Ghoomar Ghoomar Ghoomar Ghoome Re…

  Did the idea of Ghoomar come to me with Dame D being on all the news channels & social media for some wrong reasons?

No, not at all, I thought of this dance form as my cousin (Bua’s daughter based in Jaipur, raised in Jodhpur) Aarti’s Birthday was approaching (September 27). What could have been a better gift than a post on Ghoomar, which she loves and dances so gracefully?

I saw Aarti performing Ghoomar on her own Mehndi – Sangeet ceremony in 2014 along with her cousin Deepa Mathur (Her Bua’s daughter), I was amazed at the dance moves, the grace, the music, the costume…everything was just too good. That time I couldn’t recollect when I had seen a dance like this?

Another Ghoomar performance is worth a mention is by Shachi Didi (fondly called Cheena Didi) who is the elder sister of Aparna Chaturvedi Di) on Aparna Di’s Son Aniruddh’s Sangeet ceremony in Hyderabad last year. She looked resplendent in her attire, beautiful lehenga chunri with traditional Rajasthani rakhdi (maang teeka), she performed Ghoomar with elan. Grooving with Diyas in her hands, every step was perfect and totally in sync with the music. She pulled through the entire song with such panache and grace, leaving the audience speechless! The camera captured Shachi Didi’s various moods!!

But when I got down to write this post, I recollected that I had seen Ghoomar many years ago, during a cultural program of my father’s office (BHEL) “Kala Milan” in Kamani Auditorium, New Delhi. This was the time; I was studying in school (Std. 12) and I had gone there with my mother and brother as Papa being Admin Manager was overseeing all the arrangements.

Shri N.D. Tiwari, the then Industries Minister was the Chief Guest of the program. So, you can imagine the grandeur of the program. The venue was beautifully decorated with flowers and the stage was set with Samay lamp and singers on the stage to sing  Saraswati Vandana. I had never seen anything so grand before, I was quite excited…obviously!

As Minister ji was the Chief Guest, the delay was inevitable rather fashionable. As many of my Papa’s colleagues knew us, we got real VIP treatment there. Suddenly I saw Papa walking to us and told me that some children have come from Kendriya Vidyalaya, Jhansi (where I had studied for just one year in probably 7th Grade). Now I was after him to take me backstage to spot some of my friends. It was not difficult for him, and I made a swift entry into make – up the room. There I saw many girls in Rajasthani Lehenga – Chunri with diyas in their hands.

Now the moment of truth, how to spot my friends, if any! Many years had elapsed, all of us had changed, but how to tell?  Whom to tell? Everybody looked princesses in their traditional costumes, this made my task even more difficult. Suddenly a girl from the group, asked me who was I? Why I was there? I told her the reason.

She stressed her mind, amidst all that chaos and asked me, “Verma Uncle’s daughter”? I thought maybe Papa is making arrangements, so this question. I told her the purpose, that I am looking for somebody from KV, Jhansi. Now, it was time for her to throw a surprise, Bienu Didi? I said yes! She said, “I am Shweta Pathak, I use to travel with you on the school bus.”

OMG! What a moment it was! She had turned out to be such a beautiful girl!  Now she called all the girls from her troupe and I could meet many of my school mates…some I could place, some I could not, but everybody was happy to know that I was from their school. It was one of the most overwhelming moments of my life! Meeting many of my school mates as a Dance Troupe from KV, Jhansi.

After tearful departure from backstage, I moved to my seat only to watch the most amazing, traditional, graceful, enjoyable Ghoomar dance of my life. That was my first brush with Ghoomar dance, which received the first prize from Shri N D Tiwariji.

Can anyone beat KVians when it comes to winning prizes?

After which, I only watched Aarti and Deepa doing it, and recent being Cheena didi doing it with same panache!

My post is a gift to Aarti on her Birthday, hope she likes it!

Love you Deepa!! 


Ghoomer is the dance of Rajasthan, danced by women in Lehengas and Chunris in resplendent colours with all jewellery and finery (squares of cloth draping head and shoulders and tucked in front at the waist). Ghoomar is one of the traditional folk dances of Rajasthan, India, known for its high level of difficulty and in a competition of local dances around the world in 2013, had been ranked fourth.

All women performers pirouette while they are in the motion of describing a wide circle together. With two motions involved, it requires tremendous skill to maintain uniform distance throughout as well as look elegant in a group. Derived from the word ‘Ghoomna’, meaning a twirl or going round, Ghoomar takes a special place for the people of the state and is mentioned with pride by Rajasthanis.



