How do I write…Why do I write…? – Day 1668

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Growing up in a small home I was used to sharing my writing desk with my other siblings and the desk was large enough to preserve all our notebooks without coming in the way of each other. One day, I had scribbled my essay for college and gone out without settling the books in the drawer as our parents had trained us to and when I came home, my eldest brother who happened to have  read the essay remarked, ‘Do you know you can write, I mean you have the making of a writer’.


I was too young to understand the implications but a few months later, my college professor asked me to join the magazine team. My story published in the college magazine caught the attention of a budding publisher who operated from the building adjoining to my college and hired me as an intern. Post my daily lectures I  walked across to his office and spent  two hours writing disjointed paragraphs of various stories he asked me to for which I was paid a monthly fee of rupees 100.


Then one day, I read an advertisement in the paper inviting college students for a walk-in interview at the ball room, Taj Mahal Hotel. The room was house-full and I was surprised when I got confirmed for the job on the very same day.  I rejected the offer because I was suspicious but they kept chasing me as if I was the last talent in the country and I relented because they offered me a salary of rupees 500 a month.


This must be in the year 1977…Ever since I am writing….

To be continued


I am Katambu (Day 1368)

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I am Karam.

I am mentioned in the Bhagavata Purana.

While every tree associated with Lord Krishna is precious and documented as some art form, I am fortunate that poets like Jaydeva’s Geet Govinda have dedicated verses to me. I am fortunate that many performing artistess have paid tributes in immortal images to me.

In North India, I am synonymous with Lord Krishna, some address me as my Lord’s sakha, while others describe me as his avatar.

Down South I am referred to as the Parvati’s tree and in some regions as Rohini’s tree. While the Radha-Krishna romance beneath Kadamba is legendary, it is believed that in the Sangam period of Tamil NaduMurugan of Tirupparankundram Hill of Madurai was referred to as a centre of nature worship because Murugan in the form of a spear is placed under me, a Kadamba tree.

So many stories, so many interpretations…

Keshava: A Magnificent Obsession is now listed on Amazon. To order click here:

To be continued


I am tall and luscious (Day 1367)

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The orchard and the forest blossomed every time they walked the path hand in hand and when they dispersed, my leaves wilted and withered away.

I grow fast and transform colour according to seasons.

Sometimes I feel I am symbolic of Radha Rani’s volatile moods. I reflect her fire and her passion. She blushes pink when Kaanha is beside her, when he touches her and turns green with envy when he shifts attention to the gopikas.  She is red-eyed when furious and ash-faced when it came to parting with her beloved…

They spend long, silent hours seated beneath my foliage resembling a canopy. I have guarded them from atop and my long branches coiled together have gently rocked them to sleep.

Moments of utter bliss…

Keshava: A Magnificent Obsession is now listed on Amazon. To order click here:

To be continued


I am Kadamba (Day 1366)

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I grow in many continents but in India I am predominantly associated with Vrindavan, the land of Radha Rani and Lord Krishna, who was then just Kaanha of Gokul.

I am Lord Krishna and Radha Rani’s confidante…

It was beneath my shade and the veil of my orange leaves that love blossomed between the two and turned legendary.

The world knows about their undying love but I know so much more which I will never share.

Not surprising then that I am described as precious and ornamental. My beautiful ochre leaves and my scented flowers have manifold stories to tell. Stories of romance, stories of intrigue…

The seers say that Lord Krishna chose me as his rendezvous because of my purity and aesthetics. I believe that it was the presence of Radha Rani and my Lord around me that spreads fragrance. My bark shone and my leaves spread each time they touched me.

Keshava: A Magnificent Obsession is now listed on Amazon. To order click here:

To be continued



I am Annamayi, I am Arju (Day 1355)

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The Congo peacocks display their tails during courtship. Their feathers are comparatively shorter and their colours don’t sparkle in the way I shine when I dance in the sun.

I am attractive and I know it, I am aware that my beauty casts a spell around me and I enjoy flaunting my long tail quill feathers whenever I have an audience because I love being watched.

My counterpart, the peahen, is not as boastful as me and it is also because her plumage is not as radiant as mine and her colours, a mixture of dull grey, brown, and green can never have the effect I have on my surrounding. She accepts my superiority and shies away from attention. She hides when she is being watched and the only time she displays her plumage is to ward off female competition or to signal danger to her young ones.

My book Keshava: A Magnificent Obsession is now listed on Amazon. To order click here:

To be continued



Many avtaars of Keshava (Day 1351)

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We are all projections of other people’s perceptions. I am no exception.

Some perceive me as a child avatar. For them I am Balagopala…Balakrishna.

Some view me as an eternal traveller. For them I am Banke Bihari.

I was always there and will continue to be there.

When I renounce my body the surviving part of me will prevail amongst the five ingredients of nature.


The sixth will be the heart of human beings.


I will be drawn to anyone who pulls me in in his direction and provides me space in his heart.

