A New Year Fairy Tale


A New Year Fairy Tale

"So, Arya and I were having this little chat around the campfire…”

“What campfire?” I was immediately suspicious.

Arya had just dozed off after a hectic day of fun and frolic, and her dad seemed to be getting into the storyteller mode.

More to the point, we lived in the midst of a bustling metropolis. Campfires don’t casually pop up around here.

“The campfire in the enchanted garden, of course…” He seemed flabbergasted with my question.

“…where she plays with the magical creatures of the forest. Don’t tell me you forgot!"

“OK, here we go again… so what’s the story this time?”

“Not a story. Just a chat, around the campfire… with a big, red balloon and a crazy lantern.”

“Interesting setup, I must say. What did you chat about?”

“About her new fairy friend.”

And there it was... the quick dive into the depths of mystery and magic! I valiantly tried to hold on to a semblance of reality.

“Ummm, by fairy friend you mean a pretty little girl?”

“No, I mean a flying fairy, literally.”


“Now you’re starting to lose me. Can you give a bit of background before launching straight on into the ‘fairy’ tale, so to speak?”

“Well, I chanced upon Arya in the enchanted forest while she was sitting on a tree with a lantern, and enjoying a hearty laugh with someone. That’s when I found out about this friend.”


I was pretty convinced that this magical enchanted garden—where Arya and her dad seemed to be regulars at—had no particular coordinates in reality. I decided to dig a little deeper…

“So there’s where you met her friend?”

“I’m not sure…”

“Huh? You either met her friend or you didn’t. Where’s the ambiguity?”

“Oh, that’s because it’s a semi-invisible friend,” he replied with a perfectly straight face.

And steadfastly continued with the “reasonable” explanation, “She even showed me where to look, but naturally I couldn’t see much.”


“Naturally!?! Of all things in this universe, that’s what strikes you as natural, an invisible friend?”

“Actually, yes. You see, children see magic because they look for it.
We as adults have stopped looking. Naturally, we see less.”

I thought it better not to press the point. I was still intrigued by what discussion they had around the campfire.

“What else did you learn about this fairy friend?”

“Apparently she was one of Santa’s emissaries. The ol’ bearded fellow had sent across some more gifts post-Christmas… A magical shapeshifting lantern that glows of its own accord, and a red, round forever balloon that’s always trying to touch the sky.”

“Suspiciously weird gifts. And I’ve never heard of this post-Christmas gifting tradition!”

“That’s only for kids who are very good, you know.

And these are really mystical messages from the magic realms… reminding us to shine brightly and always fly high, no matter what.”

“I’m sure you have photographic evidence for all these claims, as always?”

“Of course, Arya prettily posed with the gifts from her new friend, and the fairy even zipped around in the air writing Happy New Year with golden dust!”


“So very convenient… Do you reckon we’ll ever get to meet this little lady?”

That was a strong enough hint for a long overdue invitation to the enchanted garden, but Arya’s dad had other ideas, and waxed lyrical…

“Simply follow the threads of your imagination… who knows what magic you will stumble across!”

Foiled again! Anyway, when you cannot beat them, join ’em.

“Well, why not? Here’s to more magic in 2018!”

And for some strange reason, even in her sleep, Arya rolled over and smiled.

 ❤ NiddledyNoddledy.com


Santa’s Secret, and a Christmas Story


Santa’s Secret, and a Christmas Story

Sometimes I don’t know what to believe.

“Arya told me a Christmas story,” began her dad.

“Really? I thought you were the storyteller in our family!” I countered, clearly not planning to believe a single word he was about to say.

“Yes,” he continued, ignoring my retort… “that evening while we were at the enchanted garden.”

Wait a minute. “What enchanted garden!?”

“Our private magical hideaway, of course,” he looked at me as if he couldn’t believe the IQ standards he had to deal with.

“Anyway, she whispered this story to me, about the time she met Santa.”

It was getting out of hand… fast.

“Look,” I replied with utmost restraint, “Santa lives at the North Pole. There’s no way she could have met him.”

“Oh, she met him at the mall.”

This was too much. “Aren’t you being patently ridiculous? Santa was gleefully prancing about at the mall and nobody saw him?”

“Of course not!” Arya’s dad seemed to be getting exasperated with my obtuseness.

“He was in disguise. In a snowman costume. With a crooked nose. The carrot is the clue. All children know it.”


