Grab a cuppa, tell a story or listen to one.

Everyone loves stories. Everyone has a story to tell.




Imagine yourself as a poor little bug, about to be squashed by an alien human. So what do you do in your defense? You either bite, spray out venom, look all creepy or start smelling horrible if you do get killed. It’s not like you can help it. First, because it’s your instinct to do that, like a human’s instinct to cry as a baby, or blink every five seconds. Why are so many people against bugs?

Continue reading “Bugs”

To A New Beginning

After two years of bringing over hundreds of stories through a couple dozen storytellers, we took a mini hiatus this year. Sometimes a little break is a good thing. Even though we missed being able to tell a story or to share one, to be able to walk up to a new storyteller, ask for a new story and make a new friend.

But it also allowed us to read stories elsewhere. It gave us the time to ask people reading us, what they liked on our blog. What we learnt was nothing new. Everyone loves stories. Continue reading “To A New Beginning”

The Good Samaritan

It’s 8:45 am in the morning. There is the usual morning traffic on the road with people rushing between school drop offs and work. At a busy traffic light today, I stand impatiently changing the channels on the car radio, waiting for the light to become green and witnessing pedestrians  hurriedly crossing the road. 

The walk sign stops blinking. The light is green on both sides. As the traffic is about to begin moving the road, two elderly people suddenly step into the pedestrian crossing area. Initially unaware that the traffic is beginning to move,  they sense something is wrong as they walk a few more steps. Perplexed, they keep trying to cross the road. 

Continue reading “The Good Samaritan”

And then…it rained!

Aporajita Jain reminisces about the monsoon in India….the emotion around those droplets that wipe the tears of millions in our country….the wait, the joy, the smell….the muck, the difficulties….all rolled in one…
Bangalore Year 2004:
“Abbey,@#$%,yeh koi bharat ki monsoon hain, jo aaj aayega kal aayega lagaaya huya hai tune…” *…bellowed my much-harassed colleague. …he had shifted to Bangalore and had been waiting patiently for a month now for his “saamaan”(goods) to arrive from Vapi,Gujarat to Bangalore!! I looked at him surprised! What an analogy, I thought!!
Mumbai ten years later:
“Mumbai is not like Bangalore….you’d better be prepared for the sweat n dehydrated feeling all the time….till the rains start”
“I think it’s a better idea if you shift after the rains ….”
“Should I courier you K C Paul umbrellas from here before you reach Mumbai…?”
“You see that mountain? It changes to green after the rains….”
Mumbai  and Mumbaikars seemed to be WAITING for the “Rains” with abated breath…some dreading it, some selling it…some dreaming it…and yet some others selling dreams around it…! Having lived in Bangalore for nearly 12 years where it rained 8 months out of 12, I was truly amused…and later shocked…!! Soon I joined the bandwagon of the hazaar Mumbaikars looking at the sky every morning hoping the “Monsoon” would arrive “soon”… else I would “mourn soon” what with the vegetable prices going through the roof!
But…. there was that oh! so romantic side of it…. it was like waiting for the “bride-to-be” to arrive at the wedding…. mandap all ready… lights ready to glow, flowers waiting to fragrance and the camera lens focused … ready to capture the “moments”… like all brides, she stepped in …a little late ☺….and you bet she bedazzled us…she stepped in… shy…coy and graceful… her glittering diamonds and smooth pearls reflected in the smiles….and tears of her near and dear ones ….yes, she was a beauty to behold!
She seemed to transform whatever she touched that day! The “gulmohar” by the lake burst into a song of orange… the cranes and herons danced around on one leg,  the little fish jumped out of the water in joy…the nala became a flowing river of Mumbai muck….and the streets burst into a million patterns as the umbrellas went up…! The radio tunes changed to “Rim jhim gire saawan…sulag sulag jaaye mann..”; “Barso re megha megha…” and “ek ladki bheegi bhaagi si…” ☺
That day, as she left blowing flying-kisses to the crowd, the “gulmohar” lay a carpet for “Her Gracious” to walk on…… tear-pearls rolled down the “Canna” leaves…the “champa” on which she left her diamonds looked magical glistening in the light… and her “near n dear ones” longed for her to visit her home again and yet again…soon….
*”Hey is this the monsoon of wedding processions.. that you keep saying….it might come today…it might come tomorrow…”

Authored By : Aporajita Jain
Picture By : Soumi Haldar


Mother’s Speak

Happy Mother’s Day Ladies ! For Mother’s Day we asked a few of our storytellers, who are mothers as well, to write something about their experience as Mothers. This is what they had to say.

