(a poem about love from ancient India)

His form
in my eyes,
His touch
in my limbs,
His words
in my ears,
His heart
in my heart :
Now who's separated?

- Translated from 'Prakrit'  by Arvind Krishna Mehrotra, Indian Love Poems 

In conversation with 13 fabulous women

They say youth is wasted on the young. I think that applies specially to women, with so many of us losing precious years in our search for strength and sensuality. Which is why, while the world rushes towards the Millennials, I decided to look in the other direction towards 13 fabulous women who actually know something about navigating the complex journey called Life, to get a fix on what womanhood and International Woman’s Day means to them.

‘When the face fits’ is an Italian way of saying ‘someone is comfortable in their skin’. I like the ‘face fits’ analogy; it has a wonderful symbolism of someone who’s found herself, let go of pretences, complexes and all that’s unnecessary. And it’s the best way to describe the achievers you’ll encounter on this page. All these women have been through their share (and then some) of highs and lows, and have emerged victorious in the most authentic version of themselves.

Pour yourself a nice cuppa (or a stiff vodka) and read what they have to say. Maybe you’ll agree with their views, and maybe you won’t. But that’s all right. As a wise man once said, ‘it is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it’.

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21 Weird & Interesting Facts about Valentine’s Day

Romance, love, flowers and candy hearts, that’s what Valentine’s day is all about, right? Not exactly – from its bloody origins to chocolaty modern day traditions, here are 21 interesting facts you probably didn’t know about Valentine’s Day. 

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An Urduwala’s Poetic Response to 4 Greatest Love Letters Ever Written : The Ultimate Ode to Love

Valentine’s Day is around the corner and in search for some magical words, I sent a personal selection of 4 most romantic love letters written by famous artists & authors to an effervescent champion of Urdu literature – Dr. Saif Mahmood – for some playful and love filled Jugalbandi.

‘Jugalbandi’ as you may know, is a duet performance when two soloists of different traditions engage in a playful competition and respond to each other on equal footing.

In this case, Saif chose sentimental verses of Faiz, Jaun Elia, Amjad Islam & Parveen Shakir (accompanied with translation) in response to letters written by Cash, Hemingway, Lafayette and Beethoven.

The magic which follows will make even the most hardened cynics give love another chance. For the rest of us – a throbbing heart is all that we’ll be left with at the end of these words.

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Our 68th Republic Day & 10 Quotes About India That Will Fill You With Pride

I decided to move back to India (from London) on this day, six years ago. At the time I’d been living abroad for little over nine years. It was 2011 and even though there were many a reason to stay back in London, I wanted to return.

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Of unrequited love

Just Google it and you’ll find 12.4 million results for unrequited love. Starting with a Wikipedia entry, to beautifully designed Pinterest quotes, books of poems, essays, journals – one gets a distinct feeling that this brand of love is even more popular than ‘real love’.

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Another Brick in the Wall

Last night I had a vivid, larger than life but a really strange (strange!) dream.

I’ve come to a top-notch, pretty chi-chi, super luxury resort, spread over the length & breath of an island. Everywhere I look, I see beautiful things and glamorous people. I am so chuffed about being here – after all the years work and clever thinking – I am finally at the place of my dreams. Wide-eyed and delirious with joy, it took me a while to realise that everyone at the resort looked similar. At first I couldn’t see it but then boom, it struck me. Everyone is wearing a ‘crown’- a conical contraption made of gold and shiny jewels. Some crowns are super shiny and large, others either a bit jaded or small but every guest is wearing one. That is, everyone except me. 

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Thinking the ‘unthinkable’ : My experiment with Anti-Excess

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Almost everyone who knows me, knows this – I am a material girl. Infact I am so materialistic that even materialism needs a pair of sunglasses to look at me. No kidding!

Perhaps which is why I should be surprised at my own surprise when I saw two double door wardrobes, a 6-feet clothes rack, two side boards and one chest of drawers bursting at the seams when I moved with ‘just my essentials’ to my new, even if temporary abode in Bambolim, Goa.

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A heady rush of magic & satisfaction

I remember flying down to Jodhpur in January (2014) to meet the organisers of a new festival on the horizon – they took me on a tour of the venue (the majestic Mehrangarh Fort) and told me about their amazing programming idea: Jodhpur Flamenco and Gypsy Festival which was scheduled for March (2014). The only problem was that while they had it all planned out in their mind  – the sponsors, partners and therefore artists were yet to come on board! Not one. Nada.

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