The Garden of Granny and Cay

Dear Cay-pie💖,


My basket is loaded with garden-fresh apples. They are so crimson and succulent! I wish you could try some but you dwell miles away from me. My face droops to see you not tasting the harvest of my hardwork.  


Today, an eternity later, I wore my favorite pair of pearl earrings. I was on cloud nine when I stood against the mirror in the sunlit corner of my room. Believe me, the reflection my happiness was stronger that the reflection of golden rays of light!


My pale freckled long ears are looking stretched and tired of holding the beautiful white pearls. My ear piercings have grown so wide that they almost resemble big holes carved in the trees by woodpeckers. Despite all this, I couldn’t stop adoring the elegance I had ornamented myself with! I began to see my dry skin glow and even got flattered by the wrinkles. With sunrays playing in the background, that moment echoed the phrase, ‘Old is Gold’ , quite literally!


Hahahahaha!🤭


Sometimes, I just spend my days for the sake of it, but I am glad I was able to pause the domino effect today. For a change, I did some gardening.


I have always dreamt of nurturing a gorgeous garden. My garden is how I want my heaven to be! All shall be welcomed to this Garden of Eden, from the loudest to the most mute of the creatures. This Garden of Eden shall umbrella all the colours under it from the most dull to the brightest.


Also, do you remember our backyard shed? It is all rusted now and I have all my gardening tools kept there. I spent half of the day watering, snipping, ploughing and adding mulch to the plants (don’t forget to tell your dad about mulch! It will restore the health of his garden).


You know, I shouldn’t have been so industrious, my bones are like feathers now, FRAGILE. I totally feared they’d crack because suddenly I was straining them with bending and sitting exercises. Even right now, after a five hours gap, my body is in denial, the bones are refusing to talk to me! But graciously, the fruit of it all turned out to be the sweetest.


I am so proud to see two cane baskets full of apples and cherries. I even plucked some flowers and put them in the upcycled containers. One of the flowers, a pink chrysanthemum is still resting behind my ear, though now it has wilted.


But there is something really important I want to vent out. Cay, when I am no longer in the picture, there will be times you would want to feel my presence around you.

In a situation like that, you should go to a garden nearby.

The Isolated liveliness of the colours, twittering birds, fluttering butterflies and grinning flowers will remind you of me. It will be our far away land where the both us will be able to connect and listen to each other❤


As long as we concentrate on our small secluded alive garden, the presence of people around wouldn’t matter. We will call it, ‘The Garden of Granny and Cay’.

I am sending all the love and warmth to my chatterbox💕. Your pictures are helping me get through these days of silent neighbourhoods.


Love you,


Your Grandma. 

Trapped in an Alley Maze

Dear Cay,

Today I was baking myself a banana bread. In the process of whipping the batter, I realised that I had completely stopped writing poems!

My Banana Bread🍞

There was a time when your grandfather and I used to volunteer at orphanages. It was a ritual for the both of us to conduct fun activities and later reward the children with banana breads baked by us!

Since my last letters to you have been about Lucknow, I am sending you a poem in this one based on an experience I had there.

I had a new kind of an experience there when I was getting drenched in the rain, all alone. I had an argument with your grandfather and in the rage I left the hotel. I recall switching between several lanes until I found myself completely lost! To be honest, I was scared :/

That very fragile span made me understand alot of things. I am not going to dive deep into the details. We will keep that topic for some other time. The fun part is the smooth transition I made from getting anxious to observing the details of the place I was stuck in! Isn’t it weird that I was not thinking of heading home for sometime like I was engulfed by something weird?

Today, I visualized the same situation and wrote on that.

Trapped in an Alley Maze

“A greyish blue hue was layering the clear sky,

The soaked clouds were shedding their heaviness,

And dampness was being exhaled by Lucknow’s air.

Rainwater was streaming down my body,

Making its own little cascade along the descent of the road.    

A dwindling paper boat took a curve around my shoe,

Took a curve on its continuous watery base,

As my foot stood an obstacle to the impatient flow.   

