The little boy and his dad


The little boy, nine years old, had recently been admitted to one of the bigger schools in the city. It was in the late seventies, and the little boy had to walk around two kilometres from home to the bus stand, from where he had to switch two buses to get to school. The same process would repeat in reverse in the evening, when the little boy would walk home through the busy markets and shops and small lanes to get home.

On this particular day, the boy woke up with a bad throat; he could feel the onset of a cold. His father felt his forehead, and it felt warmer than usual. Maybe the boy would develop a fever later in the day, thought the father.

The father wanted the boy to take the day off from school and rest at home. But the boy refused, and set off on his two kilometre walk to the bus stand.

Courtesy – Clipartwiki

As the father sat at his desk in office, he worried about his son, and if he was ok. He mulled over this during his breaks and lunch time. After lunch, he quickly came to a decision. He applied for some time off from work and quickly rushed to the bus stand, where his son would arrive at around 3 pm.

He hired a bicycle from a bike rental shop, and waited. Soon, his son got off the bus, his face pale and drawn. The father rushed to greet him. The boy’s face lit up in surprise and joy, when he saw his dad.

The father took him to the bicycle, and off they went. The little boy held on to his father. His fever raged, but his happiness knew no bounds.

The father had a peaceful look on his face, there was a hint of a smile there, as he took his little boy home and tucked him into bed.

And now, the little boy is in his late forties, and recollects this incident as one of his most enduring memories of his Dad, who is no more. He strongly feels the joy and love that he felt on that day, many decades ago, when his father took time off from work to take him home on a bicycle.

A Ramble…


The evening sun burns with a sudden fervour,

A last burst before it glides away for the day.

The hustle and bustle of a weekend are all around me,

As I go plod, plod, plod on the winding way.

Sweat rivulets flow down my face and neck,

The gentle breeze brings some joyous respite.

The city’s drone slowly dies away,

As I go plod, plod, plod seeking some quiet.

The blue flash of a focussed kingfisher,

And the contortionist routines of the squirrel.

The crisp chatter of two raucous mynas follow,

As I go thud, thud, thud on my ramble.

The rich dark brown soil,

Receiving dried leaves worn and frail.

Ready to absorb and recreate life,

As I go huff, puff, huff up the trail.

The wind swishing through the branches,

A golden apricot poodle bounding up the hill.

A pause, a break to replenish with water,

As I go glug, glug, glug and have my fill.

A bunch of bright red flowers on a branch,

Drooping down as if the tree has overflowed.

A pitstop that brings a smile and some joy,

As I go jog, jog, jog down the winding road.

Today’s workout goals have been met,

But a walk is more than burning a calorie.

There are simple joys to be had at every step,

As I stamp, stamp them into my memory.

The art of work


The wipers in our car are working overtime. The skies have opened up, and the rain falls in thin transparent sheets. One layer of rain falls, gets wiped away, and for a mere fraction of a second the world is visible, before another sheet falls.

And thus it goes on till my husband and I reach the concert venue. The concert venue is partly open air, with free seating. As we take our seats, the rain slowly peters out; only the ‘backbencher raindrops’ are left, rushing to join their peers, dropping in huge plops from the roof.

Rich Indian classical music fills the air, as the singer transports us to a different world, making us emote. My husband steps away to take a call. Very soon, a little girl of about seven comes and takes my husband’s seat. She has a packet of wafers in one hand and what looks like a small piece of thick cardboard in the other hand.

She adjusts herself comfortably on the seat, looks up at me and smiles. What a lovely and heart warming smile, I think. I smile in response, and wave hello! She says hello too.

After a few minutes, she touches my hand. When I look at her, she shows me the other side of the cardboard. It is an artwork of a three-dimensional flower in a pot. I mouth a wow and clap gently.

Courtesy – clipartlibrary.com

I ask her if it is play dough. “No, this is air-dry clay”, she says.

She lovingly runs her fingers over her creation, and asks me, “Do you like it?”

I tell her that I like it. She then says, “I like it too, a lot.” And her eyes light up. She continues to admire her artwork and looks content.

I realize how difficult it is to experience this kind of joy from the work we do. We are constantly striving to perform better, to attain the goals that we have set for ourselves. But with our sights set only on these bigger goals and destinations, we seem to have lost the art of experiencing the joy in the good, simple and everyday tasks that we perform.

Another lesson learned from a sweet little girl!

A view from the balcony


My living room clock shows 6.30 p.m. The day is winding down. Children, who have played outdoors all evening, are heading back to their homes. The birds have returned to their nests.

