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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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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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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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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Scared of the sacred

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As we weaved our way through them I could sense the fear. Our driver was overtly overly cautious. I wondered whether it was their overwhelming numbers or the unrestrained ebullient kinesics. Some prodding and the driver blurted how a car had been trashed and upturned earlier in the day because it had touched one of them. He further recounted a similar incident in his own compan...
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Distant Friends

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We slowly gravitated towards each other, the seven of us, so different, yet so alike. By the end of second year we were inseparable and had a name Saptrishi. Our friendship survived the rigours of medical education, the insecurities of adolescence and three decades of silence. After leaving college all of us got busy in building careers and raising families. We met a few times ...
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Cats and Dogs

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It was like a sauna, without the health benefits. We sweltered and complained of the heat, while the humidity sapped up energy and killed productivity. And then as I was on my way to Gurugram via Rohtak, the sky grew dark and it started raining. The first few minutes were of sheer joy. It was exhilarating to watch the dust settle, the filth wash away in one giant sweep. As it r...
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Doctors today

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Thirty two years ago I just needed an excuse to proudly count all thirty two of them, the doctors in my extended family. Three decades later only one of my nieces has wandered into a prestigious medical college and is already regretting it. For those who think that this data size is too small to be statistically significant I offer another example indicative of the present turm...
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Taking its Toll

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First an affirmation, although I have not studied it as a subject, my location makes me an expert in this field. Gharaunda, my hometown is flanked by Toll Plazas on both sides, I have thus become a specialist on how ‘toll takers’ take their toll. Most times there is a queue of impatiently honking cars at the plaza. Primarily it is due to the lackadaisical attitude of the tol...
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