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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Captured and Frozen till eternity

One of the easiest ways to understand the meaning of 'Happiness' is to watch a person's body language. And it gets even better if you are are able to capture that moment forever. 

I was lucky for I managed to do just that. 

One lovely morning at the beach in Muscat.

He was so happy and I was so happy just watching him.

Then I clicked.... 

....Hey presto. 

Happiness is...

Here it is
Frozen till eternity

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Fomo, Nomophobia, Keeping Up with the Joneses and Social Media

When we were growing up, the term ‘Keeping up with the Joneses’ was routinely used and inherently implied one of two things: a) Keeping up with the Joneses was not a nice thing to do for one could always go ahead and carve one’s own niche b) It was exactly the ‘thing to do’ and heaven help those who tried otherwise.

I’m happy to say that I decided to take a middle path – did what I had to, and managed to keep an eye on what others were doing as well.But in today’s world, that same phenomena has taken on and is rapidly moving further towards ‘gigantic’ proportions. Here’s the story of how I arrived at this conclusion.

Last week while sipping my coffee after the weekly groceries were done, I was fairly absorbed in a newspaper when I heard two female voices referring to each other as 'fomo'-addicts.

Much merriment followed and the conversation moved on to some other topic in a while. But my curiosity had been aroused and discretely looking back when I could, I noted that they must have been in their early to mid thirties.

But the term had got to me and definitely needed to be checked out because (and here I confess) I hadn’t heard that term earlier. A quick Google check when I returned home, and this is the definition that I liked best.

The Urban Dictionary, defines fomo as "fear of missing out" – The fear that if you miss a party or event you will miss out on something great, then goes on to give us a sentence made with that word, “Even though he was exhausted, John's fomo got the best of him and he went to the party”.

I think that sentence really does say it all! And I clearly understood what the two women in the coffee shop were giggling about.

On a more serious note, look around and it will become clear, many of us are now in the grip of this 'fomo addiction' – the fear of missing out on something or someone more interesting, exciting or better than what we’re currently doing.

Goes without saying, that this has been magnified by new technology such as Facebook and Twitter and the ever increasing tribe of social media sites, which relentlessly broaden our scope for comparison.

While I’ve written about the many plus points of the social networking experience in a few of my earlier columns and blogs, it is important to clearly take note of the very real potential pitfalls as well.

Think about a young student who hasn’t fared well in his or her board exams and is trying to avoid meeting people. So what does that person do all alone?Probably turn to his or her computer and eventually get to one of these sites where all the others are reveling in their glory and receiving congratulatory messages from common friends.

The very thought of what this young person goes through is so depressing that I'm choosing not to expand on it any further.

On a related note, did you know that nomophobia, the fear of being without your mobile, affects 66 per cent of us? In the latest study, of the 1,000 people surveyed in the UK, 66 percent said they felt the fear.

Young adults – aged between 18 and 24 – tended to be the most addicted to their mobile phones, with 77 per cent unable to stay apart for more than a few minutes, and those aged 25 to 34 followed at 68 per cent.

That number is up from a similar study four years ago, where 53 percent of people admitted to the phobia. Think about it enough and you might realise that you’re probably in that category too and I confess that I’m probably half way there myself!

So what are the solutions? This is something that each one of us will have to clearly define and prioritise for ourselves as there is no single or correct answer here.

The balancing act is probably the most difficult one to manage and if we have the will, there will always be a way. Here’s welcoming September with the hope that cooler weather will be here soon and in order to wean yourself off a possible/exiting 'fomo' or 'nomophobic' condition, I can only suggest that meeting and bonding with friends in 'real time' is a good way to make that start....

(NB- This piece was originally written for my column My Take in Muscat Daily)

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

What 'best' memories are made of

Last evening  I spent some time looking at some old photographs. Correction,  they were not really'old 'photographs, but they date back to just about five years ago.

And what I saw saddened me somewhat. Because many of the people in those photographs were no more. Particularly, those who were in their seventies then - I counted and at least six of them weren't alive any more.

