the yearly film

Another year has flown by.

It’s as if the fast-forward button on life was pushed, and got stuck, year after year. Sometimes, it feels as if I frantically try to pull the button out, but still, there it is zipping through the seasons one after the other. Life flashes before my eyes, scene after scene. It seems that I can’t fully listen to the lines, so grasping and understanding the script is far-fetched. So, I store each scene in my mental archive, thinking I will press replay and let the scenes marinate when life slows down a bit. But the scenes continue to pile up, and before I know it, Christmas trees are illuminating left to right.

Then, life throws especially difficult moments at us—those that force you to take a seat and reflect. We replay the scenes, and listen to the dialogue, trying our best to grasp the message of each part of this yearly film. Although sometimes, no matter how hard we study each minute of this movie, reaching an understanding seems unfathomable. Sometimes, the parts that seem the most difficult to understand will give us clarity later in life. Perhaps another year or five. Every now and then, take a break from throwing what’s in front of you in your “for later” file. Look around you and see how poetically this year is written: the beauty of finding your strength in your summertime heartbreak, the numbness of the winter blues, and the commencement of your rebirth in the springtime. Leave the door open on all of the above, not just the good parts. 

Take in the beauty of how the leaves, stubbornly and so beautifully, change color every single year, and how they wilt and dance to the ground to make someone smile at the sound of how they crunch on the cold winter concrete. The stunning intricacy of a single snowflake, it still falls from the sky, knowing its demise in melting into the earth. The rebirth of new life on the same trees, the flowers know their beauty and color will fade, yet they still blossom boldly. Before the branches can rest and catch a breath, a fresh set of leaves form their dense canopy to shade the summertime reader. 

Savor the scenes as they unfold in this yearly film, as the same lines are rarely written again. 

Time is all we have, and also all we don’t. 


cotton candy skies

As mid-May approaches, the chilly spring air subdues and the warmth takes center stage for the next four months. The sweet smell of diced watermelon and mango with a sprinkle of tajin, the spare time the sun gives me to squeeze in a quick snooze before dinnertime, the weekends dipping my feet in the Santa Monica sea, as a child swimming from 10am to sunset then ravenously running upstairs to dinosaur chicken nuggets and fries washed down with an icy raspberry cool-aid. The minutes have decided to plop on the couch with a bag of popcorn to sit back and enjoy the summertime.

My little twelve year old hands open my summer drawer and hesitate to choose between a blue floral print or a pink and yellow stripped one-piece my mom bought from Macy’s. I wrap myself in my towel, strap on my goggles, and throw open the door to 80 degree weather at 10 o’clock in the morning. Yes, Oregon gets pretty scorching. I run down the stairs and speed walk to the pool to the sound of my dad calling me for breakfast, “I don’t wanna throw up dad, I’ll eat after” whether that was a myth or science I never knew but it was an excuse to swim in my mini ocean a little bit longer. Dad laughs “ok kiddo, snacks are in the fridge”. I dive to the bottom of the eight ft. pool and admire the sun hitting the water, creating these majestic crystals from the other side. For a moment…

I am behind the curtain, there is peace and quiet. There is not a single disturbance in the world, I shoot myself up before I run out of breath. Exhale, back to reality.

A woman walks along the sand balancing a box of fruits on her head “mango mango mangoooo” mentally taking me back to the vendors on the streets of India. The mangos sprinkled with tajin are the taste of summertime here in LA, a little slice of the motherland where mango trees blossom this time of year. The water rolls in and buries my feet in the wet sand. The sound of the waves hurriedly crashing in as if gasping for air then tapering off, a satisfactory exhale.

Sipping lemonade on the table out back, feeling the sun slowly tuck itself under the covers to rest its bones for the night.

The cotton candy skies, sometimes strawberry mango and other times pineapple orange with a hint of watermelon. 

