Mere Papad Ka Tukda



“Toffee se meethi hai, churan se khatti hai

Khatti meethi hai teri kahani”


I am sitting gazing blankly at a lifetime of memories strewn around me.


Glossy, laminated pieces of me stare back mutely. Some smiling, some grumpy, some indifferent, some bored. I peer into guileless, innocent eyes searching for a glimpse of myself in them. I stare at the beaming smile and feel oddly disconnected with the person in the photograph.


She reminds me of days spent being happy, simply because she knew of no other way.


Summers spent running free around the lawns and orchards surrounding her house. Stuffing falsa in her mouth uncaring of the stains left behind. Clambering up branches to grab the lowest hung amrud and never ever stopping to do any such mundane thing as washing it before making short work of scoffing it. Attacking the tomatoes and cauliflowers and driving the maali mad. His threats falling on deaf ears because she was, of course, her Dadaji’s ladli.


In all of this, firmly by her side, was her partner in crime. Her able helper, her pesky little brother. He who wanted to do everything with her, and he who also wanted to do everything for her. Her real live moving crutch. There, determinedly holding her hand, always.


There to help her hobble away from the thrice a week torture that came in the form of Masterji. Masterji would arrive, armed with a harmonium, hoping to introduce her to the joys of Raag Desh, while all she wanted was for him to go off to his Desh! Her Mamma had always wanted to have a daughter proficient in the art of classical dancing and singing. Dancing was out, so singing was the chosen form of persecution. Masterji would arrive, a servant would be sent to call Babyji, and Babyji would make a dash for the summer house gazebo with loyal brother by her side and servant in hot pursuit, closely followed by said Masterji grumbling at his fate.


But brother dear was also there to steal her katori of amras from the dinner table laid out in the garden during summers. Wickedly indulging himself with her share, every single evening. Before going on to quickly drinking his own, lest she get to it! Her screams of outrage having no effect on Mamma’s ladla. The sneaky kid always, but always, did this before the rest of the family arrived at the table. “Koi baat nahi beta, tum badi ho” being their unfailing rejoinder to her complaints. “But I’m always going to be badi!” she would say. “Will he always get away with everything?!”


Where did those carefree summers go?


How did everything change so quickly?


My Dadaji’s hands, which never failed to lift up to bless me and to shield me from my mother’s wrath, are now just a distant memory. My Mamma’s hands are no longer there to plait my hair into two neat twins interwoven with red ribbons. Nor to run them over my forehead as I lay in her lap drowsy with sleep. My Papa’s hands aren’t there to swing me up to jump across little rivulets caused by the monsoons. Nor to hold me tight when I wake up shivering from being pursued by imagined raakshases.


Nor to protect me when the real raakshash came.


All swallowed up in the relentless passage of time. Leaving behind whispered memories of days when I was young and untainted by the ways of the world.


Waqt badal gaya hai … Sab kuch badal gaya …


The only thing that hasn’t is my partner in crime.


He who still hasn’t let go of the hand he was clutching in all of the glossy laminated pieces of paper scattered around me.


Kuch nahi badla Di, meri zindagi ka sabse important hissa aap thi, aur rahogi


Mere papad ka tukda, my brother Arnav.



For all of Anjali’s faults, both real and perceived, her adoration of her brother was never in question. He had been the one constant in her life. Unstinting in his support. And yes, unforgivingly crossing the line in his blind devotion of his sister.


I wanted to show a glimpse of how Anjali’s childhood may have been. Carefree, secure, loved. Her affected leg a mere irritant coming in the way of fun, and not a “handicap”.


Thank you so much for reading. Please do feel free to let me know what you think 🙂


Love always,


35 thoughts on “Mere Papad Ka Tukda

  1. “Sisters and brothers are the truest, purest forms of love, family and friendship, knowing when to hold you and when to challenge you, but always being a part of you.” – Carol Ann Albright-Eastman

    This to me was a tribute to a relationship we can all relate with… one of a brother and sister. And as she recalled those memories, I found myself recalling mine with my brother.