Our lock down Woes…

लोकडाउन, जो की ख़त्म होने का नाम ही ले रहा …

तो लोक डाउन में लोग क्या कर रहे हैं
जो मुझे दिखा, वो आपको दिखा रही हूँ …

या तो लोग पका रहे हैं
या तो लोग पक रहे हैं

या तो लोग खा रहे हैं
या तो लोग गा रहे है

या तो लोग फॉरवर्ड कर है हैं
या तो लोग फॉरवर्ड पढ़ रहे हैं

या तो लोग ज्ञान दे रहे हैं
या तो लोग ज्ञान ले रहे हैं

या तो लोग वेबिनार कर रहे हैं
या तो लोग हैडफ़ोन लगा कर वेबिनार सुन रहे हैं

कोई न्यूज़ चैनल्स के साथ दिन की शुरआत
दिन का अंत न्यूज़ चैनलों को कोसने के साथ

कोई भजन सुन रहा है, कोई ग़ज़ल सुन रहा है
कोई रैप लिख रहा है, कोई पॉप गा रहा है

कुछ नहीं तो माँ पापा का भाषण तो है ही
कमरा गन्दा है तो कहेंगे, कुत्ता भी दूम हिला के बैठता है

पति पत्नी के तकरार तो पूरे शबाब पर है
मायके जाने की धमकी भी कारगर नहीं है

हर विवाद बहुत सोच समझी रणनीति हो गयी है
कुछ ऐसे ही कहना, ता उम्र आपका पीछा नहीं छोड़ेगा

सारे राज़ खुल गए, राज़ कोई ना रहा
बॉस का डांटना, साथियों का मज़ाक बनाना

आपकी किसकी बुराई कर रहे हो
कौन आपकी बुराई कर रहा है

सब कुछ बिग बॉस की दो आंखों में क़ैद है
जो सही समय उड़न तश्तरी की तरह बरपेगा 

व्हाट्सप्प तो जैसे संकट मोचन बना हुआ है
हर दुःख-सुख, अच्छे-बुरे, ख़ुशी – ग़म में आपका साथी

बिना डिग्री वाले भी व्हाट्सप्प यूनिवर्सिटी से
डिग्री ले चुके हैं, बस सर्टिफिकेट का इंतज़ार है

हमारे साथ की उम्र ऐ व्हाट्सप्प
तेरे नाम पे शुरू तेरे नाम पे ख़तम

अगर मेक उप ठीक ठाक है, तो वीडियो कॉल
नहीं तो नेटवर्क प्रॉब्लम

ऐसे ही कटी हमारी लॉक डाउन की सदा
आपकी कैसे कटी? दीजिये पता! 

  • Bienu Verma Vaghela




Kab Tak?

कब तक?

चारों और कठिनाइयां ही कठिनाइयां
आकाश से समुन्दर तक तन्हाईयाँ ही तन्हाईयाँ

मन के संशय गहरे ही गहरे
कभी अंतर शांत और बाहर अशांत
कभी अंतर अशांत और बहार शांत
शान्ति या अशांति, कितना असमंजस

Sketch made by TANYA

समय इतना अमुल्यवाान कभी न था
जो काटा जाए या पोसा जाए कहना मुश्किल
ज्ञान इतना सस्ता और खान पान इतना महंगा
विवाद इतना सस्ता, समअझ इतनी मेहेंगी, कभी न थी 

क्या लोक डाउन क्या अनलॉक डाउन
इनके अंतर का अंतर समझना मुश्किल
क्या खुला क्या बंद, कहना मुश्किल
सरल है सिर्फ दूसरों की वार्तालाप सुन् ना

मन का अंतर्द्वंद ना कहा जाए
ना सुना जाए, सिर्फ समझा जाए
सब कहते हैं, कोरोना के साथ ही जीना मरना है
मरना तो ठीक है पर जीना, कहना मुश्किल

दर का सरमाया है, बहादुरी का दिखावा है
रस्सी सांप है या सांप रस्सी कहना मुश्किल है
कब तक जीवन इस दुविधा में रेनगेगा
या कभी यह जीवन भी सरपट दौड़ेगा

अजीब सी बदहवासी है,उससे भी ज्यादा उदासी है
हवायें ही हवाएं, लेकिन दरवाज़े, खिड़कियां बंद

अगर अब ऐसे ही जीना है, तो बदलाव की आस क्या?
अगर ठहराव् ही जीवन है, तो रफ़्तार का मूल्य क्या?

यूँ ही कब तक?

Tum Jiyo Hazaron Saal…Asha Tai!

Born Asha Mangeshkar on September 8, 1933, Asha Tai or Di, as we fondly address her, turns 87!

The younger sibling of legendary Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Di is well-known as Asha Bhonsle has been doing playback singing since 1948. The magic of her voice, the style of her singing, her understanding of music, her diction and her rendition of lyrics is unprecedented. A vibrant personality, she carved a niche for herself purely based on her talent when legendary singers like Lata ji, Geeta Dutt ji, Surraiyaji and Noorjahen ji were ruling the roost. She emerged on the scene owing to her unique voice and lilting rendition of songs. Her struggle owing to competition from such legendary singers is truly inspirational.

One of the most “versatile” singers India has seen in Asha Di, her magic is still the same when she sings in concerts. She can sing any genre of song with elan be it geet, ghazal, bhajan, pop, rock, qawwali, folk songs, sad songs, happy songs…whatever it is, she makes the song special. She has the honour of being the most recorded artist in the music industry and has a mention in the Guinness Book of world record. She was honoured with Dada Saheb Phalke Award in 2000 and Padma Vibhushan in 2008, besides two national awards.

It would have been difficult for her to emerge on the scene at the start of her career as she got to sing the songs mainly rejected by top singers and were meant mainly for side heroines, vamps or even cabaret dancers. She received her first big break in CID after which there was no looking back. She belted out innumerable hits, one after another and became one of the favourite singers of the nation. People loved her for her songs and the way she sang her song…  she renders high notes songs and low notes with equal panache. Many of her songs, especially sung for Helenji have become cult songs and wouldn’t have been same, if not sung by Asha Di.

Life wouldn’t have been easy for being Lata Di’s sister, as she was constantly compared with her but she was a fighter and fought her way up by bringing the completely different genre of singing with classical, western-influence, pop, cabaret, ghazals. She was not the one to be shadowed by the mighty talent of her illustrious sister’s and kept on experimenting with music, giving the audiences songs that were groovy and delightful at the same time.

Her international sojourns are no less illustrious, she travelled all over the world to perform in concerts as well as collaborating with musicians overseas. She sang with famous musicians like Boy George for the song ‘Bow down mister’, collaborated with boy band Code Red. She performed in 13 cities in the USA in 20 days. She had sold-out concerts in Stockholm, Dubai, London, Canada and other countries. No wonder besides, top national honours, Asha Di has a Grammy nomination and an Immies in 2005 in her kitty.

These are few of my favourite Songs…

  • Chhod Do Aanchal, Paying Guest (1957)
  • Maang Ke Saath Tumhara, Naye Daur (1957)
  • Haal Kaisa Jai Janaab Ka, Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi (1958)
  • Mud Mud Ke Na Dekh, Shree 420 (1955)
  • Na To Karwan Ki Talash Hai, Barsaat Ki Raat (1960)
  • Kali Ghata Chhaye Mora Jiya, Sujata (1960)
  • Abhi Na Jao Chod Kar, Hum Dono (1962)
  • Nigahein Milane Ko Jee Chahta Hai, Dil Hi Toh Hai (1963)
  • Ab Ke Baras Bhejo, Bandini (1963)
  • Ishaaron Ishaaron Mein, Kashmir Ki Kali (1964)
  • Yeh Reshmi Zulfon Ka Andhera, Mere Sanam (1965)
  • Aage Bhi Jaane Na Tu, Waqt (1965)
  • Aaja Aaja, Teesri Manzil (1966)
  • Bheegi Bheegi Faza, Anupama (1966)
  • Hum Intezar Karenge, Bahu Begum (1967)
  • Raat Ke Humsafar, An Evening in Paris (1967)
  • Parde Mein Rehne Do, Shikar (1968)
  • Dum Maro Dum, Hare Rama Hare Krishna (1971)
  • Jab Andhera Hota Hai, Raja Rani (1973)
  • Chura Liya Hai Tumne, Yaadon Ki Baarat (1973)
  • Neend Churake Raaton Mein, Shareef Baadmaash (1973)
  • Bechara Dil Kya Kare, Khushboo (1975)
  • Sara Pyaar Tumhara, Anand Ashram (1977)
  • Do Lafzon Ki Hai Dil, The Great Gambler (1979)
  • Dil Cheez Kya Hai, Umrao Jaan (1981)
  • Aur Kya Ehde Wafa Hote Hai, Sunny (1984)
  • Roz Roz Aankhon Tale, Jeeva (1986)
  • Arre Yaar Meri Tum Bhi Ho Gazab, Teen Deviyan (1965)

Happy Birthday, Asha Di!

A teacher affects eternity, no one knows where her influence stops!

I would succeed the way I have done always. Dear Teacher, Thanks for inspiring hope in me; Igniting my imagination; And instilling in me – a love of learning. Happy Teacher’s Day! We will always be thankful to you for all the hard work and efforts you have put in, for educating us. – Anonymous

Teachers’ Day is truly special, which brings special memories of those teachers who shaped our lives – personally/ professionally.

As  September 5 approaches, I go down memory lane to my wonderful school days which remain the best years of my life till date. The school in question here is Kendriya Vidyalaya ONE, Bhopal, MP. KVs had just started opening then with a novel concept of imparting education, till then it was either convent or HEL school. (Heavy Electrical Ltd. Bhopal).

There is an interesting story of how I landed in KV, ONE.

I was studying in St. Joseph’s Convent, Idgah Hills in Bhopal – primary section. My father’s friend (Rawat Uncle) told my father about KV coming up near Arera Hills, primarily for the education of Army Children. Acting on his behest, one Sunday morning, papa told me, “Come I will take you to a new school.” I said, “I love my school.” He must have said something and I agreed to visit that school.

As a child, the school looked to be quite primitive, it was nowhere close to the school I was studying. Without me knowing, my father handed me over to a teacher in the school for a written test. I wrote the test and happily came out. On the way, I told my father about the questions and the answers I wrote. This was an admission test for the second standard. As I told you KVs were mainly for Army children and they got preference there. I being a Civilian Child had to compete.

Anyway, the results came out. Rawat uncle told my father that results have been announced, just to find out, my father visited the school, he was impressed with the school as it looked like his pathshaala (probably)! I was the only student who had scored 100 PC, all answers right. My parents must have been happy. Now the spin, Principal said, “All seats of the second standard are full (preferential). So, we propose to take your daughter in the third standard.” The reaction I don’t know, but action changed the course of my life (admission in KV ONE).

Initially, I was not happy, his friends also said, “It is so difficult to get admission in St. Josephs and you are going  for a new school.” But as destiny would have it, or my father would have it: It was KV ONE, THIRD GRADE for me. It became the talk of his office, Varmaji’s daughter got one standard jump that too in KV.”    

Soon I started loving my school, it was a most brilliant assortment of students, teachers and Principal Sir (Mr K.S.Kulshresth – a dedicated disciplinarian). Students were mostly army children from different States right from Kashmir to Kanyakumari. (My daughter marvels how I know so many surnames and so many States so well). I started learning what it was like to love our country, its culture, its heritage! I started wearing Nationalism on my sleeve, and do it till today!

Life started moving on, from Christian Carols to:

Morning Prayers: असतो माँ सद्गमय तमसो माँ ज्योतिर्गमय

National Anthem: जन गन मन अधिनयक जय हे भारत भाग्य विधाता

KV Anthem: भारत का स्वर्णिम गौरव केंद्रीय विद्यालय लाएगा

Assembly Pledge: भारत हमारा देश है, हम सब वासी भाई बेहेन हैं

I took part in all school activities, scored good marks rather ranks in all terms. I became a star in the colony (well almost). English, my most favourite subject gave me jitters here, yes! I was scoring well in English throughout, nothing less than a “very good” while in Convent, whereas here in KV my English Teacher, Mrs Deshpande, after giving whatever marks never forgot to mention – Poor Expression! This must-have worried my parents no end. In every PTA she told my mom, she needs to work on her expression. I somehow wanted to get rid of the expression, probably no one knew how to do it (Google nahi tha na bhai). My mother devoted a lot of time on my English and that helped. I scored well in exams and this made Mrs Deshpande very happy. Today, I immensely value her note, and know the importance of expression in any language.

“It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.” – Albert Einstein

In next class, I had become House Prefect and News Reader of the morning assembly with a badge: First In Class. Teachers kept me motivated all the time. Then I hated Mrs Deshpande for her “Poor Expression” remark but I couldn’t be thankful enough to that great teacher. Her English was impeccable, she knew all meanings, grammar, poems, stories … whatnot. Though according to her, I had improved, she expressed to my mom that there is a room for improvement. So, I was pushed more to study English, not just to score but to take out that keeda out of Mrs Deshpande’s mind. Probably seeds were sown that I would go for higher studies in English.

After spending just remarkable years in school, my father got transferred to Jhansi. Now it was KV Jhansi, worst school anyone would go to. The English Teacher here was Barrow Sir, a Christian gentleman, handsome looking (La Jackie Shroff), a disciplinarian who hardly taught English. He gave us an assignment to copy one para from the book every day, just to improve our handwriting. For the whole session, not a single chapter moved. So I owe my good handwriting to him. He stressed on neat and clean copies with good hand-writing. It made me so well equipped with writing that I won all India hand-writing competition amidst KVs. Barrow Sir was a visionary, fetched me the first award!

