Words of Cheer and Hope…




15 Books By Indian Women Writers That You Loved In 2018

Two books open themselves to my New Year plans. One is ready and smiling already. The other is being knitted together with laughter, tears and gratitude.

Two fantastic authors, whom I met in my life journey, who have reposed faith in me to bring their words to light in another language: they make my New Year great!

It is so truly said that dreams are not what you see when you sleep, but those which keep you from sleeping!

Looking forward to another fantastic year where I get to play with words in my beautiful and fabulous mother tongue!

May the Lord guide us all into more and more learning and creativity.


The Secret Brew



As she flies, smiling, I whisper the contents of the brew into her ears:


A mighty brew:

( Cognate of Character)

Remember this now-

Moment by moment,

Day by day

Month by month

Year by year

Never letting go of your dreams

Standing tall when laughter arises from all sides,

Heedless of all  mockery but your goals

Gritting your teeth

Keep moving onwards.


Sweat of your brow

Time well used

Talents polished golden

Humility, contentment



Passion and truth

Mix in love and friendship,

(Untouched by self centred pollutants)

Breathe deep

Courage and then,


(Remember this too

When the wings are tired:

HE walks with you,

The ONE who put the dream in you-

Never doubt,





1. Dreams

In many eyes I see

What I have seen within myself

Not very long ago.

Lost, wanting, but not daring to

Knowing deep inside the path

Lacking courage for the first step

Every nerve and sinew screaming

That way, that way..yet

Stepping the trodden way

Suffocating that inner scream

With myriad practicalities of whys

And hundred terrible fangs of cannots.

My worst enemy, I wish to tell them,

Was myself.

My best friend,

Was none other.

Invictus, Invictus, I wish

To advise,

‘The head is bloodied but unbowed.’

So, dare to dream

And let out that scream.

2. Women Asleep

As the train moved past stations

I saw the sleeping women:

In benches, in huddles

In a corner, laying the head

Across her packed luggage

Woman, fast asleep.

As if

All the forgotten sleep

That life’s days gave her

Slipped quietly in between

Two rail tracks and one hard bag

And begged her

To sleep.

Till the whistle sounds

For yet another journey

More forgotten sleep.

3. Gratitude

When I watched Maleficent’s wings getting cut, and that horrendous cry of despair came out, I remembered, so many women, so many men, so many lives. I shivered.

He let me in on a secret.

He said, with his clear voice, ” She will get them back, and soar. Just wait, dear one.”

I remembered the words, what Meister Eckhart said, would be sufficient in the place of all prayers of the world.

Thank You.


Eat, React…

Picture 139


CREATE : eat, ate, react, tea,treat,cat,rat,tar,tear, tree…all  encrypted within.

Some women create with pain.

Toss in chilly, two spoon fulls for the blazing heat within,

Stir with astofaieda’s pungent brownish bitterness,

Manage to pour in a sly drop of burnt oil

Turmeric for yellow emotions-that include envy and helplessness;

Mustard crackling like the unexpressed violence within,

Three pieces of tomatoes crushed and pulped like the favourite

An evil smile spreading secretly across the pan-

Pretend nonchalance and rue:

Oh, I do not know what went wrong..

Deep inside she is glad that it has gone right as planned.

She throws it to the dogs and crows, grinning to herself,

Catharsis completed,

Begins creation, again.

Some women create with pain.

Some women create with paint.

Mix and match hues and turbulence.

Blue and green, magenta and rose-

All churned into a violent unknown,

Splash it across the canvas and watch

Quietly, all-knowingly, as the paint drips down like

Her heart’s torn liquids,

And then when someone asks,

What is it that she is making, smiling sweetly

With no trace of anything, anything at all,

Shrugs and paints more.

Some women create with paint.

Some women create with words.

Take an ‘a”, adds an ‘an”, pinches in a ‘the”,

When they all yelp like puppies in a dirty manger

Tears them away and starts with consonants

That do not rebel under her touch.

