24 Nov. 12:30 PM. 'Take care of yourself'

Years later, when you read this, you won't remember what you tell me every time I drop you home, but I will.

"Take care of yourself."

Never "take care", but "take care of yourself."

And I can't begin to tell you how I feel when you say those four words. And more importantly, how that one word at the end of the sentence makes all the difference.

"Take care" is informal, it's meh. It's you-couldn't-give-a-shit.
But "take care of yourself", is meaningful, it's heartfelt, it's so warm and genuine.

And I'm not sure how you picked up on these nuances of language when you're six years old, but I'm so glad you did.

Because the world needs more people like you Mimi. It needs more loving, caring, genuine. The world needs more empathy. It needs more hugs than handshakes. More kisses than curses.

You know I miss you to bits when you're not around. But you saying "take care of yourself" makes me feel you're taking care of me.

When really, it should be the other way around.
Ah well.

I ain't complaining.


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17 Nov 2017. 9:31 AM. 'Bullies'

Hello dearest.
You must be at school now. Me, I'm at work. Just got myself a banana shake, in my effort to have a healthy breakfast. Will probably top that up with a nice oily samosa.
I'm not.
I am.

You've been telling me about this boy in your school who keeps bullying you. Apparently once, he pushed you so hard, your glasses fell off. He does that to quite a few children too, you tell me.

That hurts me, to see you get hurt. And I've been thinking of how I should tackle this. Should I talk to his parents? Should I have a strong word with your class teacher? Should I speak to him?

I met him at your birthday party too. I saw you and your friend running away from him. He was chasing you with something. When I caught him, and opened his fist, I saw a hair clip. You told me later on, that he was poking you guys with it.

Strangely enough, when I asked him what he was doing with it, he said he was trying to open a secret lock. I asked him to show me where this secret lock was. He took me to a tiny hole in the wall, and said he was trying to put the clip inside that and open the hole up.

Imaginative kid.

I spoke to your mother about him. You probably don't know this, but he's going through a rough patch. His parents too, have just split up. While that is no excuse to behave the way he does, I can understand where he's coming from.

We all have our little baggages. You have yours. I have mine. This little kid too, has his share of monsters. And we all have different ways in dealing with these monsters. Some people close up, some start abusing alcohol and drugs, some hanker for affection, some turn violent.

And any other day, I would have told you to sucker punch this kid right in the face, so he doesn't try these tricks with you again.

But not today.
Today, I'm asking you to empathise. I'm asking you to put yourself in his shoes. I'm asking you to understand where he's coming from.

And I know this is going to sound crazy, but I'm asking you to be his friend. Don't run from this little bugger. When he chases you, turn around and face him. Look him straight in the eye, and give him a hug. Tell him that you'd like to be his friend.

Because my dear Mimi, that's what he wants right now. All this poking and chasing and shoving is just a ruse for being loved. So love him. Be his go-to person. When he tries to bully other kids, stop him. Tell him not to hurt people.

It's easier said than done, I know. And I know I'm asking a lot from you. But I'm asking you only because I know, if there's anyone who can put someone else before themselves, it's you.

You'll meet plenty of bullies in your life. And while I'm around at least, I'll show you how to deal with all kinds of them.

Love you to the end of the flat earth and back

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13 November 2017. 1:32 PM. 'Six'

Look at that, doll.
Exactly 3 years and 7 months since I wrote to you last.

A lot has happened since then. You've made some friends. You've lost some. You've grown out of day care. You've lost a few teeth. You've started using complex words. You've started saying things like OMG. Wonder where you pick up these things from. You've started experimenting with lipstick, nail paints and other girly things.

Ma and me have gotten divorced.

And while things aren't the best, they're still much, much better than what other families who are still together have. And for that, I have your mom and you to thank.

We still go cycling. We used to go skating, but then you decided not to do that anymore. Which is cool. You should have total control over the things you want to do, and the things you don't. We still find time to monkey around. And dance around in my living room. And go out for dinners. And make lunches at home. And cuddle up and sleep after. And play hide and seek. (I hide behind the shower curtain by the way - now you know.)

Life isn't the best, little Mimi-poodle. But it isn't sucky either.

You turned six on the 10th. And while many say 'oh wow, look how you've grown', I don't think you had an option really. You had to. You had to many things that other children your age don't have to. You've had to deal with a lot these few years. And every time life threw you a googly, you knocked the ball right out of the park. Every single time.

So proud of you, munchkin.

I remember why I stopped writing. While Mimi Sleeps was started as a diary that would get written when you'd be asleep. I'd look at your closed eyes, lying next to me, and I'd write you a letter. But since I moved out, I wasn't really sure when you slept. And I did't have you beside me. So I just stopped writing altogether.

I shouldn't have.

Because while you may not be on my bed, you're very much on my mind. Every minute of the day, every waking moment.

So this is my present to you on your sixth birthday. The revival of my letters to you. To be read by you when you're grown up.

Happy birthday ass.
Love you

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8 April 2014. 06:50 AM. "Time"

Hello love.
It's been a while since I wrote to you, told you how much I love you, and gave you an obscure but profound life lesson or two.

Work has been crazy Mimi. It's been nice, but crazy. You're too young to know it, but I've been getting home every day post 10 or so. Sometimes I come back and you're asleep, and I don't have the heart to wake you up. I just have to wait till the night gets over, and I see you the next morning.

