Dark and glowering.
Clouds burst out.

Raged and ranted.
Bent trees in two.

Whistled and growled
Threw birds about.

Rained and poured.
Soaked the earth through.

Did all that storms do.
Devastation, like loss does too.

I was in the storm.
Its havoc on my soul.

I was the bird, the tree bent in two.
My tears soaking through.

I cowered in the dark.
It flourished within

Bruised and numb

No light.No hope.
For living on-no justification.

Out then came the sun.
Shining in its turn.

The wind still huffed
Them clouds all puffed.

The water still splattered
But a lot less shattered.

In its wake a rainbow,
The storm did bring.

A faint but valiant curve
Of healing.

I stirred. And turned.
Looked at the skies.

Dark no more.Alight.
I sighed.I smiled.

Chose life.


3 Storeys


हम सब कहानियां हैं.हमारी अपनी.दूसरों की.अंजान लोगों की.अपनों की.

किसी भी कहानी का पूरा सच सिर्फ उसके किरदारों को पता होता है. सुनने वाला वही जानता है जो उसे बताया जाता है. दूर से देखने वालों के लिए तो यह सिर्फ उनकी कल्पना की उड़ान होती है. अक्सर, कहानियों की इसी काल्पनिकता में खो कर, कुछ देर के लिए ही सही, हम अपनी कहानी की वास्तविकता से या तो राहत पाते हैं या उसके लिए शुक्रगुज़ार होते हैं.

3 Storeys Mumbai के माया नगर की एक 3 मंज़िली चौल की कहानी है..हर मंज़िल की एक….शुरुआत में साधारण सी, पर अंत होते होते अचंभित करने वाला एक मोड़.

Flory Mendonca के बिगड़े हुए बेटे की कहानी. वह बेटा जो छोटी उम्र में एक हादसे का शिकार हुआ. क्यों, कैसे? और अब Flory मेंडोंसा अपने घर के लिए तीन गुना कीमत क्यों मांग रहीं हैं? और ६ साल में यह पहला खरीदार, उसे दे क्यों रहा है?

Varsha Apte और उसके पियक्कड़ पति की. वह क्यों सेहती है उसकी मार?

Suhail और Malini की प्रेम कहानी. जो सबको दिखती है.पर दोनों की माओं को नहीं सुहाती. बात जात पात की है या…..?

तीनो कहानियां एक सूत्रधार के धागे से बुनी हैं. और उसकी भी एक कहानी है…या फिर वह एक कहानी है ?

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If we go storey wise, right at the top is the cast and crew with their effective execution.

Renuka Shahane as Flory Mendonca-the loving neighbourhood auntie is exceptional. The lapses into the disdainful old lady with the broker are super and she is the epitome of a good Goan Christian. Absolutely un-relatable to the sanskaari Pooja Bhabhi from Hum Aapke Hain Koun or any of her other roles, which have been too far and too few. More please!

Pulkit Samrat channelling Salman Khan in mannerisms and acting and doing a much better job than him! If they get beyond the choc boy looks and muscle-shuscle, the possibilities of an actor within are bright.

Masumeh as Varsha does justice to her beleaguered with a drunkard husband role;While escaping into memories of happiness with her lost love. Tarun Anand is the said drunk and is good enough to be despised thoroughly. And they do equally well in a turnaround…..

Sharman Joshi as Shankar is his usual utterly charming best. I think he’s great actor. Give him an opportunity Bollywood. (Soft spot alert!)

Ankit Rathi and Aisha Ahmed as Suhail and Malini fit the role assigned and don’t over-do it. If anyone reading this, who has seen the movie, can tell me Malini’s mother’s name, I’d be grateful.)

Richa Chadha As Leela…..the utterly oomphy resident of the chawl. Or is she?It is Maya Nagar after all.

The absolute delight for me was the small but very effective role of Ganpat Rao the Cop, played by Himanshu Malik. A very far cry from his other work in the past such as “Tum Bin” and “Khwahish”. Brawny and beefy and totally in love with Leela, he fits the role like a glove. Another one to be given opportunities. Look beyond the handsome face and chiselled body!

All of them ably directed by Arjun Mukerjee, about whom nothing is known at least on the www. If this is indeed his debut then what an excellent one man. Good show and all that.

The second storey would be the stories themselves. Simple enough and executed well thanks to the director and actors. In here, there are stories we have all seen, heard or lived through. I have to admit, I cracked two of them before the movie unfolded to the twist, but that’s just years of using my grey cells. (Immodesty alert!)

The third storey would be the music which is not memorable at all but fits in well with the film I guess. Sorry Clinton Cerejo.

3 Storeys. Please watch.



If Padmavat-thi, then she’s probably wishing she wasn’t .All her strength and all the Rajput principles of valour, fair play and aan, baan and shaan have been undone by their descendants-The Karni Sena.

