Sands of Time

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My run of good health came to an abrupt end a few of weeks back and I have been in and out of the hospital. The recovery is on but I have been left with a barely functioning right-hand that bemoans at the thought of heavy movement (Blame those IV injections). The thought of typing is painful but today is my blog's third birthday and of course, I wanted to butt in and wave a hello with my left hand!

And also leave something to ponder that has been doing rounds in my head.

This happened to me at the pathology lab I frequented for my medical tests. It was still very early in the morning, and particularly rainy – only a handful of us sleepily making our way pricks and pees. I was as far from dwelling on ageing as I peed in the cup as I am to landing on Mars, but I did!

The lowdown of what happened –

There was a lady, a very old lady seemingly unaccompanied who was there to take some tests.

She had to enter her details in the system before they could take her blood. It seemed that she was a little short of hearing, so they asked her for her details, ever so slowly – repeating every key word. Her answers were apologetic and laced with regret as she asked them to repeat their questions, visibly fretting over the "inconvenience" she was causing.

When I looked around the room, every person wore the same gentle, patronizing smile. The lab guys also somehow assumed that she will not know what a cellphone is let alone remember the number, and proceeded to mansplain it. They also preferred to overlook her remarks at the tests she had to take and just refer to the prescription.

Because she was old, and frail and apologetic?

She was impaired of hearing, but she was evidently of sound mind! Her answers were crisp and clear, her command on the language clearly showed that she was well-informed. But yet she was denied of this control and the basic level of respect. Worst part is that she probably constitutes the majority – almost all old people I have met look at themselves as an inconvenience!

It has never hit me so squarely as it hit me that day – of the constant babying of older people. And I doubt we realize we are doing it – we stay in the delusion of being understanding and helpful. But on the flipside, I know for a fact that if anyone speaks to me like that, it will be an incessant blow to my dignity. It's a casual ageism that I need to contain next time I speak to anyone elderly – especially my grandma.



Thoughts? I apologize in advance for not giving a prompt reply – my hand will take a while to recover.

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The Elephant Vanishes #SOCS

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I used to avoid confrontations – a situation has to become the most precarious jenga formation before I started pondering if I should do anything about it. I would just steadfastly examine the shape of my toenails if the other person is around. I became a flight risk.

But of course, I became a part of the evolutionary cycle and I have started looking at people in the face to start difficult conversations. The elephant in the room becomes smaller and smaller before vanishing completely.

Which really makes me wonder, how many rooms are running out of space for elephants just because of the choice of remaining passive and just brushing the dirt under the carpet lest feathers are ruffled the other way. In families, in groups of friends, in colleagues…. There are always times when the tension is as thick as cheese. But we all bite our tongues, give smiles ranging from constipated to maniacal (depending on how well we can act) and continue talking about the weather. Isn’t it strange how gossip is always welcome as long as it doesn’t concern us? Why is it so uncomfortable talking about topics that touch a sensitive chord?

Why did I make the change? Probably because it helps me sleep better. Why fret over things and how they may unfold when you can take it in your hands? I admit, I have put people at a loss of words because they weren’t expecting me to bring it up? Especially the older generation who are so used to not being questioned! I admit, that makes it a little fun… I am one of those who doesn’t respect elders just because. (C’mon! You can’t get away with age all the time)

And other times… I like being a devil’s advocate. Dialogue is never bad… and with well-timed silences, have lead to masterpiece discussions that have opened my eyes about people and relationships more than anything!



Written for Stream of Consciousness Saturday – an interesting prompt of “book title”. The Elephant Vanishes written by Haruki Murakami is a book of short stories – Highly recommend reading “Sleep” which appeared in the New Yorker. Mind-blowing!

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Flame #writephoto

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Late afternoons often found her sitting alone, still and straight. Her mind would travel years back in time, when the house was full of children’s laughs and echoing footfalls. In a flash, hours and days had molded into long years of cooking dinners, attending PTA meetings and finishing yet another load of laundry.