I've been having a little trouble in my office about time Mimi, and that's what I wanted to speak to you about today.
You see Mimi, I'm a stickler for time. I reach when I'm supposed to reach, I set deadlines for myself and keep them, I'm seldom late.

But as it turns out, I'm an odd person out, at least in my office. And in most offices, from what I've seen. A couple of junior walked into office at noon a few days back, and unable to control myself, I publicly shouted at them.

Was it a wise thing to do? Probably not. But what was I to do Mims? I've taken them into my room many times before, made them understand the importance of keeping time. But nothing has changed. Sometimes, you need to shock and awe.

You're a little baby, and the only time YOU'RE aware of is the time you need to have dinner. But one of these quick days, you'll grow up to be a young, confident woman and you'll totter off to work. Reach on time. Because if you don't, here's what will happen.

You'll reach (say) around 11 or so. By the time you pour yourself a cup of tea or coffee, exchange pleasantries with your rat folk, it'll be lunch time. You'll sit down for lunch. The actual work will start sometime around 3. Which means, you'll just have about 3 hours (assuming you work till 6) to finish up.

And no matter what job you're in, 3 hours simply isn't enough to finish a day's work. Unless of course, you want to work through the night. Many do, so you won't be an exception. Only thing is, you can forget about having a family life.

Days are meant for work Mimi, and evenings for family. Always make time for both.
Manage your time well, and you'll see your life become a lot easier. Set deadlines for yourself and finish what you've set out to do.

And don't just do it at work baby. Do it in your day-to-day life, create mental to-do lists. I physically make myself one, but you don't have to. Whatever works.

You'll find that if you keep time, you'll stop chasing yourself in circles trying to finish on Thursday what you had to finish last Monday.
You'll stop wasting somebody else's time. And most importantly, your own.

Love you little bum bum


19 August 2013. 6:57 AM. "Mark"

I was up earlier than usual today Mimi, and I was just pottering about the house, looking into this, shuffling that.
I couldn't help notice most of the house filled with colourful crayon marks. The walls have it, the tables have it, the bedside has it, the floors have it. Hell, even my Mac has it.

I know we've told you many times over not to go about colouring just anywhere you feel like, but here's the truth darling.
Each stroke that I see today has its own story.

The marks on the table for instance are of that time when you wanted to play yesterday, and I was too busy. So in anger you coloured the entire table. The marks around the corners of the bed are of that time when Mother Hen was at office and you and me were playing. You took a crayon, put it on the bed and just walked around with it without lifting the damn thing.

When we leave this flat and move into another one, the people that move in here will see what you've left behind. They'll interpret it their own way. They'll encourage their own children to do it. Or, they may of course whitewash over it.

But that's not the point.
The point is that it's always a good idea to leave your mark behind.

Sure, some marks aren't worth keeping. Some marks will be whitewashed over. Some marks won't stand the test of time. But out of the hundreds and thousands you draw, a few are bound to be left behind.

Do not go silently into the night baby.
Guffaw. Laugh. Scream. Clap. Express.

Leave a little bit of you behind for the world to cherish.
Love you.


9 Aug 2013. 9:40 PM "Bullies"

Darling Mimi

The world is filled with good people, bad people.
And bullies.

You'll find them at school, you'll find them at college, you'll find them at your work, no doubt. Bullies are basically people with inferiority complexes. That makes them want to bully others and project an air of superiority. Only, that doesn't quite happen, does it?

A bully will push you, nudge you, steal your tiffin, throw you to the ground, beat you and punch you. Let them. Let them do all they can. Don't complain, don't fight back.

There are two things that can happen Mimi.
One - the bullies will go away. They'll get bored with pushing you around and eventually retreat into their little worlds of no consequence.
Two: You'll end up bottling an anger inside you, like a pressure cooker.

That's good.
Don't burst, at least not yet.

Bottle yourself up. Let the pressure keep piling, till your goose is almost cooked. Then, when the bullies least expect it, come down on them. Hard. Hit them where it hurts. Scratch out their eyes, smash their testicles (if they have any), beat their heads to a pulp.

Don't ever threaten to do things. Wait for when the time is right, and then do them.
Don't ever let bullies get the better of you baby.

Keep a cool head, always.
Peace of mind is the most important thing, and don't let anyone let them take it away from you. Not your friends, not your boyfriends, not your husband - not even me.

Bullies you'll see baby, eventually die out.
Keep your head strong, because that's your best weapon when dealing with bullies.

Sure you'll get hurt and come crying to me. Sure things will get too much. Sure you'll want to run away.
But don't.

Because if you escape, the bullies will have found a permanent victim in you. Stay put where you are, stay strong.
Let the bastards keep pushing, keep pushing.

There will come a time, maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but a day when you'll push them away completely for good.
And if you can't, what am I here for?

Your friend

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1 July 2013. 10:07 AM. "Whatever works"

Hello sunshine

I probably wouldn't be writing this post if I hadn't seen that movie last night. After an eventful evening of throwing blocks about, making faces at the camera, trying (but failing miserably) to turn somersaults, wolfing down fish and rice, you conked off.

Leaving me to my list of recently downloaded movies.
Ah, peace. :-)

The first movie was one written by the incredibly funny, the deliciously dark, Woody Allen - Whatever works.
By the time you grow up, there will probably be 5D movies about space aliens and the world ending (if it hasn't already ended by the time you read this) Try to get your hands on this movie. Judging from the way you fart on my face and laugh, you seem to share my sense of humor. You'll like it.

