Saturday, June 30, 2018

Lilly learnings लिलाताईंची शिकवण.

My friend Shubhangi Joshi of Pandharpur  clearly has a green thumb , and a garden full of a huge variety of flowers, fruits  and vegetables.  She occasionally posts photographs of these. One such , was of the lilies, or Spider lilies as they are called by mean folks.

In today's world of heroes ad heroines, it is sometimes the underdog that one finds interesting.

The Lily. Or Lilatai, as I choose to call her.  Was one such.

And a poem happened. First in Marathi and then in English.  As below .

photo credit : Shubhangi Joshi

माहेरच्या हायमेनोकॅलीस स्पेकिओसा .
मूळचे लोक वेस्ट ईंडीझचे.
पण क्रिकेट च्या बरोबर भारतात प्रवेश.
 विशेष म्हणजे आज काहींचे पंढरपुरात वास्तव्य.

आयुष्याचे अनुभव दांडगे .
 जाई-जुई, मोगरा यांच्या सुवासिक जगात
निभाव लागणं तस कठीणच.
गुलछड्या तर त्यांच्या कडे अगदी बघतही नसत , आणि
गुलाबाचं तर विचारायलाही नको.

पण म्हणून लीलाताई नैराश्यात बुडाल्या नाहीत.
झेंडू-शेवंतीशी बर्यापैकी मैत्री ,
कधीतरी हारात दिसायच्या ,
आणि सजावटी करताना ,
कितीतरी लग्नाची व्यासपीठं लिलाताईंवरच
आवलंबून असायची.

 इतकं सगळं भरगच्च आयुष्य ,
पण त्या साधं सुध
 एखाद्या पावसाळी सकाळी
आपल्या लांब तलवारी सारख्या हिरव्या पानांशी
आपल्या तश्याच लांब शुभ्र पाकळ्यांना हाताशी घेऊन
छान इकडच्या तिकडचा गप्पा मारत.

लीलाताई हे सुंदर नाव असताना
काही अती पॉश लोक
त्यांना कोळ्याची लीला (स्पायडर लिली) म्हणत .
पण त्याचा यत्किंचितही परिणाम
 त्यांच्यावर झाला नाही.

(नावं ठेवणं ही आम्हा मानवांची स्पेशालिटी ).

आणि त्या भरगच्चं प्रमाणात
अनेक सकाळी उमलून
कोणाच्या तरी आयुष्यात आनंद देत गेल्या.

आपला समाज बघा .
आमक्यासारखा मोबाईल घ्यायला नकार दिला
म्हणून आत्महत्या ,
कोणीतरी काळं म्हणालं म्हणून नैराश्य;
परीक्षेत अपयश म्हणून स्वतःचा जीव घेणे ,
एखाद्या मुलीने नाकारलं
म्हणून तिला ऍसिड फेकून आयुष्याची शिक्षा देणे .

आलेल्या परिस्थितीला सामोरं जाणं
हल्लीच्या पिढीला जमत नाही.
स्वतःवरचा विश्वास उडालाय .
आजूबाजूच्या जगा कडून काही शिकणं तर सोडाच .

मग अशा वेळी लीलाताई आठवतात .
आणि त्यांच्या अनेक क्षणभंगुर आयुष्यात
त्या किती परिस्थितींना छान सामोरं जाऊन
कश्या धडे शिकवून गेल्या ते आठवतं .

 पण आपण हुशार मानव.
एका बिन वासाच्या , साध्या विचित्र आकाराच्या फुलाकडून शिकण्यात कमीपणा .
हीच आपली हुशारी.
Lilatai ,
born Hymenocalis Speciosa.
Originally from the West Indies,
but having hotfooted it
to India, with Cricket,
and now leading a quiet life
in Pandharpur.

Her amazing life experiences .
Completely lost
in the heady world of jasmines,
rubbished by tuberose types,
and the less said about roses, the better .

But Lilatai or Lily as she was then called,
never lost hope;
made friends with Marigolds and Chrysanthemums,
sometimes in garlands,
and almost always
in decorating the stage backgrounds during weddings...

She never lost touch with her origins,
and on a cool monsoon morning
could be seen
in avid fun conversations
with her spear like greens
and similar copycat petals.

Of course, there were some hi-fi folks
who called her the Spider Lily,
but it did not bother her.

Calling people names is a human speciality.

And so Lilatai would bloom profusely
and bring joy to many folks.

I mean, just look at our society.

Your parents refuse permission for a new fone,
kill yourself;
someone called you dark, go into a depression;
unsuccessful in exams, hang yourself;
some girl refused your advances,
throw acid on her face, maiming her for life.

