The weirdos, the damaged souls, the loners, the silent


More often than not,

the weirdos are better than normal people
happy in their own company
with larger hearts and more tolerance
and no desire to hurt another being

the damaged souls are better than the intact ones
they have been to hell and pulled themselves back
having weathered the worst of storms
theirs are the truly victorious spirits

the loners are better than social animals
selectively social, avoiding the drama, the cosmetics
when they talk, you know the words are genuine
and nothing is at a superficial level

the silent, quiet types are better than the talkative, loud types
secure in their own self, knowing their own worth
they don’t need the theatrics or the support of noise
and still waters do run deep

May god bless the weirdos, the damaged souls, the loners,the silent
They are, more often than not, the bravest souls
They are the dreamers, the imaginators, the generous souls

© Sapna, 13th Jan 2018


The unfurling of a house into a home


It has been one week since we moved into our new house. The impersonal looking walls have started to look somewhat familiar now. As we put up freshly painted, mint colored shelves on the walls of the children’s play room, I visualize various stuffed toys sitting upon them. This corner for my younger daughter’s pretty study table and that wall for their books and stationary. Also, a vision of yet-to-be-stitched blue curtains, that had been printed bespoke for us in Jaipur, appears in front of my eyes. And the playroom is already full of colors in my imagination.

As I step into the master bedroom, the view from the wide windows makes me happy. There is lush greenery of a small forest beyond the boundary wall of the spacious backyard, to behold. The house whispers in my ear that it has already seen me and my better half enjoying bed in breakfast here. It has felt my joy at witnessing the sunshine peeking through the window panes, flooding the room with it’s winter warmness.

Look, there’s my garden area. We have carved out a meandering gravel pathway leading to the garden swing. In a few days, I will plant flowers on either side of this pathway. The flowers will cheerfully lead the way to our garden swing. Our beloved swing. To me, it looks lovely and inviting, with little hanging baskets on it’s sides, starting to fill with colorful petunias. It has already invited us a few times and we have enjoyed a cuppa or two, smiling at it, appreciating the hospitality. A little to the side is the newly built rockery, which is yet to be beautified, but does have little pots with plants adorning it. Next to it is the newly dug lotus pond. A long cherished dream, which is finally a reality. Soon it will have beautiful lotus flowers floating on it’s surface like a glittering crown. The various white trellises made of bamboo have been put up on the walls and they are waiting for pretty plants in pots or baskets to give them company. The Champa, Gulmohar, Kaner, ,Chandni, Hibiscus and Lemon saplings that we have planted in the garden and the backyard are sprouting leaves, giving their word to us that they will be young trees one day and will bear flowers and fruits. The Rangoon creeper/Madhu malti vine has already entwined itself around the wooden arch built on top of the front gate. I hope I am here when the beautiful flowers appear and surround the gate like it’s crowning glory.

The front veranda looks like a happy place, with hanging baskets full of vibrant petunia flowers and a few other plants. The two big trays of rose shrubs are about to be filled with small white roses as the buds are about to unfurl. The potted Frangipani plant that was my prized possession, has now been shifted from the pot to the ground, near the entrance. Soon, it will start gracing us with flowers. I am eagerly waiting for that day, as it is among my favorite trees.

Dear house, you are unfurling yourself bit by bit, and metamorphosizing into a home. A home for two starry eyed children and two slightly elder, but equally hungry for joy, kids. Two slightly elder children who are basking in your unfurling glory and wonder. It will be any moment now when you will turn into “Our Home”. We are waiting, and relishing your unfurling.

© Sapna, 21st Oct 2017

Unpacking once again- for the eleventh time in thirteen and a half years


moving house

Yes, it’s happening once again. The packing up of our home and then unpacking it again in a new house. One would think that after doing it so many times, it would have become easy and breezy. But it hasn’t. Not one bit.

Eleven is a big number when it comes to moving houses. To be more precise, I have included the guest rooms/ temporary accommodations too. But even if one stays in a place for just two months, one still unpacks stuff that is required, to live comfortably. You unpack bit by bit. A formal party today, so you unpack your sarees and the kids’ fancy clothes. An informal dinner tomorrow, so you unpack your regular clothes. The kids start school the day after, so you unpack their bags, books, stationary and the whole jingbang. The husband’s uniforms need a separate almirah and hey, without you realising it, your household is bursting out of the guest rooms! So, the guest rooms are mini homes too. Hence, their inclusion in the “eleven”.

Tonight is our third night in the new house. A house coveted by many, as it is in the new  “Map” colony. “Map”, meaning new army houses with a relatively modern plan as opposed to the familiar colonial type of houses. I should have been jubilant. After all, the house took it’s time in reaching us. One and a half years, to be precise. But, I am tired. Tired, as in, big time TIRED. We had a very, very and very important function in the station, that went on for three days. But the preparations started almost four months back. And how! It was an event of gigantic importance and size. Hence the preparations and efforts too were of the same proportions. Let me stop right here. before I steer my musings in another direction. This story is for another time and day. So, the event got over, and the very next day, the “moving” commenced. Whew! No time for a breather.

