Self Love Club

Daily Affirmation

This is the daily affirmation that I have been using for almost 6 months, written for me by the amazing Nisha Lall, she who is technically my boss but so much more in actuality.
For a cynical and jaded person a belief in positivity, happy thoughts, and influencing your life through thoughts was a far cry, but over time I have realized that being positive is the least that I owe to myself. So I say this affirmation to myself 3 or 4 times a day and I know that I have seen changes… Maybe you’d like to try it too.Iam in the

My Story

Catching Up

It’s been almost 4 years since I wrote here, even the posts I wrote then were old, so somewhere I gave up. Here’s to the new chapter, pun intended. This particular piece is merely a summary of the life events that have happened in the past 3 or so years, where I was and where I am. Some of it might be too mundane, but read on… My life isn’t too boring or so I think.

2016 is the year life truly changed for me, in the most physical sense of it, February of 2016 Gaurav and I made the decision to say bye-bye Delhi and hello Bangalore. What brought us here? What made me leave my beloved Dilli?

Gaurav had already been working with our current employer in Delhi, and on a short stint of support in their head office here in ‘luru they offered him a position here, soon I got a call too, from the same people and long story short I accepted it and we packed our bags, well lots and lots of bags and boxes and loaded ourselves into the Rajdhani and came chugging here. I took a huge leap of faith moving here, I gave up my career as a chef, left the kitchens, and moved to an industry which is ancillary to hotels but falls under the wide spectrum of Hospitality. Leaving my whites, hanging up the apron and putting my knifes down in exchange for corporate life, laptops and a 9 to 6 was such a tough call. It created great dissonance in my own head and this fear that I would never be able to go back to my one true love; Food. But anyway, I was ready. Leaving Delhi was even more difficult, I had just settled back into the city, the fast pace of life, rekindling old friendships and finding new friends as my closest ones had moved on. But Delhi can wear you down sometimes, its exhausting keeping up appearances and its even harder to deal with socioeconomic pressures of the city.

But Bangalore had its own pull, I have roots here, every summer vacation spent languidly drifting in and out of slumber, mangoes and Ammuma’s  big hugs. I had Jasper Place to come back to, the house of my sweetest memories, the house that belonged to my whole clan and the house which is now my home. The weather in Bangalore is one of the major reasons I moved here, the evening showers, the breezy mornings, I loved the fact that I would never need woolens here.

And over and above this all was the huge prospect of starting a new life with Gaurav, we had only been seeing each other for 2 years at the time we took this call, but we both knew that we needed this, our relationship needed it. After all we had been in a long distance relationship for the whole time, sorry guys but Dwarka to Mayur Vihar also counts as Long Distance especially because we both worked in hotels. The first 8 months here Gaurav and I lived separately, trying to keep up a facade for our families (I’ll write about this in detail some other time) but we gave up, we moved in together, I don’t know the dates or time even, it just happened and now its been almost 2 years like this.

In between we took the biggest decision of our lives (around April of 2016), a commitment of 15 years at the very least and in came Ms. Spooky J Bagla our first rescue, she was all of 3 months old, spindly, thin and injured but so full of all things puppy. Spooky is an Indie, who looked like a Great Dane when she was younger, but boy am I glad she isn’t the size of a Great Dane! Spooky was just what we needed, sometimes I think the decision was a little premature, I worry about the fact that it ties us down, the way it affects our daily life but then I look into her eyes. And all my doubts are stripped away.

Life went on as normal, wake up at 6, have coffee, water the plants, scroll on random social media, have a bath, eat breakfast, walk Spooky, fight with an auto, go to work. Come back, binge on Netflix, eat dinner, walk Spooky, binge again, go to sleep. Life in the past two years had no creativity for me. I stopped reading, writing, travelling, and got stuck in a rut. Everyday was the same as the day before, and the one before that.

As the days wore on, Spooky became the center of the universe, Gaurav and I turned into hypochondriacal pet parents also over obsessive and protective of her. She fell sick terribly so, after a botched up surgery and 2016 ended with Gaurav and me struggling to keep her alive. She made it through, she’s a fighter that girl and her phenomenal doctors at Cessna made sure she did it! But post Spooky getting better I fell into a bout of deep depression, anxiety and intermittent panic attacks. I would just sit and cry in a dark room at home – I mean how clichéd can one get right?- but yeah… that was a dark place to be in.