Basically, without spoiling anything for you, what this movie is about is the futility of well...anything. It's about this somewhat senile woman who visits a fortune teller, because her husband has left her. The fortune teller robs her off her money, and tells her things she wants to hear. She goes home happy.

Her ex husband is in his late sixties, with a mid-life crisis. He wants to date young women, but of course young women don't exactly want to date him.

So he phones for a call girl. And in 3 months, marries her. The call girl marries him for his money. He marries her to stay young. In six months, after she's squeezed him dry, he runs back to his wife saying he's made a big mistake.

His wife by now has gotten attached to a man who runs a shop. They connect spiritually, she says. 
There are other characters in this film, characters who do strange things. Or at least, strange according to people who tell you that you should be living your life in a certain way.

One thread though links all the characters together. And it is this thread that I want to talk to you about. All the characters do what they want. They do things that make them happy. A married man who can't write his novel turns to a woman who's recently moved in to a flat opposite him. They indulge in a beautiful affair, and he ends up marrying her.

His wife falls in love with an owner of an art gallery, and although they don't end up together, she starts her life over again. And she does something she always wanted to do - set up her own art gallery.

Her mother, a conventional Christian comes to New York and meets a photographer. Together they bonk. Then she meets his friends. Then together all of them bonk. In the end she becomes a hit photographer, and moves in with two middle aged men.

So whatever works, right baby?
What rule applies to someone may not apply to you. So while you listen to yourself (that's always a good idea), LISTEN only to your heart. If that makes sense.

Your old man isn't a religious man by nature. But that shouldn't stop you from being one. If you feel that you should mug up The Gita, or The Bible, by all means, go ahead. If that makes you happy.

If drinking yourself silly for weeks on end makes you happy after a break up, do it. Not everyone has to pick up the pieces immediately and get on with life.

Different strokes for different folks, eh?

It's simple really, this 'being happy' business.
It's like a drink of vodka.

There are various ways to take it.
Take it with a cola, no soda.
Take it with soda and water, no ice.
Take it on the rocks.
take it with tonic water and lime.
Take it from the bottle.
Take it with orange juice.

What works for someone else may not work for you. And vice versa.
As long as it makes you happy, that's all that should matter.

Whatever works sunshine, whatever works.
Right now, this - writing blog entries to a future you works for me. I can only hope when you're older and reading this, it works for you too.


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16 June 2013. 8:16AM. "Pain in the Ass"

Mimi I love you. You know I do.
I love you to bits. You're super adorable, you're the cutest thing in the entire world, you're caring and you're a delight to have around.

But sometimes darling, you're in the pain in the bloomin' ass.
The way you bring the house down with your crying, the times when you just won't eat-no-matter-what, the times you throw my macbook from the table.

Yes, you're definately a pain in the ass.

Which is a good thing. Maybe not now baby, but later when you grow. The world has enough of people who do things simply because they're told to do 'em. The world has enough of conformists, of yes-men. Only when you're a pain in the ass to authority, will they learn to take you seriously.

Having said that, don't be a rebel without a cause, because that's plain stupidity. You don't want to be cast aside, you want to be listened to, to be heard, to be taken seriously. You want to stir up some mischief. You don't want to scream and shout without really having anything to say.

Do you?

If you don't like something baby, be vocal about it. You don't want to have dinner, don't. You don't want to go to college, don't. Be a pain in the ass then, just like you are now. Make us understand your point of view. When we refuse to comply, show your mom and me this entry on the blog.

Having said that, don't be a pain in the ass all the time. Nobody likes that. Sometimes baby, you have to do things that you may not want to do. And in doing them, you don't become littler. You become larger than you are. So accomodate other people as much as you can, as much as your conscience allows you to.

And as soon as you find yourself doing something which is inherently not you, stop. Throw a tantrum. Scream. Shout. Be a pain in the ass.

Will there be consequences to pay? Yes of course, just like there are now. You get slapped on the bum  now, for being a pain. Later, when you grow worse things may happen. You may get kicked out of school. You may get thrown into prison - who knows?

Look, all I'm trying to really tell you is that if you think something is worth going to prison for, do it. If something is worth you getting thrown out of school, don't let it hold you back.

Voice your opinion.
It's what separates us from the animals.
And us from the multituide of yes-of-course-I'll-do-whatever-you-say-men.


9 May 2013. 10:10 AM. "In Daddy's Shoes"

Lately Mimi, you've started trying to get into my shoes. And it's really funny, because you see my shoe size is much larger than yours. With you trotting about the house, in those over sized  shoes, worn mostly the wrong way, you look like a baby clown.

But there's a larger issue here Mimi. It's not just about you trying to fit your little baby feet into shoes five times your size, is it? No, it's about something more profound than that.

It's about you trying to grow up faster.
It's about your ambitions, it's about you setting impossible goals for yourself.
It's about you walking around like a Boss.

Me, I love that. Probably because in some strange way, I'm like that too. I hated being a kid, when I was a kid. I wanted to grow up fast. I wanted to have my own car, my own salary, my own space. I wanted to do things the way I wanted to, not the way I was told to.

I'm still like that, to be honest.

People will tell you to go slow. To learn to walk, before you can run. To learn how to wear your own shoes, before you attempt wearing your dad's. Stay away from these people like you would, the plague. No good ever came from taking things slow and easy.

Sure, the tortoise won in the race.
But who has more character, who's the more interesting one of the two?
The bad-ass hare, that's who.