I spent some time thinking about it, then realised that there was really  nothing that anyone could have done about it. All of them had died of age related illnesses and despite medication and hospitalisation, they eventually passed away.

Memories are made of this
As the old adage goes, 'time and tide really wait for no one' and the fact of the matter is that all of us will be gone one day. All we can do is to keep the happiest memories of  those who are now gone, close to our hearts and every now and then take a break, pause  and reflect on the best they had to offer us.

So one of the best things one can do is to look at a flower, a garden, a sunset and think of them. For memories are truly made of these and by associating the things we love with all the things they loved, we are definitely doing the right thing.

That of keeping them alive ...forever...

Sunday, September 6, 2015

No Accident-A Short Story

It happened on Walker Hill on a beautiful summer afternoon. The accident that people talk about till today and just can’t understand how it could have happened.

Or why?  

But for some of us who know better, it is clear- it was no accident. The Honda car that was involved in the accident had gone over the protective iron railings and of the three men, travelling in that car, one was dying and the other two gravely injured with multiple  fractures and severe bruising. And in the moments that Jatanbir breathed his last, he told his father Harjit and brother Amandeeep, ‘It finally managed to get us. I knew all along that this would happen one day, the only thing that I didn’t know was which day would be my last. Look after yourselves and please….please look after my children.”

A tortured breath escaped his lips, his eyes rolled up and he finally found the peace that he had been craving. Finally, in death, if not in his entire life of 43 years.

On a beautiful summer afternoon

For that I will need to tell you a little about Walker Hill. And later, I will tell you how that accident happened. Or at least, the version that Harjit and Amandeep told us.

A small town on the outskirts of Shimla, Walker Hill is built on a hill, 5 km west to the Shimla Ridge and is a part of the seven-hill cluster.  In the past, Walker Hill has been used as a residence for Mahatma Gandhi, who stayed here at the Georgian mansion of Rajkumari Amrit Kaur during his Shimla visits. These pine and deodhar laden slopes have many quaint residences, like the one belonging to the family of painter Amrita Shergil (1913-1941).Besides being a popular tourist destination, the Indian Institute of Advanced Studies (established 1965), housed in the former Viceregal Lodge, which was built in 1884-88, is on the nearby Observatory Hill. Today, it hosts the Himachal Pradesh University, which mainly offers post graduate programmes in Humanities, Commerce, Science, Management, Law and Languages, and was started in 1975.

In the early 1930’s,  a wealthy landlord from Punjab, Sardar Tarlok Singh Sachhar bought an estate called ‘Oakley’ from Brigadier David Bryant, an Englishman who had made India his home after retiring from the Indian army. Sardar Tarlok Singh knew he had managed to get that estate at a real bargain. With over 20 acres of land, apple orchards and a large, beautifully built main house with 5 bedrooms spread over two floors, indoor plumbing, water and electricity, it was an absolute delight. And so it became the annual summer retreat for the entire Sacchar clan, including his bachelor son, Manvinder and three daughters Kulvinder, Sukhpreet and Amrita who would congregate there for the summer vacations bringing their children with them. It was an idyllic time for all and they absolutely adored the fabulous weather, the picnics in the orchards complete with teatime treats- including clotted cream and strawberry jam sandwiches, scones and fruit cake, or at other times, a packed lunch with delicious dry ‘chicken masala’, ‘sookhe aloo’ and ‘paronthis’ as they were called in Punjabi.  

And they had a free run of the entire estate, all except the old garden shed in one corner of the estate. Sardar Tarlok Singh had made it clear to all that it was the one area that they must never venture towards as that was the reason why he had managed to buy Oakley at such a bargain. Just before handing signing over the property to him, Brigadier David Bryant had shared the reason why he was selling the estate that he had grown to love so dearly and moving back to Oxford in England. He was convinced that his son Captain Jason had met an untimely death at the hands of Kamalini, the innocent and beautiful gardener’s daughter who he had enticed, impregnated and finally deserted when she had insisted that he must marry her. When he had outright rejected her and his unborn child, she had gone to the garden shed in one corner of the estate, locked  it from inside and hung herself on the wooden beam that ran from one end to the other.

