It’s Holi and I’m talking consent

For as long as I remember, I haven’t enjoyed Holi. Not that I think it’s wrong that people – big and small, get all rambunctious in their display of affection for each other one day of the year. They also happen to show this affection with generous amounts of color – wet and dry, organic and inorganic, water-soluble and non-water soluble, and in the end, it’s not even about color , but any form of substance including, but not limited to: mud, eggs, paint, tomatoes and other such that rank higher and higher in the vile index.

In all this, no one stops to ask if you are okay being the recipient of such affection. It is assumed that as Indians, we are all lovers of such orgies and affections and would be nincompoops to not partake of this grand gesture of our culture. Saying no is not even an option and even today, as schools and communities set about finding newer, eco-friendly ways to celebrate Holi and discuss at length the harmful effects of “bad colors”, consent is conveniently left out.

I dreaded Holi for the most part of my childhood, when my mother and I hid in the kitchen and bathroom when they came looking for us and sometimes we just gave in, because we feared they would break our doors. But we felt violated nonetheless. To me, it is often an example of bad touch and I wish more people would talk about it.

When I grew older, I found ways of escaping this revelry that usually involved a getaway to somewhere quiet. Once I found myself in the jungles of Dandeli , but turned out I hadn’t run far enough, as some revelers caught me.

I know that ‘consent’ in its various forms is just a recent addition to our vocabulary, and “no means no” somehow goes out the window when Holi arrives. It’s nice to know that hierarchies and boundaries dissolve on this glorious day, but what of people whose voices are not loud enough when they say no? How many times does one have to say no to be taken seriously? What of children too overwhelmed and tongue-tied by the sudden rowdiness of their ilk? What of body language that is often good enough for a no for those are too scared to protest when boundaries are crossed, when space feels violated but tongues are stuck? What of people big and small who cry hoarse but can’t be heard because, hell, who is listening when everyone is screaming “Holi hai”! And what is one child in a mob of children? Or one voice in a melee?

Because it turns out, even today, my kid is as much a minority as I was and feels violated every year on Holi, no matter what we do. Or don’t do.

But I don’t want us to spend the rest of our lives running away – from Holi, from noise, from people who don’t give a shit that other people, animals and plants bear the brunt of their excesses, and their sheer inability to comprehend that enough is enough.

And if that makes me antinational or anti-cultural, so be it.


Why Sol De Goa is a good place to soul-search

When I said yes to an invitation from Sol De Goa a few months ago, little did I realise that it would open my heart to a very different Goa – where one feels faint need to go even close to a beach (although Candolim beach is just 2 km from this tucked away resort in Nerul, overlooking the Sinquerim river). Strangely, Sol De Goa seems unperturbed by its more opulent neighbour LPK, which going by the signs all along Candolim, seems to be some sort of party capital – a thing I am perhaps too old or too sensible for.

Once a getaway for distinguished Portuguese officials, Sol was redesigned, renamed and restored by its current owner, Suraj Morajkar – one of the few real estate people who genuinely cares about restoration and heritage. Designed by acclaimed designer Tarun Tahiliani with strong Goan influences and a classic Portuguese feel, the property includes 21 rooms: four suites, two deluxe suites and 15 well-appointed rooms. All these are made further charming by the fact that they hug a beautiful central courtyard pool, flanked by some exquisite pottery.

So unwittingly, I found pieces of my soul in different ways at Sol De Goa:

Like when I entered the resort and felt it was someone’s grandparent’s home, with all that old world charm.

img20160902113001Or when the same night, it transformed into this high octane place that never went to sleep. Thursdays is when  Goa’s best come to shake a leg at Sol De Goa:


Or when I sat in my balcony the next afternoon and nibbled at my chilli cheese toast, listening to bird song by the Sinquerim river. img20160901171044Or when I partnered with the resident chef, a lovely man named Prashant in creating mangane, a traditional goan kheer of sago, yellow gram, coconut milk and jaggery for Ganesh Chaturthi. And had two full bowls of it.
img20160902080006Or when I stared into space, eating my pancakes with strawberry butter one morning, wondering just how long would the twin towers of Our Lady of Hope church be. img20160901090738Or when I attained zen just by loUnging by the courtyard pool, doing nothing, wondering which one was a more exquisite shade of blue: the pots or the pool.img20160902113025


The Boy Who Swallowed A Nail & Other Stories by Lalita Iyer.

So my book made it all the way to Chicago and this happened!


My shelfie this week.

I love reading Lalita’s blogs ( so, was very eager to read her new book. Because I knew, just like her posts every story in this book would make me smile too.
And it surely did.

In ‘Everyone Goes To Nainital’ I loved Amma who is wondering where to hang a clothesline in a hotel room.

In ‘Appa And His Weird Friends’ there’s John, the carpenter who stitches up the sofa but leaves a noisy mouse inside.

