I am sure I have many embarrassing moments in my life. But when I really got down to writing about them my brain froze. It must be one of those survival tactics of my brain which blocks out all unpleasant memories. Anyways I want to share an embarrassing occasion of my life which might not be very hilarious but it really made me look like a fool.
I was in class XI. And like any other teenager I had a huge stage fright. I had done many dance performances on stage but what really scared me was the mic. Addressing an audience was not my cup of tea.

A debate competition was being organised in our colony. Since the number of kids in my age group were less they we coaxing all of us to take part. I flatly refused. But don’t know why my Dad was keen that I take part. Maybe because he wanted to pull me out of my shell or maybe because he has been so good at these kind of things and he must be hoping that I would follow his footsteps.

Whatever the reason I found my name in the list of participants. I haughtily declared that I won’t put in any extra efforts. I told my Dad that since he has given my name as participant he will have to write the debate for me. My dear Papa helped me prepare. He almost wrote the whole debate for me with some very brilliant points in it. I should have cashed in on this splendid opportunity but I went around behaving like I was doing them a favour by participating.

To cut the long story short. I was finally on the stage. And I almost read through my speech in a monotone. And came back to my seat. “Phew it’s over and done with. Thank God.” And then they announced the question session or something like that where debaters can question or challenge the points raised by other debaters. “Oh My God! Now what is this? No one ever told me about this.” And to my horror one debater got up and challenged a point in my speech. I was supposed to get up and reply. But I didn’t have any clue. “I was not paying attention when I needed to and now I am in a soup.

I got up from my seat went up to the mic and did what any normal teenager does in such a situation. I burst into tears.  That’s what my system does to me. The buckets in my eyes overflow easily and at all the wrong times.

I was mortified, I rushed from the stage. And to add salt to my already wounded ego finally when the prizes were announced I was given the consolation prize.  It felt like they were pacifying a cry-baby. I feel sorry because I must have embarrassed my Dad also after so much hard work that he put in for me. Well! I guess we all have a few moments in our lives that we want either to erase or change. 



Ruma stood rooted to the spot. An avalanche of emotions going through her. “How many times.  Oh! How many times had she imagined this very moment in her life.” “How she had longed for it. How she had prayed for it. Just one signal from God telling her that her son was alive and well.”

She clutched the flowers to her bosom. Just one sentence going round and round in her mind “I want to see you Mom“. “Samar … It was Samar’s handwriting. My son Samar. He has reached out to me. He wants to meet me. It means he has forgiven me.

Amish wondered who was at the door. Ruma had gone to open the door and not come back yet. Her tea has also gone cold. “Age is catching up with you Ruma. You are becoming forgetful. Where have you gone leaving your tea with me?“, he teasingly called out to her. Not getting any response he got up slowly and went in search of her.

(Image Source: Google Inc.)

One look at Ruma and Amish realised something was very wrong. She stood like a statue and tears were flowing down her face. He saw the flowers and note in her hand. Amish read the note and was very relieved. “Thank God Samar is ok.” That was the first thought in his mind. He always had such a huge guilt feeling that he could not stop Samar from leaving the house. Amish had spent many a sleepless night reliving that fateful Sunday and wondering that maybe he could have avoided this outcome. He should have handled it better. But as they say there is no use crying over split milk.

Amish and Ruma both sat on the sofa. Their mind in turmoil. Ruma was ecstatic that Samar had contacted her. Amish was also happy but he was also worried. The confrontation between the brothers 10 years ago had shaken the very core of their happy family. It took a very long time for them to bring back semblance of normalcy in their life. He was scared that the status quo was about to be shaken again.

Their mind kept going back to that fateful day when Sagar had come home all bloodied. And had blurted out the secret that they had kept from their children for so long. “How could I tell them that they were step brothers when they loved each other so much? How could I tell Samar what kind of a monster his real father was?” Ruma thought. Ruma and Amish had decided very early on that they would never let the children know the truth about their birth. They had genuinely thought that they were shielding them from heart break. Never in their wildest dreams had they imagined that the boys would come to know about it in such a way. Or that the outcome could be so horrendous.

On discovering that Samar had left home they had been so frantic. Amish had run around the whole town searching for him. Police had tried their level best. Friends and family also pitched in but it was as though Samar had vanished into thin air. At the back of their mind there was always a fear whether Samar was alive or not.

