a line of cars. Besides, sometimes they close some of the access ways and make things quite tough. My daughter picked up her school bag, lunch box and water bottle. “Have a great day sweetie!” I loved her sweet and excited smile when she waved back to me.

I  merged back into the traffic and drove through the back roads, enjoying the lovely backdrop of mountains. I reached my office in less than 10 mins. I got my laptop from the backseat of my car and saw the violin sitting in its case smiling mockingly at me. “So you thought you could start your day early ? ”

I sighed. I could go back immediately but decided against it. I walked to my office with my things. I got settled down. Then I thought that the violin cannot stay in the back on the car all day. It will get hot. The instrument will be toast.

I grabbed my keys and drove back to the school. I dropped it at the front desk and mentioned my daughter’s name. “They might not need it today. I ‘ll keep it just in case, ” the lady at teh front desk said. “I guess she can pick it up on her way out,” I added. “Yes, ” she smiled. “I have five others here,” pushing the violin her her desk.

As I left, I had a weird feeling. Are the violins going to get mixed up and go to different students? My daughter did not put her name on hers. Should I go back and take it home? I had a brain freeze. I did not know what to do. Then I took a deep breath and went back to work.

Why do things happen as they do ?



The World versus I

Everyone is funny, I am sad
Everyone is good, I am bad

Everyone stand close, I stay far
Everyone is at peace, I am at war

Everyone is gorgeous, I am plain
Everyone is smart, I am insane

Everyone is right, I am wrong
Everyone is together, where do I belong?

Everything is great, I am small
Everything is God, creator of all.


The Sweet Spot

When one walked by this pretty neighborhood in the suburb of Denver, Colorado, it was hard to miss a round black mark on the sidewalk. Many men and women stepped on it during their walk or jog. It got scorched under the hot sun rays. It got wet under rain and snow. The perfect mark, Dot, as he named himself, smiled at everyone and everything.

Dot felt sad one day. He had lost his own spots. It made him pout. He used to have three shiny white spots. Over the years, the dirt on the shoes may have made the white spots, gray. When the sun melted the rubber, maybe the colors blended with each other over time. Who knows what really happened.  After a heavy rain on that June afternoon, Dot looked at his reflection on the leaves of the nearby bush. To his dismay, he could not see his white spots anymore! What if people thought he was plain? His whole world was falling apart.

Dot could not help remember that fateful day when he lost his friend. He used to be Joe’s favorite bouncy ball. Many summers ago, Joe was bouncing him around happily when Dot fell into the fire pit. The fire pit was extremely hot. Joe’s family was having a BBQ party in the backyard. Joe noticed it right away and asked for help. However, it was too late. By the time Joe’s father brought the tongs and tried to pick up Dot, he was all gooey.  Joe cleaned the tongs with a paper towel and kept him near his chair. A sudden wind blew the paper towel to the sidewalk and Dot got stuck there.

He had felt alone that day but he still had his shiny spots. Dot felt lost without his spots. He prayed to be a bouncy ball once again. He could then roll anywhere to look for his spots. Before long, he got kicked by a frustrated man. Dot rolled on the sidewalk at a fast speed. He looked around carefully at the familiar backyards, the patios the trees and bushes. Unfortunately, he could not see his spots anywhere. Finally, he rolled off the sidewalk into a roadside puddle. Barely afloat, in the cold water, he thought he smelled BBQ sauce.

Dot prayed to go back in time when he had played with Joe. Before long he was in the midst of half a dozen boys on a wrought iron table. Dot looked so fine with his shiny white spots. Every boy was reaching forward, trying to get a hold of him. At that moment, Dot felt complete. Happiness filled his heart and tears trickled down his cheeks. He knew he could not stop time but he could always relive it. No matter what happened to him, he would always find his sweet spot!

The Best Food

A few days back my friend on facebook, for shared her delicious aloo paratha story and “recipe”. She inspired me to share my experience of “the most delicious food ever”.
This was about 14 years back. At that time, I had suffered a miscarriage and going a little crazy about trying to be a mom. My husband gave me a precious advice. “Let’s take a break.” We planned a trip to northern India with my parents. We arrived at Delhi by air. Next few days we visited the tourist spots in Delhi. We also took a rental car and drove to Agra to see the beautiful Taj Mahal and Fatehpur sikri. Our next stop was Hardwar. Early in the morning, we took the Shatabdi express towards Dehradun. It was a relatively comfortable few hours journey. We reached Hardwar at around noon. After lugging our baggage to a suitable taxi, we “anaris” took a while to find our humble “hotel”.
Needless to say, we were very hungry. We went for what was readily available. We unpacked and changed a few minutes before the steaming hot

We unpacked and changed a few minutes before the steaming hot baturas  and chana came in medium sized stainless steel plates, directly to our room. We were earlier chatting about our trip so far. As soon as the food arrived hush fell upon the room. We dived upon the plates like a group of hyenas and experienced the most delicious food I have ever tasted. It was a few minutes before we even acknowledged how good it tasted.

Nothing more than feelings

“Of all the relationships, friendships are created by our own choice,” observed a friend one day. We all have friends. Some are more special than others. School friends are among those special ones. The bonding that grows in the innocent hearts is deep-rooted. My cousin sister and her best friend have known each other since their elementary school.

