Saraswati Puja and making friends

Will you be my friend? Let’s play together or else saying can I share your toys; I gather that’s how you make friends as a child I never had to do it consciously because no introduction or formality was required of “us” living in the paradox of insider and outsider. Though the friendship of such kind never existed beyond that of playmates for which I am entirely to blame. Nonetheless, I never had a shortage of friends.

My elder brother and I are children of a nuclear family who also happened to study in separate boarding schools far away from home. On top of it all, we came home only three times a year two of the holidays were of 10 days or less, the third one was unusually long it stretched to 3months it was our year-end holidays also popularly called winter holidays. Since 3 months were a way too long for just to be kept busy by TV, books and games we needed friends to play with; for which we needed to socialize. I can’t say for my brother but for me, it was an awful process.I hated the nuisance of the process of making friends and even more that I had to keep my opinions aside but I loved having friends. The dilemma that weighed my tiny brain, Sigh!

When you are just beginning to get tired of the holidays comes the time to celebrate “Saraswati Puja” the goddess of education also known as Vasant Panchami, is a Hindu spring festival. It is observed on the fifth day of the Indian traditional calendar month of Magha, which typically falls in the Gregorian months of January or February. It was a big deal then and even now among the school going age kids here. the whole celebration was only managed by the kids and obviously a little guidance from the adults. It was important that all kids opinionated or not kept all their difference aside. Relatively unknown kids became such fast friends that it would confuse anyone that if we told them that before “the process” we didn’t know of each other’s existence.

The kids from both sides of the street came together because a lot had to be done in such a short time. Some of the of them were;

  • To choose the all-important venue. It should be next to the street but not disturb the traffic, it should have enough open space to make a tent; etc
  • Collect money from donations.
  • Make the important budget
  • Buy the idol, the food offering, Prasad, decorative stuff for the tent; etc
  • Get electricity from the nearby house
  • Work together to make the tent and decorate.
  • Distribute prasad to everyone who came big or small
  • So many small big things

So in the end of the puja, we were still little kids but filled with the confidence that though we are small collectively we can do big things and while having fun in work friends will be made too! Happy Swarsati puja.



a new generations effort; preparations for the celebration of Saraswati Puja.



imaginary “real” friends


When I held it in hands I could not believe it nor could the fuzzy, funny feeling in the pit of the stomach stop and as I opened it a familiar air engulfed me …a feeling of warmth tugged my heart in this brutal winter air. Long-lost friends met again, going together on an old route of laughter.

That’s how I felt when I read Archie’s comics after a gap of more than a decade. Not exactly the feeling I experienced because for some time I could not believe that a simple comic could give so much joy and I have to think it’s because of the memories attached.

I was in class 1 when I was first introduced to it that was of course “Little Archie” it had all the little characters; as the name suggests. So there was little Archie, little Betty, little Veronica, little Jug head his dog hot dog; little Reggie and of course Mr. Weather bee was the same old bald man the principle of  Riverdale High School, miss Grundy, the cafeteria lady, Pop Tate etc. Archie always somehow managed to get into trouble.

With time I graduated to reading the “high school” Archie “version”. I loved it so much maybe because it provided me an image of a ‘cool’ school, and fun times I never had; maybe it was the happy, fun way of falling in love with a foreign language and the begging of the journey to literary books; I don’t know the reason for sure.

I sopped reading it as I entered my teen years where my peers were the circle that influenced a lot of my choices I remember they called it stupid and so did i. Nonetheless after all this time here’s a Salute to my Narnia of happy times and as the years pass by may I never be guilty of calling it stupid.

pic credit; header image credit-archie-comics-mlj-comics.jpg

#my story


There are numerous benefits of education and equally many critics exist too but that’s the discussion I will gladly leave out today. Today I will only acknowledge the good of education, especially in my context. At the time I fell ill and realized I had now to live with a disability; I had only completed 12 Std and was preparing for the medical entrance examination. My confidence, self-esteem, self-image was all time low. The journey ahead was dark and gloomy. I could not even toss and turn on my own, my mother a graduate and baba(father) an M.Com and MBA degree holder became my full-time carer feeding me, bathing me changing my clothes, carrying me to the toilet and doing everything for me but I never heard an uff! From them, in fact, they defended me when people said my life was now over. My elder brother was in medical school and being the daughter of this wonderfully positive, optimistic, educated family  I had promised myself I will get a bachelors’ degree when or how I didn’t know I just knew I had to. 

That determination became stronger when after coming home from the hospital I first did hold a pen and I couldn’t even draw a straight line it took literally years of practice. I somehow found the courage and did my bachelors I couldn’t even write for long without pain and I had a different walking stick then but I did complete it. The knowledge gained and that piece of paper, the degree changed my total outlook toward myself and life. Today what you see is a totally different Srijana than the old one. 