I spill a small dose of evening summertime sadness onto the journal page. Stargazing until midnight to the sound of the palm trees swaying in all directions of the compass.



a christmas diary

as i timidly open my eyes, the sound of the rain pattering quickly transforms into chaos hitting the earth, as if hurriedly quenching the thirst of the soil. the sun hides behind the clouds knowingly so, as it is christmas week and the city wishes to get in the holiday mood. the sun gives the clouds center stage, and it puts on quite the performance.

a hot cup of caramel coffee welcomes me to the day. i light the christmas candles, the décor goes up in november so they’re half melted by this time. the smell of cinnamon spice engulfs the house. i open my laptop, my thoughts orchestrated by the rainfall on this cloudy december morning. the white tree summoning me to bask in the memories of christmas past, to what seemed like yesterday. i try to retrieve my brain to focus on the page in front of me, but i give in.

i walk down memory lane to my high school and college days. my mind takes me back to our home up the hill in snowy oregon. dad always wanted a white christmas tree, so one day after a trip to his favorite place on earth, costco, he brings home an 8 footer “this will be our family tree”. the white christmas tree standing tall in the corner of our living room, as if tucked away in the hills of the town, illuminating the dimly lit room. it was magical. then came time for the decorating: mom and I picked out our favorite ornaments, my dad used his long tree trunk arms to place them at the very top of the tree, and the three of us decorated the center and bottom. tuffy took a seat at the foot of the tree, watching us while wagging his tail, and squeezing a few snoozes in by the crackling december fire. the faint sound of the gas boiling the chai tea, it shoots up to the top of the pot as if its feet were burning on hot coils, mom slows the gas, then once again it shoots up nearly spilling over. the chai is then lovingly poured into tea cups, filled to the top. we gather around the fire and share stories to the sound of the winter showers. I mentally exit our oregon living room to the sound of my family sharing jokes and taking sips of their tea. til next time, i will be back when feel like reliving those memories again, but my mind will depart when the nostalgia transforms into sadness and it often does given that’s the only place i see dad now.  

so here I am, admiring the white christmas tree; a little token from the past, a little piece of my dad. 

we’re all adventuring through life, collecting moments to etch into our minds that we, one day, will relive. yet, we don’t choose the scenes in our films, the scripts are written by god.




scenes of autumn

the crisp november air, as if it had been resting all year for this moment, to be as fresh as it can possibly be. the air has arrived to clear my lungs, shedding the summer layer to mark the commencement of fall just as the green leaves turn orange and dance to the ground creating autumn beds.

the autumn beds, a fond memory of my childhood in toronto. the piles of leaves my father would rake up on the lawn only for my brother and i to cannonball into scattering his hard work all over, he looked at us in admiration, we all laughed.

the morning fog that becomes denser by the day summoning the winter. i open the front door, and see the eyes of my car engulfed by the gray mist. i cannot see down the street, but the mystery is captivating. as if, i am in a little cozy bubble behind my wool coat, boots and pashmina scarf from india, my gingerbread flavored coffee warming my hands. what is behind there? the mystery is haunting but thrilling it’s telling me to go back inside, bundle up under the fleece blankets and dive into a book but also summoning me to come closer to reveal what lies behind the gray curtain. Could it be a neighbor walking their dog? could it be a runner? could it be a car coming full speed?! oh! I should probably get out of the street.

i head back inside, as i walk down the driveway i stomp on the leaves, creating a satisfying crunch crunch crunch. i put on a pot of tea, the faint sound of the water boiling transforms into a loud whistle. the tea bag puffs up like a puffer fish then deflates and takes a seat at the bottom of the cup. the steam escaping into the november air.

the scenes of autumn


unboxing grief

what comes to mind when you think of grief? 

melancholy, sadness, despair, depression, uninterested, agony, misery, heartache, hiding….?

it is human nature to take our grief, box it, tape it up with the strongest packing tape you can find, and ship it to storage. but, storage comes with a fee, and for how long will you pay that price?

unpack that box, and as the grief is clawing, ripping and scratching at the cardboard quickly grab it by the horns and take control, before it controls you.

we’re all guilty of the above, including myself. but i realized early on that i could not be a semi functioning human being if i bottled up my grief like this. so here is what i learned through my grieving process and i hope my experience can help you cope with your grief. 


