Ten on Tuesday – Ten Books I Read This Year


This year I wasn’t able to read much due to my eye surgery but here are the ten books which I read and loved.

The House Of Twinning Roses – Nabina Das

The Girl Who Loved A Pirate – KulpreetYadav

A Kind of Kaddish – Jerry Wilson

Scion Of Ikshvaku – Amish Tripathi

Unbound 2,000 Years Of Indian Women’s Writing – Edited by Annie Zaidi

Along The Red River – SabitaGoswami

Gabriel Garcia Marquez Collected Stories

Neruda Selected Poems

A Darker Shade (17 Swedish Stories of Murder, Mystery and Suspense) – Edited by John-Henri Holmberg

The Science Fiction Hall of Fame (Vol.1) – Edited by Robert Silverberg

Ten On Tuesday – Ten blogs to follow


Serenely Rapt  Do checkout her project called rugs of life.

bNomadic  If you love Himalayas this is the place to be.

Vidya Sury| Going A Musing Collecting Smiles

A- musing | Purba Ray

Healthfood Desivideshi and Banaras Ka Khana

Aam Janata

Shekhar Kapoor

Joshi Daniel Photography

My Garden

Tilling The Earthwoman

The reason I have just given you the links is that I want you to go explore and relish each blog. Find something that connects with you. These are the bloggers among many others that I love reading. Go indulge

Ten On Tuesday


1. I don’t look fat but I have gained weight. I have stuffed myself with desserts lately. I think it is ‘stress eating’ or ’emotional eating’ though I do have a sweet tooth. I am basically eating my feelings. The result is the weight gain and still the lack of energy or for that matter inspiration. I am not bingeing but I am just eating too much sweet. Food as a form of relief. Relief from stress, insecurity, loneliness, hurt, anxiousness. I am aware and I am trying to get past it. Time isn’t a good healer and I am just too emotionally distraught now. Food is a passion for me and I do not wish it to become a curse. So ‘ban’ is not what I aiming at but control. Sleep deprivation is another thing that may be adding ounces and inches to my body. Need to cure that and get into shape. Love myself before others.

2. The Urs Mubarak of Hazrat Amir Khusro has begun and this time too I am unable to go to the dargah. It is not very far from where I live but there is no calling I guess. It is something I need to do. I am not a religious person but there is a mystic pull that keeps me tied to this place. I often sit and focus on the energy I get from there. Sending all the vibrations to the universe to make it happen.  Asking for healing, guidance and peace.

3. This year has not been good at some levels which have changed the entire course of my life once again. Uncertainty looms large and I need to take some decisions. Asking universal help to bring things to closure and for new beginnings.

4.‘I fell in love, and with all the recklessness of love, I had no idea what I was doing until it was far too late to get out…’ – Jeanette Winterson

5. I am not averse to being alone. It is the best thing to happen if you can befriend your aloneness. It is the loneliness that seeps in the hollow of your bones and nibbles them from inside out.  There are worse things than being alone and most often when you do realize that it’s too late and there is nothing worse than too late. Indifference is the opposite of love, not hate. Right now, dealing with reality is tough but not impossible.

6. Sometimes one knows one’s place, outside the periphery. I have said this from the start, felt it from the start. I continuously felt something shifting from your side, I wasnt a priority or maybe I never felt like I was. I needed you to hold me while I was drowning in my fears. really, just that. It terribly frightened me when you shut me out while I tried to reach out to you against all odds. I wanted a little respect, some regard for my feelings, loyalty, a little importance in your long list of priorities… I simply needed to feel that in many hours and miles that indefinitely sat between us, Was I asking for a lot? I hopelessly waited for you to call me, stop , at least talk it out but you just let me slip away like sand from fist. I am trying to get over it. There is so much to get over with.

7. Hills are calling. I am thinking of settling down somewhere in hills. No, it is nothing to do with ‘how bad the word is’ , it is because I love mountains. I love the quiet, it has that formidable quality to counter the deafening stillness inside me. I was born in hill and a part of me always wanders in those paths moist with the sweetness of pines, it wanders with the clouds, over the valleys and little hamlets with red slate roofs. I am saving money to make that one way trip to some place where no one knows me. Start afresh and do what pleases me. Even if it is just gazing at the flight of the eagle.

