The Taxi ride.

The husband had a school reunion – which in my priorities of life is way up there, somewhere way above back seat driving and just a notch below spending an evening drinking with good buddies.

We left home together, I took a cab from  half the way to meet our friends, and he was to join later.

We stopped our car, next to a taxi driver. He was staring ahead. And he was rocking himself mumbling something.That itself should have deterred me! Nevertheless he agreed to go to our destination and I got into the cab.

Oh! Man. The man was a certified maniac. He drove of at top speed and screeched to a halt at the next signal. Then he tried to weave his way between three cars. Yes!! Truly! I’m not joking. He was hallucinatory – because he kept thinking he was driving not a car but a road racer cycle with wheels no broader that 5 mm. He kept backing up and trying to squeeze his car in between whatever he could squeeze it between, cycles,car, hawkers, bus, ambulance, the wind!

At one point he over took three cars, not one after the other but all at the same time. They were all driving next to each other, keeping to their lanes. “This wont do!” he thought, and with a surge of adrenalin, he vigorously  changed the gear of his car, and took off, over taking all three cars, till I realised I am on the other side of the road,  – the wrong side. I screamed and lamented, but the bizarre man, just shrugged it off saying there were no cars on the other side and its ok to use that road. Thats when I started reciting the Hanuman Chalisa.

After many such sudden rocket launching type take offs, and race car type skidding halts, we reached the bottom of Malabar Hill. Now Malabar Hill, is actually a small hill. Not like those fancy streets named Brooks Hill, where you see neither a brook nor a hill!

The climb is pretty steep. When I directed him to take the left to the top of the hill, he just paused at the bottom of the hill. Seeing his hesitation, I asked him if his car will make it. In answer he grunted, rocked back and front twice, took a deep breath, and launched his car. In his mind he roared “Jai Bajrang Bali, aaj to tu dikha de isko!!’ (Salutions Oh! Monkey God,  today you show this woman what I am capable of!)

He was hoping there would be no other car ahead of him, and that he could take off at the same gear without having to stop his car. Unfortunately, cars kept coming up ahead of him, and he had to keep halting. That man did not take his legs off the accelerator, and whenever he had to stop he would pull the the hand brake – with the same ferocity he used to change gears. His entire body would jerk with either action. As a result the tyres would keep spinning even when the car had halted. My prayers went up with even more fervour.

Finally when we reached the top of the hill, his car slowed down in direct proportion to his and my own heart beat. Two minutes later we stopped at our destination. I scuttled out of the car,and peered through the window and asked his final fare. With a weak voice and a giant pause,  he gave me the amount.

I went away happy to be in one piece. Just once I turned around to see what he was doing. He was slumped against the seat, rocking back and forth, very relieved to know – I am sure – that he did not have to push his car uphill.


Writing workshop – A letter to my dark side.

This is for a workshop, a bit of me, a bit of fantasy!



Write a letter to your shadow, your alter ego, your darker side, or the parts of you that you have repressed in favour of your more socially acceptable persona. Try to include the reasons why you disowned these parts (or characters) and propose a reconciliation.

Listen Witch,

I have left you many years ago! Why do you haunt me now? Why do you come back as a sniveling cranky hormonal laden bitch and make my day a harrowing hell? Why do you leave me in tears and make me take out my hormone induced shit on my loved ones. Why do those tears at that time feel Oh! So right? And why does the damn sense, that blasted common sense which used to be my constant companion, desert me in my hour of need, and then come waltzing in after I have had a crying fit. And then proceed to make me feel like what I am – A hormonal laden nut case, fit only for the mental asylum.

You idiot! Why do you expect from men, the kind of love and tlc you need? They are too busy cranking up their own testosterone to bother. You had become a nice independent human being. Why have you turned into a blood thirsty vampire?

Go back to work. Learn some meditation. Get a life. Damn it – get another man for all I care. Just let go!

Next time you get into a fit where you feel you just have to cry and find excuses to do so, do me a favour and walk away. Take a stroll, go hit your punching bag, go take a dump. Just get out. Deep breaths, deep resonating breaths, deep ultra fulfilling breaths. That will help. Men wont. Your dogs might!

But seriously, this shit you throw around, only you can understand. This urgent need to cry, this urgent need for a hug. And of course you are too egoistic to ask for it.

