Friday 29 November 2013

Saving Mr. Gutar Gun!

I see many people blowing trumpets about their concern for wildlife; some even claiming to make donations. Go to any gaushala on an auspicious day and you will find otherwise famished cows surprised by oversupply of food that day. Human beings are indeed the most selfish souls that ever walked earth. They will do anything provided it gives some benefit to them, else, they will turn a blind eye.

During lunchtime today, I spotted a pigeon in my office compound. He was like any other Pigeon sitting on the floor, hardly noticed by anybody, after all, he was just a Pigeon. I too would have joined the list, had I not seen his wound. He was badly wounded on his back and leg and was not able to move properly. Fearing a fatal attack, the poor thing tried to drag himself behind some flowerpots.

Leaving him unattended would have meant throwing him the death trap. So I decided to guard him and call for help. I saw an uncle feeding a roti to the Squirrels. Thinking him to be a concerned animal lover, I showed him the Pigeon and asked if he knew any vet around. “Oh he has been attacked by some Dog. Hmm…he will be fine…”he said. Now this was getting super dumb. Imagine, you fall sick and the doctor, instead of treating you, says you will be fine. Was uncle waiting for a miracle? Or his concern for wildlife was limited to feeding roti to squirrels (I am sure that too was his atrologer’s prediction to ward off a problem).

After the useless uncle was gone, I called a guard from the gate and asked him to help me take the Pigeon to the vet. However, he turned out to be more scared than the uncle himself. “Will he bite?” He asked and I gave up on him. I wondered, how would an injured soul struggling with danger, harm someone?

Not wanting to leave him alone, I guarded him and made some frantic calls to many colleagues and friends. While some answered with “Oh, Hmm, lemme see..” some were total angels. My phone was immediately flooded with numbers of animal helplines and NGOs and 3 angel friends even came down to help.

Within few minutes we realized our next challenge was yet another big challenge. Apparently, none of the big NGOs claiming to be animal saviors were of help. Most numbers were not answered and even those who answered said they have no animal ambulance facility. One guy at the phone even said. “Madam, he is a pigeon, not a crocodile. Hold him and get him to my office.” “But I donno how to hold him and besides, he is badly injured and wants first aid”, I could barely utter before he hung up on me. I also learnt a new thing. One NGO even told me since they work for dogs, they were unable to attend to a pigeon. Discrimination! Phew!

Every passing minute could prove fatal for Mr. Gutar Gun, who appeared more scared and tired now, hiding behind a plant. Many squirrels played around him, oblivious to his condition. Finally, when nothing worked, we called up an NGO which showed the nearest on Google map. Before the guy could ask me anything, I charged on him, “There is a Pigeon dying, will you save him or you too can save only Dogs, cats and cows”. The guy it seems, understood the panic and frustration in my voice. “I am sorry we don’t have an ambulance, but if you get him to our shelter home, we can definitely do something for him.”

We somehow convinced a colleague the Pigeon was harmless and he helped us catch the Pigeon without hurting  his wound. As we rushed him to the NGO, me and my friends felt nothing short of an ambulance staff, for any delay at our part would have been fatal for the bird.

The guy at the reception immediately saw the bird in our hands and recognized us. “Madam aap log hee thhhe jinka phone aa raha thhhaa baar baaar”, he said with a smile. Like a child with colic pain, the Pigeon was rushed to the vet, who examined him and assured us he would be fine. We were told after a short vacation in the hospital, Mr. Gutar Gun would be fit and fine to frolic around our office once again. We sighed with a smile of relief. We could have walked away and ignored the dying Pigeon, but sometimes, just trying to make an effort does all the magic and help pours in from unexpected corners.

To the friends who helped me take Mr. Gutar Gun to the vet – A friend in need is a friend indeed

To the NGO who helped us despite Mr. Gutar Gun not being a dog/cat/cow – Thanks. I won’t name the organization as the opinions expressed in this post are personal.

