Wednesday, September 21, 2016

And it's here:

The book of my writings that my children decided to get published for my sixtieth birthday, is now available.

Let me share with you Kiran Manral's kind words, which grace the back cover:

From insightful short fiction that plumbs into the nuances of small town India to bittersweet anecdotes from her personal life to carefully constructed, evocative poems Dipali Taneja tracks the trajectory of her life from Lucknow to Cochin to Kolkata to Delhi in Of This And That.
Whether it is the subtle interplay of faith and cynicism in The Caterpillar, the touching Garage Tales about a sincere and hardworking dhobi and his dashed aspirations regarding his son, the unconventional manifestations of death and mourning in Grief or the delicately handled Parents, which deals with the reality of domestic violence and abuse and a woman’s insistence of emerging from the cycle to create her own destiny,  the short stories are empathetic mirrors to everyday society, making one ponder and reflect.  The selection of blog posts, talking about Boseji and the Sometimes Resident Engineer (as she calls her husband) are charming glimpses into everyday life, which bring a chuckle to one’s lips.
Written with grace and acuity, Of This and That is a collection that will touch you, delight you and make you realise that truly, everyone has a story and sometimes the unstated story is always the one that has the life lesson.

Kiran Manral, Author

Thursday, September 15, 2016

My post for Agents of Ishq

The mention of a more than fifty-year old memory of a pair of hairy legs on a Facebook post had Paromita Vohra ask me to write about it for Agents of Ishq.

I love the way they have presented it, as well as the delightful illustrations.

Do visit:

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Another small joy

Glancing out of the drawing room window, I see two pigeons perched on the little ceiling fan in the balcony.
Are they waiting for a joy ride, I wonder?
I have to take a picture of them, but it has to be through the mesh door, (and at a strange angle):
our pigeons are nervous creatures.

I think I'll give them a tiny little spin by quickly switching the fan on and off, but they both fly off immediately.
I silently apologize to them, and promise not to ever do this again.

There was space for one more pigeon: were they waiting?

Friday, September 9, 2016

A small joy

The laundry
flaps happily
in the breeze,
drying quickly,
with sunshine,
a small joy
to savour
through the day

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The Guest Who Never Came

Mr X was supposed to come to our place
for lunch this last Saturday
( He was in our neighbouring town on work)
And so I bought some extra milk
and some bananas, and used my last
mango of the season to make custard,
early on Saturday morning!
I took out the bowl of chholey
I had kept in the freezer, to defrost.
But then he said he couldn't come that day,
so the custard went into the fridge
and the chholey back in the freezer
and we went to Khan Market
to buy a present for
a young friend's fortieth birthday.
And so I acquired an exquisite pair
of silver earrings from Amrapali
and a stunning cotton saree from Cooptex,
and that evening, after dinner
I ate a bowl of custard.

Mr. X was supposed to meet us on Sunday
but we had prior commitments,
and he turned out to be busy too,
though we would have rearranged our plans
to meet  him!
So we went out for lunch with family members,
came home and had a quick nap,
before we went out for the evening function.
Since I couldn't nap, somehow,
I ate the remains of the morning's bread upma
and a bowl of custard, just in case dinner got late.

Then he was supposed to come over
on Monday afternoon
and spend the night with us,
before catching his flight home on Tuesday.
So I made up the guest room bed
and put fresh towels in the bathroom
all ready for our guest, whom we were expecting
in the afternoon or early evening
and was wondering what to make for dinner,
when the spouse called him
(just after we had had lunch)
to find out where he was.
I offered the spouse some custard
but he declined, so I had some
(it was thinning out by now,
losing texture, but still delicious).

He said he couldn't make it that day,
but would come today (Tuesday),
on his way to the airport.
I thought he'd be having lunch with us
so I changed my plans for a shopping trip
with a friend, only to learn from the spouse
that he was was expected only in the afternoon,
and not for lunch,
and that the spouse would go with him to the airport,
so that they could catch up on the long ride.

