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photo-1As I leave my last Jaipur Literature Festival event, I get a frantic phone call from my friend Shampa. We had come to the city together, along with her family and had split for the morning to pursue our respective interests. She tells me they are stuck in traffic and cannot come get me on the way back to Delhi.  Continue Reading »

Papa

1929258_533901195915_4291_nLast week, I made half my staff cry with this story (unintentionally of course) – an adaptation of something I wrote 6 years ago when my grandfather passed away. I guess some emotions stay buried, but as it is the 6th anniversary of his passing, I figured I would share it on here:

In April 1984, when we returned to India from Canada, we moved into my grandparent’s home in Vasant Vihar. My earliest memories of the 90 year-old phenomenon that was Papa (otherwise known as Triloki Nath Saraf) are blurred, few and far between.

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Wanting It All

Now and then I pace my place
I can’t retrace how I got here
I cheat the light to check my face
It’s slightly harder than last year
And all at once it gets hard to take
It gets hard to fake what I won’t be
Cause one of these days I’ll be born and raised
And it’s such a waste to grow up lonely
– John Mayer, from Born and Raised

The “Science for Arts Students” program at McGill University was a series of classes completely lacking in any sort of academic rigor or credibility as a learning experience. Instead of being insulted by the low value the science department placed on the left hemispheres of our brains, we rejoiced in the opportunity to add a few empty credits on to a reading/paper saturated courseload.  Continue Reading »

Memories of the Big Move

IMG_4759Exactly a year ago today, I was up till 4am Eastern Standard Time, battling two bursting suitcases. I was yanking out random clothing and possessions, discarding a few items at random and re-stuffing the baggage, till finally both weighed less than 23 kilograms. I collapsed into an exhausted sleep, dreams of logistics, unsold furniture, pending accounts, and unreturned cable boxes haunting my dreams.

The next morning was a strange one – I did things I’d normally do on a day off: brunch, Shoppers Drugmart (I weep for all my unused Optimum points) and some last minute banking stuff. But by early afternoon I arrived at Toronto Pearson with exactly 46 kilograms of checked baggage, the maximum carryon allowance, and one very unhappy cat.
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Delhi Monsoon TrafficThere’s a hotness that builds in Delhi, slowly, steadily, and painfully. It starts in April, burning, simmering, slowly into May. By June it rises to a fiery peak, scorching anyone that dares roam the streets at noon.

The monsoon, in comparison, is the break of this chronic fever. After three months of what feels like Hell on Earth, we wait for it, pray for it and hope for it. We hold out for it, as the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel, or should we say the oasis in our desert? Whatever. You get my point.

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This post may make many of you question a) my sanity and b) why you are friends with me or read my blog. But in all seriousness it is a real thing, and is as absolutely insane and weird as it sounds.

I’m not sure when it started but my earliest memory of it was a rather vivid nightmare I had as a child. I probably was about 12 or 13 years old at the time. In the dream, I had this disease spreading all over my body – it was a rash except it looked exactly like mussel shells were sprouting from my skin all lined up together in a patch on my arm and spreading. The edges were razor sharp and called (appropriately) cutters. I don’t believe there was a cure. Continue Reading »

We are in Pune for the weekend. I discover the studio at lunchtime as we stop for burgers. I excuse myself from the rest of my family and race up the escalators in a shopping centre that probably holds the world record for least amount of actual retail outlets per space occupied. As I clamber up I dial my father’s cell phone and immediately change my order from vegetarian to chicken. If there’s one thing I remember about Bikram yoga, it’s that I do it better with some meat in my belly.

I haven’t done Bikram yoga since moving to Delhi last November. There is no studio there, though one may open next year. I have an amazing yoga teacher who comes to my house, but she is popular, and so I have her for only 65 minutes a week. Although I do try and keep up some small semblance of practice during the week, it’s not the same without the discipline and someone watching for where you’ll (because you really can’t help yourself) cut corners. Continue Reading »

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