The bag lady


Eyebags, saddle bags, armed with bags and baggy arms, she walks oblivious to society’s unyielding demand for wrinkle-free skin and dimple-free glutes.  It pursues her with cold-pressed juices and hot press masks. Cosmetics offer vanishing creams that would put David Copperfield to shame.

She’s wooed with spandex and threatened with girdles- alas to no avail. The breath-taking world of shapewear holds no sway, for she would rather have her breath. She’s not keen on Bernstein either. She’s the bag lady!

Giving a whole new meaning to the ‘baggy’ fashion, she dresses for comfort unless the rigors of a formal event are impressed upon her. Formal clothing is capricious, designed solely to scare her slim. High heeled shoes appeal to her like humidity appeals to frizz. Although her youth remembers these shoes in romantic fashion, her feet don’t share the passion. Sneakers are her best friends and flip-flops, her statement of rebellion.

Thus she makes her public appearance as the perfect antidote to fashion. Shopping in the mall, idling at work, working at home, gardening in the garden and serving at the soup kitchen. Serving kindness to all she meets, her warmth hovers around her like a halo. Except at times when pernicious imps rewire her brain and her halo explodes into furious flames landing on those who did not unload the dishwasher or those who take her parking spot.

Generally disposed to geniality, her pleasant nature is dressed-up with a palette full of laughter – complete with light shaded giggles, sharp toned cackles and garish belly-laughs. Though these may occasionally escalate to shrieks that undulate the cellulite sacs, her laughter is remarkably endearing. At the very least, it’s remarkable, especially how her second chin moves in rhythmic cadence with the sound of her laughter.

Her mirth is accessorised with good friends and her friends are accessorised with bags. From Louis Vuitton bags to tea bags and eye bags. Sometimes with tea bags on eye bags. She has journeyed from high-heels to sneakers, from coy smiles to loud guffaws and from fat-free to care-free, living a wholesome life. Her appearance attesting to the wholesomeness. Uncompromised by calories, this fearless woman dares to eat butter. Long live the bag lady!!



So This Ain’t Christmas

So this ain’t Christmas, and here’s al6a00d8345202e469e201675eb74e1e970b-320wil the fuss

Christmas sells jingle bells, ginger breads, mistletoes,

santa claus and Frozen’s dolls

It creates a stir everywhere n everything is ringin,

loud speaker singin

Santa baby, holly jolly, sleigh ride, yuletide

Shopping carts are brimming, bringing, distressing bills to the tills as the taliban kills.

So this ain’t Christmas and here’s all the fuss

The radio hosts, a red nosed reindeer, holiday cheer

While a democracy goes crazy,

forcing and coercing it’s subjects to reject

Their Lord and their God

So this ain’t Christmas and here’s all the fuss

Don’t get me wrong, this song Ain’t no complaint against

Celebration or any nation, Only a clarification

Of the true meaning, so lean in

‘Cos this is Christmas and it’s about Jesus

The Gift

God gave us to save us

The world is disturbed by the idea, of my dear Saviour

So they intimidate or try to mitigate

His presence with presents Yet, the Godhead is celebrated

Minus the fuss

This is Christmas and it’s about Jesus

It’s all about Jesus!

Asha Goes To Beaverton (yes, it’s a real town)

beaverton snow drive funny storyThe journey begins
The snowstorm is a day old and a tell-tale bulge of snow sneaks under the wheels as I back the car out of the garage. The menacing winds of last night have calmed and the sun is shining bright making the white snow whiter. I’m off to meet a friend I have never met and who was introduced to me through my friend who has never met the friend I’m off to meet. Well, the point is we are all friends! And more so – sisters in Christ! It’s not surprising when we realise it’s the same Holy Spirit that resides in us all, thus bonding us in true love.

The journey starts off with me reading the printout of well-documented directions to my destination. While the directions mainly consist of words of a foreign language like ‘north’, ‘east’, etc., mercifully they are succeeded by parenthetical translation such as ‘left and ‘right’.  This information goes through my brain like ice cubes in a poorly functioning blender. I’m getting a headache and I’m feeling cold. That latter, has more to do with the fact that I haven’t turned on the heating in the car yet. This part at least, is easily remedied.


