mirror mirror on the wall

who’s the fairest of us all?


S*@t i think to myself, as i drive down the road, as always i took a wrong turn and can’t figure out where i am headed. How do i do this every bloody time? Okay, i think i have seen that little tuck shop before maybe i am not that off the mark,but then again there’s another tuck shop almost identical looking diagonally across this one. A tuck shop, really? i thought of keeping a tuck shop in mind as a landmark?, i ask myself. Okay, maybe it’s time to pull over and google map myself out of here. I manage to add address in destination option and wait.

Viola! There it is, a beautiful blue snake like line with a big hot air balloon at one end. Super i think to myself, 20 mins to destination. I love technology, i step on the accelerator, turn up the radio and sing along as google guides me home.

Reaching a traffic light i look around happily, i may not recognize the roads but i don’t care, for i know i am on the right track. I glance happily at my phone at and the map re assuredly, almost like google is a partner sitting beside me. Wait a minute, i looked at the time to destination, 30 minutes it says.I wonder if traffic has increased? I drive on, wondering what an unusual number of trucks around today.Time to destination 45 minutes. Oh oh!!

The map, i read the map wrong. Of course, i can’t read maps, i never could. Now i am completely lost and the world around me starts to spin in my head, the shanties, the tuck shops, the mechanic garages with their broken down cars,street vendors, stray dogs, slum children playing cricket next to the highway with a piece of wood and  a broken ball falling lopsidedly on every bounce,now all seem to close in on me,panic sets in thick and fast, as i feel my breathing getting shallow and faster and my palms getting cold and sweaty all at once. I look out for street names, or directions,a big sign board shows directions to Surat in Gujarat, oh good lord, have i exited the city, more panic.

I reach for my phone frantically calling Cy, he will know where i am and get me out of here. The phone doesn’t connect, he is on flight, oh no, call mum, no answer, she never has her phone on her, dad will always answer promptly, and yes he does, what a relief, “hi dad”, “Hi, Shaheen, where are you?”, “that’s what i need your help with actually, do you know  S.V Road? “yes”, “i am near some Hotel Rocky, any idea which direction is home?” “yes turn right and get on to a main road”, “I am on a main road”, my panic is slowly dissipating into laughter, speaking to dad as i begin to realize my sense of direction is an inheritance from him and this conversation may just take me farther away from destination. My hot air balloon on the map is half its size as the snake marking my directions home has grown to anacondaic proportions.

Eventually i did find my way home, i always do, even if my route may not be as straight as the crows flight.

My phone rings, its my daughter, she needs directions as she is lost, and i hand the phone over to Cy.

Driving my dad to work, i can see his hand gesturing in a conversational manner from the corner of my eye, i know he is playing out his thoughts in his head, playing devil’s advocate, or simply putting his point across in an imaginary meeting in his head. I know this because that’s exactly what i do.


As the kids grow and express their  likes and dislikes, discover their strengths and weaknesses, i am reminded of my own. i watch my parents and i am beginning to  see now  almost exactly what i am going to turn into. i look around me and see repeated patterns and habits generation after generation.

i feel like i am standing in a hall of mirrors,multiples of  reflections everywhere, ahead of me and behind me, making me wonder

if i am  really me or merely a reflection of a reflection of a reflection?
















Only or already

I write this with a heavy heart knowing that the time for a dear family member might have come to leave the rest of us and begin a new journey on another plane.

As I pray and reminisce all the lovely times we’ve spent together over the years , the stories I have heard about her youth and I can’t help but smile through the tears .Her face has forever had the most radiant smile on it from the time that I can remember. Her ability to laugh at the simplest of jokes and mingle with all age groups stands out in my memories the most. Her love and concern for her family has transcended distances and kept the bonds strong over time even though geographical and political situations didn’t allow us all to spend more time together physically.

Yesterday only a young girl,trying a cigarette and singing carefree songs, laughing aloud with life, today she has probably  already run out of time.

Now is a time to weigh the scales, to calculate, was her service to humanity (something she did with love and fervor), enough, was the time spent with near and dear ones enough, was the time spent in devotion to the almighty enough? If not,is it too late already?

Time is such a subjective thing, Cy and I tend to watch tv before retiring for the night and many a times I’ve noticed even if he is tired, Cy will look at his watch and say ,” oh it’s only 10 o’clock!”. And we’ll watch some more until, he says,”oh it’s already 11:30pm” ,”let’s go to sleep”.

