What would be better than welcoming this September 2020 with the music: “Come September” from the 1961 movie by the same name? 

My father an English Music Buff had this record – LP record of those times, which was passed on to me later. Years later, when this record was played and I was hooked on to this foot-tapping number, I couldn’t help but dance, dance and dance as a little girl. What a pleasure it was to listen to this Instrumental rendition on the old gramophone with LP record playing on it. The song ‘Come September‘ was recorded with guitars, mandolins, piano accordions and the bongo, giving stress to a loving lilt.

Since, I never forget to play this tune on the first day of every September which is a month of hope, positivity, the onset of festive seasons, stepping in of autumn and so much more…

… The symbolism of September month focuses on refocusing our energies.

September is the only month with the same number of letters in its name as the number of the month: it is the ninth month and has nine letters. The Anglo-Saxons called September Gerst Monath (Barley Month) or Haefest Monath (Harvest Month) celebrating the barley harvest. September is the time to celebrate cooler weather. It’s still warm enough to enjoy without freezing, but not unbearably hot and humid, and there’s a delightful crispness in the air. September is the only month in which you can enjoy both summer and fall.

The story of this Instrumental composition goes like this: Salter asked Darin to compose an instant tune inspired by autumn which would be romantic as well as foot-tapping, and Darin obliged. A spellbound Mulligan asked him to repeat the tune twice. He was now confident about young Darin’s ability and signed him to compose the theme music of “Come September”. Unconsciously, his feet started tapping to his own creation as he wielded the baton

The movie “Come September” (1961) too had an offbeat for those times where every September American Millionaire Robert L. Talbot stays in his villa at the beautiful Italian Riviera together with his Roman girl-friend Lisa Fellini. One year he arrives early in July – quite unexpected by Lisa, who is in the midst of preparations to marry an Englishman, as she sees no future in a one-month-per-year relationship. Yet when Robert calls, she drops everything, packs her bags, and catches the next train to meet Robert at his villa. Watch the movie for the love for its music and story!

May September bring you lots of happiness & health for humanity which has been suffering immensely from last six month.

Let the HOPE prevail, till then you listen to this melodious foot-tapping number.

My cup of comfort – Vandana: Happy Birth Day!

We (read: Me & Vandana) descended on this planet with a very small gap – well almost together! She is my mama’s daughter and I am her Bua’s daughter. Our bond is the reflection of the bond shared by my mother with her dear brother. Vandana, an important part of my life’s journey, from early childhood to till now…what could have been a better gift than a blog post dedicated to her on her birthday on August 31, 2020.

We grew up together, spent most of our summer vacations together till we finished school and had a wonderful time during our teenage years. We use to talk, walk, cook, shop, movies, gossip, fight, discuss … everything! Both of us didn’t have real sisters so we were sisters and more of friends. While growing up, she looked beautiful for her rose & petals complexion and charming mannerisms. She attracted everybody’s attention at first glance, whereas I was a plain Jane with my dusky complexion and mediocre looks. Not only in looks, but we were also a distance apart in our thinking, approach, attitude and upbringing. Probably this uniqueness of traits made our bond stronger. She used to enjoy life in every which way and took life as it came, whereas I was always busy thinking…God knows what!

Time flew and it was time for marriage for both of us, and this is when life took a 360-degree turn for both of us. The pretty looking Vandana swept my hone wale jijaji off his feet and their marriage was fixed, this was the year 1984. All the preparations of marriage were done to be solemnised on November 12, 1984, and I did a lot of shopping for her marriage being the most prominent saali (sister-in-law).

But destiny had other plans for me (shocking & devastating), my father passed away due to a massive heart attack on the morning of November 10, 1984. The world turned topsy-turvy for us, the whole family was shattered and reached our house to be with us. The times were critical as there was curfew all over, due Indira Gandhi assassination in Delhi and everybody had to arrange curfew passes to travel to Mayur Vihar. This may read to you like a reel life story but the reality is stranger than fiction. As very little time was left for marriage, it was decided to go ahead with it. I am sure she must have checked with everyone why none of us is there, especially me and everybody must have put up a cover of impending curfew. She was told about the tragedy days after her marriage.

She moved ahead with her marital life, whereas for me matrimony became a distant dream, I moved on with my incessant struggle…she became a mother to two most beautiful children – Tanvi and Arjun and we kept bumping each other on few occasions. After a few years of her marriage, we lost touch completely and I used to know about her whereabouts through some family members. No letters, no calls, no communication…but I was happy that she is well-settled with Jijaji and children and busy with her own life, to think of me.

Years passed, probably over a decade, when her brother Sharad got transferred to Mumbai in probably 2010 and traced us through some relative. My joy knew no bounds to have him back with us. It was then, Vandana visited him (us) and I still recollect that it was like house on fire…there was so much to talk about, make up for the lost time, share so many stories, no amount of time could have been enough.

