I wish I could

Wish upon a starI wish  I could live in a cottage by the lake,
read, dream, garden, potter around.

I wish I could spend my time
painting, photographing, writing, cooking.

I wish I was surrounded by friends and loved ones,
talking, sharing, communing.

I wish life was simpler,
relaxed, carefree, joyful, abundant.

I wish…

What do you wish for?

Inspired by Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop

Bringing up the Teriyaki Boys

Their cries filled the car. Going from pitiful sobs, begging for mercy, to whimpering and then urgent cries of protest. When that didn’t improve their lot, they cried in indignation and then in full blown anger. “You think we are helpless?” those screams seemed to say. “We’ll show you! We have some tricks up our sleeves too.”

Iz takinz a joy ridez

Ai iz takinz a joy ridez. This be the only joy ridez ai likez.

It was relentless. Without pause. When one piped down to draw breath, the other would keep the tempo going. Mid-way through, their howls became ominous. And then there was a sudden silence. To be broken a few seconds later by the sound of newspaper being mercilessly tortured. And then the smell of fresh cat poop assailed our nostrils.

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Summer, oh, how I hate you summer!

I hate despise detest hate really really hate don’t like summer – never have, never will. At least as long as I live in Delhi and have to endure 45 degrees of heat with gusts of hot wind thrown in for free.

But as much as I may hate summer, there are barely any a few moments I’d can stand like to revisit.

Like a friend’s impulsive decision to gift herself a puppy on her birthday, which falls in April, right at the beginning of summer, before the fear of being roasted alive in the heat becomes a reality. That impulsive decision led to an impromptu lunch plan that allowed me to meet her adorable golden retriever as a pup before he became big and huge and all dog-ey. I’m not a huge dog fan, as I suppose you can guess. Pups though, I love.


As the mercury rose and it became impossible to even stick my hand out on the balcony (don’t ask me why I would want to that, I’m sure I won’t have an answer!), I spent all my weekends laid up in bed or curled up on the sofa with the air conditioning on, reading like there was an imminent ban on books. I must have read about 25 books between April and July, and then I wonder how come I have nothing to blog about except book reviews and, let’s see, even more book reviews!


The other thing I really like about summer is ice cream. There’s nothing like a large scoop of the delectably creamy, cold, sweet, flavorful stuff to cool you from the inside-out on a hot, sticky summer night.

And when the heat became too much to bear, this year, I switched loyalties to roasted corn on the cob. Why, you ask? Because a friend told me that she was eating one every day hoping to please the Rain Gods. What’s the connection? Damned if I know! If eating an ice cream everyday would make it rain, I’d do that too, and to hell with my waist line!
(Note: it doesn’t work – monsoon didn’t start in earnest until last week, and we’ve been stuffing our faces with corn since about a month.)
roasted_corn_on_the_cob (bhutta)

When all else fails, I just hightail it out of Delhi. Last year, I took off to New York, and I fell truly, madly, deeply in love with this vibrant, energetic, crazy city.


This year…

I evidently went nowhere. Which is what leads to a totally snarky, bitchy blog post.

Enough said!

Linking up, yet again, with:

Mama’s Losin’ It

The perfect vacation home

I love traveling…discovering new cities, cultures, people, architecture… sometimes I  think travel is in my blood. I also love the thought of escaping to a cottage nestled in the heart of nature. So when it comes to a vacation home, there are two very different kinds of homes that set my pulse racing.

The first is a cottage by a lake. Imagine an arched gate covered with bougainvillea, a cobble stone path leading to a cottage that looks like it’s straight out of a fairy tale. Surrounded by trees and bursting with flowers, with a river (or even a lake) flowing nearby. A place where you can sit and listen to the chirping of the birds, the chirruping of insects and the tinkle of water. Where you can escape the hectic pace of modern life.


The rooms are airy, with huge french windows opening out to scenic natural beauty, with a lot of natural light that allows me to set up an easel in any room and paint whenever and wherever I like. A warm and inviting living area, filled with fresh flowers, with soft music wafting through the house. A shabby chic kitchen, one that invites friends in to sit down and have a hot mug of coffee over spirited conversations. What bliss!


My second vacation home is one on wheels – a gypsy caravan! {It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, considering that my online avatar is Modern Gypsy! ;)} Just look at these beauties – don’t you wish you had one of your own? If I had a house with a garden, I would definitely get one of these built in my back yard. But alas, I live in an apartment complex, and all I have is a balcony.


The charm of a caravan, of course, is that I could hitch it to the back of a station wagon and just hit the road when fancy strikes. No hotel reservations required! Being a gypsy caravan, the interiors wouldn’t be soothing and serene – they’d be colorful and eclectic, bright and completely over-the-top. Like this:


With a place like that to call your own, do you really need a fancy-shmancy hotel room? I think not!

But alas, these shall remain just dreams. India has no camping grounds, no concept of RVs, unless you want to go out into the jungle – and who knows just how safe that might be? Even a vacation cottage isn’t something that I see myself buying, because when it comes to vacations, I’d rather take the road less traveled.