So my friend and I went shopping,
and I come home to discover that
our man X will not be coming home at all,
since he had got delayed at his work place,
but the spouse will be meeting him
at a hotel near the airport.
So the spouse has a quick lunch and leaves,
I have a leisurely lunch, and a bowl
of by now very skinny custard,
and put the dregs of it in the freezer.

My dear Mr.X, thanks to your not coming to our house consistently over the last four days
I have ingested a great many unnecessary calories.
The next time you plan to visit us, I will start cooking only once you are inside our home, after making sure that you are actually going to stay for a meal.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Janamashtmi inspired: Krishna songs, mostly from films.

My friend Madhulika Liddle posted ten of her favourite Krishna songs from Hindi films today, and inspired me to post my own favourites. Several of them are, understandably, part of her list, especially Manmohana Bade Jhoothey and Jaa Tosey Nahin Boloon Kanhaiya (which forged my abiding love for Raga Hansadhwani). My conditions for choosing these songs are nowhere as stringent as hers, all songs are not addressed to Krishna, a couple of them are sung by him to Radha (when she pinches his flute).
In no particular order, my selection of  Hindi film songs celebrating Lord Krishna:

Manmohan man mein ho tumhi (Kaisey Kahoon, 1964)

Kaanha Jaa Re (Tel Maalish Boot Polish, 1961)

Radhika tuney bansari churaee (Beti Bete, 1964)

Brindavan ka Krishna Kanhaiya (Miss Mary, 1957)
Such delightful lyrics: Rang salona aisa jaisey chhayee ho ghat saawan ki

Baat Chalat nayee Chunari Rang Daari (Rani Roopmati, 1957)
I had always loved this song, but didn't know of its provenance until one evening in the eighties or early nineties when Rani Roopmati was being telecast by Doordarshan! Those were the now unimaginable days without the Internet or Google!

Aayo kahaan se Ghanshyaam (Buddha Mil Gaya, 1971)
I've always loved the song, and after seeing the movie found it even more enthralling: a lovely semi-classical song linked to more than one murder!

Madhukar Shyam Hamaarey Chor (Bhagat Surdas, 1942)
How can I not have the inimitable K.L. Saigal on my list?

Radhe Rani De Daaro Na (Puran Bhagat,1933)
This was a Saigal song that my father used to sing, so it has a special place here.

Chali Radhey Rani ( Parineeta, 1953)
Manna Dey's magic, a delightful rhythm, and emotions any woman can identify with!.

I'm concluding this post with two non-film songs which are great favourites,  composed by two great Bhakti poets, Surdas and Meerabai, respectively.

The immortal Kundan Lal Saigal sings Maiya Mori Main Nahin Makhan Khaayo

Chhannulal Misra sings this utterly beautiful Meerabai composition, in which the milkmaids are so utterly engrossed in their love for Krishna that they forget that they are selling curds, and sing
Koi Shyam Manohar Lo Re!

Friday, June 10, 2016

Hugging the breeze

The normal baking heat of June
is compounded by humidity,
the gift of some stingy rain,
leaving sweat-runnelled bodies
in its sad wake.
Air-conditioners add to the heat
outside the precincts that they cool
Sometimes it even seems
hard to breathe,
yet walk we must, every morning
The old new friends,
happy in their sixties,
exchanging their stories,
and laughing, mostly at themselves.
We've managed to spread the smiles
in our housing complex:
so many of the senior ladies
who looked through everyone
besides their walking friends
have now succumbed to our wiles,
and greet all and sundry with a smile
or a nod, an acknowledgement
of their existence.
What more can one ask for???

Oh, plenty more.
Yesterday, we were baking
and broiling and stewing,
(take your pick),
early in the morning
and asked for a breath of wind,

We asked, and we received,
a rich and powerful wind
when we walked round the corner
of our road.
A glorious, happy-making wind,
which we promptly embraced
with wide open arms,
laughing all the while,
hugging the breeze, with joy and delight
and true gratitude.