Point is this Mimi, if you're confident about something darling, don't let anything hold you back. If you think you can fit into my shoes, you probably can. Don't let me, or your mother, or anyone else for that matter stop you.

It's good to set impossible goals for yourself. What's the worst thing that can happen? You won't reach it. You'll trip over and fall, while walking in them shoes.

Big deal. Big bloody deal.
Pick yourself up, dust those knees and start walking again.

Here and now, I'm there for you.
I'm there to pick you up when you fall, here to guide you, here to tie your laces.

Tomorrow, who knows.
The world is unpredictable, it throws up strange plots.

All the more reason for you to fit into Daddy's shows baby. Slip your little feet into them. You'll find soon, that they fit just fine.

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29 April 2013. 10:07 AM. "Good Company"

There are broadly two kinds of people in this world Mimi, and the sooner you know of them, the better. So grab that bottle of milk, here take a cookie and sit on my lap. Let me tell you about the people who will make you, and the people who'll break you.

As you grow darling, you'll find helpful people along the way. You'll find them at school, protecting you from the bullies. You'll find them at home, teaching you to walk. You'll find them in the swimming pool, in the guise of a coach.

When you grow a little bit more, you'll find them at college. You'll find a guy with ruffled hair offering to study together. You'll find a comforting shoulder in your BFF. You'll find it in the canteen guy who gives you a Coke and says, yes you can pay later.

These are the Pushers, Mimi. They push you forward from where you are to where you'd like to be. Sometimes you'll see them, and sometimes you won't. Sometimes the push will be big, propelling towards a different rung on the ladder altogether. Sometimes, it'll just be a gentle nudge pushing you away from the puddle you didn't know was there.

If you can, as you grow, acknowledge these people from time to time. Thank them in person, and if you can't do that, thank them in your prayers. Because it's because of them that you are where you are today.

In return, push others like the others pushed you. Help someone grow, if you can. Teach someone something. Make someone laugh, or smile. If you see obstacles in someone's way, remove them - so their journey is as smooth as yours was.

They're good people, these Pushers. Stay in their company for as long as you can, and you'll find yourself growing, shining, becoming a better person.

But here's the hard bit Mimi. For every Pusher trying to push you up towards the light, there's a Puller trying to pull you down towards the dark pit of stagnation. These creatures are lowly creatures, their homes in the deepest center of Earth, a burning inferno of hell. As they journey downward, they try and take people along with them for the ride.

Be careful, Mimi for the Pullers have many disguises. It's hard to spot one, for they could be in the form of your friends, your colleagues, someone you met online. It could even be a member of your family.

By nature, the Pullers are jealous. They have no ambition to grow, and dislike it when others do. That girlfriend of yours who says your boyfriend is bad for you could in all probability be envious of the fact that you have one. So always Mimi, always see things objectively. Use your own judgement all the time. Access things in a mature way, and you'll find you're the better for it.

Once you recognize a Puller, stay away from him/her like you would, the plague. They're negative forces keeping you away from where you'd like to be. They'll hurt you, back-stab you and eventually pull you to the ground.

At the end Mimi, the world is really made up of two kinds of people. People who make you happy. And people who don't.

Know which one is which.
And if you can't tell the difference, ask Baba.

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2 April 2013. 6:27 AM. "Learn to take"

I came back home early-ish yesterday. And after waking you up, changing your diaper and making your milk, we sat outside in the living room with your toys surrounding us like a wall. There was no way into our little enclosed world of fun. And for that half an hour, there was no way out.

I was eating this snack from a bowl - murruku. And like I usually do, I placed the bowl between us, so you and me could share. That's how it generally works. Only this time around, things turned out a little different.

You took each piece of murruku in your tiny hand and extended your hand towards my mouth. And then you proceeded to feed me. And not once, or twice mind you. You finished when the bowl was over.

It was cute at first. A daughter feeding her father. But then I got thinking. So Mimi, listen up. It's time for Another Boring Sermon from Dad. 

We live in a strange world princess. It's a world where everyone's out to take, take, take. One palm open in front with fingers twitching for more, and one palm open under the table. Everyone takes - politicians, businessmen, family members, friends. Which itself is fine, as long as the takes are followed by one or two gives.

But gives, there are none. Nobody's willing to extend any help, to pick you up when you're down, to loan you some money, to cook a dinner for you which isn't followed by some ulterior motives. I'm sorry if your dad sounds like a pessimistic fool, but unfortunately that's the way it is.

The world needs people like you again Mimi. People who are unselfish, unpolluted, uncorrupted. The world needs goodness of heart, not millions of hard hearted brutes. It needs people who trust blindly, who make friends with a stranger without an ulterior motive. The world needs good people like you.

And as you grow up, I want you to stay how you are. I want you to keep giving. Most of the time, you won't get anything back. You'll get hurt, you may cry. The boy you love with all your heart may go out with another girl. But don't let that change you.

Because here's the thing. The world, its people need to change. It needs more love, less hate. More trust, less suspicion. More laughter, less fights. More peace, less wars. More brotherhood, less racism. More give, and less take.

My sweetest little Mimi, you could be that person to bring about that change.
I love you.


10 March 2013. 8:17PM. "Question"

With you around, I hardly get time to to write nowadays.
Or, one could argue (and I honestly think this may be the case) because I get so little time, I only write the things that really matter.

Not the avalanche of bullshit I had the luxury of churning out.

Today Mimi, I'd like to talk to you about questions. I'd like to talk to you about beliefs, about customs and about traditions.

