Wednesday, February 17, 2021


 Since childhood I have had  aversion to meat and other non - veg  food items so much so that the sight of raw meat and smell of even  cooked stuff is enough to put me off.  We in our  family  except my late father have been strict vegetarians. This  is due inter alia to belief in astrology that showed a marked presence of Jupiter in the horoscope , which doesn't agree to non-veg food items being taken. 

Amusingly in my early days as a student of Class IV in  Lady Irwin School, a classmate named Rajinder would  literally bully me into asking my mother to cook meat . This perhaps  had something to do with

his Rajput blood and genes or liking for non -veg in his family. Anyways his bid never happened for obvious reasons. As a kid, I remember once  accompanying my father to the meat market on a Sunday, but I was too young to register anything in my mind , mercifully . He too took meat only once in blue moon as all others were averse to it and he had to cook himself.

In later years also whenever he cooked meat, other got 'compensated' with matar paneer.

 At other places, it was either our landlord  or an uncle- a first cousin of my mother,  who would either send him some stuff or invite him over for dinner.

As I grew up, the aversion became stronger inasmuch as the second half of Sabzi Mandi became and still is a forbidden place for me. Even otherwise no other charm exists for me except a rare visit to the Bengal Crockery shop .

I remember once accompanying a friend who wanted to buy chicken as his father was visiting from his native place. I stayed at a distance.  After sometime he came all smiles, saying that he got it because of me . The reason was that the shop owner had studied with me and after initial refusal, recognizing me chose to oblige.

Last but not the least , due to my aversion,  I could not study for and enter the medical profession .

It was destined that way !

Wednesday, February 3, 2021



 THE TRIBUNE, a prominent daily of Northern India completed 140 years yesterday . Befitting the occasion, the Paper carried 2-3 articles , one of which I also shared on my Facebook wall.

The occasion made me somewhat nostalgic too.

My tryst with the English Newspaper started  more than fifty years back in the  mid- sixties. In the beginning THE TRIBUNE was subscribed to occasionally, during the days when University Examination results were expected, as these were published in the Newspaper. The Newspaper during that period was something to wait for eagerly and anxiously. These days offered an opportunity to glance through the paper though we had no nose for the news whatever.

I became a regular reader of The Tribune in 1970 when I went to college. Back from college , I would read the paper back to back daily and underline the difficult words to look up the meaning in the dictionary. The language appeared somewhat difficult at that time.  The Editorials written by R. Madhavan Nair were not easy to understand and follow. There was a change  in the format when  Prem Bhatia took over as the Editor. The English language became easier and simpler and the style was quite appealing.

Post studies I wrote a few letters to the Editor that got published . Apart from this , my desire to see my name in print remained an unfulfilled dream , even though, my name did appear for not good enough reason as it would be there when I got transferred to some remote place.

Anyways, I learnt to write English from browsing through the Newspaper , particularly The Tribune. The initial preference for the TRIBUNE  was also the reason that this was the only paper that had a City Edition, being published from Ambala and subsequently  from Chandigarh.Other papers like Times of India &. The Hindustan Times , being published from Delhi those days were late with the news, besides coverage of Himachal news was not enough. It is amusing to be told that post independence, The Tribune was published for sometime from Shimla too.

My preference for The Tribune continues to this day as the paper does not profess any political ideology.

Tuesday, February 2, 2021



A Collection of Middles and Essays by

Dr. Ritu Kamra Kumar

Publishers :Authorspress, New Delhi

ISBN 978-93-90459-16-2

Pp :219


THE STROKES OF SOLITUDE is a second Collection of Middles and Essays by Dr. Ritu Kumra Kumar. Earlier a Collection of Middles and Essays titled  ‘The Priceless Petals’ , was well received. Her first book was a Literary critique on the novels of Shashi Deshpande. She is an academic working as an Associate Professor in Post Graduate  Department of English , Mukand Lal National College, Yamunanagar , Haryana.

A frequent and prolific contributor of Middles to prominent National Dailies , she has a knack of writing on varied subjects. I have gone through quite a few of the Middles that figure in this collection, which she has been graciously putting on Facebook .

The title is an appropriate one and the picture of a landscape painted on the Canvas on the cover complements it. These Middles and Essays are the word pictures painted so beautifully by the writer.

There are Eighty One beautiful pieces of writing divided into five sections  which are titled  Kith & Kin, Myriad Musings, Woman’s Word, Academia Aesthetic , & Resonant Realities , aptly and conveniently  represent the central  theme of the Middles/ Essays.

The Collection is rightly dedicated by the writer to her husband and son , who  occupy centre stage in a happily married woman’s life. The first section Kith & Kin  covers, the less talked about role of a father, gift of motherhood, the essence of a place called home,nicknames, friends & friendship and fond remembrance of a departed  relation  and of a colleague.

The second section  Myriad Musings, that happens to be the  biggest one contains thirty one beautiful pieces about drawing sketches on the note book in the class, mangoes, scooter rides, New Year, Chrismas Cheers, Karva Chauth etc. etc.

The third section  Woman’s Word , or is it  Woman’s World discusses topics like Jewellery, Agony Aunt’s Advice, Women’s Day, Female Sisterhood and Solidarity . Unnnao Rape  etc.etc.

The section Academia Aesthetic is about the writer’s experiences as a teacher in the Classroom  and otherwise with a beautiful write up on the late  V.S.Naipaul, the  Nobel Laureate.

Lastly in  the section Resonant Realities , the writer keeps a tab on the times , discussing social issues, Pandemic- both blues and disguised blessings-,  parental  understanding of teenaged daughters, Fashion, Fusion Food etc. etc.

A foreword by Lily Swarn, an internationally acclaimed poet and author, with views from some other known personalities from the field of Journalism , Police  Service & Administration and Authors as also the Acknowledgements form an integral part of the Book. The writer has been generous enough to add views from some of her admiring readers.

The Middles/ Essays have been written during a period of roughly three calendar years with entries as late as November, 2020. The Pandemic period has been beautifully covered bringing out various aspects. A Court Judgement on an important issue also finds mention in one of the write-ups .

The writer has impeccable command of language and idiom, with not a word superfluous or falling out of place  .  She is well  read  as  being able to quote from a host of  authors.

All the Eighty One  pieces are a pure delight . Unlike fiction , it is not a one time indulgence as one would like to read the nuggets again and again .

Wish more power to her pen to come up with many more such ventures !!