Category: Tributes Page 1 of 2

Hawa Hawai – The Queen who Ruled our Hearts!

It was the winter of ’88 and it was our first overnight school trip to Nasik – few 8-year olds attempting to master the steps of Hawa Hawai. Mr India had taken the country by storm and Sridevi with her dancing skills and 1000 expressions had stolen every girl and boy’s heart. Her expressive, lovely doe-eyes, her graceful movements, her impeccable comic timing, her fearless attitude – all combined in that 6-minute number, put us all in awe of her forever.

Little did we girls know then what a fine actress she was; we were not really exposed much to the world of Tamil and Telugu cinema, where she was already an established actress. I had watched none of her previous films or probably have minimal recollection of watching any before Mr. India.

Mr. India is a movie that will always remain close to my heart for many, many reasons – the kids, the story, Anil Kapoor’s innocence, Satish Kaushik’s memorable Calendar, Amrish Puri as the most favourite villain Mogambo; but over and above all – for Sridevi’s stunning portrayal of reporter Seema. It was a multi-faceted character –  a fine example of how a woman should be – fearless, independent, and compassionate. There was no doubt why she was such a hit amongst the kids, especially girls.

As I became her fan, I started to watch more of her movies and few years later ended up watching Sadma, the first time in Tamil (Moondram Pirai) – thanks to the awesome films that DD National showcased on the Sunday afternoon slot at 1:30 p.m. I cried like crazy and kept asking my parents why won’t Viji recognise Cheenu, he took care of her when she had lost her memory, someone get her memory back, make her get off from the train and remember him. The irony dawned on me many years later, when I was old enough to understand. Sadma was one of the most heart-breaking films I have ever watched; the credit for that rests with Sridevi and Kamal Hassan for their outstanding portrayals of Viji and Cheenu respectively.

I ended up watching many of Sridevi’s hits before Mr India, well after the release of Mr. India, thanks to VHS rental libraries in those days.  Then came Chalbaaz and Chandni, and though the latter is not one of my favourite films, I can never forget how beautiful she looked in those gorgeous chiffon sarees which almost became her trademark. Remember the song – Tere Mere Hothon Pe

Chaalbaaz was a complete riot and Sridevi single-handedly overshadowed a star cast boasting of Anupam Kher, Rajnikant, Anu Kapoor, Shakti Kapoor and Rohini Hattangady; hell, she even managed to get Sunny Deol to dance! Na Jaane Kahan se Aayi – The song stayed on top of the charts only cause of her amazing dancing skills and expressions!

In 1991, Yash Chopra gave us a path breaking movie in Lamhe. The movie was well ahead of its times and probably why people could not digest the plot line; but I loved it the first time I watched it and l Iove it even now. The star cast was excellent, the script and dialogues simple, yet poignant and it showcased love in innumerable forms. I cannot pick a single favourite song from the album – all numbers equally hummable. I can’t recollect the umpteen number of times we performed to ‘Morni’ at various occasions! Sridevi again pulled off the impossible – she outshone all the heavy-weights in the star cast that included Waheedaji. Her portrayal of Pooja stole your heart and you kept cheering for her to win her Kunwarji’s love! And even in that serious storyline – the comedian in her struck gold with an equally fantastic actor Anupam Kher; the result was a laughter riot in this medley from the 50-60s.

Her comic timing was exemplary and probably her most underrated talent – just watch this Charlie Chaplin act she pulled off with ease in Mr. India or her hilarious act from the song in Chaalbaaz; you will know what I mean.


As much as she was known for her fine acting skills, she was an extremely accomplished dancer and I will just let you all watch a few snippets from her ‘Tandav Nritya’ performances in some of her films.


She did not give any major hits in the late 90s and then took a sabbatical. I tried watching some episodes of Malini Iyer but I could not continue beyond a couple of episodes; as I did not want to lose any memories of her that were so ingrained in me while growing up.