In the meantime, I had also got married and became a mother. So many years had passed, so much water had flown, both of us had starkly different lives but connect was great.

She is the most patient listener I have known, she listens, she analyses, she comments and absorbs! Over a period of time, she has become my go-to person for anything I want to talk about. She has very good knowledge of medicines (Ma & Ma-in-Law to lovely Docs Tanvi & Sidhhant after all). She has maintained connect with all nanihaal cousins and today all four sisters (Vandana, Me, Kiran & Jaya) connect regularly.

I fondly recollect times when I and Mukund visited her and Jijaji in Hyderabad in June last year and had whale of a time shopping, gossiping, outing and having fun all through. We bonded like two little girls. Husbands became mere spectators!

Vandana has been my social media buddy, blog reader and encouraging me all through for various activities. Her words, comments are truly motivating and advice worth considering. Not even once, she has missed anything I have written. She is the only one who reads me well, whether I say it or not, this is her uniqueness, and I am blessed to have her. She is a star singer on StarMaker and for the first time, I am seeing this side of her. Magical singing in her unique voice. You can visit her profile on StarMaker to enjoy her songs @saivandana.

Vandana is the only one whom I address her as Gudiya Rani (our pet names are Gudiya) because she is truly a Queen – Queen of hearts!

She always teased me that I resembled actor Yogita Bali, though I barely knew who Yogita Bali was…still I took it positively, coming from her.  

Happy Birthday – Gudiya Raani!



My Review: The Magic of Friendships by Shubha Vilas

The book released on International Friendship Day titled The Magic of Friendships: Understand it, Cherish it, Keep it, by Shubha Vilas, presents an intrinsic take on “Friendships” which have undergone such drastic transformation in today’s times.

When I received the copy of The Magic Friendships by renowned author Shubha Vilas, I knew, it is something starkly different from what I have read in the past by the same author. Book’s cover with green & white illustration is quite attractive, with its 200 pages and 7 chapters, it is quite a racy read. The book’s persona would surely appeal to young readers. It has some invaluable lessons for young readers especially.

It is a thought-provoking book but abstains from any sort of preaching, which is the best part of it. Young & old both will have some important takeaways from the book owing to its well-illustrated stories from Ramayana, Mahabharata, Panchatantra, Vedic scriptures and contemporary real-life anecdotes.

Friends are an integral part of our lives, since childhood, who h have enriched our lives in many ways with its bitter-sweet manoeuvrings. The story of the friendship of monkey & crocodile brought alive childhood spent with my departed father, who told me this story quite often. Though the book starts slowly but gathers pace after a few pages, now it becomes difficult to leave the book.

People of all ages will connect well with the book as it traverses friendship of Krishna – Sudama, Rama – Vibhishana, Krishna – Draupadi besides friendship stories of today’s youngsters. Every generation has its interpretation of friendship, but today’s generation has a completely different meaning. It finely elaborates the issues faced by youngsters while dealing with friends, parents, teachers and society at large.

The book successfully addresses questions like: Do you have numerous friends on social media, but hardly in real life? Or Do you find that your friendships often don’t last? Do you feel your friendships get shrouded in negativity?

The author has successfully illustrated that today; friendship has become more important than any other relationship. The warmth that a good friend can provide is unmatched, and each one of us wishes we had that special friend with whom we can share our burdens or seek help in troubled times. But not all of us are lucky!

Every single page is read-worthy and presents some or the other important insights on friendship. It also has some exercises, Q & A’s etc. which provide a true mirror to you, the kind of friend you are. The book borrows wisdom from our Vedic scriptures as they have a lot of insights on meaningful friendships. The author connected this knowledge to the modern understanding of friendship to present a composite idea. It also sensitively touches upon the topic of friendship between children and parents, a reason for ruining so many young lives who don’t confide in their parents.

It brings forth the point that books are your best friends especially in trying times. Currently, due to pandemic, so many people are going through so much crisis and loneliness, if they find a good friend (in a book) that teaches them ways to find good friends, it will help so many people. Hence, there couldn’t have been a better time than this to launch ‘The Magic of Friendships.”

In this book, author Shubha Vilas discusses, simply and straightforwardly, what is missing in our relationships with friends today, and the various scenarios that prevent people from making friends and sustaining good friendships.

I connected well with the book as a friend and as a parent to a young daughter who has many friends, a true representative of today’s youngsters. Now passed on the book to her for her own interpretations!

An imprint of Penguin Random House.

You can read a review of the author’s earlier books – Ramayana – The Game of Life and Open-Eyed Meditations in the review section on my blog.

Circa 1997: August 18: Time: 3:20 PM And life took a 360 degree spin!

