That is all I ask of you. Take some time out for yourself. In the midst of worrying about your parents and grandparents, your children, oxygen tanks, ventilators, hospital beds, and vaccines, take time out to breathe. This uncertainty won’t go away in a day, so slow down and look out through the window.

We slipped and stumbled through last year, hoping we could just see this through somehow and get on with our lives. That is not the case, and we cannot afford to continue neglecting our mental health. In conversations with psychologists and psychiatrists last week, I have…


Sarita adjusted the pleats of her blue saree as she got out of the cab. She took a couple of steps forward and turned back hesitantly.

‘Would you mind waiting for me? I will be back in half-an-hour. I will pay you for your time, of course.’

The cab driver, happy at the prospect of being paid extra for waiting, agreed immediately. When people said they would be back in thirty minutes or an hour, they rarely meant it. The prospect of a good tip soothed him. …


Luxembourg Gardens, Paris. To be in the open again!

I miss travelling. (I know, I know, many of us do.)

When I had an opportunity to go to Delhi last month for a work trip, I was wild with excitement. There were hours to endure at the airport and on the plane, with multiple dabs of sanitiser and the face shield pressing on your forehead, but these seemed like minor inconveniences. …


A night race from a different time and place — Singapore 2009

Last evening, I watched my first full F1 race in several years (we did occasionally switch to the cricket, but those moments were brief). I hadn’t anticipated the start of a season with such eagerness in a long while. All this time, I kept following commentary on Twitter, where most of the teams engage in a lot of entertaining banter — especially the midfield teams, with all of whom I want to be friends. However, I didn’t sit down to watch a race. …


‘Yaad Piya ki Aaye’, written out by Manorma Ahuja

I first heard Yaad Piya ki Aaye on a winter evening at the 2013 Sawai Gandharva Festival in Pune, when Kaushiki Chakrabarty concluded her concert with this piece. This being my first time at Hindustani concerts, I wasn’t aware of the immense popularity of the composition. As she launched into its opening lines, a thrill of recognition and appreciation trembled through the audience. Seated on mats spread on the ground, Bhartiya baithak style as the festival calls it, it was perhaps the closest I ever got to a mehfil experience.

Over the years, through a few more Hindustani concerts, all…


The site of our shenanigans

Y. organised a call with the girls (women?) from our Class 10 batch that she was able to get in touch with, and it was the best thing that has happened to me in months.

I remember these girls in their white school uniforms, pigtails, ribbons, and all; so, when they suddenly pop up on a screen with children of their own, it can be quite disarming. But when the girls-turned-women speak, you realise that the change is mostly physical — deep down, they still nurse those crushes on Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly, laugh with their eyes, and brighten…


I stumbled upon a copy of The Newcomes by William Thackeray while I was ‘spring cleaning’. As a sucker for used and old books, I obviously had to revisit it, flip through it for inscriptions or bookmarks or other memorabilia that might have been left in it by previous owners. I wanted to find out how old the book is, who owned it, who gifted it, where it had travelled...is it even possible to describe the fascination evoked by the whole, real lives that used books bring home, juxtaposed against the printed stories their pages tell?

The book came without…


I’ve been spring cleaning, which is to say, going through my massive hoard of unread books and admiring their covers. I dip into one or two, read a paragraph here and there, pick up a couple that I know I have to begin immediately; then, stopped short by the accusing glance cast by the half-red book beside my pillow, I tuck them into the to-read pile whose turn comes before that of the pile they were previously in. …


I was in an office for a mammoth 8 hours after several years, and in just one cleansing day, felt all my ennui over working from home draining away. I was in Delhi, the commute each way by cab was only about 20 minutes long, it was splendid to be among people again, and the office was fancy. However, when I imagined people doing this every day, sitting in an open-plan office with nowhere to escape to when they needed some privacy or to rant, I felt sorry for them. I really don’t know what it is to see colleagues…


‘Three girls under one umbrella on a rainy day’ was the theme I picked at the Hindu Young World painting contest I participated in, when I was in Class 8. As we sprawled on the floor anyhow, with our drawing paper and paints, we sniggered at one another’s efforts. The girl next to me stared in wonder as I filled my sheet with large raindrops, unsure of how to use the space.

‘I’ve never seen raindrops that large!’ she exclaimed, eyes wide as saucers.

I had no pretensions about my drawing skills, so I let that pass. Our drawing teacher…

Jaya Srinivasan

A woman from many places.

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