Month: September 2009

Mothi Aai…

What do I tell you all about a person with whom I’ve shared a love-hate relationship. I’ve known people who were doted upon by their grandparents and who have had all 4 grandparents around them as they grew up. Their grandparents were their best friends and confidants.

Take my mom for instance, she was her great-grandmother’s favourite, pampered by her to no extent and practically raised by her. Her grandmother adored her cause she was the first child in the house, the child of her first daughter. Mom often recollects those days and my aaji (granny) whom we fondly called Mothi Aai ( Big Mother) always had a tale or two to add to it.

I for one was not so close to my grandparents till I grew up. My paternal grandfather had expired when my Papa was a child and my paternal grandmother stayed in the village most times. Once she came to the city, she lived with my eldest uncle and I rarely spent time with her to develop any bond. All my life I had known only 2 grandparents – my mom’s parents; they lived in the same building as ours. Both my parents worked, so I was at their place when my parents left for work. I don’t recollect much but one thing I recollect was that I was not their favourite, Didi always was.

She was their first grand-child. When I was born they both wanted a grandson, but here was a grand-daughter and to some extent they were a bit disappointed. I took this to heart till I grew up and it affected my relationship to some extent with them, and kept me away from developing the special bond that my sister shared with them.

But despite these biases from her and my side – Mothi Aai took care of me in her own way. She would bathe me, massage me when I was a baby, put me to sleep and clean up my mess. I never realised the importance of these little things then, but I do now. I always had trouble with pus infections and it was she who cleaned it up for me with her soft hands, not once did I feel the pain.

I would throw tantrums while eating but she would patiently feed me and make what I wanted. I always preferred my mom’s cooking and she would get angry at me when I would tell her it did not turn out like mom’s. I loved to see her reaction and guess most times just said it to tease her.

Mothi Aai was an excellent cook, she knew that and she also knew that mom had inherited her skills. After my marriage, when I took charge of my kitchen she was pleasantly surprised to see me cook and cook well – she would often tell mom that I had inherited the best of both. Yes, I owe my cooking skills to her and mumma.

We shared a common love for non-veg food, no one in my house was as crazy after non-veg as we both were. My grandpa was a pure vegetarian and Mothi Aai a pure non-veg. I often thought that theirs was a love marriage as I could not fathom this difference in their eating habits.

Mothi Aai was an brilliant cook especially when it came to non-veg. Her ‘Kombdi – Vade’ were famous and so was her awesome Biryani. When my grandpa retired from his school they started a small business at home. She made the world’s best ‘Shankarpali, Karanji and Chakli’ and supplied in bulk daily to the likes of ‘Panshikar Hotels and Stores’ in Mumbai. So famous was her Diwali ‘Faral’ that people confirmed orders 2 months in advance.

She enjoyed cooking and loved feeding her loved ones. Every day in the evening, Didi and I would get hot, hot Shankarpali with Chai whose taste is still fresh in my mouth. Her Batata Wadas were the best of the lot better than any Mumbai Vada you would’ve ever had. The first time I made them they turned out exactly like hers and she beamed with pride.

We fought a lot, I found her too orthodox and she found me too rebellious and disobedient. I never took things at face value and always had multiple questions to ask. Why are we dong this, Why do I need to do this, Is it necessary to do this, What will happen if I don’t do it? Didi never troubled her and just listened to her quietly; me on the other hand was inquisitiveness personified and drove her nuts with my opinions. In short she would tell me you are a carbon copy of your dad. If she ever said anything against my father I’d fight with her like crazy and not speak to her for ages. If she would scold me I’d always retort – yes I know I’m your step-grand-daughter. That would anger her even more and she would shout if you were, would I’ve taken care of you? Our arguments would continue and eventually mumma would have to intervene and drag me away.

