Nanalal @ 90


Your gaiety walk and proud chest
Your fair means and ways are the best
A young child and youngest brother once
You have emerged as a family elder
A lineage of culture and tradition
You proudly continued with a rich hue
Never forgetting those dim candle lit days
Of scarcity in privileges and endless days
You stood tall and mighty in your right
In what once appeared to be far fetched
In those long nights of plight
That you made your stint into journalism
From far away land your articles came
And Sakkerben reveled in the happiness game
A pride of prides Nanalal you became
A respected lawyer among many others
Uplifting the downtrodden on the path
Rising and shining on the law forte
Bringing justice to many on their porch
Never blinking an eye when it came to giving aid
Your selfless nature gave you name
Put to use in your welfare game

Through countless hours of lawyering
You found a passion of a greater giving
Realizing the true nature of humanity
For you attained a doctorate in that philosophy
Compassion that flows through you deep and wide
Even the Nile looks at you in awe
The feats you have achieved through these years
Will be remembered for eons to come
Yet humble you remain
As you strive to achieve your A-game.
Known fondly as Kaka to young and old
At a ripe 90 you stand mighty bold
We wish you good health, happiness and laughter
To celebrate yet another wonderful chapter




I am sorry mum for your suffering!
I am sorry for your pain bearing!
Having lost you to illness left me hurt….
But having lost you to wounds has injured me.
A brave warrior you fought till the end…
….Although the suffering saw no end.
The pricks and piercing here and there…
……And ugly jabs almost everywhere …..
…The uncouth handling of your care….
By the staff of Apollo’s nursing care.
The Intensive care forced upon you,
By the doctors of Apollo whilst their pockets
……..were fed by you.

The painful expression coming from your eyes,
Questioning me everyday,” why O! why?”
Docs pushing you away from the comfort of home,
To leave you alone at a time whilst sickness had grown….
The loss of the vital body fluid….
that should have run smooth and rapid.
Leaving you feeblest like never had….
Causing fevers and tremors of shivering ….
All so firmly accepted and borne by you.
The unethical morals rule medical fraternity ……..
The dirty tricks layered by ego between medics…
Cost me dearly a life that was precious and pure.

I am sorry mum for your suffering!
I am sorry for your pain bearing!
Having lost you to negligence by specialists….
Who forgot to check on you but checked pockets.
To them of interest were the results on charts,
They noticed not the inflicted painful darts.
Causing infection and then finding the cause,
Causing blood loss after blood loss to fulfill the loss….
By hundreds of syringes that extracted your blood……
…..To them it was a mere routine job.
Did they notice ever those shabby helper boys….
Contaminating the samples on the way to pathology lab ?
Holding trays full of samples, with samosaed oily hands,
Stopping on the way satiating their gossipy glands.

I am sorry mum for your suffering!
I am sorry for your pain bearing!
The legs captivated by that DVT pump….
Made you feel imprisoned on the hospital bed.
I should have understood your agony oh mum,
Please do forgive me for the ignorance mum.
The mouth went dry and you felt to cry…..
…..Neither a sip of water nor tears to cry.
I was shocked by that condition and wanted to pry…
Your hands too were bandaged under a pretext oh my!
Your own beautiful, glowing body ……
Turned to emerge a burden or a sort of cage….
Was it your illness or the hospital that laid the trap?
To squeeze out the life force out of you….
……Giving it wings of air to fly far away.

I am sorry mum for your suffering!
I am sorry for the pain bearing!
No apology ever came from them……
They found excuses to give you the run.
Their options all were fatalistic eventually,
They love the game called Life that ends in Death.
The Apollo Hospital at New Delhi,
To me appeared to be a death sanctuary.
I am bitter, yes very bitter at the way things worked,
I lost you at a place where lives are meant to get cured.
You said not a single formal goodbye
You spoke not a word in days lying masked.
You neither hugged nor were allowed to be hugged….
…….In life at hospital or even in death.
I miss by big motherly hug dear mum,
I miss you each day my dear mum.
Now memories alone shall hang on
Of the immediate past and years of past
Like a jigsaw puzzle unfolding on mind screen,
I wish I could get you back my own royal queen.

The Winged Invader

by Monica Gokaldas

The tale of The Elephant and the Ant might not be the most popular one but it sure came to my mind during the flight from Dubai to Hongkong. A small little creature of God became mighty enough to force all passengers on the flight to disembark from the flight that they boarded within few tens of minutes. Here’s how the story goes.

I was waiting at the Business Class Lounge at the airport along with my family. The announcement came in a bit early, at 9.15 am as a final call for the passengers bound for EK 380 to proceed towards the boarding gate. We were lounging peacefully expecting to proceed towards the boarding gate at 9.30am thus the announcement startled us. However, the haste went to a waste as our boarding gate was unmanned at the time. In a while, as the staff emerged, they weren’t really looking forward to boarding the passengers. Upon questioning they politely told us to wait for about 10 minutes.

