For My Birthday.



My birthday’s coming and I’ve made a list of gifts I want from my family and friends. It’s that time of the year when you get everything you want. So this year, for my birthday—

Let me cut the cake of injustice. Carefully take your uneven shares and swallow them. Swallow them and think of nothing else. Don’t think of the millions who have not a morsel to eat. Don’t think of all those who die with their mouths dry. Don’t. Those are just sad thoughts to be associated with birthdays.

Plan a party for me. Oh, a themed party. The theme could be inequality. We could all dance and raise our toasts to inequality. About how privileged we are to be able to do the things that seem routine to us now. A party? A new dress? New pair of heels? A new phone? Bleh. These are basic necessities after all, aren’t they? Gone are the days when food, shelter and clothes were basic amenities. But are those days gone or have we gotten out of them? Let’s think about it another day. A birthday is too cool for that.

When I sit to open my presents let there be books on violence and guides to study them. Make sure there’s a box of varied assortments of specially made chocolate—the flavor of discrimination, with nuts of poverty and a layer of indifference. But also let there be boxes of courage tied with ribbons of hope for me to open later.

Next, let’s all watch a Bollywood masala movie with a few peppy songs here and there. I wonder what they make those boring documentaries for. About the lives of people far away and their suffering that has nothing to do with us. We’re only human. Why should we empathize with another of our kind?

And after all my wishes are fulfilled, let me sleep with a smile on my face. For having celebrated the best birthday ever. Don’t let any other thought creep in. Not even about those little girls I met every week. Because no matter how much I care for them, they can never fit into my life, can they? We are just so different.

I got my identity right after I was born- a name. And they? They had to be named when they were fourteen and found on the streets.

I was named because my family wanted to name me. And they? They were named to file proper records of their existence.

My birthday is cherished. Theirs, cursed.

When it’s my birthday, I count days until it arrives. When it’s theirs, we make up random combinations of numbers. A date for them to celebrate!

When it’s my birthday, I want a perfect fairy gown. Just the right color. When it’s theirs- I tell myself at least they have clothes to cover themselves.

When it’s my birthday, I have family asking me what I want. When it’s theirs, family… family? They don’t know what that feels like. My bad.

When it’s my birthday, I distribute toffees and feel good about myself. When it’s theirs- oh-wait, they don’t even know when it is unless I make it up for them.



It’s mother’s day.
My Facebook is flooded with posts by my friends-
About their mothers and how much they love them.
And here I am.
Not knowing what to do.
Wanting to do more than everyone else.
For a mother who’s more than everyone else.
I love you Maa.
I know I don’t say it much.
But that’s because I don’t know how to.
I can’t imagine my life without you.

You are my backbone-
My strength when I cry.
My happiness when I laugh.
I can’t tell you how much I miss you.
I’m sorry I don’t get the whole umbilical- cord- detachment part.
I’m sorry I cry at nights.
I’m sorry I don’t know how to grow up.
Because the more I grow, the more closer I grow to you. Why is this so?
Is is like a mother- daughter thing?
Please tell me.

Dear Maa,
All I want for you is to be happy.
You are the strongest person I know.
You are the loveliest person I know.
You know what I like to hear the most?
That I look like you.
My eyes.
My smile.
They’re yours.
Thank you for sharing them with me.
I wish I could BE more like you.
Be strong.
Be independent.
Be loving.
Be caring.
Be at least half of what you are.

Thank you for taking care of teddy and fluffy while I am away.
I know you only pretend to not like them.
Thank you for setting standards of being the best mother ever.
I don’t even need to look at others to say that.
I am so damn sure.

Not A Poem

I won’t write you a poem.

I’m not even thinking of rhyme.

You know why?

Because I’m afraid.

I’m afraid I’ll pour in words for you

And get blank pages in return.

To write our story– alone.

I’m tired of that now.

I won’t write you a poem-

I don’t want to go back

And read it when it no more means anything to me.

Because what mattered once

Doesn’t always matter.

It’s sad but it’s true.

I’ve learnt the hard way.

I won’t write you a poem.

Because it will trivialize you.

Bring you down

to a something I will later laugh at.

I would rather let it be in my head.

As much as I can remember.

Just there.

And nowhere else.

If it were in my hands,

I would not like you.

Trust me, I wouldn’t.

For many, many reasons.

But I don’t know if it is.

Are Farewells Endings?


Why should a 66+ year old person want to spread love and happiness in the little actions he did? Why should he come to a place so far away, stay with people so distant from him in any way possible- age, religion, nationality, intelligence?

This is where I end up- between lists and attempts of making sense. Can I remind myself again that this is the beauty of life? Because no matter how hard you try, some things won’t reflect meaning; they don’t tell you why they happen or how they happen- the only thing you have to live with is that they do.
I wonder what Neil’s story is. I definitely know he has an amazing academic life, but I wonder what his personal life is/ was like. (I remember how the first time I called him Professor, he nodded sideways and said “Uh-huh. Neil, please”) I remember how he passed the ball to me during basketball, knowing very well that I won’t be able to score a basket. How he took care of the people who defended me just so I could move around and play. In his speech, Aditya quoted Neil when he said “Endings are inevitable. But they are nice. Because they let us appreciate the journey”. And I found myself standing there, along with 50 others, with tears in my eyes. He shared a story about how he said “Thank you” to the person who served him food everyday, and then took out a note from his pocket. That person had gotten a letter written for Neil that said “You are my favourite faculty member here and I enjoyed serving you. I admire how you said thank you to me every single day, unfailingly”. He had tears in his eyes when he closed the note, and so did a lot of us. Maybe it’s true that we don’t like endings– they’re just too sad. But important nevertheless. Because while an ending happens, your mind takes you to the start and the middle and the beginning after the ending. It just travels so much that it makes you sick in the stomach. Prof. Lutsky has spread so much love on campus. Vineet sir was right in saying he played a huge role in knitting this community together. I am going to miss all our Table Tennis moments– how he would appreciate each service and each smash and each shot of mine! He taught me how to live in the present. The amount of love and happiness he had, reflected in his eyes, his body and his smile; always so radiant, always so pure. I feel like these people radiate positive energy for the world to survive. I feed off from such people– like a glutton. I wish life would remind me of such people when I feel low. I wish it would tell me that I had the privilege to be around such pure souls. And I wish Prof. Lutsky.. oops.. Neil stays happy wherever he is, spreading that inspirational aura of his!

P.S: When life feels bad, I’ll tell myself that Neil is not going directly to Chicago and instead dropping off at Amsterdam because he wants to visit his favorite chocolate store there! How happy can life get?