I made my peace that she had retired for good because not every superstar can reinvent themselves like Amitabh did later in his career. How wrong I was about her! Come 2012 and she came back with a bang as Mrs. Deshpande, aided by a lovely cast, terrific script, fresh director and superb soundtrack; Sridevi took me back to my childhood days. As I watched her dance to the beats of Navrai Majhi, she had wooed me back! I realised that the kid in me had never left and I was back in being in awe of her!

I watched English Vinglish – First Day First show in the Theatres and realised how much I had missed her in the movies. Madhuri was/is my favourite (and there is a loads of Marathi bias in that fandom), but I loved Sridevi to bits and her playing a Marathi lady from Pune was the ultimate icing on the cake.

Since then I have been eagerly waiting to see her in new roles and redefine her career as Amitabh did; and then suddenly out of nowhere, the news of her demise hit me on Saturday night. I can’t quite understand how someone you have never met can bring that feeling of emptiness in you once they are gone. Sridevi was such a huge part of my growing up – especially made those late 80s and early 90s so memorable. Her death brought back all those lovely associated memories and I realised after all these years, I can still recollect most of them vividly.

I still cannot believe she is gone. For the next few weeks, I will go back to browsing YouTube for her videos and movies, and listening to Hawa Hawai in a loop – and when the song plays, that memory of us 8-year olds trying to master the dance step (5:44 onwards in the clip above) from that song will keep coming back.

You will continue to rule our memories dearest Sridevi, even when you are long gone, because you were the only Queen that ruled our hearts!

My Mumma’s Chocolate Hero

This post was selected for BlogAdda’s Tangy Tuesday Picks


I called my mumma around 10.00 a.m today to check if she had heard the news. She obviously had no clue as she was her chirpy self when she answered my call. When I asked her if she had seen the news – she wondered what had happened; then I told her that Dev Anand had passed away. She didn’t react for a minute, I heard a sigh and then she said,

“Minu, he was my Chocolate Hero”.

I grew up knowing Dev Anand as the “Chocolate Hero”. It was difficult as a little girl to hear my mum call him that; because for me no one other than my Papa should have been her hero. What did I know of teenage crushes then and how long they lasted – Later I would eventually discover through my own crushes, that they last a lifetime.

I was even more amazed when my Papa joined in praising Dev Anand and his famous puff of hair. My mum tells me that my dad sported a small puff of hair, something similar if not exactly like that of Dev Anand. And yes, as a 25 year old in his black and white snap (as seen here on the left) – Papa would’ve given the Bollywood heroes a run for their money.

My parents were huge fans of the terrific trio – Raj Kapoor, Dilip Kumar and Dev Anand; they who ruled the Indian Cinema in the Golden Era of 50s & 60s. I doubt there is a movie they have missed watching. My parents were also huge music aficionados. Their most treasured possession is the huge collection of Gramophone records and the record player. Mum tells me even today that there is no charm in my Walkman, Cassette, CDs, iPod – nothing beats her Gramophone player. Yes, the real charm lay in her record player.

I was a late child so my parents were almost a decade elder to most of my friends’ parents; the nostalgia they were associated with and I grew up with was different from that of my friends.

I woke up every morning to the voice of Lata,Asha,Kishore,Rafi,Manna Dey, Hemant Da. Morning time was my mumma and papa’s music time – going about the house chores and getting ready to work to the melodies of 50-70s. I grew up with that music and my mom’s lovely voice. It’s a tragedy she never pursued her singing seriously.

So even though I was a 80s kid – the golden era of Indian cinema and music was ingrained in me more than the music of my generation. 70s-80s were full of insane action movies and the romance that my parents grew up with was utterly lacking or missing in those films. 80s were also by far the worst time for Bollywood music – only did the advent of Khans and romance in 90s change that bit.

I’ve not seen all of the famous trio’s films but my parents have. Every time I went about praising the movies of my generation – my mom got back raving about films of her generation and I always lost the debate to her. No one in my family won an argument against my Papa, so me getting to win one against the movies of his generation was next to impossible. They always told me that the films made in the 50s-60s were way ahead of their time, it was a mature  and classy cinema that tackled issues involving all strata of society. Over the years though, mumma and I have come to an amicable agreement that Bollywood has changed and made some excellent movies in my time.

