Friday, June 05, 2009

Environment Day!

Its World Environment day! Its a happy-sad feeling: happy because never before in the history of the world have so many people come forward and tried to save the planet. Sad, that we could bring the planet to a situation where it needs to be rescued.

Check out the words of the NDTV Green Anthem...

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A Summer to Remember

Walking beneath a canopy of magnificent magenta bougainvillea, a child-like excitement in our eyes. The flowers and leaves, once ruffled by the breeze, rearranging themselves carelessly, so oblivious of their beauty.

Watching a frisky elephant calf shower itself with mud and hay and then run aimlessly around its mother.

Counting the hairpin curves as we drove up the hill to Ooty, my son gaping at the Blue mountains and suddenly realizing why they were called the "Nilgiris"!

Taking a train ride from Ooty to Coonoor, sticking our necks outside the window; my daughter shrieking with delight as the cool crisp air hit her face.

Bright blue flowers that stood upright and almost seemed to stare back at us.

The monkey that crossed our path, looked askance at us and strangely looked so familiar!

Vibrant red Gulmohur trees in full bloom that almost took our breath away.

Gorgeously laid out buffets that tempted us time and again.

My strict parents who suddenly changed hats and became the most obedient grandparents.

A reunion with friends after a decade, laughter and girlish chatter as if nothing had changed.

Sleeping in "my" room again and the silent relief that I still knew which exact switch turned the reading light on.

This sure has been a Summer to remember......

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Bull at Oachira

A family wedding brought me and the kids to the little town of Oachira in Kerala. While the bride dazzled down the aisle and went in for the third change of sari, I was whisked away by some aunts to the “Parabrahma” temple nearby.

It’s the first time I have ever been asked to worship a tree. No idols, no stone temple structure…just a huge tree with branches that look much like the horns of a Bull. The priest explains that the Bull is worshipped here and I see many well fed decorated ones walk around majestically as people bow to them and touch their forehead.

Reminded me of my school history lessons where we had to trace the progress of early man. “Early man prayed to forces of nature.” I had written. “He prayed to the trees and thunder and rain because he didn’t understand them.” said my teacher.

How wrong she was! He prayed to them because he understood them…so well. There is nothing more beautiful than a resplendent, verdant tree over 100 years old, its leaves whispering a secret you cannot understand. There is nothing more beautiful than old drums playing in the distance as a Bull walks by with his eyes fixed on you but with no trace of menace. A man nearby sits on one side of a giant weighing scale and prays with eyes closed as dozens of bananas are placed on the other side until the balance lifts in the air and steadies itself. Chants go up in the air as his promise to the God has been fulfilled.

The atmosphere is almost surreal. It is so far removed from the reality that I live in yet I cannot help but marvel at the simplicity of it all. I look ridiculously out of place in my sequined georgette sari, nevertheless I kneel down and pray. I prayed that the energy and beauty of this place would never tarnish, and I prayed that more people would find God in a tree.

Friday, March 27, 2009


Its Earth Hour this Saturday, 28th of March 2009.

One hour where we simply turn off our lights to VOTE EARTH, a simple way of showing we dont stand for Climate change, that we are concerned and will do our bit.

I am planing to gather my friends and their families: grandparents, parents, children - Even the family dog! The only thing we need to do before we get together is turn off the power in our houses, completely.. .just for an hour: 8.30 to 9.30 pm. We are bringing our own candles, torches, lanterns, guitars to make the Earth Hour party memorable.

I know, I know....turning the power off for an hour wont solve the crisis. Its only symbolic. But so is Independence day and Diwali...and every other thing we celebrate! And besides it will be a fun thing to do, singing, playing games in the dark! Go ahead and organise your own Earth Hour party...its the most fun way of showing the planet you care!

Watch the Earth Hour Video:
Have Fun!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Everything's Amazing, Nobody's Happy!!

Nothing like humour to bring the message home. Do watch this video on YouTube...great laugh and a good way to start the day!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

God Only Knows....

Of all the phrases and attitudes that have been attributed to us Indians, be it the ‘chalta hai’, ‘Jugad kar le’ or “Swalpa adjust maadi”, the one I like best is “God only knows…”

Did you do your exams well?
God only knows….
Will your son get married this year?
God only knows....
So, you’re moving out of Pune this April?
God only knows...
Will the electricity come back on by evening?
God only knows...
Will your daughter get admission into this school?
God only knows...