You see baby, the more you grow, the more you'll find people trying to teach you things. They'll tell you about astrology, about how the stars have all got it planned out for you. They'll instruct you to touch your elder's feet. They'll mark the little space behind your ears with kajal, just so nothing happens to you. They'll tell you to fast when someone in your family has died.

Don't dismiss what you hear. But don't blindly follow everything too.

Try and think about things. Don't just do things because your family has been doing them. Or because your forefathers did them. Find out why the customs came into being. Read about it, talk to people - but most importantly, ask yourself.

The secret to inner peace isn't about staying true to your traditions. It's about doing what you think should be done.
For example, when your dadu (my dad) passed away, I was a young man, just stepping out my teens. All my relatives told me to shave off my head, to keep a month long fast, to avoid ginger, to sleep with iron.

I was supposed to mourn. And I was supposed to make a showcase of my mourning to the world.
So I asked myself, "what was there to mourn? Sure, my father had passed away, but he had lived a full (albeit short) life."

So this is what I did.
I invited some of his friends over, got my mom to cook a meal that he loved, and got some rum (his favourite drink) And instead of mourning his death, we celebrated his life.

Was it true to tradition?
But did it make me and my family happier? Did it make him happier, wherever he was? I think it did.

How does shaving one's hair off solve anything? What does it do?
Ask yourself. Everyday, ask questions.

When you would have grown up a little bit, you would know I'm fondly called a 'disbeliever' in my family circle. I don't like visiting astrologers (your dida swears by them by the way), I don't worship any idols (I do believe in God, but it's that one Power) I'm not much for touching feet.

Your mom's side of the family are very staunch believers in this sort of thing. For them, it's social protocol, it's something they and their family has been doing for years, and they have no cause or reason to disbelieve it. They've seen proof of its workings. When there's negative energy around a person, a red dry chilly after being waved around him and burnt gives out no odour. If there's no negative energy, it gives out its usual pungent odour.

Are they wrong for believing in such a thing?
No, absolutely not.

Am I wrong for disbelieving it?

Because here's thing darling. Imagine you're at a bloody big buffet. There are rows and rows of tables laid with food from around the world. There are hundreds of dishes. Unfortunately, you only have one plate. And even more unfortunately, you have one stomach.

So what do you do?
You pick and choose what you like. You load your plate with what you find interesting, what intrigues you, what takes your liking, and you eat.

And so it is with life.
There are thousands of beliefs in the universe. You, me, anyone is a tiny dot in the cosmos. We can't even begin to imagine all there is and all that exists.

And trying to know all is futile.
So pick and choose from life, philosophies and customs that  you think will make you happy.

Because at the end of the day, that's what matters doesn't it?
That's what each of are striving to find.

The day you do find it baby, buy your old man a drink.
And you don't have to touch my feet after.

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22 February 2013. 7:13AM. "Bad daddy"

Gosh, will you look at that Mimi?
It's been over 4 months and no post from daddy. Horrible, horrible father. Just no time for his cute as button daughter.

Truth be told, I've been very very busy. I've been busy with irrelevant things at office, chasing selfish dreams of fame. But I've also been busy watching you grow. Because Mimi, you really have grown.

You can walk now. And even though the world might say you look like a penguin when you do, I think there's a certain aristocracy in your walk. Your head is held high, and your bum hangs low. Of course this aristocracy goes out the window when you see a park, because then you run. Nothing remotely lady-like about that.

You can talk now too. You know how to say "hello". (Oh, and Mimi, the correct pronunciation is "Hello" and not "Heeeaaaaaow") Unless of course you're a cat, which you're not. You like phones, and you particularly like throwing them.

Here Mimi. Take Mommy's i-phone.

A couple of weeks back, we went to see a playschool with you, remember? You chased the children around. The were older to you. Must not do that baby. Be gentle with the world. And don't get over familiar with random people.

I did, and I had to pay a price for it. I got married.

Yeah, so we'll probably put you in that school. Seems like a nice place. There's one particular teacher who's quite pretty.

Daddy's such an evil daddy.
But Mimi, my love, would you have me any other way?

Where would you get your wickedness from if it wasn't for me? Where would you get that naughty little smile, if not from my genes? How could you be a terror inside the house, if it wasn't for my blood?

But there's evil Daddy, and then there's Bad Daddy.
Bad Daddy stays away from the house, chasing selfish goals. He puts off PTA meetings for client ones. He postpones trips to the zoo for business trips abroad. Bad Daddy has his head in the sand, oblivious to Mimi growing up outside. Bad Daddy comes back home after a bad day, and make sure everyone has a bad night. He fights with Mommy. He doesn't cook Mimi her favourite chicken (you know, the one with methi)

If at any point in our lives together, I ever become this Bad Daddy, please punch me hard across the face. You have full permission to. And here it is, in writing. Slap me hard into my senses my little baby. For sometimes, we get lost in quicksands of selfishness. It's a murky place where everything revolves around us - our meetings, our goals, our awards, our bosses, our deadlines.

The more we fight to get out, the more it sucks us in. So Mimi, if you ever find me there, slowly sinking away from all of you'll, throw me a stick and pull me out.

Till the next time you sleep, and I write
Your Dad

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16 October 2012. 7:22 AM. "Walk - Part 1"

If rumour and Mrs Nani Nair are to be believed, you walked for the first time yesterday. Just two steps, but what the hell? A walk is a walk is a walk.