The one thing though I never debated with them was the music of the 50s-60s. The fact that those songs are first remembered while playing Antakshari is a testimony to their popularity across generations. The melody is not the same anymore, it was pure in those days – no digitized voices or mixes – just the true souls of the lyricists, music directors and singers that came together to produce unadulterated melody that has lasted many a lifetimes.

There was no doubt that Dilip Kumar, Raj Kapoor and Dev Anand were all very handsome, good-looking men but Dev Anand fitted the bill of the romantic hero to perfection – the first romantic hero of Indian cinema as Mum always said. He brought alive the voices of Rafi and Kishore on screen. He probably got their best songs and he did great justice to them – romancing the ladies, romancing nature and romancing love itself. Dev Anand epitomized Romance. His mischievous smile, his twinkling eyes, his puff of hair –  how could you not love him?

He gave us so many memorable songs and movies that this post will run into a multiple pages citing them all and the reasons why I’ve grown to love them.

CID, Paying Guest, Hum Dono, Teen Deviyan, Guide, Jewel Thief, Johnny Mera Naam, Kaala Pani, Baazi, Patita,Taxi Driver, Munimji, Nav Do Gyarah, Bambai Ka Babu, Jab Pyar Kisise Hota Hain, Asli-Naqli, Tere Mere Sapne – My parents collection in their Gramophone Records  that is today transferred to my iPod. These are eternal classics, they remain an integral part of their teenage and youth and later my childhood.

Among all though my all-time favourite romantic song is “Abhi Na Jao Chod Kar”


No other song comes close to it. Rafi’s voice and Dev Anand’s on screen acting makes you go weak in the knees. I listen to it almost every day – the song remains mesmerizing to this day.

Teenage crushes are tough to get over; when I drool over the chocolate hero of my generation – Aamir Khan, my mum snubs me reminding me that hers was incomparable, that there was and will always be only one Chocolate Hero

Her Chocolate Hero – The First One- The Original – The Evergreen Dev Anand.

RIP Dev Saab – You touched a million hearts across generations!

Rest in Peace Tejaswee

I didn’t know you until I had read this last week. I know little of your mum from her inspiring blogs. I prayed hard for you to get well. I checked today for the update on you and did not want to read this.

I have seen death at close quarters – my father,grandparents,cousin, uncles. I’ve seen my aunt lose her beloved son (at an age little older than yours Tejaswee). 19 is not an age to die , it is supposed to be an age where you start living. I’ve hated God many a times before, and when I read IHM’s post today – I landed up hating him again. Why does he do this – take a child away before the parents? There is no telling what the parents go through when they lose their beloved child. It takes immense strength to overcome that grief and void.

It’s not easy for the ones who stay behind, your mum has shown her strength – but even though you are far away you need to be with her and shower that radiant smile on her always from above.

May you shine forever in your new world. IHM I’ve no words – you are a fine woman from the little I’ve known you. You are strong and we are with you in this hour.

Tejaswee – rest in peace sweet child. Your blog leaves behind your legacy – the childlike exuberance and the ladylike maturity – a fine reflection of your mom. You will be in memory forever.


Minu you are just like your dad – every time I hear that line, I beam with pride. I have been an out and out daddy’s girl. I’ve inherited his forthrightness, his in-your-face attitude, his loyalty, his faith, his discipline, his practicality, his meticulousness, his tidiness, his organization skills, his temper, and yes fortunately a part of his intelligence.

A brilliant writer with impeccable knowledge, if circumstances were in his favour he would’ve made a brilliant lawyer. A brilliant teacher , I don’t have the exact number of people he taught and trained to clear the promotion exams in Mumbai Municipal Corporation. The house would be full and he would be touring multiple BMC branches to coach the officers without charging a single penny. He believed money cannot compare to the joy one gets from imparting knowledge and seeing your students do well. Even after his retirement I rarely saw him free from work – his work was his passion, his life.