Mothi Aai and I grew a bit close after my Papa’s death and later after Didi’s marriage. Her other grandchildren were not living with her; she and I were stuck with each other:-) She kept mumma and me company till we gathered our lives and got back to our routine. She knew it was hard not to miss my papa but she tried in her own way to give us strength; after all she too had survived 5 years then post grandpa’s death.

She was most thrilled when I announced my marriage. She always felt I would never fall in love and never ever marry, and that worried her at times:-) She loved MDH from the moment he stepped into my house. She was always biased towards her grand-son-in-laws, be it MDH or my Jiju ( Didi’s husband). In her opinion, I was lucky to have found MDH not the other way around. I was dead worried about mumma being alone after my marriage but Mothi Aai gave me a promise which she kept till the very end.

For the last 5 years since 26Dec, 2004 – my wedding day; Mothi Aai returned to take care of her daughter. She never left my mumma alone for a single day and was there at my home every single night to keep her company so that she would not feel my or Papa’s absence. Nothing deterred Mothi Aai, not her age, not her health. She climbed down 3 floors from my uncle’s house and climbed up 2 floors to my mom’s house every single night. She refused to stay continuously at my mom’s house as she needed to pray to her family gods which were in her house.

She made her first foreign trip to my home in Dubai and that was the proudest moment in her life. Until 2006, having lived for 80 years, she had never been to an airport and never seen a plane. Till date, she told everyone proudly that she travelled abroad thanks to MDH and me. MDH held her hand the day she landed in Dubai and did not leave her side till she reached safely back home in Mumbai. She was so proud of him and doted on him. He was the grandson she always wanted, she has 4 adorable grandsons but remember I said she wanted one when I was born, I gave her MDH as my replacement and she was more than happy to welcome him.

Last Wednesday when I spoke to her, she and I were planning her second trip to Dubai. She wanted to see our new house and be driven around in our car. We were planning what she would cook when she got here and what places we must visit. But then the next day she decided to say her good-byes, no warning, no signs, just all of a sudden.

Mom called me at 9.30 on Thursday night and her voice was shaking when she uttered Mothi Aai’s name. At that very moment I knew what had happened. Mothi Aai was no more. My Aaji, my only granny was no more. When I was finally getting to be close to her and letting her know that how important she was to me, god decided it was enough.

People tell me she lived a good life, I know she did. She did not trouble anyone till her death, she was independent, loving, talkative and fun-loving. She travelled places and loved visiting people. She was fit and fine and on her 2 feet despite 3-4 operations. She refused to accept any diet restrictions cause she believed in enjoying her life to the fullest.

She had 5 lovely children, 2 wonderful son-in-laws, 3 doting daughters-in-laws and 8 loving grandchildren. She was not perfect, I know she was flawed, she had her biases , did not make the best mother-in-law but she learnt, tried and improved her self with times. She adjusted to her rebellious grand children and came down to being their friend instead of an over-bearing grandma.

I know she had her favourites and she did not deny it; but I know she had begun to love me equally and we were beginning to forgive each other for all our past misgivings.

She saw her only great grand-child, not many get that privilege today. When she would trouble Didi and me for one more grand-child, I would tease her as to how greedy she was being. She would hear me out and tell me do you know why I’m still alive Minu? It’s because I have the will and hope to see all the things I want to and enjoy what I desire. It keeps me going, all these things. Why should I be content and tell God take me away when I’m fit and fine, even today I can take care of your child single-handedly, even your mumma and aunts will struggle but I won’t.

I know you wouldn’t have Mothi Aai , I know you would’ve taken care of my little one better than anyone else. If I can gather even 25% of the will-power you had I know I will live a long life.

I’ll miss you, I’ll miss your presence forever. When I return to Worli now, there will be no one waiting for me so that we can enjoy Mutton Curry together, no one to get Masala Kaju for, no one to tease and fight all over again. But more importantly, I’ll never again leave the shores of Mumbai carefree when I board my Dubai flight. You gave me the comfort that Mumma was taken care of; I won’t have that comfort anymore.