Get a grip on yourself. And if you cannot – lock your self in your room and take it out on yourself. Look at yourself in the mirror and give yourself a good round of shouting at! No point doing that to anyone else. They wont understand. You know yourself that you have lost a few good friends, who you thought were menopausal raving savages. Do you want to be one of those??

I’m warning you – you had stayed away. I had pushed you away – those many years ago! Damn it I will do it once more.

The Focaccia Bread – Boob Test.

Faint hearted readers refrain.

After my Mammo last week, I have decided to invent a machine — The penis-o-gram. O! Ye women – who have suffered this not so subtle torture, we shall lead a victory dance to all male toilets, grab them and make them go through this very vital test! C’mon – we are as concerned with the health of their precious gems as they are of ours. Right?

Bloody holy hell! Only a man could have invented this mechanism of torment! Some chap called Andre Willemin. I read up on his history – life and death. He was served justice! He died of a severely decapitated and crushed penis injuries!

Have you seen a Focaccia bread?? That’s what they do to your boobs!

Sonography in itself is torturous. A full – and by full I mean bloody full bladder is needed. Then they strip you waist down, and apply cold gel all over your uterus! That doesn’t really help the urgent need to pee! Then they press a mouse like machine all over your uterus, but what they are actually doing is punching your bladder. Slowly, deliberately they press those very points, which can embarrass you right there and then! They keep punching keys in the machine and peering at it. As it is – its a test to check the health of your very precious baby producer – and you are just a wee bit nervous. And then there is the completely beaten up bladder, which you are controlling with military discipline, and on top of all this the technician hems and haws over the computer. One starts with wanting a woman to do such precarious job for you, but after a while you cannot be bothered. A dinosaur could be peering up your uterus it doesn’t matter. All that is in the site of your vision is a commode and some toilet paper!

One step further – no many many miles further is the Mammogram. Wrong word actually. Nothing mammo is left after the gram! All those mammary glands, made to feed the babies, are destroyed. Crushed! Hopelessly annihilated.

Obviously you are striped down, and asked to wear a smelly dirty hospital gown. (They can keep saying it is washed – it could be – but when? – is the question!) After this one looses all semblance of dignity!

One boob is lifted up and placed on a machine. You could be 7 feet tall, but the machine will always be a few inches higher than you – you have to stand on tip toes. Subtle torture has begun!

The poor unsuspecting, ill fated, boob is then placed on a shelf like thingy. The woman does thousands of adjustments. She cops a few good feels! Your hands are practically placed and stretched at angles and distances, you did not know you could manage. At that point you feel you have mastered Iyengar Yoga! After the stretching and pulling, she commands “stay still”, and slams another lever on top of your boobs – and victoriously turns the screws of yet another lever – till you have FOCACCIA Bread Boobs.

“Don’t move” she says again. Oh! but you want to! You want to pull your super stretched, immobile hand and slam her face with all your strength. You want to yell and curse!

And repeat with the second one. By now the second one knows its fate and completely shrinks. “Wow!” says the technician. I get to throw this one around a little more!

Once you are let off the machine, run. Barefeet, bare breasted but run!

I’m inventing that machine ladies. All technical minds are welcome. Women who know martial arts are required too.

I have already been funded – by all the women whom I instigated to do this test! Please know I just followed the Doctor’s orders. This suggestion was made before I went through it myself. I apologize!






Periods is a Man!

This is a dialogue between a woman (me) and her periods. The period is a man.

Well – of course he is!! Would a woman invent such a thing, and then put another of her brethren through this kind of bullshit, over and over again? Month after “bloody” month?


Personality – Agressive, Brash, Unpredictable, Impulsive, Impetuous, Rash, Hasty and Downright Inconsiderate.

Characteristics – Mischievous, Badly behaved, Irksome, Nocuous, Sly, Exasperating, and an Unholy Terror.

Period, in this dialogue will henceforth be known as P. P as in Pain in the butt. (or stomach, or vagina, or boobs!)

I (and the thousands other fellow sufferers) will be known as MW – Miserable Woman.

The door bell rings. MW is expecting no one, so she is surprised. And then shocked –  to see, P standing there.

MW: Whaaaa? You were supposed to arrive a few days later?

And MW tries to close the door on P. But once P arrives, P has to come in, and remain as a damned unwanted guest in your house for the next few horrible days. Nothing can stop P from taking residence whenever he so pleases.

P is comfortably snuggled in the sofa, and MW is having a crying fit.

P: Why are you crying?

MW: (Between heartbreaking sobs) I wanted to go swimming with my husband this evening. Now you have ruined it. And the husband will finally give up on me, eye that hot blonde (fake one) in the pool, loose interest in me, and when I have gone to the loo, (thanks to you – asshole), he will take her number and get in touch. And then have an affair. Oh! God ! What if he leaves me for her?? I don’t think he will – but …

At this point P has sighed 80 times, rolled his eyes 100 times and now looks like he is ready to turn around and sleep -(remember he is a man!) The only way he can stop this is by throwing a cramp at MW.

MW stops mid triad and collapse into an uncomfortable mind numbing painful ache. More sobbing ensues.

Tired, exasperated MW goes through the chores of the day, with a hungover look on her face.

Just a few days before P made his appearance her breasts were feeling like rocks, and each time one of the kids hugged her, she felt they were mountain climbing on her.

Her body was bloated, stomach heavy, and hunger pangs at their meanest best. Chocolates were gobbled up and immediately after they were swallowed, guilt would strike. And with that – out would come the sarcastic mean bitch living inside MW. The one who made an appearance once a month without fail. Like a ghost with an agenda.

Once P arrived (ill timed as always) the bloating disappeared. All that remained was the mean bitch.

But next day MW is feeling remarkably better. The world looks like a happy place. Till she went to the loo! All hell broke loose then! Figuratively speaking!

P: Well hi! Good morning!

MW: Good morning my ass! (Gutter mouth is a side effect of P’s arrival!)

P: Now is that any way to greet a friend who makes it a point to visit you every month? I mean who could be more faithful?

MW: You are never welcome, you know! I hate you.

P: Not true. Remember the other day, when I arrived on time, but you thought I was 3 days late? (naughty girl!) You welcomed me like I was that puppy you always wanted? And you sent up fervent prayers of thanks to the MAN that made me?

MW: (Sheepishly agrees) True. And I will remain ever grateful to your arrivals. But why are you so ill timed? And why such grand entrances. That once, three months ago was so embarrassing. Why can you not give me a warning?

P: Darling – I do! Sometimes you are too busy to see it!

MW: (Thinking — Yeah ! True! Why do I forget that! Empty mind and all that ..)

MW: When do you think you will leave forever? Huh? I have had you visiting me since I was 12. Don’t you think you need to diversify and move on? I have been feeling you getting milder, your arrivals more inconsistent for a while now. But the problems associated with you will never fade. I don’t know how much longer I can handle you!

P: Darling – (MW hates being called that by P, and P knows it) I’m not going anywhere in the longest! You will have an ultra dry vagina, a mean streak which will hit record levels, even for you…

MW is now abusing copiously.

P:(Continues, least concerned about gutter mouth) Missed dates which will give you high BP, food cravings, the smell of which will make you fat, grey hair, dry itchy skin, and mild alcoholism!

MW: (The last few words, put a sudden 100 watt smile on MW’s face) Now that perks me up. You fuck with me as much as you like P. I know how to deal with you.

MW went to her bar. Poured her self a chilled crisp glass of wine, started a chick flick – and in the back ground P faded away, till he could not be felt anymore.







Skill Sets.

I have recently taken up food photography. I read about it. Studied it. I admit to being a bookworm.

The first time I picked up this badly designed instrument from hell, I was looking at it like it’s the inside of blue blooded alien with lemons as eyes. I was turning it around, looking at it and looking like a fool. Had anyone clicked a picture (irony!!) I would have been mistaken as a returnee from the loony bin! I mean, why does a small focal point have a big number? Why play around with the universe? It can strike you down, you know?

So I’m still learning, still struggling and still wondering why tongue – twisting words like shutter speed (say it fast – see what happens!) exist.

I’m on my – so to speak – bucket list. Last year and the year before that I took up DJing (I’ll look up the dictionary. I’m sure it’s a real word). I was the only “aunty” in the group. Till such time I threatened to wash their mouths with Dettol. Then they started calling me Appu. It’s a cool thing I’m doing right? So lets be cool –Call me Appu.

So Appu started learning how to DJ. The kids in my group, picked up really fast. They knew the music, they knew the beats and their young ears accurately picked up the tempo. I only picked up the lingo.

But since it was a childhood dream, I learnt it, through hard work and, a lot of cheating. Let me tell you – I am in love with the person who came up with a digital software for music. It makes all those nuances I missed out, very easy to follow. Now I wow my friends and make a “cool” parent.

I still cheat.

Next I want to take up drumming. This time I am sure I will be the only female in the group. I can just imagine the scene. Ten men, all ducking and running for cover because I tried whirling the drumsticks and its now flying all over the place, threatening to lodge itself into someone’s eye.

I should have studied all this when I was younger. Skills learnt at a younger age is something learnt forever. The photography would be as automatic as brushing my teeth,(though my dentist says I don’t do a good job there), and Djing would feel as comfortable as the commode I pee in. I would have been alternating my happening party nights drumming and playing gigs on the DJ console.

All ye kids, kind enough read my blog, go out there and learn a set of skills a year. Trust me – especially the complicated stuff like cameras. It’s easier for you to believe in an alternate universe.



Our side business.

The secret is out and I am busted. Well it had to happen someday. It was only a matter of time.

It was those empty bottles I kept asking for, from friends and family. Empty alcohol bottles. They were for decoration purposes. You know? When you can get the top cut off, and add some jazz and make it into a candle stand? With a little more innovation they can also hang off branches and parapets! Well, I did use them for that too. I had to – time and again, to keep up appearances. People attended those parties and did the compulsory “Aaah and Oohh” when they saw the decoration, so I thought I am safe. I even sent off legitimate Instagram pictures for the world to see. Up until that fateful day, when RB caught on to it. And I was busted. It’s true that, only he knows the actual use of those bottles. But once two people know something, its no longer a secret.

It started quite unexpectedly. Our coast was hit by a sand storm, and as the sand swirled, then rose and fell, I took a long walk, alone on the beach. It was empty, as most people don’t like sand in their eyes. But I am an old pro. I have survived many such storms, and know how to walk without getting sand in them eyes. We had camels on the beach in my childhood days. I have learnt a lot from them. It comes in handy now and again.

I heard someone approach me. Since I had 2 dogs with me, I was not worried. But lets face it, strolling in a mild sand filled hurricane, using a specialized walking technique of avoiding sand in the eyes – how many people can do it? Not many, and I knew almost all who could. It was an old friend, one who could, even play football, in such conditions. Our local boys are not the mild variety. Football presides over everything, even earning a living, so what’s a sand storm?

Soon we were walking side by side and he came up with a business proposition. Now had he asked me any other time, I would have run home and become a goody goody girl and gone all judgmental about him and his gang. But I was wired up that day, (so the walk in a sand storm!) and feeling very rebellious. In these kinds of moods I should be locked up with only bread and water, because I make very impulsive and stubborn decisions. The idea was extremely dangerous, and it would make me an immediate rogue. I loved it. After he left I sat down, in the now falling rain, and imagined rough seas, illicit pirates and shady whispers. How perfect!

It had to be done in a very clandestine manner. Every 3rd Monday, (There was a researched logic to it. The beach has few late night revelers and the cops normally take a breather. And – the empty bottle collection would get quite topped up) I would sit on my deck. Around 1 am, far into the sea, I would see a light swaying rhythmically. Eight times right and left. If it was a red light, the show was a go. My contact had a great network of spies, so on rare occasions when the light was its original yellow, the mission would be aborted immediately and all traces of our meetings were instantly scrubbed away.

When I would see the red light, I would send back a signal. My room lights going on and off, 4 times. In the next five minutes, the husband and me would be on the beach with our trawler. It was customized to move smoothly in the sand. Within 10 minutes money and barrel loads of liquor were exchanged. 30 minutes later, the bottles were filled with amber colored aromatic alcohol, and given back to our contact.

45 minutes every 3rd Monday was filled with thrilling, surreptitious, unlawful activity.

And now my bootlegging days are over. All because of one smart aleck who thought he was FBI’s second in command. But hey! We cared for our clients. The bottles were used but sterilized. We always, always, refilled them with good quality alcohol. It never had boot polish!! We ourselves served them once in a while, in bigger gatherings. It hit faster and gave a wonderful euphoric feeling. And lastly and more importantly gave us good money along with the thrills.

All in all, it was good going, till our racket went kaput. Now I will actually have to use all those empty bottles for decoration.







There is this hotel, near my house. When you drive up to the lobby, the car vibrates terribly, because the road is made that way. The tires grate on the driveway and make terrible sounds. It instantly makes me feel as if I am on a dentist’s chair, and my teeth are being ground with some offensive drill. As it is, I am not too fond of this hotel, and then to arrive to it as if I have just visited a dentist – not happening!!

sets the "teeth" on edge.
sets the “teeth” on edge.

Sometime back, I was called to cater to an opening. I went to meet the client, and when I heard she is a dentist, I shuddered. She saw it and said, with great dignity, “We are fairly painless now, you know”. I catered, but I could not congratulate her!

So they say!!!
So they say!!!

As a kid, mom took us to a “Pediatric Dentist”. Pediatric – my foot. She was the spawn of an evil witch, destined to be more evil than her mother. She had a shrieky voice, rough hands and absolutely no dentist – chair – side, manners. She probed and scraped in wild glee, and kids were not allowed to show their disapproval. I think – no I am sure she did not like kids – that’s why she became their dentist. Easy prey for torture techniques! She had a very, very sweet assistant, and I would always ask for her. One day she was gone. Apparently, one was not supposed to be nice to kids! The day, she had my sister unconscious under general anesthesia, was the day I complained to my dad. And that was the end of our visits to her. I don’t know if she still exists. I am sure, her torture drove one of her patients, to grow up, and kill her. Even now, when I pass the building, which housed her clinic, every hair on my body stands up.

She practiced war moves on us kids!
She practiced war moves on us kids!

Then, mom decided, I needed braces. Which I must have, as I sucked my thumb, till an unmentionable age. I don’t remember the first dentist. But as the braces went in and he tightened the wires, I remember feeling so upset, that I pinched him. Hard! Then at some point the orthodontist changed. He must have been unable to bear the pinches. The second one was a sweet fellow, but he decided every six months, that I needed the braces, for six more months. Mom had stopped coming with me for visits, so, I one day told her he shut down his practice. Just like that. She believed me – perhaps for the last time, and changed the doctor. The third, was told categorically by me, that the braces have to come out. He was not a good doctor, or I must have snarled nastily, because he complied, and put me in retainers. I threw those out a few years ago, from the pile of memorabilia my mom handed to me recently.

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So you see, I have a valid – morbid fear of dentists. I am not an inherently empathetic person. Mostly, I would like to give a dithering, whining person a slap on the face, and ask them to snap out of it. But someone has to just mention an impending visit to the dentist, and I become all soggy inside. That person is my hero till the visit is done.

All this is revealing itself, because I had teeth extraction yesterday. Yup! Two, of them. Nasty it was. In the middle of the night, when I was trying to sleep, 12 hours after the surgery, the clot dislodged itself and my mouth was full of blood. I resembled a cross between a vampire and a werewolf – on a full moon night. After the husband and me leapt out of bed, and called the doctor, and all the blood dribbling down my face was cleaned up, I went into further panic, because the brushing of the teeth with good minty, mouth cleansing toothpaste was pushed further away.

Today morning, even the dog was not willing to meet me.


Anything for this kind of peaceful sleep!
Anything for this kind of peaceful sleep!

A while ago, someone questioningly pointed at the husband’s dark circle, and in answer he scowled and pointed at me. It was a very deep and profound statement, delivered with out a single word being said.

He has been having sleepless nights –  Because I snore. Loudly.

I remember a weekend out with my grand mom and grand dad. I must have been thirteen years old. Just before we were retiring to bed, grand dad called me out and took me in a corner, and whispered conspiringly, “ If you feel you are hearing a steam engine at night, don’t get scared. It will only be your grand mom snoring.” I remember snorting with laughter, till I fell asleep.

It’s that same sound that jolted me out of bed one night. It was a fearsome growl mixed with deep sonorous snores. Nothing soft and gentle about it.

The first time I heard myself, I woke up and jumped out of bed, with my eyes still squelched shut. I was looking around for an intruder, my mind running all the moves of kick boxing, that I had ever learnt. The husband, who was obviously awake, said “Come back to bed. There is no one else in this room. No one will dare enter. You were snoring and sounding like a wounded lion.” And he went back to sleep, before I could start snoring again. I was wounded too and really worried, because I was getting these terrible bad vibes of being thrown out of the room. Which was okay by me, except the bed in the other room was not very comfortable.

Snoring is not the only thing I inherited from my grand mom. I inherited her dark circles too. Most days my eyes look like I have been socked a good one. My nights go something like this – “ I am snoring? Oh! Good Lord! That’s for oldies. I am not that old. Oh! Boy! I better loose some weight before I turn 40. It will be really difficult to after wards. No wonder those jeans don’t fit me. Should I buy new ones till I loose weight, or hang on to these. Hang? Hell! I forgot to hang the kid’s uniform in his room. He’s going to charge around. ……. “. And so on and so forth. The mind is running all over the place when awake and making the oddest dreams when asleep. So – of course I have dark circles!

Something had to be done about the snoring, My friend swore, that her husband’s snoring almost disappeared after he started doing yoga. So I started too. Except the teacher loved to talk. Incessantly. And all about how great he has become after he started yoga. It took all my newly found yogic calm, to not assume kick boxing positions, in lieu of yogic positions.

I have learnt what I need for my snoring. It has definately helped. Now I’m trying to get hold of my dog Oreo. He sounds like my co-wounded lion, when he sleeps. And he sleeps practically the whole day and chases rats the full night. I’m trying to teach him yoga. The bugger keeps running away. And just as well, because he looks at me judgementaly, like I have lost some of the brains on the floor, while doing the inverse yoga moves.

Dead to the world, snoring Oreo.
Dead to the world, snoring Oreo.



My kids and other animals.

Many years ago we lived in a small cottage. My family on the ground floor, and a big fat snooty woman, her arrogant husband and their nice children, on the 1st floor. Opposite building had, assorted kids of assorted ages and dispositions. A mad gardener who had pyromania, a piano teacher, assorted movie personalities, and a few undescribable human beings.

I wanted my kids to learn some of the same elements of wildness, that I had, and, which had turned clumps of my mother’s hair startling white. So the kids raced around barefoot and ate with dirty hands, climbed trees, cycled at dangerous speeds, rummaged in the overgrown garden and of course lived with assorted animals.

We had one dog, and another walked in our garden leaving his siblings with their mother. He was all furry and cute and was promptly adopted. The lady upstairs had cats – lots of them. They slunk around all over the place, hissed at my dogs and drove them batty. So much so that when my daughter went up to play with her kids, one of my dogs kept guard, giving her warning barks- telling her not to get too friendly with the cats. We kept fish, but they ate each other up. Many other dogs ran amok in the compound and my dogs would take off randomly, to the beach. We had direct access to the beach, which was also an invitation for more wild dogs.

One day the kids ran in, highly excited. There was a gaggle of them kids. (I felt so proud looking at my dirty haired, filthy nailed, muddy faced kids..!!) In her tiny hands, my daughter had a small baby parrot, looking all disoriented and bewildered. We immediately fashioned a large basket, tied up at four ends, looped up the rope and hung it high on our, open-to-sky balcony. We were reluctant to close the bird in a cage. It was a fledgling, could barely fly, and we all feel in love.

Nippy (for he loved to nip at my gold earrings) soon grew, as did the blood lust of my younger dog, Teddy.  When we realised he could fly, but could not stay up for too long, we had to put him in a cage.

For flying practice, Nippy was taken to our closed living room and left to experiment. He would flutter, rise to the ceiling, try to sit on the fan (switched off obviously) and then land on my shoulder, climb up my neck and nip my earrings. We were both in love with each other.

Soon Nippy was desperate to fly all the time. We all wanted Nippy to be one with the wild, and so we started leaving the cage door open. Until one day I saw something, which had my heart beating in my mouth, and my knees as weak as a limp cucumber. Nippy would step out of his cage and stand on the door, giving the skies a good, once over. Teddy would place himself strategically right under the door of his cage. He would smack his lips and then hang his jaw open.  Just hoping that the bird would fall into it. At this point Teddy made direct eye contact with the bird. Open mouthed and slack jawed I moved closer and saw the little bird’s heart beating wildly in panic. His little beasts were moving as rapidly as a flag in high winds. I promptly shooed the dog away to the other side of the house and had him kept with the watchman. I had nightmares of waking up one day, and seeing small birdy feathers and a few bones on my balcony, and Teddy sitting in a corner and looking like – well like – a dog, who has swallowed a bird.

Teddy - at age 13. Connoisseur of birds and rats.
Teddy – at age 13. Connoisseur of birds and rats.

One day Nippy was gone. I admit I looked hard at Teddy, opened his jaw and checked, and all that, but apparently, Nippy had flown his (makeshift) nest! Teddy was bereft for days.

We have since shifted, kids have grown, so have the dogs, but I still look for Nippy across the skies when I hear parrots every morning. Teddy of course had plenty of wild dreams, when he would smack his lips and paw the air, thinking he had killed that damn unreachable bird.

The gaggle of them kids, have grown. Some become film heroines, some doctors, and my kids still have fond memories of those wild days.


RTO – Rotten Traffic Officers.

The biggest mistake I have ever made was to loose my license. No – Actually it was not making a copy of my license.

And because I had lost my license, and of course the RTO did not have records of the 5000 odd licenses they make per day, I had to apply for a new one. It’s online now – By The Way. For all ye people who looked at me with pity, and said “You had to go to the RTO? Why? I sat at home and it was sent to me” Yeah! Lucky you! But I had to go for it! Tsk!!

Online dates were not available, so I decided to do it the old fashioned way! Through an agent – which was a driving school. When I signed up, I was given a badly printed-paper with road signs and laws and bi laws and side laws and the works. On the day of the test I went through it with a smug smile, thinking – ‘what the heck, its all common sense.

Needless to say it wasn’t as easy as, just going to the RTO and filing the paper and sitting for the tests. I was told my date was for the day before and I would have to go to an officer (who would definitely be a stern fat man, sitting in an air conditioned room with few more fat sweaty people running around trying to please him). I was told to say I was unwell on the scheduled day and could not make it and to please allow me to do it today. All bloody lies. I was hale and hearty and drinking beer.

After this I told the man that I was doing no more favors for him. Either he does this dirty work or I move on. At one point he said he was obliging me –(Obliging me?? Him?? I was paying HIM money! I was funding his next paan, cigarette and drink!) It’s at that time that I threw the papers on the ground and stalked off. (And had to explain later, why my important documents, had shoe prints on them.) Needless to say he came running behind me, saying he was only a mere sub agent, not in his hands and all the regular blah blah!

Now the RTO looks very, very impressive- the new one In Andheri. One cannot see it, from the main road, because all roads to the RTO are closed off. How do we get in? Through a by lane, with an illegal entry via a non-existent U turn. Yes – This leads to the RTO!!! I was roaring with ironical laughter.

Once you get in, it’s the same old office most of us have been to. Sweaty people holding thin grainy papers in their hand, milling around, agents shadily standing in corners, tobacco stained betel juice coloring the “DO NOT SPIT” signs, and office windows with clerks permanently on lunch break.

The learners license test was done, and I passed!! Of course it was all common sense, because nothing, which was shown in the printed-paper, by the agent, was asked in the test!

On the day of the driving test 30 days post the learner’s test, the agent came to us, very surreptitiously and asked us to go the adjoining plot, to give the driving test. Why was he whispering, and looking around shiftily like a drug dealer, I will never know. But I must say I was intrigued! Maybe the local Don had just given a test too? Like I said – “Everyone” now has to give a test!! (SMUG SMILE)

The “test” plot was a death trap! It was a huge ground. Dogs were running around and chasing – Goats! The “Test” road was a huge stretch of quick sand! There, exists (hopefully it hasn’t fallen since the week before) a tin roof shed, the size of a single bed! Approximately 50 people were standing underneath it. (Bombay lends its own laws of mathematics). This shed was next to a stinking toilet, very thought fully displayed as GENTS and the other one as LADEEZ. I heard somebody saying there is no water in the toilet. Which made me laugh again – at the irony behind it all. For – it was pelting with rain, and broken buckets were installed under the shed to catch the leaks and they were over flowing. Discarded tires were filled with rainwater, and old discarded bottles were swimming in the muck, but no water in the toilet!!

I was finally giving the test. Ladeez first you see! It thankfully wasn’t in the quick sand road. I was told to reverse. I put the car in gear and was about to reverse, when the instructor(?) says, don’t press the accelerator! The car was stinking and all I was thinking of was boiling my hands sterile, so I just did what he said. After a few feet, I was told to move ahead and stay on the left. Again changed the gear and without pressing the accelerator, I moved ahead. Before I could brake, the clutch slammed down, the car braked and I was told to get out! I had passed!!!!!! I really cannot say what I felt, because I was numb from the experience. I don’t think I will quickly get into road rage again, its not the fault of the drivers on the road, because as long as you know which gear is what, thou shall be passed.

I am waiting for the license to arrive by post. This time I shall be keeping the copy with my jewelry in the safe deposit box.