Always the one to help anyone and everyone who came to him, I don’t recollect anyone returning disappointed from our house. A strict disciplinarian and well respected in both families, always the one most sought after for guidance. A mentor, a guide, a loving family man.

The reason behind all the good I’ve achieved in life, the one responsible for my self-belief and confidence and my mumma’s lifeline. The one who built the bridges when mom and I had our numerous fights. The one who made me steaming hot dal-rice when I returned home from my 10th prelim exams. The only one who loved the tea I made ( I do not make tea very well:-()

The person behind my cricket craziness, who encouraged this stupid passion and hobby of mine. The one who got me addicted to the lovely game and watching matches live at stadium. The one who recorded all the cricket matches I missed due to school and college, so that I could watch every ball again. The one who built me a mini-library of books which hooked me onto reading. The one who made me independent and ready for survival in this world. The one to whom I rarely mentioned how much I loved and respected him.

His only flaw – to him his daughter seemed the most perfect person and there was none like her. I would be often embarrassed when he would go on praising me to family and friends but he was always the first one to keep me grounded to earth. All you need in life is balance – my papa taught me that!

I can write a million pages on him but will end this tribute with a poem I wrote for him 5 years ago on his birthday:

Your face lit up
The day you held her in your arms,
Years of waiting, years of prayers,
Had finally brought the smiles.

The man above chose a wonderful day,
To let her walk into your world of two,
The same auspicious day,
He had chosen to unite you two.

Home of two,
Now abode of three,
Two faces smiling and glee,
A little toddler binding thee.

Little lady growing into a brat,
She was your raja, beta and a champ at that,
Driving her mom crazy and mad,
You would convince her mom she wasn’t that bad.

You held her little hands,
Taught her to walk and run on the sands,
Sands of time they were to be,
She knew you would always be there to guide thee.

Every evening she would wait at the door,
For the bell to ring twice,
The unique bell to remind her,
You had come to make her day twice as nice.

Mom knew she was becoming you,
A little version she said,
How will she be without you,
She worried and said.

She would often ponder how you would react:
At her graduating into a young rebel lady,
At her independence in thoughts,
At her getting her first salary,
At her friends who were lovable brats,
At her choice to live away from home,
At her choice to marry the guy she loved,
At her constant arguing with mum,
At the values and principles she developed,
At her every little thing!

She still ponders over and over,
She tries to gauge your reactions,
From the 17 years you spent with her,
Would it be similar to what her mind mentions?

She questions and finds no answer,
Why did god love you so,
To keep you with him forever,
Why was he unfair to take you so.

She is treading carefully on the sands of time,
Looking up to find your assuring smile,
She reaches home and waits aside,
Hoping someday that the doorbell will ring twice!

It is 13+ years since you’ve gone and the void remains, time does not heal and I still miss you Papa every single day of my life.


This post is an entry to the BlogAdda contest – Tribute to Dad. Hoping the lucky ones pick up a great gift for their dads from and wishing all the wonderful fathers a very Happy Father’s Day!

Missing Akka

Akka is the grandmother I’ve not spoken about much on this blog. My aunt’s mom, my Didu’s maternal grandmother. Majority of my childhood has been spent with my Didu’s maternal relatives just as hers has been spent with my paternal relatives.

School vacations were equally distributed with spending time in Pune and Ahmednagar. Ahmednagar is my aunt’s home. I have lovely memories of that house. It is in the main town of Ahmednagar, the town with loads of dust and heat. The house was bang on the roadside with Baba Aajoba’s small electrical shop in the veranda, the passage led to an open area in the centre of the house where the sun hit hard. There was a huge black jar kept for drinking water in which the water remained as chilled as it would be when kept in the freezer. The 4-year old me would ask Akka innocently, why her fridge was black while the one in my home was white. This one looks dirty, let me try scrub it and I would try scrubbing it for hours while all the elders would watch the fun! There was a small open water tank on the right side,which we term in Marathi as Haud. The kitchen was on the left hand side of the open area where Mami made her awesome food, especially her famous Khichadi. And finally, the main hall in the front, where Akka, Mama and Baba Aajoba would be seated watching TV.

When we cousins got together, we used to have a blast running around the small house especially the terrace. Baba Aajoba would be fed up with us constantly using his shop as our play area, climbing up and down the staircases and shouting hoarse from the terrace and playing games in the room on the terrace. At the end of the day, we would be dead tired and then sleep at night on the terrace cuddled up in Akka’s arms. Summer or winter made no difference to us – the bliss of being with loved ones makes you forget everything.

Mami would get me the fresh, hot diamond shaped Khari biscuit every time I visited Ahmednagar. Akka would take me around to meet her relatives and pamper me. I liked tagging along, I loved being pampered. She would bathe me every single day and scrub real hard with shikakai. It was her favourite!

We would often visit her brother’s fields and enjoy the amazing sugarcane juice and rides in tractor. She would keep getting goodies every single day that I spent in Ahmednagar and make me feel like one important lady!

Akka was a loving aaji to all her grandchildren. R was her favourite, probably her best friend. I, the outsider, was her favourite too, she told me that:-)

Once I moved on to engineering and MBA it became increasingly difficult to go to Ahmednagar and spend time with her. Mama changed the structure of the old house and we all felt a bit hurt. It was no longer the place we identified with and with that we felt our memories were lost. I lost the longing to visit and stay there. So my visits were sporadic and I only managed to meet Akka when she visited Talegaon at her elder daughter’s ( my aunt’s sister) place.

Mama, my aunt’s only brother passed away suddenly in Nov last year and with his demise Akka lost her will to live. I had met her last before I left for Dubai and every time I visited Mumbai I could not find the time to go meet her in Ahmednagar. She was getting increasingly weak and could not travel. Finally this March I squeezed a day, and went along with my mom and uncle to meet her and Mami post Mama’s death.

Her memory had gone weak I was told but I was gladdened to see her recognize me and speak with me. I don’t know what it was but I kept convincing Didu to come down to India for her delivery and not call my aunt to UK. I’m glad she did cause my aunt managed to meet her mom more often than she would’ve thought.

Akka passed away 2 weeks back on 22nd April. If Mama was around maybe she would’ve lived a few more years, but somehow the death of her only son made her feel guilty and she lost her will to live.

I miss her, it’s not easy to cope up with the death of grandparents. Didu and I’ve lost two in a span of 6 months – two wonderful ladies who loved us loads. They both passed away on a Thursday and ironically on the birthdays of their children.

I did not spend much time with Akka in the last 7-8 years as much as I would’ve liked to but I never stopped thinking about her. She loved Black raisins – I’ve sent a small pack for her every time I visited India. Had bought this time too and forgot to take it at the last minute. For the first time I would’ve given it to her myself and seen her smile – guess that moment was not there in my destiny.

I still thank god cause I got to meet her, sit with her and spend some time with her. She was a lovely lady, she reminded my mom-in-law of her own mother.

Akka I miss you, never been able to express myself enough, to you and neither to Mothi Aai, but you both have given me valuable lessons in life on how I should be to my grandchildren.

Thanks Didu for sending her snaps, the first one in her young days and the second a few years back.

8x10= 2=

Goodbye – David ‘Nelson’ Shepherd

Finally he bid his farewell.

I was fortunate enough to see him in action in India during the famous 2001 Ind-Aus series . I prayed for the team batting to hit a score of 111 or any multiple of 111; as I wanted to see him jump at the dreaded ‘Nelson’ score. It became such a known phenomenon in the game that for every match he officiated – all cameras turned to him the moment the score reached 111/222/333 etc.

He was jovial and a fun bloke. One who was admired and loved by all. Among the first ones to be on the ICC panel of neutral umpires. He remained there till his retirement.

Fair, just and always honest. He never hesitated to admit his mistakes. He brought much joy to this popular game. Though he had moved away from the field 4 years ago his presence was very much felt.

David ‘Nelson’ Shepherd will be sorely missed by one and all in the cricketing fraternity and by his fans.

May his soul rest in peace.

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?