As usual, Mom and me weren't around to see this. Speaking of which, we're hunting like blood-thirsty cavemen for nannies to look after you. We've met one who used to work at Bipasha Basu's house. When you grow up, Bipasha will be a slim, tall gorgeous beauty.

The magic of Botox.

Anyway, I wanted to give you some advice on walking. So pour yourself a nice glass of juice, resist the temptation to light up a smoke, pull your laptop closer and pay attention.

Never walk two feet at a time. 
Walking is a good thing. You go forward. You walk towards something you want - a bottle of milk (that's what you were going for incidentally last night), a slide at a playground, your mom, a jewelery store, a man.
Yes, walking takes you closer to the things you love. The places you'd rather be. But remember this, my love. While one foot of yours is going to conquer new lands, keep your other foot where it was before - even momentarily. Appreciate where you came from. Hold on to your roots. But always walk.

Walk with your head down, from time to time.
Yes, I want you to be proud. I want you to be confident. But you know the problem of walking around with your head held high? You don't always see what's in front of you. And we all know what happens when we don't keep an eye on the road, don't we? We trip and fall. So, take it from Dad. Bow your head from time to time, survey your surroundings. Keep a lookie on your little feet - sometimes feet have a mind of their own, and they wander off without the consent of the owner.

Shake hands
Your dad generally walks around with his hands in his pocket, smart ass that he is. Don't do what he does, and you'll go far. Keep your hands open. As you walk, touch things along the way. Screw hygiene, experiences are far more important. Sometimes what feels really good to the feet may not feel as good to the hand. So take a second opinion sometimes - it helps. Don't be snooty, make friends along the way. Shake hands when you meet, ask them their name, smile. Sometimes it helps to walk together, sometimes it doesn't. You'll know what's right for you.

Many dinosaurs will tell you to walk slowly, never to run. As you may have gathered, I disagree. I've never 'walked slowly' and I've done just fine so far. The thing is, darling Mimi, sometimes you'll feel the need to walk, and sometimes you'll hear your heart telling you to break into a run. Always listen to your heart. People (your parents included) don't. We listen to the head. We want what's best for you. But it's your heart that knows what's good for you. We want to play it safe. Your heart wants to make you feel alive. And honestly, I think that's a better way to go about things. But even when you're sprinting, when you've left everyone behind in a cloud of gaussian blur, pause a moment to catch a breath of fresh air. Don't overtire yourself. Sit upon a rock, smell the fresh scenery, take a little swim - relax. Walk again for a gentle while, before your heart tells you to run again.

I want to go on sweety, but unfortunately, I have to travel to the ends of the earth (Greater Noida) for a meeting. Safe to say then, that this isn't the end to this post. As the saying goes, "I'll be back."


16 October 2012. 10:14 AM. Walk - Part 2


I landed up at 9 in the fiendish morning to go for the meeting at Greater Noida. Went to have a little smoke. When I returned to my seat, nobody was around. On checking my phone I find 5 missed calls from the Branch Head, my ECD and my art partner.

My damn phone had gone silent.

So here I am, back to you, teaching you how to walk. Let's take it up from where I stopped. Run, I think it was I ended with.

Keep your eyes closed
Okay, this one is tricky, so pay close attention. I've tried it many times, and it doesn't always go as planned. So here's what it is. Keeping your eyes open when you walk is all very well. Everyone does it, and you should too. It's important to know where you're going, important to look out for things on your way; pebbles that can trip you, people that can push you, water that may make you slip.
But try closing your eyes once and walking.
When you open them, you'll find yourself in a place unknown. Sometimes in life, as you walk, it's important to take that risk. Take a blind leap of faith. Let your little heart be your compass, not your eyes.

Ask for directions
This is a rule I follow to this day. Truth is Mimi, sure as we are, sometimes we need help.  Sometimes we don't know where we're going, or sometimes we walk off the path we started out on. It is at times like these that we need people to show us the way. Everybody gets a little lost sometimes, it's bound to happen to those who walk. Thankfully, there are people on the road to point us home.

Pluck leaves
Mom will probably tell you it's a bad habit, and it is. But hear me out young lady before you shake off the advise from your old pop. When you walk, carry a big elastic bag with you. And as you walk, pluck leaves, pick up stones, scrap paper and put it inside this bag. The roads that you'll walk on will be unclean, dirty. Clean, as you walk. And it doesn't have to be your mess.
Now, for that elastic bag.
Look inside that bag from time to time.
See that dirty letter? See that wrapper that's gathered dust? That broken picture frame? The half licked stamp?
These are the places that you've traveled through. These are the things that have conspired to get you where you are today. Never lose that bag.

I think you've learned enough about walking for one day from me. Once again, congratulations. Here's to us walking together.

Your wise-ass

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19 August 2012. 10:03 AM. "Rain"

Just put you to sleep. You're lying down in an awkward fashion, one leg on top of the other, your hands spread, eagle like. Your little bald head is slanted to one angle, as if you're trying to hear the words that I'm typing now.

Your head looks so cute. Don't know what looks cuter, you with your hair, or you without. Till a month back, your locks were wavy, curly, straight and everything in between. I used to stroke them and try to put you to sleep.

Now you don't have any, thanks to the 'mundan'. Most Indian families shave the heads of children off, so the hair grows back nicely again. At least, that's what they believe. But you know your old father, sworn skeptic.

If the hair does grow back nicely after shaving, why do women shave their legs? Or their arm-pits? Do they want nice, bushy legs?