I got out of that slump, I spent New Years Eve of 2016 sleeping. Sleep became my new best friend. Sleep at 9 wake up at 7, was my new cycle, I used to jokingly say “Sleeping is the best way to solve a problem” and that truly became my life.

Few months down the line came another big change, Master Theodore B Jaiswal, an abused and abandoned dachshund found his way to us as a foster but not even two days with him and Gaurav and I knew he was not just a foster. In came Mr. Quiet, absolutely opposite to spooky and quite the devious little munchkin. He looks cute and harmless, but he is the smartest doggo there is.

The past year for me has been a year of revelations, pain, loss and immense transformation within 8 months I lost both my grandmothers and Achu (my mausa ji). Losing them has been a great wake up call to me, the fact that they are gone still hasn’t sunk in and it’s going to be 2 years soon, I can’t fathom it even now. People see death first hand at various stages in life, I never lost a close family member or friend till 2016 and then 3 whammies together turned my world upside down. I miss them everyday, and every damn day I try to become more like them in the smallest of ways possible.

I miss my family, you know? My parents, my brother and Sheru, my didi back in Delhi, but this is my home now and my parents are always with me in spirit, for the girl who would not talk to her mum and dad for weeks on end, 3 calls a day to mom 4 calls a week to dad have become the norm. We visit each other often, but not as often as we’d all like, but that’s life right? We all move on in some way or the other.

As a person who has always been, sarcastic, cynical, agnostic and an absolute non believer this year I gave up all these pre conceived notions I opened myself up to new possibilities, to positivity, the power of positive thinking and to getting people to see the real me. I always come across as this super confident, outgoing person, but I am constantly riddled with deep-seated social anxiety. This year is about changing that, and putting my deepest thoughts out here for the internet to read is a conscious decision.

Scrolling is the new smoking. Oh yes, I quit smoking after we got Spooky, sort of atleast. For sometime. Now I smoke once in a blue moon. Oh I also gave up on drinking now I stick to just wine and sometimes beer. These are big things I guess, for someone who loved partying and was living life on the edge, I think I heard my liver and kidney and lungs  groaning and moaning one day. Back to scrolling, though I quit all this I think my phone has replaced all of this. I mindlessly scroll through Facebook, Instagram, play stupid ass games, read crappy listicles, 1 line articles on some celebrities Instagram post.

Going back to writing, wearing sarees, writing about them, spending time in my garden, exercising, working on my diet, reading and spending time with my pups is my way of breaking my cellphone habit. I need to kick this lethargy off and put life into another gear.

Here’s 1300 odd words about me. How narcissistic. But we all love talking about ourselves, and it is something one has to learn to accept. I have, maybe you should too.

The many little things I touched upon today are big parts of me, and I plan to write in detail about each of these as the days go by.


Amritsar. 10 years ago.

I was barely 12 when I made the trip to Amritsar and Wagah border.

This was my first travel without family, a bunch of insane 12 year olds with just one teacher we were 35 of us and against all odds managed to have a fabulous time.

To quickly talk about the city it’s most well-known for The Golden Temple which is the holiest of all shrines for the community of Sikhs in India. Its also home to Jallianwala Bagh a site of one of the worst massacres in the history of the Indian struggle for freedom. Along with that its known for its proximity to the Indo-Pak border and its so called twin city on the other side Lahore. Just a little while away from Amritsar is Wagah Border one of the points used as a gateway between the two nations.

Between the walls, the dust, the robustness of Punjab lies deep sorrow that is engraved in every heart and every breath of the people of Amritsar. There is this automatic sense of patriotism that hits you when you visit the border and jallianwala bagh too. An inane sense of pride in the sacrifice of others. These are deep things which I will come back to once I tell you the story of my first trip to Punjab.

We climbed onto the bus waiting to say bye bye to school and the Coca-Cola bottles already opened. Sour punk passed around and chips of various brands flew from here and there. The ride that ensued was almost uneventful except for fighting for leg space, window seats and the last packet of food. We’d packed to survive a frat party just without all the alcohol. Well, we were just 12 back then.

Reaching Amritsar in the morning, we checked into a hotel called Hotel Deluxe. This by far was the most run down hotel I have ever seen in my 21 years. The poor boys had sheets instead of walls and there were no toilets to be seen. Flabbergasted Sapna maam our class teacher back then had us check out till we went on a search for another hotel which would gladly take 35 of us hopped up on too much sugar. We then moved into a better place and then dressed to leave for Jallianwala Bagh.