To the people who feed cows at the advice of astrologers and ignore the animals in need around them – Introspect. Is it really the right thing to do?

To the readers – Do something good for someone for his benefit, not for your selfish interest. Feeding dog on an auspicious day won’t really add up to your karma if you ignore a dying stray on street on a normal day. If you know of a genuine NGO that helps without discriminating, please update the address and contact details in the comments. The net is flooded with so many useless self proclaimed animal welfare bodies but what matters is which one really saves that dying stray animal near us.

To Mr. Gutar Gun – Enjoy your stay at the NGO while you recuperate. Get well soon and make flights of freedom in our office compound again. It’s great to have you here!

Sorry, no pic of Mr. Gutar Gun …but look around your office compound …you will spot him enjoying the winter sun on a Jamun tree! 

Sunday 24 November 2013

Book Review – The Homing Pigeons

Top post on, the community of Indian Bloggers

Author – Sid Bahri
Publisher – Srishti Publishers and Distributors
Pages – 318
Price – Rs 150

Sneak Preview from the book

Not all love stories are perfect,
But then, neither are people
In the middle of the catastrophic 2008 recession, Aditya, a jobless, penniless man meets an attractive stranger in a bar. Little does he know that his life will change forever.
When Radhika, a young, rich widow, marries off her stepdaughter, little does she know that the freedom she has yearned for is not exactly how she had envisioned it.
They say homing pigeons always come back to their mate, no matter where you leave them on the face of this earth. The Homing Pigeons is the story of love between these two unsuspecting characters as it is of lust, greed, separations, prejudices and crumbling spines.

My View

I have been reading many romantic fictions of late, and one thing that sets a good book apart from an average one is the affection created in the minds of the readers for the protagonist. A good book is the one that makes me feel it is all happening in front of me, and each blow to the love gets me going “Oh….poor he/she”.

The Homing Pigeons – the title seemed very promising. And to a large extent, the author is promising too. The Emotions warped around the tale of the girl/guy next door. But if only he worked a bit more on the basic – the story, it would have been a more fulfilling experience.

Nevertheless, the book is a nice one time quick read in the trip from office to home, for the fiction will surely transport you to the world of Aditya and Radhika. Aditya – whose life oscillates from good to good to best to worst to better, is the perfect friend cum lover, who will go against all odds and rebel to stand by his lady love. The lady love in questions, Radhika has been a tree that has so often been uprooted and replanted and in the process, has moved into a state of mental trance. All is well between them until both decide to take the relationship to next level. A rebellious Radhika somehow gives in to her parents’ wishes and chooses to marry a stranger in a stranger land, leaving behind her lover who has stood beside her.

The next few chapters see Aditya and Radhika’s lives undergo some unwelcomed changes. Radhika in and out of a painful marriage; and Aditya falling prey to work stress, recession, a bad marriage and an unfortunate or perhaps fortunate meeting with Divya who turns this promising wealth manager to a full time Gigolo.

But as they say, Homing Pigeons always find their true mate, so despite the arguments, the sacrifices, the mess ups in their lives, Aditya and Radhika are meant to be with each other.
The problem – the reader always know they will come together and that somehow steals the charm. Chapter by chapter, the story gets predictable, and one can just help wonder when will they finally vow to be together for eternity and the story will end!

Go for it is you are looking for something light, short and sweet that you don’t wanna remember after a read; else life is still good!

About the author – Sid Bahri
A hotelier by education, an ex banker and a senior executive in the outsourcing industry, Sid gave up a plush career in outsourcing industry to follow his passions. Based out of Ranikhet, he is now a struggling entrepreneur and a happy writer. A self proclaimed eccentric, he is an avid blogger who loves to read and cook. This is his debut novel.

This review is a part of The Readers Cosmos Book Review Program" . To get free books log on to

Monday 11 November 2013

Our Platinum Day of Love – at 3600 meters above sea level!