This charming collection of the adventures of Lalita’s family takes you into a quirky little world where you forget playing an adult for sometime and enjoy some innocent storytelling.

I also read a few stories to little I and she couldn’t stop giggling when I told her about Appa who once wanted to bring home a buffalo. And her biggest concern was, ‘how will the buffalo enter through the…

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The day my heart went walking around outside my body


When I look at my two-month old baby sleeping on my lap, satisfied after nursing for half hour, I often wonder: how did this miracle land up in my life?  The baby was just a thought up to a year back and now he is here. And then I realize: Oh, I made him. These tiny little fingers, that beautiful curve of his lips, the peach coloured skin, I made all of him.

Why did I decide to have a baby? Frankly, in my mind there was never any other way. Having a child was always the plan. Like millions of women, I always wanted to get married at an “appropriate” age, and then eventually have kids. Preferably two.

Having a baby seemed the most natural, instinctive thing to do.

When I started seriously thinking about it, I realised that the baby business was a permanent fixture, an irreversible act, which will be our responsibility at least for the next 18 years. Were we in the state of mind to make a lifelong commitment we could not run away from?

I had read many articles where women/men said most people have babies to make their life complete. That was not true for me. I felt complete enough. I have a good career, a challenging job and a baking and blogging hobby which filled my weekends. The husband and I love to travel and we travel very often. So I felt completely satisfied as it is. Even without the baby, I had a big list of things I wanted to do. Accomplishing those would already take a lifetime.

 So having babies to feel complete was out.

 The second common reason was ‘wanting to live your life, fulfil your dreams through your kids’. Hell no! I have to live my life, be happy with the way I do things and only then can I provide a stable, fulfilling life to my kids. I never once thought that I will live out my dreams through my kids. My dreams are my own. I want to fulfil them. Our kids will have a life based on their aspirations, their view of the world. Some of our goals may coincide and I hope they will want to do some things their parents like to do, but that’s about it. Thank you.

 Then why do I want kids?

Till now I have been a daughter, a sister, niece, wife, daughter-in-law etc. But not yet a mother. It is one role I get to play in life only after I have kids. So much has been written and said about ‘mom’ that in a strange way, I want to live up to that image. I want my children to grow up into enriched individuals and look back at their childhood and say, “It was good”.

My mom is my shrink. There is nothing in the world that she doesn’t understand by merely looking at me and nothing she can’t solve by a few soothing words and a warm bear hug only moms are capable of giving. I want to be my child’s shrink. I can’t give up on being that amazing person for my child as my mom is for me.

 Also, I want kids so that I can look at life from a different point of view. Life makes us all cynics. Growing up takes us away from innocence, one day at a time. I want to see things from my little child’s perspective. Everything in the world that we take for granted, is new for them. I don’t remember the first time I saw a dog, or sat in a Ferris wheel or felt rain pouring down my face. But I will see my children discover all these things and I will capture those moments as if my own. I want to take a swing so high that the world looks tiny. Dance in the rain, sing silly songs, go running after a butterfly, or simply kneel in front of a dog and stick out my tongue like he does. Only a little kid will give me the liberty of doing such childish acts. And to look at the world through a wonder filled kaleidoscope.

It is a going to be a beautiful journey, but right now I write this when my days and nights have morphed into one unending time slot of 24 hours which is on a continuous loop of feeding, burping, nappy changing, soothing and back to feeding again. But yes, now I know.

About the author:

Rutvika is a Chartered Accountant, so she crunches numbers on the weekdays and spends her time writing and baking for her blog on the weekends. She has done a Basic Patisserie from Le Cordon Bleu, Paris and wishes to go back once her 8-month old baby Arjun is a little older. She lives in Mumbai.


All I needed to know about children, I learnt from cats

photo(13)I had mothered several cats by the time I had a child and I can now say with full confidence that it did help me understand children — who they are, what they think, how they feel and how we, as adults often don’t get them at all. To explain this further, I have come up with 21 things a child (or a cat) would tell an adult if it could.

1) Do not talk about me like I’m not in the room. Even if you are saying something praise-worthy or applauding me for always finishing the food on my plate. It’s very annoying and makes me feel inconsequential.

2) There is no need to say “Good job!” or “Good boy!” to every little thing I do. It’s patronizing. Plus, I’m not a dog.

3) Do not keep staring at me while I’m asleep or taking photos of my thighs and other body parts and posting on social media. It’s embarrassing.

4) There is no need to constantly engage in talk with me. When I need to talk to you, I will make it amply clear.

5) While on the subject of talking. Baby talk is for babies. When adults do it, it sounds downright ridiculous.

6) I know what crows, cows, pigeons look like. So stop pointing at every neighborhood species and calling out to them.

7) I may be clingy sometimes, and when I do, I make it amply known, so please don’t pick me up every time. I feel incompetent when you do that.

8) Don’t expect me to be polite to your moronic friends. Especially those who pull my cheeks and ask me inane questions like what did I learn in school and what songs do I know.