When you become Mom for the first time, there is a dramatic shift in your life, bringing forth with it a whole new, rather overwhelming emotions. You are not ‘YOU’ anymore, there is your little bundle of joy to care for, who needs your undivided attention and love. Being a mother is a full-time occupation: 365 x 24 x 7…

Traverse with me … my motherhood journey…

My folks (read: family & friends) were caught unawares when they received my wedding card, as I was the last to board the bus and people had already thought that I have missed the bus!

Now, it was my turn to be caught unaware when the doctor told me that I was on my family way after nearly 18 months of marriage. Though ours was a late marriage, still the topic of motherhood never popped up in our conversations. It was people around me who shot from their arsenal of advice: Why it is important, how I am losing time, how a woman’s life is not complete without children, what would society say, at least have one child, all this and more! Still, the idea never appealed me much, I was still wondering why it is so important to be a mom?

Finally, it beckoned…and my thought process started changing. After quite a hectic life which involved office work, files, meetings, events, exhibitions, conferences, tours…what not followed by matrimony, getting accustomed to a different life in a different city, in a different household (Gujarati) etc. etc. this was something which I was not prepared for. As for everybody, initial days were tough which were made tougher by the volley of advice from all quarters. Somehow, I sailed through with the help of my mother and motherly doctor – Dr Dastoor. ( I came to know she was my favourite Hema Malini’s gynaec too – what a coincidence)

Becoming the first-time mom is hard and a lot of hard work too. You are obsessed, anxious, worried, happy, angry, depressed, confused…several emotions at play simultaneously. Being the self-confessed fitness freak, it put a break to my regimen and I started gaining weight. As days progressed, the movement became restricted. As August approached, I became dead scared, petrified! The thought of going to hospital nearly killed me. As it had to happen, it happened.

When I doctor gave my baby in my arms, her cute little face, hands, legs …almost like a tiny bundle, I immediately forgot what all I had gone through. The result was out, which made me happy like almost all my results in life. But yes, it was a very different result. It brought a complete transition in me. Though every experience is a transition, I believe that moving into motherhood for the first time is monumental. After that, it’s, as goes the saying, “once a mom always a mom.”

This was one of the most challenging roles for me which had many Firsts attached to it, which attracted advice-givers from Woodwork (Not comfortable with advice). As goes the saying: Life moves on, mine too started moving like a roller-coaster ride, almost with equal ups and downs. The baby started showing spark – after all, whose baby? She was different or perceived differently, I can’t say. From the very beginning, I became quite ambitious about her, I consistently chased my dream to make her ‘Somebody’ who shined my name. Inherited my little/big legacy.

Now, my dreams had multiplied…more for her, some for me!

Life had become almost chaotic, there was practically no time for anything else, life moved around her and her only. Being a discipline-oriented person, my heart sometimes revolted but looking at her lovely face and bright eyes, I forgot it all.

One a day a Catholic friend of mine expressed it beautifully for me, “The chaos of your child will only last for few seasons anyway, and when you think about what your Thanksgiving table will look like in 20 years. It will be worth it.”

How right she was?

Today when I see the result of my hard work, I am happy and satisfied as Tanya has grown into a beautiful, intelligent, caring, loving, compassionate and concerned human being armed with a degree in the area of her choice. It is another story that we are as different individuals as a mother and daughter could be. But we have given space to each other to bloom and grow, she is supportive of my ‘mad’ activities and I am supportive of her ‘creative pursuits.’ It has been a journey of togetherness which had its share of challenges, still, an incredible journey.

Having a baby is possibly the hardest and most exhaustive thing any woman ever experienced, but ironically the most rewarding and amazing experience too.

Being a Work-Obsessed individual, God gave me an ‘Obsession’ of a lifetime.

Salute all mothers for the incredible role you play in life with elan. Let’s celebrate it ourselves if no one does!!

Happy Birthday, Doll…this is my birthday gift to you!!


#BreakTheSilence if you are not Free in Free India!

#SpeakUp #BreakTheSilence #FeelFree #ExerciseFreedom 

Tomorrow, when India celebrates 74th Independence Day, we travel back in time to our school days…early school days! It was celebratory mode all over, so was in our school (Read: KV ONE Bhopal) when all the children used to gather for Independence Day Parade at Parade Ground in Bhopal. My papa used to take me to such a distance early morning so that I don’t miss the grand occasion.

Celebrations in school use to start on August 13-14 with inter-house painting or singing competitions, debates, skits etc. and Principal Sir (Mr K.S. Kulshreshtha) visiting house meetings and interacting with Junior classes children. This use to be one of those rare occasions when he did that, as he was one of those conventional, strict Principals, much unlike “Cool” Principals of today.

