Last summer I watched the trees outside my window trimmed off their lush arms.
I mirrored my sorrow for weeks in the nightingale’s lament;
watched the crows look for lost comfort helplessly on its naked branches.

Following spring, a neighbourhood cat I enjoy observing in my free time
kills the injured nightingale. As she moans her last breath
crows circle the air in agony and defiance;
it didn’t matter to them that she wasn’t their own.

Later in autumn, creepers on my window sill that once replaced the emptiness
with their yellow and green, began to wither from its roots.
Before the rest slowly died infront of my eyes,
I snipped the branches off their shoots.

This winter, as I let the sun bask me in its warmth,
watch the cat teaching its kittens how to hunt,
water my creepers as tiny, supple shoots begin to reappear,
nature whispers in my ear a wisdom that often escapes me
when sorrow fills this heart over change and loss.

“What is dead, let it die”, she says. “Bury it and let it decay.”
“Water the land with your tears if you must, but
what is dead, let it die, my friend.”

To whom it may concern

I don’t know who needs to hear this. But even if there is one person amongst you who is struggling with their identity post harassment/ assault/rape or any traumatic incident at any given point in your life, I write this for you. I write to tell you why your existence makes all the difference in the world that we are living in today.

During a discussion with a friend yesterday, she pointed out her criticism for the MeToo movement. ‘It didn’t do anything’, she said. ‘Nothing happened to them. Nothing is ever going to happen to them, they (the perpetrators) are living their best lives. So, what was the point of it all?’ Another one said, ‘What a waste’.

If you have heard such things too – in parties where you pretend to have a good time, when in reality you have floated outside your body, grappling to the one thing that can keep you grounded, distraction;

at workplace where lunch hours are dedicated to talking (down) politics and how hopeless speaking up really is;

at home, trying to cosy up with your partner or your parents and sibling as they lecture you on their rendezvous with the secret to happiness and you nod along, wondering if you will ever know what that feels like;

if you have been anywhere or everywhere, coping, dealing, exhausted, reviving, struggling yet moving in an attempt to deal with a past that refuses to leave the trenches in your mind – I want you to know that the movement was for you.

It doesn’t matter if you came out and said Me Too or not. If in the confines of your little room, infront of your little phone, you have dropped a tear and whispered the two most powerful words of our times, then this movement was for you. My friend was wrong. Utterly and completely wrong. It was anything but a waste.

To even remotely think that the movement was meant to shame the perpetrators is a grave misdirection from its real intent. Tarana Burke, the founder of the MeToo Movement says, ‘It was never about the perpetrators. It was always about the survivors.’

To be a survivor is hard work. Waking up everyday to the potential existence of something out there that can cause trigger, emotional harm and make you relive the trauma is hard fucking work. But you do it nevertheless. Even on the most hopeless days, when the heart and the mind is heavy, bleeding with pain, you choose a single ray of light, whatever that is (a book, a tv show, phone a friend, meditation, a walk, coffee), to simply move on with your life.

There are times when people try and make you feel lesser for being a victim. This often than not, includes your loved ones. They want you to speed up, catch up with the rest and if you don’t, they try to toss you around, saying ‘you are not enough’, ‘you are not worthy’, ‘you are nothing’. You listen, you fight, you resist, you exist. You, the survivor is a freaking warrior. Your battle is real. Your enemy is a society that refuses to acknowledge its evil, it refuses to see you more than what made you a victim, it refuses to accept that without you, it will collapse. Because you, the survivor is the mirror of who we truly are. They will want to silence you. They will want to tell you ‘Enough. Shush now. You have made enough noise.’ They will do so, because they are afraid of you. Your very existence is a threat to the status quo. Do you get it now?

You are the ammunition. You are what protects the borders from collapsing, you are what reminds us what it is to be human, because you persist.

So, if you are somewhere in this world, struggling to merely get up from the floor you spent the entire night weeping on, believing in the fairy tales that do not mention your existence – I want you to know that I see you. We all see you. You belong here. So, heal. Rest. Rise. Persist. We got this.

Yours truly,
A sister.