Count Your Blessing – Piya Mukherjee Kalra

We, mothers, often tend to take motherhood for granted. But motherhood does not come easy to many. A path that I have travelled and known. The emotional roller coaster, the physical turmoil and the social taboos make it a treacherous path to travel.  It is no short of miracles that I am a mother to two beautiful kids today. Yet, I am human and there are times in the day when I forget that journey and wear my Mama mask and yell and scream at them, holler them to pick up after their mess and finish their meals and homework on time. I beg and plead for a little quiet time so that I can do my things, read or scribble a few lines. 

As I write these few lines, there is a garbage truck being made of legos right under my feet and a plethora of human evolution related questions being asked simultaneously. I take in a deep breath and look at the two faces who desperately want me to shut the laptop and build some legos or read a science book instead, I remind myself – Count your blessing!  I try and remind myself of that very often, almost every single day. Mostly after I have thrown a huge drama or had a mommy meltdown moment. 

Motherhood began on Mother’s Day! –Jolly Datta

What is mother’s day? I never knew while growing up. We never celebrated in India. One day dedicated to thank mothers for all they do… Is that enough? I could never justify that. I always thought that no one can ever thank her mother enough. But still couldn’t reason out the need for celebrating mother’s day till I became a mother. And sure enough, it was on mother’s day!

May 9, 2010, Sunday morning, after partying till late night, my water broke at 5 am. I was 35 weeks pregnant. I was not sure at first if I should be happy or afraid. As we were rushing to the hospital, my mind kept flying back to my childhood. It was just yesterday when I was a child. It was time for me to bring another child into this world. The feeling of nurturing my baby inside me for 8 months, feeling her every movement, feeling her every mood was so mesmerizing that every minute of countdown seemed heavy. 

Numbed down to the spine by labor pains, I just wanted to divert my mind to a divine state of a magical beginning of my beautiful child. Listening to the Gayatri mantra and breathing deeply with every contraction I just wanted to feel how she moved her way out to make her presence felt. I was about to bring my baby into this world! The entire universe seemed to be showering it’s blessing on my child, and it’s strength on me to be reborn in the same lifetime. The first cry still echoes in my ears, the first feel on my bosom still send chills over me, the first glance of my angel still reminds me of one thought… “You are beautiful!”

In few moments, my life had a new beginning. It was a journey from a woman to a mother! And mother’s day got new meaning. It was ecstatic, it was enchanting, it was divine, it was spell bounding! Because …Motherhood began on Mother’s Day!


Motherhood is full of surprises – Anisha Mahajan

“Yipee”, cheerfully exclaimed my 10 year old darling daughter jumping from her chair, “Really Mom? You are the best!!”

It was a conversation we were having at our dinner table last evening, while enjoying the spicy desi(Indian) meal. My 14 year old son piped in, in his recently broken heavy voice, “that would be seriously awesome guys!”

I promptly interjected to make sure I don’t over-commit. ” We are not sure yet, but we are trying that you two get to make a visit to India this summer”.

Sometime back, there was only one conversation that would go like this in our house; getting a cat!!

What a contrast from just two years ago! I still remember vividly, sprawled leisurely on our Victorian King bed, the four of us, just lounging before bedtime on a warm summer evening, I had casually mentioned, “let’s go to India for a year or two!”. “What!”, ”Moving again!”, “Don’t even start this Mom!”, “You must be kidding!”, “India! No way” were the responses we got from the kids.

It had just been a year since we returned from our short stint at LA, back to our beautiful Boston home. The kids were starting to get back into their comfort zones (so were we) when suddenly this brilliant adventurous idea struck my mind.
We did go to India, for about two years and have the most beautiful memories to share and kids with drastically changed responses!

The Mothers In My Life –Suchorita Sinha

In motherhood, every moment is special. Here are few that were the cherries on the cake of my experiences with the three mothers in my life:
My Mumma (Mother) – ‘Even now, whenever I am at crossroads , an assurance from her that she agrees with my decision does wonders to my confidence’.
She has always been by my side, no matter what. She never turned her back or left me alone. She has grown with me, learnt ,accepted and supported my sane and insane thoughts and decisions.  I hope to become that rock for my daughter someday.
My other mother, my Mamuni(Mother In Law)  – ‘I have the hot mustard oil with garlic ready, come and sit for a massage’, she would call out to me every morning. 
I will never forget those months after I delivered my daughter, the impossible backaches and tiredness. My MIL diligently tended to me with daily hot oil massages and loads of healthy food, while being an arthritis patient herself. I recovered my strength and was relieved off my pains very soon. Even today, she packs lunches for us to work. Life surely changes after marriage, but in my case we still stay like kids, while she takes care of us.
Moi (Myself) – I became a mother even before I first met my daughter. I used to talk and sing to my baby bump and get responses back. But I never knew that my baby knew me as well until the moment when my hubby brought the howling and wailing baby to meet me for the first time. 
As soon as I cooed ‘Hi baby….’ , the baby went quiet and our eyes locked  , recognition in hers and tears in mine….