Life was never the same again. When Samar walked out of the house it was as though he took the happiness and laughter of the house with him. Changed their life completely. Sagar had also changed. He was no longer the young happy Sagar. This was the major worry in Amish’s mind. It was evening Sagar would be back soon. How will he react to this?


Dumping of debris has destroyed more than 20 acres of mangrove forests in Charkop, Kandivli in Mumbai over the past seven years, making way for encroachment by 3,000 shanties and private properties.

28th October 2017 – Indiarimes.com – Remember the shocking images of poisoned trees from Bengaluru, earlier this year? It appears like they have just done it all over once again. This time 30 trees have been cut illegally in what environmentalists suspect was done as the trees were blocking some advertisement boards nearby. The trees at the outer ring road were chopped down on Thursday night by unidentified people.

Debris continues to be dumped along the Roadpali mangrove stretch, killing mangroves and reclaiming the wetland along Taloja creek. The creek shore has been encroached upon by roadside shops. The latest encroachment, adjoining Sion-Panvel road, will soon grow if deterrent action is delayed by Cidco. Nobody seems to be bothered about preserving ecosystem,” said Rajesh Poojary, an environmentalist.

Ten members of the Common Effluent Treatment Plant (CETP) at Taloja were booked on Tuesday over release of untreated industrial waste into Kasadi River near Navi Mumbai.

The list is endless. We come across such news items almost every day in the newspaper.

These things and more are happening around us. By people who are living amongst us. It’s time we stop turning a blind eye to the whole thing and raise our voice and educate the people who, for their short term gain are destroying the long term future of our planet.

I remember when we were in class 8 or 9, a compulsory subject called environmental studies was introduced. We read about climate change and global warming etc. Frankly speaking as a kid I thought this was all overhyped and a very distant future. I never expected to see the effects of these things in my own life time. Yet here we are 25 years down the line actually experiencing the effects of climate change.

It’s high time now that we should all be aware and make others aware about how our lifestyle is adversely affecting the environment. I know it’s a daunting task I am not egging everyone to get up and file PILs against the polluting industries. Do it if you can! We all may not be able to take such big steps. But at least start with baby steps like – segregate your garbage, composting wet waste, replace all leaking taps, educate the house help about not wasting water, if you see anyone littering, stop them and show them the dustbins, protect the greenery around you.

There are many small changes that we can bring in our lifestyle and of people around us so that the life of our planet is extended for a little more. And yes if you see anyone destroying the green cover around us don’t turn a blind eye, Raise your voice and report them. Change the mindset…


Nina mentally chided herself “Why did I let my mind wander into the past? This is such an important presentation. I need to stay focused.” Thanks to her boss Mr. Mathur she had got this opportunity to present her project in the company board meeting. “Nina this is a huge break. Stay Calm..  Focus…”   She composed herself and entered the room. The entire top management of the company and the board members were present. She slipped on her professional look mask and started the presentation.

Nina was always very brilliant in public speaking and as usual she gave an excellent presentation. The applause of approval and the impressed look on the face of CEO Mr. Nandan said it all. Nina was basking in the attention and appreciation she was getting. This was what she had worked her whole life for. Finally in her professional life she was getting her due credit and appreciation for her work.  

“Finally? This is what I always wanted. Wasn’t it? Why am I not happy?” A little thought niggled into her mind. Time and again Nina‘s eyes were sweeping through the audience as though looking for someone. Nina could not admit even to herself that she half expected to meet Ankit today.

“Do I want to see him again or not? Why am I so restless on such a momentous occasion?”  “Nina madam please join us for a group photograph.”

Her train of thoughts was interrupted. And Nina was again drawn into the melee around her.

Group photo was followed by corporate lunch.

By the time Nina got free and reached back to her hotel it was already 4 pm.

“Nina Massi!!” Someone shrieked and she turned. Two cute little four year olds came rushing towards her and jumped up to hug her. She could barely catch them.

“When did you come Massi? What did you bring for us? How long will you stay with us?” The barrage of questions started. Nina hugged Kiara and Riya and answered their questions patiently. Diana was standing behind them. Smiling and watching “How happy Nina Di looks when she is with my daughters Kiara and Riya.

When Diana came to know that Nina Di was coming to Bangalore she decided to make a quick trip from Mysore and meet her even if it was only for a couple of hours.

