Jab Mona Met Imtiaz

Sometimes I feel like I am the hero of an Imtiaz Ali movie, lost somewhere, waiting for the heroine to come and topple my life and help me find myself.

I am Viren in Socha Na Tha, confused about love, marriage and everything else in life, taking decisions and regretting them later.

I am Aditya in Jab We Met, waiting to hop on a train, leaving all my problems behind.

I am Jordan in Rockstar, waiting for that one heartbreak to make it big in life, hurting everyone I love in the process.

And finally I am Ved in Tamasha, an unwilling engineer, living a lie, and bored with my life, narrating the story of my life in a virtual space, finding solace in that.

I haven’t seen the new movie yet, but going by the reviews I am quite sure I would be Harry of Jab Harry Met Sejal. Even Shahrukh’s life has become quite like mine, giving one flop after another, not finding the right script, something that could do him justice. How much ever he wants to be young again, he can’t seem to accept the fact that it is not okay for him to romance actresses half his age in exactly the same way he did twenty years ago.

He needs to grow up, as much as I do.

And as for Imtiaz, as much as I like watching movies similar to my life, you really need to find a new story. Even I am bored of coming of age so many times.


*all images from google.

In the chaos of Delhi, I found

… an old couple trying to use the escalator for the first time. The woman succeeding while the man giving up and using the stairs instead.
… kids playing ghar ghar roadside, cooking ‘lunch’ in an earthen pot.
… a young couple in the neighborhood walking hand in hand every single evening.
… a girl writing with an ink pen.
… a homeless kid feeding bread to a stray dog.
… a pigeon sneaking into my room and sleeping on my bed.
… a sparrow on my windowpane.
… a little girl asking her dad to get her a chocolate from the magic (vending) machine.
… In the chaos of Delhi, I found Love… Life.. Laughter…

Writing 101: A Place Called Home

Far away in the abode of the Himalayas, lies a small town, a place where I spent my entire childhood. That was the time when I didn’t know that something exists beyond those mountains. Even when I am miles away from that place I still feel it, I see it in my dreams almost every day. I’ve a different kind of connection to that place, a connection that has remain intact even after a decade I left it.

There are memories associated with every single thing, each one igniting a beautiful emotion within me. You know, a particular smell engulfs my hometown, a different kind of smell. It’s a mixture of the smell of wet mud, smoke and wood. No place that I have ever been to equals the aroma and ambiance of my place. I feel like, we the natives of that town, somehow own that aroma.

And the air, it has a different kind of calmness to it.  The way it flows and touches your skin, you can feel the tenderness; you can feel its love for you.The unending sky especially during the months of October or November takes your breath away. You can spend hours just gazing at it. The picturesque nights during Diwali when the entire town is lightened with different kind of bulbs twinkling all over the valley are mesmerizing, nothing could be more beautiful than that.

Winters are the best times of the year. I can’t describe the way I used to wait for the snowfall each year and the moment I would see one or two snowflakes in the sky, I would shout with joy, “oye barf padne lag gyi”. It was fun. Every day was a new day, every moment filled with a little surprise.

All those memories are still there in my mind: Shopping at Gandhi Chauk, running through the streets of Siltham, our school bus going all around the town, walking to school sometimes through the narrow lanes of Dharamshala line, the crowded markets during Diwali, the fairs at moshtamanu , all those pahadi Holi songs, Kumauni folk dance at school, the chilling cold in winters, those plums and peaches, kafals and hisalu (local fruits), that bhatt ka saag and gauhat ki daal (local cuisine). How can I ever forget that? After all, those were the best things and the best moments of my life.

On the eve of leaving my place about a decade ago, I sat on the roof top and looked all around the town, trying to capture everything on my mind. I was sad but didn’t cry until the last moment when I got to see the last glimpse of my town. That was the moment I actually realized that my childhood is over. That was the time to enter the real world away from my paradise.

My hometown taught me to see dreams, to rise above those mountains and to cross every roadblock. Its beauty, its culture, its authenticity, all made me a peaceful person, as calm as the winds blowing during winters, as soft as the snowflakes falling off the sky.

 For me it’s the best place in the world. And I would love to go back there someday and never leave again. Life would be so much more beautiful.