Coming back to “Independence Day,” nationalism, patriotism being in my DNA, I always wore it on my sleeve. I always celebrated it with full energy and enthusiasm, never missed flag hoisting in school, office or society. Took part in many competitions also. Participating in debates was a regular feature, so was essay writing…

…On one such occasion, while interacting with junior classes students, Principal Sir called me and asked: As a little girl what do you understand by Independence? I am sure, I must have given some answer for which he must have given me shabaashi, but did I really understand what independence was? What it is like being born in Independent India? What it is like to practice freedom in all spheres of life?

I may not have known the answer then as freedom was GIVEN to me!

Being born in middle-class Kayastha family, education had its importance, the family was traditional and conservative who did not believe in girls going out for work. Education was OK but working a big NO! I felt that women – bahus of the family were treated regressively, though they belonged to respected and educated families.

As a little girl, my heart revolted to such treatment, rather life. I started growing up as an independent thinker, analyser and practitioner. I raised my voice against ill-treatment towards any woman – in the family, outside the family. Highly focussed on education, very early on I realised that I will not succumb to such torture, come what may and for that financial independence was paramount. So much so, that I developed an aversion to marriage.

I think parents realised early on that it is very difficult to challenge my thought process…or to time this tiny time machine, who thought ahead of her time and age!

…Growing up as a highly opinionated individual, I and my parents never thought anything about me as gender-specific. I was sent to best and expensive Convent School, provided best of stuff and most importantly freedom of speech, freedom to express and freedom to explore. Here credit goes to my parents, who probably thought ahead of their time (received a lot of flak). School & College was all about education. I exercised the freedom to choose my subjects, if I needed special classes, college, friends, movies, plays, exhibition, picnics, weekly books buying, career, workplace or any other.

Till now, I did not know what were restrictions all about which my class fellows or friends talked about. The need would have been to #BreakTheSilence and exercise your birthright to express yourself.

But yes, only brief my mother gave me all through: Don’t do any such things which bring a bad name to me or the family! And believe me, I always honoured her words and do it till today!

As soon as education got over, papa started scouting for some Journalism courses in London and people started saying: Arre Ladki ko London bhejoge? Shaadi kaise hogi? But all of it took a spin with his untimely and most shocking demise. Times were such when girls had near negligible say in marriage and what to say when you were Class I officer in UP Government (1989)? I was written off for any conventional setup.

Still, my mother and brother never forced me for marriage with any particular person, caste, creed, religion, education, service etc. I was given full freedom to make my choice here, though it was a big break from the convention then.

If not granted, freedom for these, there was a need to #BreakTheSilence.  

I got married finally! Though my freedom was clipped briefly, husband and family soon realised the importance of freedom for my being. I exercised my right to #BreakTheSilence and made myself happy, not necessarily everybody around me.

Luckily, freedom flows…I am free to run my life the way I want to, to work or not to work, what education to give to my daughter, how to raise my daughter, how to maintain relations, how to be with my friends…though in a framework!

Amidst all this, I have never shirked my responsibilities, never took undue advantage of the freedom, thus enjoyed it to the hilt.

Freedom has its share of struggles!

The burden of responsibilities!!

All that some other day!!!

Happy Independence Day Everyone!!!

Great Leader Indira Gandhi was my real inspiration and will always be!

#BreakTheSilence with Fertility Dost, India’s trusted platform for managing fertility health.

My entry for #FertilityDostContest.

Bienu Verma  Vaghela
Chief Executive Blogger


Today morning while listening to radio Radionasha (91.9), I came to know about the completion of 45 years of the release of Sholay (August 15, 1975). Radio ki Heroini – Rohini (RJ) was celebrating it with cast and crew of the film. I thought our watching of Sholay also merits a mention… I recollected watching it in the most prominent theatre of Gwalior (Regal Theatre). The city where our Grand Parents lived.

I narrate here our Sholay sojourn…

There was hardly any atmosphere in the family about watching films, especially children.

So how did we get to watch Sholay, without even asking for it?

It is an interesting story in itself. As I mentioned above – the day was August 15, 1975, and even today I can’t figure out why we (read: Me and my brother Prabhat) were in Gwalior, missing our schools. We were studying in Bhopal (Jr. classes) as our parents were very particular about attending schools from day one.

Probably, it was SHOLAY which had drawn us to Gwalior during the non-holiday period as the weekend concept was non-existent then.

My father’s phoophaji was posted as Superintendent of Police (SP – City – Gwalior) who was very fond of us children, came to our house in the evening and announced that: Tomorrow all of us would go to watch Sholay. Till then, I was occasionally listening to radio jingle: Sholay, Sholay, Sholay, Sholay (Innumerable times) without knowing what was Sholay all about. Phoophaji as City SP got the VIP passes of the film for all of us…

We keenly waited for next evening, spending time selecting what to wear for the picture (as it was termed in those days – fancy names were non-existent then). All of us set out for the destination to watch Sholay in Police Jeep – Papa’s phoophaji (Dada) Buaji, our Daadi (grandmother), Bade Chacha(Uncle) and both Buas with police entourage. It was the first show of Sholay in Gwalior and movie theatre was quite magnificent (read: palace-like) as compared to the halls in Bhopal.