Once the kids were settled with chocolates and gifts. Nina and Diana sat in the hotel room for a chat over a cup of hot ginger tea. Diana’s favourite..

Life’s experiences has shaped the two sisters so differently. While Nina grew up so bitter with her parents because of their fights and behaviour. Diana’s belief in love and marriage never diminished. Maybe because Nina always shielded her baby sister from their parents. Nina bore the brunt of their anger but never let her little sis suffer.

“Did you meet him, Di?” Diana asked. “No, Diana I am here for work.”

“Don’t lie to me Di. I can see it in your eyes. You miss him. A part of your life was forever lost. When he left.”

I don’t wanna talk about it Diana. Please let’s not look for a story where there is none… Ankit is my past and I have no intentions to bring him into my present again”

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Diana knew Nina Di was not being entirely truthful but she did not goad her further.

They had some quick snack at Mac Donalds. Kiara and Riya kept up a constant chatter and entertained Nina. Their energy was so infectious! All four of them were eating and laughing at their silly jokes and antics.

Finally it was time for Diana and the kids to go back. Both the kids were already very sleepy and would doze off in the car.

Before getting into the taxi. Diana hugged her sister and said “Don’t you wanna meet Ma? She is old now. Doesn’t keep well also.”

“You haven’t met her for so many years now. Can’t you forgive her?”

Nina had no answers.. She waved them good bye and went back to her hotel room.


Today it was my children’s open day. The day when the parents meet the teachers and get to see the answer sheets and report cards. Meeting the teachers was very pleasant experience. But it was meeting the other mothers later that got me thinking.

I met a mother and son duo. Mother was very anxious to know what is the percentage of marks scored by the topper in the class. Is it 94% or 96%? She was really upset that her child does not study and how she gets a headache and falls ill with stress whenever the kid’s exams are near. You know the boy had a Vice-Captain batch pinned on and his marks were 92%. I mean instead of praising his achievements his mother was ranting because he was not the topper.

Another boy scored a good percentage but they were waiting outside the principal’s cabin to meet and complain about the English Teacher and how because of the teacher her son’s marks were going down. There was so much stress on the boy’s face it was evident that he did not want to meet the principal but mother was adamant.

It’s not only in studies I have seen similar instances in sports also.

One of my friend’s children play golf at amateur level. Through her I have heard a lot of stories about how parents try to bribe the caddies to fiddle with the performance rating and bring their children on the top. Or how they berate their children in public if they don’t perform well on a particular day.

Why do we parents forget our own time as kids? Were we best in everything we did? Did we come up to our parents expectations? Or even if we thing we were toppers throughout our life, our child is a different individual living in different times. The kind of pressure on the children these days to perform is so tremendous. We parents try to live our own dreams through our children.

Recently there was a news headline on how a child of class 11 killed another child of class 4 just because he wanted to postpone or cancel the exams and open day. Can you imagine how desperate the boy was? He found killing someone more doable than facing an exam or his parents after the report card was given.

Most of us who are reading this article would think that yes this happens but not with me and my children. I don’t compare or pressurise my children. If you are thinking on those lines then maybe you are right but still I request you to look around. Sit down and communicate with your child. Let him or her know that whatever happens his parents are there by his side.

And do look out for warning signals. Today I saw one. My son scored very badly in his maths exam this time. The answer sheets were shown to the kids at school but he conveniently forgot to tell me the marks. Today in school when I saw his answer sheet it was a shocker for me. I was filled with rage. But then I realized that his low score did not hurt me that much. With a little more practice he can come up again. What pinched me was the fact that my son did not come and tell me his marks. Maybe it’s time for me to “Practice what I Preach”.

So guys keep learning new ideas, new tricks and keep checking whether you are on the right track. Happy Parenting…


Meaning of life… What have I got myself into? Am I really equipped to write on this topic? In my 40 years of life on this earth have I really understood the meaning of life? Or have I just existed?

Human kind has been searching for answer of this question since their very existence. People have gone to the Himalayas to find the meaning of life. Some have immersed themselves in God others in social service. All seeking this one elusive answer.