Needless to add that given the comfort of the lounge, everyone retired back to the couches closer to the gate. Little did we all know that the promised 10 minutes would extend to 70 minutes. Phew! Finally we commenced boarding from 10.30 onwards. Excitement followed by delay was soon overcome by further delay as after having settled down and having sipped on the welcome drink in the business class we spotted a bird flying from nowhere. No sooner had that happened one could see the crew members, the service staff running towards the front cabin on the upper deck.

Hilarious as it sounds, were the passengers at witnessing these grown ups holding their weapons of assault ( funnily enough those were mere blankets and fabrics) attempting to chase or trap a cheeky little bird. It had to be arrested. It had boarded the flight illegally! It was without a so called legal document of the world of humans called a passport. It hadn’t obtained a visa permit to visit Hongkong! It hadn’t even cleared through a physical security check. What an audacious behavior it displayed.

This little and often ignored creature had for once decided to make headline news and gain significance. And that it managed pretty well as the efforts of the staff at apprehending this illegal passenger on board failed. She hid! ( by now I had developed enough bond with her to not address her as it).Coming from nowhere, going to a nowhere this chirpy terrorist bird found a hideous pleasure giving them all a run. Well, I guess they assumed it had escaped them and made her way out in the fresh air rather than choosing to breathe the air exhaled by us.

By now, a half of an hour had passed since everyone had made themselves comfortable when to their utter surprise the bird was sighted flying backwards in full speed. Her flight within the cabin was amusing us so much that for a few moments we all forgot our ICE entertainment and gained interest in something which was a common scene when not inside an airplane. The chase had begun once again and the frantic run that we witnessed was quite a scene as the crew members quickly barred off the Business and First Class area by drawing in the curtains and plugging them securely at both the right and left ends .

This tiny winged entertainer in all its might had terrorized the Emirates staff. “Oh! What a winged pleasure it must have gained”, thought I. But the very next minute I started sympathizing with her for she had unknowingly, in her simple innocence entered a forbidden enemy territory. The humans who rarely appeared friendly to her kind and creed were usually very big enemies. Ahem! Some of them have a pretense of being kind and caring , they trap them and keep them as ‘pets’ too. Some of them being part of bigger organizations claim to protect, conserve and upkeep their kind and creed in sanctuaries and parks after being the cause of bringing them steps closer to a downfall in their numbers. And now! Now here they were, trying to give a chase to one of them who couldn’t be accommodated among the large numbers who wanted to travel to Hongkong.

Yeah! Yeah! We claim security measures. We claim hygiene. We claim comfort. We can go on and on about our claims but the fact remains we couldn’t have this unwelcome guest on board. We joked about her not having a passport. We joked about it not taking the effort to fly herself till Hongkong thus choosing to board the Emirates plane. We laughed at the whole scenario and disembarked the plane thus boarding another one totaling up the delay to nearly six hours and several failed attempts at catching hold of the little visitor.

We were exhausted and wanted to shut off our eyes the minute we had re boarded our airplane . I wondered how terrified and tired the bird would have been. Perching on trees being its nature, how harsh would it have been on her to be escaping into the tiny dockets of space it would have discovered under the seats or maybe inside the folds and curves in unimaginable places. Did she get injured? Did it find food in the pantry? Were her wings intact?There was an influx of many such questions running through like a film in the camera of my mind. I was attempting to visualize the various scenarios resulting from the traumatic hide and seek game that was played around this dainty being whom I had started sympathizing with.

Unbeknownst to this invader, she had now found a place of love within a somewhat curled up, rolled up piece of feeling that lay in my heart. Yes, the heart: an abode of unconditional love. But what did I do to express my love. I harshly walked away and out like any other passenger but I prayed for her. I prayed for her escape. I prayed for her safety. I prayed for her to meet her fellows out there : maybe her mate or her siblings or her children. I enquired the air hostesses about the bird if she survived, if she was caught and released. The response that left me stunned was , “I don’t know ma’am but you don’t worry, this is not the same plane”. I silently forgave her as she was simply performing her duty to her best. The professional attitude of Emirates is par excellence and it left no doubt at that even once.

It was all about us humans, has been the case always since we humans became insensitive in our run for professionalism. The fault lay not in the airport nor in the airplane. The fault lay not with the staff and attendants nor with the crew on board. The fault, my dear readers is in our attitudes of the modern day world. We deem ourselves most significant as compared to other creatures who often pay a heavy price for our modernized, educated behavior.
Disclaimer: the views expressed above are in no way meant to harm any individuals or airliners but to bring awareness of the lack of a simplistic holistic human trait in today’s world.