A message from the past

I had to step out to go to work, but I was delaying it. It wasn’t intentional. I could see the time on my watch. I was already 10 minutes late. I dragged myself out of my chair. The heavy pit in my stomach wasn’t allowing me much movement, but I managed to apply sunscreen, kohl under my eyes, opened my hair and knotted it back into a tighter bun. Satisfied that I looked cleaner, I moved forward to reach out for my shoes, when the pit in the stomach sunk deeper and I collapsed into the stool nearby.

Deep breaths. In..out..In..out..

It gets better..

The anxieties.. They used to be unbearable in the past. But I recognize them sooner now and before they take over, I manage to deal with them.

I sat there for a while. Making a conscious decision to not rush.. It is okay to be late if we need time for ourselves, I told myself. 20 minutes must have passed by. I texted my colleague that I was coming soon and waited for the familiar ache in my body to pass. Mindfully, I kept my eyes, ears and touch open to my surroundings, before the negative thoughts barge in. Slowly I was breathing normally again..

My cellphone pinged on the side. I lifted it, prepared to ignore one of the many product websites I have been too lazy to unsubscribe. But I was wrong.

It was an email from

My heart leapt at my throat. I knew what this was. I clicked on it, my fingers shaking a bit..

It said :

The following is an email from the past, composed on June 06, 2018. It is being delivered from the past through

I scrolled down and read the message I had sent to myself a year back..

Dear FutureMe, 
It has been hard. Challenging. Sometimes you thought you can’t do it anymore. 
Well that’s not true. Is it?

Glad you never gave up. 
And I know you never will.


Something that I didn’t even know was frozen inside of me, broke. I read it, again and again. “..glad you never gave up. I know you never will.”

I remembered that day so clearly.. The girl who wrote it, was suffering to the point that she had become completely and utterly, numb. She showed strength in that suffering in ways she didn’t even know. God, was she resilient.. That girl, who couldn’t make sense of her life then, took the time to pen this down, so that she could be there for me.

And I cried. Not for her. But for me. Oh, I have blamed her so much.. Punished her. Said horrible, horrible things to her.. And there she was. Just doing the best she could, just so I could be here today.. Dealing with my past, yes.. But alive. Breathing. Surviving. And thriving. I have been so harsh –

And before I could say any more horrible things to my present self, I stopped. I was not going to repeat my mistakes.

When I look back at that girl who wrote this email, I know she wrote it in the hope that she will be alive to read this. Perhaps, this very act of sending a message to a hopeful future was an act of intense resilience to make sure that things will be better, even when she didn’t really believe that they could be. What is more kinder than that? What is more loving than that?

How we forget how much we are capable of loving ourselves.. How we forget the million times that we have done it.. How we forget that it’s enough. Its enough..

And as those words formed, I for the first time in my life knew what it means to be there for yourself. I, have always been there for myself.. And I will always be..

As I thank myself, I urge you to thank yourself too.. For standing so tall and beautiful. You are loved.

An alchemy of self love

Let hate
be that poison
your body
Learn to love yourself
so fiercely
that on the parting
of your lips
it loses all its venom
and on reaching
your tongue
it melts
into the
sweetest song..

Overcoming anxiety, bit.. by bit..

It is 4 o clock in the afternoon. The long green leaves of Guava trees outside my window are chilling just like I am, while lounging on my comfortable chair and reading a book. A dream catcher that a friend gifted me earlier this week flutters soundlessly on the railing. I had never noticed how the purple streaks against the white feather made it look so beautiful while swaying with the wind against the green backdrop outside. I go back to my book and to the joy of smiling once in while at a sentence written so beautifully. These days I have been practicing the art of acknowledging my feelings. I use words to define them and they help me understand what I am going through by demystifying the simple that seems so complicated. So, more out of a habit than a conscious choice, I find myself asking the question. “How do you feel, Shalini?”

Happy. My heart replied.

I smiled and went back to my book, but the irony of this answer distracted me, for a couple of hours of back, when I had asked myself the same question, the answer had been – anxious. anxious. angry. angry. pain. more pain.

I paused and carefully placed the bookmark on the page that I was at, promising that I will come back to it soon and looked outside my window again. The sun was getting ready to set and had reached just at that perfect spot where its brightness was blinding me. I couldn’t really see the greenery outside the window anymore but my dreamcatcher glowed magnificently against the sunlight. I closed my eyes and everything turned into hues of yellow and orange, the warmth teasing my skin and in its own whimsical way, telling me that I ought to enjoy it while it lasts. I asked the sun looming over me, ‘So what is it? Am I happy because I know you are not here to stay or because I am happy, I see that you haven’t gone away?’ The sun replied, still shining brightly over my closed eyes, its bright orange now. It said. ‘What came first, the chicken or the egg?’