Instinctively I pull out the amazement called a GPS! Now I’m all set. Ms. Magellan, as my GPS is affectionately called is spelling out loud everything I type in. It would double very well as a toy for young children learning to spell. All typed in and spelled out, we are set to go. I have also managed to get out of the garage and just out of the driveway by now. The seat is warm, I am warm, the car is warm, the sun is bright and I’m all set to enjoy my day off, when, with growing dread, I realise that Ms. Magellan does not share my enthusiasm. Talk about being spaced out! Ms. Magellan definitely does not do justice to the name she carries. She thinks she is in a whole other city. I kindly requested, gently prodded, firmly knocked and violently shook this silliness called a GPS!

“Stay calm”, I told myself. During the next couple of minutes, I gained tremendous insight in-‘how to be fuming mad while staying calm’. Oh and the GPS now lies on the floor of the car. It’s ability to spell out loud remains intact.


After much prayer I decide to drive anyway. Being GPS-less and directionally challenged, this does indeed require much praying. From some remote corner of a dusty old memory, my brain remembers one of the roads in the printout. I am prompted to turn left then right and so I do. Once I get moving, I feel confident and my smile returns. Once again, the seat is warm, I am warm, the car is warm and the sun is shining. Of course, by this time I am well delayed but I don’t let that bother me. At least, no until I saw what lay ahead.

‘No! this has to be a cosmic conspiracy’- cries my emotion. ‘oh, shutup!’ says my logic. The one road that I knew how to get to, or at least the one road that I knew at all, from my cherished printout is blocked today. I see the blue and red lights warning me to stop, telling me to turn and go another way. I want to cry but thankfully logic wins the argument and emotion shuts up, although not without a struggle.

Smarting up

Out comes the amazement called a ‘smart phone’! Now here’s something that lives up to it’s name. This phone doubles as my pro-active day planner, triples as my memory, quadruples as my radio and now quintuples as my navigation guide. It does a whole host of other things but the word-series gets ridiculous beyond ‘quintuples’. And once again, the warmth, the car, the printout, the word-speller-on-the –floor and I are on our way to meet my friend with directions from a phone! I took comfort in the fact that the Lord has promised never to leave me nor forsake me.

I drive and drive and drive and still drive on through wide roads and narrow highways, through side streets and main streets. Through avenues, drives, lanes and circuits, all of which share the same first name. Almost an hour later than the appointed time to arrive at my friend’s place, I haven’t even reached the town that I have to pass through, before I get to the town which she lives just outside of!


Even though the sun is now playing hide and seek with chubby clouds, there is still a bright side to this drive. I pass vast plains of pristine white directly beneath light blue skies. This white expanse is interspersed with small towns that boast of sod farms, brightly lit reindeers, tony’s fish and chips, mama’s fish and chips, plain ol’ fish and chips and some other vendors who have a sign out front promising to see me in spring. I am considering taking them up on their offer in April. There is one store though, that has a rather disturbing sign. It reads ‘We’ve got your lumber’. It feels unjust and I have a strong urge to go inside the store and ask them to return the lumber. The fact that I am driving on a slippery, snow-covered, single lane highway quickly quells the urge and I drive on.

I haven’t yet reached my destination but the sight I’m now blessed with, already makes black beauty, beaverton, funny story, short story, snow, black horsethis trip well worth it. Behold! There stands ‘black beauty’ himself. A blemish-less black stallion strolling in the soft snow. A playful one he is, so sure of himself, walking a fine line between pride and arrogance. His shiny black coat and wavy black mane moving majestically on the still, white snow in all it’s serenity. I long to take it all in but the scenery around me insists on changing as the car traverses the road and the journey progresses.

Many more beautiful white expanses, a few more fish-n-chips vendors and fewer missed roads and adventurous U-turns later, I reach the much-longed-for town of Beaverton! I drive through what I am told is the core of the town and there are a disproportionately large number of cars driving alongside mine, considering the size of the town. There must be a big crowd in that one convenience store or that singular beauty salon and perhaps some overflow into the bank next door.