So I figured if one degree can do so much for me then why not stick to my original plan of being a doctor so today I’m on my path to give my exam for master of sociology starting on 5th Dec, my birthday and ending on 18th  I hope I do well on all my papers for which I have to study and for that I have to take a small  break from the blog.


Tired but trying

They say “what doesn’t kills you makes you stronger” but they are so wrong what doesn’t kill you just does not kill you and that may be all you get. Except sometimes what does not kill you maims you, cripples you, leaves you weak and makes you angry, sad; feel cheated.

Some things that didn’t kill me did come so close that it’s still damaging. They didn’t all make me better some made me worse and bitter. Isn’t that okay, cant something just break you? The world wants us to believe that admitting defeat makes us weak. However, you just can’t be positive all the time we may be angry, frustrated, sad, annoyed, scared, anxious or any of the numerous negative feelings. Having feelings does not make a negative person. It only states how human you are.

I feel its okay to wish the nightmare to end, to pray furiously for the world to stop testing you, to cry yourself to sleep every night; to say aloud “I have had enough, I can’t take it anymore”. Bleed and bleed openly, there can and should be pride in vulnerability.

How can anyone be certain for sure that what I been through would make you kill yourself but then pain is relative.  So until you are broken, you don’t know what you are made of. Being broken gives you the ability to build yourself all over again. And strength for it all comes from good things family, friends, books and satisfaction of a wonderful moment.

They say “what doesn’t kills you makes you stronger” if that’s true then I am expecting my superpowers and cape any day now!


i am you – a page from my journal

Please stop looking at me like that your gaze stab and bleed me, it hurts so bad but I know I can’t put my thoughts into words or explain anything to you before I get all rallied up in emotions, you that can understand it all but don’t want to; you that are the society of which I am a part too.

I understand you are sad to see me in such a sorry state but are you “sad”? Isn’t it acceptable anymore for a person to fall sick; being vulnerable is what a human is I am a human seems you are don’t know or accept the sad part of reality; makes me question are you really that delusional.

You start your sympathy speech every time telling me but then pretend I am deaf for a moment and direct all you have to say to my parents don’t you know how hurt they feel for what parents wish hardship for their children.  You speak of how hard my life will be now, its ok you speak the truth but who knows of the future quit telling me my survival my fight is useless if you can’t make my faith stronger my belief in hope please don’t make me believe in darkness.

One stumble in life, an ill turn of fate was all you required to see me in a new light through a biased glass. You took all my achievements stripped me of all the respect and love I had earned, put me naked on a podium for display. Sometimes I think you waited for all this patiently, sadness in your words but do I see happiness in your eyes.

I shrink with pain the steps I force myself to walk I fall, fail yet I walk.

It’s said everything in life happens for a reason. I’ve seen none till now, wonder what will I see but I know none even you won’t speak of me with pity but you will celebrate my life and I won’t let anything come in my way to achieve what I have always set my eyes on, no matter disability or no disability. I am not perfect but who are we kidding neither are you.

Written some 5 years ago when I just struggling to accept my new identity as Srijana the girl with a “strange” walking disability.


A thread of memory

Since the time I remember the “big red tree” was always there, where the gate to my house should have been. Those were nicer times of bamboo fences that automatically adjusted itself to the growing width of the tree. Eyes of the childhood I just saw the blossoming red flowers of the tree hence the name.

I studied in a boarding school from the early years of my education. When I came home for a holiday, the first thing I did was hide behind the “big red tree” and send my father to tell mother I hadn’t come home though I always revealed myself by my giggles however I always have and will believe it did baffle her a little bit at least. This was my only activity with the “big red tree”. My innocent heart believed the tree was the beginning of my world where even though just for a few days I would be pampered and the evil “homework” would not dare enter or maybe it was only stability I sought.

Every time I had a visit home I noticed it had changed. No! It didn’t grow bigger or taller just that majestic redness had increased. The flowers bloomed all year-long; more in my presence I always assumed, celebrating my homecoming. I never knew the actual name of the tree, neither did I try to find out; nor do I know it now.

During one of my winter holidays a serious conversation among the adults stirred up, the tree’s branch would eventually touch the electricity wire propped up on the poles near it; which I now know is dangerous but back then it was just some adult hocus-pocus.

Cutting said one will help induce the tree to grow more beautifully, “we all eat lies when our hearts are hungry”; hence the grown-up decision was made to cut it the next day.

The day dawned and unlike other days I didn’t go out to play; did anyone notice I think not. I just closed myself in a room from where I could hear the commotion but not see the “big red tree” hurt. Every thud on it trunk was silenced by the raised volume of the TV; “Tom and Jerry” failed to entice a smile as I bawled my eyes out.

Though I avoided seeing it all day curiosity got the better hold of me, I looked and there stood just inches of the trunk instead of my “big red tree” which never grew to show us its full majesty again.

The next time I came home a metal gate stood there and the game of “hide and seek” just abruptly stopped.

A version of this article appears in print on May 24, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.

a version of this can be read at  Beyond Words


image courtesy of