The current generation
knows nothing about facing situations,
have lost confidence in themselves,
forget learning from others in life.

Remember Lilatai at such moments,
and how she faced various circumstances
in all too short a life,
time and again,
giving us lessons.

But we are the "smart humans".
We feel insulted
learning from an ordinary weirdly shaped flower.
That's how smart we are ....

Friday, May 18, 2018


My friend Arvind Khanna of New Delhi, recently posted this amazing capture of a Brahminy Kite in action. Perhaps this capture is from elsewhere in India, as he travels around.  I hesitate to even say this name of the bird , wondering if there will be protests. 

While I often see similarities in expressions between various birds and folks that wander with great political confidence in the capital,   this particular capture of a bird-in-flight reminded me of an inanimate object; greatly theoretically reverred, but otherwise abused and challenged again and again, for personal and party gain.

(Photograph posted here  with permission of  Arvind Khanna)

It's grown old (since 1950)
with the usual greying;
with eyes to ensure

that we follow rules,
and a huge set of wings
to encompass the सवासो कोटी ,
and protect them.

But it keeps getting assaulted,
and questioned,
by some who abhor it.
And so, now,
its wings showing a shredding
with multiparty split-ends,
it prefers to keep at the high ground,
watchfully gliding
and ruing
what life has become.

The Constitution.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Requiem for a fish.....

She has seen more of Mumbai on her bicycle trips in one year than I have seen in all my years in the city.  It has also allowed her to pursue her love for photography to a large extent.  This is all possible if you have a great group of people of various ages and professions  who ride together with you .

This was from a recent cycling trip to Madh Island.  And clicking that fish was important.  Blessed by the rising sun.   To remember , and give  him a farewell , biped style.  Someone else was clicking her while she clicked the fish.  The photo credit for that goes to Vipin Arumugam, a member of her cycling group.  Thank you.

I  get to see such photos much, much later.  And then a poem happens....

He has bravely fought
with the nets and the waves,
along with his compatriots
in the first Madh Island Fish War,
and lies fatigued
on the beach,
and close to the end
of a nautical life.

She abandons her bicycle
and rushes
to click a portrait.

And he is immortalized,
amidst a garland of
ocean mist.

RIP ....
as they say
in a biped world. 

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Politics and the Art of Making Ladoos

Making Ladoos is all about willing ingredients and enveloping fingers and palms , that give the ingredients, reams of confidence in staying together. 

Today, very clearly, the ingredients show no confidence, and tend to fall apart. 

Just look at what happened in the New Year. 

She used to make
great laadus.

A special ability to
choose individual ingredients
with an inclusive attitude in life;
Ingredients that understood a roasting,
and the subsequent benefits;
The amazing welcome,
at all times,
to slightly fancy types who were nuts,
but loved falling in;
the feeling of coming together
healing each others syrupy injuries
and hurts;
and sometimes ,
a finishing by a ghee
whose sole aim was to pack everyone together
so they would stay together.

ambition has destroyed some of the folks,
sometimes a natural growth,
sometimes nurtured by outside influences.
Roastings get them angry,
the Nuts are targeted for being hard to change,
and it gets harder and harder
to hold everyone together,
despite the sweet syrup,
whose intentions are always suspected.

More often than not,
they frequently fall apart,
get hurt,
and once again,
she endeavours to put them back together;
a militant lot,
that is now in a different Kadhai of Life.

She used to make
great laadus.

Not any more.

It gets more and more difficult.

The sad part is,
she ends up believing
that that is the new normal,
and carries on....
in her old age.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

एका ग्रॅनीची नवी गोष्ट .....

लहानपणापासून सफरचंद खात आले.  चवी माहित असायच्या , नावे नाही . मग मोठं झाल्यावर , अनेक देश पहिले, विवध प्रकारची सफरचंदे बाजारात दिसू लागली,  जाहिराती दिसू लागल्या , आणि ज्यांना आम्ही हिरवी सफरचंद म्हणायचो त्यांना ग्रॅनी स्मिथ  सफरचंद म्हणतात हे समजलं .

मी ज्या फेसबुक वरील "अंगत पंगत" ग्रुप ची सभासद आहे, तिथे अनेकांनी आजपर्यंत ह्या सफरचंदाच्या चटण्या, व लोणची प्रसिद्ध केली आणि फोटो टाकले . इडली डोसाबरोबर दिले आणि कोणालाही कळले नाही .

अजून मी बनवली नाही.  कारण फळ खायचीच खूप हौस आहे . पण ग्रॅनी स्मिथ बद्दल खूप आदर व कौतुक वाटलं .