    But then I am taken back to a childhood these two siblings have had, one filled with happy, mischievous memories then to have taken away. That part brought tears to my eyes. And you are correct, Arnav was the constant in her life. As was she… that is why their bond was so strong. It’s one of the reasons I fell in love with the show. Just loved how you have given us that glimpse of their childhood.

    Anytime I read your writing, I find myself mesmerized with your words. I can clearly visualize the scene in front of me, but more I can see you reading them out loud to me. It’s elegant poetry, Ruchi style. And with just few words in a one shot, you leave us with a long, lasting impression filled with a myriad of emotions… one that we can’t forget but at the same time are left with wanting more.

    So my love, when I can I get more? A talent like should not be kept locked away… it needs to be shared. It was absolutely brilliant!

    Your darling Hamesha!


    P.S. I am never letting go of the hand that is always by my side… Love you so very much!

    Liked by 5 people

  2. A bond that is truly special in itself and there by making the people at both ends a little more.

    Tragedies change life in the blink of an eye, the person who we are before fading into the shadows, maybe never to make an appearance again.
    But sometimes, life gives you a hand that stays anchored to yours, no matter what. Unfailing and unquestionable in their support.

    A beautiful piece Ruchi.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I love how you’ve put it, “A bond that is truly special in itself and there by making the people at both ends a little more” They were both empowered and enriched through this bond 🙂

      Thank you for your lovely thoughts. ❤

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Very well written..

    It showed us Anjali’s perspective to how things had been in the past and how things have changed now.. But the only constant in her life is her brother who was there with her in every mischief that she did when she was young and now when she faces troubles he is there with her standing strong..

    Beautiful bond shown between a brother and sister through a wonderful interplay of words.. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you 🙂
      Your sibling knows you before you learn to wear masks. Those days of innocence when the most important problem was how to escape the wrath of a parent after a particularly interesting escapade. The bonds you forge then have their roots in guileless honesty.
      Just special.


  4. Hi
    Jigs, Choti,Ruchi, Arshi67. love you all for the lovely stories.

    I think I am watching IPKKND for the 100th time and still in love with every episode, very nice tidbits, about ARSHI. love. but I wanted one of you to write a complete story same as IPKKND but with the it should have happened.1. I always think why Khushi kept quite when ever Shyam was harassing her, why couldn’t she have told her buaji about it. and buaji would have kainchava dabaufied holding shyam’s collar, 2. when Khushi could understand Arnav’s untold actions and mute voice why she could not understand her Bauji’s distress and try to read his lips when he was trying to say something.
    3. why Khushi couldn’t slap Shyam when ever he was trying to touch her or lurk near her. And Payal so so self absorbent and self centered in her world that she also did not understand why would Khushi marry Arnav without a strong reason. (payal always told khushi that she can read her face and understand that khushi was in some kind of distress) and why could she figure it out and protect her.
    4. why did Akash keep quite and blame payal for not being honest when Syam and his beloved mom blamed payal for planning to lure rich guys like akash and arnav. It was akash who was trying and behind payal.
    5. Payal and khushi should have brought buaji to that they were telling the truth and shyam was a con man telling all lies. or atleast they should have made the bujai make a visit at the same time when all these things were being revealed so shyam wouldn’t dare lie and turn the tables against Khushi and Payal in front of buaji.

    Oh I so much wish they remake the story with all these corrections so the show could go on for few years.

    junk shows went on for years together without any strong story line, good story with such nice actors and actress could go on for some more time. unfortunate they had to chop the show. such a heart break for fans like us 😦


    Liked by 1 person

  5. What an insightful glimpse. And, a beautiful ode to that lovely poem.

    The character of Anjali, started out great but somehow became a caricature in the middle. Somehow what you write actually defines what she was and what she could have been. If Anjali was Arnav’s world, Arnav was her child. Their bond ended up being made a fool in the show. Which disturbed me so much. Made me sometime loathe that woman whose character had such potential and several opportunities to rise in the situation.