Well I am not such a deep thinker. So I don’t know if I am equipped to write on this topic. But still I would like to share, what I have understood, through my experience is that we are where we are for a purpose. To understand this I took help of some great minds and famous people

Albert Einstein in one of his books wrote

“The man who regards his own life and that of his fellow creatures as meaningless is not merely unhappy but hardly fit for life,”

So having established that there is a meaning or a purpose for us being born as humans. Let us now try to find out what that meaning is?

Pablo Picasso once said

“The meaning of Life is to find your gift and the purpose of life is to give it away!”

What does this mean? Most of the humans are merely existing. Like a boat without a sail drifting in water, going in whichever direction the current takes them. What we need is to find that one gift in us which we can give to others and spread happiness. That gives meaning to life. I don’t mean leave all your work and immerse in social work. I mean look for that one small thing in you that gives joy to the people around you.

I don’t need to go far to look for an example.  We all know our mentor at Candles Online – Chiradeep. He has a gift for writing, reaching out to people and motivating and counselling people. Look how beautifully he has used it to reach out to the world and touch so many hearts. He not only created “Candles Online” but also motivated a group of 20-25 young writers to write for the magazine every week. Looking at the readership statistics, Candles has reached every corner of the world and touched thousands of hearts. I admire the fact that he has beautifully woven this activity into his daily life while not missing out on any of his responsibilities of a being a family man, an employee etc.

Recently, I was in a seminar on Saga of Success. Dr Tuli (of Akash Tablet fame) was the speaker. He said that to build a successful business identify one cause that you will work for. How your business will make a difference in any one area. Work towards that goal and your business will flourish automatically. They made low cost computer tablets (costing less than Rs 5000/-), they created a market where there was none, build a successful business and helped a lot of low income households get access to computers.

These words hold true not only in business but also in our life. Look inside yourself, what is it that you can give to the world and spread happiness. The moment we find that we will also find the meaning of our life. In trying to spread happiness we will realise that we too feel happy and satisfied and life becomes meaningful and complete.


Fear or phobia is a very big word. I don’t know what I feel is fear or just plain discomfort or borderline disgust.

I have this huge revulsion towards reptiles. The snakes, crocs or any kind of slithering animals. I just have a huge fear of these things. Sometimes I wonder why. Mind you I have never seen these animals outside of the cage. Never had a bad encounter with any of them. But just the thought of them makes me cringe.

I will share a few instances. As in most households we put on the television while having dinner. And when it comes to TV channel all the four members of our family have different choices. If by chance my younger son gets hold of the remote he will put on his favourite channel – Animal Planet or Discovery. While I too believe that these channels are very informative and it’s better than watching mindless cartoons. But please, please not while having food. Just imagine you are having your dinner and right in front of you they are showing Bear Grylls of Man vs Wild eating raw worms or an animal catching its prey in close up. I don’t know about your reaction but my food takes a reverse gear and I puke.

In Pune there is a very beautiful Zoo. It was earlier only a snake park and then converted into a full-fledged Zoo. So a huge chuck of the zoo is still dedicated to snakes and other reptiles. My kids love going there but I can’t get myself to look into those cages. Even though I know they are safely locked up and can’t harm me. I just cannot bear the sight. During our last visit I sat outside the snake park with a packet of chips and cold drinks for company while my whole family went and admired all those slithering beauties.

Actually speaking, any close contact with any animal raises my self-preservation antennae. Like my dear friend Chiradeep I am really scared of dogs too. Even the pets. Even with the pet owner by my side I am never comfortable if the dog is roaming around in the room. The owners will try to sooth me by saying that “Don’t worry he won’t bite,” or when the dog is sniffing me and they tell me “He is just trying to be friendly”. I am standing very still and in my mind I am shouting at the pet owner – “The dog knows that I am afraid of him. He will definitely try to overpower me. Help!! Just send him to the other room.”

I know these fears are silly. But this is me. Can’t change. My husband tried to get a pet Labrador. A very cute little pup. But in a week’s time he realized that either he could keep his pet or his wife. Both can’t coexist. I was so scared of the little puppy that I spent most of my day on the bed. So that the puppy couldn’t reach me.

List of phobias are endless. I am very scared of watching any kind of horror movies. Even if I see a trailer of a horror movie and later forget about it during the course of the day. The trailer comes back in my mind at night to haunt me. So I am quick to change channels if there is any such advertisement is coming up.

I think I am not the only one. We all have such little fears and phobias. Do share your phobias in the comments section.