We’ve all witnessed their cowardly threats, violence and dastardly , unreasonable behaviour-All over sheer conjecture over a possible offence to their “tradition” and sullying the fair queen’s image.

Well congratulations-You’ve done a spectacular job of sullying it yourself and if your courage and bravery involves vandalism and harming children, god save you.

So to Padmavat- A typical, opulent, larger than life Sanjay Leela Bhansali presentation.

Deepika’s Padmavati is beautiful, graceful, steely and gentle in one elegant, jewel laden package. She emotes through her luminous eyes alone to great effect.

Shahid as Maharawal Ratan Singh is restrained, toothsome ,of a sculpted body and always perfectly coiffed. A tad understated though.He does declaim the four points of Rajput valour emphatically and smiles at his Padmavati rather endearingly adoringly.

As does she at him with large limpid eyes and a constant half smile.

(Some chemistry but nowhere close to Ranveer and Deepika’s in Baji Rao Mastani)

His badi rani is Nagmati- whose request for replacement pearls from Singhal ironically leads to Padmavati meeting Ratan Rawal.She literally hunts him down and then nurses him back to health and love blossoms.

And there’s Ranveer’s Alauddin Khilji.An evil, psyhotic, sadistic, power crazy nut job who wants to possess all that is beauteous-whether he’s seen it or not, by mere description he is enamoured. (I wish more people I meet as a sales person were so willing to aquire the wares on mere sales spiel).

He’s done such a super job that one feels revulsed and disgusted with throughout.Kind of dirty to just having seen him.

You know “ghin aatee hai”?

Ratan Rawal marries Padmavati.His advisor in the court casts an improper eye at her and he is banished for this misdeed.Big mistake as it turns out for he seeks revenge via A Khilji.He describes to him Padmavati’s beauty and prophesises that with Padmavati at his side, Alauddin K will rule the world.

Since said Khilji had bumped off his uncle for the kingdom, the idea of ruling the world clearly appealed and crazy coots set towards getting her by mostly foul means.

Two battles, much dialogue, drama , bloodshed later, it ends with RawalRatan dead and Padmavati leading the women to “jauhar”.

Alauddin is left staring enraged at his dream of world supremacy go up in flames barred behind a reinforced metal door.

Seeing Padmavati was denied to him in death as it was in life.

The costumes are well designed and each eco system portrayed well.So all of Khilji’s scenes scream grey-brown, brutal barbarism and the Rajput scapes are gentler beiges and whites but an energetic red showing up valour and sacrifice.

Of the music, the “ghoomar” song is melodious and catchy.The balance is forgettable….well I’ve forgotten it!

An able supporting cast helps the story.

Less impressive than Bajirao Mastani, Padmavat nevertheless merits one watch for sure.

If for nothing else, as support against bullies.

Upstairs at Indian Accent with Chef Claude Bosi


“Cooking is an art and patience a virtue… Careful shopping, fresh ingredients and an unhurried approach are nearly all you need. There is one more thing – love. Love for food and love for those you invite to your table. With a combination of these things you can be an artist – not perhaps in the representational style of a Dutch master, but rather more like Gauguin, the naïve, or Van Gogh, the impressionist. Plates or pictures of sunshine taste of happiness and love.”
Keith Floyd

This last Thursday found a friend and I enjoying just a lovingly crafted, beautifully presented  and hospitably served meal Upstairs at Indian Accent by Chef Claud Bosi  of the 2 Michelin Star restaurant, Bibendum in London.

Dressed to the nines and suitably excited about an evening away from homework, housework and such, we ate our way through six courses of sheer deliciousness.

Our meal began with a warm welcome from the lovely team which runs the restaurant. Pleasant smiles and just the right level of care. This was then followed by gougères-savoury choux pastry with parmesan cheese and a hint of caramelised onions. Served on a bed of moong dal namkeen. We made short work of these and soon followed the mushroom custard, coconut and curry. Cute roly poly roundness of a frothy coconut and curry topping and a suggestion to “dig right to the bottom” to taste and savour the mushrooms as well. An unusual combination of flavours but I therein lies the mastery of Chef.


Mushroom custard, coconut and curry.

The taste of things to come got steadily more interesting. French cuisine with a distinct Indian touch got along rather well!

The second course was a favourite combination of mine-beetroot and feta-albeit in terrine form and with the tang of passion fruit adding just the right tingle.It was so beautifully presented that it seemed a shame to spoil the painstaking work, but we succumbed.


Warm beetroot terrine, feta and passion fruit.

Course three looked like a painting and tasted divine. Kanyakumari crab with apple and nimbu-served khatta meetha and cold. Yum!


Kanyakumari crab, apple, nimbu

Courses 4 and 5 were the meats-River sole a la Grenobloise and Chicken with black lentils, coconut and coriander respectively. The river sole was delicate and the sauce tasted deliciously of butter and a distinct taste of “ghee” which indeed is clarified butter. Sinfully, delectably and healthily rich- ghee is good fat! The black lentils were inspired by dal makhni and complemented the chicken well.

