Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Letters of Love 5 - Live the Life You Love

This is a Letter of Love to Myself.

This is my opportunity to remind you that your parents, your siblings, your close family and the best of your friends have always wanted freedom, joy and happiness for you. You have wanted the same for yourself.

You're a brilliant person, a vibrant loving human, a complex puzzle and a simple human. Since the very childhood, you've been a bright spark, a talented speaker, a brilliant student, a poet, a writer, an orator, a singer, a creative hands-on DIYer, and a lot more.

And, you've also been a monster, a cribber, a complainer, a bitch (:D), a whiner, a loser, and / or whatever anyone may have said about you, or you may have said about yourself.

However, over the last few years or so, you've seen the true manifestation of what a human being is all about. You knew it physically first, intuitively next, sexually as well as spiritually around the same time and now you know it intellectually too. You have experienced what it is to think and meditate upon 'Aham Brahmasmi', what is it to get it tattooed on your arm, as well as what it is to experience it first hand.

You've suffered depression, you've experienced intense joy, you've suffered hunger, poverty, insecurity, and also luxury and comfort. You've been through fear, anger, love, insecurity, success, accomplishment and more.

It has been a great life this far and just when you were reaching a bottleneck, the universe opened so much more for you. It has been a life well lived and a life well loved. It has been a life full of people and it will continue to be so.

This letter is as much about what it has been as what it will be about. Life beyond this point will be what it will be. It will be what you manifest, what you create, what you say, it will be. So watch carefully and manifest what you want this life to be.

May this life henceforth continue to be a life that is well lived, a life well loved, a life well fought, a life which throbs with a life of its own. May you experience what being truly alive is, every moment from here.

Most of all, remember...

सुखावसाने इदमेव सारं, दुःखावसाने इदमेव ज्ञेयम्।
देहावसाने इदमेव जाप्यं, गोविन्द दामोदर माधवेति॥

© Anupama 2019


For those of you, who I promised to post your letters, I am sorry I got too tempted to not forget my own feelings for myself, so I ended up writing this, out of turn. The regular flow should start again today.

Monday, 11 March 2019

Letters of Love 4 - Rosy

Rosy is a vibrant, happy, extroverted person. Had I met her on a casual day on the street, or in a café, I wouldn’t believe that this lady could hesitate in saying anything to anyone. When I facilitated this letter, we talked about a lot of things but kept dancing around the main subject. Knowing her as briefly as I have known her, I knew she will open up slowly, but authentically and beautifully.

Thank you for allowing me to see inside your beautiful heart Rosy and sharing what you shared. I hope some justice to your feelings and thoughts has come through my pen.

Dearest Papa,

Honestly, I’m pretty overwhelmed. However, I know you perhaps understand that already. You already know how much effort it takes me to start topics and conversations, specially with you. That said, one has to begin somewhere. So, I’ll begin with the most recent conversation / chat / texts you and I shared. I told you I had a breakthrough with mom, but when you asked me what a breakthrough is, I told you I’ll explain it to you over the next call. That call is still due.

In the meanwhile, this letter is here.

I want to tell you through this letter, that I love you. Deeply, immensely and with a lot of respect and affection. I may not be as expressive of our affection as I want and I may have a thousand explanations for why I am the way I am, but the truth is that I am your daughter.

Since I was a young child, I have watched you from afar. From the hostel, from my room, from the other end of the dining table, I’ve observed you as a strong man. When you lost my first mother, I have no idea how you found strength to think of us. When you loved mummy the way you do, I have no idea, how you found the courage to do so. When you provided for us, despite all failures, relentlessly, I cannot fathom, where you found your unconditional love from.

After all these years, I don’t even think that you were not expressive of your affection. I do not have complaints from you. Truly. I do however, want us to open up something new, something that you and I have never done before. The ability to talk freely and let it flow.

Papa, I know it won’t be easy. You’re a strong man and I am your daughter. You’re a practical man with high values and a fierce sense of responsibility and independence. I’m a daughter who has always sought to make you proud. I know I succeeded. You may not have said it in so many words, but you have shown it. To everyone else. And I am just happy to know that I have made my father proud.

I would love to hear your approval. The way everyone knows you're proud of me, I want to know it too. I want to hear it in your words, I want to hear it from you.

However, I do feel helpless when I can’t just randomly pick my phone up, call you and say that I wanted to check on your fractured arm. I wish I could casually call you and just share what my day was like, hear what yours was like. 

I do not think there is any point wondering what would our relationship be like, if we had…. However, I really, sincerely want our relationship to bloom into what it can be. A relationship of a middle-aged woman with her aged father. A relationship where we can finally, freely say – I love you papa. A relationship, where I can hope to hear you talk and share freely, with no reservations, whatsoever. A relationship, where you can tell me directly - Rosy, I'm proud of you!