By the time her father, the gardener Roshan Lal finally managed to break down that door with the help of the other servants, it was too late. She was dead, as was the five  month old baby boy she had been carrying.


It was only a few days later that Jason started to look terrified. When his father asked him what was bothering him, all he managed to stutter was that he wouldn’t be around for much longer and that no one should have any doubts as to what had happened to him when they came upon his dead body.

For Kamalini had come to him on the very next day after her death and promised him, that she would have her revenge.

As it happened, both Jason and Kamalini were right because they found Jason hanging at the very spot that Kamalini herself had been found. Some of the servants thought that it might have been a case of suicide, but Brigadier David Bryant knew better. For he too, had seen the dead Kamalini walking through the gardens in the early hours of the morning, and knew that it was a mere matter of time.

Which was exactly what he shared with Sardar Tarlok Singh when he sold him the estate and the gentleman still went ahead and bought the estate. You see, he knew that he would never be able to get such prime property for such a low price.

Time passed and after his death, his only son Manvinder inherited that estate. Or so everybody believed, as he occupied and started spending his summers there while he continued to live in Jalandhar in Punjab managing his farmlands during the rest of the year. Since he was a bachelor, there really weren’t any complications and he had a very efficient estate manager, Hukam Chand who kept his life stress free and the estates in Punjab and Himachal running smoothly.



Things have a way of changing and sometimes they tend to take an ugly turn. As is exactly what happened when Harjit, (Kulvinder's son) found a loophole in the their dead grandfather's will and decided to take matters into his own hands. Accompanied by his sons Jatanbir and Karamjeet, one fine day, they drove straight into Oakley in their 4WD, broke the front lock and after gaining entry into the main house, set up home and hearth  in the estate. Harjit was an alcoholic and had three sons of whom Jatanbir was the oldest. Jatanbir was also the most cunning of them all and despite not having had the opportunity of a college education as he was always busy trying to pick up the pieces left behind by his drunk father, he also had the responsibility of providing for the rest of the family, which by then comprised of the ‘Gen next’ as well, as he as well as his brothers were married and had families of their own by then.

From here, a chain of inexplicable events begin to unfold and things soon begin to spiral out of control. Weird things happen and one day a Honda car is seen by eyewitnesses as “ flying high up into the air, almost as if it  had been thrown up like a giant ball.“

This was followed by a loud bang after which there was only silence.

Followed by the groans of the grievously wounded and dying.


It happened on Walker Hill on a beautiful summer afternoon. The accident that people talk about till today and just can’t understand how it could have happened.

Or why?  

But for some of us who know better, it is clear- it was no accident. The Honda car that was involved in the accident had gone over the protective iron railings and of the three men, travelling in that car, one was dying and the other two gravely injured with multiple  fractures and severe bruising. And in the moments that Jatanbir breathed his last, he told his father Harjit and brother Amandeeep, ‘It finally managed to get us. I knew all along that this would happen one day, the only thing that I didn’t know was which day would be my last. 

"Look after yourselves and please….please look after my children.”


Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The inimitable sounds of the violin

                                        Spotted an impromptu Orchestra at a Metro station, Paris 

There are some musical instruments and then there are some others.

One of my personal and perennial favourites is the Violin, often truly called the 'King of the Orchestra'. Going back in time and recalling the effect of it's music on my mind, I clearly recall numerous moments, some of them in some of my all time favourite movies, Thorn Birds, Gone with the wind, Love Story, Dr Zhivago and Junoon, where the violin has been magnificently used to convey a 'completeness and range of emotions, love, tenderness, pathos, sorrow, or then quite simply, happiness and joy.

The violin is a bow string instrument with four strings usually tuned in perfect fifths.It is the smallest and highest-pitched member of the violin family of string instruments, which also includes the 'viola' and 'cello'.Usually, however, the strings are not plucked; instead a bow is passed over them to make them 'vibrate'.