Now the house sat quiet, reminiscing of a din long gone. The children had moved out and her husband was indulging yet another hobby. One evening, a sliver of sunshine happened to escape the curtain’s stern guard. Through the dance of dust mites, she happened upon her reflection. Her eyes and her face told stories of the years gone by and the errands they had seen through.

There were no stories of her own. There was not even a hint of the flame that once shone bright in her eyes; it was extinguished long ago.

A muted glint from a hidden corner caught her attention – somehow her old ghungru* had managed to dapple in the last light of the setting sun. It had been so long she had seen them – she had almost forgotten how they felt tied at her ankles. With trembling fingers she handled them delicately, more precious than any gem in the world.

What if….? Dare she even dream…?

The next afternoon saw her tentatively clearing a space and dusting out her old dancing clothes. As her feet slowly became accustomed to the once-familiar weight of her ghungru, the years melted away and she fell into a rhythm that was as natural as breathing. On days when she was not at dance school, the curtains were firmly drawn back as she conducted personal concerts under the sunny spotlight.

She was not a daughter, a wife or a mother then. She was a dancer. She was an artist. She was her chosen form. She was blowing at the cool embers, re-kindling a fire that had almost blown out. It was never too late to spark it back!


Written for Sue’s prompt – Flame. I took it as a metaphor and ran away with it! Hope that is okay…

*Ghungru: is one of many small metallic bells strung together to form Ghungrus, a musical anklet tied to the feet of classical Indian dancers.

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Routines

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I love a routine that keeps changing – an oxymoron, yes. There is certain stuff I need to do in a particular sequence and then there are things where I regularly shake things up. Food, exercise, music and books, the set-up of my room, places and faces around are just some examples.

I think I have mentioned I love running. But I tire of the treadmill. So I hunted for other options for a change of pace and path. Now there is a running track close to my place that I have been haunting for two years now. To empty my mind, I unknowingly started making observations and filed them to memory during my runs.

And I saw the beauty routine brings. I remember faces and the company they keep. I have been an unintended witness to the transitions that they have been through. A lady who used to get a stroller for her baby now holds her hand as they walk together. Those tiny feet used to be encased in booties and now carry an exuberant talkative munchkin. I have seen the woman become a little soft around the edges and smile secretly at the antics of her daughter. She is restrained when an older lady accompanies her – perhaps her mother-in-law?

I also see a man with a big handlebar mustache who has been a regular around the track. He has changed too! About two years back, he was morbidly obese and could only walk a few steps before stopping. And now his strides are brisk, considerable pounds lighter. The only thing not changed is his set determined expression. He does not look up and nod at people unless he is at rounding a corner.  He is one hundred percent focused on his walk.

Then there is a set of cute grandparents. Walking stick in each hand, a grocery bag strung over one shoulder at times – they stick to one round. No more. No less. There is a group of people they frequently run into. Grandpa is the one with the booming voice and Grandma has a gentle hum to her laugh. They look so sorted! And they always smile at me whenever I happen to pass by, calling out a “saavkash beta” (Take care child!) when I trip – which happens a lot!

Who knew I was a closeted stalker people-watcher?? Makes me wonder what guest appearances I may have made for other people, slipping in and out with no set days. What they might have seen on my face over the last two years?


Tell me a story about your observations. About those strangers who are so familiar for a few moments.

Light Up!

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The air is shimmering with energy,

Thick with aromas and perfumes,

Resounding of laughs and tinkling bells.

Infectious humor multiplying.

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Days glow with colors and glitter,

Yummy food and impulsive hugs.

Dressing up and twirling with joy

As families and friends unite.

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Nights fall into a dream lapse,

With diyas, lanterns and pearls of light.

Sparklers radiate wishes into inky skies,

Resolutions and promises reconnect.

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Winning over the darkness of hearts,

Evoking sudden smiles amidst tears,

Celebrating the liberation of souls,

A festival of and for every light!


The quickest possible scribble… Wishing everyone a Happy and a prosperous Diwali. And Happy Halloween – time for double celebrations!  🙂