Perhaps you can answer that one when you're a little older Mimi.

I remember the day your mundan happened. Not too long back, I think. Perhaps a week. The weather was pleasant that day. I went out onto the verandah to have a smoke. A few droplets landed 'splosh' on my shirt. Within a few minutes, it was raining.

It's strange. Everytime there's an auspicious occasion in my life, it rains. I remember the day your thamma, Tuna-pishi and me were driving down to Noida. It was the day the parents would meet for the first time. It started raining cats and dogs and rabbits then too.

And every birthday of mine, it rains too.

Of course, there's another school of thought which says that God sends down rain whenever he's upset or angry. In which case, he was pretty darned upset about the fact that I was going to Noida to get married to your mother. And he was pretty damn upset about us shaving off your head too.

Ah well. No good sulking about lost hair now, I suppose.
Sleep well, the best thing that ever happened to me.


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30 July 2012. 9:42 AM. "Hurry up"

How you've grown little child, how you've grown.
How you've grown from this little mass of flesh into this gorgeous little adult. Is it just me, or do all parents think their baby is the cutest?

I love how you go for food. Just like your dad, eh Mimi? Yesterday for breakfast, you I gave you ham sandwiches. It was hilarious the way you were climbing onto me, opening your mouth wide like a shark. And then, chomping up the tiny bits of ham.


Night before last, your dadu and me were drinking beer. And you scampered close to me and peered into the mug of beer. I smiled at you, you smiled back. And you climbed up, nodding your head from side to side with a drunken look on your face. Which means that you want what I'm having.

I was temped to give you a sip (after all, a sip can't hurt, can it?) But I didn't. There's still time for those things. So hurry up baby, grow up.

I can't wait. I can't wait for us to go traveling together, to share a drink and smoke together, to cook together, to write stories about each other, together. Hurry up. I had you at 26 for a reason. So I could still be young when you would turn into a young adult.

I'm 29 now. You're 8 months.
Hurry. You have a lot of catching up to do.

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31 May 2012. 9:42 AM. "Humility"

Your mother got a call late last night from Pooja Maashi saying that you started crawling frontwards for the first time. I was groggy and almost 3/4th into a beautiful dream about me and you and a dog named boo - but I had a good mind to drive 40 kms down and see you do it.

That's the trouble with this long distance relationship. We're missing out on these beautiful things.
But parents sometimes have to make tough choices. And this is one we had to make. Both your mother and me need to earn so you can have a better life than we did.

And if that means we have to be this horrid long distance relationship of kissing goodnight on Skype, exchanging pictures of you growing up instead of seeing it for real, so be it.

So be it.

But that's not what I wanted to talk to you about today. No, today I wanted to talk to you about something my mother often talks to me about.
The art of being humble.

I was never a very humble kind of person myself to be honest. I thought I was a rockstar [and if you ask around, you'll know I was]. I was an arrogant ass.
And here's the thing. It's okay to be arrogant. It's okay to be the cat's whiskers. It's okay to be cocky as hell. But you can only go so far with that.

This is something I'm learning now.

You're going to grow up to be one of the smartest women in the world - with Divya's and my genes, you can't avoid it. You're going to do remarkable things in the world, you're going to earn more money than I've seen in my life. Your name will be whispered with awe in all the offices and in all the newspaper offices.

And it is then, that you should stay grounded. True to your roots, true to what you believe in. Still simple in your thoughts, still as clean as you are today, still with that child-like smile, still innocent.

The world will try it's best to make you change. It'll try and bend you and break you and twist you to become someone else - and when that time comes, stand strong.

Stand for something.

But, there's a long way to go for all of this. You're just 6 and a half months now. There'll be enough time for lessons of life and of worldly advice.

Right now, sleep my pretty doll.
And dream of something too fantastic to write about.

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26 May, Saturday. 8: 01 AM. "Anuj and Mohita"

I woke up at the unearthly hour of five o clock today morning. Why? Because there's no water at home, and I needed to see if water was coming from the supply or not.
It's a complicated thing, and you shouldn't worry your little pretty head about it.

Anyway, problem's solved now. My tank is full.

I just spoke to your dida. She said you went to sleep quite late last night. And that you woke up pretty early too. Your pishi [my sister was right] We should have called you Chingri. You're as restless as one.
Anyway, so while you're sleeping now, let me tell you about two very important people in my life.

Anuj and Mohita.

I've known Anuj ever since I was a kid. He was the only other kid who had ears as big as mine, so I felt a special connection to him. He stays a two minute brisk walk from our house in New Alipore. I remember we used to go cycling around the para looking for women. We seldom found any, but that's beside the point.

You know the phrase "thick as thieves?". Well, that's exactly what we were. I don't think we ever fought properly, which is funny because I end up fighting with most people. We used to go everywhere together - to school, to cycle, to the mall, to the movies, to plays and sometimes even to bed.

Ah, the bed incident. You must know about that.
It was one of those days when I was spending the night at Anuj's. We did that often. I'd stay over, steal a pint of beer from his dad's stock, get drunk silly on 30ml of alcohol, watch a movie and crash out.
One particular night, it was blistering hot.

So naturally, we had our T shirts off. After a beer or so, Anuj complained of a horrible backache. Faithful friend that I am, I offered to massage it for him. He agreed and asked me to get a tube of Moov from the cupboard.