No instrument can do all the violin can do.At different times these are some of the emotions that I have associated with the violin. It has made me feel sad, or then, at other times, warm and good all over. 

By playing slowly or fast then faster,it has sometimes made my heart feel a whole host of emotions that are sometimes quite difficult to define. Because there are simply just so many of them.All at the same time, or then, one following the other, in rapid succession.

At times like these, I simply let the music flow over me, taking it in, and can't help but marvel at the skill of the player whose music has such a major impact.

I'm sure I'm not the only one and what are  the chances that you feel the same way too...?

Friday, August 28, 2015

Raksha Bandhan, Stratford on Avon, Shakespeare's cottage, and my brother Navtej

Tomorrow is 'Raksha Bandhan' or 'Rakhee' which is a very significant day for Indian brothers and sisters.The name 'Raksha Bandhan' suggests 'a bond of protection'. On this auspicious day, brothers make a promise to their sisters to protect them from all possible troubles and the sisters pray to God to protect their brother from evil. The ceremony involves sisters tying the silk thread called 'Rakhi' on their brother's wrist and in return brothers generally give them a  small and interesting present. 

My brother Navtej and myself have always shared a close bond and today when I was thinking about some significant moments in our lives this particular incident came to my mind as extremely memorable and so I decided to write about it.

For that, I have to go back in time to an earlier visit to the UK where my brother is based.We were there for about a fortnight and high on the agenda was a trip to 'Stratford on Avon' which is the birthplace of Shakespeare. It was a regular working day and since Navtej couldn't join us, we decided to make the train journey to Stratford. The plan was to spend the day out and get back by dinner. 

Soon we were on the train journey to Stratford. The weather had changed by then and soon we were dogged by intermittent rain which lasted through the day. But did that deter us in any way? Not in the least as we moved around as we were reasonably well prepared for the possibility of rain, any day and all day.

Standing outside Shakespeare's cottage, Stratford on Avon

The untouched interiors
Shakespeare's Birthplace in Warwickshire has been welcoming visitors for over 250 years. This is the house where William Shakespeare was born in 1564, grew up and wrote a lot. Shakespeare also spent the first five years of married life in this house with his new wife, Anne Hathaway. By 1592 he was in London working as an actor and a dramatist. Between 1590 and 1613, Shakespeare wrote at least 37 plays and collaborated on several more. Many of these plays were very successful both at court and in the public playhouses. In 1613, Shakespeare retired from theatre and returned to Stratford-upon-Avon. He died and was buried there in 1616.

For millions of Shakespeare enthusiasts worldwide, the house is a shrine. Inside it, one truly discovers the world that shaped the man and one can also find out what other famous writers thought when they visited here-Charles Dickens, John Keats, Walter Scott and Thomas Hardy. Close by is the enchanting cottage of his wife, Anne Hathaway, who is believed to have been a few years older to Shakespeare and came from a very well to do family.
Anne Hathaway's cottage
This is the original cottage where the young William Shakespeare courted her  and finally got her to agree to his marriage proposal.

It is a thatched farmhouse with beautiful grounds and gardens, which overflow with fragrant blooms and traditional shrubs.The cottage is in Shottery, a hamlet within the parish of Stratford-upon-Avon. It was absolutely delightful to see many original items of family furniture, including the Hathaway Bed, crockery, cutlery and even some dresses and shoes that are believed to have been worn by her.

Walking around in the rain had finally taken its toll and despite all the wonderful things and places we had seen, by 5 pm when the place closed, we were all cold, tired and  hungry.We stopped at a small tea shop and had a quick bite but when we reached the station, learnt to our dismay that the train to Worcester had just left and the next one would only come an hour later. By the time it did, we were exhausted and by the time we finally arrived in Worcester, even more so.

