Monday, June 23, 2014


Two more months, my love. To August 23rd.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Because no one is like you - V

Today is June 25 2017. 22:45. This is me, at my desk, Minnie by my side, another post on Wajdaan. After every few minutes I turn around and check if you are still sleeping peacefully, and that this noise from my typing hasn’t woken you up. You have had a long day, I know my dear. And of course, you aren’t as nocturnal as I am. You have the intelligence, and I, the insomnia… well… don’t we both have something owlish about ourselves.

We have been living together for a few years now… but I still sometimes wonder if this is real. If all of this is actually happening. You wouldn’t know my love, but a lot of times, while you are asleep, I touch your hand, and stroke your hair… and sit by your side… for hours. Thinking, thanking… and going through the memory lane yet again… our journey, of love, growth, and eternal togetherness.

Hah, do you remember the first time I met your father? Boy, I was nervous or what! You would tell me ‘baba buhut gussey waale hain’ and I, in my heart, would go like ‘Shit man… How do I not appear like an idiot in front of her father…!!!’ It was 10,000 times tougher than any job interview or any exam, for sure! But then, he has seen the world, an earnest man who has earned everything that he has today… and this my dear, was a big factor in soothing my otherwise wrecking nerves. I knew exactly what I had to do: 1- Absolutely avoid cracking stupid jokes 2- Absolutely avoid getting into subjects such as religion 3- Absolutely open my heart and let him know how much I love and want his daughter in my life. Tell him that I will try to be less of an idiot, that I will never ever break her heart, that I will always, and always keep her as the center of my life and attention, and that… we will be so, so, so happy together. AH! I clearly remember how he hugged me so tightly after our conversation… and haha, you remember how I looked at you, almost saying, ‘Komal… he is breaking bones…!’

Meeting your ammi, on the other side, was easier, I should say. And funny. She would ask me something, and then start telling me one of your childhood stories. In so many ways, you are like her, you know. A storyteller, a gorgeous smile, and completely unassuming. Innocent but in an amusing way. I didn’t have to convince her much either, your daily conversations with her over Viber had done the trick I assume ;-)! But hey, no tricks, I genuinely love you okay?

And.. ha ha ha… the funniest, was when you met my mum for the first time. Five minutes, and you were both quiet. Finding things to talk about. I literally had to dispatch Aamna for rescue. But my mum always liked you a lot; as I had told you so. Even today whenever you are not around, she makes me sit down and instructs how-I-should-stop-being-a-kid.  Tum batao, I have improved over the years, haven’t I?

Ah! There are so many such stories, my love… our trip to Mauritius? And those Greek islands? And the first time we cooked for our friends together? You remember how Jueeli, Abhay and Tapas had started talking in Marathi and we both were like ‘Remote kahan hay, koi yeh Marathi channel change kero yaar..’.  And how we had surprised Fatemah on her birthday! And how we had gone for a long drive after cutting her cake around midnight? How can I forget that you played that one Ek Villian ka song 15 times in a span of two hours? :-p ‘Teri galliyannn… galliyan teri galliyaaaann..’ Aha! Kiya baat hay!! Wah wah!


You know I have always felt I am a bit strange. Competitive, but in an unusual way… ambitious but not much of a planner. I have never planned ‘ke meri aisi job ho, ke 40 years tak I want to be the CEO of this company, ya I want to have this house or car or even that many kids.’ I think, or rather like to think that I can see beyond numbers and/or tangibles.

But I absolutely cannot imagine myself, my life without you. I say this today, with all conviction and sincerity. I have never connected to places, you are my home, my shelter…  every evening when we both come back from work….your smile, a tight hug, the fragrance of your being…  and hey! I am fresh again! We work together and contribute to lives around us, we cook together and make the best chicken biryani ever, we can both be hysterical and uptight, we both can write and sing well, we… are just so good together. You are just too good, and I am a quick learner!

We were not able to do anything for your birthday, as you were busy finalizing a project. But hey, I haven’t told you, I have booked our flight to Prague! For an entire week in August, only you and me, like those backpackers again.. traveling, exploring, lots of fried rice, coffee, long walks… Like the first time we travelled across Europe, during the later part of 2013. And I would always count countries and cities we went to… Paris, Berlin, Athens, Rome, Istanbul…


Ohh… I think you are up!

‘Kiya hua meri jaan?’

‘Noor.. mujhey spoon kero naa!’

Thereeeee you gooooo!

How can I say no now?

So see you later.

But may the perpetual light keep shining upon us.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

This city doesn't look the same.

Without you. 

Monday, May 26, 2014


‘I tell you… she is such a dreamer… a foolish, sensitive dreamer...’

So cold, his voice. Maybe the whiskey he is drinking should burn him a little.

‘Yeah?’ I asked, my voice almost trembling.  May be the whiskey I am drinking should burn me a little less.