As difficult it may be, you and I are a resilient pair papa. We are used to create a lot of value, a lot of success, a lot of beauty from bare minimal resources. You and I have always done that, haven’t we?
This letter is an invitation for us to create a very loving, communicative and beautiful relationship together.

I love you papa. I know you love me too. I know you're proud of me as well. Just waiting to hear it from you.

Your loving daughter,


© Anupama 2019

Friday, 8 March 2019

Letters of Love 3 - Dear Dr. A

This is my letter of love to Dr. A. Dr. A and my relationship was that of a mentor and a mentee at a given point of time. After so many years, my perception of right and wrong has changed. However, if anything, my emphasis on consent has only increased. This is my letter to Dr. A.

Note - Dr. A is an anonymized name for the person. Any attempts at identifying this person by anyone who reads this, are not my responsibility.


 Dear Dr. A,

I was barely an adult when we had first met and I had a young girl's crush on you. I have a very strong feeling you knew it too and you used it to motivate me to study harder. You did not exploit that crush, you were very attentive, responsible and empowering as a fully adult man dealing with a teen.

However, at some point, you were upset to discover that I had a similar crush on someone who you thought was absolutely nowhere when compared to you. That is when you first got competitive and wanted to connect with me as a man would want to connect with a woman.

I clearly remember you telling me not to commit to any young man unless I really knew what I was getting into and that they might take me for a ride. However, when you grew competitive with a young man I chose to briefly experiment / explore with, you were willing to take me for a ride :D

For sometime I was upset. For the remaining, I just ignored you.Till we reconnected years later that is. However, your insistence on some or the other sort of physical / sexual intimacy or sexting / or talks didn't wane really.

All said and done, this letter of love is not about making a monster of you and a saint of me :D For the simple reason that you're not a monster. You're a human being. You're a man. You have various other references to contexts about why you behave, the way you behave.

I have written this letter of love to tell you that to me, you're a possibility. A possibility of being connected with people, a possibility of communicating authentically, which I might have done years earlier, had I known how to.

This letter of love is not about who did what and why. We did what we did, when we did it and or whatever reason we did it for. Both you and me.

This letter of love is about the fact that you and I are no longer in touch. We don't necessarily have to really be friends, that's certainly a possibility too :) However, this letter is more for completing what we left incomplete. What I left incomplete was I just gave up on the possibility of you ever getting my perspective. What I left incomplete was that I never trusted you to understand and respect my no. What I gave up on was the hope that you would truly understand my respect, affection without adding a sexual inuendo to it. Today I open up all those possibilities again.

I invite you to a possibility of being connected again. What you choose to do with these possibilities, is for you to choose. I write this letter of love to be free and be who I truly am. A person, a woman, a loving friend, a non-sexualized, non-objectified person.

Welcome to the world of love Dr. A.

Much love,

© Anupama 2019

Thursday, 7 March 2019

Letters of Love 2 - Ravi Singh

Ravi is a very quiet, but thoughtful person. I recently met him when we were doing some training together. When I conceptualized this project, he was one of the first people who gave me the permission to write a letter on his behalf. In his phone call with me, Ravi shared with so much honesty, the deep love he has for his parents, his wife, his kids, his siblings and their families. I hope this letter does justice to what he wanted to express. It was a privilege hearing him share and write for him.


Dear Mummy, Papa,

This is my letter of love to you.

This is to tell you how much I love you. This is to tell you how much I miss being with you. This letter intends to share very briefly what drifted us apart, but more about what brings us together.

The truth is this – You’re my source and I love you. I am yours just like an apple grows from the seed that allowed itself to be buried deep into the ground. You allowed yourselves to give up on some of your dreams in order to raise the three of us as well as you knew. You allowed us to be stupid and live with some of our stories, because you knew we needed that space. You allowed yourselves to guide us, to care for us and to raise us with love.

I want to tell you that I truly understand you’re human too. And that it is not my place to sit in your judgement. It is not my place to be entitled and ask ‘why?’ or ‘why not’. However, it is certainly my place to give you the love that I withheld from you at a point in time. 

Through this letter, I give you your son back. The son who loved you unconditionally. Through this letter, I give you my word that I will continue to love you and my siblings and my wife and my kids and the whole extended family till I live.

<a href="https://pixabay.com/photos/india-indian-family-happy-1139717/">Image</a> by <a href="https://pixabay.com/users/JudaM-1486966/">JudaM</a> on Pixabay

I want to invite you to create more love with all of us. You were the ones who taught me how to love, how to stand for what is right. Today, I ask for your support in standing by my wife’s and kids’ side. Today I ask you to love us all again like you did then.

I might have been stupid and put distance between us, but I do hope that you will help me bridge it. Just like you helped me with Maths problems in childhood, you will also help me with life’s problems. Just like you allowed me to work with you during grocery shopping, or sometimes in the home, you will allow me to work with you in life.

Mummy, Papa, we have spent 10 years away from each other and not one day goes by when I don’t wish that you were here. I want you to know your daughter-in-law. I want you to know your grandchildren. I want them to have the values that only their grandparents can give them. Please allow us all to have that privilege. I am afraid that we may not have endless years together. Why not make the most of what we have?

For the love, which we always will have, please allow us to stay with you. The house doesn’t matter, home does. And our home is incomplete without you both.

Let's love again? Unconditionally? Please?

Your loving son,

 © Anupama 2019

Saturday, 9 February 2019

I have a problem with "Krishna Says"

I have a problem with people who talk random pep talk in the name of "Krishna Says". Because, no Krishna doesn't say it!

  • For one, you have never bothered to read the damn book. So stop insulting the text, the numerous great interpretations, those who read it and actually imbibe it. How about you actually listen to some good commentaries or read the text yourself. There's enough translation available and if you have basic skills, it's very much possible.
 I mean look at this Man, this much revered and so-called ( to pacify atheists ) God, that you attribute your mediocrity to. Does he look like he's telling Arjuna that it's easy to forgive in words, but not in mind, standing in a battlefield? I mean seriously people??

  • Next, you choose to just misinterpret (which is still OK, assuming that's your own understanding), abuse the text by inserting totally generic, shallow pep talk in the name of Krishna Says. I get equally frustrated with those who quote any share to Ghalib or any piece of poetry to Gulzar, or sensational statements to celebrities for instance. Specially when you can prove that it wasn't said by them.
  • Next, while you want all the world to applaud your mediocrity, you cannot actually take someone's random story when they call your BS out, without naming you. Instead of acknowledging your mistake and learning from it, you question their publicly acclaimed, proven credentials and then go on an ego trip. So much for Krishna says about forgiveness.
  • Next you block them. I say, good riddance :D Did I look like I care?

So then why this post? Simply because I think a lot of us speak very mindlessly and with very low levels of awareness. After which in our ignorance we want it to be validated.

Since we do not want to own what we are saying or sharing, we irresponsibly attribute it to someone, most easily a public figure who is dead, not keeping track of what people speak in their name, or even better, a Mythological figure / Scripture.

These are signs of ignorance, laziness and ego. How many of us really are willing to let it go and research on what we post? Or at least own up that it is not what "Krishna Says" or "Bhagvad Geeta Says" etc.

 © Anupama 2019

Wednesday, 25 July 2018

Letters of Love 1 - Ma

My most loving Ma,

The first letter of love I write, has to be to you. Who else, if not the woman who bore me for 9 months, breastfed me for 2 years and then has loved me unconditionally alongside her man for the last 34? 

The truth ma, is that when I think of you, when I write to you, when I speak to you, when I fight with you, I am never not teary :D Either of joy, or of concern, fear, sadness, solidarity, love, irritation, frustration at the distance and what not. But there’s not one moment when I don’t feel intense love for you in some or the other form.

As you age and as I do too, I see your tiredness in perspective. I see your life in as much perspective as I can. Since your mother and MIL have left this world, I dread the day when I will (for we all must) face your loss. Will I be able to cope with the strength that you showed? Will I be graceful as you are?

When I consider having a family, I wonder ma. Will I be as giving, as loving, as selfless as you have been? I have never seen you argue with anyone except in rare circumstances. I’ve seen you serve one and all. I have seen you adopt one and all, my friends, those of your sons, those of your husband’s, the neighbour’s children, the orphan maid with 4 children of her own, labour that made our home, plants, stray animals, what not.  Yet, you’ve managed to make each of us feel like we belong, in our own unique way.

You may not have read to us as many stories as papa did, you have given us enough that mattered. Your own stories, I will never have a dearth of, to tell kids in the family and to the kids of the larger family in the world. The realistic stories of a loving mother who has dealt with happy times, the not so happy, the easy, the tough and more.

Had you not been the mother that you are, I would have never learnt to share your love. I remember you asking me in rhetoric with your gentle voice when I was throwing a fit over the maid calling you ‘mummy’… “Munna, kal ko bhabhiyaan aayengi, tera apna pati bhi to mujhe ma bolega beta, tab bhi aise hi ladegi?”

That moment, you explained to me what motherhood really is about. It’s not just about bearing and rearing children, it’s about giving. Unconditionally. 

I have seen you give in different roles. To your elders, you have played the role of their mothers when you nurtured them, when you served them and continue to do so. With your peers, I have seen you play the role of the fairy Godmother, no matter what advice, support they may need. With your youngers, I have seen you hold them as children in your lap, and as secret keepers when they needed it.

I see you fight for me, when I won’t; no matter who you may face; your relatives, or dad’s or the ever-meddling general public. I see you fight for dad, without him even knowing. I see you fight for the boys, when they only partially realize what you have done and continue to do.