Almost but not quite

At this time, my navigation guide is telling me to turn in 300m which instantly turns to 60 m and then I see that fearful word ‘re-routing’. Before I know it I am merrily-going-round the tiny little town of Beaverton! Does it seem to you like 300m is much longer in the countryside where it is not punctuated with city blocks and lamp posts? Well it does to me. So now during my second circuit, lagging behind large SUV’s that seem so out-of-place in a quaint little town such as this, I resort to my lightly-used printout. Ah! There it is- that’s what I missed- a very well documented instruction to make a quick left-turn which I did and then a quick right turn which I didn’t. After driving for almost 2 hours, I guess there wasn’t much quickness left in me at this point. Oh well, lesson learned, instruction followed, I drive on past the stares of suspicion offered by the well-meaning townspeople.

No, I haven’t arrived yet. I am now required to leave this lovely little town and go just outside. As ‘just outside’ rolls around, it reveals yet more expansive white plains. It is here, sitting on an ocean of snow, dotted with evergreens and thoroughly confused, that I meet playful Sally. She wants to play catch and wags her tail as she lifts her face to my window. I try to explain to her that I do want to play but I have a journey to complete. Coming up behind Sally is her faithful friend who, unlike, people of the city actually welcomed my interruption of their game of catch with a smile. I ask directions to the address and he responds with my friends’ names and description of their house. Ah, the wonders of small towns and close communities! I am overjoyed, wish them well and am on my merry way yet again. Not much farther up, I come to the train track which I have been repeatedly warned against, so I know I am close, very close. Carefully, the car, it’s warmth, the print-out, the navigation guide, the-speller-on-the-floor and I cross the track successfully and enter the place where the houses are laid out in a row. In fact, we nearly entered the house on the other side of the track, considering how close it was!

You know that feeling when something is so close it’s almost in your grasp and yet it isn’t? That’s how I am feeling right now. Only some houses have numbers! And of course it is a single lane and not a paved road so I get a chance to practice my 3-point turns in 3-inches of snow. Just when I was getting tired of the practice, I see Sally up ahead. Once again, she runs up to me with expectation in her eyes and a lot of wag in her tail and once again I let her down with my long winded explanation. Thank fully, her faithful friend follows her and he wonders why I am driving in circles outside the house I was determined to visit. Overjoyed, tired and wonderfully relieved I thank them both profusely and park on the grass which is currently buried under fluffy quilts of snow.


My friend opens the door and is equally overjoyed and relieved to see that I have finally arrived. We see, we meet and we connect instantly. And I spent the rest of the afternoon drinking warm chai-latte, looking over the freezing lake and enjoying the company of my friend and sister in Christ who I have now met! Thank the Lord!

As for my trip back, well that’s another story altogether……

ALL TALK and no walk

Some people are like radios, they’re heard, abundantly heard and that pretty much describes them.

Their words are sweet and many. Full of love and devoid of any intention to put into practice their sworn adherence to compassion. Upon serendipitous and visible discovery (of the people, not the radio), they appropriate words reserved for siblings and loudly mourn the shortage of the listener’s company in their world of small talk. Even though, this shortage of company was carefully planned and executed by intention-challenged radio-person.  At least, the intentionally challenged radio-people are not gender biased thus necessitating the term radio-person.


Occasionally the epidemic of such voluble and idle love affect unsuspecting members of the general populace dethroning their well meaning intentions from authority. Calamity strikes when a poor afflicted member meets a depressed member. The careful balance of civil grace is thrown off as one member loudly affects and the other one quietly defects from an agonizingly meaningless interaction. There’re conversations where the diseased rue their lack of time in a manner that would confound neurosurgeons, astrophysicists and Mozart alike. And that, in an age where technology has produced copious means for instant communication regardless of physical distance. The depressed proceeds to silently voice ungracious truth steeped in sarcasm and makes an equally ungracious exit. The tragic end of what could have been a fruitful social interaction. This tragedy is exponentially enhanced when fruitless interaction is among the Sunday crowd.

Call to action

Alarmingly, no one is immune to this illness. Not the intellectually gifted, socially gifted, physically, capitally, ecumenically or comically gifted- no not even the spiritually gifted. There is no immunisation, however, there is a cure. Those who remain alert and strengthen their sympathetic nature against the dark forces of apathy directly overcome an attack from this dreaded malady. Decisively activating the claims of compassion with feasible and tangible aid develops walking-talkers. Refraining from empty verbal declarations of affinity depletes ‘all-talk’ and compelling well-meaning intentions to actualise in the physical world prevents ‘no-walk’.