Rhymes pain with rain and lane with bane

Toasts bread with bitter butter and makes Betty sad

Chains together sea shells that she sells and goes mad

Then laughing uproariously, like the woman in the attic,

Dissolves into essays, poems and small limericks.

Some women create with words.

But most women create with silence.

Dark silence, bright silence, laughing silence.

Brown silence that can mean anything, blue silence

That almost surely causes rain and sleet against the window panes.

Violet silence, that ushers in a calm twilight but blasts through the night

For it comes wrapped with freezing shades of unspoken reddish burst

Sometimes as morning approaches she will resort to a tender lavender,

An occasional hesitant tube rose too.

All white and blanched shades often abound

Shallow and deep as the waters flow-

For most women create with silences.


My daughter asks me about Cloud Bursts.

This mother wonders on the options available:

Option One : Philosophy

Dear daughter,

Cloud bursts occur at unexpected times

In childhood when a girl is told not to speak up

To look down, to dance less, to sing no more.

When rebellion is crushed with furious gestures.

Such Cloud bursts occur in many lives in our land;

And many let the child within, die forever.

Amongst those lucky to survive are the ones

Who had mothers who laughed when

The entire neighbourhood pointed

At the tree top, her little daughter had scrambled up.

And merely shouted, ‘Take care not to scrap that knee”.

Cloud bursts in all forms turn timid-

Before such furious, protective mother shelters.

(I pray, I become one for you, like mine was for me.

God bless your little knee.)

Option Two: Psychology

Dear Daughter

Cloudbursts occur in nasty, unexpected snubs

Usually comes from green eyed creatures

Can be dear, near, far, along side, by the side,

Crowing that you cannot dream high, run far,

Wing it up, make it past the hidden obstacles

Shall whisper about the dangers to your complexion

Of nights spent inhaling the smoke of the study lamp.

Cloud bursts create dangerous squalls of make-believe

That your destiny is bound by beauty and skin colour

That to be accepted in your future,

Be a perfect mean-median-mode

Of skinniness of the day;

That your hair extensions decide your extended future.

My daughter, beware of the marketer’s cloudbursts-

Such delicious meat is often attractive in pink traps.

But when your feet get clamped,

It hurts damn bad and you limp forever.

Your study lamp’s light is worth watching over,

Your dreams , worth toiling over-

Success checks your soul-coefficient and toughness meter

And gives a damn about the shape of your nose.

Option Three: Geography

Cloud Burst: An intense catastrophic rainfall, which occurs for a short duration, over a limited geographical area. Can kill often times. The lucky just get drenched and lives.

My little girl ponders on all three options and says,” I will write down the third.”


The husk of the raw rice from the fields,



Tossed around

Filtered, dusty brown and fragrant.

Burn it for hours, slowly in embers,

The sages used to attain God

In that smoldering heat.

Mother said, life was often like

Burnt ashes of rice husks.

Black has many hues,

I noted then, and many textures.

Laughing and crying faces

Could be scrawled on the kitchen walls with ease.

And then the ashes were heaped

Into a cold, orangish red fat, pot.

The potter made it specially-

And it hung from the old kitchen shed

Supported by three bruised ropes

As if burnt life needed some spines too.

The kids brushed teeth with the treasure stored

Burnt dry and black and mixed with salt.

Black powder created white brush strokes.

Forgotten history lessons, huh?

Life is like rice husks getting slowly burnt,

Blackened pitch black, but hey, mix it

With the salt of your being..add taste

And maybe, for a few growing molars

Your life can have white messages.


For My Daughters: A Letter


My daughters,

One day, amma might not be there to tell you all these tidbits. Not pleasant to hear, eh, but then, we will start with discussing some home truths.

The world in which you live has both darkness and light. Like your favourite movies and books have villains and villainess abounding, our little earth has her share of these horrid creatures too. Dementors, Soul-suckers, horrendous evil- name them what you may- they exist.