You do know that I‘ll miss you even though I could never tell you how much I loved you. You were after all my sole grandparent. You knew that didn’t you?

Reliving some moments with you again:

That’s at my naming ceremony – I realised that my nose was like yours and Mami told me we both sleep in the same way. Guess you have left a part of yours in all of us.


That’s at your 50th marriage anniversary with the lovely family you and grandpa raised. Not many make it to their 50th wedding anniversary, you do know you were special


That is you with mumma heading for your first foreign trip to Dubai


That is at the Madinat Jumeirah with Burj-Al-Arab in the background

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And finally your smiling face we will always remember, you lead a lovely blessed life.

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Mothi Aai we will miss you, you know that don’t you?

Well Said Afridi…

I’m mighty pleased after this article. Shahid comes up with some interesting points –

“India has been lucky to have beaten Pakistan in all the ICC events”.

Yeah for 17 years one has to be ‘really lucky’ to win against Pak despite the fact that none of these matches were close contests except the 2 the T20 WC07. The rest of the stats here.

The only benefit of the doubt I’ll still give him is that this game is highly unpredictable just as this man’s game is. Plus the two rivals have not met in the ICC Champions Trophy since its inception in 1998, and India’s performance in the last 2 editions has not been noteworthy.

But the next statement amused me the most. When asked whether Sachin Tendulkar was still a threat to Pakistan, Afridi said, "In case of Sachin, you’re talking about him in the form he was in 2003. This is 2009."

First, Sachin’s Stats in 2003 & 2009. I’m not much of stats believer but still numbers do lend credence to the statements one makes.


Year Mat Inn NOs Runs Hs 100s 50s Avg S/R




















In 2009, Sachin has played less matches consciously in order to keep his ‘ageing’ body going till the 2011 WC. He is still far more fitter than most but he is at a stage in his career where he can and has the right to choose which matches he plays.

He still averages better than that in 2003 with a better strike rate. He is still in the same if not better form than that in 2003. So tell me how does this make him less of a threat? If not anything, Afridi should be worried cause India has two rock solid batsmen in Gambhir & Dravid to assist Sachin and will be followed by Raina, Dhoni and Yuvraj. Sachin Tendulkar will probably bat with utmost ease this time around than he has ever in his entire career.

Second, does the bloke not know that Sachin Tendulkar may not read all that is written in the media about him but he does keep track of what players are saying about him. In my 20 years of watching this game and reading every possible word written about the little master – I cannot recollect a single instance where he has belittled any player in the game. But then you don’t expect the same of players like Afridi do you? He is the same person who was in awe of Sachin after he had hit the fastest hundred with the little master’s bat. People have short memories but they forget that GOD does not.

Remember the attack launched against Olonga or Warne himself in the ‘98 test series against Aus after being out for 4 in the first innings in Chennai. He does not forget words said to him even in an exhibition match and who better than Abdul Qadir to tell the story. GOD was only 16 then when he hammered the veteran for 4 sixes in an over.

Just one last word Shahid before you go mincing words without thinking, tell me again why this man who is in his 21st cricketing season and with the following record is not a threat anymore?

Team Mat Inn NOs Runs Hs 100s 50s Avg S/R





















I’m not so sure you are in a position today to comment on the little master’s abilities. You who joined the game 7 seasons later than him and with the record which is not even 10% close to GOD’s.

Team Mat Inn NOs Runs Hs 100s 50s Avg S/R





















Sachin never forgets a word said about him whether good or bad and I sure hope Shahid, that he definitely does not this time. It’s time to open our account in the ICC Champions Trophy come Saturday.

We will be waiting.

3 books, 3 stories and 3 moods…

I came back from Mumbai with a few must reads on my shelf. Before I hit the 3 huge cricket books I thought I’d finish the short ones first. ‘Marrying Anita’ by Anita Jain, ‘Q&A’ by Vikas Swarup and ‘My Friend Sancho’ by Amit Varma.