I decided it was best to simply play along.

“Don’t you think the snowman suit would be a bit too tight for Santa, considering his considerable girth?”

“Oh, dear!” Wrong question, again. I could see he was trying his level best not to roll his eyes.

“The snowman with a crooked nose is just a portal. You twist the carrot, and if you’ve been a good kid, you’re whisked away straight to Santa's Grotto… in a red, button basket.”

“A red button WHAT!?” I could barely keep my wits together.

“Not a red button,” he calmly replied. “A red, button basket. The official mode of teleportation in Santa’s kingdom.”


“So,” I took a deep breath, “If I understood correctly so far… Arya travelled to the magical kingdom of Santa and his elves… in a red, riding basket. And then?”

“She met Santa. They had cake… and marshmallows… and hot chocolate. Santa gave her a couple of gifts right away, for being extra good!

Then he lightly kissed her on the forehead… and hey, presto! She was back at our enchanted garden!”


“And you have photographic proof for all of this?”

“Yes, of course. Santa can’t go anywhere without a bunch of paparazzi at his heels. It’s all there. Incontrovertible evidence.”

“You know, if you look closely, there does seem to be a continuity lapse…”

“Sheer nonsense! Stop imagining things, and let’s get Arya ready.”

“Ready, to go where?”

“To go to the North Pole Express Mail Post Office, obviously! Christmas is coming, and Santa needs a list of all the gifts for Arya.”

He leaned forward and whispered conspiratorially, “Why your mom asks such common sense questions I’ll never understand!”

Arya smiled and nodded happily.

She was super excited to post her first letter to Santa!



Baby Photography = Olympics Training + Meditation


Baby Photography = Olympics Training + Meditation

Photographer. Mother. Nurse. Gymnast. Doctor. Counselor. (and that’s just the beginning!)

A good baby photographer is not just a capturer of memories and an artist of expressions, but her role includes all of the above, and so much more!

Babies don’t care who you are, or what you plan to do. You turn up with your camera, photography gear, props, lights and the whole shebang… and they just turn up your nose at you and get busy in their own world. Throwing toys, running away, bawling their head off, playing with dirt, asking to be fed, going off to sleep, almost falling and causing mini heart attacks, and everything that can make your life difficult as a photographer. You almost wish you were a nature photographer… at least mountains and trees don’t run away, or make faces, and definitely don’t kick you. :)

In baby photography, one perfect shot can take hundreds of clicks, as kids are never still and you never know when you might miss the perfect moment. At one time I was clicking my daughter’s picture right after the Durga Puja bisarjan, and I wanted her to pose with her toy lion. Well, she of course had other ideas and simply refused to be in the same frame with the soft toy. Every time she would throw it away, run off or cry if it was brought near her. I kept trying, kept clicking, to no avail.

And then fortune smiled for just a moment, when my husband handed her the lion and she held it close for just a fraction of a second before flinging it away, and I clicked right then… lying on the floor to get the perfect expression from her level, tired and perspiring, and almost at the limit of my patience... but delighted to have got the perfect shot to wrap up my puja album.

With tiny babies, you are not just being super careful (as newborn photography has to be done within 10 days of birth), maintaining optimum room temperature, playing ambient heartbeat sounds to calm the tiny tot, and also training the new mother on baby handling basics that hospitals don't exactly prepare you for… at the same time you’re changing lenses, changing props, sometimes changing baby diapers, and in all that madness, capturing precious moments that will melt the mother’s heart and become magical memories to be treasured for a lifetime. 

On the journey of photographing babies, you learn humility, patience, lightning reflexes, keeping others calm when your plans go out the window… and not only do you bring your skills as a photography artist and editor, you come as a mother who knows exactly how to handle and take care of a baby, through smiles and poops, tears and laughter, through mellow sleep and manic madness.

Baby Photography is not a profession. It’s reveling in the adventure of life, and being in the present moment. It’s flowing with what is, and capturing moments that take your breath away. Being with babies teaches you what life is all about, and I wouldn’t exchange that for literally anything in the world!



No Adulting!


No Adulting!