You walk into a crowded market slip into a winding alley and it opens into this garden, well that’s what it used to be back in the day. There is this sudden somberness that slips like a deathly shadow through everyone. Theres a quick hush in the air where even the most insensitive little twerps shut up and just look at this enclosed piece of history. Your feet automatically move towards the wall, fingers running over the bullet marks from 80 years ago. You look over the edge of the well where many a mothers jumped with their babies to just stop the bullets from killing them. You put yourself in the place of all those who died, almost a 1000 people, harmless civilians celebrating baisakhi, you look towards the narrow entrance where most of the rounds were fired, and you can almost taste the helplessness in the air. I remember standing there and slowly I felt morbidity crawling on my skin. I felt this sick cloying in my throat as it became difficult to breathe.

We left, some carrying the same feelings, some shook them off but I have a feeling that even almost a decade later we all have a memory of how we felt standing there.

Next on the itinerary was of course The Golden temple, while on the way someone realized that early morning maybe a better time to visit since it was Guru Purab that night. The Sikh new year, we grudgingly agreed to be woken up at 4 am and somehow all toppled off the bus and straight to bed.

4 am before the sun could rise, 35 tweens were woken dressed and shuffled in a line to the waiting bus. We reached the holy shrine while it was still dark, girls with chunnis on their heads, boys with hankies around their foreheads. I could never imagine a place that large could be that full. There were people everywhere at 4 am! We got into the queue to enter the sanctum sanctorum. The line stretched across the sarovar and halfway around the perimeter. By the time we covered half the distance the sun was high and shining. People started getting dehydrated and post maybe a four hour wait or more if memory serves right, we entered the inner realms of the Harmandir Sahib. And was it worth the wait or what?

There is this soft glow that emanates from the dome and gives everything an almost ethereal feel. The yak’s tail fan goes round and round in the priests hand as you stand witness to both the might and the piety of the Sikhs. The Guru Granth Sahib in front of you, you feel a presence in the room, almost like catharsis is settling into your bones. You kneel, you lower your forehead to the almighty and you sit. Your eyes stare into the distance as you look for answers and questions both. I remember this as being my first visit to a Gurudwara considering I was not of the same faith, but there is something unique about Sikhism, their belief in their gurus and their belief in themselves is what guides their religion. Some of the most tenacious men and women I have met in my life follow this faith. Everything has its flipsides and we were witness to those as we went around the temple looking at the ruins from Operation Blue Star. In all our might and anger we forget the sanctity of a place, we forget that peace and love for all humans is ingrained in every brick in those walls. And we use those same walls to hide our crimes and cover for our misgivings.

I remember post all this being stupendously hungry and eating langar for the first time in my life. Food prepared by devotees for devotees, the Harmandir Sahib kitchen had one of the coolest kitchen machines I ever saw even in my career as a chef. They had this machine which made rotis, and it was humongous. The rotis moved on a conveyor belt from being just a lump of dough to being perfectly round and delicious. Children, men and women of all ages did the service also known as kar seva. That meal left some lasting flavours in my head.


Wagah Border. At 21 I’m a child of a fairly peaceful time. I haven’t seen full out wars with the exception of Kargil, for me patriotism was a feeling saved for the cricket matches, Independence Day and the Republic Day Parade. I love my country and I always will, but that raw emotion, the blood rush, the heady feeling I’ve only felt at Wagah.

The sound of the soldiers boot heels on the tarmac, the flag that flutters even without the breeze, every spectator shouting themselves hoarse. I remember shouting. A lot. Enough to lose my voice for a couple of days. If I’d have been older maybe id have cried a little too.

Stories of pain, of sacrifice, of the Partition, of long lost family, of prisoners of war, of treason, of traitors and of heroes echo form both sides of the border. Rolling fields of mustard, and a coiled wire of steel. That’s what separates us from our origins. From our history. A lot of us came from across, and settled this side and the other way too. Will we ever get to see our birthplaces or those of our ancestors.

Thoughts that stray across my head as the gates close at sundown, the flags at half mast and sounds of Bharat Mata Ki Jai linger in the air.

Back onto the bus, and off to Delhi again.

I write all this a decade later, colours in my head have changed and peoples faces are missing as are names and exact minute to minute details. But Amritsar you changed something inside me, thank you.