I’m not particular when it comes to books – I’ve no strict likings to a particular genre. If someone tells me it’s a good read, I’ll head for it right away. Having heard fair reviews of all the 3 books, I thought I’d buy them right away.

I started with ‘Marrying Anita’. An autobiographical novel by the author. It is a story of an Indian girl in her thirties, born and brought up in USA, who comes to the shores of her motherland in search of the perfect husband. I thought it might make an interesting read. Indian marriages are by far the best entertainment – they have all the drama, comedy, misery, tragedy packed in few days. No wonder movies around the subject of marriage are a huge hit! The book by itself was a big let down. I firmly believe a good book either has to have good plot or good characters, having none means that it is headed for disaster. But in recent times, where  good marketing of a bad movie ensures that the production house breaks even, good marketing of an average book makes it a best-seller. Marrying Anita is more of the main protagonist’s sexual exploits with all the men she meets rather than any story or depth to the characters involved. Most men she meets are weak and I wonder how a woman can make the mistake of giving herself to the same sort of people time and again. I was bored half-way through the book and wondered where and when it would end. Will not recommend this one to spend your money on.

Amit Varma is an excellent blogger & journalist, and I do follow his blog India Uncut like most bloggers in the blogosphere do. He is sharp, witty, sarcastic, funny and at the same time very knowledgeable and intellectual. These very qualities come out in bits and pieces in his main protagonist ‘Abir Ganguly’ especially when the young journalist is talking to himself. But just like ‘Marrying Anita’, ‘My Friend Sancho’ lacks a solid plot. Just when you think the story is building up, it comes crashing down. Other than Abir no character is well-developed in the book, especially Abir’s love interest Muneeza. I did like the fact that Amit has kept the writing simple which makes for smooth reading. It’s good for a one time read and I do hope that his next books will make for more engrossing reading.

Finally, Q&A by Vikas Swarup makes for one hell of a gripping read. I’ve still not seen ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ since I wanted to read the book first. I try to read the books first before I watch the movie based on a book. No movie can do justice to the book and having read the book you just understand the plot and characters better! Of course the disappointment that the movie can never be as good as the book will always persist.

With every chapter Swarup raises the reader’s curiosity. Q & A is the kind of book where you don’t want a break and want to finish it at one go. So what did Ram Mohammad Thomas get as the next question, what happened in his life that he could answer this one. I’m not going to narrate the story as that would mean spoiling the reader’s interest in the book. But it sure tells you that life can be one hell of a quiz show and you need to be really lucky to get the questions that you happened to know the answers to. That’s what Ram tells his lawyer Smita.

Every chapter in the book deals with Ram’s life of eighteen years and it’s a mere coincidence and his luck that he gets those very questions to which he knows the answers to. Vikas Swarup narrates a story whose climax is unpredictable and that is what makes for an interesting book. Every chapter is a story in its own and it all takes an interesting turn at the end which the reader cannot guess. Go for it, this one is a must have and one you would want to read again and again.

The next 3 in line belong to my first love – Cricket:-) Tugga’s autobiography, Gavaskar’s biography and the Other God’s compilation of his works.

Work schedules are hectic and hence more time will be needed to complete these relatively huge works of excellence but as and when the reading is completed , a review will be up on this blog.

When the other ‘GOD’ speaks

If you have read this blog in the past or browsed through some latest posts you would know who I’m talking about. Not about ‘GOD’ on-field but about the other GOD off-field.

He has been in the cricket world for last 20 years or more. I hooked on to cricket and primarily test cricket in ‘91 when India toured down under. He did the commentary for ABC radio. Test matches down under were not telecast live on television then. Cable had not yet swamped India and following matches live on radio was still the thing to do. Every morning papa would switch on the radio and we both would be glued in ball-by-ball and later catch the highlights at night. Since then, I became a huge fan of this super intelligent man – Harsha Bhogle. His writing is inspirational, witty, analytical, thought provoking, never run-of-the-mill and always Out-of–the-Box, which also happens to be the title of his first book. I have bought it, will read it and the review will be up on the blog soon.