The Prince Bids Adieu

This piece has taken a long time to come. I wanted to pen it down the day he made the announcement; an announcement that did not shock me, but one that made me feel very, very sad. So I decided to hold on and gather my thoughts about this man.

He has always left me amazed. I wonder how I’ve managed to admire him and criticize him at the same time. If I ever put down my all-time favourite lists of cricket players or my dream team, he will make it to that list. Maybe narrowly but he will!
He is the reason for my first ever piece on cricket on the internet. No other cricket article of mine on cricket sites or on my blog evoked such fierce reactions as this one did; and almost 90% of them were comments supporting this man.

For all the wrongs we have accused him of; today when he takes stock of his career, I think he did more right!

His baptism into the cricketing world was harsh. A 19-year old making his debut with another teen sensation who had swept everyone down under in ’91-92 series. He played only one match and was immediately dropped after the tour under the pretext of him being arrogant and disrespectful to elders with an attitude problem.

He returned in not the most pleasant scenarios in 1996 to England, his selection being the most debated issue then. He put his head down (unlike him) and quietly made a test debut with a hundred at Lords. Not many have a hundred on debut in the cricketing world and even few at the Mecca of world Cricket – The Lords. He ensured he had left his name in the record books.
In my years of watching cricket for so long, I don’t quite remember such a fantastic comeback to the game( And to note he made it twice in his career!). From then on began a saga which would carry many twists and turns.

He proved his all-round mettle in the ’97 Toronto Friendship Series against Pakistan. Along with Sachin and Rahul he was beginning to form a batting force in world cricket to reckon with. This was further proven by the trio’s performance in the 1999 world Cup. Remember the magic that he and Rahul wove at Taunton against SL. It rained 4s and 6s that day. His knock of 186 remains the best by an Indian in the World Cup. It even prompted Rahul to say that day, ‘On the off-side first there is God and there is Saurav’.
A statement few dispute. In his prime form, the opposition captain could place all his men on the off-side and yet this guy could manage a four. On the off-side he still reigns supreme for me. It’s a pure delight watching him.

Entrusted with the captaincy in the most turbulent times of Indian cricket; his team reached the finals of the first ever ICC Championship held in Kenya in 2000 beating the likes of mighty giants like Australia and South Africa.

Then came the 2001 Australian series at home; by far the most memorable and cherished moment of Indian cricket; close competitor to the World Cup win in 1983. He may not have contributed with the bat but purely for his captaincy and verbal duel with Steve Waugh, he ought to be given due for that victory. I’ve always maintained that you have to beat the Aussies in the mind and then on the field. He was the one guy who had the guts to take the Aussies head on, get on their nerves and give them back in their own language. It worked, ever since that series India has stunned the cricketing world by being the only nation to beat the Aussies at home and away.

He fought hard for his team, brought in young blood and built that killer instinct and hunger for victory in the team, a spirit that was always lacking in the Indian Teams of past. Sometimes purists argued against it and sometimes they applauded. But he did not care and went about his business his way.

He was termed audacious, arrogant, haughty, but he simply did not seem to care as long as his team was winning and putting up a fight. The Bengal tiger was teaching this team to roar.

And how well they did, remember 2002 Lords Natwest Trophy, remember him flaunting his bare chest in the Lords gallery. Now who would have the audacity to do it at Lords. But the answer was simple, he was giving back to the Poms back in their language. If Flintoff does it in my backyard he better expect the same! Only he would have the guts to proclaim it loud. Not Sachin, not Dravid, Not Kumble, not Kumble, only he!

Remember 2002 test series, remember the Headingly Win! It is one of the finest of India’s wins. India had begun to win abroad. It had finally crafted an overseas win after 15 long years in 2001 in Zimbabwe. South Africa, WI, England, Australia followed. Even the World Cup in 2003 remains Índia’s best performance after the 1983 World Cup. India was no longer tagged as tigers at home and lambs abroad.
My most memorable moment of his career apart from 2001 remains the 2003 series down under. His superb 144 at Brisbane set the tone for the series and India did not look back. With a tie we retained the trophy and emerged as the better team.

