I am a people’s person, and this blog is about the people who have touched my life, in ways that I could never have imagined. My maternal grandmother, Jani, was my haven. I remember the reassuring warmth of the pallu of her nine-yard sari, which was both a refuge, and a towel with which I wiped my face. I hid behind it, when visitors unknown to me, came home, and draped it around my shoulders, as she narrated stories. The love of my maternal aunts and uncles, my cousins, and my neighbours buttressed me, making up for the absence of my father, who had passed away, when I was two months old. Without these wonderful people, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. At every stage of my life, I met such messiahs of affection, not to mention the naysayers, and the ubiquitous critics who pull you down, from all of whom I learnt valuable life lessons.
I wrote my first poem when I was a child. I remember sitting up in the middle of the night, in pitch darkness, compelled by the urge to put down the words, which had flashed in my mind, like a dream. I remember being reprimanded by my mother and grandmother, for switching on the light, and disturbing their sleep. I’m still surprised that I had braved being attacked by nocturnal creatures, who I believed, swarmed the place, to jot down those words. The poem was about my doll, Jane, a plump blue-eyed blonde, who wore a yellow frock, with a pink patchwork flower. She was my constant companion and confidante. As I grew up in a large, extended family, I met people from different walks of life–in my neighbourhood, in the course of work, during my commutes, in the local market, while on a vacation, quite by chance or by design, in books, and in my imagination–who left deep impressions on me, some so unforgettable, that even today I can draw from this storehouse of rich memories, and tell their stories.
For 17 years, I edited a women’s monthly magazine called New Woman and wrote a column, Gut Reaction, dealing with political, social, women’s and children’s issues. I quit my day job in March 2015, to explore other writing avenues, and work on a larger canvas. I picked up the threads of my long-pending novel, while pursuing my other passions–yoga, and a nutrition re-education programme based on the principles of natural hygiene. These pursuits were tiny adventures in their own right, and I felt wonderful being an explorer of the world.
Over the years, I’ve tried my hand at amateur theatre, directed a children’s play long, long ago, and done a blink-and you-miss-it cameo (seriously:)))), in a Bollywood film.
I’m a walker and saunterer. l love exploring new places–the sights, sounds, smells, and the energy of a place–on foot. I enjoy cooking, and home-made food, and am to drudgery born. The Muse visits me only after I have put my house in order. I have a deep interest in the process of writing, the rituals that facilitate it, the nuts, the bolts, the agonising wait with the pen poised in the air, or fingers itching to type. I am an unabashed stalker of writers and books. I fantasise about backpacking in the wilderness, living in a tree house at Vengurla, in Konkan, and if I get braver as I age, retreating into a Himalayan cave. I dream of growing my own food, and learning the language of the birds.
My motto: Life is simple. Don’t complicate it. Be natural.
I also blog about everyday wonders at: https://thisthathereandnow.wordpress.com/