8. I am reading a lot of zen these days. There is something calming in those pages. I am also learning to paint again. Dipping my fingers in real colors. I did two acrylic on canvas but I think I will buy a big sketch book, crayons and color pencils. Something I carry with me wherever I go. I need to hold the pencils again. The tips of my fingers are becoming numb with too much typing. I want to feel the pulse of the words I write and it’s not possible with the impersonal letters popping up with the click clack of the keys.  Things need to get real.

9. It is also time to bring closure to the novelette I began many moons ago. It has been beta read and coming back with comments. I plan to work on it with utmost dedication and bring it out. A lot of time, effort and commitment has gone into it. Same with the short fiction I have to edit. Time to make it all final and add some more to have a presentable book ready. Universe has been benevolent as far as my writing is concerned and many good things have come my way, I just need to go with the flow and discipline myself. i thing I have struggled with since long.

10. Talking about writing i am reading and experimenting with new forms of poetry and fiction. I twill be shared later sometime 🙂 Till then life will be all about keeping the faith that good things will happen. All that is lost will come around. If it is really meant to be.

Ten On Tuesday – Notes To Self


1. Learn to be with yourself and like it. Do things alone. Treat yourself to a coffee or a meal. Explore the city including the gardens. Visit the exhibitions, fairs, museums.

2 Let go. With grace. If someone decides not to love you anymore there is nothing  you can do about it. Stop chasing.

3..Love yourself. Love your body. Treat it with respect. Treat yourself with respect. Sleep well, walk, drink plenty of water, excercise. Shed worry and fear.

4. Learn something new everyday. Teach something new to others. Try something you haven’t done before. Solo travel is one of them.

5.. Resist the temptation to respond immediately when hurt, provoked  or in anger. Never dignify an insult with a response.

6. Read more. Write more. Repeat.

7. Get your act together and forge ahead. You do not have a choice. There is no middle path nor one that will lead you back.

8. Life is too short to have toxic people around you. Get rid of them.

9. Stop being a hypochondriac. You don’t have all the diseases listed on the internet.

10. Remember how Leonardo DiCaprio taught Winslet to spit in the movie ‘Titanic? Just practice that when you are free so that you can use that skill when people judge you. (Thanks Farida for this valuable tip)

Ten On Tuesday


Today I am not really in a mood to write. This year has been a mixed bag of good and bad. In equal measures. “Well, Something’s lost but something’s gained in living everyday.” Remember the beautiful song by Joni Mitchell?

Today I have decided to post ten random things from the various drafts lying in a folder left orphaned since one day everything changed. Lines that could have become poems, stories but now they just lie abandoned, waiting. Just as I am.  The opposite of love is not hate, it is the abject indifference. People may say, “this too shall pass” but it doesn’t, it seeps in the hollow of your bones. Half of July has passed and I am tired of being brave. I can’t go on pretending. Right now dealing with reality is impossible so don’t mind if my conversations seem wounded in love.

1. “I am getting acquainted with your absence. I write as much as I can to write you out of my system but it doesn’t happen. the sorrow doesn’t turn into poems. The phone remains silent as the mornings turns to afternoons, which in turn fall into dark and then the dark too goes quiet, just like you. I stare into nothingness, even the breathing becomes inaudible as I grieve about the parts of me you buried while they were still pulsating with life.”

2. “Even though it hurts, I will stay open and vulnerable. The beauty of the human life lies in its fragility and I wont give it up or give it away.It is the real strength and power of being human, to accept your brokenness, to put it all back together. To fill the cracks with gold of love and move on. Cracks are the wounds indicating you have suffered and have overcome that suffering. Courageous risks are life-giving and the rewards are deep.”

3.

“I bring to you my poems

a clumsy bouquet of words

unbefitting for your tastefully done life

wildflowers, a wealth of perfume…..”

4. “Delhi summer drips in mangoes. The summer seasons opens officially with mango blossoms and the entire two months are ruled by the king of fruits, canopies of gulmohar carried forward from the spring into summer alive with cuckoo birds. Watermelons swollen with the red summer heat inside them. Flamboyant Bougainvillea exploding on walls in vibrant colors. Blinding sun, dust winds, road rage, power cuts, melting asphalt, chuski licking, water trolleys, sweat and grime, white sky and chilled lemonades signifies the summer in Delhi. City is a color palette with the golden amaltas, gulmohar, tesu, kanak champa, silk cotton, coral tree, all in full bloom and the neem trees filled with tiny starry flowers. Who can’t fall in love with the lilac spread of kachnar and the beautiful Jacaranda. In me, the summer drips with the memories of you that evoke painful secrets. It is a funeral without a shroud.

5. The horizon makes her lonelier than she is as  she stands looking down at an unspoiled landscape of sand. Now a tree, she once was a woman, a keeper of the words,  a story-teller, a mystery from time immemorial.

6. Age is catching up with the Neem trees (Indian Lilac) in central Delhi (This one is part of the canopy of lush green trees that line up both sides of the Aurangzeb road). It is a beautiful experience to drive down the roads, esp when the vehicular traffic is least, with so much green surrounding you. There was a time I would walk down these roads and simply gaze at the spread of many shades of green above me. One could hear so many bird calls in those days. Each season brings its own dramatic change to the landscape. Each one more beautiful than the other. For once one forgets all the chaos that surround us.

These trees are a legacy of the colonial raj. Ten thousand trees and one hundred and thirteen km of hedges were laid out by an expert from Kew Garden London, with each major avenue having one species. Tamarinds on Akbar Road, Arjuna trees on Janpath, pipuls on mandir marg, and Neems on Aurangzeb road.

We stopped under the shade of this tree waiting for the signal to turn green. In the midst of the thick foliage, high up on a branch was nest, now empty. One can not see it in the photograph though. Life is all about holding on and letting go. Dont know why but a line from Blake’s poem instantly came to my mind.

“The bird a nest, the spider a web, man friendship.”

7. “Whatever you give comes back to you.
I gave myself. Love is a boomerang I never learned how to throw correctly.”

8. Not even for a moment forget that I am a river.
No matter what you put in my way,
i will still find a way to break free.
Don’t assume that I will be on this narrow road forever,
your perception of my exterior
may not match what lies beneath my surface,
I am holding a fiction inside me
if you think you know me, think again
what is visible is camouflaged
what is hidden is true
we are kind of schizoid, aren’t we?
containing multitudes within.

9.

each of us

for all our lives

live

so bitterly

misunderstood

10. I carry a raven in my chest. You, a songbird. Isn’t it clear who should fear the cage?

Ten On Tuesday – Gaming With The Boys


When we got tired of playing the mind games these are the ten games me and boys played and mastered. We were always good at being escapists, prefered the imaginary to the real and often yanked ourselves from one world to plunge into another. We all had our “me time” but still we spent a lot of time together bonding over board games, singing, telling stories, doing some sort of art/craft, playing some real-time games which would leave the house looking like as if it has been hit by a tsunami. It was tough but it was fun.

Computer games were a new rage and the boys were fanatic supporters of  this new religion. All my efforts to keep them away from this growing menace failed and then I thought,’ if you can’t beat them join them’. WTH.. but I still laid down some rules.

And what did we play ? Here are the top ten.

1.Claw – Because I love wild cats 😀
2.Soldier of fortune – The first gory game I played where it was all guts over fear. Imagine that after yelling at the boys for behaving like bloody psychopaths.
3. Need for Speed/ Roadrage – I could never learn to drive but always dreamed of the mean machines I could control. The need for speed was satiated here and it was so engrossing that sometimes the line between virtual and real just disappeared. It was fun all right.
4. James Bond Nightfire –  The only time I could be more than just a bond girl 😀
5. Delta Force Land Warrior – My initiation into first person shooters. It was cathartic in some ways.
6. XMen Arcade Game – For the love of classic X-Men characters. Storm, Wolverine, Nightcrawler, Nimrod, Mystique and many more. At times it was ridiculously funny but a lot of fun with the boys. A comic book come to life perhaps. 🙂
7. Batman Arcade Game – Chaos in Gotham – My love for the dark knight began much before Nolan. When you have two superheros in the house you need to learn the survival techniques for anything could happen anytime.
8. Solitaire and Freecell – These were the games to zone out when the house was not a war zone with aliens  spaceships landing on your head and cars flying from between your legs.

