Sidewalk Saga

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I heard the first rumblings a decade ago. My siesta was rudely disturbed by a loud crash and screech. When I stepped into the balcony to find the source of the commotion I came face to face with the gigantic paws of what is called khooni panja in local parlance. The machine was tearing down the ramp of my neighbour and mine was next inline. Let me elaborate for those who are no...
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Smoke Season

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Maybe I over reacted, I do have a tendency to hit the panic button sooner than later. But there is no denying that the sight made my eyes sting and throat tighten. I have vivid memories of the sickening post Diwali gloom that engulfed us last year. Hence my ‘over’ reaction when I stepped out on the terrace for my ‘morning brew with a view’ and found it strewn with black burnt s...
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Making of a Wordsmith

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It irked me no end and yet he stood his ground. Cribbing or cajoling didn't help nor did temper tantrums. I just had to do as told and how I hated it. But now almost half a century later I am grateful for my dad’s persistence which bordered on obstinacy. The written word has always fascinated me. As kids, all of us siblings were voracious readers. We would read anything we c...
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Maasik Adharm

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It’s that time of the year again and we are discussing that time of the month again. The Navratris are here and as the nation gears up to worship the female form, her right to worship because of her femininity is being debated. These ten days ( and nine nights !) are a celebration of womanhood, the sacred time when even the most chauvinistic misogynists will bow their heads ...
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The Backpack that came back

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When it was first suggested, I dismissed it with an impatient wave of the hand. It was impossible. How could I do it without my trusted backpack? It had all the things that I needed for my little adventure. I had meticulously packed it over a fortnight, putting items in various pockets after much deliberation. We ( a group of seven women and two wise men) were embarking on a...
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Twisted Mother Tongue

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Awaiting an appointment, I was roaming the corridors of a premium medical college in the capital. A tired, old man hobbled up to me and asked if I could direct him to the TB ward. I told him he was standing right next to it and pointed at the signboard. He haltingly read ‘ phoophsiya yakshma vibhag’ written under Department of Pulmonary Tuberculosis (T.B) and remained clueless....
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Fair Play

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It was not what she said but the way she said it that surprised me. There was pride in her voice, none of the usual disappointed resignation that accompanies such information. Before the cropped hair young girl could answer, her grandmother had volunteered, “Circus karra kare .” Intrigued, I looked questioningly at the girl, again the dadi spoke first, “Yoga nahin hua karein, a...
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Distance Education

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The message filled me with dread but there seemed to be no escape. I gingerly typed k ( which is cooler than ok, which is much cooler than okay ) and waited for him to call. Seconds later he appeared on the screen, sleepy eyed and unshaven. This isn’t going to go well a small inner voice warned me, but sometimes no matter what, you have to do what needs to be done. He had in...
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Picture this

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Once upon a time, not so long ago, there lived a king and queen who took too many pictures. If they wrote it, this is how my story would read. It was just three reels yet was becoming family folklore. We had committed the crime of taking more than a hundred pictures on our week long honeymoon. “That is more than fifteen snaps in a day,” the kinsmen solemnly observed. Thirty fiv...
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Raksha Bandhan

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The teenager sang it gleefully, his fingers drumming my table, the twinkle never leaving his eyes and his father, an old patient of mine, nodded with the beat, proud as punch at his son’s rendition. Ho mantri teri chaal Tera silly suraksha jaal Ab main is se zyaada kya kahoon Main gusse me gaali de gaya Oye ki kariye, ki kariye Dil chhalni sadda ho gaya Oye ki kariye, ...
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