But every cloud does have a silver lining and this is the best part of that day. Navtej was home when we arrived  and as we entered, the aroma of a delicious 'Tandoori' chicken and 'Rotis' and 'Ma Ki Daal' was probably the most delightful thing that one could have hoped for! All he told us was to wash our hands and settle down to the delightful Indian meal that he had put together for that evening- needless to say that is exactly what we did and as my brother insisted on serving me with the 'chest ' piece
( which is what my mother always does)

I realized two things that day.

The fact that Navtej had observed how my mother served me and had actually replicated the same in his own home.

That memorable dinner

And the most important fact-'family' really does mean a great deal. 

Thursday, July 23, 2015

My book An Autumn Melody now an e- Book. So E Books or 'real' books? Some thoughts..

Last year,  my third book, An Autumn Melody, published by Rupa, went on sale as an e-book on, and I found myself dealing with a range of mixed emotions.

After analysing my thoughts, I concluded that this is probably the best thing that the publishers could have done for my book.The simple fact of the matter is that the book is now available to an unlimited potential audience, and the more I look around on a daily basis, I find more and more people reading on iPads and Kindles.

To be absolutely truthful, that audience now includes me as well, and in the last few months, I have become increasingly addicted to reading books as well as magazines on my iPad. But don’t take that to mean that my habit of reading 'real’ books has been replaced by e-reading, it simply means that I now read in different 'modes’ to suit the occasion.

For example, while travelling, I would probably settle for e-reading. But if there is a ‘real’ new book or magazine that is available, I just can’t wait to read it. Today’s reality is what I would like to think as each to his/her own.
Some people love reading physical books, some people love e-books, most people hate reading on a computer, but then quite a few love reading on a tablet.

Some of my friends are convinced that the smell of opening a new book, the feeling of turning a page, the texture of each sheet of paper, and the ease of grabbing a book, leaves a much nicer feeling than holding a device and trying to read from that.

I personally believe that there’s something to suit everyone and it's really quite pointless spending hours and hours locking horns on what can quite possibly become an endless debate. I’m sure that all of you would remember what happened recently to Borders.

According to a recent report that I referred to, on February 16, 2011, Borders, one of the largest and most well known bookstores in the world applied for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and began liquidating 226 of its stores in the US.Despite a purchase offer from the private-equity firm Najafi Companies, Borders was not able to find a buyer acceptable to its creditors before its July 17 bidding deadline, and therefore began liquidating its remaining 399 retail outlets on July 22, with the last remaining stores closing their doors on Sunday, September 18, 2011.

The Chapter 11 case was ultimately converted to Chapter 7. Rival bookseller Barnes & Noble, then acquired the Borders' trademarks and customer list. On October 14, 2011, Borders' former website was replaced by a redirect to Barnes & Noble's site.

As for me, I believe that while e-books might be rapidly gaining ground, there lies a particular charm in opening a new book and flicking through the pages, and even more than that, in the smell and feel of a new book. I’m very interested in knowing what you feel so do let me know and maybe I can write another post on the same subject a few months later. 

NB- This piece originally appeared in my column My Take in Muscat Daily

Monday, July 20, 2015

Memories of how my father inspired my love of storytelling, reading and writing

Ever since people began to communicate with each other, "Tell me a story" has been a request of both children and adults. For there is something absolutely fascinating about sitting around and listening to words which come out of someone else’s mouth and trying to put picture associations to those same words. Then finding oneself transported into a the fantasy land which might comprise anything as far removed as fairies, trolls and goblins to the more real adventures of Arabia, World War Two exploits or then the cold war and the numerous real and imaginary spy stories that it generated over the years. 

Miles and miles of flowers and memories

While listening to stories from almost anyone is good enough for a child whose mind is probably the most curious and absorbent thing in the whole wide world, there is a special charm in asking one’s own parents to tell a story. Like I always did, with my father and do so, right till today, when the two of us get a chance to spend some quality time together.