Sales Ethics at Malls in Nairobi

A slightly warm bright afternoon of a friday in the month of February. I decided to take my mother for shopping owing to her requirement of footwear. My daughter and I decided to take her to the well spread out  Junction Mall all the way from Parklands area.

The half an hour drive to Junction Mall appeared worth it to begin with, as we entered and walked into the very welcoming electronic stores. My mother who was on a visit from India wasn’t very interested in the electronics hence we moved on to fetch her some footwear.

Angelo on the ground floor had some shoes on a discounted sale which were placed on a table outside the store. It didn’t give a very exciting feel about shopping but having purchased shoes from there in the past, we decided to enter the store anyway to have a glance. There was one sales attendant cum cashier sitting behind the cash counter. She was probably too busy in her dreamy world and didn’t lift an eyelid to look at us, prospective clients.

I must say, I didn’t feel like shopping there due to the attitude but I didn’t want to give my mother any such impression, so I went up to the lady to say a courteous “Hello”. It was then that she greeted me back and got up from her comfortable chair. Needless to say, she had to be forcibly pushed into attending to our needs as I demanded she help my mother into trials and fittings of the footwear she selected.

Well, all wasn’t so bad, I thought to myself when finally mum liked the fitting and style of the flat wedged sandals. My daughter meanwhile had taken fancy to some fancier looking shoes and to my surprise, though she was trying them out, the sales girl didn’t even blink towards her. The retail sales ethics seemed apparently lacking here. The younger lot who should be ideally focused on enhancing the business, live in big disillusioned world of distractions, I felt.

Disinterestedly, she threw in the pair of sandals in the plastic carry bag and took the payment and off were we having said a word of thanks to her. But, once again, the politeness of being gracious was lacking at the other end.

Anyway we moved ahead to look for some more shoes and walked into Mr. Price where there was bigger variety but lesser quality. Having made a quick glancing tour we walked out and moved towards a store called Wide Shoe on the second floor. That turned to be a big disappointment as well as neither was mum’s requirement of soft leather, back strapped wedged footwear available, nor did they have the sizes that they claim to have.

Who would have thought buying a few pairs of shoes could be such a task. Anyway, the helpful sales attendant cum cashier lady suggested we try our luck at Clarks or Sketchers within Nakumatt. Back to the Escalator and the walk towards the other end of the Mall and we reached Clarks. The staff was reasonably polite but didn’t seemed much interested in selling. However, the sandals were available very sparsely and once again we were challenged by lack of sizes and colours.

A move to the next store Sketchers appeared to be good at first as mum finally saw some good walking shoes in the sports shoes section. Sketchers that has a lovely range in Dubai has a decent range in Nairobi too. the Sales girl attending to mum was unmistakably not keen on selling her wares. Neither did she help my old mum with her trials, nor did she pick out various pairs upon explaining the type of shoe we wanted.

Finally after trying out a lot of wrong sizes and designs, when mum finally settled on something, we were told neither the size , nor the style we wanted was available. I wondered, if all this disinterest in selling had to do with my brown skin colour. Obviously, the Mall has a significant clientele which consists of the fair skinned and dark skinned people. The brown skin people I guess were no one’s priority hence we were met with the kind of disinterest in attending to us as clients.

Tired and disappointed, we decided to refresh our mood and feasted on the delicious slurps at Planet Yoghurt. Our last destination before we walked out was the Bata store. They too like most other stores didn’t have much to offer in the flat heeled wedge sandals but did have a better stocked range of walking shoes. Mum debated between two different styles of the shoes that the sales girl mentioned were priced at 2,300/- a pair. Since both the styles were of same price range, mum decided to settle for the darker coloured pair in a particular style. She asked if she could get a grey coloured and was told a blunt NO.

To my shock I was told to pay kshs 2,999/- for that pair of shoes which were told to be selling at 2,300/-. Very conveniently the cashier and the sales girl told me that they had made a mistake in giving me the price earlier. Was it a gimmick? Was it  bias to the skin colour? Was it genuinely a mistake? I was visibly annoyed and refused to pay the higher amount but they insisted and I thought finally mum had liked something so I landed up paying 3,000/- for the pair of shoes. I felt cheated.

Whatever happened to the sales ethics and pleasing the customer? The new generation sales teams seem shameless, unapologetic, unmindful and unwilling to prove their capability. I guess all they are interested in is the cheque that goes in their pocket every month and while the store owners cannot be present at each branch of their stores, they play the game of being the mice at play while the cat is away.


The Old Age

Looks forlorn and those eyes dreamless
Staring at the unending life’s vastness
Of the immense sky or maybe the space.
The hollowness reflects from their hidden grace.
The old age like a rude shock but inevitable occurrence,
turning a once strong person at mercy of dependence.