    This was really thoughtful and sweet. This brings out Anjali’s character so beautifully and justifies her nature. It also brings out my own memories with my brother and how he used to crib being always at the short end of things just coz he was ‘Bada.’ This was lovely. Don’t you write fictions? Long stories?

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I always loved this character …
    But I loved her the most during Payash wedding where she joined hands with Naniji to bring our Arshi together ..
    I was not that upset with her denial mode but Arnav’s brutal behavior with Khushi ..
    After that phase,Anjali got to her true self quite soon ..

    Y don’t u write an SS or FF ??
    Ur comments on Jigs bblog r amazing ..

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I had read this before but had not commented before. It was a beautiful rishta between Anjali and Khushi. He would do anything for her and he did. Anjali remembering her innocent and happy childhood and her partner in crime her little papad ka tukda Arnav.Lovely story, Ruchi.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. “Waqt badal gaya hai … Sab kuch badal gaya …”

    By writing this another wonderful piece, you provided a new meaning to those words. Thank you for giving her the benefit of the doubt and providing a childhood scene that justifies her action during the times when it was extremely difficult for all of us, Arnav and Khushi fans, to see.

    I must ask, was she one of your favorite characters? I ask this because I read two wonderful pieces on her back to back that shows her in a completely different light.

    On another note, how in the world did I miss this all these years? Thank you for keeping the blog open for me to be able to read this today! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for stopping and putting your thoughts and feelings down, Hailey. I don’t have a particular fondness for Anjali’s character per se, but I just felt that later in the series she was shown as very two dimensional. There had to be more to her than that. She was Arnav’s pillar for years. She had to have reserves of strength he drew from. That sort of connection would have its foundation in their childhood I feel.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. “She was Arnav’s pillar for years. She had to have reserves of strength he drew from. That sort of connection would have its foundation in their childhood I feel.”

    That is gold! And I love how you saw her beyond the surface and was the informal voice behind her actions where the writers fell short! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Both siblings were equally affected by the way the tragedy hit their family, but they came out of it differently. Anger has always had a bigger audience, so Arnav took centerstage. In a way it made him tough, unlike Anjali who’s experience in loss and the want to fill that gap made her blindly trust people

    Liked by 1 person

    • Very well observed, Chaitalee. Arnav’s new year’s words to Khushi about how the world is brutal have always stayed me. This is the world in his eyes. Growing up neither sibling was able to find a happy balance between trust and distrust

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Arnav & Anjali were a team
    They lost so much very early in life , while it toughened Arnav, Anjali turned into soft, non confrontational, sort of interpreter/ communicator for Arnav
    He becomes her protector
    Men tend to do that , even if they are younger
    So much so that, he was willing to marry a girl who stood in the way of his sister ‘s happiness
    He can be forgiven
    Kh did the same for her sister too ( I meant the marriage )
    In trying to safe guard her world, anjie sees no evil, hears no evil, speaks no evil
    Doesn’t believe her god like shyamji could err
    or Chote could disagree with her view
    She cannot be blamed
    That ‘s who she is
    At the end of the day blood is thicker than water

    She was much more than keeping vrats & poojas
    Had potential
    Alas the makers made him selfish, childish & petulant & everyone in RM , indulged her
    She could have been able to handle Shyam ‘s deceit had she been stronger
    That is my regret

    Liked by 1 person

      • My dear Ruchi,
        Dosti Ka ek usool hai madam
        No sorry , no thank you ☺️😀

        I second that
        Anjali ‘s character should have been spectacular , but fell short
        Enjoy the holidays with family
        Cheers 🥂


  12. Went down the memory lane while reading this.Thanks for those beautiful moments.I do have a kid brother and can relate those funny moments.( A secret -we used to fill envelopes with trash and post them in the mailbox )

    Liked by 1 person

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