Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Advanced flight techniques...

Mahim Nature park in Mumbai is a great favourite of butterflies. And also of blogger friend Magiceye.

He posts one of his captures titled " A butterfly waiting for take off", as part of his Fotothing series here . You can also click on thumbnails of other captures there.

And then you start wondering about the amazing (butterfly) traffic controller (ATC) Up There....

(photo by Deepak Amembal Magiceye)
She rests,
wings close by her side;
having had
her fill of nectar;
and resolves to
look elsewhere
for more.

Wings out,
antennae active and up,
lights flashing on the wings,
she rises on her legs,
for a vertical takeoff.

ATC to Leafvein:
"Runway Green;
Bfly001 cleared for takeoff,
Over !"

But this Mumbai airport
is always a pain.
Those noisy ones,
with angular taxi-ing takeoffs
keep cribbing
about dogs wandering
in their paths;
and now
here's this yellow stuff
right in front ....

Leafvein to ATC:
"Dangerous yellow
Suspect Minister butterfly ,
Changing to lower runway.

And she takes off,
to cruise around
once again
on another green,
in another bush........

Pompanical Musings....

Blogger friend Magiceye posted this amazing picture of black pomphrets, coming off a fishing boat at the beach in Harne, in the Kokan region of Maharashtra. This is part of his Kokan photostream. You may check out all his other Kokan photos here.

A random trip on Google indicates that black pomphret preparations are greatly enjoyed. They are also known as Pompanos , possibly in places that eat with forks and spoons, (as opposed to licking fingers, ie)......

(If you suspect that I am a pure vegetarian, you are right :-)

Early dawn
on the sailboat,
and they sit
after dragging
the heavy nets on board,
the raceless
colorless night sea.

Sorting through,
on their haunches,
to finish before
they come ashore,
the whites and blacks
go to
different bins.

There is a surprised smile
on the lifeless black faces,
they have heard
differently ,
about this land.

Black Pomfrets;
Clutched, cut, and packed
into a plastic bag
they go
for their last spicy rites.

And they ,
the Pompanos,in their blackness
it was all about
being Lovely."

It is.
Only when all you do is look.
Not eat.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Secret of the Red Beacon

Blogger friend Magiceye, often seems to see things we do not. He posted this in the series entitled 365 Project.

Possibly clicked on the coast of Mumbai, frequented by fishing trawlers, that probably explain the crow(s) showing an interest (in anticipation of something to chew) .

I guess all crows are not like the politicians, who hanker after the Lal Batti (Red Beacon indicating "Important Government Person") on their cars.

Some also know its a place to sit and look into the future..

(photo by Deepak Amembal Magiceye)
Cawing across this city
I've often wondered
about the glamour
of the Lal batti
atop vehicles.

I guess
to some
it's all about
looking into the future
using whatever available
for the people
of a boat called India.

And to some,
my own contemporaries,
its about
grabbing something
to "eat"
in a high position,

The Greening

Blogger friend Magiceye posted this in the Saturday Photohunt series.

Blooms captured at the Mahim Nature Park in Mumbai. A park which was developed on what was previously a garbage dumping ground for the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai.

Methinks ,our society is somewhere reflected in the demeanor of the leaves......

(photo by Deepak Amembal Magiceye)
An exciting,
blooming childhood,
standing up
to everything,
holding secrets close,
and rejoicing
in the opening up....

The apathetic mid-age,
been there, done that,
so what's new....
a boring routine,
all dressed up in red
and nowhere to go...

And then
one day,
a peaceful transition
across the hill,
into a senior life,
rich with green,
satisfying memories,
you hold them
all ,
red and green,
and say,
"How green was my valley .....!"

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Designer Teas.....

Blogger friend Braja posting this as part of the Thursday Challenge series (subject : blue). A platform tea stall at a wayside railway station Krish(na)nagar, in West Bengal, or should I now say Poschim Bonga....

As she says :

"Beyond rustic simplicity...the stove top smeared with cow-dung for purity; a hole in the top holding hot coals; a pot that you'd only find in an antique store in the western countries; the smell of freshly brewed chai, served in tiny clay cups, complete with creamy milk and the perfect amount of sugar. Cost, 1 rupee. Experience, priceless..."

