What I learnt from 2017

It’s the last day of the year and I am filled with bittersweet emotions. It was a year of many ups and downs. I don’t know if the latter outnumbered the former or the other way round but then again, that’s what this year left me feeling. It left me with this lingering feeling of ‘I don’t know’, a certain uneasiness about the uncertainty but also a bit of excitement about the future.

The year gave me way too many lessons. Its not like I’ve figured out everything yet. But guess what, it’s alright. You don’t need to have everything figured out. You don’t need to know if you stand on the blacks or the whites; you can just squat on the greys for a while more. The world will give you nothing but advice – some well meaning, some not very. Some that you want to hear, some that you don’t but need to. You’ll feel like shutting yourself up and at the same time, pouring your heart out. It’s alright. Breathe. It’s going to be okay. No one knows how but everyone knows it will.

Dilemmas will play havoc inside your head. Suddenly, everyone around you is keeping it together but you’re falling apart. You can’t figure out right from wrong and even your instincts give you the ditch. You want to let go and you fear the future regret of not holding on. It’s alright. It’s still going to be okay. There will be a time in life when you just stare blank not knowing where you’re heading and who’s going to hold your hand tomorrow to keep you from falling, or even worse, while you’re falling. And that’s  also alright. At the right moment, everything will make sense.

If there’s anything I’ve learnt this year, it’s this: nothing is constant. Not the people, not the misery and definitely not the bonds you share. But what can be constant, are faith and patience. Somewhere, somehow, at the right time, the faith in the higher force, in your inner self, in your God, in your teacher, will guide you through. It may not instantly put the pieces of the puzzle back together but it will give you the strength to get through the chaos.

We need to be trusting in the workings of this universe. Nod your head when people tell you that everything happens for a reason. But take your time for you to accept that knowing the reason will take a while. People often tell you that if things don’t happen the way you want them to, it’s good. There’s a better plan in store for you. It is hard to swallow this bittersweet truth but drink all the water you need, to make it go down. It will be a lot like the pungent medicinal cure to your ailment called sadness.

In the end, what you do, is your choice. It may not always be what you were advised to do. Choose what makes you happy as long as you aren’t unethical and hurting others. Listen to your conscience and your voice of reason. Act and speak when you’re calm.  Hope for the best and it will all work out.

As we embark on another journey this new year, let’s remember that the goodness in us will always shine brighter than the darkness that envelops us. Let’s remind ourselves that people change, sometimes even for the better, and we need to embrace that. But most importantly, we need to know that miracles happen everyday and you’re not an exception to being blessed with one!


Follow me on @phoenixinindia

Hello there!

Like many of you know, I am an illustrator and a designer. I design under the banner of The Phoenix Company (www.thephoenixcompany.in). I make doodles, design graphic tees, ethnic jackets, mugs and other stationery. We also have handmade jewellery and stoles. Our stuff is unique, niche and known to win hearts. We ship across India!

So, if you are looking to get some quirky stuff into your life, then head over to our site!

Also, all you lovely people out there can follow my regular updates on my instagram page – @phoenixinindia 🙂 You can also find the link on my home page.

Here’s a tiny glimpse of the account!


Follow @phoenixinindia on instagram and visit http://www.thephoenixcompany.in for the products 🙂

More updates from me on our products and the stuff we make coming up soon! Until then, spread the word and shop away!


Hello everyone!

Happy New Year! 🙂

2016 has been a busy year. I rarely got time to post content only for my blog except in the last few months. But this year, I promise to be more regular. Many of you have written to me saying that my content is thought-provoking and worth a read. There is no greater joy than having my readers write to me with positive feedback.

So to ensure that all of you have a little something from me more often, I have downloaded the WordPress app. I can now upload snippets and short travel encounters. It makes traveloguing a lot easier too.

I’ll be beginning with some tit-bits from my 2.5 week-long Euro-trip in 2016. What I did, where I went, who I met, what I ate (or rather managed to) and my experiences. If you’re planning a trip there, I hope my travel journeys will be of help to you to avoid the mistakes I made and at the same time, relish the pleasures like I did.

Hope you have an amazing year ahead! Keep reading 🙂 A big thank you for your support 🙂

PS: All the photographs on my blog are my own. They are protected by copyright. Please do not download them for any purpose. It is strictly prohibited.




They say that change is constant. But who’re we fooling? Uncertainty is.