Then there was the slump in form & captaincy and added controversies. He saw himself in the dark again. He is not a supremely talented guy and he knows that. His attitude and grit have contributed most to his career. He fought hard, went back to domestic cricket, failed and picked himself up again.

He came back in 2006 and had his finest moments under the sun ironically at the fag end of his career. He takes back memories of a double hundred against Pak in ’07, a hard fought ’07 series with Aus down under and a terrific Farewell Series against the same opponent he most loves to beat.

A hundred in Mohali, a fine 85 in Nagpur, a sweet victorious end to a glorious hard fought career. He leaves the field a proud man. The team could not have given him a better farewell, beating Autralia , almost what he lived for throughout his cricketing life!

Saurav Ganguly, I admire him, I envy him, I really do. I’ve rarely seen a guy play till the end on his own terms. Despite all his flaws, all his weaknesses, all his short comings I still like him. He has cared a damn throughout! He has fought it out hard in the mind and on the field. He has made his presence felt and left an indelible mark on Indian cricket. He has led the brat pack of Indian cricket, he has planted the seeds of an aggressive India.
He has given me many a moments to cherish and a history that the younger generation will be proud of.

Though cricket purists will dispute, I won’t and like you I don’t care for them. Hate him or love him, but you cannot ignore him. Think of Indian cricket and you will think of him.

“The Rebel, The Revolutionary, The Prince, The Bengal Tiger, The Dada of Indian Cricket. Such was the man and such is the princely legacy he leaves behind.”

Of Jumbo and the end of my era

Now that is why Anil Kumble is known to be a man of few words

Kumble had his side of the anecdote that Tendulkar shared. “The first paper clipping that I have is of an under-17 match and the top headline says ‘Tendulkar and Kumble score centuries’,” Kumble said. “He scored a century for West Zone and I got a century for South Zone and I didn’t know who Sachin was at that point of time.

“When we first came into the Indian team, everybody in India said you [Tendulkar] would break all records. You’ve done that. Congratulations to you. To me, when I first came, they said you won’t last two Test matches.

You had the challenge of proving everybody right. I had the challenge of proving everybody wrong.”

For the rest of the story go here

Siddhartha Vaidyanathan sums up to a tee my feelings at this point in life! No one could’ve put it better!

Badi Suni Suni Hain…

My parents always complained when I was a kid that there weren’t any clean family movies around. (This when I was in school and Hum Aapke Hain Kaun was yet to hit the screens.) So I landed up catching most of these ‘old’ films (most released before I was born) on video at home and saw myself watching them a million times again. By some coincidence most of these lovable films came from a man by the name of Hrishikesh Mukherjee.

Simplicity and real believable characters were always the highlight of his films. Probably why they always struck a chord with the people as they always identified with his characters.

  • Anand with his cheerful approach to life even though he knew he would not be around for long
  • Mili for her naughtiness, her innocence that made everyone around her love her
  • Guddi for her infatuation and film fascination
  • Subir and Uma’s trials and tribulations in Abhimaan affect us as much as them
  • Bawarchi’s Raghu is one cook we all would love to have in our family and till today an inspiration for many Hindi movies
  • Dr. Parimal Tripathi and his challenge to his wife to fool his brother-in-law in Chupke Chupke is still unsurpassed with its closest competitor being Ramprasad Sharma’s twin trick on his boss Bhavani Shankar in Golmaal
  • And finally my favourite: Manju’s battle with Nirmala in Khoobsurat.

His movies always had melodious songs and with a lot of meaning. Here are some of my favourite ones:

All of them family movies. All about simple people who were leading simple lives. Movies woven out of day-to-day happenings, movies that made us smile and made us think as well. Movies that still cheer me up when I watch them. Movies that will never bore me or go out of style. Movies that will remain firmly etched in memory; with all moments that make me cry, make me smile, make me laugh my heart out and make me want a family just as those families there.

Hrishi Da you have left a void that no one can fill

Aapke bine yeh film industry badi suni suni ho gayi hain…

May you rest in peace and we will always miss you.

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