Let’s go forth and WALK the TALK!Image result for practice what you preach images

Gainful Unemployment

No, this is not about get-rich-quick schemes that can be plotted from the safety of your home and executed in the anonymity of the world wide web. Nor is there an expensive initiation package to be bought which in turn will grow into the beanstalk leading to a rainbow that reaches a unicorn waiting to share colourful candy with you- or whatever else pyramid schemes are all about. In fact, this is NOT about financial gains, not directly at least.

When that dreaded word ‘unemployment’ becomes a striking reality, the ‘striking’ nature of it becomes even more painfully so. Suddenly stricken in such an unceremonious fashion, the hapless mind mourns. More mourning for the striking and less so for the fashion. Unless the hapless mind is not given to pecuniary disadvantages, in which case, the fashion might well be mourned. In this state of mourning the blighted soul might take to abstruse endeavours such as discovering the adventures of adjectives in the world of speech. Adjectives are the Hemingways of words. They lend an undeniably charismatic character to their cousins, the nouns. The link to Hemingway being the charisma and not the cousins. Treasure hunting parts of speech leads to the discovery of…well the treasure of writing. An unfunded, precarious and cathartic expedition to the well guarded secrets of the haplessly unemployed mind. This treasure of cathartic writing can augment the mind, unemployed or not, with creative fortunes.

Another fortune that unemployment graciously grants is Time! The haplessly stricken mind lands softly on a floating cloud of time that floats in sync with many other clouds of time. Suddenly time becomes an interminable entity. Initially it may seem like this oblivion of time is shrouding all 5 or 6 senses, as the case may be. However, after the unemployed mind has held its senses in abeyance for an unaccounted number of very long hours, it rebounds with previously unknown vigour.

Said vigour may lend itself to the pursuit of arts, fitness, languages, culinary skills, holistic well-being or any number of faculties alien to the erstwhile employed self. The abundance of time then disposes the mask of humdrum and exposes the blessing that it really is. This blessing combined with the provident absence of nauseatingly imprudent bosses invigorates the formerly numbed mind towards stimulating projects. The welcome void left by other ludicrous associates that threatened one’s sanity with their abundant imbecility further piques the stimulation and vigour for constructive efforts. Purged from the factory of obtuseness that disguised itself as the workplace, now former workplace, the comically depressed mind is released to soar above the stifling stupidity.

Empathy for other unemployed minds is another rightful inheritance of this transitional period. When well-invested, this inheritance gives fulfillment that rises beyond all other creative enterprises.

Invigorated, purged and commiserated, the unemployed mind advances itself through this journey to a higher plane with willful resolution that can and will result in many meaningful gains.

When being on time doesn’t matter!

When it’s the wrong day!

Especially when it’s a cold, wintry day and the time for being ‘on time’ is a cruel joke conspired by known dimensions and temperature, to place you on that space-time graph where the parameter is the coldest. When you’re the bluest dot on that graph and a pretty pink dot of a receptionist tells you that the appointment is the following day, being ‘on time’ becomes as useless as a chocolate teapot. Unless, the tea was in the same spot as you on the space-time graph in which case, it would be tea-slurpy and would render itself useless on a cold wintry morning but I digress. There was no time for tea this morning as that would have conflicted with being ‘on time’. Hindsight reveals tea would have been the right choice and I have continued to digress.

Jack Frost is not a depressed mind’s best friend. In fact, Jack Frost is not the best friend of most minds. It’s particularly harsh on the cheer-challenged mind when Mr. Frost decides to celebrate his birthday in April.


It’s tulip time already and the poor things only last about a week or so. They need all the April they can get, which is why April mornings simply have no right to be cold and wintry. However, this morning’s challenge is greater than frost, and April and the short lifespan of tulips- all put together.

This morning falls on the same plane of time as when the management decided to implement incomprehensibly unnecessary repairs to the labyrinth they call an underground parking. The dark hours of this yet undeveloped day hold the challenge of decoding the new ‘exit’ instructions from this labyrinth. Only the existence of a bookie in some sinister back office gauging our panic-stricken souls, narrowly missing on-coming traffic can justify such cryptic instructions.