Ours was an arranged marriage. Having been married for quite some time now, I can say that surviving an arranged marriage is like preparing kheer – tastes best when cooked with patience on slow flame. Try rushing into things and you will get a kheer with burnt smell that just doesn’t go away. 

Love, has its own language. While some people go all mushy to express their feelings for their beloved, there are few like Mr. Hubby and I, who discover a new shade of love by sharing small joys and sorrows of our everyday life.

Shortly after our marriage, Mr. Hubby and I planned a trek to the valley of flowers in Uttarakhand. Mr. Hubby being a perfect fitness freak was oozing with enthusiasm that matched my fear for intense physical activities. For the lazy me who has grown up on aloo paranthas smeared with butter and never befriended a workout, any physical activity that makes me wake up early or get that sweat dripping is a complete no. So, workouts and I often prefer separate paths. But when Mr. Hubby proposed the trek, the excitement in his eyes prompted me to play the supportive wife in our newly started married life.

Everything was rosy till the time we reached the base camp. However, the moment we began the trek, the thorns began to surface from the rosy picture. Like a typical newly married lady, I was all style and vanity and preferred to carry a small sling bag rather than carrying a heavy rucksack with essential items. I was scared at the thought of trekking and thought it better to carry minimal weight; and in that effort, I even missed the bare essential – a bottle of water. We thought once we complete the trek, we would get some water. But few passersby told us there was no shop up there and we had been foolish enough to miss something as important as water!

For someone who had never even participated in a race in school, walking uphill on the high altitude (approx 3600 meters above the sea level) without food or water was becoming torturous. I would stop and start panting after every ten steps due to lack of Oxygen at high altitude. My knees and chest cried with pain and the heartbeat was like a high decibel drum thumping fast. For almost half the trek, Mr. Hubby was at his supportive best and even kept me busy in conversations to divert my mind. However, once he realised we were way behind our schedule, his patience began to give up. We could see many people on their way back after spotting some beautiful and exotic flowers the valley offers. To add fuel to the fire, they told we better hurry up as the park closes by 5.30pm and it was already noon.

My oh so patient hubby slowly began to lose patience. I tried my best to brace up, but the lungs wouldn’t just support. Finally I decided the trek was beyond me and I better give up. I asked Mr. Hubby to complete the trek and return while I would wait at the same place.

As if I had blown the whistle of a pressure cooker, Mr. Hubby became furious. “You have spoiled my holiday. If you didn’t have the stamina or the courage you should have told me!” I stood there stiff and silent with my eyes closed as he walked away.

Sometimes anger prompts us to do things that simple motivation cant. Mr. Hubby’s words pierced me and after sometime, I too decided I would complete the trek and would prove him wrong.

I had begun walking for five minutes when a man from the opposite side stopped me. “Are you Shaivi?” he asked. “Y..Yeah...” I said, surprised. “Your hubby met me on the way and has left a message for you. He has asked me to tell you the trek isn’t tough, you will be able to manage, just keep walking. He is waiting for you ahead. Come on”. He said with a smile and went away.

“Oh after all that drama, someone is pretending to be romantic and caring?” I said to myself.

As I walked, I was in for even more pleasant surprises. Apparently, Mr. Hubby had asked every person he met on the way to tell me not to give up; that he believed in me and was waiting for me ahead. So every person on his way back was smiling and passing on the message to me. Some girls even told me “how cute, he is so caring”.

My fatigue evaporated with every message I got and I continued to walk. With every person telling me I was just near completion and Mr. Hubby was waiting ahead, the trek no longer seemed like a tough task. The energy of Love kept me going. I was beginning to feel sorry for Mr. Hubby. I had disappointed him and here he was trying to motivate me by asking every single person he met to pass on the message to me.