I began to realize and joke with him that we literally kill time between only and already. It doesn’t matter if it’s 9 or 10, the real difference lies between only and already.

If we are sleepy but it’s ‘only’ 10 we push sleep away until the ‘already ‘ time of 11:00 arrives.

From the last few days I have begun to notice this and realized that time is literally divided into 2 frames only and already. There is no real hour or am or pm. When I look at the time there is either enough time for me to complete my work or I have totally run out. Looking through this perspective it’s easier to plan and execute and live life and most of all prioritise,for I now simply know I want to complete things while I am in the only zone, as, if I don’t, regret will surely accompany already.

A couple of years ago,when I suddenly woke up to the fact that I was celebrating my 40th birthday (something I had blissfully forgotten ), I thought ‘God I am already 40 half my life is over’ (truthfully I thought it almost fully over), I rued over it until the day I said to myself I am only 40 the best is yet to come!

This change of attitude was probably one of the best things that ever happened to me.

I now try and do whatever it is I am doing with more passion and heart than before for I know there is only so much time before its already passed!

None of us know which end of the spectrum we’re really in and so I pray that we all may enjoy this wonderful world the way it is meant to be ,whoever’s time has already finished, may they leave and transcend to a wonderful next, easily,peacefully, and joyfully, with a heart full of love and song!!

Best described In the words of Louis Armstrong . . . . 

(Song courtesy you tube )

Turning wishes into horses -Bombay for you

  september 8th sees the birth anniversary of Mother Mary, holy mother of Christ. 

  Bandra a suburb of Mumbai hosts the Mount Mary Church. Every year Novena (special prayers for nine days) are held leading up to the birthday and a feast to celebrate the occasion. A special statue of mother and child is brought in for this week (complete with procession and a befitting band ).The Sunday after, a week long fair begins where believers from different parts and faiths visit this particular church. It is believed that mother Mary grants one his or her wishes during this time. 


 While candles in the shape of babies, and limbs have long since been a common sight the new age wants are depicted with houses, shops, pets, and hard cash , wax formations. 

Hundreds and thousands of people pour in everyday for the whole week and many with new born babies to offer thanks, make for a heart warming sight. 

While many hope for their dreams of being realised so do the shop keepers who buy a license for this one week in a hope for an extra buck. 


While many choose to make merry after the piety, they head out to enjoy the giant wheel and other rides before they end their evening.


 I suppose one could call this a balance of the spiritual and material much like life itself!


all and mighty

otters poolRecently a few of us  friends had met up at our local club , we sat around chatting and relaxing with cool summer drinks, no one in the mood to get up and go for a walk.

The crowd by the poolside began to grow. One particular table was probably louder than others and as much as we wanted we couldn’t help but overhear snatches of their conversation.

There were four gentlemen discussing the economy at large, and the fact that business sentiment was pretty low, as we could gauge. One man in particular a regular at the club, known more for his sly, and arrogant nature seemed to be the loudest. Sensing from his talks we gathered he wasn’t in a very bullish mood and was talking about scaling down his work.
bearMany of us have faced similar feelings and made changes in the recent years, so we quite understood where the annoyance was coming from, when one of the men who seemed humble and probably a guest at the club of the arrogant member, tried putting in a little positivity. He added that they along with the company had grown so much over the years together by ‘God’s Grace’ and this lean phase would pass too. At this point our loud member proclaimed, “no! it’s not by any grace, it’s all my effort and my hard work that’s got me here.”

We all looked up at each other blinking and a little unsure of what we had heard. The guest of our dear member looked visibly shaken, and had practically shrunk to half his size probably willing himself to retreat into a shell.

bandra sunsetWe tried hard not to pay attention to their table and their conversation, luckily their meeting ended soon enough, so we could enjoy the sunset in some peace and quiet. Eventually it was a fun,  relaxed evening, the annoying loud chatter forgotten.


Yesterday as i was driving and lost in my thoughts  it came back to me. The statement he had made. Hmmm. . . i thought each one of us truly does have a power within us, when tapped we can achieve things we never thought possible. At the same time, are we really all powerful by ourselves entirely ? I found myself lost in a debate in my head (yes i am one those who talk to themselves’)  playing the devil’s advocate. . . .