We were received by the Manager of the hall, who personally took us to our seats. My Daadi, who was oldest in the lot, maybe in the theatre, became a special attraction with her exciting demeanour. I don’t know when she had visited a picture hall for a movie before this. She was given the real VIP treatment with Chai and Samosas and manager addressing her as Amma ji.

As we took our seats and the movie was about to roll, we were served Gold Spot. People around us judged us to be the family of a VIP. As the hall was full, there was big police bandobast all over the place. Now, the movie started and what a movie it turned out to be! Loads of action, thrills, songs, dialogues, music, dances…everything kept us hooked. I am sure, we wouldn’t have understood the entire story or the film but loved: Hum Hitler ke zamaane ke jailor hain, Soorma Bhopli’s De sata sat, James Bond ke pote hain, Chal Dbanno, Yu ki, kitne aadmi the, ab tera kya hoga kaliya…so many. Those days movie goers were different than todays.

I was completely silent and sad after watching the movie, as Jai had died…Suman bua came out sobbing as Jai was no more. Prabhat probably loved all the action. My daadi was most thrilled watching Gabbar Singh and kept talking about daaku’s in her village – Daku Maan Singh of Morena. My bade chacha (a traditionalist) did not like picturization of song: Mehbooba, Mehbooba, particularly watching with us and buas (any way those were the days). Papa’s Buaji and Phoophaji were happy that we enjoyed the movie.

Next day we returned to Bhopal and happily told mummy papa about our Sholay outing. Now, the next day in school we were no stranger to Sholay dialogues which we had been till then!

Even after 45 years of its release, each character of the film is still fresh in our minds. While Amitabh and Dharmendra played the lead roles of Jai and Veeru in the film, Jaya played Radha and Hema Malini was the tange -wali Basanti. Amjad Khan’s Gabbar Singh is one of the most iconic villains of Bollywood. Sanjeev Kumar played the role of Thakur Baldev Singh who brings Jai and Veeru to his village to avenge his son’s death by killing Gabbar. What to say of Jailor Asrani and Soorma Bhopali (Jagdeep). Sholay was produced by G P Sippy, directed by Ramesh Sippy and written by famous Salim Javed. It was the blockbuster hit of all times and was quite a break from soft romantic films of those times. As goes the saying: Rest is history!!

Though I have watched Sholay several times, that experience was one of its kind about watching any movie till now.

I fondly remember it on 45th year of its release.

Hope you all liked my story of watching Sholay.



Lockdown due to pandemic, COVID 19 is an unprecedented happening in our lives, globally. Something like this was never witnessed before even during the last two world wars or great depression or any other pandemic. We are practically confined in our homes for nearly five months, and Covid19 has not shown any signs of leaving us alone. World over it has taken toll of precious lives, has hit the economy like never before, nations are contemplating wars, citizens under incessant struggle besides floods, earthquakes, natural calamities…what not!

When the lockdown was imposed on March 24, 2020, for the first time, everybody wondered: What do we do now? Social Distancing became the norm, we Indians were worst hit as we love socialising at any given point of time. Life took a complete spin, media was in its full glory showing stories of lockdown, migrant workers who were walking thousands of kilometres to reach home.

Television was airing Ramayana and Mahabharat simultaneously, which kept people hooked. Then there was a new remedy for socialising – Webinar – which became the buzzword for any subject to be discussed under the Sun. There were gyaan from all over on how to boost immunity, what precautions to take, what to eat, what not to eat, positivity, negativity etc. etc. the list is endless.

Amidst all this and more, while “Working from home and Working for home,” like many others, I also explored few hobbies, some of which proved disastrous like some fancy cooking, dishes with fancier names, so I had to give up on that soon. Other regular ones like reading and writing continued, but these did not excite me much. Now was the time to turn to explore something challenging, exciting and relaxing at the same time.

girl with headphones listening music black and white

So, you got it right, I turned to singing…though music has been an integral part of my life always, my day starts with bhajans and ends with ghazals and in between radio 92.7 (BIG FM) and 91.9 (Fever & Nasha) are my constant companions. But I never thought about singing, forget singing not even humming! For me, music was for listening only. I had forgotten that in school, I always took part in singing besides debates, elocution, news reading, anchoring etc. For some years in between, between marital and official responsibilities, music had taken a back seat in my life. Still, music is music, it is like Oxygen, how can one live without music?

One day I saw my cousin Vandana singing on StarMaker and I also thought of joining. For a few days, I devoted time on understanding what this App was all about? Interest sustained, and StarMaker became a mainstay of my lockdown days. I started singing…my first song was: Mere Ghar Aaayi ek Nanhi Pari…which I sang as a gift to my niece Ananya on her birthday (May 15) Voila! I was surprised to note that whole family liked it very much.

Now was the time for next: Jaa re Kaare Badra, Balam ke passthat also kicked off well. Now I started exploring who are the senior singers (In age, not on any other criteria) with whom I can match my singing. Surprisingly, I found some great singers, who too liked my singing style and did many retro duets with them which have been topping the charts on StarMaker.

In the meantime, my cousin Vandana encouraged me to keep singing as I was quite low on confidence, Praveen Jijaji from Dubai advised me to practice more and motivated me to keep singing, Deepa Bhabhi always happy and appreciative of my singing…if I reach somewhere in my musical journey…I would attribute it to them. Let me add here that some songs had stayed with me from my childhood, later growing up years so it was easy for me to sing those.

But some turned out to be difficult, to match the histrionics in terms of scale, rhythm, voice, the diction of veterans Lata Di, Asha Di, Geeta Dutt, Suraiyya, Shamshad Begum, Priti Sagar, Alka Yagnik, Shreya Ghoshal posed a bigger threat.

I felt, not my cup of tea, let me stay with my writing…

Once again Vandana, especially called me to check: Why I had stopped singing? Not to disappoint her, I started again, I thought: If I can one person happy i.e. my sister, then why not? Since then, I have embarked on this journey, and it has been quite a phenomenal journey unlike any other which enabled me to make so many friends on a pan India level: Singers, Lawyers, Doctors, Engineers, Professionals, Home Makers…from all strata of society. For the first time, I understood the true meaning of “Mutual Admiration Society.”

Now, every night at 9 PM, I delightfully listen Satyam Anandjee, a young but phenomenal singer who sings geet, ghazals, bhajans with equal elan. If you are a beginner, he is the best institution. The voice, adayagi, lyrics, music …everything is extraordinary. Probably, India has got her answer to Jagjit Singhji! Besides, I also check songs of Shraddha, Sonia Pande, Dr Geeta Rajagpalan, Sadhna, Sunil Vaid, Ashok Shrivastav, Mahesh Sharma, Srijen, Anoop Sharma…all stars in their own right. Vandana is the Star of StarMaker with highest statistics speaking volumes about her singing abilities…

My favourite has always been and will be Lata Didi who is matchless in all respects. I have sung many of her duets, who is so exceptional with all of them. How I have sung, that is for you to decide, you can do that by downloading the StarMaker App and following me.

Acknowledge patience and cooperation of husband Mukund and daughter Tanya for tolerating my odd-hours singing, last but not the least my mummy, always appreciative and my brother Prabhat who signed off: Didi aap gaana mat chodiyega, accha gaa rahi hain…

This has been my journey from practical lockdown to musical lockdown – which gave me very little time to sink into any negativity!






Mend it, don’t end it, OVER: Time to #BreakTheSilence


“There are wounds that never show on the body, that are deeper and more hurtful than anything that bleeds.” – Laurel K Hamilton

What could have better described than these lines when you are not comfortable in the place (read: marriage) you are in. You marry with loads of dreams in your eyes, you dream of a happy communion and loving companion to be the mainstay of an arrangement called marriage. In India, marriages have a very special significance, much more than it merits (I think so). You are in-doctrined about it since childhood that “Marriage is for keeps” and every marriage has its own share of up & downs, so let it be!

“There is no lovely, friendly and charming relationship, communion, or company than a good marriage.” – Martin Luther King

If you are in such a marriage, you are in the seventh heaven, but if not, you are in hell.

I have chosen a quite unusual topic; many may agree to disagree!

The problem is with those marriages, where on the surface, everything looks alright, you are socially lauded, economically stable, access to comforts, children, home etc. still you feel trapped with a person of starkly opposite choices, thinking, attitude and aptitude. You gradually discover that there is no respect for your love for literature, poetry, sher, shayari, ghazals, nazms…who thinks you are on this planet to earn money, pay bills, do household work and fulfil all responsibilities. There is no taste or appreciation for anything like artefacts, dresses, food, movies, outings or anything which adds value to your life. Whereas you love everything aesthetic! You are all emotions; he is all machines.

You just don’t connect with him on an emotional or even an intellectual level as you are made to feel like an idiot for anything sensible. Your intellectual/ intelligent social circle is looked down upon, what to say if you are on a higher position (per se) status holder. The torture is even bigger. Your views on having or not having children don’t matter, so are other matters where your views could have made the difference. And it’s not that, you come face-to-face with reality in one night, instead, reality seeps in after considerable time, and when you come to the realisation, you have reached a point of no return (well almost).

Now the question is, how can any intelligent person enter in such a marriage? Though we all believe in Karma, marriage is Destiny. Probably your past karmas come to haunt you…time passes…you don’t #BreakTheSilence. Growing children make the situation even more complex, moreover, you get used to this torture. If you speak, the advice is: Children’s life would be difficult. Societal pressures chain you, melt you, suffocate you and you chose not to #BreakTheSilence.


You are with the one who has no respect or recognition for the merits/talents you have, say writing, singing, dancing or any other. When, for you, money is a means to things, for him money is everything. There is never a smooth communication, it is always a compromising argument, where you close it: Let it be!

This kind of situation is very difficult to share with anyone around you, may not be around you! In Indian milieu, the answer would be: Everybody is different, he earns no, returns home every night, what else do you want? It is very difficult to assess how suffocated and tortured you feel, with whom you have such a close relationship. For women who face physical abuse, the whole world is with them: family, friends, society, police, media, NGOs … whatnot. Everyone comes to their rescue, as it is visible. I am not saying it is any lesser abuse, but how do you escape round the clock mental abuse?

“Mend it, don’t end it” has long been the conservative mantra governing many struggling marriages. But my learning would be constant strife doesn’t lead to a happy life.

I miss me, the OLD me, the HAPPY me, the BRIGHT me, the SMILING me, the LAUGHING me, the GONE me…

Time is now to #BreakTheSilence if you are trapped in such a situation. Your silence encourages people to look for innovative ways to torture you. He knows you will not #BreakTheSilence and if you do, you would be subject to more humiliation. You are broken inside, composed outside, without anyone knowing about it. You are crying & smiling at the same time.

My advice to all women in such a situation: #BreakTheSilence as the trouble in your marriage needs to be scratched. Pave your way … leave in between…for a new destiny!

Communicate. Even when it is uncomfortable or uneasy. One of the best ways to heal is simply getting everything out.

I would like to conclude by saying, “No marriage is better than bad marriage at all.”

This is a real-life narrative of beautiful and well-educated women from affluent families (from the same family), across generations, who were only daughters of their parents. They chose not to #BreakTheSleince! Hope the fourth generation takes the lead from here and choose to #BreakTheSilence, in case of such a situation (God forbid). Let me add there all these women are professionally successful and mothers to even more successful children, but time is now to be one with what they would have gone through, which is very difficult to realise by anyone: family, friends, society.

They are unsung Sheroes!

Silence is not the solution always, however breaking it, maybe!

It would be true liberation, women empowerment!!

#BreakTheSilence with Fertility Dost, India’s trusted platform for managing fertility health.

My entry for #FertilityDostContest.

Bienu Verma Vaghela, Chief Executive Blogger,






From “Dressing Up” to “Writing Down” – Hail the power of “HAND” Looms!


“We need to make our handloom tradition the centrepiece of fashion for India and the world” – PM Narendra Modi

Circa 2015, Date August 7: For the first time, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the first National Handloom Day, a day marked to honour and revive the roots of handlooms. The objective was to stay connected with our roots we must help revive and give a boost to the skills of those who are part of the handloom industry. National Handloom Day is one of the ways to facilitate the same, which also helps in promoting the socio-economic development of the country.

August 7 was chosen as the National Handloom Day to commemorate the Swadeshi Movement which was launched on this day in 1905 in the Calcutta Town hall to protest against the partition of Bengal by the British Government.

How can I not celebrate this “special day” as a handloom/ handicraft buff? My love for handlooms is well-known. It is difficult to recollect, how & why I got attached to handlooms, that I made it ‘the’ wear as daily wear and even a special occasion choice for so many years. Still, after stressing my brain quite a bit, I could recollect that as a little girl, I accompanied my mother to CoOptex showroom in Tagore Garden (ND) for her saree choices. Even then, my mummy used to ask for my choice, which is practice till now. The showroom was quite big, spacious with a very beautiful & courteous sales girl who gave me a toffee (Chocolate – not in my vocabulary then) whenever I visited.

My mother, her mother (Naaniji) had a huge collection of handloom sarees not only for special occasions but also for daily wear – handwoven Khadi and crisp cottons for summers and smooth hand-woven silks for winters. While growing up, this was the pattern we followed for our wardrobes, till I moved to Mumbai, where this classification was almost non-existent. More so, ladies hardly knew about Chanderi Sarees, Bhagalpuri Sarees, Baluchari Sarees, Tussar Silk, Kosa Silks, Jamadani, Mekhla, Dhakai, Ikats, Sambhalpuri, Kanjeeverams or Bengal taant. What to say of different weaves, warp and weft, vegetable dyes, looms etc.

Their knowledge was restricted to Benarasi Shalu, Paithani and Bandhani…

It was quite difficult to find Khadi Kurtas of my choice until I discovered Khadi Gramodyog in Fort area, though it doesn’t have a great collection. On my regular trips to Delhi, I always make it a point to visit Khadi Gramodyog in Connaught Place and Dilli Haat for my fill. For saree shopping for mummy especially, it was Emporia at Baba Kharag Singh Marg. Oh yes, the showroom of UP Handlooms and Sewa were other favourite places to shop for sarees. My love for handloom sarees merits another story…probably some other time!