  1. time : people would tell me that i shouldn’t be crying hysterically after a certain amount of time, that it would not let the departed soul, well…depart. i don’t believe in any of that. so, no matter what advice you are given, at the end of the day you have to do what helps you cope. some need a year, some need five to fully accept the death of their loved one. be kind to yourself and take your time. 
  2. food: the entire duration of my dad’s stay in the ICU i probably had one meal a day and drank multiple cups of coffee. we had been staying at the hospital until the early morning hours. we had no time or motivation to cook anything at home, so my lovely relatives would bring us food. however, my appetite was shot and i ended up losing 15 lbs. the morning my dad passed i couldn’t even swallow food, i felt as if something was stuck in my throat. my eyes were swollen from crying so much, and i had nervous cold sweats out of shock for days. i literally had to force myself to eat, it was the only thing that made my physical state a little better.
  3.  work: many people take bereavement time off. however, i did not. i threw myself into work in order to distract myself from the grief after the funeral. this had it’s pros and cons. pros: i wouldn’t be able to sit at home all day and let my emotions get the best of me, i tried to put my mind elsewhere (which, was harder than i thought) at work, if i felt like i was about to get upset i would go cry in the bathroom or just close my office door and many times it was spontaneous. my boss urged me to take the time off, but i didn’t want to as i knew being home would make my mental state much worse. instead i went to work and took walk breaks, which helped.
  4. separation anxiety:  for a while, it was extremely hard for me to leave my mom alone. she had just lost her best friend, her companion. my parents did everything together, so i tried to fill that void for her. i tried to do little things here and there like talking on the phone on our commutes to work, going to the temple together, making sure we ate dinner together everyday, etc.  we are each others rocks.
  5. social life: my sweet friends would check in on me often, however i didn’t physically see any of them for about a year. the “grief attacks” come in waves, and you never know when or what will trigger it. i would write in the mornings, go to work, the gym, have dinner then go to bed. it’s ok if you’re not fully ready, even in a year (or more), to have or maintain a social life. take care of yourself first. 
  6. communication:  don’t feel pressure to respond to calls/texts right away. i would turn my phone on silent. it’s ok to not attend to people right away. your healing is first, always. don’t even worry about explaining yourself, because people owe it to you to be patient and understanding after such a huge loss. 
  7. physical activity: you won’t want to workout, or even think about working out. however, try to get at least one walk a day in. it will help you clear your mind. 

i know it may seem hard to fathom now, but time heals. death is permanent, and it’s painful to imagine life not only now without your loved one, but in the future…thinking of all the major life events and precious moments that person won’t be a part of is heart shattering. but don’t leave that bandaid on your wound forever, it will do more harm than good. you need to remove the bandaid after a little bit in order to let your wound heal. but remember, the scar will always be there.

do whatever you need to do in order to cope, for me that is writing about my father. it, in a sense, makes him immortal even long after i’m gone, the writings will be around forever. 

lastly, don’t forget, you are never alone. 

the mind garden


my favorite far off mystical land. among the shelves are lands anywhere you choose to venture off to. 

my school library was full of books from floor to ceiling. each book summoning me for a mental vacation. after school i would head over there before volleyball practice to finish up some homework. i always wish i had more time to take advantage of all the books. one of my favorites growing up was on my sixth grade summer reading list, “holes” i still remember how the book played out like a movie in my head as i read each word. when i was done, i felt as if i had watched an entire feature film. really the only source of entertainment we had in such a small town, the magic of the book. 

during my college weekends, i discovered the lafayette library. nestled in the green hills of the east bay this library had a california charm- a contemporary twist but still felt regal. i spent most of my weekends in there working through organic chemistry problems or reading for biology. i would be seated at the cherry wood desks with a green overhead reading light, other times i sat outside underneath the gazebo engulfed in english ivy, the veins leaving little gaps for the sun to shine through. 