9. Don’t think we just engaged in virtual games. There were a lot of indoor and outdoor games that were invented at the spur of the moment. Missions planned and executed, Rooms turned into makeshift WWF arenas (I was always the referee trying to save my head) 😀 , paper planes flew out of the balconies and windows with their tails in a blaze of fire, The entire house turned into an obstacle racing fast track where all sorts of cars, jeeps raced like lunatics. (my participation was limited to providing unlimited power boosters ( especially made in my kitchen) and occasionally tripping over some invisible flying object. ).. Oh yes, and picking up the debris later on while chasing the boys around to clean up.

10. Yes, I had my collection of WWE and Pokemon cards, tazzos and what not. These were guarded like prized possessions and traded occasionally with great deal of negotiations. We did play all the games with these interesting loot.

Raising boys is not for wimps and they kept me on my toes 24/7 but then it was also an adventure and great fun to grow up with them.

Ten On Tuesday -1 – Favorite Street Food Joints and Dhabas In Delhi


I came to know of Ten On Tuesday from Swaram‘s blog but I think the original idea came from Shilpa‘s blog. So it is kind of chain I guess. I am just doing it to fill the cracks between my ‘seriously writing’ and ‘thinking about seriously writing’ 😀 .The idea is to post ten things every Tuesday on one particular topic or even randomly. I am still cocooned nicely in the foodie love circle so the first post will be about some awesome places for street food and dhaba style food in Delhi. Some places that are in everyone’s budget.. well almost everyone. You can of course add more places to the list in the comment section. So here we go..

1. You think of street food and the first place that anyone will say is, Purani dilli (Old Delhi). The place is heaven for everyone who loves street food of any kind from chaat to kulfi, to rabdi faluda to chole bhature or parathas for that matter or the sumptuous kebabs and such mouth-watering delicacies. Not really a place for those who are on some sort of fancy diet or watching their calories. You need to be hopelessly devoted to food if Old Delhi is your choice to savor Delhi’s best authentic cuisine. The places I am fond of are Daulat ki chaat(kinari Bazaar). Oh, this is not the usual chaat you know. This is sweet malayi makkhan as it is known in UP. A delicate treat made of milk froth, khoya, boora cheeni and khurchan decorated with pistachos and silver vark dished out in a dona(leaf plate). Must have in my list. For the tangy chaat you can go to Heeralal chaat wala in chawadi bazaar or jugal kishor’s chaat or Ashok chaat bhandar natraj dahi bhalle wale, Jang Bahadur kachoriwala, Bishan Swaroop chaat wala (fruit chaat and chole kulche), Shyam sweets for bedmi poori, Jang Bahadur kachoriwala (chandini chawk). I can go on forever. There are vendors who sell awesome chaat in sitaram bazaar, kinari bazaar, farash khana that you can explore.

For foodies who love to venture out in the night, area near Jama Masjid (Urdu bazaar and side street of Matia Mehal comes to life with makeshift eateries selling, kebabs, fish, fried chicken, tikkas.biryani, qorma, jalebi, phirni and a lot more. Go discover yourself and tell me what all you loved. Beef, chicken, mutton, name it and you have it along with delicious sweets. Everyone knows parathewali gali, don’t we. The name says what you will savor there.

Sweet lovers can also go to Chaina Ram and annapurna sweet shop. Don’t miss Gyani’s di hatti for best rabdi faluda and dal halwa. There are so many great place that it will take me many posts to do justice to them so just head out to purani dilli and explore. 🙂

2 Paharganj is also full of fantastic eating joints that serve different kind of cuisine but we are here just talking of street food. Staram Diwanchand (chole bhature.. yum), Junta sweets, Geeta kulcha, Kashmir sweets( I think it serves veg food only), Banke Bihari samosewala, soni sweets, lassiwala neat Imperial cinema (don’t know if it still exists), Pappu Delhi sandwich stall (must try). Then there is German bakery, Sam’s café and many such hidden gems all dotting the Paharganj market. There are nankhatai sellers and Afghan food joints too.

3 Mandirwali Gali in Yusuf Sarai is for street food lovers who love samosas, kachoris and pakodas. The place has some very good eating joints. Tucked away in this busy market place is Dhan Singh’s kachori shop which sells delictable kachories, bread pakodas and jalebi, if you love kadhayiwala doodh then head to Atithi restaurant. There is also Balaji peethiwale, panditji naanwale. There are some other pakodewale and little food joints one can explore here.

