I was taken aback, rather utterly baffled when I was asked if I am a potato, that too at 5 in the morning … and by none other than Ms. Coco. 

It was Sunday morning and my alarm buzzed off at 4 a.m. We were to leave for our birding trip and as habitual as it may sound, I had snoozed it, later to flail out of bed at 4:45 a.m. in a desperate attempt not to get late!

I turned on one light in my room, trying my best not to disturb the pretty birdie. She has a habit of beeping once during the dark morning hours and greeting me saying, 'Assalaam Alaikum' as I uncover her mansion. However, today she decided to be philosophical in quite a feathered way.

“Mairee baby, aaloo ho na?” she asked. I couldn’t help but laugh as I donned on my camouflage jacket and gathered my photography gear. She had picked on this word when a couple of times my sister addressed her son as aaloo (potato) … naughty her, and naughtier her. The past two weeks or so, Coco had been practicing the value addition in her vocabulary and constantly saying, ‘Aaloo! Aaloo! Aaloo?’ And I am not mistaken when I know she is addressing us as aaloo … because she actually is!

As I struggled to wear my birding boots and tie the snakes of its laces while my friends were waiting downstairs, their punctuality, coupled with Coco’s BIG question of the morning couldn’t help but make me anxious. We eventually ended up reaching our meeting spot 5 minutes late because of me … oh actually because of my boots lol! Them time consuming laces. 

En route our birding location, I tried to make sense of this existential question and whether this current lifestyle was actually making me look like a potato because of my sweet tooth. Soon I shunned these thoughts … and focused on getting my 3 kg camera ready to shoot the birds.

Three days later, Coco paraphrased her thoughts and asked her rhetorical question again, “Aaloo ho na, mairee baby?” Perhaps she wants me to admit that I am in fact really a potato that she loves to eat. 

She otherwise likes to sing, “I am a pretty birdie!” or ask, “Mairee baby, kiya khaya?” (My baby, what did you eat? - a question I used to ask her after returning from work and she used to politely greet me saying salaam) or “Coco, kiya khao gee?” (Coco, what would you like to eat?). But now she has decided to get personal. Fine with me … I will also call her a crow. :-D




A Unique Jewellery Statement


HELL-O pretty birdies! Ahhh … didn’t we all love Rio the movie?!

Anyway, this post is about a dear friend of mine who makes elegant bead and wire jewellery. Tee Syed’s work has me sold for her art. She started with bead jewellery as a hobby in 2015 and kept improving her skills; now she has evolved into creating sophisticated Bohemian jewellery besides carrying on with her original idea.

Thanks to some encouraging friends who started buying from her, she felt the need to take it a step ahead, thus evolving into an entrepreneurial butterfly. 

Her passion for art is quite astounding and she knows what will be preferred by unique jewellery enthusiasts!

In this picture of Nigel, you will see him holding pairs of earrings, all made by Tee Syed bespokeelegantjewels … I am personally in love with the wire nest and egg earrings that she custom-made for me, besides the others that are part of the picture.

Just so that you are made aware of her style of jewellery making, you can see these pictures below. Please check her jewellery and buy from her if this is something that is of interest to you. Let's support our female entrepreneurs! :)

Some Bohemian style jewellery




Bead Jewellery


Tales and Tails of Nehr-e-Khayyam - Episode 11

Human stupidity & Grandma used to say … 

“Human stupidity is asymptomatic and at times the test for rumours reveal the extent of its positivity,” mentioned Kuttay, “Quite a lot of them buffoons think that their bodies are precious enough that they will carry a monetary worth after they expire, something the government is collecting to undercut the country’s debt in exchange. The human superiority complex index may be the highest of all times in 2020. Ever heard the term ‘herd immunity’? It’s actually herd stupidity that you see. For instance shopoholics have flocked outside non-essential item stores in the UK as they started opening up. Actually Imran Khan had told them that you white folks need not worry about it … ghabrana nahi hai etcetera and they listened to him. He is to be blamed for the prevailing global stupidity. YES! He is the one.”