The Good Parent

I read this somewhere “I was a very good parent until I became one”.

I always knew I wanted kids and 2 of them would be perfect. So once I was pregnant with my first child, I read up everything I could on the internet, asked at least 20 questions to my doctor every time I went to visit her, did Yoga, ate right, didn’t do anything that could be ‘risky’, the book “What to do when you are expecting” was like my bible/Gita for those 9 months. I had this whole plan chalked out on my mind – how I will bring her up, how my relationship would be with her, what I will teach her so on and so forth. In all this thinking I guess I was forgetting one very basic point – this baby will also have a mind of her own and may not exactly follow my plan for her life.

I sometimes think it is so surprising that even after all these years, those moments I spent in the hospital during her birth are crystal clear and vivid in my memory. It was like yesterday that I gave birth to her. I think this is what becoming a parent does to you. I am usually strong emotionally and do not cry easily. But the moment I held my daughter in my arms, a feeling of relief overpowered by love brought tears to my eyes. We went through all the fears of a new parent questioning everything we did or didn’t do, checking the internet and books, calling up the doctor like a zillion times, consulting our parents so on and so forth.

I quit my job to take care of my daughter. I never got tired of watching her gurgle, smile, yawn and sometimes just lie there. Her desire to have her own way started from day one we brought her home from the hospital. This baby who slept contently in her hospital bassinet without much fuss just wasn’t willing to sleep the same way at home. We had to take turns carrying her, rocking her and going round in circles before she finally slept. This wasn’t the preview we had at hospital! And then came the drinking & eating part. They were the last items on her to-do list.

Very soon I found myself feeding her, giving her naps, changing her, bathing her, talking to her and playing with her for the entire day. This wasn’t what I had envisioned. I thought I will have more ‘free’ time for myself too. I didn’t hesitate to hand over my daughter to my husband after he got back from work and do all the other household work. I don’t think I enjoyed cooking or cleaning before that, but I just needed a break from doing the same thing day in and day out the whole day. Now don’t get me wrong that I hated it or I loved her any less. I enjoyed all of it but the monotony of the schedule started getting to me.

In between all this, she was growing up fast – learning new things rapidly and exploring. When she called me “Amma” for the first time, I felt I won the Oscars. Her vocabulary improved and it was such a delight to hear her half formed, half broken words and sentences. After two years of been at home, I felt I was ready to go back to work. That would mean leaving her in someone else’s care. Finding this “someone else” proved to be a herculean task. It was very rough for her and us the first couple of months and during that time, I asked this question to myself every single day – Do I really need to go back to work?

As she became older, she started having her own opinions or way of doing things. It was hard for me to accept that and let go of what I think should be done. Her interests weren’t always aligned with mine. It is when these conflicts arise, my parenting skills are put to test.

Few years later, my son was born. With the second one, things were much more casual, call it the confidence of an experienced MOM. I didn’t refer any books on a regular basis except the occasional look up. Most of what I did was by instinct and prior knowledge. This time too, I was moved to tears holding him for the first time. We went through the same cycle of been obsessed with a new born where he dominated our entire lives for a while. But I didn’t quit my job this time as I had additional help and had flexible working hours. But now another myth was shattered. 

We assumed we have had experience raising one kid, we should be able to use that experience for the 2ndone. But no, my baby boy’s agenda was to teach us a whole new parenting style! We were astonished that how can two kids born to the same parents be so drastically different from day they are born. Even though he is toddler, he is so opinionated and many times I have to bend my rules to accommodate his needs and wishes.

Each of my children are so different but so connected. I cannot describe the pleasure it gives me when I see them play with each other or come and give me a spontaneous hug or kiss. Every night when I tuck them to bed, I marvel at these creations of God and seeing them sleep soundly, all the anger, frustration I might have had during the day just gets wiped out. At the end of the day, they are the reason who add so much meaning to my life.

