Thursday, June 30, 2011

Spiralling up in the mind ....

Today is Thursday .

Some blogger friends who do photoblogs , participate in something called Thursday Challenge, where photos satisfying a particular theme are put up, on Thursdays.

This time , my blogger friend Magiceye, has put up this picture, of one of the old buildinga in Ballard Estate, which is like the old downtown business district of Mumbai, harking back to the British days.

The Thursday theme this time was "CURVED (Bent, Rippled, Coiled, Spiraling, Twisted,...) " !

The spiral staircase in the picture gave me some ideas :-)

tough old fogeys;

The stonehearted,
well established
of corporate life;

And the
Gulmohur of the ages
the old brickless days,
and still
quietly endeavouring
to spread
her branches wide,
sometimes preening
amidst the orange blooms.

that double helix
of a staircase,
twirls upward in delight,
around the
stout central pillar,
which side
of the family
it got its DNA from....

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Piping the Praises

Some folks have an amazing "eye". Like a blogger friend Magiceye.

He posted this picture as a part of his contribution to the ABC-Wednesday, this time for the letter X, something he notices in the natural setting of all the incense sticks and the unusual metal structure.

This is something he photographed atop Gilbert Hill in Andheri. Lighting and offering incense sticks is a common form of simple worship by casual visitors to temples here.

Of course, for those who do not trudge up and down hills frequently, this visual suggests something else too....

(Gilbert Hill is a 200 foot (90 m) monolith column of black basalt rock in Andheri (West), Mumbai.The rock has a sheer vertical face and was created when molten lava was squeezed out of the earth’s clefts during the Mesozoic Era about 65 million years ago.

According to experts, this rare geological phenomenon was the remnants of a ridge and had clusters of vertical columns in nearby Jogeshwari which were quarried off two decades ago. These vertical columns are similar to the Devil’s Tower in Wyoming, and the Devil’s Post Pile National Monument in eastern California, USA.

Atop the rock column, two Hindu temples, the Gaodevi and Durgamata temples, set in a small garden, are accessed by a steep staircase carved into the rock. )

(photo by Deepak Amembal)

Multilimbed Gods,
kitted out
with shells, lotuses,
rotating death wheels ,
and maces,
spears in hand,
feet pressed
on the
Neck of Evil;

And simple
technical Gods,
standing in
a worship zone,
piping their praises
to the heavens
in the orange zone,
incense-full hands
some straight,
some leaning,
some falling across others,
but all of them
held up somehow
a simple
praise of the Lord....

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Blooming

"Bramhakamal" the flower named after Bramha, the God of creation, (or or Saussurea Obvallata , if you insist on its boring botanical name) blooms for only one night in the year, during the monsoon season here. The bloom lasts just for a few hours. If one observes closely, the buds look like they originate from the leaves of the plant. The central white stamen is believed to represent Lord Krishna, and the reddish brown stalks surrounding the closed bud are supposed to represent the 100 Kauravas of the Mahabharata.

A few scientific spoilsports claim this is NOT the Bramhakamal that has Himalayan roots, but actually a Night blooming Cereus with a terrible botanical name of Epiphyllum oxypetalum. Never mind.

But those that plant it, nurture it, worship it and marvel at its magic, still believe in the connection to Bramha.

The magic of the Bramhakamal , is not just in its blooming, but in its fragrance, and the sense of wonder it invokes in little girls.

As one little girl did, last night , as Sunday June 26, became Monday June 27 !

(Once again, the original happened in my mother tongue, Marathi. And English effort follows for my non-marathi friends)

(photograph by Sameer S Sahasrabuddhe,
the plant from the garden of Mrs C Vijayalakshmi)

काही कमळे,
आतल्या आत गुप्तपणे
योजना ठरवून
आधी खूप हिरवा लवाजमा पाठवून
अचानक एका मध्यरात्री
पडद्याआडून अचानक येणार्या
सौंदर्यवती सारखे अवतरतात ...
काही कमळे,
रोजच इतर फुलांच्या घोळक्यात
नाचत , सुरात झोकून
कानात गुपित सांगत
हसत खेळत ,
आपल्या जन्मादात्त्यांच्या मांडीवर
डोकं ठेउन
गमती जम्तीन्च्या गप्पा करत ,
लहान सहान गोष्टींनी भाराउन जाउन ,
मुक्त हस्ताने आपला आनद उधळतात ......

with a sense of
occasion, mystery
and exclusivity,
and amidst
longish tough greens
keeping the secret
simply make
a grand appearance
in pristine ,
fragrant glory,
like an exclusive
diva queen,
making grand entry
on stage,
eagerly anticipated
by us ordinary folks.