(photograph by Braja Sorenson)
....and sitting
on your haunches,
crinkled eyes,
a bit of
into the tea
into your moustache;
the ginger
as you have
your daily
worldless conversation,
lifelong friend,
who helps you row
your boat across,
day after day......

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Mind and Body

Blogger friend Magiceye titled this visual "Bulls at peace", when he posted it . This is possibly a close up of the bulls taken at Harne Beach in the Kokan coast of Maharashtra, where the days catch is auctioned/sold/bought and possibly the crates lugged away for retailing at some market, by bullock cart, some distance away.

There is an intriguing expression on the animals' face.

Something that says, this is my lot, mine is not to question why and crib, but to do my job sincerely and without thinking of reward, and with a minimum of excitement.

I cant help feeling, that as much as the animal shames us in the way it follows the philosophy outlined in the Bhagwad Gita ie ("do your duty(work) to the best of your ability, without thinking of the fruits of your labour. ") , there must be a fleeting thought of something else passing through its bovine but possibly exalted mind ....

(photo by Deepak Amembal Magiceye)
and yoked
in a biped world,
the milk of their kindness
greedy dairies
avaricious hormones,
passing it on
to the calves....

the so called
evolved bipeds
haggling over
creatures they defeat
in the evolution stakes,
no matter how small.

They stand,
with dedicated looks,
the philosophy
of the BhagwadGita,
Nishkaam Karma,***
Ma Faleshu Kadaachana....****

Take a deep breath,
eyes front,
wait till the fish crates,
haggled and auctioned,
are loaded'
the crack of a whip.

Its time to step up
keep going,
the mind of a sthitapradnya******
in the body
of a cow.

The literal meaning of nishkama karma is "desireless action," action performed with indifference to the outcome.

**** "Keep doing your karma without worrying about or expecting rewards for your labour"

******Shri Krishna’s ideal human being is Sthitapradnya. Pradnya is mind, intellect, wisdom. Sthita means stable. Sthitapradnya is a person whose mind has stabilized. Whether he has faith in the divine is immaterial, as long as he is in a state of equilibrium while facing the ups and downs of life.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Between the lines....

Blogger friend Braja, posting Kolkatta (Calcutta to her) street photos, in her photoblog Braja's India, takes delight in the fact, that come 2 pm, the traffic on this road, yellow taxis and all, switches suddenly to the opposite direction.

Yes, in a democracy, everyone must get a chance to sample the fruit juice.:-)

All those fruits hanging down in straight lines, just reminded me of something else. ....

(fruit photo by Braja and bridegroom by Google)

The Juice-stall bridegroom,
adorned with
a sehra,
wedding headgear,
lines of fruit
falling gracefully
hiding his face.

He glances up,
to peer
at the going ons,
if it is her
dressed in yellow,
amidst several
in white
and blue
and even red.

And he suddenly
the pineapple head,
"Foolish old me.
Sitting here,
all ready
the glasses and ice....
she isnt
going to reach till 3 pm,
I must learn
to control
my temper,
then look the other way....."

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Macaquian thinking

Blogger friend, travel writer , photographer, Lakshmi Sharath, posted some wonderful photos after a trip to Valparai, situated at an elevation of 3500 feet, in the Annamalai mountain range of the Western Ghats., in southern India. Closeby is the Indira Gandhi Wild Life Sanctuary , where , lion-tailed macaque, the Nilgiri and the common langur, Malabar giant squirrel, elephant, gaur, spotted deer, sambar, barking deer and wild boar reside.

Lakshmi met these lion tailed macaque, on her visit. And they were visiting Valparai.

(photographs by Lakshmi Sharath)
The two,
having arrived,
in search of water,
which has disappeared
from their
own locality,
take a breather,
in the land
of their descendants,
the culprits
who encroached
into their land.

The young one
must now learn,
the basics
of intruding into houses,
and looking
for food.

You think
grandpa Macaque
in the forest would help ?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

And it has all boiled over ......

Just something related to what is happening in the capital of the country.

The corruption Milk,
for long
on Simmer,
has boiled and boiled,
now risen in anger
spilled over
the sides
of the public stove.

Despite the thick
Rules bottom,
the milk
smells burnt.

"No, its not!"
say the faithful,
"the flames were ordered
as per rules,
but the metal guage
was changed
at the last minute;
not to worry....
We can sweeten everything..."

"Nonsense" ,
say the public;
"its terrible for paneer,
we'll throw up the coffee,
the dahi will never form.
But we need
to change the stove".......