Remember the scene of those froth dripping mouths of evil when they attacked Frodo and Company in the Two Towers?They were trying to stop those monsters from getting to the innocent women and children.

Evil exists, in both myth and reality. In fiction, fantasy and our daily lives. In souls so dark that a six month old flesh and seventy year old flesh and twenty year old flesh are all flesh to them- to be attacked and devilled and destroyed. Hence, caution!

Amma does not want to frighten you. But awareness is the first strength. So start being aware that all things that smile need not be the Kind GrandMother. It could be a wicked wolf in disguise too.

How can you make out the deadly swamp from the pure river?

The great intuitive power which the Divine has vested in you, will serve you well. But for that, you have to value that gift, and respect it.

It is called the Ïnner voice.

By the way, there is a word called “Bestiality” in the English language. Among the various meanings are “being like an animal” or “being depraved or brutal”.

I want you to listen to this very carefully.

There is not a single living animal, bird, insect or fish…any non-human living thing which is capable of “bestiality” as much as the human being- man or woman. Animals might kill, but they kill to defend themselves or to satisfy their hunger. Even the wild lion, tiger, bear…they do not commit acts of unimagined torture on another living being. They do not rape and insert rods into innocents. They do not throw burning acid into beautiful faces claiming to love them.They do not shoot a child because she went to school. They do not hammer the head of a three year old because her parents pray to God in a manner different to theirs.

So, only human beings are capable of “bestiality”. We defined the word in the first place- no animal did.

That is a very important lesson to remember as you grow up in this world.

Have I frightened you? Sometimes, fear is a good companion, provided we let her sit afar and tell us her tales.

Does that mean, all the bright, beautiful, brilliant little souls should hide themselves away?


It means that all the bright, beautiful, brilliant little souls should stay wide awake in their awareness- of light and dark.

Listen with a smile to the cacophony around you– telling you what to wear, what to dream of, whom to desire,what to yearn for,how to worship God,which job to do, what vacation to take, how to be hot, how to be cool..go ahead, listen…but then decide for yourself.

That is another lesson, by the way. (Have you wondered on that phrase- by the way? By life’s way, as we travel..:)

Decide for yourself – all your life choices. You will make mistakes, but they are yourmistakes.

Be proud of the fact that you chose for yourself, even if you failed.

Dust yourself up, cry a bit, but then simply go ahead and choose again.

That is thousand times better than primping that you never made a mistake at all.

There is the story of an old crone in the Canterbury Tales.  Someone is tasked to find the answer from her on the greatly discussed question: What do women want?

The old crone gives the answer : Sovereignty over their lives.

How do I explain that conundrum to you?

Hmmm, let us put it this way:

Women (as well as men) have the right to dream of living their own lives. They have the right to choose their destinies. They have the right to be treated with respect and dignity. They have the right to let their inner light shine forth in whatever creative way they might choose for themselves.

Basically, they can dress, dance, walk, sing, dream, work, study, climb mountains, play football, mess around with clay and wet earth, fall in love, make love, have children, watch them grow, live happily, die gracefully…I hope you get what I mean.

But then, my girls, sadly, even after millions of years later, having been evolved from primitive animals, our world seems to be having difficulty about this simple proposition.Especially when it comes to women, let alone groups and sub groups of apparently “different” characters.

Remember the phrase ” Live and Let Live”.

It is also one of the greatest spiritual principles enshrined in all religions of this world.

It is based on one word- respect.

I have a right to live and shine in this world- as much as you have. As much as a butterfly has. As much as that evil creature has. As much as the mango tree has.


So, where were we?

Somewhere on the way, Amma lost track of what she originally wanted to tell you.

Does not matter, right now- the sunshine is bright enough.

And remember as you run off and play- be kind, be tolerant, be accepting, be yourselves.

Dare to be.

Bless you,

Your Amma