The 4 am friend

Isn't it strange when you meet some people for the first time and at that moment have no idea that they will always be there with you... they will always be there for you!

They say you are determined by the company you keep. But the deeper fact is that the company you keep often makes you the person you are. The way it happened with me.

I am so thankful for that sunny day of my college life when I met Sush. Frankly, I do not remember the date I met her first, but that was the time I entered the degree program at Bhavans College, Andheri. And that was the time I can never thank God enough for.

How to recycle used bottles after Daaru Party

It's Christmas and New Year time and most of us are buying lots of soft drinks. Now don't just discard the used bottle the next day. You can use it for several good purposes - RECYCLE!

Just tried this and it took very little time:

Recycling Used Sprite Bottle to make a Flowerpot in 4 simple steps:
1 - Cut the bottle carefully with a hot knife
2 - Paint it from the outside
3 - Punch 3 small holes to drain excess water in future
4 - Plant the plant!

Justice is blind, but is it deaf too?

Over 1 lakh women were raped in India since 2007!

Every single time there is any news about a rape, every woman is enraged. Over the months, with so many terrible incidents reported almost everyday in the newspaper, the anger, the sorrow and the feeling of being unsafe only builds up. And it comes to a point when some of us, including me, feel so terrified that we start having nightmares... that we stop reading the entire news about rapes... because it leaves us disturbed... very disturbed.

This happens to us when we read about a certain rape tragedy with someone we didn't even know. Try imagining the plight of the person actually going through the trauma! No, we can never imagine.

Remember how bad you feel when someone at a crowded railway station touches you inappropriately and disappears in the crowd? As if we are some public property!!! Even thinking about what we will do if someone tries to rape us is super scary. Even if the thought comes to our mind, we immediately switch off. We think, we are unnecessarily worrying, it won't happen to us. But deep within we are concerned:
  1. Will we be able to protect ourselves when a gang of inhuman creatures arrives?

The spirit of Mumbai?

My city is known for its spirit in the face of disasters, calamities and unfortunate incidents. My city is known for getting back on foot no matter what. My city is known for the unity it has displayed during days that tried its patience. I love my city Mumbai.

My city is known for its love for the legends of the city - in Bollywood, Politics, Business and every other field. My city is known for the way it feels sad unanimously, not compulsorily, every time we lose a legend. I love my city Mumbai.

Letter to the thief

So Mrinal's wallet was stolen a few minutes back at Lokmanya Tilak Terminus. While we had loads of work to complete this Sunday, we are struggling to block credit cards and lodge complaints. Not to mention the disappointment and anger. All right, my househelp's 4th leave this week has added fuel to it. As househelps are meant to be pampered else they will leave you home alone with all the cleaning and washing, and since with Fibromyalgia, I cannot afford to lose a househelp, I am gonna talk to the thief. Here's a letter to the thief. All I need is the address now!

And then, I didn't cry

Addressing audience during
World Arthritis Meet, Mumbai
It's one thing when people say you are strong, it's one thing when you think you are strong, but when your inner voice says it to you... when no one but only you are listening... that's when it actually happens!

That's when you truly believe you have become strong.

I became strong last night.

Varsha's Varshgaanth and The Big Gang Theory

We have been the best of friends for a long long time. Now that I mention it, let me count... 17 years... Wow Varsha, that's cool!

When we met in college, we were a huge gang of science students... I guess we were the biggest gang in our college bound by studies and fun. And as it happens with most of us, when we move towards the final year and the majors change, we get to spend lesser 'big-gang' time together. Eventually and mostly, Chem people stay together breaking countless burettes and flasks; Physics folks stay tied up as their frequencies match better; Botany and Zoology species form their own genus; and Maths, well their equations are a bit different and very intellectual. I call it The Big Gang Theory! 

When Beti becomes Aunty, When Uncle becomes Bhaiyya

Age 15: I used to visit the vegetable market with my Mom. The vendors would call my Mom 'Bhabhi' and call me 'Beti'. How they would refer to a 20-something purchasing vegetables 'Madam'. How I wanted to grow up soon and be called 'Madam'! There was something magical about it then! I would call all vendors 'Uncle'.

Age 25: I visited the market with my Mom, who had now become 'Aunty' and I was finally 'Madam'. How I would look at newly wed young women wearing mangalsutra, beautiful dresses and lovely bangles who would come by themselves to buy the veggies. The vendors would call them 'Bhabhi' How I wondered what it would be like to shop alone and be referred to as 'Bhabhi'! The vendors became 'Bhaiyya' to me!