The vegetarian options were a Vegetable Dumpling with Toasted Rice, Kashmiri Morels with Kaffir Lime and Sweet Potato Nosotto with Pomelo. A hint of ghee in the Kashmiri morels made it homely and the sweet potato nosotto-a risotto which does not use the rice but the sweet potato as the base, hit just the spot.

The meal was available with wine pairing but as good responsible citizens who were driving, we chose not to partake of those.( A  tiny bit of mulled is fine…medicinal almost.Besides, the mulling causes the alcohol to evaporate……)

As a break before dessert, delightful confection of mango and sesame brought together two seasons of India in one scoopful-mango and sesame. Summer accompanied by the crispness of the winter harvest being celebrated just about now.


Mango, Black sesame

Replete with all these flavours and feeling slightly immovable, despite the thankful breaks between courses; we nevertheless applied ourselves with gusto to the chocolate tart as dessert. Accompanied (on request) with some excellent mulled wine (therapeutic strictly!), this last course was a perfect culmination to a dining experience full of flavours, textures colour and outstanding hospitality.


Chef Claud and his team will be presenting their tempting fare Upstairs at Indian Accent till the middle of February. That leaves you with many week days, 3 normal weekends  and a long weekend coming up to enjoy the feast.

Book then swiftly….and have a mulled wine for me!



Sayonara 2017. Aan de 2018


In the film Guide- Dev Anand “Raju’s” dialogue to “Rosie” just before a song is “kal tak aap lagti  thi, chaalis saal ki aurat, jo zindagi ki har khushi, har umang, har umeed raaste mein kahin kho aayi hai.Aur aaj lagti hain 16 saal ki bacchi; bholi, nadaan, bachpan ki shararat se bharpur.” (Till yesterday you seemed like a 40 year old woman-tired of life and having lost the zest for life. Today you seem as exuberant as a 16 year old again)

At which point Rosie breaks into “Aaj phir jeene ki tamanna hai.” (I want to live again.)

My journey in 2017 could well be summed up in thus filmy fashion. I started the year as that 40 saal ki (ok ok 42 saal ki –details details) and am ending it as a 43 saal ki but with much of the enthusiasm of a 16 year old- er-not bholi aur nadaan but let’s keep the shararat bit.

And well yes-Not only aaj phir jeene ki tamanna hai-Waheeda ji ki tarah dance karne ki bhi hai.

The year began on a quiet, subdued and very introspective note for me. The process of change continued and as is wont, caused both distress and joy. While the latter was welcome, the former is not feted is it? I did however pull myself out by the scruff of the neck from wallowing in pity pools and told myself sternly to get on with it. It was tough going but the inner drama queen delighted herself by switching roles from hai main bechari to ma kaali hunter waali to able bhartiya naari. Some roles still missing but had to leave some for next year eh?

In all my avatars, I had well casted co-stars. This year was FULL of people for me. A new job, reunions, travel, gatherings and good times ensured old favourites remained constant (love you guys), new entrants mostly positive and some well-meh! Such a variety and range of interactions. A year that began with some brutal brush-offs grew into a lovely space with the warmth, affection and appreciation from friends far and near. I was ably, lovingly, and straight talked-ly supported by some people very dear to me. I hope you know who you are. Could not have got through large parts of the past two years without you. Add to this, completely unexpected observations on being a strong independent person and admiration for one’s creative pursuits. Fortunately not become a big-head but am just so thrilled with the lurve! A big squishy hug all around I say. Even to the meanies- a jaadu ki jhappi to hug your small-minded-ness away.

And what other insights do I have from 2017? What were the kaantaas I pulled the aanchal from? What were the phool hi phool?

That fear cripples and takes away from living and reduces it to mere existing. One cannot constantly fear losing people, money, job, relationships. It has to be faced, accepted and told no more. I am what I am. Other’s words don’t define me. My deeds do. I matter. I belong. I am fine.

Of witnessing kindnesses and realising that it is so important that we don’t lose our humanity, our gentler side, ourselves in the maelstrom of hate. That all lives matter and I have a right to eat what I want, see what I want, wear what I want and whether I’m Rachna, Rachel or Rukhsana, I remain first an Indian and that is all that should matter. Of also saying enough- “No, I don’t bow down to you. I will not be scared of you” and the bullies back off. I hope it won’t need a revolution to bring back the balance, but if it does- I’m up for it. You?

That people need to be encouraged and held. Positive words and appreciation are like water to a wilting plant. That people grow at different paces and that’s fine. That negativity needs a constant war waged against it. That bullies and bad behaviour cannot be tolerated silently for they think silence is weakness.

That life is actually fairly simple and can be kept that way.

2017-Thank you for the lessons, the people, the love. 2018. Let’s see what you’ve got for me.


Oh—and here’s the song.