But then you know what they say…you should never censor your dreams…

So, what’s your dream vacation home like?

Linking up with:

Mama’s Losin’ It

This is non-negotiable

non_negotialble_list1. My personal well-being: I’ve realized that when I am mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually well, I am in the best position to live my life to the fullest. This includes being my own best friend and loving myself unconditionally, even when I stumble and fall; replacing my inner critic with positive and encouraging self-talk; eating healthy and exercising, even if all I can manage is a 20 minute walk; time to connect with a higher power; and to meditate.

2. My self-respect: There may be times in my life when a friend or loved one walks all over my sense of self, damaging my self-respect under their hob-nailed boots. I’ve learnt it the hard way to never, ever, no matter what the circumstances, let anyone walk all over me or treat me like a doormat. My self-respect is the most important thing. Period.

3. A home that feels like me: Note, I didn’t say a magazine-perfect home. With all the amazing home interiors I see on Pinterest, in magazines and on blogs, it’s easy to look around my pad and hate everything about it. But when I stop and analyze, I realize that I love each object in my house – it all has a history, a story. It’s warm and welcoming and lived-in, which really isn’t something I can say for a lot of those picture perfect “white houses” I see online. If I’m able to keep my home clutter free for long periods of time, more power to me! I am open to change, to better my surrounding, but I refuse to give in to internet envy.

4. Allowing myself to dream big and DO big: There are no limits to imagination. I’ve found that it’s very important to allow myself to imagine a live that fills me with joy, and then go out and work towards achieving all that my heart desires! I may win some and lose some, but I know what I’m working towards and why. When something no longer resonates with me, I drop it, instead of living up to someone else’s idea of perfection. Since I am a procrastinator, I keep reminding myself that the only thing standing between my dreams and reality is action.

So, what’s non-negotiable for you? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

The day the music died

I grew up with music…surrounded by it, immersed in it…I would go to sleep with a cassette playing on my tape recorder and wake up to the sound of music. I played with it in the background, danced to it, cried with it, laughed with it, sang along with it. Music filled me. More than that, it was almost a tangible part of me – like my heart, or coursing through my veins mixed with my blood.

During my formative years, my music choices were influenced by my parents. Musicians like Perry Como and Tina Charles ruled in our house, as did old hindi film music and ghazals by Jagjit and Chitra Singh. During my rebellious teens, I rocked Bon Jovi and Pink Floyd, fell in love with Madonna and Michel Jackson, and sashayed to Right Said Fred. As those erratic hormones loosened their hold over me, I learnt to appreciate the classical notes of Beethoven and Mozart, Yanni and Kenny G.

These days, music’s all about rap and hip hop, which I don’t dig that much, and somehow, it’s losing it’s tangibility. It’s now something I listen to while driving the car and occasionally at work, when I want to tune out the rest of the office and focus on what’s in front of me. Or for a few hours when I have the house to myself.

This loss of tangibility isn’t all about me. It’s also because the husband and I have very different musical tastes, and different listening styles. I like music to envelop the air around me, fill the house with it’s melodious strains. The husband prefers to get lost in his own private world with his music, blaring it straight into his ears through his headphones. It’s been difficult, almost impossible, to get these two worlds to meet.

On the few occasions when I’ve tried to initiate him to music my way, it’s ended in dissatisfaction. He turns the sound down until it’s little over being background noise – I mean, who listens to Another One Bites the Dust with the volume turned down? That song is meant to be blasted through the speakers. I like listening to each song on an album in full and in sequence. He listens to a bit of the song, then suddenly remembers another great track on the album and skips to it. This back and forth continues, leaving me unfulfilled….unable to immerse myself in the music.

And so I’ve given up on him coming over to my side, and sadly on music. Listening to it on headphones isn’t anything like listening to it on a music system, with the volume turned up, the thump of the drum underlining your heartbeat, the strains of the piano taking you through a whole range of emotions in one magical piece.

Sadly, the music has…not died, just faded away. Leaving me unmoored, if you will. Adrift in the sea of life without my constant companion.

A pocket full of sunshine: Sunshine blog award!

I hopped over to my friend Ann’s blog recently (ok, last month – I’m lazy, what can I say?) and found to my delight that she was back blogging (yay girl!) and that she had given me a blog award! How cool is that?


Now, to accept this award, I need to answer a few questions about myself. So here goes!

1) Favorite color: When it comes to clothes, I have to say white – in a shop full of gorgeous colored kurtas, I unerringly find my way to the whites. They’re elegant and so cool during summer. Clothes apart, I like myself nice, bright colors – oranges, pinks, blues, yellows…Wait, you didn’t want one color, did you? 😉

2) Favorite animal: Cats! I currently have a young cat who adopted us about 2 years ago. She just walked onto the husband’s tennis court one fine day and from there she waltzed straight into our hearts. Isn’t she a beauty?

Pet cat Pepo

3) Favorite number: I hate math! And numbers, and addition, subtraction, multiplication..and algebra and geometry…enough said?

4) Favorite non-alcoholic beverage: Cappuccino and ice cold latte!

5) Facebook or Twitter: Facebook, definitely! Twitter kinda bores me.