आणि वर्षाच्या शेवटच्या दिवशी एका ग्रॅनी वर कविता झाली .

  ग्रॅनी म्हणायचे सर्व तिला ,
पण लक्षात राहायची तिची
आयुष्यातील आंबट गोड अनुभवातून

निरंतर कौतुकपात्र हिरवी तरुणाई .

काही रवाळ , लालबुंद ,
विविध आकाराचे नातेवाईक ,
आपापसात घोळक्यात कुजबुजत ;
मोठ्यामोठ्या देशांची नावे लावत
घरोघरी करंड्यात ;
काहींना आतून कोरून, लोणी साखर घालून
ओव्हन मध्ये राहून आलेले तेज ,
काहींना चक्क चुरा करून साखरेत पेरलेले ,
आणि अश्रू पात झाला कि सॉसा सॉसाने बाटलीत ;
काही पिळून , त्यांचा रस काढून ,
त्यांच्या सालांपासून दूर ...

पण ग्रॅनी आपल्या वया प्रमाणे वागते.

लहानपणी कोणाकोणाच्या ब्राऊन पेपर पिशवीतून
शाळा कॉलेजात ;
शेजारी एखादे भारदस्त सँडविच .
कधी टी. व्ही . बघता बघता आपणहून,
तुकडे न होता हातात आत्मसमर्पण ;
कधी तरी शूर वीरासारखे , हॉस्पिटलमध्ये,
एखाद्या प्लेटमधून तिच्या फोडिंनी
डॉक्टरकडे टाकलेला विजयी कटाक्ष ...

पण शेवटी ,
जगावे परी लोणचे रुपी उरावे
हे लक्षात घेऊन
आपले असंख्य तुकडे करून,
लोणचे मसाल्यात , लिंबू रसात , तेलात ,
ठरवून घालवलेला वानप्रस्थाश्रम,
आणि पोळ्या, भाकर्या ब्रेड लोकांचे
मिळालेले आशीर्वाद .

आपल्याकडे सद्ध्या "ग्रीन " च खूप कौतुक करतात ,
नियम करतात , लेक्चर देतात.

पण ग्रॅनी जन्मतःच सर्व शिकून आली ,
आणि तिला कोणी कुठेही बोलवत नाही ...

ती करून दाखवते. बोलत नाही .

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Saving us ?

We are a population that swings between two extremes.  In size, in availability of stuff, and what money can buy.  On one side there is the mobile cycle idliwala, wadapaowallas, and homebased poha-sabudana khichadi morning vendors who sell outside railway platforms.

On the otherside there are those who flaunt and disobey every rule in every book, to reap maximum profits from selling food to those who shell out an equivalent of your months rent, for a ordinary dish presented under false pretences and a fancy name. This is done under a facade of modernity, flouting every law and rule . Most of the time when someone in power benevolently looks the other way .

The middle class types, gingerly holding on to their non nonsense thinking , mind their salaries, their childrens' futures, read about all this, wonder whats going on, and what direction it is going in. 

Sometimes they agonize over their child perhaps being attracted by it all.   

The aimless wandering tiger
reached a peak
and then,
with minimum thought
and maximum excitement
like they show in cartoons,
jumped across a deep valley,
to a peak of another mountain.

He learned
behaviours at the peak,
how to look down,
and got acclimatized to places
unsuitable for tigers,
what with the missing streams,
no dense bushes camouflaging his desires,
and changing mores at the top.

Instead of crossing over in the valley,
observing darting deer,
occasionally chasing one,
checking on elephants on the other riverbank
celebrating baths
as he took careful sips on his side.
Then a learning curve
as he trudged up the mountain,
stopping, imbibing, making mistakes,
correcting them,
respecting his environment,
sometimes being the animal he was,
judging other animals
including even bipeds, sometimes.

Today, we are the jumpers,
confused in values and abilities,
and only dedicated to being at the top
in language, abuse, money and quicktime,
with completely lost values.
Some of us are on the incline,
in the woods,
not yet out of them,
but getting there
with RFID's of slog
and qualifications of learnings
around our necks.

It isnt us,
but those who jumped,
that need to be "saved";
remember ?

A generation, that went too fast.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

श्रीखंडाचे मानसशास्त्र ​ ...

पुरीचा अथवा पोळीचा तुकडा श्रीखंडात बुडवून खाणे या सारखे दुसरे सुख नसावे .

पण ....

श्रीखंड बनवण्यासाठी काय काय करावं लागतं , ह्या मागे काहीतरी मानसशास्त्र आहे .  तुम्ही दही असलात तर तुम्हाला ते कळेल .  त्यात आपल्यालाही काहीतरी शिकण्यासारखं  आहे .