DEBUGG: Kaat-te rehte mujhko saanjh savere...

Kaat-te rehte mujhko
Saanjh savere

Paiiron mein... haaye
Paiiron mein...

Kaat-te rehte mujhko
Saanjh savere
Paiiron mein basya jaise
kaante ye tere
Paiiron mein basya jaise
kaante ye tere

We use the F word openly. Why shy when it comes to Periods?

The Goodness of IndiBloggers Meet:Learnings, Initiatives and Goodies!
One of the biggest things I did in May, in addition to launching my Fibromyalgia Awareness blog, was attending the Stayfree | UNICEF Women's IndiBlogger Meet. The meet that was organised around the theme Women For Change succeeded in bringing about a change in the way we would think and act from now.

After the initial interaction and introductions, we were taken through a couple of presentations. When I heard the word 'presentation' the first thought that came to my mind is, "Oh... a boring ppt... that too on a Sunday!" But the presentations, complete with shocking facts and numbers, grabbed our attention right from the start until the end. Actually, they stirred our brains!
Only 12 percent women in India use sanitary napkins!

Petrol and the ladyfinger

The ladyfinger could not stop crying. She, along with her green buddies, had been lying in the basket of the vegetable vendor for almost a week. Until yesterday, she was under the heap of other ladyfingers in the basket and she reached the top only yesterday.

She awaited some aunty to come and pick her so that she can get transformed into bharwan bhindi or bhindi fry. She dreaded the arrival of the restaurant guy who would eventually mix her with some oily masala to prepare bhindi masala. While that too is an excellent preparation, she knew that in restaurants people prefer the arrogant paneer over bhindi masala and that she would eventually be thrown in garbage.

Is unique always special?

I remember when I was a kid and I watched Rajesh Khanna and Amitabh Bachchan starrer movie Anand for the first time, I used to say that if I ever suffer from a medical condition its name should be as unique as Anand's lymphosarcoma of the intestine!

I know it sounds silly, but I was a kid then. I loved Anand's character that was always so bubbly and happy. More than that, I loved how much everyone loved him. There was something about the way he spread happiness and stayed happy even when he knew he was dying. For me he was Mahaan, and as kids, Mahaanta always inspires us, right?

Now we wish for so many small and big things all the time:

"I wish I manage to catch the 8.34 local train!"
"I wish I reach home early today!"
"I wish it rains today!"
"I wish it doesn't rain today!"
"I wish the househelp comes early today!"
"I wish I can buy this big a house!"
"I wish I have a good hair day!"

Not all our wishes come true, but unfortunately for me this one stupid wish of having a unique disease was fulfilled. I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia (here's how you pronounce it). It's been almost three years now if I calculate from the time I visited a doctor and described the symptoms.

No, I won't die due to Fibromyalgia... thank God for that! But I will have to live with pain until I am alive. Please don't feel sorry for me as I have accepted it and am managing my life with it. And also, that is not the purpose of writing this post. The purpose is spreading awareness about the condition.

The way lymphosarcoma of the intestine had a commonly known name Cancer, Fibromyalgia doesn't have any commonly understood name but is always misunderstood. In fact, it is also known as Invisible Illness. Rightly so, as people with Fibromyalgia do not look sick. If you meet me you will not notice that I have a medical problem. You will not notice that I am having excruciating pain all over my body even as I talk to you.

Now while I have tried to derive some positivity from this (you can read about it here), I need the support of bloggers. I have created a blog on Fibromyalgia Awareness. Please take some time to go through it and understand all about it.

I am not asking for monetary contribution as there's no surgery required, since there is no cure at all. So you can read on ;)

I am requesting you to join me in spreading awareness about this unique condition. This will serve a two-fold purpose:
  1. People will know what Fibromyalgia is all about. They will understand that we are not being lazy or unreasonable, that we seriously cannot do certain things which they can do like preparing the morning cup of tea / lifting shopping bags / working full time. This is really necessary as it affects our personal and work life more than you can imagine.
  2. People who might have Fibromyalgia but have never heard about it can understand the condition and report their symptoms to a specialist. So there won't be delay in starting the treatment. Here, you must know that there is no sure-shot way of diagnosing it; Fibromyalgia is a diagnosis of exclusion, meaning several tests are done to rule out other conditions before it is established that one has this Fibromyalgia. So it takes a lot of time. The sooner one starts, the better!
You can help me in raising awareness in any of the following ways or you can suggest me more ideas:
  • Talk about Fibromyalgia with people you know.
  • Join the Facebook page of the blog and share it on your timeline. Who know someone somewhere on Facebook might benefit!
  • Contribute a Guest Post on the Fibromyalgia Awareness blog - your views / fiction stories / posters / anything you wish.
  • Follow the Twitter handle and retweet the tweets you like.
  • Follow the Pinterest board; Repin the posters you like.
  • Share your ideas to help me spread the word.
Thank you for reading such a long post. I hope a time comes soon when people with Fibromyalgia would not have to explain others what it is all about, get tips to feel better and lead a better life.