All decoded and exited, wondering how many were betting against me, Mr. Frost greets me coldly with a spine-chilling howl. Slipping and sliding down the hill and screeching up the hill, the dangerous drive carries on with a growing distrust of those expensive winter tires. In all circumstances where being ‘on time’ matters greatly, there seems to exist a wrestling match between distance and time. The tranquilizing snow and the agitating traffic all siding with distance as the sun decides to take a sick day. The crawling cabbie up ahead has a definite grudge against time, especially against my time.

It’s a nail-biting match and Time wins! Having suffered frost, begrudged April, mourned over tulips, escaped the labyrinth and defeated precarious distances, time wins. At one point, kindness unconventionally inserted itself into oncoming traffic which in turn halted to let me pass. Or was that all part of the cosmic conspiracy?

Having won this match for time, the blue dot skates across the glacial parking lot and enters a tropical conservatory of pink dots. This is when a pitiless and pretty pink dot points out the trivial detail of the date. The melancholy mind manages to voice a pertinent ‘Oh’ and exits the scene to fight all the afore mentioned evils again.

Homeward destination miraculously achieved, depressed mind and it’s owner intact, at least there is the refreshment of hot tea.


Comically depressed


There are those who are depressed. The depressed come in different varieties. Clinically depressed, situationally depressed, atypically depressed, severely depressed, chronically depressed etc. And then there are the comically depressed. It’s not a joke and there is nothing comical about depression. However, when life deals you a barrage of solid punches that land painfully on your self and every last bit of control is ripped out of one’s clenched fists, what is there left to do but let go. At this point, it’s no longer a question of choice. In fact, at this point there are no more questions.

Now there is the wait. It’s either a short wait that feels long or a long wait that feels longer. Into this lengthy waiting room of long faces enter companions. Now they come in different varieties as well. Here is where the comicality of it all develops.

What’s happenin’? So what else is happenin’?

There’s the eternally upbeat, happy, perky, oh-so-annoying companion who walks in wearing that sunny smile and what-a-perfect-world attitude that you just want to smack right out of them. Along with their annoying chirpiness, they bring a world of unthoughtful small talk that seems to stream out of a mouthful of perfect teeth with unbelievable lack of concern. The lack of concern belonging to the person, not the teeth. The script of this cheap comedy of a conversation is mind-numbingly clueless. Newly entered, unnaturally happy companion learns the speaker is depressed. So companion repeats the original question of ‘what’s happening?’ with ‘oh, so what else is happening?’. On hearing this, the depressed mulls over whether depression is case enough for the defending attorney to get the accused out of battery and assault charges. However, none of the words screaming to get out of her mind actually find a voice. Being a Christian, the depressed decides against a physical course of action and keeps looking mournfully out of the window. At some gracious point in time, happy companion, perky companion takes annoying self to a set of co-ordinates far away from the presence of the depressed.

Console me, you’re hurting!

Enter the epitome of care and concern. That friend who is devastated at the very thought of your sorrow. Sad companion discovers your story and is doubly devastated. Now depressed mind feels guilty over making this epitome of care and concern sad. Therefore, depressed gets busy trying to comfort sad companion. Role reversal having taken place successfully, pretend audience is intrigued at the sudden twist in story. Eventually the companion is bearably comforted and sent out to further the cause of consolation elsewhere in this broken world.


This term of depression is filled with interesting companions. From smiley to grumpy. From hold-me to get-a-life. There are even those with JF syndrome (Job’s friends syndrome). There are too many to give each one a paragraph. Whether the depressed mind feels comfort or pain in their presence, most of them mean well. Although, in some cases, their well-meaning-ness would perhaps be more useful in a far away land- that’s an LOL statement, not to be taken seriously.

The important thing is, there are many well-meaning, albeit interesting


keep walking

companions and this is only a temporary state of mind. Sometimes, this temporary state of mind makes many sequels, however it can be ended. There is, thankfully, an end to this depression and it ends with a strong and meaningful smile. Meanwhile, the journey brings perseverance and perseverance builds character and character gives hope.

Ah! Hope, the path to that strong and meaningful smile. Hang in there, interesting companions and all. It’s only for a while.