तुम्ही म्हणाल श्रीखंडा सारखा सुन्दर पदार्थाचा आस्वाद घेताना हे मानस शास्त्र कुठून आलं ?   काही लोकांना काही कारणास्तव मनोसक्त श्रीखंड खाण वर्ज्य असतं. 

त्यांच्या ह्या कविता लिहिण्यामागे सुद्धा एक मानसशास्त्र असतं   :-)

एका कोमट दुधात
हळूच केलेला चमचा-दोन चमचा शिरकाव ,
पटकन एकजिव होऊन झाकणाखाली लपणे ,
आणि रात्रभर आपले उपदव्याप करून
"मी काहीच केले नाही , मला का विचारता ?"
म्हणत घट्ट दह्याखाली मजेत बसणे .

पण नियती लक्षात ठेवते .

कधीतरी ह्या दह्याला ,
कोशिंबिरी, वडे , इत्यादींमध्ये न घालता
एका पंचात , नाहीतर उशीच्या अभ्र्यात गच्चं बांधून
चक्क टांगलं जातं ,
आणि रात्रभर , आपल्या पूर्व कर्माची फळं भोगत
दह्यातलं सर्व पाणी रागवून निघून जातं ;
कधी कधी एखादा पाटा पण ह्या बांधलेला दह्यावर ठेवला जातो,
जेणेकरून दह्याच्या अश्रूंचा लवलेशही नाहीसा व्हावा .
आणि ह्याला चक्क चक्का म्हणतात ...

प्रत्येकाचे कधीतरी चांगले दिवस येतात ,
त्या प्रमाणे चक्क्यात केशर, इलायची , साखर, पिस्ते
घालून पदार्थ बनतो
आणि खूप कौतुकाचा होतो.

एव्हडं मात्र खरं .
आपण दुसर्यावर केलेले वार, पुढे आयुष्यात आपल्यावर होतात
हे दही समजून चुकतं .

आणि तरीही हे प्रकार अखंड अविरत चालू असतात .
आपल्या आणि दह्याच्या आयुष्यात .....

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

"Survival " of whom ?

Just came across some information on how caviar is made.

As a pucca vegetarian , I had been aware of stuff like caviar being treated as some ultimate thing, but was disgusted to find out how it is made.

Caviar is nothing but the eggs of the Roe fish. It is not as if the Roe lays its eggs somewhere and someone goes for a search and harvests them.  They actually catch these fish, stun them, anesthesize them, do sonographies, and then make incisions in their bodies to extract the eggs.

These are then processed with the addition of salt et al, and packaged to folks who think nothing of paying through their nose to eat them.

This is Darwin's theory of survival of the fittest , in its worst manifestation.   On the other hand, as humans we are not otherwise blameless.  We perform the same on other female humans .


Darwinian excesses.

Kidnapping the Roe.

Stunning it , doing sonographies,
making incisions,
and removing the ovaries,
to process them with salt et al,
so carnivores may flaunt their
exclusive food habits.

Why blame humans.

They not only do this,
making incisions, songraphies,
but kill fertilised eggs
when they are declared female.

Again and again.

That is not Darwinian ,
but grossly patriarchal.

Somewhere , sometimes,
the feeling remains,
survival of the fittest
will not hold true for the future.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

आंतरराष्ट्रीय पोळपाट लाटणे ("the best PolpaT-LaatNe in the universe "-D.J Trump)

माझी फेसबुक वरील , मला कधी  न भेटलेली मैत्रीण , विशाखा पर्वते .   अमेरिकेत राहते .  आम्ही दोघी अंगत पंगत ह्या फेसबुक वरील ग्रुप च्या सभासद आहोत .

विशाखाने नुकतेच  एका  पोळपाट लाटण्याचा फोटो पोस्ट केला .   तुम्ही म्हणाल, "त्यात काय मोठं ?"  मोठं हे, की कॅलिफोर्नियातील रेडवूड  लाकडापासून हे पोळपाट ,  अमेरिकन  ,  IT मध्ये काम करणाऱ्या त्यांच्या मित्राने स्वतःच्या हाताने बनवले, आणि त्यांना भेट दिले.

तुम्ही म्हणाल , लाटण्याचे काय ? तर लाटणे , हे तर विशाखाच्या  कोकणातल्या पणजोबानी  फणसाच्या लाकडापासून आपल्या सौभाग्यवतींसाठी बनवले.  पिढीजात लाटणे.

असे हे पोळपाट-लाटणे वापरून पोळ्या /फुलके इत्यादी करणे म्हणजे आंतरराष्ट्रीय सहकाराचे चालते -बोलते-लाटते उदाहरण .  शतकापूर्वीच्या लाकडाचे पोळपाट , आणि शतकापूर्वीचे लाटणे .