After a kilometre, I found myself surrounded by a beautiful landscape filed with beautiful flowers. I could see Mr. Hubby waiting at a distance. As he saw me, his face brightened up with a smile and he stretched his arms true Bollywood style. My steps became faster and soon I was in his arms – a perfect scene from those Yash Chopra movies.

“I am sorry I got angry baby” he said. “No dear, I am sorry, you tried so much to motivate me, I should have stretched myself more.”, I said. “Hey, did you get my message? I asked few people” he said. “Few?” I interrupted him. “Every single person on his way back was like, are you Shaivi? Your hubby is waiting for you ahead. The trek isn’t tough and you are just there…” Mr. Hubby was now blushing. “Oh I wondered if they would pass on the message, so I told every person I met…I wanted to be together with you in this beauty. It would have been incomplete without me holding my wife’s hands” he said.

I was all melting now. I just blushed and hugged him tight as he whispered into my ears, “you make this all seem so perfect!”

Amidst the hesitation and the shyness of an arranged marriage, we had discovered our bond of love…for us, this day was our Platinum Day of Love!

With each sweet n sour moment we have shared in this togetherness called Love, I can say our Love is just like Platinum – precious, pure and everlasting!

This post has been written for the Platinum Day of Love contest by Indiblogger.

Wednesday 6 November 2013

I wish she had smart suraksha

A home is a home, no matter what people say. This is how I have always felt about Delhi, the place I have lived all my life. Incidents keep on happening every now and then but I always believed it is one’s attitude towards an issue that matters the most; courage is the most important tool, and no matter how much adverse the situation, presence of mind can help sail through any adverse situation.

The unfortunate chilly night of December 12th, 2012 proved me wrong.

Manju was the daughter of our domestic help. Having migrated to Delhi from Kolkata for a better lifestyle, she stayed in a one room accommodation with her parents and two younger sisters. Just like any 19 year old, she too had dreams of a better life and she worked hard every day to achieve them. She was a perfect housekeeper during the day, helping her mom with cleaning job in various houses in the colony; a doting daughter and sister by the evening as she cooked the evening meal and helped her younger sister with studies; a student by the night when she studied for the correspondence degree she was pursuing.

A beautiful girl with beautiful black eyes, and lot of dreams in them for a better tomorrow. “Didi, once I finish my studies, I won’t let ma work in houses. Then she too will sit and relax in our own house.” She used to say as I used to smile and say “Amen”.
Her parents were looking for a suitable match since she had reached the marriageable age as per their society. Mom and I often tried to convince Manju’s mom to mary her off only once she had completed her studies, to which Manju used to give an ear to ear smile and say “I will mary a company officer” (she meant an executive working for a decent firm)…

But destiny had different plans for her…

Of late, she appeared to be very tensed. She would be lost during the work, giving empty gazes with her lifeless eyes. Upon probing her one day, she told me a group of hooligans in her locality had somehow had their eyes set on her. They had even approached her father promising a better job for Manju. But, understanding their malicious intentions, she had asked them to leave. Since then, they had threatened to even it out with her. They would often follow her and she was scared. I advised her to file a complaint at the local police station, but Manju feared they would harm her family if they came to know about the complaint. I made her promise that no matter what, she would call me whenever in trouble and I would reach with help at any time of the day/night.

I still remember the evening of December 12. It was my niece’s birthday and we had planned a party for her. Manju loved birthday celebrations and so she spent the whole evening helping me with the decorations and food. It was getting dark by the time she was leaving. Call it my gut feel or just plain concern, I asked her to take an auto instead of walking down to her place, as it had become dark and unsafe. I even offered her money for the rickshaw. As she took the money, she smiled and said, I will manage, I am a bold girl. Thinking she would be fine, I got busy with the  party.

A week passed and there was no trace of Manju. We were all tensed as her phone had been switched off since that evening.

After a week, her mother came to our house and told us the unfortunate had happened that night. While going home, Manju had been followed by the same hooligans, cornered and raped. She had tried to call through the mobile phone but before she could, the rapists threw away her phone.

