Shopping for Survival

All of us, mostly all, love to shop. Not just anything but only that what we love. Yeah, there are many among us who just shop for the sake of shopping. Let’s not refer to them.

I personally love to shop for, books, kitchenware and yarns. That explains my two websites and

What about you? What do you like to shop for?

The moment I see yarns in different colours my heart goes, “Oh, what lovely colours!” and projects of various kinds start flying before my eyes. Soon a hand swishes and all ‘visions’ vanish, faster than they had appeared. “Wake up, you don’t need them now,” a voice somewhere says and all plans go ‘phut’.

I enter a bookshop and there is this urge to buy this one and also that one. “Don’t you have enough to read back home? Why not finish those first?” Yes, the voice makes sense. “You could also get them on your Kindle,’ continues the voice. Yes, I could but the Kindle experience is a completely different chapter in itself. More on that later.

As for kitchenware, the market is flooded with new products every now and then. Every new addition is just a mere … “addition”. The present lot can do the job pretty well. So better to move out of the home and kitchenware store.

Shopping is great, but within limits.

So, when one prepares a shopping list one has to be very excited about it. When the items are received, the happiness has to be great.

Is it the same in this case? See for yourself. There was a list, a really long one with almost ten to twelve items, but the recipient was not really joyful about her own shopping list.


She took pains to prepare her list. Every item had to be carefully written. Names were cross-checked and all possible errors erased. She wrote in pencil so that she had the option of erasing and correcting any small mistake.

At 76, the old, frail, wrinkled and shaking hands took care to form every letter of the words on the list. She had to get them right or she may end up with a wrong item. No, that was definitely not acceptable.

Once done, she called me over to clarify a few doubts. ‘Need she write the complete name, with description, or was the name enough?  Will the store keeper understand what she had written?’

Oh, yes. She had done a satisfactory, in fact more than satisfactory job. The letters were well formed, the names clearly visible and quantity well defined. They were important to her.

When she was satisfied she handed over the list to me. I had better get everything as listed!

By evening the shopping was done but I decided to hand over the items the next day. Checking, sorting and stacking things would take her some time. A fresh mind in the morning would be the best time to do the job.

When the bag landed in her hands a routine process started. Each item was laid out, similar item clubbed together, details checked and quantities double-checked. I had done my job fairly well. This monthly routine was over.

Should she not be happy that she got all that she had asked for? Yes, definitely. Who is not happy to have demands fulfilled. She too was ‘happy’ but ‘happy’ is a rather ironic and sarcastic word to use in her situation. She did not have an option. Her list of medicines is a must to treat the multiple ailments.

This was not a shopping list. It was a Survival List!




We Live in Modern Times…

In the heart of the city
On a very busy road,
Where, within seconds
Multiple cars come and go.

I was waiting at a red traffic light
My solitary ears witnessing a radio talk show.
Suddenly, I say, what is this tapping sound
In between a conversation?

Turning my head to the left
The source of sound comes in view.
An old man with white hair and wrinkled cheeks
Is peering in, seeking my attention.

‘Highway,’ he says
Or should I say, asks?
Instantly, my head shakes in a ‘No’,
And a ‘guilt ridden’ heart tries to look away.

With walking stick in one hand
And a bag in another, he slowly carries on.
Maybe some other car coming along
Will be kind enough to give him a lift.

Was I right or was I wrong?
I try to reason with my mind.
The mind says ‘right’,
We live in modern times.

Modern times!
Times when faith is a word and so trust.
Dictionaries define them
And these times teach us never to follow them.

It’s a shame.
We live in modern times!

It’s JUST a Bomb

“Sir, will you survive in case of a bomb blast? ”

“Then please move further away.”

The policeman then came to me.

“Ma’am, please take a different seat. There is an unattended bag lying here.” Turning my head around I saw a small black coloured backpack lying on a seat a couple of rows behind me.

I was at the airport to receive my son and husband.

Slowly, I got up and moved away.

There were two airport staffs and two policemen surrounding the perimeter near the bag; public had been asked to step aside and yet everything looked normal. Soon two more policemen arrived, one with a scanning device and the other with a sniffer dog.

Amidst the normal hustle and bustle of people arriving, receiving, greeting and being escorted to their destinations a situation far from normal was being tackled.

A bomb scare is not a part of day to day life. One bomb blast takes away multiple lives and leaves many more scarred.

Yet the manner in which each of us reacted was as if ‘it is no big deal’.

Have we become so used to bomb blasts and accepted it as something that can happen with any of us? If it so, we are living in dangerous times.

The bag was lying on a seat and we were all following the activities of the policemen from a distance. The atmosphere was casual and not a single soul appeared tensed or troubled. “Oh, it might be a bomb. Let’s step aside.”

On the flip side, the authorities need to be appreciated for handling the matter so skilfully.

On one hand they were alert toward unattended belongings while on the other hand they silently investigated the matter. Apart from the few people seated in the concerned region no one else got to know that an unattended bag had drawn the attention of the airport security staff.

While the policeman scanned the bag some of us, the few who knew what was happening, stood at a distance, observing the progress of events. None of us seemed to be scared of a possible bomb explosion.

Bombs don’t scare us anymore.

Thankfully there was no explosive in the bag and the owner, a teenage boy, soon came to claim it. His bag was returned to him, but only after he was given a good talk by the cops.

How Would I Rather Die?

Would I rather die underwater, or
Would I rather die in an aircraft hovering over.

Would I rather die on the road, or
Would I rather die floating in a boat.

Would I rather die by a gun shot, or
A poison pot or lying in my cot.

Would I rather die choking on a chicken bone, or
Would I rather die struck by an enemy drone.

Would I rather die electrocuted by my hair dryer, or
Would I rather die burnt by my air fryer.

Would I rather die falling from a multi-storey, or
Be hit on a road by a car, truck or lorry.

Would I rather die of cancer, stroke or diabetes mellitus, or
Would Alzheimer’s drag me into the oblivious.

Would I rather die swimming in a pool, or
Would I rather die crushed under a construction tool.

Would I this, or would I that, but
Death I know, I cannot combat.

The Plugin vs Me

It is true – there is no end to learning and no age bar as well.

Once upon a time chemistry used to be a mystery to me. Well, long gone are those days and now the only chemistry I am associated with is the concoctions I whip up in my kitchen. I don’t want to brag, but I am a bit of a good cook. You can check out my recipes at

Coming back to the mystery part – the new mystery in my life is the internet and the technical aspects of it. I am not a techie and a complete illiterate in any computer language but I dared to start two websites of my own. Started both from scratch. First I came up with a blog. Then the idea of having a personal .com became very appealing and so the first website was born. My recipe sharing site.

“I want my website to look like this,” I would say to myself whenever I came across some recipe blog. Then I would start hunting for solutions. I was introduced to plugins and one after the other my website was home to various plugins. Not that I knew how to use all of them but … what to do I had to make my site look cool, happy, appealing, inviting etc etc.

Then one day I thought, “So many plugins! Better declutter.” I went on a plugin deleting spree. In this rampage I ended up deleting my Jetpack plugin. Oops!


“Reinstall the Jetpack plugin, darling,” I said to myself. Little did I know that reinstalling was not as easy as deleting. The plugin failed to reinstall because the ‘base files’ were still sitting somewhere in my account. The plugin had to be sent packing – lock, stock and barrel before it could make a comeback. Now how in the world was I supposed to do that?

Question: Where were these base files?
Answer: Somewhere on the server.
Question: Where was this server?
Answer: No answer.

One day a friend suggested to ask the plugin support group for solutions. Great support group! They replied in a flash. I was told to go to the server and follow their suggested path to locate the base directory. This directory had to be removed. Back to square one.


Question: Where was this server?
Answer: No answer.

But hold on, the reply mail had suggested something like FTP/SFTP and I had seen this somewhere on my hosting site’s account. (I don’t even know if I am using all the right terminologies here. I told you this is a mystery) I little bit of peeking here and there in various places revealed to me some SFTP details. But where to use these?

“Google, you are great. You have answers to questions,” was my reaction when Googling told me that I needed to download FileZilla to access my SFTP files. A link took me to the ‘Download’ button, the application was soon on my machine, the details entered, the file located and a final goodbye bid to Jetpack, for the moment. Finally! After so many days, in fact months of baffling attempts the feat was achieved, a war was won.

Now all that remained was welcoming back the plugin. This was done in a jiffy.

Fingers crossed, hope everything works well now.

I will still say, the working of websites is a mystery. But I intend to solve as many as possible. Wishing myself all the very best!


We Create Jobs

We should be thankful to builders of high-rise buildings and large residential societies. Thanks to their careful selection of building equipment, electrical fittings, wiring, piping, plumbing, sanitary ware,  and ingenious planning all flat residents have become employment creators.



One day the building plumber visited us. There was a problem, he said. A problem that originated in our flat and caused discomfort in the flat immediately below ours. It was a seepage issue. 

(We live on the ninth floor and people on the eighth floor were facing a ceiling flaking problem.)

What could be the cause of the problem?

It was in the wooden frame of the bathroom door. Sadly, the wooden frame had to bear the company of one of its worst enemies, water. The lower portion of wood had begun to rot and cause a cavity under the flooring tiles. Water had seeped into the cavity and eventually all across the eighth floor ceiling. 

Mr Plumber had been of help to me when he had fixed a leaking pipe; a pipe that was leaking due to poor drainage on the tenth floor. Eeks!

Here too he had a job to do. Technically it was not his job but he is a multitalented person. He came back in a couple of hours with all the required material and within half an hour’s time the job was done. Peace and harmony restored between occupants of both floors. Who likes a problem causing neighbour?



“Hello, can you send an electrician, please?” Two switches in my bedroom were giving off sparks and the only person who could fix this was an electrician.

Within an hour the electrician was at my door. Since he was already there it was a good idea to check the switches of the other rooms too. It so turned out that four more switches were approaching their deathbed. Why wait till the end day?

“Please change them too.”

Another job done! For now. Experience has taught me that he would be back. Very soon.

I did not have to wait long. 

“What has happened to the geyser?” Husband came out of the washroom with a puzzled look. “I had to take a cold shower even though the geyser switch was on.” 

Another job for Mr Electrician. We hoped and prayed that nothing was wrong with the geyser because fixing it was going to be a hell of a job. You should see the position of the appliance. Behind a window panel, in a duct kind of place where only the most skilled acrobat can reach. How did they place it there? Thankfully, it was just a switch problem. Phew! What a relief!



Knock-knock! Bang-bang! Knock-knock! Bang-bang!

I rushed to the bathroom to see what had happened. My husband’s aunts had come visiting and one of them was not able to come out of the bathroom. This was a terrible situation. Poor old lady stuck, of all the places, in a bathroom. Using the key to the door lock we rescued her. 

What I had on hand was another employment opportunity. A job for a carpenter. The door knob had given away. 

Next day the Mr Carpenter came visiting with his tools and experienced looks. “This is broken from inside. We need to replace it. Not possible to repair it.” There you go. But this was not the first door facing the tough tools of the carpenter. Two other doors had faced the same fate. We could understand. 

There was some sawing, some drilling, some cutting and lots of banging. Finally the door was gifted a new lock and knob.

Painter and Plasterer

Buidling Painter

My family soon discovered that problems can come showering down too, even if we stay inside a ‘well-built’ high-rise building. The ceiling of the sitting room had moisture trapped inside which caused it to flake, peel and eventually shower. There was white dust all over. Now I needed a plasterer and a painter. This was going to be huge task. It took two full days to get the job completed. The original plaster was scraped off, a new one applied, left to dry, a fresh coat of paint applied and a second coat repeated.

I was gifted a brand new ceiling which was smiling down on me. 

Before I could smile back I heard sharp knocks on the front door. I rushed to see what the problem was. My husband . . . no he was not the problem. The problem was that he had been at the door since the past five minutes waiting for someone to open it. When no one came he started knocking.

“But why not use the door bell?” I was puzzled.

“I did,” he snapped back. 

“But none of us heard the bell.”

. . .

“Hello, can you send the electrician, please?”

How is my trolley empty?

“Oh no! How is my trolley empty? What could have happened?”

When the home is your workplace you are working 24X7. This is the case with me. I am a stay at home mom, wife and daughter-in-law having to juggle my time between all members of the family. Between all their time I manage to squeeze in time for myself.

A Saturday morning is the beginning of a weekend. Time to relax? Not really. I am still working in an out of rooms and the kitchen. To maintain a balance of taste I decided to make chicken curry for lunch but the biggest issue was that there was no chicken at home. Going by the thought that ‘better to look for a solution than ponder over the problem’ I quickly finished my morning chores and was on my way to the store to make my purchases.

Having arrived a little early, the store was relatively empty. What a relief! That meant quicker manoeuvring through aisles and less time at the checkout counter.

shopping-cart 2

I started collecting my items in my basket. Chicken, curd, tomato puree, cucumbers …

Now for the spices. The section was no where to be seen so I approached a store lady for directions. “The spices section is straight down the line at the end of the store near the billing counters.”

I had to get back home in a hurry since lunch was yet to be cooked. Rushing through almost five to six aisles, around the bakery section, beyond the dairy counter and behind the grains aisles were the spices. Finally I arrived. I picked up a pack of garam masala and was going to place it in my trolley when I looked down into my trolley only to be left surprised and shocked.

“Oh no! How is my trolley empty? What could have happened?”

It soon hit me how stupid and absent minded I had been. In all the the rushing I had brought along the wrong trolley. Thankfully it was empty and not someone else’s. But where was my trolley?

Yes, behind the grain section, beyond the dairy counter, around the bakery section and down almost five to six aisles away.

I had given myself a good reason to smile all the way back home.