At one time my idea of a good parent was someone who is always controlled, knows and does the best for her kids, does not yell, can inspire her kids to listen and obey, can motivate her kids to excel at what they do, can establish an environment at home where the kids can be honest, trusting and loving towards all, respect each other and the list goes on.

After been a parent for so many years, I realized that all the qualities that make up a “good parent” are essential for a healthy & loving relationship within a family but what is important to understand and remember is it isn’t possible for one to be 100% good at it. I need to give myself the liberty to make mistakes. No one is perfect. So best is to accept things as they are but work on them as a team.  Our kids will be children only once, so do not miss this chance being a parent whom they will love forever.

Written by : Anita Grandhi. 

Anita is a mother of two children and a writer who we just discovered. She has a very fun and creative style of parenting. This mother’s day post is a retrospection of sorts, taking a look back at her parenting journey so far and identifying what matters the most. The answer is simple – Our love for our children. Everything else is secondary. 

Why Write?

In the one year of our existence, we have heard several stories about conversations that our storytellers have had with their friends or acquaintances regarding their passion for writing. These (interesting) conversations have mostly happened after the storyteller has written a post /story, shared it on our blog and then subsequently posted the link for the blog on their own Facebook page. 

Conversation #1 
A friend or acquaintance :You write blogs now ? I never knew you were into writing. 
Storyteller :  Thank you. Hope you liked what I wrote. 
A friend or acquaintance : You should write a book someday. 
Storyteller : Thanks but not thanks (Sigh! ) 

Conversation #2 
A friend or acquaintance : Why do you write ? Every one has a blog these days, like what is the point ? 
Storyteller :  Err….. I don’t have a reason. I just like to. Why does anyone like to read or draw or paint or even cook or knit ? 

Conversation #3
A friend or acquaintance : How many people read you ? Are you popular ? 
Storyteller : “Facepalm” followed by silence 

Conversation #4
A friend or acquaintance : You have such a busy life – work, home and everything. When do you find time to write ? 
Storyteller :  All the time. I am always writing in my mind. 
A friend or acquaintance : Hmmmm. That sounds crazy. 

Most storytellers write because they simply love writing and it gives them a joy like nothing else does. So we asked one of out storytellers, Jolly Datta to write – why she writes, what she loves writing and how does she nurture her writing skills. Hear the storyteller in her own words ….

Why do I write? I never wondered why.

Thoughts swirl in my mind as I inhale, words pour out through my pen as I exhale.

I write for the love of life, I write for my free spirit, I write for my romantic heart. I learn from experiences, I live through hope and believe in destiny. Small things make happy, simplicity is my philosophy, humanity is my religion. To put myself in a nutshell- I write!

Coming from a literary background, it was natural for me to write. Never made an effort. Scribbling at the corners of textbooks, word arts at the margins of notebooks, passing love chits during class, writing poems on palms – all were different forms of nurturing the art of writing. I wrote about love, I wrote about life, I wrote about my experiences. The more I wrote, more mature I got. And I never realized how I nurtured my art of writing through the years of growing up. Today, as I write, it rekindles my romantic heart, arouses my desires and makes me fall in love time and again.

An engineer by profession and a mother of two, when do I get to write? Within the limited 24 hours a day, I have learned to write “on the go”. The swirling thoughts keep getting crammed in my mind waiting for an outlet, waiting for me to take a break from my routine and pour them out in 5 minute installments. Thanks to technology, Google drive has been a great safe keeper for all my write ups and I can access them from my computer, from my phone, from anywhere and anytime! Discovering my passion for writing, I realized that I don’t have to try too hard to find time. It’s the zeal to follow my passion which has been the true nurturer of my art of writing!

Written By : Jolly Datta,an engineer by profession, a poetess and a die hard romantic at heart and a mother of two beautiful children. 

Picture By : Soumi Haldar, our resident editor and photographer.  