“What do you mean, Kuttay?” asked Doggo innocently, “Are humans going to self-destruct and let us live in peace then?”

“Self-destruct, they will … let you live in peace they will not. The new normal comes with the old normal attached as well. Let’s not forget that we are dogs … pye-dogs.” Explained Kuttay.

Both sat on the COVID Jetty, formerly known as the ‘Gharbrana nahi hai jetty’, watching the sun as it went down and stroked the sky into a master piece. No tourists came now, Khayyam Huts (the huts around Nehr-e-Khayyam that were built for the Chinese tourists) were deserted, the country’s foreign exchange reserves were now depleting at an alarming rate and the mermaids of the water body had started starving. The dogs used to bring scrapes of food and share whatever they could with them.

The country’s lockdown had been abruptly lifted, considering the Dark Justice’s order as he saw the entire nation as naked individuals roaming around and desperately in need of buying clothes. What better occasion than Eid itself. Now COVID darling was enjoying Eid, post eid! All the doctors’ efforts went down Nehr-e-Khayyam (well, down the drain) as they suffocated each of their brain cells wearing their plastic outfits while serving the critically ill COVID patients. But well, they were part of the WHO conspiracy weren’t they?

As the evening characteristically darkened, new forms of plastic pollutants floated and danced along the waves of Nehr-e-Khayyam; the PPE suits and masks added to the list of new items polluting water bodies. The Great Pacific Patch was to become greater and eventually the greatest …

“Oh look! N 95, that too with a filter! Oh I’m gonna grab this expensive beauty and pretend to be a pretentious human, of course with the exception of doctors who actually need to wear these! I’m gonna be a PRETENTIOUS human, baby! I’m gonna kick and cull them loser doggies!” exclaimed Doggo with joy.

“Hey! Hey! Control your doggy excitement for a change! For all that you know, it may be contaminated with human germs. So far no human has contracted this virus from dogs and instead passed it on to cats, you never know they may be able to pass on their filthy germs to us also. And don’t forget that you are a dog, although less dignified.” said Kuttay.

“Oh but … but … okay …” whimpered Doggo and rolled into Kuttay’s half knitted sweater.

“Where did you get this mermaid and dolphin fair isle knitting from? Oh it’s lovely!” he asked.

“Well it was my grandma’s master piece. She knitted this during a mermaid and dolphin watching tour at Charna Island with her owner. She kept watching them beauties and kept knitting them into what could have been a sweater but she was culled by the human race a few days after that,” said Kuttay as he felt a lump in his throat and swallowed hard, “Her owner often used to take her to the island to play fetch with the mermaids until one day Big Brother felt the need for a secret service installation and cordoned off the entire island. They’re working on a vaccine and carrying tests on those poor mermaids. They deserved better. It’s a shame really.”

“Okay I didn’t hear this!”

“Good boy, Doggo! And you won’t tell this to anyone either.” Kuttay knew Doggo well enough not to trust him with secrets but he was too frustrated to care anymore.

“You know Grandma always used to say that it’s hard to survive in a human’s world and that one should be loyal to himself first than any human. That is what defines character … you never know when you would be kicked out or culled. You never know when you are no longer needed and considering what we are, we were never needed by the society in the first place.”

“My mama always used to say that life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you are going to get …” expressed Doggo almost dreamily.

“Your mama can’t possibly say that unless she was Forrest Gump. Stop binge watching movies that you can’t tell your mama and your favourite actors apart!” chuckled Kuttay.

“During grandma’s time, convent schools used to teach knitting and embroidery, among other skills to both boys and girls, unlike the screen infestation among children these days … loser human kids.” lambasted Kuttay.

Doggo was taken aback. “But it’s humans you are talking about, Grandma belonged to our species didn’t she, or was she a shape shifter perhaps?”

“Oh actually … Grandma’s owner went to a convent school and passed on these skills to her.”

“You had said culled. Did your grandma get culled?”