6) My passion: Photography, art, writing, reading!

7) Getting or Giving Presents: I love to give presents. It’s fun to go hunting for the perfect gift for friends. But not for the husband – he hates surprises!! And Of course, I love reeciving gifts too!

8) Favorite pattern: Hmm…never really thought of that one. Does the unique patters you find in an ice cube count?

9) Favorite Day of the Week: Saturday! You still have Sunday to look forward to! 🙂

10) Favorite Flower: All of them! But my absolute favorite currently is orchids.

Finally, here are my nominations for this blog award.


North On Harper

Epicurean Escapism


A vision for 2012


Tons of ideas. Zero motivation. Image by orkboi via Flickr

This is the first post of this year. Almost a month into 2012. Over a month after my previous post.

After spending most of 2010 posting four times a week, week after week, I kinda dried out in 2011. I didn’t run out of ideas. I ran out of steam. Out of motivation.

That was my story for 2011. Not just for my blog – for my life. I slowed down. Despite myself. Notwithstanding all my good intentions.  I just didn’t have the will to do anything. But I want to change that.

The world is going to end in 2012, or so the Mayans said. I don’t believe that means the doom and gloom that Hollywood would have us believe. It means the end of a cycle. And the end of a cycle heralds the beginning of a new one. So this year, I intend to start anew. To begin afresh.


Investing in me. Image via Flickr

I’m not in a hurry. I want to do things slow – and get them right. So I’m going to take my time. To analyze the year that was. To examine where I am and determine where I want to be. To plan. To take one step, and then another and another. To start the journey. Because that’s what’s important. The destination will come. Or it won’t.

What’s important is moving forward. Learning. Growing. Challenging yourself. Being fresh.

As I analyze, learn, and grow, I will share some of my insights with you, my wonderful readers. So if you find yourself stuck in a rut, or in need of some motivation, stay tuned. The best way to keep up with posts – through my RSS feed.

If you’ve been stuck in a rut and broken free – do share your advice in the comments. I’m on the lookout for all the help and inspiration I can find!

There's no such thing as writer's block

Those in Peril by Wilbur SmithThis weekend, I had an opportunity to attend a book launch by of one of my favorite authors – Wilbur Smith, who was in India to launch his latest book Those In Peril.

The author related a number of interesting experiences from his visit to India, including the fact that he loves the traffic! Baffling, isn’t it? Until he delivered his next line: It is just like a video game; except here, if you lose, you die.”

Having visited the country numerous times, he says he thinks India as “almost a neighbor, with just a little sea between us!” When asked if he would set one of his books in the country, he referred to The Quest, one of his ancient Egyptian novels, in which his character Taita visits India to gain knowledge and wisdom. However, to weave a love affair with the country in print, the way he does with Africa, he says he’d have to “spend a lot of time here, at least 50 years, but I fear I’m running out of time”. That just explains how much research he undertakes for all of his novels.

Best selling novelist Wilbur Smith signs The Q...

Wilbur Smith signing copies of his books for fans Image via Wikipedia

Remember those bushmen that feature so prominently in some of his novels? He wrote  them in after meeting them briefly during an excursion in the African jungle.

In answer to a question about how he manages to write so many novels (33 and counting) and if he’s ever faced writer’s block, he said that a writer’s life requires a lot of discipline as it’s easy to get distracted and do inconsequential things around the house. As for writer’s block, he said: “There’s no such thing as writer’s block. If someone says they’re suffering from writer’s block, it’s most likely cowardice.”

Very true, isn’t it? And it applies to most situations in life where we feel blocked – more often that not, we’re just scared of the unknown.

All-in-all, it was a lovely evening, spent listening to the anecdotes of an author whose fans span generations!

Where I'm from

I am from the paint streaked canvas, from a box of fine Godiva chocolates and a flute of sweet rose wine.

I am from the sheltered world of Ashoka lined row houses, the smell of the jasmine flower wafting through the warm summer breeze.

I am from the river flowing fast and hard in the back yard, the huge Gulmohar tree whose branches lent themselves to day dreams.

I am from family dinners and knowledge seekers, from Mehrotras and Seths and Tandons.

I am from the young at heart, the rose tinted glasses never quite coming off. From instructions to be home before sundown and advice to always follow your heart.

I am from Shiva and Laxmi and the whole Hindu pantheon. From morning prayers and the sweet smell of incense floating in the air.

I am from a hospital by the sea in Singapore, descended from Aryans belonging to the verdant north Indian plains, from summer yellow lentils and golden wheat bread.

From the love and indulgence of my grandfather, the unquestioned love of my grandmother, the discipline imposed by my mother and the reasoning offered by my father.

I am from memories made all over the world as I sailed the seas with my parents, from piles of photographs stored in the cupboard and beautiful paintings lining the walls.

I am from dreams spun curled up at the window near my study table, from stories read and re-read on lazy summers spent belly down in the cool, green grass.

I am from friends real and imaginary, from a baby sister I fought with and for, from rebellions and reconciliations, from love, love, love.

This post is linked up with:

Mama Kat’s Losing It!