at the college campus, my favorite part of the library were the little cubicles, particularly the hidden ones. a walk up the stairs and and through the rows of bookshelves and there was my spot. the single cubicle lit by a little reading light overlooking the campus the white buildings with the spanish clay tile roofs surrounded by the giant pine and spruce trees of northern california. i spent my evenings studying until my eyeballs hurt and occasionally got a chance to pick up a book that would take me on a little thought vacation away from school studies. 

the most sublime library i ever listed was the new york city public library. it was an out of a movie kind of experience. somewhere, where i’d like to think james joyce or edgar allan poe would be spilling their thoughts out onto paper on a snowy winter evening. the grand rose reading room, the large wooden desks lit by mini golden lamps, the handpainted murals above blessing my eyes when i needed a break in between words, and the large windows behind the hundreds of thousands of books where the clouds of november were rolling in for an excitingly frightening manhattan thunderstorm. 

the library,

the mind garden.




bruce and the spider

my childhood was full of bike riding, scraped knees, ninja turtle band-aids, playing video games with my brother, playing dress up, putting on plays for my parents, snow ball fights in the icy canadian winters, and of course pep talks from the best girl dad. 

my dad was my yoda. like most immigrant dads, he’d start his motivational speeches with “i walked five miles to school in the hot indian sun everyday” and then proceed to tell some beautiful story with a moral lesson nestled in there. he would love sharing his wisdom with my big brother and i. his favorite fable was “bruce and the spider”. if you haven’t heard the story, it goes like this…

robert bruce, the king of scotland went into hiding after losing  six battles. while in hiding, he noticed a spider try time and again to spin its web. every time the spider fell it got right back up to begin again. the seventh time the spiders efforts were successful, this motivated bruce to get back on his feet, he assembled his army and went back to win the battle

during my childhood i was too young to understand the moral of the story, so i always nodded my head and said “ok papa” whenever he tried to build me up. 

dad continued to share this story as i got older. when i understood the moral of the story, it really opened up my eyes. i learned what the spider and ultimately bruce learned, 

failure is a part of the process

we are so afraid to fail because we care so much about our public perception. more people would pursue a career they love if there was a pathway that guaranteed success. failure is looked down upon, unfortunately. 

did you get your dream job on first try? did you find love on the first date you’ve ever been on? did you fulfill your wildest dreams on the first try? most likely, no. for most of us it takes years of failure after failure to reach that one opportunity that changes our lives forever. 

success is all about who continues to climb when others have given up

while you’re climbing the ladder to success people will pull at your leg, light the ladder on fire, push your ladder off the top, etc. when you ladder falls, dust yourself off and start climbing again. there is beauty in the journey. 

your knuckles will get tired after knocking on doors for years, but sometimes you’ll decide to build your own door. but if you decide to do so, it’s not instant success. 

learn to love failure 

i must have submitted my poetry manuscript to 20-30 publishing companies, i got one reply and it was a lovely lady who said she loved my work but “it wasn’t for them at this time”. i was so ecstatic that i got a response, someone acknowledged my work! those submissions were all failures, but if i saw it as “wow, my poetry must suck” then i’d give up writing all together. there are so many writers who couldn’t get published through a traditional publisher, and self-published their work. in a way i guess, i built my own door rather than waiting on someone to open a door for me. 

writers who self-published: james joyce, t.s. eliot, stephen king, jk rowling, e.e. cummings, and many more.

failing up

failure is a staircase, each time we try hard at something and fail, we’re taking a step up. you are one step closer to the top, success. think of failure as practice and success a bonus. you are still doing what you love, which is going for it. in fact, all the people successful at what you’re trying to succeed in are real life examples that success will happen.

it’s just a matter of never giving up. 





the last day I saw you

august 25, 2019

it was the day, that day. the house still felt ice cold, as it had since i returned from the hospital at 4am. 

people collected, dressed in white head to toe. i stood before my mirror, rehearsing my eulogy one last time before i presented it to you. my face turned red, my heart dropped to the floor, and then the floor fell from beneath my feet when i read “rest in paradise, papa”. wait, my dad? my knees gave out as they had the day you departed your body. a knock on the bathroom door “we’re going to be late” it was mom. it was as if a 50 lb weight was chained to each leg. it was as if i was being dragged into a nightmare that i knew had no end.