मी फेसबुकवर आल्यापासून माझे DP , म्हणजे "उडणारी लाटणेवाली बाई"  कधीही बदलले नाही. आता मी ह्यावर कविता नाही करायची तर कोणी ?

फोटो सौजन्य : विशाखा पर्वते
  उत्तुंग रेडवूडचे रान,
अनेक शतके वसुंधरेने सांभाळलेले वृक्ष,
आणि वय झाल्यामुळे कधीतरी

एखाद्या वृक्षाची मालवलेली प्राणज्योत.

वसुंधरेंच्याच कुशीवरचे ते अचेतन लाकूड ,
कुणा एका आयटीवाल्याने
आपल्या कुशलतेने
मशीनवर ,रांधून, घासून, टोके मारून ,
गोल कापून , आणि कडा
गुळगुळीत करून
​बनवलेला पोळपाट,
आपल्या न दिसणार्या जखमा सहन करत
स्वयंपाकघरात ओट्यावर विचाराधीन आणि काळजीत .

ओट्याच्या खाली कप्य्यात अचानक ऐकू आलेली खडखड ,
विशाखाताईंनी कप्पा उघडून शोधलेले
गडबडीने कारण ,
एका ​अदृश्य प्रेरणेने बाहेर आलेले
एक लाटणं .

शतक लोटले ,
तरी एक लाकूडच दुसर्या लाकडाचे मन
समजू शकतं .
कोकणातली वाडी ,
तिथल्या आमराई , सुपारी आणि फणसाच्या बागा
आणि खूप पूर्वी अश्याच एका फणसाने
स्वतःची रजोनिवृत्ती समजताच
कामासाठी दिलेलं आपलं लाकूड .
कुणा एका हौशी पणजोबांनी
कौतुकाने पणजीबाईंसाठी बनवलेले
सुंदर लाटणे.

पोळपाट आणि लाटणे भेटणे ,
लाटण्यानें हळुवार पोळपाटावर फिरणे ,
जणू काही अदृश्य जखमांवर
सहानुभूतीचे मलम लावणे.

पोळपाट नव्या उमेदीने तयार ,
आणि एक दिवशी
फुलका लाटता लाटता
कुठंतरी विशाखाला कोणीतरी
पाठीवर कौतुकाची थाप मारल्याचा भास होणे.

फुलका लाटला ,
तव्यावर पडला , आत्मविश्वासाने फुलला .

दूर कुठेतरी एक कोकणातले पणजोबा ,
रेडवूड रानातील एका रेडवूडजोबांच्या
खांद्यावर अदृश्य हात ठेऊन म्हणाले ,
"Wonderful, isn't it !"
आणि रेडवूड आणखीनच ताठ मानेने उभा राहिला,
आणि म्हणाला ,
"आपल्यासारखं , न भांडता , एकत्र काम करायला
सर्व शिकले ,
तर हे जग किती सुंदर होईल , ना ?".....

The Final Cry ....

My cousin Dr Madhuri Gore recently posted this photograph of  what she called the "ultimate remains of a tree"  spotted by her on the Elephant Beach, Havelock Island, The Andamans.

So many of the islands that make up the Andaman Islands,  are full of old ruins of the various activities,  punitive and otherwise , carried out by the British, against Indians fighting for Independence;  like an island (Neil?),  where so called "enemies of state were hung" ,  and the famous Cellular Jail in  Port Blair , where one may still see the torture methods used on prisoners.

It must have been interesting being a tree on one of these islands.  A life longevity akin to those who have lived a simple, disciplined life in consonance with Nature, and then a message to those of us left behind. 

What a life.

Witness to war,
Swarming British, perhaps a few
Japanese across the islands,
punishing Indians
fighting for Independence,
then seeing jails built.

What a life.

The presence since then
of the Indian Navy
and tons of mainland folks
crowding to enjoy the beaches
and history.

And again,
what a Life 

what a Death.

Like the Jarawas*
decimated in their own land,
now only 423,
she lies on the beach,
one more tree ,
greenless, motionless,
shaken to her roots
by not just the earthquake
and tsunamis,
holding out her hands to the Sky,
"what have we become? ,
a insensitive, violent, thoughtless people?"
before destructing to pieces
and flowing into the Deep...

What a Death.

*Jarawas : Native adivasis / indegenous people from the Andamans,  who have inhabited these islands before anyone from the modern  colonising world  landed up there. Excessive thoughtless interference and interaction by the outside world threatens the health of these tribes.