“Yes!!! That is exactly what happened to Grandma which is why she left the sweater half done which I now use as a blanket.  You can see that I am trying to complete it,” explained Kuttay, “She was put down as human authorities mistook her to be a stray dog … she had a habit of wandering off randomly and got a taste of her outgoing demeanour. She had a terrible sweet tooth; it was given a poisoned gulab jamun that she hogged onto. She loved going for adventure trips with pye-dogs outside!”

Doggo was all ears, “I can’t imagine a well fed dog going for a random gulab jamun. Oh what a shame. But then she was pye-ously social wasn’t she? Oh naughty! Naughty!”

“Well … she took orders from her sweet tooth before taking any from her imbecile human owners. She told me that once she had an awful cupcake craving in the middle of the night and broke into a bakery where she stuffed her face with at least half a dozen chocolate cupcakes.”

Doggo gasped. “I’ll be damned!” he said, “But chocolates could be fatal to our existence.”

“Of course … the culprit passed out right there and then not because of chocolate, well because it wasn’t authentic to begin with but because of the high sugar content. She was handed over to her owners who then grounded her for a week.”

The stray dogs’ canine freedom got compromised with the ease in the lockdown, they could no longer play hide and seek during the day and scare human kids away along the banks of Nehr-e-Khayyam or elsewhere. People had started visiting malls and markets in large numbers, defying all standard operating procedures, even those who spat while speaking were slapped by the virus before being hugged by it and later ENGULFED by it! But the ones around such losers were more at risk, especially if they were not wearing masks, eventually them being losers too. The world was rapidly being annihilated by human stupidity and there seemed to be no end to it.

“Kuttayyyyyy!” yelled Doggo in excitement. “Kuttay! Look I got us chum chums! One for you, one for me, and one for Baji Mermaid down the naala.”


Famished and caving into the inherited sweet tooth, Kuttay didn’t inquire about the source of the sweets. All of a sudden Doggo started foaming around the mouth. To his horror, Kuttay realised what had just hit them.

“Where on this nasty Earth did you get these chum chums from?! Oh look at me, Doggo!” pleaded Kuttay.

“Human gave … human bad …” were Doggo’s last words as he perished in a matter of seconds. Baji Mermaid was also seen flinching in pain as Kuttay howled in agony, not knowing whether it was physical pain or emotional … or both. And that was his end too … much like others belonging to his species.

*Percy Faith’s Summer Place played in the background*

Dogs blamed for the spread of virus, culling spree to continue!
Nehr-e-Khayyam poisoned inadvertently, mermaids perish!

These were some of the headlines in the next day’s issue of Naala Leaks … the poor water body went back to its old self eventually … filthy and polluted.

Not self but imposed-isolation - Day 2: COVID-19

March 22, 2020 - Sunday

COVID-19: Not self but imposed isolation - Day 2 

OCD took over once again ... washed the balcony with that amazing Scotch Bright wiper once again ... ahhh! We had water.

Cleaned the room ... mopped the floor with that ah-mazing lemon Dettol surface cleaner ... bloody OCD!

Cleaned all bird cages as two of my conures yelled, 'Baby' in chorus ... cheapsters.

Took my lorikeet out and gave him a shower as he mimicked the sound of pouring water. He then bit me and yelled, 'No biting! Kaato nahi!' ... loser!

I then left the full-of-notorious-energy-bird near Coco for a few seconds ... Rainbow, I call him. The loser playfully bit Coco, much to her horror. 'Kaat rahi ho!' exclaimed Coco.

Eventually I took Rainbow back to his cage, that colourful little devil.

I let Coco out, we kissed each other ... inhaled her feather dust and realised that she as well needs to be bathed. Got her washed up. She was happy. 'Shower time' she had been saying  every time I had been entering the bathroom.

Took my watercolour stuff out of the cabinet ... the client called for Corona updates. I completed the report, realised that all provinces are behaving like countries within a country ... never on the same page! Hmph!