As the worries in my life stay put as they have been all this while, this moment of doing nothing and finding a rare joy in the warmth of the sun that comes every single day, told me something about happiness. And sadness.

Sadness, perhaps is a reminder that things need to change. Happiness, maybe is the reward of making that change. It is a cycle and if noticed carefully, the secret to happiness could lie in the underlying beauty of understanding our sadness. Maybe they are just the same thing, waiting for us see how perfectly they complement each other.

A couple of months back, I can say that being anxious was my perpetual state of mind. You can read the related post, where I have written a letter to my anxious self. I know for a fact that I am a very different person today and I wonder if I am being rewarded for addressing my sadness, instead of pushing it under the rugs. Today, being anxious is just a part of my life, among all the other things. I have accepted it gracefully, allowed it to teach me more about myself and have learnt to hold its hand without judgement while slowly breaking the old, violent, self harming structures that had made their homes inside of me. I have learnt to see the nightmares of my life as a constant reminder to love myself, while reaping tiny rewards of happiness in the form of warmth, in the form of joy, as and when I am successful in changing within the wheel of time.

Is this what self-love looks like?

I hope you have a wonderful day too. I will now sign off. The sun’s about to set and it is my favourite part of the day. 🙂


On a beautiful afternoon
as we watch the winter leaves shed
from my kitchen window,
we talk about the last time you were here.
Many years ago
it must have been summer
for the leaves were so bright green.

On this beautiful afternoon
as you stir coffee in its cup
the sweet smell of nostalgia
reminding us of what we are made of;
the music of silence
touch the unexplored territory of our nerves,
as we stand against my kitchen window
and watch the winter leaves
now the colour of bright burgundy
shed slowly
as if so much time has passed
and yet none at all.

*Merak is a beautiful little Serbian word that refers to a feeling of bliss at the pursuit of small, daily pleasures that add up for a greater sense of happiness and fulfilment.. 

This poem is dedicated to an old friend whose presence in my life adds up in ways I cannot even express.


I say Thank you
To the friends who have been
And to the friends who have not

I say Thank you
for the tests of time
The organic way
of sieving out life

I say Thank you
to the friends
who hold my spine
when I fall down

And I say Thank you
to the friends who are not
for teaching me that words mean nothing
when actions aren’t carried out

Thank you
for those who made me doubt
the choices of friends
I have made in life
Thank you
for those who reaffirmed
the faith of believing
that love is always kind

The wind is harsh today
But it will not be so everyday
When the sun rises tomorrow
After the hurricane has passed away
I will know
The friends who are
And the friends who are not
When with weathered feet and sandy hair
I will feel the warmth
of the hands holding mine

Thank you
for these tests of time
Thank you for these tests of time..


I can’t wait to get back to it.
The tapping of the keyboard
The clicking of the mouse.
The anticipation
of obstacles
The excitement
of problems to be solved.

I can’t wait to get back to it.
To tiring nights
and hopeful mornings.
That pay check
made of fresh paper
the scent of hard work,
& taste of priceless learnings.

I can’t wait to get back to it.
The bittersweet ache
of exhaustion & tired eyes
The joy of working
The contentment
of pushing beyond my strides

I can’t wait to get back to it
Despite the memories
that burns holes
in an idea that once was
of a perfect life

And I can’t wait to get back to it.
With paper and glue
Fixing the broken
and making something new.


11th day is the day
that they say
you will finally leave.
In body and in spirit.
That you will be gone
one last time.
But where will you go papa?

Your blood runs through mine
Your heart still beats
when I close my eyes.

There you are,
on the cement staircase
watching me as I take a walk.

On the balcony
silently cradling on the swing,
hoping that I will come
and sit beside you.

On the bed,
lying so still.
The involuntary smile stretching on your lip,
As I step into the room.