Now, the cupboard was in the next room. And since it was in the middle of the night, I didn't bother to put my T shirt on. So out I walked in my shorts, opened the cupboard, took out the Moov and turned around to walk back on tip toe.

Unfortunately, there behind me stood Anuj's little sister [she was almost 16 then] looking at me with suspicious eyes. Since there was little I could do or say that would explain the situation, I smiled at her sweetly and walked back into Anuj's room.

Anuj and me fell of the bed laughing of course, once I was inside.

I met Mohita when I was in class 10 or 11. I forget. It was the tradition of our school to host these fantastic big scale musicals, and sometimes people from other schools would participate. The year that I refer to, a lady by the name of Shonali Ghose was direction a play based on the Emperor's New Clothes - it was to be called Pins & Needles.

Mohita was from the school next to ours, Pratt Memorial.  On paper, they're our sister school. Hormonally speaking, they were anything but.

Over the span of a year that we were rehearsing for the play, Anuj, Mohita, me and a few other people had formed a tight group. After rehearsal, we would head to my place, or Anuj's. We'd lounge about, talk, fool around.

The play happened, and as it came to an end, we knew our friendship would too. Because that's only natural isn't it?
But here's the thing: it didn't.

We stayed close, perhaps even more closer than we were.
Anuj and Mohita started dating soon. And not to be left behind, I started dating my string of girlfriend. 
Anuj moved off to Hyderabad to do his college. In a few years, Mohita moved off too.

We never spoke on the phone much, I'm lousy at that anyway. We never wrote to each other. But whenever we met, which was pretty much once a year or so, it was like none of us left.
Right now, Anuj is probably 31. Mohita will be my age.

But when we meet, we're still 17-18. It's hard to explain really, but no doubt when you grow up and see how we are with each other, you'll understand.

A few months after you were born, we took you to Calcutta. And co-incidentally, Anuj and Mohita were there too. I played a prank on Anuj that I'll never forget.

Remember, that you were as large as a doll then. So here's what I did. I wrapped up a doll in your clothes and held it against my chest, cradling it. No one could tell that it actually wasn't you, and that in reality, it was a doll.

Anuj came, sat down on the sofa. I came out of my room carrying the 'fake you". His eyes lit up. [He could only see the clothes, remember] A few feet before him, I pretended to trip, and in doing this, I flung the doll in the air.

I heard a scream. It was Anuj.
But a second later, I saw the doll - in Anuj's hand. The bugger had caught it!

Later on the roof, the 'real you' snuggled up into Mohita's arms and slept. It was shocking because you don't generally go about getting comfortable with just about anyone.

So here's what I wanted to tell you really darling.
If something were ever to happen to me or your mother ever I want you to give that bugger Anuj and his wife Mohita a call. They're my best friends, and they'll know what to do. Everyone needs two sets of parents - one for real and one pair, just in case.

They are your just-in-case parents.

It's 8:46 AM now. It's time, if I'm not mistaken, for you to get up and play.

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21 May 2012. 19:16 PM. "The Lunch"

You're probably not sleeping now, seeing it's a little after seven in the evening. In all probability, you've just returned from your little round in the park in your pram, thanks to my mom-in-law, your dida.

I had a bad lunch today. Daal, roti and bhindi.
Nothing quite like the lunch I had in your mom's house - when I went there for the first time.
And there's where our story begins here my love.

You would, if I've managed to put you in school by now, have heard of the Last Supper. In today's world, it's man's last glorious meal before he is sent, unceremoniously to his death.

I don't remember the date, the month, the year. Sometime in 2008 I would imagine.
I was informed by my girlfriend that her father wanted to invite me over for lunch. Now Mimi, you must know by now - I'm a man who likes my lunches. I like them at restaurants, at houses, at hotels, at the clients' offices. I appreciate good food.

Plus, it was a chance to show off to a girlfriend's parent - something which I have been known to be prolific at ever since my college days. So without prolonging the conversation any further with the woman who was known to make a mountain of a mole hill, I readily accepted the invitation.

Her parents were most cordial.
They asked about what I did for a living, where my parents stayed, what my hobbies are - all the questions parents generally ask kids I suppose.

On the table neatly laid out, was lunch. For starters - saambar, rice, papadam, fried fish and toran. And then, for main course, rice, mutton curry and raita. I couldn't wait to dig into the food.

Her dad [your dadu] retired from the Armed Forces at Colonel. His specialty - intelligence. This, I found out soon after.
Once lunch was served, everyone started eating at a healthy pace. Everyone that is, expect me.

I started packing things into my mouth like there was no tomorrow. I had just wolfed down the sambar and rice and had a big chunk of mutton in my mouth all ready for the tearing apart when the gentleman who was to be addressed as 'dad' soon, asked me in a tone that was neither friendly nor bum-chumy,

"So, are you planning to marry my daughter?"

I did what any self respecting bengali with his mouth full of food would do.
I nodded like a life buoy, floating on a sea.

Little else I could do really in hindsight. There was no way out of it. Your smart dadu had lured me into a friendly area [his house], showed me a bait [mutton] and ambushed me [the question] when I least expected it [my mouth was full]

Typical guerrilla tactics, I later learnt.
So kiddo, that was how it all started. That is how your mother and me decided we had to get married.
Over a spot of lunch.

Your mother may not agree to a few parts of this story. I'm not saying they're wrong. I'm not saying they're right. But you tell me after you hear their version: which one is the one worth remembering and writing about?

Till I write to you again baby
Lots and lots and lots of love

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