As children, almost every night for many, many years, whenever we could manage, my brother and myself would wait for him to tell us one of his enthralling tales. I don't know how he did it, but all his stories, whether based on real life incidents or a creation of his imagination, were very exciting, taking us into a whole new world, where we could actually almost see and experience all that he used to talk about. Which is exactly where I started from, that very great pleasure that a child gets when ‘visualising’ what is being told. It is also a matter of great credit to the storyteller for being able to generate such a response in a young and impressionable mind and this is something for which I’m able to give credit to my father only in retrospect.

Particularly memorable were his stories about Air Chief Marshal Arjan Singh (who was obviously one of my dad's heroes)and some of his daredevil missions in the skies, Naval stories, particularly those set in the INS Vikrant and all the exciting and adventurous things that things people did on board. Then there were the stories which taught us all about our history, culture, tradition, valour along with great things that people had done and achieved in this world. These were the stories about people like Guru Gobind Singh, Shivaji Maratha, Rani Laxmibai and Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and Helen Keller.

Then of course, there were the funny stories, which consisted of make believe characters and an extended storyline where the four of us as a family would get involved in their lives and adventures. The real beauty of these tales were that these were a never ending saga and could go on and on endlessly, taking right up from where it had been left off the last time around as there was no defined beginning or an end to these.

Keeping both of us enthralled for hours and hours on end, then after one got over, repeatedly begging him, "Pop, one more, just one more" which he would always, always, always oblige.

Time passed and I became a mother. Of a very bright child with an equally hungry mind. One who demanded “Tell me a story” whenever she wanted to hear one. So that I learnt to delve into the inner recesses of my mind and pull out some of those I remembered my father telling me and when I ran out of those I learnt to improvise, just as I remembered him doing. Creating some characters with whom the family travelled together, went on adventurous trips with and did a whole lot of fun stuff. One of the characters who became an all time favourite with my daughter was a little monkey who I called ‘Pikoo’ and one who went wherever my mind decided to take him. Alternately, wherever my daughter wanted him to go and so began the next generation saga along with a new series of never ending tales.

Today, as I'm reminded of those days, I'd like to take this opportunity to say “Thank You Pop, for that's where I really learnt my love of storytelling and now that of writing stories. I loved your stories then and love them even more now.”

I close with a beautiful line by Melody Beattie, “Live from your heart, and share from your heart. And your story will touch and heal"

Note-This is a piece originally written for my column 'My Take' in the Muscat Daily two years ago.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Tips and Tricks to beat Inertia- My Way

Inertia- The  dictionary describes it as "the state of being inert,disinclination to move or act."

In  Physics, its definition is "the tendency of a body to preserve its state of rest or uniform motion unless acted upon by an external force or an analogous property of other physical quantities that resist change."

Image result for inertia -funny images

Image courtesy-

So if we were to apply this  same premise in our day to day lives, it wouldn't be very difficult to see that we are  guilty of inertia in many, many things. Think about it honestly and I'm sure that you will see exactly what I'm talking about. Sometimes in many more doses than one might care to admit, if only to yourself.I'm using my own example its the easiest way to illustrate my point.Lets say that I've  been planning to start writing that next chapter for the last one month but somehow haven't got around to doing it- of course there were so many other more immediate things that I had to deal with.

Or ....

I'm sure you get the picture.

After some thinking I decided to tackle the problem- albeit in bite sized pieces. For the last few days, I've started writing more regularly on this blog and my newer one called 'Food For Thought'  and I know for a fact that the speed and quantum of my writing is coming back to me.

Slowly but surely.

I'm equally aware of the fact that one of these days, sooner rather than later, I will find myself starting and completing that next chapter I've been meaning to.

So here it is above- my very basic management technique for dealing with inertia.All it takes is that first step. The rest will follow.

Never despair, it  really is 'you' who is the best person to deal with your own issues.So take that first step today and be confident that you are doing the right thing!

(NB- Portions of this piece have appeared earlier in my column 'My Take' for Muscat Daily.)

Friday, June 26, 2015

Lending a helping hand- Sights that linger

Lending a helping hand

There are some sights that linger long after you've seen them and here is one such.