On your wheelchair
pulling me close
your face shivering
your voice quivering

On the back of the cab
your mouth half open
your eyes half closed

On the pyre
Burning away
Now, all ashes

I am seeing you papa,
hearing your voice calling me “babaa..”
Picturing your hand on mine
Not cold as the last time
Warm and strong
holding on
checking on me
once in a while

It is the 11th day
and they say
you will be finally gone.
In body and in spirit
one last time.

But where will you go papa?
Where will you go..


I freed myself from you tonight
From the cycle of bitter sweet aches
And roller coaster rides
It was rather unusual –
Our ending.
No shatter
No sound
of hearts breaking
or tearless yelling
And like that
I freed myself from you tonight.


A letter to an anxious self

Dear love,

First of all. It is okay.

You have been here before and you have gotten better, haven’t you? So, take deep breaths and remember the following lessons you have taught yourself over this difficult period –

  1. These are just thoughts :
    Anxieties stem from negative thoughts.

    But remember that thoughts are just thoughts and not facts. I know they are convincing as fuck. They are the best illusions you see. Not like any magic you would see anywhere ever! Your mind is so powerful that it can be yours and still be so good at tricking you.. almost like a separate part of your body. I know that can be overwhelming, especially when you are trying so hard to control it.. But you know what? You are trying and you have known through experience that trying never, ever goes to waste. This time too, it won’t.

  2. You are not a mind – reader :
    Wouldn’t it be easier if we just knew what was going on in someone else’s mind? I totally feel you. It would save so much of our time thinking about it and save even more in not trying to think about it! God, I get it. Its exhausting. But you know what? Whatever you do, think or you don’t think – the result is pretty much the same. You can never ever know what is going on in someone else’s mind. You can assume, but you can never know for sure. So, well.. sometimes just accepting that helps 🙂
  3. Your future isn’t bleak :
    Where are you now? Where were you five years back? How many problems came your way and didn’t you tackle them all so fiercely anyway? Didn’t you feel proud of yourself then? Well, just think of how you are going to feel when you get over this. I know, its hard to imagine with the surge of difficult, confusing emotions that you are going through right now. But just for a moment, think of how good it is going to feel, when you can finally see the world around you with your eyes and not just your clouded mind.

    Now, let me tell you – that because you had the strength to imagine it, you are definitely going to get there. Your future is so full of possibilities that you do not even know of. That’s why it’s future right? And I read somewhere,

    It is not important to always be hopeful of the future. You can just be curious about it..

    Be curious, my love. There is so much happiness in the will to know more..

    WB yeats quotes

  4. “Pain in inevitable. Suffering is optional.”
    In a quaint, lovely cafe in Kaza – as we were waiting for our order – this piece of timeless advice from Buddha was just sitting on my table. Perhaps, waiting for all the lost souls like me to read it. You cannot stop someone/ something from hurting you. It will hurt. And it will be excruciatingly painful. I can imagine the pain, because I know you struggle with sharing it too. You fear that nobody will understand.. What can be more painful than that right?I get it.. Well, you can’t stop the pain from coming, but there is something that you can do. You can raise your tolerance to accept it. Spell it out. Say the words that hurt the most. Your thoughts can be irrational but not your feelings. Those are actually your real thoughts. Let them come out of you like one long searing stab in the heart. And when that moment of relief washes over you, tell yourself – Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.IMG-6714-001

    I know it is easier said than done. One way to do it, is to focus on the solutions instead of our problems. You will be surprised how short and sweet those talks with your minds can be. You don’t have to suffer my love. You just don’t..