If i don’t really tap into myself i may not be able to do anything, right? I  studied, i  learnt, i worked, i slogged, only then did i get to where i am today. So it’s all my doing!

real-life-right-kiteAfter all, the power within me was tapped by me, is mine and actually is me, therefore I am God and God is me.

. In some sense , i understand this but maybe years of conditioning, or something more, doesn’t allow me to agree with this chain of thought.

of course people helped me along the way, but if it wasn’t for my abilities i would not have been anywhere, right?

My family has always been there for me, life has given me opportunities, and presented solutions where difficulties were.

lets go fly a kitewhen a kite is high up in the sky can he say the wind the string and the flyer had nothing to do with it? from the kite’s point of view, only he has the ability to fly. the string , wind and flyer can’t do much without him?

But what could he do if there was no string, no launcher and above all no wind ?! Sometimes the kite cannot feel the wind, nor can he see it.

All of us humans have the power of the wind within us, it’s part of our being.  we will probably be one with it in time , but does that mean we are the power today? Yes and No  .

i honestly don’t judge a person who thinks he is almighty, nor the one who doesn’t .

i’m just grateful . . . . . . To each his own , and God for all.

god for all


Home away from home. . .

happiness-300x274 It’s twilight, a time when I remember to say my prayers. As I watch the sun set over the horizon, it reminds me that another day in my life is coming to a close. I can hear the bells of a temple in the distance toiling away to rouse the Gods, while the sounds of the ‘azaan’ (call of prayer) ring through from a nearby mosque simultaneously. I watch people rush into church so they don’t miss the evening mass, I recall fondly as my dear friends’ mother would drag us all to the ‘gurudwara’ as kids to “matha teko”(bow down). Looking over at the neighbouring buildings; I see zoroashtrian neighbours light the ‘lobaan’  and smoke their houses; an act to drive away evil spirits and usher in the angels.   The taxi and rickshaw drivers stop their daily runs, to offer a small prayer, as do the retail shop owners and street vendors. They light an incense stick and pray to the miniature idols, for sustenance and safety, and bow down offering gratitude. It’s so interesting as it seems almost simultaneously everyone in the world is bowing their heads down together. The rituals followed by all seem to have a common thread running through. The burning of incense, the ringing of bells, the singing of hymns, water, chana, and sheera distributed as Prasad. The teachings of love, tolerance and brotherhood being the common essence. The eventual close of day reminds us all of our own mortality; the fact that we are here for a temporary time. We don’t own anything and nothing really belongs to us, not even our own bodies. Where do we come from and where do we go? Even relationships are believed to be an ‘earthly thing’. Recently, I had invited my friends for a get together for high tea, as day turned to dusk, all of us took a few moments for silent prayer, ushering in a sense of peace and quiet after the continuous chatter of the afternoon. As it happened, the discussion got philosophical. Each of us adding in bits and pieces of our understanding of our faiths, traditions and beliefs. Some cultures teach of an afterlife, some speak of rebirth; Evoking Questions like ; In either scenario do we end up with the same families, as part of the same culture we once were a part of. Could it be that our souls go through a shuffle and are sent back to earth in completely different roles from our previous lives?  If not, do our souls go on to an afterlife different from anything on earth. So,  is what faith our ancestors were or did in their lifetimes relevant to us today? Some of us who’ve had a brush with aura readers, have been told  of many past lives we’ve lived, in different times, different cultures, in different parts of the world. Some who’ve tried regression have experienced being maids, jailors, warriors, kings. I doubt we’ll ever really know the answers to any of these mysteries. Most beliefs say we are part of one soul, which we reunite with on attaining moksha, “our final resting home”. Practice, religion and faith, these are schools, they aim to teach us how we can attain moksha, the method of teaching being different, the curriculum much the same. The best teachers and guides reside in all of us and that is our conscience and common sense. They guide us clearly and directly. When we chant and meditate we feel the connection. This connection is our contact home. I recently attended a passing away ceremony, and it began with the hymn, ‘ I surrender’ and aptly ended at burial with ‘lord I’m coming home’. The final ‘ghar vapsi’. We carry within us our souls. We are where we should be, and will go where we’re meant to. But, “home is, where we will always be “. eternal peace