And we are both drinking the same.

‘Yeah man… It’s crazy to be sensitive, and a dreamer… denial becomes unavoidable then’

‘Hmmm…’ Maybe he is right.

‘You got to be better than this you know… you got to be strong…’


Being sensitive, and being weak… and their correlation in his mind. Explains why the same whiskey works differently.

A cryptic code, a whirling Sufi, a broken compass… Isn’t this how people drift away from each other?

April 21, 2012. Bhoja Air Flight 213 crashed last night. 127 corpses and thousands of unfulfilled promises flying out of the capital right now. I look at my mum, she seems numb, watching all of this on the television screen.

‘Kitne log becharey mar gaye naa…’

‘Yes, maa…’ I can barely say anything more. She does not know yet what I know, she has not seen my sister as I did just few minutes back.

But the news came soon. Corpse number 128 was ready to be driven away.

‘He has his own issues you see, some really messed up but rare incongruities’.
‘Ahan, like?’
‘Like… he gets bored of things but stuck on people’.

‘How many of your kids are in school?’
All of my boys are!’
‘And the others? I mean your girls?’
‘Oh they dropped out! They are all married now’


La ilaha ill Allah Muhammadur-Rasul Allah
‘Your father was a good man...
… and often misunderstood

Friday, March 21, 2014


'What is that something you like the most?' Someone asked him.

He, who was so far reclining on his chair, seemingly hanging, almost ready to slip and fall down any minute, came up and sat straight to this question. Almost as if he was waiting for it.

'I like to trust'. A short answer.

Seconds into his eyes you look and you know he really means it. He means business in everything that is not about business.

'Well... and what else do you like?'

Long silence. As if he went through some cycle. A journey. Nothing less than a bumpy road trip in his mind. 

'If someone can't trust me, I would prefer being misunderstood.'


If the strings that connect you to people around are loose, then you have less to lose. Or take a closer look, perhaps you have rather less to gain. There are nights, some starry somber nights, when I feel I would just drift away. Loose strings. I look around and I see myself trusting. I close my eyes and feel misunderstood. Both less to lose and less to gain. How am I going to make sense in future. Will the future make sense to me. 

'Why do you write gibberish when you can make so much sense, my love?' Her affectionate face looks even more concerned this very moment. A fleeting thought; perhaps only to make her less worried, I should actually begin to make more sense. 

'Writing gibberish is just less confusing, my love'.

My love. He doesn't take her name anymore. She is my love. And he is my love as well. But there are nights, some starry somber nights, when a strange fear takes over; he does not want to forget that they do have different names and identities. And my love in essence is not them but between them

Saturday, March 08, 2014

African diaries - I

Last night in Uganda. I won’t deny it has somewhere been a bit exhausting, both physically and emotionally; experiences so powerful that though it has only been 23 days, I feel as if I have always lived here. This is how such experiences are. In present they engulf, completely overwhelm you. And in retrospect, they seem hard to believe. You being hazy in your mind about their occurrence but convinced of their indelible imprints on your life. Such was my time in Africa, my first trip to this unimaginably resource-rich but shockingly unfortunate part of the world. A visit, more of a lesson I think I needed to learn at the brink of my graduation; returning back to the ‘real-world’ as some cynics would say, after a hiatus. I feel my conversations with farmers; people marred by nature and abandoned by nurture, humans living in almost infra-human conditions, have enriched me significantly. Their dreams, when asked, almost every time brought smile on their tired but eager faces; dream of enough food for all, dream of sending all children to school, dream of having a better house with something more than a couple of chairs. Scarcity has chained these dreamers together; so whenever they dream, they all dream the same.

‘Have you bought anything in last three years for yourself or your family?’ I asked one.

He thinks and thinks, going back in time.

‘Yes!’ Oh, his answer is finally here.

‘Yes I did buy a radio for my wife in 2011. She likes to listen to music you see.’

A radio?  Hmmm. I used to be a little surprised initially but then it all started to make sense. Spending hours and hours in far flung villages, I slowly began to connect dots, naively hoping that the final picture would not come out as heartbreaking as the individual dots were. Sometimes the whole village seemed like a small, insignificant black dot in center of the world, meaning nothing to anyone outside. But then this thought never lasted long, evaporated within seconds every time I saw those ever smiling, ever waving kids on literally every street. Africa is not just a number. A subject, a research, an experiment. It is a constant battle for survival. To protect yourself from being one of the three million people who die because of Malaria every year.

Africa also made me realize the tremendous power of money. How it can improve lives, or more simply, how it can let people live.

Consider this: Smallholder farmers on average apply for a loan of about 400,000 Ugandan Shillings/six months. Most find it difficult to get, some find it insufficient, some even struggle to pay. You know how much 400,000 UGX is?

EUR 121.