Point to be noted that in all the above circumstances God has little or no influence in the matter.

But it’s comforting to think that someone up there is concerned about our trials however insignificant and KNOWS what is going to happen. If not me, at least someone knows the events that will unfold…it’s the uncertainty that is killing us. The ‘not knowing’ what’s going to happen.

Scientists say the world is in peril today. They say they KNOW that the ocean levels have risen, that animals are going extinct, and that the earth is getting warmer. It’s not Myth anymore. They KNOW…which means you and I now have to live in the light of this knowledge.

It’s tough to live with such truth, you say. It’s not easy, I agree. But it doesn’t have to be all grim.

In my experience, all the things that we have cherished and enjoyed we have always preserved. Whether its our first born’s baby photos, that first jersey we wore on our holiday abroad, photographs of grandmas home, our sons wedding invite, our childs first scribble on paper, grandpas last letter to us, the first video of our daughter walking, our first home, ........the list is endless.

So that’s the trick. In all this doomsday speak, don’t forget to enjoy the earth!! Let life be a celebration! Enjoy the fruit you eat and give thanks for it. Be grateful for the water, the rain, the heat and the breeze. Look at the sky every evening and marvel at the sunset. Walk in your lawn and say thank you to the grass. Say hello to the pigeons that visit your window sill. Laugh at that street dog that barks at every vehicle that drives into your road, as if he were protecting his own! In Summer, don’t curse the heat and wait for winter. In winter, don’t say you ache for sunshine.

It works like magic and I say this with experience. As you acknowledge these tiny miracles in your life, habits and attitudes automatically change. Human beings rarely hurt that which they love.

So is it true, is the earth really going to end?
God knows that you know the answer to this one.....

Friday, March 06, 2009


Calvin: I wonder if we can refuse to inherit the world.
Hobbes: I think if you are born, it’s too late.

For the past few years, I did not bother about government decisions on second language in schools, entrance tests for 3 year olds, or board exam regulations. Why? Because it didn’t matter. I was done with school and college and all this was not part of my reality.

Today I have vehement views on Marathi as a third language and am incensed that 2 year olds have to recite names of vegetables to gain admission into a crowded class of 60. Why? Because my kids are in the race now.

When did all this happen, I ask? Why didn’t somebody do something??
Answer: because Somebody did not care too. Somebody’s children had passed out of school long ago.

It is a harsh reality we all need to accept. The only legacy we will leave behind our children is our short sighted vision.

Unless the heap of garbage lies outside my window, unless the broken pipeline floods my street and the power cuts are in my neighbourhood, unless the footpaths are unpaved outside my building, unless the job cuts are in my industry or the terrorists kill my kin, only if the women molested are city dwellers like me, unless the water dries up in my well: I will not be moved into action.

What did our children do deserve us, I sometimes wonder? Is this all we have come to, after all those management degrees and seminars we have so proudly hosted and attended. Will our children only remember us for the movies and popcorn and restaurants that we took them to? Will they measure the success of our parenting in the number of toys, or computer games we bought them? Or birthday parties we hosted for them? Is being a ‘cool’ parent so divorced from being a responsible one?

Or is it that we don’t know what to do? Are we just clueless this time and don’t now how to admit it? Especially to our kids? Or is it pure laziness to take the first step.

I ask questions only in the hope that in the midst of all this, answers might emerge. I want to think well of our lot. I really do. But in all honesty, its getting difficult, wouldn’t you agree?