With droplets on my eyelashes,

I squinted to observe the lofty houses along the alley,

The aged structures looked cramped up,

With peeled layers of paint and black algae stains!

There were ferns birthing from the cracks,

Burnt bricks were being coated wet,

And the climbers had enveloped the dilapidated walls.

Even in the torrential downpour,

I had knit my pair of eyes to the details!

Everything around me synonymised paleness,

Except for the lively leaves shimmering with water beads.

Does vellichor persist you to stay longer till you get brimmed with it?

If our greed is alike, I will whisper in your ears,

 I yearned for the mustiness of the archaic buildings!

But this eager cry had to wait,

For I was hemmed in by the maze of alleys.”

If I think of it, I would compare that day to nothing but a spilled cup of tea. Maybe, that is the BEAUTY of it!

Sending you all the warmth, love you honey,

Your Grandma❤

I got too much to say❤

Dear Cay,

I know a stream of perplexity in your brain is meandering its way into troubling you a bit too much! Well, subject and career choices will bother you that way and I am writing this letter to tell you that it is completely normal to think, overthink and brainstorm. And even if you didn’t do all of that, that also is pretty normal!

Cay, I have crossed fifty years of age but I still remember the time when I used to be in your shoes. I was exactly like you! What people told me then, was that this overlapping puddle of fear was completely ‘NORMAL’, what they didn’t tell me was that ‘NORMAL’ was not always ‘OKAY’. One gets to feel the difference between the two when the struggling brain cells don’t reach a conclusion. They get exhausted and that they have no strength left to support the raging storm.

It all narrows down to how long will you keep letting it torment you! Collect, decisiveness comes from calm. Till you get rid of your anger, you are not going to reach any solution but keep cribbing and worrying about the problem. So the difference between ‘Normal’ and ‘Okay’ is MENTAL HEALTH. More than anything else, have sincere respect for it because it is something that will keep you sane through several conundrums. For the sake of you, for the sake of mental health you will have to draw the line between what is okay for you and what is not! Let the society bark what they consider normal but you do what you consider okay for you💖

Look, I am not sure whether the cramped up rooms in your mind space are troubling you or is it their emptiness that’s making you go all stressful. Believe me, after all of this, you’ll solve the equation between you and your problem. Trust me your equation will exist. It might not be perfectly balanced but it will exist and most importantly you can always improve on it.

Thank God, the day you finally decide what you aim to become! Remember, that’s not going to be the end. There will be times when the path to your destination will seem invisible, not even a dotted line will you see, forget joining the dots but have your pillar of faith high, very high. Don’t let it ramshackle for once and if it does, pile it up again! It’s about failures and not giving up and even if you do for some time, strike again.

Cay, it’s not easy and not very tough in all honesty, everyone goes through it. Over time what we learn is called the skill of tackling. Even if you know your goal and path, there will be times you won’t understand things, you won’t be able to comprehend them. It could be not understanding certain formulas in physics and mathematics, not being able to mug up history or geography chapters or messing up your entire accounts table the fifth time!

The truth that other people are doing better might irritate you! You will start feeling the pressures of rat race but you have to know yourself in and out and even if you are confused about something, make sure you know you are confused about it. Don’t choose to stay oblivious! And the same line I will repeat, it’s okay to be oblivious for some time but remember to strike back, remember to pile up again!

Yes, I know it’s easy for me to preach and you might think that’s all people do but I got to do what I got to do! I will do what’s possible from my side. Sometimes, you will find people not doing this little because they are envious of you but you can’t loathe them or judge them. They have their own reasons and their own insecurities. In the long run you might end up being one of them. TRY not to:) If you become successful at not becoming one of the green eyed monsters, you will leave behind a legacy, you will leave an impact.

XOXO ( learning new things these days),

Grandma.

I Found it after a long time!

Dear Cay,

Flipping through the pages of my travel albums, I found a poem I had written long time back on Bara Imambara, a monument in Lucknow.

Your grandpa and I were too unfortunate to have a look at it from the inside. Ultimately we ended up sitting on the path exactly in front of the ancient building and gawking at it for an hour or two.Whether it be the engineering, the architecture or the designs, everything was so fresh! Despite the constant chirping of the people, it was an enchanting time for us. The administration had also placed sidelights in the corners of every chamber making it look all flashy!

Even though I rarely wrote then, I just couldn’t stop myself from writing from the monument’s perspective. The immersion was so deep, it felt like the inanimate structure was communicating its feelings to me because I spared some time to listen to it.

I googled how it looked from the inside

And there I was ready with my pencil and notebook. It was as fast as it whispering and I writing. So, here I present to you one of the poems closest to my heart.

“The smearing cold winds pass through my chambers.
I shiver but my body stays still , in its place.
Sometimes I feel like cuddling with the pillars and forming a circle,
But I have to maintain my straight horizontal demeanor.
I like my bulbous head, does it resemble the humans?
Maybe , but it doesn’t function like them!
I have a pointy ornamental structure piercing the sky.
That is my upper termination.
I take pride in the designer outfit I wear,
Those little geometric carvings engraved on my onion dome,
The arabic versus inscribed,
But haven’t I been wearing it for a very long time now!?!
Nights are the times I become eye candy to a lot of visitors.
It is nice to have all the attention to myself!
I blush but no one sees because I have lights on me.
They are so bright , they drown my pink cheeks.
But if you look closely, you will notice!🤭
I probably have told you a lot about myself,
Now you know my empty chambers speak,
I am loquacious but a good listener too!
Whenever you need a friend, remember, I need too.
I am very much available, after all, I have to be static all the time❤
-Love, Bada Imambara( I am right here for you)”

I hope you liked it, will be sending in another letter soon. Love you!

Third letter- All about Today💖

Honey,

Today is my little neighbour’s birthday.🧚‍♀️🧁 She turned 6 and as a token of love, I baked chocolate chip cookies for her, fresh and hot from the oven. I tried one from the batch and oh dear, the molten hot chocolate was oozing out of it ! I was in complete bliss, surrounded by an aura of chocolatey warmth.

You know, I am so fussy about the aesthetics and always in the denial of repeating things, so, I changed the packaging style from a tin box to a pastel pink satin cloth. I kept the cookies in the centre, pulled the cloth up and made it look like a potli, repeated the procedure with a mesh cloth and tied the neck of it with a soft white ribbon. Ageing is clearly not stopping me !

I was so tempted but I could only allow myself to eat one more because otherwise the cookies would have looked inadequate in the package. Just to make it as perfect as ever (your grandma’s style🤭) I played piano music in the background , drew the curtains, dimmed the lights and made myself a cup of hot chocolate before I sat in my armchair to take a bite of it. I even got my travel album to have a look at it. I like to think how your grandfather and I were so crazy and loving in our youth❤. So many memories resurfaced  and after ages I spent such a beautiful time with myself.

And the icing on the cake( I guess I am talking too much about the desserts) was being invited to her birthday celebration. Oh Cay, I danced like a toddler!😄 My body has become so stiff, I could barely twist to the tunes of the songs. I just did it to see that girl smile because I saw you in her. I saw you smile.

I miss you Cay💜

I am not sure if I can write a lot today, I had a cup of red wine and already I am experiencing the after effects. The bottle I held had much less alchohol than I thought it did!

Again, not sure! Not even sure if the room is round or square! I think it’s best for me to sleep because I am feeling a bit dizzy.

Always remember, grandma loves her little grandaughter. I will keep this letter light after the previous one, will be sending in another one soon, love you.

Your Grandma❤

Second letter⚘

Cay, In continuation to the previous letter I sent to you, today I just want to emphasize on one word, ‘EMPATHY’. No matter where you go what you do, never stop being empathetic and encouraging towards people. This is what good people do and I know you are one of them, Cay.❤

That day when I was having my throat soothing dessert, I realized there’s just so much struggle that people have to do to SURVIVE that one life given to them! For us it could be an undulating road but for them it’s a constant state of battle, a string of lows.