Spotted  this on my morning walk yesterday and loved watching the  beautiful and precious grandmother  grand daughter bonding. 

The old lady was fragile and tired easily but her granddaughter kept her going.

When they finished their walk, they sat on a bench and talked. 

Then got up, picked some pretty white flowers for the 'pooja' at home and carried on.

I continued my walk, then headed home too but not before capturing this moment forever.

I also realised that the roles had been reversed.The child had now grown up and the grandmother had aged...

Some sights truly linger...

Friday, June 19, 2015

My Dad My Hero- A Fathers Day Special

Memories-Waking up in agony and crying with an acute stomach pain at night. I must have been about 7 years old and we lived in Calcutta at the time.

My dad came rushing in from his bedroom and asked me what the problem was. All I could manage to say  was, " My stomach is paining Pop.Very badly."

As it happened that day, our car was at the garage for some major repair and we had no means of transport. It must have been 2 am but my father didn't hesitate. He just picked me up and ran. 

Ran in the middle of the night for almost 1 km, till he reached the home of our family doctor, a Dr. Mrs. Pai. Ringing the bell with quiet determination, yet ensuring that I was doing OK, my dad became a real hero in my eyes that day.

What followed was not quite as exciting. As it turned out, I had a case of severe indigestion ( not appendicitis) as my parents had thought initially, and after a dose of medication and a quiet lie in, Dr Pai drove us back home.

It was about 6 am by then after which my dad proceeded with his normal day's routine- got ready for the office,and worked a whole busy day while I rested at home waiting for him to return.

A bond was forged that day and one that continues till today. 

My dad- about 5 years ago

Of course my dad did all the normal things that dads do for their children.He held my hand as I learnt to walk. He picked me up when I was low. He cared for me when I was sick. He gave me a warm and loving hug whenever I needed it. 

Over and above, he also did some more interesting things such as accompany me for my night shift at the General Overseas Service( GOS) at All India Radio where he would sit in the newsroom watching, listening to and making interesting conversation with all the famous newsreaders of the time.  

A more recent pic with my Dad-H S Serna 
Incidentally, I must point out here that my father was the ONLY parent ever permitted to enter the "secure zone" of All India Radio . The reason, he didn't want to deprive me of a wonderful opportunity to experience the life of an English Announcer( which I only did on a part time basis while still studying at the Indian Institute of Mass Communications). Yet he wanted to ensure that I was safe and that all was well.

Makes me wonder as I sit and write this, how many other dads would have done this for their daughter? I really don't know of even one other such dad.

I could go on and on- my dad told me and my brother interesting stories inculcated a love for the fine things in life- coffee, chocolates, eating out and enjoying being 'foodies' wherever we traveled and so much more.

Cut to the present

In Sep 2013, and then again in November of that same year, my mother had to undergo a major surgery. We were in Muscat while my brother Navtej lives in the UK. While fully abreast with all that was happening on a daily basis, we had planned to come to Delhi closer to the surgery and then stay on as required. Goes without saying, my dad had to bear the entire brunt of the pre op tests- of which there must have been at least 20, finalising the admission procedures, along with a hundred other misc. things that go towards making the entire package of what surgeries have come to mean in the modern day world.

Finally all that was done and over, the date for the first surgery was set in September and we reached well in time for the operation. My husband Avi and I spent our time with my dad during the procedure and realised that he was in acute mental stress. Giving him a tight hug, both of us told him that all would be well, it was a mere matter of time. ( As it turned out, all went well at this surgery as well as the second, far more complicated one and my mom is doing fine now.)

We saw his eyes well up with tears and while he quickly brushed them away, he hugged us back and said, "I really couldn't have done this without  you,  my bacchas."

An unimaginably poignant  moment and I don't mind admitting that a few tears escaped my eyes too. Here was this strong man, my dad telling us that he couldn't have done it without us.

Sab Time, time ki baat hai..

“This father’s day, I am expressing my love towards my dad by participating in the #HugYourDad activity at BlogAdda in association with Vicks.