the day I changed from an ugly indian to a beautiful indian

Whenever I see litter on streets and public places my heart squirms. I feel sick in the stomach. It’s just the way I am. When I was young(er) I often got into arguments with friends, and at times complete strangers, when they littered. It did not do much for my popularity index as you can imagine. 😛

For someone like me, hence, the move to India meant I had to learn to shut up if I was to have any semblance of civil conversations.

A firm believer of the three R’s— Reduce, Reuse, Recycle—my contribution to protecting the environment has been limited to following these ‘rules’ over the years. How could I do anymore? How can I do anymore? I, thus, excuse myself from the debris around me. It is the easy way out. Not taking responsibility for spaces outside my own personal ones. Continue reading

learnings from a non-violent communication workshop

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A dear friend and I have been having lots of conflicts this past one year—we have been friends for over three years now. Three years is a long time. Gruesome secrets revealed. Memories made. Familiarity bred. Currently we are at the ‘if we can have an argument free’ conversation, it warrants celebration.

Friendships, like all relationships, have a life of their own. They keep evolving, either into higher exalted versions of themselves or more often than not dissipating into a faded recollection. They need hard work. But what exactly? I must confess I am clueless. We are all different. My friend and me even more so. Continue reading

art focus – street art and dharavi

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“Bhaiya, Dharavi chaloge?” (Will you go to Dharavi?)

After being turned down twice, a rickshaw finally agrees to take me on the condition, “I will drop you off at the main road. I won’t get a return passenger from there… You will have to walk to 60 Feet Road by yourself.”

Dharavi is not the usual jaunt or destination for a Mumbaikar, least of all a Hindi speaking woman on her own who quite clearly does not have a clue about the ground realities of the place itself! All I know is some statistics, historical details and that the main road is the 90 Feet Road, and perpendicular to it is the 60 Feet Road which I want to explore for its street art. But more on the art later in the post. 🙂 Continue reading

art focus – curated bandra street art walk – st+art mumbai

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If Bandra’s charm could be codified, I guess this would be it. Cats and silver leaves—collaborative mural by Anpu Varkey (India) and Tika (Switzerland).

So what happens when 20 internationally renowned street artists from all over the world, and two passionate people from Delhi get together and decide to bring the power of art as a medium of creative expression to the streets of India, free and accessible to all? St+art happens.

From the 7th to the 30th, this November, over 30 murals in Mumbai transformed, otherwise drab edifices, into vibrant thought-provoking compositions. Luckily for me, a bulk of them were painted in Bandra, my home in this city. 🙂 Continue reading

why i became a volunteer at daan utsav

Last month I became a volunteer at Daan Utsav Mumbai Chapter. Many asked, why? Why not any other NGO? I think it’s because, in an intrinsic way Daan Utsav reflects a core part of me, and in fact of everyone.

I like giving. The material stuff, yes. But more than material things I like giving my time, my effort, my attention, to friends and strangers alike. And that’s what I like receiving the most too. Like everyone else again, I believe. Continue reading

giving back: the lifeline express


The Operation Theater on the Lifeline Express

Most of us live most of our lives cocooned from the realities of this world. And when we do venture onto the other side, it is armed with abstract theories and falsified charitable notions about ourselves. Some however, become a part of it, and through their efforts, lessen the pain in it. Continue reading