I was home last month and visited my maternal village after a really long time. I have written about my favorite place before. This time when I was there, I saw something which we normally don’t get to see these days in towns and big cities- Sparrows. My uncle’s place was filled with sparrows. They were everywhere- in the courtyard, in the walls, trees, making nests in the stone terrace. And I was following them everywhere to get their pictures though I couldn’t get close enough to get a clear view.

House sparrows are an endangered species in India. I have hardly seen sparrows in Bangalore,Bengal and even in the small town where my parents live. I hope these pictures remind us all to take care of these beautiful,little creatures.

The Journey Of life

I am fascinated by people, their lives and their stories. There is something interesting in the ordinary lives and gestures of people that touch my heart and prompts me to write about the things I see. I wasn’t this way earlier, I wasn’t interested in people before, it’s only when I’ve started writing, I’ve become an observer. I see and I write, I read and I write some more. A train journey has always been a source of inspiration, a medium to know people. As I travel to Delhi today, I witness the similarity between our lives and a train journey. We board a train, pass different stations, interact with people, encounter fields, rivers, and bridges to finally reach our destination. The next 7 hours in this train is my chance to witness life as it is…

 As I write this, I see people from all the stages of life travelling along with me. There is this little girl, sitting on her father’s lap who is smiling all the time. Contrary to the other kids her age, I haven’t seen her crying a single time. I haven’t seen such a happy toddler before. Watching her from a distance, I reminisce about my childhood, about the times I was a happy kid just like her. My mom told me that I was a cheerful little girl who would never cry, never throw tantrums and would always smile no matter what. I wonder how time has changed me into a depressed soul. I miss the times I was as carefree as her.

A guy who almost looks my age is sitting in the opposite row. Every time my eyes turn towards him, I find him staring at me and as soon as his eyes meet mine, he looks away. I wonder what he’s thinking about. Do I look like an insane stranger who is scribbling things on her notepad, or do I look like a long lost sister or girlfriend? Well, I wonder if he’s thinking about me at all. I can only assume things, that is the best thing about writing, you can write your own stories, you can make anyone a priest or a rapist. It all depends on your imagination.

A newlywed couple is sitting right next to me. It’s easy to spot newly married Indian girls with their bright clothes, arms adorned with henna and bangles, though it’s much difficult to identify married men, they always look the same. Coming back to the couple, initially they looked completely smitten with each other, you know, holding hands, smiling, looking into each other’s eyes and all the other gestures but midway through the journey, they had a huge fight. I pretended to be asleep but heard the whole argument. The guy was angry as one of the girl’s friend called him fatty. I don’t know how such petty reasons led to such a serious fight. They didn’t speak for the rest of the journey. The girl actually apologized and tried to solve the matter but the guy was hell bent on destroying those beautiful moments of their life. I wonder how people who had vowed to spend the rest of their lives together just a day or two before, found it so hard to avoid fights over insignificant issues. May be that’s how it is and things get better with time. I predict this, seeing another couple who are sitting on my other side. They look completely at ease with one another, happy, content and understanding. They were chatting when the journey started, slept in between, had lunch and slept again. They kind of followed a routine. Is this how life turns out to be- a routine?

To find my answer I start looking for more people and I observe an old man sitting diagonally opposite to me. He’s travelling with his wife and is reading Five Point Someone, such unusual choice for an old man. I have never seen old folks reading Chetan Bhagat’s books, I wonder what made him pick up this book. I had read this book when I was in high school and was 15 years old. I see him laugh while reading the book, and I wonder if he’s finding the same things funny as I did. They say old people start behaving like kids at some point of time; I assume it to be true.

This journey from a little girl to an old man fascinates me in every way possible. I’ll probably forget these people and their faces as soon as I get down from this train, what I won’t forget would be the things I saw, the feelings I deciphered, the little girl and her comparison to my own childhood, the young guy staring me and those instances when his eyes met mine, the newlywed couple with their small differences, the routine life of another couple and an old man with an unusual choice for a book at his age. With this train journey I witnessed the different stations of life, stations I’ve already passed and stations I’ll encounter in my journey further. There’s so much more left to experience.

My journey by this train would be over in the next fifteen minutes, and the journey of my life, well I hope it lasts for a much longer time…

The Unforgettable Train Journey...

The Unforgettable Train Journey…

 ( Written on a train on 16 May 2013)