To those who would like to know some more of India’s finest cricket commentator, read and hear this candid interview with Prem Panicker.

He talks about cricket lacking good writers in the country, people no longer following the game for the game alone, youngsters not having the will to push for test cricket,the latest Ashes series,the reason for Australia’s recent downfall, IPL and if all three forms of cricket can co-exist, BCCI’s goal and development of Indian cricket, and if his job feels like a grind.

It makes for an interesting read as always. I wish BCCI hires him as a consultant – I really thought that the bit about doing away with the state administration and having franchises run state teams, in all forms of the game at domestic level could in many ways bode well for the game.

I won’t say more, go ahead and read this one. It is not to be missed.

Has justice finally been served ?

I came across this post by IHM – Who will POTA empower. IHM puts a voice to all the thoughts that went around in my head when I read about this case.

If Ishrat is indeed innocent then is the cold-blooded murder under POTA justified by the police? Was there enough evidence to shoot the young girl in such a manner? If she was indeed guilty why did she not get a fair trial?

Kasab goes and murders a thousand people in front of our eyes – there are numerous eye witnesses and evidence is caught on camera yet his trial continues for a year, so why did Ishrat not get one?

A friend of mine wrote to me in response that sometimes it is worth to sacrifice innocent lives if in the longer run it saves a million. I agree not – taking innocent lives is simply not acceptable when the real criminals are running scot free. It is fairly easy for us to pass judgements since our near an dear ones are not involved. God forbid if that were to happen would we be so cold-hearted and judgemental about Ishrat’s case

I don’t think you understand English

I’m back from my hectic trip to Mumbai (which explains the blog break). I used to meet little ‘C’ almost everyday when we were neighbours; now it’s almost once a week thing. C was on her vacation as well and I was going to meet her after more than a month!
MDH and I had picked up a “Amar Chitra Katha” book for her (She enjoys books thanks to her parents)

She had a cooking session in her school where they were given the recipe for ‘Cup-A-Corn’. So the day we visited her, she ensured her mother cooked the Cup-A-Corn.

C (only 4 yrs old) has her unique dishes such as tea with ginger-garlic, special lemonade and her latest craze of Glucon-D. So I keep asking her for her special recipes and she obliges immediately. Hot corn is my favourite snack and I know that she enjoys a little bit of attention, so I asked her if she would give me her recipe for the “Cup-A-Corn”

C made a serious face and promptly said, “But Minal Mavshi (That’s what you call your mom’s sister in Marathi ) it is only in English , I don’t have any other!

MDH almost spilled his tea and I had a dumb-stricken look on my face. Seconds later we burst out laughing. Hell, I’ve no idea why C would think I don’t understand English !!! I think it’s time to direct her to my blog and articles!

The Second One

From Starry Eyed…

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Sands had tagged me first hence most questions here! But I simply cannot not do the tag again when a wonderful blogger thinks you are worthy of an award!!! Starry Eyed Thanks a ton!! It’s an honour.

So although late ( I was on a vacation in Mumbai for a wedding) I had to complete it! Hence I’ve picked up some questions not in the earlier one and entered my responses here!

What do you think about the person who tagged you?

This is for Starry Eyed  – I think she is a terrific mother and my inspiration for the one wish I’ve shared with her!

What’s the principle you live life by?

If I did not get it I did not deserve it, If I have got it I have bloody well earned it!

Which is your favourite poem?

I am not a poetry freak and even if it sounds clichéd this one inspires me time and again- “IF” by Rudyard Kipling

Which feature of yours do you like the most?

The dimple on my left cheek:-))

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