it was as if darkness had reached up from below to grab my feet and drag me to the funeral home. 

as i approached the hall where dad rested, i sat outside on the bench as my ears bled to the sound of mom crying. i wish i could bring him back, just for you. i wish i could give you your best friend back. 

i took a deep breath, and closed by eyes before i stepped inside. i thought it was all a lie, that it couldn’t be you. but then, i saw you, it was as if you were taking one of your afternoon naps. so at peace. i kissed your forehead before i took my seat. 

i looked around, all your friends are here, your family….but, why aren’t you? 

you have been called home, and there is nothing i can do about it


mom and dad’s wedding. punjab, india.



a letter to women

“there is no ceiling, chase your dreams”, my eyes always lit up when my dad would say this.

he taught me that as a girl there was nothing i couldn’t accomplish and he would raise me the same as if i was a boy. in many cultures, boys are put on a pedestal and girls get second string. 

bande vargi sooch” (“think like a man”) he would say.

girls becoming women and are no less than boys becoming a man.

however, once i grew to be an adult, i came across some situations that demanded i return back into a box. i was told “do something within your reach”, and then i thought ” what is within my reach”. my dad always instilled in me that anything is possible.

so…what reach? 

let me give you the groundbreaking answer: there is no reach. 

i got a lot of negativity throughout my life about what i should and should not do. if i wasn’t mentally strong, i would’ve caved just so i could get people’s “acceptance”. 

the thing is, once we exit the womb society has its set of red pencils sharpened and ready, prepared to mark up our lives. you can either fuss about erasing the marks, follow the marked instructions, or just continue living your life and not allow society to put you in the marked area. 

the truth is: that timeline you’re under fire to follow, the milestones you’re stressing to meet is all made up of outside noise

you don’t have to, complete college by 22, get married by 30, have kids by 32, give up your career after kids, etc. etc. etc. 

i feel so fortunate that I had so many people to not only encourage me to reach for the stars, but push me every day to get there…

but for those of you who lack that token of encouragement, hear it from me…

you can do anything, and be anything. no matter what your age, no matter what your financial status, no matter your “family background” no matter how many red marks society has drawn over your endeavors.  

a side note, on “family background” — if you think you’re better than someone because of the number of zeros in your bank account, or that somehow you “deserve better” you are a part of the problem. that is what i call, the americanized version of the caste system. 

anyways, back to my point…

it’s 2021, so fully, unapologetically be yourself, reach for the stars, and shatter the glass ceiling society or any person may place over your head. 

empowered women, empower women


tent cities

he unclenched his fist/a few peanuts and raisins/that were his/three course meal/his chocolate brown eyes/peeked through the window/droplets of the November rain/dampening his raven hair/he zipped up the window/and buried his face in the pillow/his tummy grew hollow/as he rested/on the frigid concrete/beneath his bones/that he called/home — skid row, ‘a cognitive canvas’ pg. 163

last week, i was driving through west hollywood. miles and miles of palm trees swaying north to south, the mansions perched on the cliffs of the hollywood hills, the sun beaming, the sky blue. as if someone had turned up the saturation in a photograph, utterly perfect. it was a typical, out of the movies like january afternoon in the city of angels. then i took a left…

along both sides of the road, rows and rows of make shift homes made of tents, shopping carts, mattresses, sheets, and other items. 

as every angeleno, i had known about skid row and other homeless communities in los angeles. but this was new, along with the four others i drove past on my way to run errands. 

since the pandemic 567,715 people have become homeless in the nation (source: with california holding the highest number out of all states. there are some amazing organizations like “Project RoomKey” who’ve provided hotel and motel rooms to the homeless during the pandemic, and as stated on their site are working to ensure that after the pandemic these individuals and families won’t be back on the streets. 

in addition, after having lost their jobs many families are short on food. having a space to socially distance during these unprecedented times is a privilege, having food and a job is a privilege. 

never forget to be grateful 


here are some sites where you can get more information/help those in need: