Three little birdies wanted to fly west. They had their reasons, you see. Different ones each, I mean. And they didn’t really know each other, but since they were all planning to fly west, they thought they’d make a pretty formation in the sky. A nice ‘V’, they all agreed, could be made with three birds.

Two of the birds were young and strong, but they weren’t sure. The third wasn’t, either, but she put on quite a show of exhorting the other two that they could, they should, it was meant to be. She painted pictures with words, or tried – pictures of the wonders they would see as they flew, the wonder that awaited them at journey’s end.

But then the doubt began to eat at her too. If these young ones felt they had no right to challenge the winds, what made her think she could? They had brains, and courage, and strength, and youth. All she had was the arrogance to think she could try.

The youngest bird decided not to go. She felt too unsure of her wings, she said. And she loved home; and she wasn’t sure west was where she wanted to go. The eldest talked her back into the trip, but it wasn’t enough. There were too many reasons not to go.

The middle bird wondered whether he should. The youngest told him why she wasn’t, the eldest told him he should. He looked for someone to help him decide, put it off for a while, and then felt it was too late. Or was it? He saw signs and portents as confused as he was. What now?

The eldest? She was too far gone, drunk on the wine of flattery and false confidence. She would try, though a little voice kept asking her how she would survive the fall, what she would do if she was thrown back to earth. Her bravado, she hoped, would carry her through.


Teddy Bears

Comfy and warm. Good for bearhugs. Phenomenal for your ego.

You may have put them away in a cupboard, in a trunk that’s a pain to get at now. You may even have given them away, so they’re in a different place now. But when you see them again, you can be sure of the bearhug.


Colourful, gorgeous. Flying high and free, rather mysterious because you’ll never know who holds the strings.

You’re too old, you tell yourself, and steal a glance. You smile, shake your head, and look up to watch them properly.

You might cut yourself on the string, sometimes, but isn’t it worth it to watch them soar? And to know they’ll come back and tell you all they’ve seen?


They don’t make them often, so they’re hard to find. Padahaaranalu Telugu.

Crisp on the outside, soft inside; a lightly salty bland crust enclosing the yummy sweet inside.

They’re a pain. You have to take efforts to get them just right – cook, grind, fry. Just like you need to argue and cajole, to trust and talk, to get angry, and sometimes, just to let be.


Indescribably lovely. The smell can light up a room like someone’s smile.

You can have too much of it, but you can never have enough, like Sunday morning calls. It can be bitter, like an argument. But it feels wonderful afterwards, anyway.

It could be a little nutty, it could drive you crazy, but could you live without it?

Matke ka paani

Thanda thanda. But not cold. Not freezing. No ice-princess business. (Ice-prince?)

And then, when you drink it, leaves behind a lovely taste in your mouth. Warm earth. Like a good conversation.

Ever touch a matka? The touch can make you smile – grainy, rough, pleasant. Like a crooked smile showing tobacco-stained teeth.