  5. Don’t be so hard on yourself..
    No realization is implemented overnight. I know we wish that could happen, but it doesn’t work that way. Epiphanies are like a shot of dopamine injected into our minds but when unable to implement them – they can create very strong anxieties, leading to more suffering.In these times, deep breaths again. (Cheesy, but so goddamn helpful.) You are going to make mistakes. Again and again. And it is not because you don’t learn. It is because you don’t intend to learn it superficially. You would rather live your mistakes, feel yourself burn under the sun, as the realization seeps into your being – to stay. It is the only way you can never ever make the same mistakes again.So, don’t be so hard on yourself. As I said, you are trying and you will slip. So many times! But that is okay..
  6. Focus on the journey..
    While I was working on Sanju, there were some personal experiences that had overpowered the beauty of where I was. My father’s battle with cancer only added to further negativity. It took a toll on my emotional state of being. When the film released, there was no part of me that felt happy. Though, I so badly wanted to be..The realization came to me on my trek to Chandrataal. When we first started climbing, it felt just fine. But as the mountain got steeper, the breathing got heavier too. It wasn’t a difficult trek as such but I didn’t think I could make it. I wasn’t fit for it, I thought. And then I looked back and I knew I had to do this anyway. I wouldn’t be here otherwise. So, I started walking slowly, breathing in and out steadily. After a point, I wasn’t even thinking of the destination – I was just enjoying my own new found strength and ability to see beauty around me. Almost effortlessly, I reached the top – overlooking my sweaty, tired self was the magnificent moon lake. It still gives me goosebumps to think about it. I had never felt so happy reaching any place in my life.
    e7234c69-5b29-4677-89c5-b2a13a2d64a0It made me realize the power of a beautiful journey. When we chose to take care of ourselves, accepting our limitations and problems, while constantly looking around us and being grateful to be where we are – the joy of reaching our goal at the end of it can be so much more gratifying. Not giving up does not always mean to be tough. It can also mean to be unapologetically soft on ourselves.

*Big hugs to me!*

Yours truly..



After the bleeding stops,
and the tears of blood dries upon my heart.
I hope the shell I make
is carefully carved.
For too soft,
trespassers shall insolently pass.
Too hard,
and I might forget
the beauty of this beating heart..

Will never be the same again..

I will never be the same again.

My bones turned to ashes
with the fire you set alight
My body slumped
tasting nothing like the
sweetness of our nights
My eyes, dark and cold
Not turned to coal,
Rather a damp, deep pit you dug inside

I will never be the same again

For when the fire rekindles,
long after the embers of our love burns out.
When the smile from the heart,
reaches the eyes and dazzles
forgetting all pain of our past.
I will think of you as a messiah,
the one who set the flames,
for the phoenix had to be reborn again..

Song for a rainy day

Just for a little while longer
On a wooden porch
and blue skies above.
I will hum a tune
and think of you..

Just for a little while longer
as the crashing waves
play my base
and the pitter patter
my strings
I will weave some words.
Just so,
I can think of you.

For you see,
the gloomy clouds ain’t far away
and the evening light’s about to fade.
So, that’s all I have.
A little while longer
before this heart forgets,
the remnants of those days..

So, when the lights go out
and the song’s about to end
I will take a pause,
close my eyes and picture you from a better time.
With a smile on my face,
a tear down my cheek.
I will finally let go,
as I think of you..


An ode

Of all the pain this heart has felt.
It is you,
that hurts the most.
My fingers falter.
Words stop at my throat.
An involuntary sensation grips me.

I have a blood clot in my heart, you see.
The blood that rushed for you.


I no more define myself
as a girl with words.
Rather, I now define myself,
as a woman with none.
as I struggle to pen down
this deep anxiety.
This pain unfulfilled.
This insecurity,
of what I used to be
and what I see myself becoming..
I find myself,
looking.. for words.

That were once my only friends.
that understood the turmoil of my heart.
On a lonely night,
with only the moon for company, staring hungrily.
It is words,
that made me look at it, differently.
I saw the light in the dark.
A dream in the nightmares.
I saw truth –
in the lies that the day was made of.

Words, oh words.
They filled me up..

I would go on a romantic rendezvous with it,
Smiling to myself.
Speaking a language
only we understood.
Occasionally, trying to find,
the depth larger than us.
My lips twitching,
at a revelation..

It is no magic,
nor a metaphor for poetry.
For I know it is real.
It was real –
when the world disappeared around us,
and we waltzed through the chattering crowd.
Laughing and crying.
Smiling and wondering.
Just happy enough, to know..
that we had each other..

We always had each other..

As I sit by myself.
Smoking a cigarette,
watching the embers
burn on my lips.
Nostalgia of the once, lonely nights,
fills my heart with gratitude again..

I no more look for words to give me company.
When the moon stares hungrily,
I no more waltz in the crowded streets,
looking for depth in the meaningless chatter.
I no more laugh or cry,
smile or wonder,
under the starry nights.
I no more look for truth,
amidst the lies..

For I am no more,
The girl with words.
Rather a woman
with none..


What is it about you?
What is it about you, sunset?