I have narrated in the Bhagavad Gita that among the elephants I am Airavata, among trees I am Peepala, among the rivers I am Ganga and among the cows I am Kamadhenu.


To be continued

My book Keshava: A Magnificent Obsession is now listed on Amazon. To order click here:



Keshava: A Magnificent Obsession (Day 1349)

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My new book Keshava : A Magnificent Obsession are folklores associated with the legend of Lord Krishna, in fact it is about all those who Krishna loved and imbibed life into, the eight wonders of nature.

In the coming weeks, I will be introducing you to all those eight characters and why they feel their relationship is most precious with the deity but first I have to tell you what Lord Krishna thinks about all of them.

Krishna says:

I am the knowledge…I am the awareness…I am the conflict in times of despair.

I am the shape in the alphabet spread out in the scriptures.

In grammar, I am the adjective, the proposition, the noun, and the adverb.

In tense, I am the past, the present, as well as the future.

In the cycle of Karma, I am the provider and also the receiver.

In times of injustice, I am the oppressor so that those without values learn righteousness.

I am greed, I am ambition, and I am also success.

I am silence that preserves secrets and also knowledge that spreads awareness.

To be continued

My book Keshava: A Magnificent Obsession is now listed on Amazon. To order click here:


Movie Review: Raazi (Day 1348)

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A must watch for every Indian

Film: Raazi

Date: 11 May 2018

Director: Meghna Gulzar

Cast: Alia Bhatt, Vicky Kaushal, Rajit Kapur, Shishir Sharma, Jaideep Ahlawat

Ratings: 4 stars


She studies at Delhi University but her heart belongs to the valley where her parents live. She is 20 years-old but is old fashioned to submit to the dream of her father.

She is scared at the sight of blood, fears injections but ready to inconvenience self to save the life of a squirrel.

Sehmat Khan/ Alia Bhatt is summoned home urgently by her ailing father/ Rajit Kapoor and involved in a plan that changes her destiny forever but before that she has to go through rigorous training.

In her new abode she keeps dark secrets and courts peril, at times she is victorious and at times vulnerable.

In my opinion there are four reasons for watching Raazi:


  1. Plot – adapted from Commander Harinder Sikka’s novel Calling Sehmat the film is set in the backdrop of 1971 Indo Pak war and tells the story of a young Indian spy married to a Pakistani military Officer Iqbal Syed/ Vicky Kaushal so that she can uncover vital information to Indian Intelligence. Understandably it is a marriage of convenience, rather a marriage of dangerous and daunting responsibility.
  1. Treatment- unlike other films within spy thriller genre that focus on operation and explosions and where background music becomes overpowering to instill artificial fear Meghana Gulzar presents her thriller as an emotional story  traveling many intricate relationships.
  1. Detailing – from Delhi to Kashmir and then crossing border to Pakistan, the cultures and dialects of characters fall into place with adequate locations, production design, realistic sets and costumes combined with fitting music from Shankar Ehsaan Loy adding drama to lyrics from Gulzar.
  1. Message – director Meghana Gulzar made her debut with a domestic subject/ Filhaal then moved to a social issue/Talvar and this time addresses a national concern where the take home line is Watan kea aage kuch bhi nahi – the classic all’s fair in war even though war disregards life, sacrifice and relationships.
  1. Performances – the casting director does a splendid job because every actor breathes into the character be it Rajit Kapoor/ Hidayat Khan, Arif Zakaria as the Syed housekeeper or Shishir Sharma as army officer. As Iqbal Syed/ Vicky Kaushal and Sehmat’s mentor/ Jaideep Ahlawat deliver sincere, heartfelt performances.

Alia Bhatt as Sehmat Khan is pitch perfect be it her multiple activities, body language, expressions or dialogue delivery. In her10 year-old career she has embraced varied characters with clarity and conviction and internalizes the rather complex Sehmat with innocence and courage that goes beyond logic and love. When Sehmat falters, you fear for her, when she crumbles, you weep for her.

I offer unconditional support to Raazi and so must every self-respecting Indian. I rate Raazi with 4 stars.




Whisperings from Beyond (Day 1104)

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My friend and author Laksmi Narayan began her career as a journalist with Times of India and went on to become editor of Flair and Eves Weekly. She worked in Dubai and Singapore as a journalist before returning to India again. Her book Bonsai Kitten won her critical acclaim.

Narayan’s new book Whisperings from Beyond is not like any book you have read so far. She offers a succinct thought for each day of the year, calls it a detox exercise, says it as important to clear the cobwebs from our spirit and writes because the mental pilgrimage will help us get closer to the Source.

Narayan confesses that this collection of thoughts has been coming to her on a regular basis from November 2008 says all of us have from time to time been plagued with questions – Who am I? What am I doing here? Where do I go from here?  But do we find the answers, perhaps not until we are destined to.

(To be continued)