9) Tell the same moronic friends not to ask me if I want a chocolate each time they see me. Heavens! One would think I have never seen a chocolate in my life.

10) When I’m in a bad mood, leave me alone.

11) Try and not compare me with anyone else. What they say or do, how much they read or write, or what they eat or don’t. I am me. I am me-er than me.

12) Never ever try to wake me up just to announce that you have arrived. I haven’t missed much.

13) When I say something, I mean it, so try not to confuse me.

14) Do not move my stuff. There is careful thought and planning behind how I keep my things.

15) Stop taking selfies with me. I know I make you look good, but have some self-respect.

16) There is no need to speak so slowly each time you address me. I have moved to 20 word sentences and know what seven plus three is.

17) Don’t give me choices which are the same thing. I know your tricks. I read that silly book too.

18) Don’t try and convert a chore into an adventure. I can tell the difference. I wasn’t born yesterday.

19) Stop being so chirpy around me. It makes me nervous and puts undue pressure.

20) When you introduce me to a relative, please tell them I bite. Even if I don’t.

21) Always look at me when I’m talking to you. Not at the television. Not at your dumb smart phone!

(The above post first appeared as my column in Pune Mirror on 24th November, 2014)


Diary of a 4.5 yo and his mamma

Mamma, I did a funny fart!
What’s a funny fart?
The fart was singing a song!


Let’s eat.
No I want to play with my toys for some time.
Ok then let’s eat at 8 o’clock.
No, let’s eat at 20 o’clock.


Is it holaday today?
No it’s school day.
But I want it to be holaday.
But it’s school day.
Then I’m going to turn my teacher into an alligator.


Waiting for school bus.
Re: Mamma, lets play dance dance. I will hold you and you must twirl like a pwincess.
Me: But I am not a princess.
Re: It’s okay, you can twirl.


Re: Is today Saturday?
Me: No, it’s Thursday.
Re: Then I’m going to call it Saturday!


So I get home after two days at the Hyderabad Lit Fest to find that the boy hasn’t been bathed. I ask him, “So, why haven’t you had a bath?”
“Because you was apsent.”


Fridge had six macaroons.
And then there were two.
Me to Re: Did you eat the macaroons?
Re: No, I didn’t eat them. My mouth eated them.


Can I watch some Floating Palace?
But you have to eat.
I can eat and watch.
But when Sofia dances, then I want to dance with her.
Don’t say hmmm, say okay.


Mamma, I want to be a mermaid.
But yesterday you wanted to be a butterfly!
Yes, but today is holaday.


“Look, a full moon,” I point to Re, excitedly.
“That’s not the moon. That’s a moon monster.”


Me to Re: You look worried. What happened?
Re: Pwincess Vivienne has turned into a butterfly!
Me: Oh, don’t worry, she’ll turn back into a princess.
Re: I don’t want her to turn into a pwincess. I also want to be a butterfly.


Missed the bus.
Me dropping Re.
“What are you going to tell the teacher?’
‘You say mamma.’
‘No, you say. It’s your teacher.’
‘We missed the bus because we were watching Jake and the Neverland pirates!’

Satyamev Jayate.


“I can’t go to school because I have turned into a fairy!”

Welcome to my week!


8 am fruit politics:
Re: This is not a watermelon.
Me: There’s only yellow melon today.
Re: I don’t want to eat this. I ony want red watermelon.
Me: Then don’t eat.
Re: Okay. I will eat. But I’m going to call it papaya. I’m telling you now ony.


Re and I walking down the stairs, me in front. I’m wearing a maxi-dress that’s trailing behind.
Re: Mamma, your dwess is doing jhadoo to the steps.
Me: Oh, ok, I will walk properly.
Re: You can also lift your dwess and walk. Like a pwincess.

So I walked like a pwincess and felt really good.


Today is teleshunal day.
What’s that?
We haffto wear dhoti-kutta.
Oh! Traditional day?
Yes, that onwy.


Boy poured some of his Bournvita into my tea. Here mamma, have teavita!


Boy points to poster of ‘Shuddh Desi Romance’ and says, “That didi is so happy with that bhaiyya!”
Yes, she is, I say. “I must tell Yashraj.”
Who is Yashraj, he asks. “Is it her dadda?”
“Yashraj is everyone’s dadda!”

We are talking movies! This is the day I’ve been waiting for:)


Boy and I in doughnut shop. Boy gets his regular ‘chocolate with speckles’.
Older boy walks in with his dad, and elaborately chooses five ( and gets a sixth free). Decides to show off.
‘I got six and you only got one, he he he he.’
Boy thinks of appropriate retort. Descends from the bar-stool and stands full length in front of older boy ( who is roughly half a foot taller) and says, ” I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll blow your doughnuts down.”
Thank you, Three Little Pigs!


Why are you sad mamma?
I’m not sad. I’m pensive.
But you are not a pencil. You are a mamma.