Nowadays, we have Facebook “friends” too. The posts are more visible when your friends like them. When my cousin sister liked her friend’s posting, I saw it too. He had posted a picture of Irfan Khan ( the main actor in the movie Life of Pi) and Aishwariya Rai ( an actress and  former Miss World). There was a line on top of the picture. It said “That Awesome Dialogue”. Aishwariya was wearing a formal pant suit, smiling sweetly at Irfan. Irfan was wearing a dark Pathan suit, looking straight ahead. He had a faraway look on his face. Below the picture was a dialogue in Hindi: “Woh Mohabbat Thi Issi Liye Jaane Diya. Agar Zid Hoti To Bahon Mein Hoti.” She was my love that is why I let her go. If it was an obsession, then she would be in my arms.

The words described a lovely emotion. Love is perhaps the most generous human feeling. I immediately clicked the “Share” button. There was another line, hiding at the very bottom of  the picture that I completely missed even when the post appeared on my timeline. In a few mins, my namesake and school friend from first grade “reacted” to the posting. It made me smile. Then she also posted a comment for me. “Which movie is this dialogue from?” she asked. “Oops, why didn’t I see that coming?” I was stumped. Honestly, I didn’t know. “I loved the emotions expressed in those words and so I shared the post,” was my feeble explanation.  There were no further comments on the post at that time.

“I wish I knew which movie dialogue it was.But I don’t have leisure time to watch Hindi movies,” I thought. As a working mother in the US, I am swamped with my daily routine. Family, work and socializing with friends hardly leaves me with any time to relax. Even when we do watch movies as a family, Hindi movies and chick flicks get turned down by other family members.

The chance finally came. One Sunday afternoon at my friend’s house, a few of my friends and their spouses gathered in the family room after lunch. We decided to watch a Hindi movie. Everyone was talking excitedly as if we were kids again. My friend had subscribed to Indian channels through her network provider. We were trying to decide what to watch, flipping through the list of DVR recordings.

One friend suggested, ” Let’s watch this one, Jabaaz.” “It’s not Jabaaz. The name of the movie is Jodgeba. I have watched it” chimed in another friend. We looked at her surprised. We had never heard that word before. I read the letters on the TV screen: “J-A-Z-B-A-A”. Her husband promptly corrected her, “The correct pronunciation is Jazbaa!” “Is it any good? ” I asked her.”I liked it, ” she smiled. “Let’s watch it then,” suggested another friend.

The movie Jazbaa was a suspense thriller! The hero, Yohan, played by Irfan Khan, was an intelligent police officer who stopped at nothing to catch criminals. Not surprisingly, he became a victim of the politics and corruption in the law and order system. He finally got suspended for refusing to take bribes.

Apart from his job, which was his passion, he spent time with his friend  from his school days, Anuradha Verma, played by Aishwariya Rai.

Anuradha was an accomplished lawyer and a single mother. Her marriage broke up when her husband asked her to abort her first unborn girl-child. She decided to raise the girl on her own. The story took an interesting turn when Anuradha’s  daughter, Sanaya, got kidnapped. The plot thickened when we realized that the kidnapper was linked to a murder case. Anuradha was forced to take the case defending a criminal Niyaaz Shaikh charged with rape and murder of a young artist, Sia. The kidnapper’s deal was that Sanaya would be returned if Niyaaz was set free.

Yohan loved his friend and her daughter. He broke all the rules to rescue Sanaya from the revenge-hungry kidnapper.

The last part of the movie kept us on our toes as several surprises sprung up. Luckily, Anuradha’s life could go back to normal. Yohan left his police job and started a restaurant in a remote place. In the last scene of the movie, Anuradha visits Yohan and invites him to come over sometime. When she leaves, Yohan’s kitchen helper asks him “Why did you let her go?”

My heart missed a beat when I heard  “that awesome dialogue” that I had seen on Facebook, three months ago! “Wow! What an answer Yohan!!” I thought. I went back to my Facebook timeline. I almost blinked when I saw the last line, staring at me mockingly this time. It said: “by Irfan Khan in Jazbaa”.


List of meanings of non-English words:

Jazbaa [ Urdu word for emotions]

Jodgeba [ Mispronounced word with unknown meaning]

Jabaaz [Urdu word which means adventurous]

Yohan [ Hebrew word which means God remits]

Anuradha [ Sanskrit word for a bright star]

Sanaya [ Arabic word for dazzling light]

Niyaaz[Arabic word for desire]

Sia [Hebrew word which means helper]



Five Vegetable Mix


  • 5 Carrots diced
  • 3 Yams big cubes
  • 1/2 Cabbage julian
  • 6 Radish small cubes
  • 1 cup Green Peas
  • Garam masala- 1 tsp
  • Tandoor masala- 1 tbsp
  • Pav bhaji masala – 1 tsp
  • Brown sugar – 3/4 tsp
  • Salt – to taste
  • Oil or ghee(clarified butter)
  • Green chillis – 2 chopped

Procedure :

Saute vegetables in oil/ghee separately. Sprinkle salt.
When they are nearly cooked mix them together.
Add the powdered masalas and cook further. Add the brown sugar and chopped chillis.
Cook further till all vegetables are well done.

Enjoy steaming hot vegetable mix with flat wheat breads. Yuuuummmmmmmmm…