Every time under your warm shade
A forgotten question goes answered
All that is lost
All that is about to go
Seems so trivial under your might

What is it about you, sunset?
For, you are a poem
A moment of realisation
You come from the endless mumbling thoughts within
From the ultimate abyss of
For, you are a tear
A silent cry
A painful journey.
You are the end
And you are the beginning.

What is it about you, sunset?
For, it has been a while,
since I felt so alive 

What is it about you?
That makes me realise
Of a life less lived
Every time.


I miss you.

The way your tender hands caress me
Comforting that everything will be okay.
When on a dark, gloomy day,
You take in all the fury, the vanity and the insane
The way you calmly shrug at my own disdain
the way you say,
“It doesn’t matter, it never will.
For I love you and I always will.”

“Fat” or “Fit”?

Hi everyone,
My friends. My family. My acquaintances.
I write this post because I love you all and hence feel that I must officially inform you guys that I have PUT ON WEIGHT.

Yes, that horrendous thing that one must never become I have become that. My jeans are a few inches tighter on my hips, my face looks rounder than oval and flesh can be seen in my arms. Hence, I am just using the lingo that everybody seems to  be more comfortable using – and notifying my dear ones that I have become “fat”. And before you make that pitiful face and go on to asking me “Why have I become SO fat!”, I just want you to know that – I don’t care.

I know what it feels like to feel fat. I know what it feels like growing up, with people around you – pointing out that extra weight on your hips, your arms, your waist, your face, your neck – wherever their scrutinising eyes could reach. And making cumulative assessment of your figure, they would go on to give tips about “fixing it”. Exercise. Stop eating junk. Drink lemon water. Then they would gleefully go back to their lives, finally having done something productive with their day – leaving a child, insecure and miserable. So, I know what it feels like to feel fat. And I say, “feel” – because I was never fat. I was healthy and bulky, which is my normal body type and I was made to feel that that was not a good figure. The good figure is one, with no flesh, bones sticking out, toned hands and legs and stomach and hips. So, I grew up convinced that I did not have that ideal figure. My “thunder thighs” definitely did not fall in that category.

But I aimed for it. I exercised day and night. That’s all I thought about. I wanted a perfect figure. I wanted to prove everybody wrong. I wanted to lose all the extra  weight and look super pretty! Eyes would turn for me, I thought. I wanted to walk like  Poo (from K3G) in my college. So, basically I lost a lot of weight.

The funny thing was –

I was close to a flat stomach (yea, that never happened) and my thighs were poles apart – but I always felt fat. Always felt insecure. No matter, how much I starved, how much I did yoga, exercised – I was never thin enough. But here’s the real catch. Now that I have become “Fat” (according to a lot of people in my life) – I don’t feel it. I don’t feel fat.

I feel happy. I feel satisfied. I feel healthy. I eat good food, I sleep well, I work very hard and I know that my job requires me to expend a lot of my energy and my time for it – and I don’t mind. I feel accomplished. Every morning, I wake up with the most wonderful heartbeat throbbing against me – something that I had never experienced before. I feel free. I feel secure. I feel fit. And I feel powerful.

So, I guess I am better off with that extra weight on me.

This post is not an answer to my friends calling me fat. You could call me a buffalo, for all you want. (But I know you would rather call me a hippopotamus) But this is a post, in which I wished to say that being fit is of utmost importance. Happiness, satisfaction, mental peace – comes from being fit. But that insecurity lying deep within us, does not make us fit. It makes us weak, vulnerable and I have seen in many cases, it can even lead to depression.

I  just hope that there will come a time, when kids would not have a scarred childhood because of their weight. I just hope that someday people will understand that everybody has a different body type and to truly care, is to accept them the way they are and see beyond the hallmark of beauty set out there. I just hope that someday, calling somebody fat would not be an insult, but rather just a statement that wouldn’t scream of the society’s fuck up of this “idea of a good figure”.

Till then, lets just understand that – people don’t like being called fat. It brings back the memory of unnecessary insecurity of so many – and that too, for no good reason, but just because you were stupid enough to say it without much thought.

Merry christmas everybody!
To a healthy, lovely life ahead of us.
Santa Claus is also fat. Be like Santa Claus.
Cheers! ❤

Show up

Show up, show up, show up, and after a while the muse shows up, too.

~Isabel Allende