Oozing out into your dream filled expectant eyes,
They seem to question a reason to thy happiness.
Surprised are they at your bountiful chirpiness
For they have long forgotten it all in nobility,
To the cruelties of age, poverty or inability.

Sitting in the lawn with unappreciative surround
Of the various shades of green that bound around
Reflecting their vacant thoughts of
God knows what within the mind frame.
Their pain, their agony of sullen loneliness
In this ripe age of less mobility and solitude.

No gossipy tales and no conversation,
Minds vacant and hurts in exaggeration.
A few square meals to kill The boredom
and hungers adaptability to toothless subjugation.
Agility low and highly fragile physical taking,
The two wheels in chair now do their walking.

Responding to a rare visitor with rations,
albeit disinterested or taking precautions,
Of not getting bonded that brings them hurt,
When their own discard them like an old shirt.
The elderly at that home for the aged in Nairobi,
Similar in thought and attitude like any other city.

Relying solely upon their caregivers and routine chart,
Annoyed as well as pleased in the deep corner of the heart.
The grief that long stopped spillage, sharing and shedding,
The comfort zone merely is the lone window and bedding.
The lonesome, forlorn, dreamless and desire less days,
Await the dark messenger of death to stir up the gloom.



Poem of the Month for February : Published in The Asian Weekly, edition 336 (JAN 27 – FEB 02, 2017)



Short Term Targets

A lot going on within that scrumpy, entangled mass of grey within the top most part of the body. The Year has begun, Yes we are progressing towards getting over with the first half of the first month – January. How much of those self proclaimed resolutions have we worked upon?

I happened to fix my sight on and my creative juices atarted to flow out right here from the grey matter into the fingers on the keyboard, reaching out to your eyes.

It has become a fashion to proclaim various resolutions on the New Year’s each year end or beginning only to be forgotten. What we need to do is set ourselves little targets that are visibly feasible to our overworked minds in this constant bustle of activity caused by the actual work and the social media. So if you haven’t yet made any resolution or haven’t commenced to work on the one you already made – please do congratulate yourself. Do I sound nuts? Well I am that nut with the extra hard shell if you please.

If your diet plan is what you need to work upon then you know that planning for three months down the line appears very tedious hence may I suggest an alternative plan. Plan a week to week diet plan and take that special sunday as your rewarding day and relish what you craved for the most. Not only does that make your sunday more of a funday ( or a sin day if you overindulge) it provides that much wanted rest period. The week passes off smoothly and the following week could turn out healthier than the previous one.

If you intend keeping up with self discipline ( whether it is to do with yoga, exercise, smoking or drinking) target three days to begin with. This may sound easy to achieve and then continue further. Repeat the same for the few more following weeks. Your mind, body and spirit will then probably guide you to acknowledging the first three days of the week as more refreshing. This might give you the push from your own self to continue with the discipline. Why wait for this at the New Year’s time. These goals can be achieved any time during the year. Some might want to opt for alternate days in the week instead of first three days and that is perfectly fine too.

Those aiming to gain a lift on the spiritual path might want to start practicing simple meditative practice once a week for five 5 – 10 minutes. As a matter of principle it helps not to set hard and fast rules about the particular hour of the day as you might require more flexibility. Gradually you may increase the time span or number of days during a week and remember you are not competing with anybody and simply doing it for your own happiness and comfort.

This hard nut shall now leave you to ponder about many other resolutions you would want to make now. Do not bog yourself down with a lot and move that first step to whatever you choose to do. The options are unlimited : take your pick : Cycling / Painting / learning a craft / learning a language / traveling / Swimming / Tennis / IT skills / Photography /Trekking / Knitting / Carving / Teaching / Visiting relatives and friends etc etc …



The Lotus Healing Seva Group visit Faraja Cancer Care once a week and spend time interacting with the Cancer affected and give them Reiki Treatment as part of their Seva ( voluntary service).

Common questions we hear from patients are if Reiki can cure Cancer. I would say a big YES to it as reiki heals away the cancer of worrying, the cancer of fear and the cancer of negative thoughts. It is observed that the above mentioned give rise to illness, hence, by healing them away one moves a step closer to healing/ treating cancer as an ailment.

Reiki practitioners do not claim to cure away any disease or disorder but they add their positive energies to convert the sickness towards healing the person. Having worked as a volunteer from LHSG with several patients at Faraja Cancer Care, Nairobi as a Reiki Practioner I have noticed remarkable changes experienced by the patients. They become calmer, more accepting and gain a positive attitude.

Further to giving Reiki treatments a couple of workshops we conducted about forgiveness helped the patients at a different level. They were able to release the burden of the sentimental negativity and felt lighter. This resulted in their healing at a subtler level and brought abundant smiles that chased away the grief, hatred, regret and anger.

Faraja have always welcomed various alternative healing disciplines and have brought forth a different outlook to the word Hospital.

Monica Gokaldas