It almost felt like I was the centre of all the struggles in that one moment. It was just everywhere around me and I could sense it , from the handicapped beggars to malnourished men cycling in that oven like weather. It even had it’s roots in a half clad vendor disappointed after investing in that one customer for atleast half an hour who ended up buying nothing. The common thing was that all of them did it for their family. Why is it that in the tropical countries everything takes a sudden dramatic turn with everything so extreme, be it temperature, poverty, colours, people or emotions? I could feel things too strong in that little span of time.

What I had to talk about and what am I talking about! Nevermind, It’s kind of related. So, the story of chikankari artisans got me thinking that the struggle is real and sometimes not even rewarding. The worker who urged me to buy six chikankari kurtas told me how artisans are required to work for 7 to 8 hours at a stretch in a basement stitching on a piece of cloth with a break of 30 minutes maximum. If they are ordered to do a simple stitch kurta, it takes them five to seven days to complete one whereas complex and detailed ones require around 15 days.


1. Applying ink on the stamps to print them on the cloth 2. Adjusting the frame and starting with the embroidery 3. After days of strenuous work, that’s what you get❤

The problem is not this, it actually starts when these artisans start losing their eyesight, develop permanent tingling in their fingers and cervical spondylosis. They are not even paid well for it! The commercial houses that they work for could be earning a seven fold profit by exporting to various countries but their wages remain stagnant. There’s so much exploitation, mistreatment and abuse along with all the wrongs that already happen. They are treated like cattles, when of no use, are rendered useless and on their own.

Using beads and sequence to ornament the work

Chikankari is a dying art today which consists of 32 stitches and artisans barely know 6 to 8 in today’s time. It might be gaining it’s commercial momentum but there’s a difference in both the things . The authenticity, vastness and intricateness of the embroidery is being sacrificed. Next time when you wear the handmade kurta i gifted you, realize that the artisan who made it for you is probably not even working now because of the damages his profession gave him.

I am not bashing or uplifting anything. I am just telling you the truth. It’s just so much more than the monetary value assigned to it. I hope that they get the wages they deserve along with some health and education benefits because they are the ones taking the legacy forward. There’s an organization called ‘SEWA’ which is working for the community’s improvement. I wish them all the success❤

So now you know why I told you to be empathetic and caring. You might not be in their shoes but the least you could do is lend them an ear, understand them and respect them.

Will be sending in another letter soon! I love you Cay and I know you are gonna make me proud. Love, Grandma.

From Lucknow💛

Dear Cay, My first letter to you is about this little market from where I got you your first pair of ‘chikankari’ clothes from my trip to India. ‘Chowk’ is one of the not so heavily breathing markets of Lucknow. It has a decent footfall from the perspective of the natives.

The place is quite a narrative of what happened in the past, the soaring Moghul influence and the Hindus trying to uphold theirs. I got an idea about it by looking at the architecture of most of the houses and shops facing the market on the outside with those same intricate Moghal design of buildings that I have seen elsewhere while most of the shop owners being hindus. I can’t say that very firmly because I didn’t penetrate deep into the market but because the city was known as ‘Nawabon ka Shehar’ it gives a clear picture of the thriving without much of a resistance and shades the colour of unity between the two religions even brighter.🌈

Isn’t this market just so significant of Lucknow’s history? On my visit, on a Sunday I guess it was, the sun was scorching as usual , I found the market to be both lethargic and spirited( I know weird). I was drenched , sweating all day long with a bag stuffed with ‘chikankari’ pieces for all my loved ones when I finally stopped at this shop. The man was selling ‘kulfis’. *I simply love new terms like CHIKANKARI, KULFI etc!😂*

So, Coming back , it’s actually an ice cream kind of a thing served in earthen bowls topped with noodle like strands called ‘faluda’. I was literally cherishing each and every bite of it , firstly because it was so delicious and secondly because it was such a hot day. I have craved for these new things all my life and till now I do! I also know how to make one, I’ll send you the recipe😂. While eating I was thinking about this worker in the shop( I don’t remember his name)from whom I bought the clothes and his story about the workers behind the production of these chikankari kurtas. It got me sympathetic.

I’ll continue the story in the next letter. Love,Grandma❤!