PS Do not ever wish to have a particular disease with a unique name... you never know at that very time someone up there grants it!

In remembrance of Shubhangi teacher

When I went for my marriage registration three years ago, the rude and lazy registrar treated us differently, or should I say indifferently. Knowing that me and my husband are not Maharashtrians, she started speaking against us to her colleagues in Marathi when we complained that she cannot make us unnecessarily run from pillar to post. 

She was left speechless when she learnt that I understood every single word. She had almost ruined our marriage registration process had I not understood Marathi. At that moment, I was just glad that I understand the language. But the thought that it was thanks to Shubhangi teacher, and not just my school as I bragged, did not occur to me then. THANK YOU TEACHER. 

REALisation: Past Perfect, Present Continuous(ly busy), Future Tense

Noticing half-a-dozen strands of silver hair a while ago and the thought of writing on the lines of "When I was young...," would have ideally made me skip this subject. But when I mentally time-travelled into the late eighties, I realised I was lucky to be born much before this era of online chats, online gaming, escalators and treadmills. Not that I am against the online revolution... it helps me earn my bread, butter, jam and mayo, but I realised that back then (suddenly I feel as if I am aging at the speed of light!) childhood was just perfect!

I used to write real letters (I must specify - hand-written ones!) to my nana/nani, aunts-uncles, cousins and my friend Ranjeeta.
The letters to the elders would always start like:
"Pyaari Maasi, Namaste! Aap kaisi ho, ghar par sab kaise hain..."
And the ones to Ranjeeta would go like this:
Dear Ranjeeta, how are you? You know what happened the other day.."

We still retain some of those blue inland letters and yellow envelopes with lots of stamps. Holding and reading them once in a while is an indescribable experience!

Jab main chhoti bacchi thi...

Jab main chhoti bacchi thi
Kahaan sharaarat karti thi ;)

Chidiya awaaz lagaati thi
Aur main jaag jaati thi

iThank iYou iFor iPad

I can't take my "I"s off the iPad (that's when it is plugged for charging or I am in sleep mode). Else, I can't take my hands off the wonderful creation!
I was thinking about buying an iPad 2 for quite some time. But as I waited for the price to come down, IndiBlogger and Dove surprised me by announcing the second prize (iPad 2) for the The Hair and the Tortoise post. For the first time in my life I was happier about the prize rather than the winning part!

I thank IndiBlogger, Dove and all my blog readers straight from my heart. I also thank the Apple team for inventing this beauty. And I wish they take some time off and do not introduce iPad 3 soon... hehe.

Meanwhile, there are some people because of whom I am an active blogger. I have never thanked them in person, so I would like to talk about them here.

Blogging Tips and Best Practices

Most of my friends have been suggesting that I start a blog on blogging. While it might take some time, I have tried to cover some important blogging tips in an interview conducted by Jidhu Jose in his blog Reflections.

Some of the questions answered include:
  • Why (the hell) did I get into blogging ;)
  • Suggestions for blogging newbies
  • Tips on building a community around a blog and social media
  • My three favorite blogs 
  • Plug-ins that I would you suggest bloggers to have
The interview might not be very elaborate, but you can use the comments section on this page or Jidhu's page to discuss this further. Do feel to ask questions or offer suggestions. Let's learn more about blogging together!


Tum jo mil gayi ho
Toh yeh lagta hai
Ke sab kaam ho gaya
Ek tadapte huye raahi ka
Kaam dhaam ho gaya (listen to the original song here)

Jaana na duur hum se
Dekho khafaa na hona
Kismat se mil gayi ho
Mil ke judaa na hona


Har pal, har lamha
bas usi ka khayaal hai
Har aahat pe lagta hai
ab khatam intezaar hai

Har gali, har mohalle mein
dhoondti phirti hoon usko
Duniya banaane waale
ek Househelp dila de mujhko