The hooligans took their revenge, but Manju’s dreams were shattered forever. Her family sent her back to her village in Kolkata, where she was married off in haste.

I wish I had asked her to stay that evening
I wish I had forced her to file a complaint.
I wish her dreams wouldn’t see such a sorry end
I wish she had smart suraksha, so that even with a press of a button, an emergency message could reach 5 of her contacts and even trace her location.

You can download the Smart Suraksha App here…
I am participating in the Seeking Smart Suraksha contest at in association with Smart Suraksha App.
* This is a work of fiction.

Ten Commandments of living it safely in Delhi

Dear Niece,

Happy 16th birthday to you! May you get all the happiness and success and may all your dreams come true. I can see many pretty gifts on that table with the cake and 16 candles…each candle for every beautiful year of happiness you have given us by your presence. I sit in a corner and wonder what can I possibly give a 16 year old with a mind of her own? Well, just like most elders, wisdom is all I have…

You have grown up into a very pretty girl as evident by all those eyes looking at you in admiration. Being the protective mausi, I scrutinize each look and wonder if it is admiration or admiration adulterated with something else. I know I can’t be there with you all the time, you are an independent girl after all. But Delhi is no longer the city it was. I have been born and brought up in a city where I could easily catch that 9pm bus back home after an evening outing with friends. But so did Nirbhaya, the young girl who took that bus on the unfortunate night of 16th December 2012 – a night that changed her destiny forever.

So on your 16th birthday, I gift you, from my box of sweet n sour experiences in Delhi, Ten Commandments of living it safely in Delhi

1.     Dress as per the time and place – I know you just frowned after reading this one! No, I am not asking you to cover yourself in a veil, but then, when in Rome, do what Romans do.  We live in a city where vultures hover around looking for an easy catch, so inappropriate or provocative attire at a lonely place or at the odd hours would get them  hovering.

2.    Stay connected – Just like updating status on FB is cool, it’s cool to keep your loved ones informed about your location. It’s not being a child, rather it signals the child has grown up enough to realize her responsibilities and  keeping someone informed to connect easily in case of an emergency.

3.    Emergency kit – Few cosmetics less in your bag won’t do make a significant change to your look, but a pepper spray, a pair of scissors can be your life savers in emergencies.

4.    The more the merrier – I know you love those late night outs, but moving in groups in odd hours are just so much more fun and safe. Especially when you are at a place that’s not frequented by many.

5.    Get the App – I hope we had this one in our times. That Android phone of yours can be a real life saver in emergencies. Just get the right app. Download the Smart Suraksha App on you phone and at the click of a button, your emergency message will reach 5 emergency contacts specified. What’s more, the app also locates your location and sends It to your emergency contacts even when the GPRS is switched off! Now this one you can’t afford to miss, being the tech savvy and smart young lady you are.

6.    Trust your instincts, not the person – That guy you met 15 minutes back at the party might look like the perfect prince charming. But behind the mask may be hiding the Dracula, waiting to pounce on the beauty. So, look, hear, analyse and observe.

7.    There are no free lunches in this world – We taught this one to you as a kid, and its revision time. Never accept that drink from that friendly stranger in the party.  It takes seconds for the drug laced drink to cast its dirty spell on you.

8.    Be bold – I remember this incident when a guy was staring at me in a bus. I kept on avoiding but when it became unbearable, I just gave him a stern, continuous stare, without even blinking my eyes. 2 minutes and the guy was off that seat. I am not asking you to pick fights, but sending across the right (no nonsense) message makes a lot of sense.

9.    Keep the antennas on – Whether in party or public transport catch that guy getting irritatingly close and shoo him away right there and then.

10. Last but most important – Presence of mind – Intelligence is of no use when it can’t be used at the right time for the right purpose. Acting tactful in an emergency till help arrives can save you a lot of mess ups.