I am happy that you have looked after your health and I want you to continue doing it. As I approach later thirties in a few years, I hope to be able to see you happier, relaxed, settling in your role as the matriarch of the family (though you’ve ruled like a queen in your own right anyway, all through).

I wish I was a worthier daughter, married, a mother myself. However, I also know that you will understand better than any other person in this world that I need to be out there and go get much more for myself. You also understand my insecurities, my hurt, my disappointment, my fear, joys, sadness, anger and the myriad of nuanced emotions that I experience and let spill over to you.

I realize in hindsight that I haven’t been an easy child to raise. But for you mother, I would have been a disaster. And but for you, I am anything but a miracle. 

As I close this first letter in what is hopefully going to be a series of them, I hope to be a better and a more loving daughter, a closer comrade, the friend that you’ve made in me, the patient adult that you have so patiently nurtured in me. It is time now for me to step up and nurture you, protect you, love you as unconditionally as you have done all my life this far.

With that ma, I’m glad that you’ve learnt to say ‘I love you too, Munna’ rather than a thank you, when I say ‘I love you Ma’. 

Much love to you,
Your loving daughter

© Anupama 2018 

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Day 7 - About Matchmaking

So, here’s the thing about matchmaking. I dislike it in all possible forms. I dislike it in the vanilla space, I dislike it in alternative spaces. I dislike it in social gatherings, in schools, in colleges, in weddings, in when relatives do it, when friends do it, when colleagues, acquaintances (specially acquaintances do it). I do not like being put out there as a showpiece.

For most of the people who care for me, it is very difficult to understand why I wouldn’t be happy with people trying to find me people. Well, I didn’t understand it for some time either. Now I think I kind of understand it.

The thing is, I am an extremely extrovert person and I enjoy meeting new people, knowing them, interacting with them, making friends with them. However, I have realized that whenever I do that with an agenda – the agenda of making them my partners; a relationship goal so to say; I end up making a mess.

So, the way I see it, I would be able to really date someone only when and if we have known and interacted with each other for long enough. I need to know and reveal myself when it comes to a partner, in full, moles and warts and farts and all.

However, when people are trying to be my matchmakers, they are portraying what they think is the most relevant aspect of my personality in terms of the person they are introducing me to. This means there is so much more which was to be stated in terms of my non-negotiables that they didn’t. There was so much in terms of my must-haves which they didn’t reveal. My insecurities, my personality, my smile, my excitement, my whims and fancies do not get revealed in their full glory.

In the meanwhile, those that get matched are another story. Listen to this fun song. Mine aren’t even remotely this hilarious.

Yet, people who are trying to be matchmakers usually will ask me SO MUCH about my life in order to share with a third person (who I yet don’t know about), that I wonder, what’s the point. I mean if all you want to do is make an introduction, well, ask my non-negotiables and introduce us. Period. We will discover and figure out the rest.

Anyone who wants to sit in the centre of the relationships’ web and control, isn’t certainly welcome as a matchmaker in my life. All relatives, most acquaintances, most friends fall under this category. I understand when relatives attempt such things, because they are in my opinion, so used to schemes and machinations of human connect that some of them can’t give up. I also understand when some friends do it, but I totally get pissed off when mere acquaintances try to play games like these. 

I recently had an acquaintance, a guy, older, married, looking for a casual (claims non-casual) fling tell me that he needed to know the graphic details of my sexual preferences because he wanted to introduce me to someone. I told him off in polite words and wow, it was a shitstorm! The hidden misogyny, the façade, the mask, all came out shining its shitty glory.

On the other hand, another friend, peer, female, currently dating, almost my age, asked me just tonight if I was dating and if she could set me up. All I had to say to her was – “You know how I look, you know my preferences, you know what I want. If you really think you want to make any introductions, I am open to it”. Her response – “Yay!!”

Now that’s the kind of matchmaking I can happily handle. 

The trouble is that conventionally matchmaking worked. It worked because people lived far away, so it only made sense to pay priests, ‘nai’ and other such people to find matches. Then it got delegated to relatives, specially those married in distant cities. However, the troubles existed even then. Mismatched couples, lies, power centres and more.

I think the dating and match making apps do the same but the only reason why I can handle it is because it feels impersonal enough. If they started asking me in so much detail my sexual details over a phone call or in a face to face meeting, am sure I’d tell them to fuck off as well.

That said, I may still be OK with some people asking me all that information, since it would just make sense. Since these people know me well, have taken time to build comfort with me and to know me well enough, I am OK with them knowing about the gory details of my life. Rest? No please!
So, the next time you want to make a match of someone with me, please ask me the basics and let us explore the detailed graphics ourselves. Thank you very much! 😊

© Anupama 2018