The world is still aglow, lit by the setting sun. There is a certain calm to this hour that you wouldn’t find at any other time during the day. People are getting back from work, a spring in their step; looking forward to an evening of being at home, in their own space, relaxing and unwinding from the stresses of yet another day. Pets greet their owners with absolute joy, children fling themselves at their dads and moms to be bearhugged and cuddled, or to be thrown up in the air and caught in a tumbling mass of giggles.

I go to my favourite spot – my balcony – and stop in amazement when I see this.

This building can be seen from our balcony. I am totally amazed by the fact that the molten sun is reflecting off only one of the numerous glass facades of the building.

There is something miraculous in this moment, a splash of vibrant orange against a backdrop of grey, a great moment in an otherwise ‘business as usual’ type of day.

From where I stand, the sun has already slipped out of sight. But I am lucky to have been a part of this moment of sheer golden bliss.

Another simple moment captured, and filed away.

The good old newspaper


Every morning, at around 5.30 am, the newspaper man drops the newspaper at our doorstep, with a gentle thud.

In this age of ‘digital everything’, many people I know have stopped buying newspapers. They prefer news apps on their phones. Even I have these apps on my phone, which I use, to keep updated.

However, there is nothing to beat the joy of reading the newspaper.

Mornings are generally so crazy that I only have time to skim through  the headlines, before I rush back to my chores.

My husband then claims the paper and reads it. 

Finally, when the kids and my husband leave, I sit down with a cup of coffee, on my easychair, to read the newspaper.

There is so much joy in reading the news on print – the editorial, world affairs, sport, entertainment and so much more.

Courtesy – http://www.123rf.com
The rustle of paper, the smell, the articles, the advertisements – all contribute to the experience. 
There is comfort in ‘not’ knowing the number of ‘likes’ or ‘shares’ or ‘comments’ for every article.  The layout is so beautiful that one can see so much in a single glance, and read or skip at will!

Solving puzzles like sudoku and kakuro or the crossword is yet another experience! Sitting down with a pen, lost in thought, calculating or thinking about a word or number, and sipping strong filter coffee to stimulate the thought process.

Then again, reading the everyday cartoon strip, and smiling, as you realize how cleverly the cartoonist has captured life and our everyday struggles.

After the paper is read, I carefully fold it and put it on the newspaper rack. It has given us all it had. It languishes at home for a month, along with other papers, before it moves on to be recycled.

Do you enjoy reading the newspaper?

Summer mangoes


Summer in the tropics is synonymous with heat, humidity and aggravation. However, summer time is also ‘mango time’.

Every market stocks multiple varieties of mangoes. The golden beauties are piled in pyramids in wide, cane baskets.

You can smell them before you see them. Alphonso, Banganapalli, Neelam, Thothapuri, Malgova, Raspuri…so many, many varieties.

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             Courtesy – http://www.123rf.com

When we were kids, my dad would stock up on mangoes every Sunday.  School vacation afternoons were spent with my sisters, in the backyard, eating whole, juicy mangoes with our hands. Squeezing the pulp and scraping every bit of juice and fiber from each mango.

We had yellow, sticky mustaches and palms to show for our efforts.

Tender baby mangoes were pickled, and we had these everyday with curd rice.

We could never ever have enough of this delicious fruit.  After marriage, I discovered that my husband’s family were mango lovers too!  So the saga continues.

Mangoes are one of the greatest joys of an Indian summer, especially eating them with your hands!

What is happiness?


What is happiness? Happiness is anything that gives you joy and peace. Happiness is inside each one of us and all around us in simple, everyday things…

To me, happiness is….

….watching a little puppy prancing around and greeting its mother

…..watching the ecstacy on a child’s face as his/her eyes track a bubble

……the bliss of that first gulp of water after a strenuous workout

…..that first spoon of a scoop of ice cream

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……the aroma and taste of that first sip of my morning coffee

….diving into the pool on a hot day

…..writing my name on a creamy white new notebook

…..that moment after piping hot food is served on my plate, and before I eat that first mouthful

….cuddling my children in the morning

…..sitting in companionable silence with my spouse, reading a book

…..laughing at a silly joke

…..coffee with one of my dear friends

….that unique smell when the first drops of rain meet parched earth

…..having lots of things to do

……having nothing to do

…..watching a great film, munching popcorn

…..going on a long walk on a bright, sunny day

…..tucking into a good book, with a cup of coffee, with rain lashing outside.

….writing my blog

….writing my first book

Happiness is in the simplest things.

What are the simple things that make you happy? Would love to know.