While you too might be having your own to do’s and don’ts, these are some tips experience has taught me. You being the baton holder of the next generation, I pass them on to you and wish you continue to be the free spirited bird that you are, and take flights of freedom at any place, any time.


I am sharing my Smart Suraksha Tips at in association with Smart Suraksha App.

Sunday 3 November 2013

Diwali Delights – Besan Laddooos

I doubt if there is any other festival like Diwali…the festival of lights. Each festival brings its own joy but the euphoria created by Diwali is beyond comparison with any other festival. Since childhood, I have loved flocking to the market days ahead of Diwali to see the glitz and grandeur. Of course, with time and security breach incidents in my city, the trips have become focused towards malls. The unique decorations fascinate me and I keep standing there in silent appreciation of the creativity, till an irritated Mr. Hubby signals me to move ahead.

Each year, reports of adulterated khoya and sweets being seized hurt my ears almost like the loud bombs the naughty neighbourhood kids are splurging on, right now! Diwali is a festival of feeling the brightness and joy within and sharing it with people around. But I wonder what pleasure do some people get by spreading ill health, for some materialistic stuff called money that they would anyway end up burning in crackers.

So this year, Mr. Hubby and I decided not to take chances. Mithai boxes were replaced by juice hampers and dry fruits. Even the relatives loved the healthy transformation. But the problem was still not over. Lakshmi pujan is incomplete without sweets, however, I had decided to keep everything home made this time. As I was scratching my head heard for a solution this morning, I remembered a recipe I learnt during the initial days of my Hotel Management course. Besan Laddooos. 

Here’s how Mr. Hubby & I made yum and simple to make besan laddoos for the evening puja

Ingredients (For 12 laddoos)

Besan (ask for mota, thick besan) – 250g
Desi Ghee – 150g
Powdered sugar – 200g (can vary to taste)
Cardamom powder – 2 tsp
Assorted dry fruits – 100g, finely chopped

We heated a kadai and poured the ghee into it. Once the ghee became warm, we put the entire besan and started stirring on low flame.

Tip: Patience is the key to getting the color and consistency right. Mr. Hubby and I stirred the besan alternately as it was getting painful and boring for one person to do it all alone.

After some time, the aroma of besan being cooked reach papa in law in the living room and before I knew, he was asking us when would the laddoos be ready as he was super tempted to eat them. “These are for Prasad papa, no laddoo before evening”, I announced as a helpless papa said “Oh…kay”.

It took us almost 20 minutes of constant stirring on low flame to get the colour right. The smell was more intense now and any more heat now would have made the mixture overdone.

We removed the mixture from fire and even though the smell enticed us to gobble up the mixture there and then, the Puja factor got us some patience. We waited for the mixture to cool a bit and slowly added the powdered sugar, mixing vigorously with hands. Mr. Hubby was hesitant initially but after he saw me enjoying mixing like a halwai, he too pitched in.

Along with the sugar came powdered cardamom and assorted dry fruits. The mixture was still warm when we made it into 12 small balls and kept aside.

Once cooled, the laddoos were all set to pamper Ganeshji and Lakshmiji.

Even though God might not speak explicitly, he loves the little gestures we do to show how much we love him. The laddoos were such a hit that Mr. Hubby and papa in law finished the entire dozen in few minutes (they would go to the kitchen at the pretext of having water and gobbled the entire lot, after the puja of course)…I really didn't know whether to frown or laugh as they looked at me like naughty kids trying to conceal a mischief!

Here’s the Traditional Diwali Menu for the evening -
Pethe ki sabzi
Aloo tamatar ki subzi
Besan Laddoos
Cost of the meal - Sunday afternoon siesta sacrificed
Look on the faces of my loved ones - priceless...

Just like our dear Lord Ganesh…I too love Laddooos. You can read my blog about the best places to have laddoos in Delhi here…do visit and feel free to add to the list!

Bon Appetit!

Happy Diwali!