The heat is on.

And the public is thrown in jail
for abusing the milk.

Maybe the powers forget,
that one day,
the cooking gas will run out.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Oh Kolkatta !

Braja Sorenson, my blogger friend, lives in the village of Mayapur , in West Bengal. Besides, prayers, chants, temple bells, and writing another blog, and publishing a book, she is fond of cows, calves, walking through fields, photography, and the river Ganga.

This is a recent posting on her photo blog , Braja's India .

While us ordinary types, travel in rickety taxis through potholes , she sails in golden splendour , at dawn, being rowed across the Ganga, on her way to catch a train to Kolkatta

(all photographs by Braja Sorenson)

Ganga Devi's morning
makeup routine,
sprinkling the gold
watched avidly
by the Sun
from behind the mists.

on one bank,
another braid
of flaxen gold,
and she leans back
in the wood
as old as the river,
being rowed across.

She steps off,
looks back,
as the Sun
nudges a rippling Ganga,
"Where's she off to?"....

The wind
shakes the mist,
snaking through the green,
takes a guess,
"Oh ? Kolkatta ? ".....

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Smooth Gliders and Politicians

Blogger friend Magiceye, posted this in his latest post related to Camera Critters.

A photo capture of a smooth glide in the water , from the Mahim Nature Park in Mumbai.

It is so relevant that this Nature Park is situated in the most densely populated area of Mumbai, close to what is often called Asia's biggest slum. It is also relevant that vast human populations sometimes become potential vote banks.

Which actually reminded me of snakes of another type .......

(photo by Deepak Amembal Magiceye)

Some dig in,
remaining upright,
despite the flow;

practical types,
pick and choose
where to fall,
where to flow,
with friends,
smartly inert;

And some,
with chequered lives,
and a longish reach,
glide smoothly
through it all,
sinusoidal moves,
a push here,
a drag there,
a tail lash
at obstacles,
but with
a face above
at all times.

We call them politicians.

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Houbara fashion week

The houbara bustard is a rare shy bird adapted to arid conditions with little vegetation and found in stony and sandy desert and semi-desert regions. Typically North Africa , Egypt , Canary islands etc.

The species has a fascinating flamboyant courtship display described as a ‘Turkey riding a bicycle’! As the male struts around in full display, white feathers on the head and around the throat emphasize the magnificence of his hidden plumage. The entire exercise is conducted to impress the female of the species.

This is an adult male houbara bustard among wildflowers in the Canary Islands. Picture posted by blogger friend Sangeeta Khanna.....

Just got me wondering .......:-)

for the
North African Houbara Fashion Week;

He flares his
brilliant white plumage
to flash it around,
doing the
ramp walk,
just so,
through the wild flowers.

Sights her
from the side
of his eyes,
pirouettes around
to see her eyeing
and winking
at the next chap,
with a
Folies Bergere plumage.

do the Lady Hubaras
think they are ?
Clapping, tweeting,
and winking at us?

Canary Island Slutwalk anyone ?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

श्रावण मासी..... Ode to the Mumbai Roads (with apologies to Balkavi)

There is a very well known Marathi poem , related to the magic of the monsoon, which is at its peak , in the Indian calendar month of Shravan. (roughly around August). The poet is the late Tryambak Bapuji Thomre Aka Balkavi , and almost all of us learned this poem in school.

Regrettably, the Monsoon (or the month of Shravan) brings some other things to mind, in Mumbai. The newspapers have been full of it, I've blogged about it, people have got injured travelling on it: Yes, the potholes on Mumbai's roads.

This is a parody of the late Balkavi's poem, with apologies to the memory of the great poet.

An English translation might work, but the beauty of the cadence, rhythm, and color of the original Marathi poetry will be lost. Hence , not attempted.