Photographing my little cute "monsters" is a revelation. Children are veritable powerhouses of emotions, each lasting for less than a second. They laugh wholeheartedly, cry inconsolably, and switch from one emotion to another in the blink of an eye. Capturing all of that is both a challenge and a delight.
Then comes the task of making a pick: which one or ones should I give to the parents? Because as a mother I know they will treasure them all.
Until I started photographing these transitions I didn’t realize how much goes on in that little human being... how magical they are! Not just in terms of cuteness, but how they always live in the moment with no attachments, no judgements, no expectations, with nothing to hide. They just are BEING themselves, shining their light, making everyone happy around them.
Adults, starting with ME, are different. We love to linger, over-analyze things, dramatize life, and marinate in all sorts of things that bring you down. We get caught up in these nitty-gritties and forget that ‘it really is a Happy Day.’ It always is. We just need to stop adulting and move on... in the blink of an eye.
So, how many should I hand over? The adult in me rations, “Give only the very best.” The child in me says, “Hand me over to my Mommy, all of me.” I know that makes no sense. Then again, who am I kidding? Tomorrow when a mother is tired with a truckload of concerns preying on her mind, just by flipping through these pictures she may also see the light, as I see it today!

Moral of the story? No more adulting!


The first time that we said “Hello”


The first time that we said “Hello”

My world changed the day she was born. 

I was so happy when I first saw her. I knew what falling head over heels in love meant. What love at first sight meant. What unconditional love meant. 

When she was brought to me—all bundled up in a warm blanket—I thought I could never forget the moment. Never forget that tiny little face, the baby smell, the tiny hands… I took it all in. Old habits kicked in, and I took out my phone and took a picture. Thank god I did. Because now, a year later, when I try to think of that moment all I can remember is this picture, how she looks in it, and my eyes well up in tears… taking me back in time, filling up my senses with her smell, her touch, the first snuggle. 

I now realize I had created a powerful anchor, without even realizing its significance.

Children remain tiny for a very small time, and grow up with lightning speed. A year old now, she sits in her high chair next to me, and actually feeds me with her tiny fingers! When I return after a long day, she welcomes me back with a warm snuggle, takes my face in her palms and bites my nose. In the garden, she holds my hand and walks on the grass with faltering steps, and screams for Mamma the moment she realizes I’m out of her sight. 

Seems only yesterday that she would fit in my hand. 

Her face has changed a zillion times already. She is an ocean of expressions, and can go from tragedy to comedy in 10 seconds flat, firing a million expressions along the way. Such a difference a year can make!

Yes, I took it all in the first time that we said “Hello”. Like all mothers I thought I could never ever forget every tiny detail of that moment. But now when I look back and try to remember how she looked, what she did, all that comes to my mind are these beautiful pictures I clicked. How she looks in them, her face, her expressions, her fancy little poses. Everything else is lost. 

No, not the feeling. That always stays. 

So I am grateful that I took those pictures. A whole lot of them. And they take me back in time and let me relive the moments once again. These pictures have created an everlasting memory and this is ONLY the beginning as we step into Year 2.

I have my camera ready. 

Bring it on, my little angel.


Go slow… or Why Niddledy Noddledy was born

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Go slow… or Why Niddledy Noddledy was born

"Smile, breathe and go slowly."
~ Thich Nhat Hanh

The pace of modern life can be quite hectic, especially for working women. Technology-enabled, notification-driven, and always on the edge — teetering between the personal and professional, never quite achieving the balance.

I too was just rushing through life, never really doing just one thing at a time. I was always on the go, until a life was born in me… my daughter. And that is when I discovered “magic".

The magic of slowing down. Of sinking into the comfort of a sofa, of losing myself in a book, of standing under the shower, of enjoying the sweetness of milk, the punch of a fruit, of rain on my face, of wind in my hair, of pausing for breath, of looking in the mirror, of doing nothing.

It’s as if I have been given a second chance… to match her pace, to follow her faltering steps, to know this world a little better, to live this life one more time. To be delighted with little things, to laugh wholeheartedly, to live freely, to love unconditionally.

That is the magic of “experiencing” life. Not just going through it, or struggling at it. Children can really make you stop and take a long, hard look at what you’ve been missing in life, while you were rushing through.

I thank my daughter for giving me the opportunity to really “live” my life. I’m so glad for this second chance, and I had the strong desire to capture the magic of this experience while I was living—actually living—in the Now.

And that is why I created Niddledy Noddledy… to collect memories, not just things.

Come join me on this beautiful journey. Take a look, and let me know how I’m doing.

And while you’re at it… "Smile, breathe and go slowly.” :)

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