And some,
in the
friendship of
other flowers,
in life's wonderful garden,
singing, dancing,
sharing secrets
amidst giggles and smiles;
Snuggling with
their parents,
excitedly spouting
nineteen to the dozen,
freely fling around,
their own joy.

It's contagious !

Dying thoughts...

Another wonderful photo from the files of young Adityavardhan Paranjape, who is back from the Tadoba Wild Life Tiger Reserve with some great photos.

I thought this dumbstruck wild Sambhaar was trying to say something, with that very thoughtful amazed look.

(photo by Adityavardhan Paranjape)
Flitting around
racing with my folks,
I am amazed
at times
to see these bipeds,
riding around in
four wheels,
pointing at us,
small clouds of dust
kicked up
by a clumsy act on four wheels.

the striped one appears,
through the misleading camouflage;
with a grip
around my neck
and a roar.

They ,
the powerless bipeds,
dont move,
as I take a last look
terminal eyes
weakened by
a spurting carotid.

They stare,
look dazed,
and move away.

Another day
in my life,
at death,
in what they call,
a sanctuary.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Bare, tough, and powerful . Unfortunately.

This photo of what he calls "eagles of tomorrow" is by young Adityavardhan Paranjape, who is in Junior College (12th grade). I have known him since he was born :-)

He frequently accompanies his father Prasad Paranjape , on photography trips to various Wild Life Sanctuaries across India. You can see some more of Aditya's photographs here.

I often think, all these inadvertently clicked photos have something to tell us.

My take.:

(photo by Adityavardhan Paranjape)
Some are conspicuously
firmly spreading
the available space,
their weight around.

And some
are the
mass of twigs,
haphazard but together,
helping balance
each other,
across crossings
in their
unpredictable lives.

You would think
this would be
a home
for some
peace loving,
simple minded,
public singing birds.

But no.
No peaceful green,
No pliable green branches
No innocent flowers.
And no fruits
of truthful labor.

Today's' world
is such,
that only
the predator birds
stand threateningly
at all life's junctions,
powered by the
might tree....

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Fair and Lovely in Mumbai

A usual sight in Mumbai, crows hanging out , contemplating on the wasteful tendencies if the human race.

MagicEye posted this photo in his Camera Critters series, on his blog .

Something unusual about this contemplative crow.

Then , since I watch on TV, some of the same things that this crow does , :-) , I found out.

(photograph by MagicEye)
Years and years
between houses,
on balconies
and glaring
at the smart lady applying stuff.

Years and years
hanging out
on telephone poles,
into living rooms
and watching
on afternoon TV soaps....

He tried.
He really tried,
crushing open the tube,
with his claws
and rubbing
his neck in it....

And now,
he ponders,
over why he believed
that "Fair and Lovely"
was an answer.

Time to go
at the Unilever building......

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The eternal walk....

My blogger friend Harekrishnaji, was actually thinking of something else when he spied this visual , possibly on the outskirts of Pune. As he mentions in his blogpost, he had visions of the most immortal couple in Hindi Movies /Bollywood (Raj kapoor and Nargis) and their popular song in the rains.

But there are always folks who think differently and spoil the party . By looking at it with a completely different set of spectacles....

(The poem happened first in Marathi. The English effort follows....)

(photo by harekrishnaji)
पायाखाली रखरखीत जमीन ,
काहीतरी उगवल्याचा भास देणारे गवत,
आणि आई पृथ्वी,
निळ्या आभाळाच्या छत्राखाली
थोडा गारवा अनुभवत
संथ पायपीट करते ....
घरातला मिळवता सूर्य
तिला त्याच्या मागे मागे
आणि भोवताली फिरवतो ;
आयुष्ताले ऋतू बदलतात ,
कधी तो तळपतो ,
की कोणाला ग्रहण लागतं,
कधी तो तिचे श्रम ओळखून
ढगामागे तोंड लपवतो ....
पण ती
चालतच राहते, ती चालतच राहते ......

She traverses
the sparse,
barely green,
tough and arid
Mother Earth,
a divine blue
sky umbrella.

The "earning" Son
makes her follow him
even around him.

Seasons of Life change,
burning hot,
with eclipsed wishes,
and sometimes,
he realizes the
value of her
unending efforts,
and bashfully hides
behind a cloud....

But Ma Earth,
she keeps on moving,
moving, moving,
in her space....

Monday, June 13, 2011

And His Face cracked......

A thousand year old(and more) Yadava dynasty temple on the outskirts of Pune, and my blogger friend Harekrishnaji reached there on one of his recent wanderings. See more pictures and closeups here, in his blogpost.

And for some reason, I am not terribly surprised by the expression on the Face of the One, standing tall at the site.....

(photo by Harekrishnaji)
Great family foundations,
imposing visual heights,
as the
proud architecture
reaches skywards,
blinded with
high aspirations
higher rewards...

to the
perfect joining,
at difficult angles
in life,
by hardy masons,
trellis artists,
and sculptors,
trying to grow
flowers and gardens
in stone,
fit for Gods.
has been,
only for those up there,
balanced on the
daily toils,
of the
those everyday people.

The Sculptured God
and standing
at an angle,
tried to shake his head
in anger and sorrow;
and His face,
in great despair,

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Bells of Life

My blogger friend Harekrishnaji, loves to travel on the small roads in Maharashtra, and finds places unknown to others. He spied this ancient bell at an old ( 1000 years) Shiva temple that he visited recently; and the other photographs are here.

It just rang a bell somewhere in my old mind.... a Marathi verse resulted. The English version follows.

(photo by Harekrishnaji)
आयुष्याच्या कितीतरी
डोंगर माथ्यांवर
मनाच्या देवळात घंटा वाजतात .....
"अरे, जरा जपून "... ची घंटा ,
"दहा अंक मोज रे , मग बोल " ची घंटा,
"खोटं बोलू नकोस "....ची घंटा ,
मग कधी कधी
हर्षभराने वाजवलेली घंटा,
यशाने हुरळून जाउन वाजवलेली घंटा ,
देवाला आळवून पाणावलेल्या डोळ्यांनी वाजवलेली घंटा ....
एखाद्या पावसाळ्यातील ढगाळलेल्या
संध्याकाळी ,
दुखरे गुढगे सांभाळत
खरे डोंगर चढून ,
नातवाला उंच करून
"जय बाप्पा "
म्हणून वाजवलेली खरी घंटा ...
आणि गाभार्यातला तो म्हणतो ,
"आयुष्य हे असा असतं...."

The bell chimes
so many times,
filling our minds,
high up,
in the
of our life.

It chimes to say
"Take care...",
Then again,
to ask you,
to count till 10,
before blowing your cool;
Then a warning chime,
"Please Don't lie...";

And then
it chimes
with the sounds of Joy,
the flush of success
with a tinge of
hope and sadness.....

Many moons later,
on a cloudy monsoon evening,
as you trudge
up the hill,
to the temple,
on sqeaky arthritic knees,
and lift your grandkid
ring the
real bell,
joining him
in celebrating
praising the Big One,
He peers at you
from the inner sanctum,
nods, winks,
and says,
"That's Life for you !...."

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Ponds,trees, and messages

Folks with run-of-the-mill-normal-eyes would possibly pass by this scene. My friend Sylvia doesn't.

She sees a message in all this and posts it in her Weekend Reflections on her wonderful photoblog .

Sometimes, I end up seeing a message too....

(photo by Sylvia Kirkwood)
It takes all kinds,
and all shapes;
and to coexist,
you can't just
on yourself.

Mangrovy ones,
with the worries
of age,
spread thin
across the middle...

Sparse Bamboo style,
thin branches
finding their way
pointy leaves

lushly foliated,
mango and jamun,
in anticipation
of new fruit,
from a bit of
safe distance

And some really
long ,
young blades,
rabble rousing
pushing each other
into the water.....

They enjoy together,
unable to
on themselves,
they can only see each other
when they look into the water....