4 Pakodas remind me of one of our favorite joint near Nauroji Nagar market. Khadani pakodewala, The shop offers a variety of veg-pakoras to choose from including Paneer, Potato, Spinach,onion, Lotus stem, Cauliflower, Eggplant, fat green chilli, and Bread Pakora served tangy green chutney. There is an awesome lassiwala next to it. Not to be missed. There are many good places for pakoda lovers and for non vegetarians the best choice is Paramjeet’s fish pakodas (near Motinagar metro station). There are some good pakoda shops in Karol Bagh too.

5 Poori sabzi – bedmi kachori etc- Poori sabzi at Arihant Sweets Dariyaganj best for a nice hot breakfast of nagori poori, aaloo sabzi and halwa. Sohan lal’s eatery in mehrauli bazaar, shiv kachori near Dilli Gate, Dariyaganj, Gopal snacks, Kamla Nagar, Jain Sa’ab’s bedmi kachori (near Golcha cinema- Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg T junction).

6 Nizamuddin Basti street food – The area around the Dargah Shareef is a delight for food lovers especially during festive months of ramzan and Eid. At other times too one can get a vast variety of sumptuous food here. One such shop is near the dargah and is called Muradabad ki biryani (old shop), a must visit place. There is one famous shop for nahaari on Mirza Ghalib road but I cant remember the name just now. Ghalib kebab corner, a place for the softest delicious kebabs. For sweets head to nasir for yummy kheer ( I have yet to taste it :p) or some other small shops that sell imarti, jalebi etc. The entire area near the dargah is dotted with small food stalls that sell anything from biryani to kebabs, tikkas, qormas,and various mutton, chicken, beef dishes. One just has to explore and experiment with food here.

7. Around HT House- Pappu Chaat Bhandar- Okay, I know I am going a bit heavy on chaat business but then I love it and what is Delhi without various kinds of chaats. There are many places famous for chaat in Delhi but I am talking about only those I have visited. Pappu Chaat Bhandar is right in front of HT House. My son introduced me to the awesome chaats he makes. (Kid1 works for HT City).  The guy sells best aloo chaat ever. I also like the fruit chaat he sells. Buy the simple salt and lemon seasoned one or the spicy tangy masala one. Both are a treat. Yes, the place sells Rimzim too. Added bonus. Behind HT  House you will find a lane full of food vendors. A small shop near the underpass on KG Road sells small samosas worth eating. Prabhu Chaat Bhandar ( next to UPSC building) is an old favorite.

8. Bhel puri – Bombay bhelpuri on Janpath and Bombay Bhelpuri at south Extension -1 are my favorite but you get nice one at Maharashtra stall in Dilli haat too. (Dilli Haat is over rated by the way but the Nagaland stall is awesome.)The north campus is another world of street food that one needs to cover in a separate post but I can not talk about bhel puri without mentioning Mohal lal bhelpuri wala (outside Hindu College, DU North Campus)

9. Here is a list of some good dhabas that I can vouch for – Pehlwan ka dhaba (Mehrauli), Rajender ka dhaba,Ajit Khalsa ka dhaba (Love this one opp Trivoli Garden, Chattarpur), Ashok and Ashok (Sadar bazaar), Break Fast Point ( near east Rohini metro station), kapashera and Delhi gurgaon border has some good dhabas you can explore. You can check out dhabas near Naraina Metro Station and Uttam Nagar flyover.

10. Some other places I can think of are kuldeep Parathewala 9usuf sarai), Baba Nagpal Corner for chole bhature ( Lajpat Nagar), Munnilal samosewala ( Gole Market), Dilli Haat for all kind of local cuisine from different states (near INA Market), Keema parathas near Qutub institutional area(Laxman fast food), there used to be a famous parathewala at Moolchand but I am not sure if he is still around. ( Kid 1 says he is near the metro station now. Must check.) He made awesome egg parathas. Matthew’s cafe in R.K.Puram for awesome masala dosa, dal wadas, parotta veg qorma , veg pulao, set dosa, and filter coffee.

I will add more names as i remember. 😀  This is just a trailer. Delhi has hundreds of local joints tucked away in colonies. Please feel free to add more names so that we can have a good list here. One can always talk about Karol Bagh but what I am looking for are undisovered places.