An Ode To Those Who Nurture Our Children For Us

Every morning except for the weekends, the doorbell at my home rings, sharp at 8:15am. I run down to open the door, exchange greetings along with a quick summarization of the morning chores and what to expect during the day with the person who has arrived.
It is almost like a quick project stand up meeting every morning.
“He is fed and his diaper is changed. “
“He is running a low -grade fever today. I have kept two boxes of Kleenex handy, he has a runny nose too.“
“He refused his breakfast, he skipped dinner too. Please feed him.”
After that 5 minutes conversation, I head to start my workday and she heads to take care of my son for the entire day. She has done so since he was 4 months old. The children fondly call her “Aunty” and she is one of the family now.
I cringe to refer to her as the Nanny or the babysitter, she is my children’s “Aunty”. I prefer it that way.
She came in at a time when I was in a desperate need for someone to come and take care of my infant son. With an extreme case of food allergies and dermatological condition, he needed a one on one care that was hard to find in a day care. I interviewed many, tried many but no one was quite willing to take up the job. The sight of an infant with sore, flaky and blistered skin from head to toe was enough to put them off.
When she came in for the first time, she asked me if she could hold my son. I remember vividly he was in an onesie on that hot summer afternoon, his bare arms and legs covered with raw blisters, his little hands concealed in mittens so that he did not scratch himself. She picked him up and held him lovingly. He looked at her and smiled. At that very moment I knew she was the one.
She cared for him selflessly then and does so even today.  Taking care of his skin condition, bathing him, applying oils and lotions and medicines as instructed, quickly learning his dietary restrictions and just being there with him when the pain made him fussy and inconsolable. I have seen her sitting and talking to him for hours, singing lullabies to him and reading to him.
She was there when his first tooth sprouted, when he learnt to crawl, when he took his first steps, as he out grew his food allergies, as his skin came back to normal and the joy on her face as he learnt to say “Aunty” very early on.  A toddler now, an active one at that too, I still see Aunty working relentlessly on teaching him things he should know at his age, her passion and patience both surprises me. She does it with both dignity and diligence. Her dedication is inspiring.
Yes, she does it for a living. But she pours her heart into it.
When it comes to nurturing a child, we often or always speak about the mother. But then there are those that enable a mother. Those who nurture our children while we, the mothers, nurture our own dreams. Those who let us step out in a different role for few hours a day, while they take on our roles.
Yet in all this discussion about empowering mothers and letting them lean in and do what they want to do, we rarely stop and talk about the people who enable us. The hundreds of teachers and caretakers at day cares and after school programs, the nannies and the babysitters, the grandparents, we forget to acknowledge all of them. We forget to appreciate their kindness and their willingness to nurture ours as if they are their own.
On Aunty’s birthday this year, my daughter made a card for her. On the card she had drawn – Aunty, herself and her brother, just like a child doodles their own family. I had seen Aunty’s eyes well up as she thanked my little girl and told her, “I am going to keep this forever.”
And I know that she will be forever in the hearts of my children for they are fortunate enough to get so much of her love and care, to get the attention and the time and the love when their own mother could not be around.

Story and Picture by : Piya Mukherjee Kalra 

This post is being submitted for the #1000Speak initiative, where the topic for the month of April is “Nurturing”. Read more about this blogging initiative at this website

Bullying In India : It is almost a habit

Bullying. We hear so much about it these days. But they all talk about children being bullied. Why doesn’t anyone talk about the bullying adults face?

Adults are bullied in several ways. The boss who calls for a meeting at 6 pm, the auto driver who charges you thrice the metered fare because he knows you are desperate to reach someplace, the household help who threatens to quit if you don’t give in to her smallest demand, the shop owners who park their vehicles on the pavement so you have no place to walk, the schools that charge you a bomb in fees and still do not provide basic safety to the child, the government that knows they can govern like dictators once they come to power… The list is endless. Even the children know how to bully their parents!

We in India, have a great mantra for such situations. We call it the “Chalta Hai”/ “Adjust Madhi” (“Meh…”, loosely translated into English), way of life. Let things be the way they are, and they will eventually either solve themselves, or we’ll get used to them being like that. And who wants to raise their voice and be black listed as the trouble maker??

It is only a handful of people who have the courage to speak up or take action. But in this country of over 1.27 Billion people, those voices are easily drowned. Even if they do manage to make themselves heard, it’s after going through a lot of red tape and harassment at the hands of the officials (and perpetrators) concerned. Even after all that, who knows when, if at all, the problem will be solved.

So how do we give a convincing example to our children of why they should never resort to bullying, when they see so many incidences around them where bullying pays? Do we become the change we seek in others and fight these people, or continue to be bullied and curse the system? Is fighting back an advisable example to set for the children? Or is it best to continue teaching them the archaic myth of the meek inheriting the world some day?

Hang on, just got an Email. What, another teacher from my son’s class has quit?? That’s the THIRD this year!! Meh… 

Story By : Shilpa Bhargav. She was featured on our “Living Your Dream” series. 

Picture By : Soumi Haldar 

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