How else can we explain our silent joy at a million dollars being spent on acquiring simple rimmed glasses at an auction last night in New York, when not one of us has the audacity to bid for the vision the eyes behind those glasses had the ability to see.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Our Green Mantra Campaign

Green mantra is underway and has been greeted with an amazing response! A big thank you to all my creative and hard working students who gave in their best. Out T shirts, bags, calendars, bookmarks and jewelry sparked much interest and at the end of the day all the hard work was worth it.
Making the environment trendy and putting it on sale was the last thing on our agenda. But our idealism soon vanished once we realized that unless we create a BUZZ, nothing ever gets noticed. Let alone a humble grocery bag!!
I thank all my friends who came in for the event and greatly value their words of appreciation. We now embark on our “plastic-bag free” neighbourhood programme. Please feel free to write in with your ideas/suggestions and whether you would like to start a similar campaign for your neighborhood.
I am posting pictures of our t shirts, bags and other merchandise. If any of it interests you, please write in to

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


February is a wonderful month. That wonderful space between winter and spring when dawns are still subtle and the world seems half awake. I can feel the sense of expectation in the air. Any moment now she would awaken, open her half sleepy eyes and suddenly the ground around me would bloom into a myriad colours. Never before would a single tree sport these many shades of green. Like me, the birds will be joyous and sing their happiness.

I love these mornings. When you can look up at the half lit sky and breathe deeply seeing the sun emerge and a dull orange moon disappear in the distance. I marvel at the birds that flit past quickly yet silently, so mindful of our sleep. Today I will finally wrap up the quilts and store them away with enough naphthalene to last till December

This month makes me nostalgic. I remember sitting in the balcony of my Delhi home staring at the once barren trees suddenly come alive and shimmer in a lovely green. I would watch the fresh velvety leaves for hours. To me, this was a sign that the summer holidays were not far away. Even today, when I feel this sense of lightness in the air, when the morning rays gently part the curtains and I wake up to the pleasant whirring of the ceiling fan that did its job so dutifully through the night, I so badly want to be 10 yr old again. For a brief second, I feel like packing and setting off to hot and sultry Chennai where I spent 2 months of glorious summer vacations every year of my childhood.

Mud pies and hop skotch, the smell of curry leaves and mustard being poured on raw green mangoes as jars of pickles got made, hiding behind coconut and chiku trees, staring at chameleons that would sit at the window sill and change colour, helping the maid wash clothes near the well. I now realise how close to nature we were then.

Today I stand in my apartment window, perched high above the birds and trees on the 9th floor. I peer down at trees that look tiny and envy that solitary morning walker. I am thankful for the one pigeon that chooses to sit in my balcony if only for a fleeting second. I feel the same happiness, the sense of heady excitement and freedom - the kind you feel on the last day of your final school exam. I don’t have summer holidays anymore, no end-of-exams to look forward to, no more grandma’s home to go to and yet…

Monday, January 12, 2009

Need we say more?

If anyone had doubts on the effects of Global Warming, I think this picture says it all. Find more pics on

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Green Mantra

I have just come back after a refreshing trip to Matheran. Cannot ask for a “greener” start to the year than staying in a little town that allows no vehicles at all, not even a bicycle! That monkey in the picture, sat on the roof of our hotel for a good hour studying us closely with an expression that almost seemed to say "Humph! Humans!" and then as if to drown his sorrows he downed half a bottle of Pepsi left behind by a careless guest!!

Don't even get me started on plastic waste thrown around by tourists! I don't want to start the year complaining!

“When you pray, Move your feet” says the old African proverb, and time for action it is!

First up, please put on your creative hats and give me catchy green slogans that can go on T-shirts and Bags. (Thank you all for so wonderfully sharing your Green and Not-green lists, its so inspiring to know the little efforts all of us are making)

My personal goal is to ensure that my neighborhood is plastic bag free. I intend to work closely with local associations, shopkeepers and residents to ensure the message gets across. Please do give me advice/ideas on how I could proceed and if any measures taken in your locality have succeeded. In fact it would be great if we each adopt this task for our own neighborhood and compare notes on progress.

Legislation obviously does not work. Education hopefully will. Why not reward shopkeepers who do not keep plastic bags at the store? Why not celebrate stores that give out only cloth bags, even if customers have to pay a little extra for it? To start with, I intend to get every shop in my neighborhood to at least put up a poster showing the ill effects of plastic bags. (All my friends in the creative and design fields: HELP!!)

Right now, I am doing something I never thought I would do: designing grocery bags (with go green slogans) that are useful and smart to carry around! Wish me luck!!

Thursday, January 01, 2009

New Year Wishes!

To see a World in a Grain of Sand,
And Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.
-William Blake

May the simple pleasures of life light up your New Year. A very happy 2009 to all of you.