In Mumbai, handlooms and handicrafts took a break from my life…however, everybody in office marvelled for my Khadi love, they use to tease me: Are you from a family of Netas? I always took pride in my choice of wearing khadi/handloom and I could see ladies turning green even in their most expensive outfits. This is the might and pride of Khadi in my life! Gifting Khadi kurta is another aspect of my life…

Rajasthani Crinkled Skirt
Tussar Silk from Utkalika

Not only here, but I have also picked up handicrafts from every country I have visited, as a memoir, not wasting my money on watches, gold, lipsticks, jewellery, gadgets etc. (Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, London, Toronto etc.) In India, Jaipur and Bhuj are my favourite destinations to shop for handicrafts.

My interest got revived when accidentally I visited a Handloom/ Handicraft exhibition close to my place in Borivali (Sahara Handicraft Fair) and I was like: OMG such wonderful handicraft under a single roof! I remember shopping to my heart’s content of my favourite things like: Benarasi Stoles, Dupattas, Lucknowi Chikan Kurtas, Mirror Work Jackets, Jamdani Sarees, Leather wallets, Jholas and other nitty-gritty. More so, I loved watching them making stuff by hand there and spent considerable time. (My folks think I am mad).

Since then it became a regular feature to visit the exhibition which was a bi-annual feature. I think it is in my DNA to appreciate anything made by hand, so most of the things in the house were handmade like chairs from Saharanpur and usage of Khurja Potteries in the kitchen.

Time passed and my focus shifted from “Dressing Up” to “Writing Down” …it was then I started reading about Indian Handlooms / Handicrafts. This is the first piece on handlooms though. Hope I have done justice to the same.

Here I would like to mention about Manjula Jagatramka ji who is doing a great job of the revival of Indian Handicrafts through Vaitarna.

So, coming back, Handlooms in India have emerged as the largest cottage industry in the country. The weavers create products by using natural fibres such as cotton, silk and wool and a quarter of the country’s population is involved in keeping this unique and indigenous practice alive.

Handloom / Handicrafts is one of the most vibrant aspects of the Indian cultural heritage and they are known for flexibility, versatility and innovativeness. Every design is unique, treated and produced differently, there cannot be a replica of one another as we see on machines. The skill here is passed from one generation to another but now with the Government’s emphasis there are many centres and institutions which teach about handicrafts and these are quite popular amongst youngsters.

It is heartening to note that 95% of the handlooms to the world are catered to by India but there is a lot more which needs to be done, though the road is rough and the journey is arduous.

“The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.”  – Robert Frost

Mirror Work Duppatta from Law Garden Ahmadabad

National Handloom Day is the right step in the direction.

Naa Jaane Kyun…

न जाने क्यों
आज कल बाहर जाने का बहुत मन करता है
न जाने क्यों
आज कल बहुत कुछ जानने का मन करता
न जाने क्यों
आज कल बिछड़ों को याद करने का मन करता है
न जाने क्यों
आज कल स्कूल जाने का मन करता है
न जाने क्यों
आज कल कॉलेज के मस्ती भरे दिन याद करने का मन करता है
न जाने क्यों
आज कल ऑफिस जाने का मन करता है
न जाने क्यों
पिंजरा तोड़ कर अपनों के पास उड़ जाने का मन करता है
न जाने क्यों
आजकल अपनी मम्मी के साथ मीठी नोक झोक का मन करता है
न जाने क्यों
आजकल अपने भाई भाभी के साथ कुछ गप्पे लगाने का मन करता है
न जाने क्यों
आजकल अपनी सहेलियों के साथ समय गुजरने का मन करता है
न जाने क्यों
अपनी बहेनो के साथ सावन के गीत गाने का मन करता है

न जाने क्यों
आजकल बहुत खाली बैठने का मन कर रहा है
न जाने क्यों
आजकल बहुत कुछ गाने, गुनगुनाने का मन कर रहा
न जाने क्यों
ाक कल बहुत कुछ लिखने पढ़ने का मन कर रहा है

न जाने क्यों
आजकल समुन्दर का किनारा बहुत याद आ रहा है
न जाने क्यों
आजकल पहाड़ों की ठंडी बयारें बहुत याद आ रहीं हैं

पर तन बंधा हुआ है
शुक्र है मन बंधा नहीं है

वह आज भी उसी तरह उड़ रहा है
अपनों से मिलने को तड़प रहा है
बच्चों से मस्ती करने को मचल रहा है

दुनिया से दूर अपने पापा, चाचा,बुआ
मामाँ, मामी, दादा,दादी, नाना, नानी
को याद कर रहा है