श्रावण मासी , दुक्ख मानसी , खड्डे खड्डे चोहिकडे ,
क्षणात येई भुरभुर माती , क्षणात गाडी उलटी पड़े
वरती बघता गोफ धूराचा बस च्या मागून विणलासे,
चिक्क्हल तोरण काय बांधले सभोवताली कुणी भासे,
झालीच टक्कर म्हाशीशी , जबड़ा -अहाहा तो उघडे
घाणीत घसरुनी पाय मोडला , काय करू हां प्रश्न पडे
उठता वरती गर्दी जमली ,अनंत रिकामे बघे पहा
गमबूट घालून पोलीस आले , शिट्टी वाजवत , अहा !
नाव काय , पत्ता , लायसंस दाखवा, व ते पट्टा सावरती
आपण आता घरी कस जावे , हे विचार मनात बागडती
रिकक्षा ही चलते भुवनी , तो चालक गाणी गात फिरे
"बसा " म्हणोनी , मीटर पाडत, रेडिओ वाजे एकसुरे...
सर्वत्र डाम्बर चिकट पडोनी , वास एव्ह्डा दरवळला
गाडी उचालणारी गाडी बघुनी रोष मनीचा मावळला...
सुंदर पावतिपुस्तक घेऊनि हाती, पुलीस हात धरे पुढती ,
सुन्दर अक्षर , सुन्दर अकडा , चुपचाप पुस्तकी ते खुडती
घर दर्शना निघती लोक , काळजी मावे ना हृदयात
वदनी त्यांच्या वाचून घ्यावे श्रावण महिन्याचे गीत......

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Kya yeh.........?

If there was a prize for being an inveterate rule breaker or defier, there would be a huge competition for that prize in our country. Illiterate folks cannot read, but probably have more sense; the literate experts specialize in ignoring rules. Everywhere. Traffic, public programs, throwing trash, etc. And this blatant attitude ha given rise to a shameless question often asked by shameless defiers of rules ; ie "Kya yeh aapke bap ka hai " (~does this belong to your father ?).....

Blogger friend Deepak Amembal Magiceye, has posted a series of photographs of the Mookambika Temple in Kollur , Karnataka, which he visited. One such picture of human defiance ......

the earth stops short
of shaking
and convulsing
in anger....

The hills are ours,
so dig
and destroy
and sell the soil;
The notice about Mining?
"Kya ye aapke baap ka hill hai ?"

The rivers are ours,
So bathe, wash,
and flush with effluents ;
The notice about sewage?
"Kya ye aapka baap ka river hai ?"

This land , these temples,
these Gods, are ours ,
So we will build where we like,
Leave footwear where we like,
Throw paper where we like;
The notice about footwear ?"

Before you ask,
"Kya ye aap ke baap ka temple hai?"
Ji Haan...
This is the temple
of the
Father of the Earth;

and a day will come,
there will be no notice,
there will simply be
no feet...
no footwear.....

"Looking" to start something.....

Blogger friend, Lakshmi Sharath, a well known media consultant, photographer, travel writer and columnist for several newspapers and magazines, is an avid birder as well. She ventured one evening, into the Thattekadu jungles near Kochi, which lies in Kerala, India's southern most state, for a date with the bird population there.

Among others, to look for Sri lankan frogmouths, a set of birds, that manage to camouflage themselves so well, that they sometimes look like the branches themselves. Do read about her wonderful birding trip, at Thattekadu, India : My date with the birds.

One gets a bit intimidated by the no-nonsense look of these birds, and it just reminded me of someone else........

(photograph by Lakshmi Sharath)

They sit,
seamlessly blending
with the world around them.

Wordlessly commenting
at the mess
we have become....

Abusing the
rules of the jungle,
but made of concrete,
Ravaging of the earth
for ore,
at the cost
of green,
the grand colors
of rich birds flying around,
flitting loyalties,
these two
sit ,
holding on,
on what many think
is a shaky branch,
but is really,
by those
who want the old jungles back.

Call them whatever,
call them frogmouths,
that look,
is pure Anna H!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Uniting to celebrate !

When a blogger friend Dhiren, celebrates his wife's birthday and Friendship Day, by making a Pizza for she and her friends, that too, complete with step-by-step photographs , one can only applaud ......and salivate, and admire his self control as he gets in for a closeup, without eating the cheese himself .

Don't know about you, but I can smell the yum stuff here. (The pizza is happening in Bharuch, Gujarat (on India's west coast)....)...........RUSH !

(all photographs by Dhiren Shah)

The humble onion
resting on a grainy bed,
under the weight
of the bossy tomato
all puffed up
it "knows" the sauce;
The peaceful capsicum,
trying its best
stay away
from the
red bossy types.

in the air,
oregano and pepper
fighting ,
its time
for the
blanket of cheese
to smother
all these fights.

They fight,
but melt
in the heated atmosphere...

a common enemy ,
to fight
and go down,
with pepsi,
United !