It hits you like a cloud burst on a summer morning,

Leaving you numb, shaken and motionless,

Plunging you in blinding darkness.

A parched tongue,

A lump in your throat,

A stomach churn,

A sinking boat.

When the rosy pink turns to a pale white,

You wonder, if it finally was,

Worth the fight.



The unwanted visitor

Who knocks at your door,

To tell you blatantly,

Family is one less than four.

You pause, you stagger, you scream, you fall,

What’s that you said about standing tall?



Its destiny playing an unfair game,

Forcing you down memory lane.

Taking the road back to home,

Asking you why you live alone?

Urging you to cut the distance,

Trying hard to knock some sense.

Bringing you back to family and friends,

Making you wonder if it had to end?


We’ve known each other since the time I learnt the alphabet. He’s heard me sing my rhymes animatedly and I’ve seen him zoom around the classroom with a Hot Wheel car. He’s poked fun at me combing my Barbie’s blonde curls and I’ve teased him about his WWF cards and Pokemon tazos. But before you go all ‘awwww’ and assume that this is the beginning to a cute love story and bring out the popcorn to hear it all, I’m going to burst your bubble.  He isn’t my boyfriend but my guy best friend. And before your narrow mind brushes it off as being the same thing, stop. Guy best friends exist. They belong to a species different from boyfriends. And their life span is always longer than your romantic relationship.  Continue reading


Chennai: Delicious food, aesthetic ambience and good service usually make the dining experience worthwhile except for that mild cacophony – or ‘music’ as they call it – in the background. Blaring tunes, old regional melodies and instrumental songs, nothing spares the city’s mall goers, movie lovers and foodies. But things may be changing with younger restaurateurs paying closer attention to their playlists.

Bad music is akin to a lingering bitter taste in your mouth after a scrumptious meal. What constitutes good and bad music may be subjective, but most Chennaiites seem to agree that except for a few, not many places take the effort to play pleasant music.

“Most restaurants focus only on food, ambience and service. Music is usually a last minute addition and often includes songs which are a personal favourite of the staff, instead of gauging the crowd,” says music buff Vidyuth Subramanian, who also works in the restaurant industry, adding that customers should also be active listeners rather than pay attention only to familiar tunes.

But there are many elements that go into choosing melodies. “The songs must suit the ambience and cuisine of a restaurant. If the music is too loud or repetitive or old, it can put off customers,” says Nithin S, music enthusiast and artist manager, recalling how he never returned to a particular restaurant because he didn’t like their music.

Some eateries and malls prefer the ‘safer’ choice of instrumental music which is either peppy or melodious. “When they use such music, it just shows their lack of interest in choosing tracks,” says Nithin, adding that in cities like Bengaluru and Mumbai restaurateurs invest time in picking songs, understanding its importance in attracting customers.

While some may think that licences and royalties may be the reason for fewer options, members of the Phonographic Performance Limited (Chennai) – which gives out licenses, say most malls and restaurants renew their licences annually.

Malls take a different route to music. While some like Phoenix Marketcity live streams music from websites like BM Asia, certain others like Express Avenue (EA) change the music according to the time of the day. For instance, in EA, slow instrumental music is played in the morning; retro melodies are broadcast post lunch and fast-paced beats in the evening as more youngsters come then, says Raajrishi Tiwari, general manager – events, EA. Yet, many visitors say the music scene can be improved especially in multiplexes of these malls.

A handful of malls, bistros and fine dining restaurants stand out for their music. For Praveen Raj, CEO Barbeque Grill, investing in good acoustics was important too. “I change the music depending on the crowd and I have a diverse collection which connects to different audiences,” says Raj, adding that music blogs are a good way for restaurateurs to keep upbeat on trends and select tracks.

Interestingly, many places prefer English songs as they have a wider reach and usually south Indian joints opt for local favourites while their north Indian counterparts choose Bollywood hits.

When live music suits the ambience, it enhances the dining experience. “In fine dining restaurants like Dakshin at the Crowne Plaza, the traditional instrumental pieces played live by musicians complements the food and ambience,” says M Mohamed Ali, founder, Chennai Food Guide.

Similarly, many customers say weekly solo performances in the evening at places like La Amandier make for pleasant dinners. In fact, customers say making music a crucial factor for rating places can incentivise owners to pay more attention to the tracks.

(Written for the Times of India, Chennai. )