We are moving and shifting all the belongings, trying to visualize a perfect space in the house for them and then reflecting; sometimes shuffling them around again.This chair fits well here, that painting looks nice over there; and so on. Today, I completed the toughest task of all; arranging my clothes in the cupboards that I have assigned for them. Now, this task is my nemesis. I tackle the kids’clothes like a pro and keep downsizing, rearranging, replacing regularly. The same goes for the rest of the home too. I am not a slacker in the home department at all. BUT, I balk at the very prospect of tidying up my own wardrobes. Ok, I admit, they are overflowing with their contents, i.e. my clothes. But I am a girl, ain’t I? The over indulgence is excused. So, I started the task by downsizing and gave away some old and outgrown clothes to my house help. But like all the other times, this time too, I held on to those few pieces. An embroidered skirt that my parents bought for me from Delhi. I wore it quite frequently during my early teens and my mother used to like it a lot. She would always say “You must keep it for your children”. I looked at the skirt, remembered my mother and kept it in the recesses of the wardrobe. Next, a few dresses) that I sadly don’t fit into any more. I plan to give them to my niece or to my daughters. And so on. I had been telling my husband that I need some moral support for this task of mine. But he has been too darn busy lately; so I kept putting it off , and finally ended up doing it all by myself. ALL BY MYSELF! Hey, is that a smirk on your face? Now don’t you start going all judgemental on me. I have explained myself well and truly in the sentences above these. We all have our idiosyncracies, don’t we?

The hubby came back from office and I announced triumphantly to him, “I have done it!” He knew what I meant by “it” and said “Shabbash!” Finally, it’s over. My wardrobe had been the monkey on my back for months now and now the little pest is off to other greener pastures. For a few months at least.

I am trying to gather my strength and resolve for tomorrow, when I mean to tackle all the “teeny weenies”. The little bits and pieces that are strewn around the house right now and are asking me in unison , ” Lady, where do we go? “. So, this lady will wake up tomorrow morning and after sending her children off to school, she will roll up her sleeves and find some respectable places for the teeny weenies. Wish her luck, will you? Good night, you lucky ones “who are not moving house”!

© Sapna, 15th Oct 2017

Karwa chauth 2017. The year I gave up on fasting



I got married in 2004 , but started celebrating Karwachauth only two years later. I did attempt to observe the fast and indeed stayed hungry till the evening ( both the times ), but gave up on the idea after the evening. Both the times , I was away from home, in a strange setup, and couldn’t really follow it through. The third time, though, I could finally “complete” the fast as my husband insisted on us observing it! Serving in a field area, and perhaps feeling the pangs of separation, it was he who reminded me that Karwachauth was approaching. ( He, who had once forced me to eat when I attempted to fast on a Thursday) . I was expecting my first child and was at my parents’ place at that time. Fresh love, intensified by distance, made me declare valiantly to my mother “I will be fasting on Karwachauth this year!” Valiantly, because everyone in my family knew that hunger and I were not the best of friends. In fact, once, after being goaded by our family pandit for quite a few years, I gave in and started “fasting” on Thursdays; couldn’t last for more than a couple of months,though. Throughout the day, I would torture everyone around me , giving them “weakness” looks. After I had gorged on Besan laddoos, milk, sweetened paranthas at night, I would go through the food sections of various magazines and show my mother the delicacies that I wanted to eat the next day. Just dreaming about them made me survive the nights. So you get the drift? That I am not a “fasty” kind of a person.

Coming back to my first Karwachauth, the day saw me devouring milk and fruits through the hours. The circumstances helped, as I was an expectant mother and couldn’t possibly remain hungry. But my husband, he didn’t even have a drop of water the whole day! Surely, that’s the kind of love that inspires poetry ( He will kill me for writing this here). And now, after thirteen years of marriage; he comes back home from his office, eats his lunch, burps, and says “Hey, have you eaten? I didn’t see you eat.” Then, he looks at me innocently when I give him looks that could kill.

I am a garhwali, and garhwalis don’t celebrate Karwachauth. But my mother did, despite the fact that Dad hated her fasts as he believed that fasting had messed up with her health. Though even she would eat fruits and drink milk through the day. She would remind me every year to buy a Karwa, dress properly and perform the pooja in a proper manner. But for me, it was more a celebration than a ritual. I would dread her phone calls the entire day, because she would enquire whether I had read the katha and bought all the necessary items for the pooja. A confession here- I never read the katha , because once as a kid, when I had read it out to my mother, I had found it totally unbelievable.

So, my husband and I continued with our celebrations for a few more years as we were living together in a peace station. We either went to a restaurant or ordered in. Really, when I look back now, it seems to me that we were enjoying the special fasting food more than anything else. Then he went away on a field posting and my fasting became even more customized. I would quickly light a diya and pray, in t-shirt and pajamas; and would call out to my house help in a “weak” voice, to quickly provide some food and save me ( on the verge of dying of hunger). The hubby, bless him, would somehow manage to give a call from far flung mountains and together, we would “look” at the moon and eat. He was definitely better at fasting than me, no doubt about that.

Now, the Karwachauth of 2017 :-

Me: Karwachauth is approaching.
Hubby : But you have to take medicines. You are definitely not staying hungry.

Me : But it’s “our” celebration !
Hubby : We will definitely celebrate. We will eat poori, aloo and kheer at night.

Me : But how can we just stop fasting?
Hubby : “Fasting”, did you say? When did we do that? All I remember is the “Eating”.

Me : To tell you the truth, I was never convinced about the regressive idea behind the festival.
Hubby : But you have to touch my feet in reverence, you never did do that. That will make me believe that you look up to me.

Me : Only when you touch my feet too. I too, like being looked up to!
Husband : So, it’s decided then. We are not fasting. Bring on the Pooris!

And so, a chapter in our lives closed this year. We are officially “off” Karwachauth . But we still celebrated. We ate. We smiled and laughed. We pulled each other’s leg and teased each other. I know that he will fight the devil to bring me back from hell, if need be. And I will do the same for him. Hey! isn’t that the essence of the festival? Maybe we did observe the “fast” after all!

© Oct 2017 Sapna Dhyani Devrani