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Pulling to celebrate.....

Throughout many temples in India, there are always some special celebrations in honor of a particular God or Goddess, which involve elaborate prayers , gatherings of large amount of devotees, distribution of Prasad (blessed foodstuff), and many times , a procession of the deity, in traditional chariots, that celebrate the arts and crafts of the region.

Below is a photograph (by Deepak Amembal Magiceye) , of the chariot of the The Goddess Mookambika from the Mookambika temple in Kollur, Karnataka. On a special day during the year, the Goddess is installed in the chariot with elaborate ceremonies, and taken in a procession through the city, pulled by the devotees, with great pomp, celebration and devotion .

(photo by Deepak Amembal Magiceye)
Custom made
four wheel drive,
powered by
extra large wheels,
confident wishful transmission,
deep faithful
driver's seat,
absolutely clear
front view,
real time peripheral vision,
objects always as close
as you think
they are.

passenger seat,
with worldwide
surround sound "vision" ;
No windows required
as passenger
can see
within you,
(photo courtesy Google)
by a special pull
of hundreds,
their immense faith
and sonorous prayers....

Suitable for Goddesses......

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Fortified Lives

My state of Maharashtra is home to several historical forts built by the Maratha Rulers . These were seats of government, sometimes used as the treasury of the government, and all of them were built in a way that entire armies and the ruling elite and officers , sometimes including families were able to stay here for large periods of time. These places had watchtowers, temples, watersupply systems, canons, moats , and complicate and secret entrances and exits

Immense amount of engineering was done in these places, and pathways laid out for even elephants and horses, to climb to the top

This is a view of the steps leading to the top of the Lohgad fort, the name translating to "An Iron Fort". A photo taken my my friend Magiceye.

आयुष्यातील अनेक प्रवास ,
काही खडकाळ दिवस ,
ओबड़ धोबड़ अनुभव ,
कधी सूर्याचा प्रखर राग,
कधी पद्धतशीर पायरी पायरी ने
जाणारे ,
पुढे नेणारे वसंताचे दिवस ,
कुणा एका
प्रेमळ आजीच्या कुशी सारखी
सावली व विश्रांति देणारे वृक्ष,
परत जोमाने पुढे नेणारे मन.....
गडाच्या बुरुजावर उभ राहून
खाली बघून
मनात येत....
"वाट कठीण असो वा सोपी,
अथक खर्या प्रयत्नांती
शेवटी यश हे
नक्कीच आपल अस्त .....

of our life;

shapeless obstructions
and rocky obstacles.
in the glare
of a burning sun;

Or Sometimes,
ascending in stairs,
the advancing days
of a pleasnat spring,
in the shade
of a Grandma Tree
you for a stopover.

Trudging up,
in patience,
feet and minds,
on the parapet
of the great Fort of Life,
and the stone
"It doesnt matter
if the path be
easy or difficult;
Honest effort always begets success....."

Monday, August 1, 2011

Citizen Bozo

Some folks are really important. They have their own blog, photo album, and their birthdays are celebrated by folks across the world wishing them . ( I honestly doubt if our PM, the British Monarch, or even Mr Obama can match that )..

Blogger friend , Magiceye, has a separate blog dedicated to the subject of this post, Bozo, who recently had a birthday, and may be seen showing off his new blue collar below, all in a typical , well brought up, low-key style.

A typical Mumbaikar, totally unaffected by the snazzy suburb of Mumbai he lives in, happy with the little things that matter in life....

(photo by Deepak Amembal Magiceye)
Page 3 Lassie
sauntering by
with her studded collar
last week,
as she
gave me
a once over
from a Honda City
being driven
to the
Carter Road Promenade
for her daily "walk"....

I am the
real Mumbai chap;
I run
through the rain
with my human,
splash through the puddles,
at trespassers in my path,
wave at the cops
and ignore show offs,
only to
come home
to contemplate life,
and then stand
at the window,
for someone
to return home from work,
so I can
sit at his feet
and making noises.

A solid blue
new denim
birthday neck piece,
sharing a
special fish dinner,
all these
worldwide birthday wishes...

Agobai***, Woof !
I can hear Deepak calling out
for a birthday photo,
but I am
too overcome with shyness
to turn my face ...!

*** A typical middle class Marathi exclamation of wonder/alarm.