Instead of all this, my father never praised me, but he took a lot of pride in me always! Another incident: My father visited his boss’s house for some work, who was yet to come out to meet him. While waiting, he moved to his child’s table who was writing something in his notebook. Impressed, my father commented: “Arre Beta your handwriting is very good, nice copy.”  The child replied: Uncle this is the notebook of Bienu Verma, my classmate, she is the winner of the hand-writing competition.”

I don’t know how my father would have reacted then.  Anyways…

Today,I am an active member of KV Group on Social Media and revisit those days quite often.

My post is a tribute to my Father & Mom, Mrs Deshpande, Barrow Sir, Mrs Grover, Mrs Chibber, Mrs Ania Loomba Francis, Swaroopa Mukherjee, Renuka Wanchoo, Tapan Basu, N.C.Kanwar and Father Pinto from Hindu College, Delhi University. 

Teachers in the family: Sarvesh Bhaiyya, Kalpana didi, Kirti, Prabhat & Sangeeta Varma, Vandita …

To our daughters: Tanya, Anuksha, Ananya, who teach us new things every day!

I, the perennial student, salute all the teachers on this planet, who are doing such selfless service to humanity.




Lockdown due to pandemic was one of the most unprecedented happenings of its time when human beings were holed up inside and animals were roaming freely. The virus had brought 360-degree spin in our lives, as remaining indoors 24×7 was no mean feat. When it was imposed on March 22, we thought: How this would be possible? Then we said: Will manage 15-20 days but it got stretched to six months, well almost and corona leaving our planet, is nowhere in the sight.

Life changed drastically from full-time job to full-time home.

At least, this was something new for me, so I had to alter my schedule to suit the requirements of the new life. Another big issue was housework, which I was not used to. When my mom asked me to learn to do some housework like cooking, cleaning, dishes etc. I always replied: We should focus on larger goals, we have help available for these. Now, COVID failed this funda also!  We were on our own!! It’s not that I didn’t know all this, as marriage and motherhood teach even those things which we had never ever expected, so what is cooking, cleaning et al.

Morning chores elongated so morning stroll was out of question. I have a habit of strolling after lunch, which I continued. I noticed a cute little cat use to follow me while I was walking and after finishing the walk, she will park herself nicely on the foot rough placed outside the door. I asked Tanya about her, who is a great cat lover. She said, “She lives in the building and is a community pet.” See I learnt another new term: community pet! Now, what’s that? She said, “they live in societies and people feed them and get them injected so that they don’t spread infection. “Impressive” I replied.

So, our community pet started coming to our home at 2 PM as soon as I opened the door for a walk and started asking me for food. Tanya told me she is hungry, “Give her milk” and “roti” if there is any. That day there was none, from the next day I started making chapati for her and she loved eating chapati over milk. After having her fill, she will sleep on the foot rough or sleep on the park’s bench. This became a routine for me watching her eat and deriving satisfaction like a mother when the child eats well. She started recognizing me, if Tanya was at door she will jump inside and look for me around. Now she comes both times for lunch and dinner.

Even with a mask on, she will follow me in the building and come home with me for her fix of milk. Once she noticed that foot rough inside the room was cosier and softer, now she wanted to sleep on that. As soon as we opened the door, she will walk inside to park herself on that mat, now I gave that to her officially, so she sits on it outside. Another day, when she came looking for me, she sat on the carpet in the drawing-room and waited for me. Now she found that the carpet was even more comfortable and big, now she wanted to sit on the carpet near my workstation.

She became a family member, and I must say I have never seen such a loving and expressive cat in my life. She understands whatever I say like: Sit here, Wait, I am coming, finish your milk, now sleep. I love the way she fights with me for food and jumps at looking at her tiffin in my hand. She has beautiful eyes, furry and neat and clean. I don’t let her go out of the building. I started calling her: Billo.  When I call her: Billo finish your food, she does it. She never gets angry on me; how much I scold her. She is a loving cat, not a clever cat. Tanya calls her: Buddhu Billu!

An interesting incident happened on Tanya’s birthday. Tanya and her friends were enjoying lunch that day in the dining area. So, I went outside to look for Billo and as I opened the door, she jumped inside and moved towards the kitchen and saw me picking something from the dining table. I walked out and told her: Come Billo, have food. I gave her a chicken piece to eat. OMG! she ate so well, just loved it! For three days she only wanted to eat chicken and stopped eating lunch chapati. Since then, as I open the door she rushes to the area and expects chicken.

We have struck a bond which is beyond words, beyond the understanding of many!

Another upside of lockdown!!

Photoshoot by Tanya, my daughter!