Monday, June 6, 2011

Real world advice for a "perfect " tree

Haven't you met many trees like this ?

in a landscaped life
in a ready made soil,
rich in
the requirements
of living,
growing tall
in the eyes of the world
needs no
sense or effort;
just ego.

Its when
you stick your neck out
to entangle your branches
with another tree,
that you realize,
facing storms is easier
that way sometimes,
as much as you don't
like the color of
the other’s leaves,
and the
shape of the trunk.

Growing tall
is all about
each other
and not
looking down on someone….

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Paths of Bandhavgad....

A friend , Prasad Paranjape, travels into many National Parks frequently, and does some wonderful photography. You can see some of it here. This was a jungle path in the Bandhavgarh National Forest Park. Usually frequented by tigers.....

Without the tigers, and resplendent in the green, it sends a message....

(The original poem was written in Marathi, (my mother tongue). The English version follows, possibly, with a slight loss of flavor.

(photograph by Prasad Paranjape)
आयुष्यात प्रत्येकांनी
आपली आपली वाट
शोधायची असते.
आरण्य खूप अवघड दिसतं,
अनेकदा फिरून फिरून
गर्द झाडीतून वाट काढत
आपण होतो तिथेच
परत पोचतो ...
पण कधी कधी
आजू बाजूला
ताठ कण्याची
पद्धतशीरपणे आयुष्य
सरळ मनाची ,
भारदस्त मंडळी
रात्रीच्या अंधारातल्या दिव्या सारखी
स्वतःला जाळत उभी असतात
आणि अचानक
आपल्याला रस्ता दिसतो .....

Each one
must seek one,
special path of their own
in life.....

The woods are often
so dense,
that one wanders
with great
effort and hope,
only to reach
where one started.

But, sometimes,
one looks around,
and sees
the old,
standing up
in the green
lining and showing
a path,
lighting it up
pointing the way,
and you
see the light!

Trees, Humans, and the obsession with color

Our lives are sometimes complicated due to preponderance of color . And sometimes trees explain it better.

If we only listened.....

(image courtesy Google)
Much later
along the
Road of Life,
they stopped
at the Big Tree,
admired the Land,
and the expanse of green
in approval
at it all.

Spying the
younger one
in her own
different green
further ahead,
they stopped,
and asked
the Big one ,
"Does that land belong to you too ?"

And the Big tree
shook her head
in disgust
and despair
and said,
"the same land,
the same water,
the same Sun
the same benevolence
of Nature,
just because the little one
is a darker green,
how does it matter whose land it is ?

Or are you one of those
who is
always looking
for grass that is greener...?"

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Secret looks and monsoon messages

Late May and early June, in God's Own Country, Kerala, and my blogger friend Shail Mohan, has posted this wonderful photo from one of beaches, or at least close to one.

The Coconut tree is called Kalpavruksha, because every part of it is dedicated to being of use to us.

Sometimes coconut trees also have minds and wishes.

Honestly, this reminded me of eyelashes (without mascara). Who needs mascara when you have the monsoon winds ...

(photo by Shail Mohan)

Tall and stately,
at the beach,
straightens up,
shrugging off
all that teasing
by folks
playing the fool
on the beach
asking for coconuts.

Raises her face,
through her
green eyelashes,
the heavily laden clouds,
to give it all up,
down to earth,
in a torrent ....

Message from the seagulls....

I see around me so many instances, of folks occupying something they are not meant to. Happens all the time. Particularly amongst the power types.

And then there are folks like my friend Sylvia, who go out on a trip to the waterfront and enjoy a lunch, on a drab and grey Seattle day; and click photos of seagulls doing something similar.

Nature has so many messages for us. If we only had time to listen ....

(photo by Sylvia Kirkwood)
Places bordering water ,
some bordering land,
Chain link fences :
that peacefully
sail through life,
the company
of sometimes similar folks,
and those that
and cause trouble
in places
they shouldn't
be found in...

The bird of peace,
flew in
to urge the other
to vacate
the chair;
you didn't occupy
something meant for others....

The erring bird
turned right,
and took off.

Unlike, some,
who trespassed ,
stayed put,
presumably hidden,
were warned,

and were finally shot away.