Thursday, September 29, 2011

Payasam to the rescue....

This poem was inspired by a friend who posted this.  And it celebrates all those folks who run, day after day, week after week, timing themselves, building stamina, stocking up on carbos and protein and then slowly tapering  off the workout, as the D-day approaches.

This post also celebrates the firm belief that Payasam (a food of the Gods, made from Milk, nuts, grains etc)  aids in winning Marathons. And that sometimes, just sometimes, taking it a bit easy, helps......

 Your body and
your life.
It takes
all kinds of energies,
to live and to run.
The quads, the hamstrings,
the glutes, the intercostals,
are active chaps,
like you,
needing to take it easy.

Sometimes, they crib.
Sometimes, petulantly,
they stiffly resist;
A bit of Volini,
an empathetic rub,
like mumbai traffic
at a changing signal,
they are now
raring to go.

A cool dawn,
watched by a
curious emerging sun,
you slow down as you
the house;
a tap on your knee,
and you look down
to see the quads ,
pulling the hamstrings leg,
"Time to smell the payasam, folks !"........

Monday, September 26, 2011

Ode to a Sensible Tree

One goes through life facing lots of distractions, and attractions. Some change your life.  For the worse.

Sometimes, one stands firm in the face of it all,  This is an Ode to a Sensible Tree in a Forest, that ignored various mind bending attractions, in the face of enticing offers from the wind.

This poem inspired by a certain observed life changing health experience.

Many winds
through the Life Forest....

Some intoxicate,
urging the branches
to bend in wildness,
till they crack...

nudge and wink,
blinding and stunning you,
with misleading future visions;

the Smart Tree of Life,
in the richly endowed
Ancestral Earth,
the Sap flowing through its trunk,
distributing health
to its branches, leaves and fruits.

No collapsing in weakness,
No seeping Sap
at junctions,
No lumps;
and the wild wind
quietly sneaks away,
the Tree of Life
to its
Day in the Sun.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Strength in Adversity : Lessons from the Hills

Blogger friend IHM, was a member of the Kuulu Khardung  La MTB Cycle Expedition for Girls , that recently completed its program, and she has posted some of the grand Ladakh landscapes on her well known blog.   Stark treeless landscape, winds eroding continuously, that which has built up over centuries and centuries, through earth movements, and willful flows of rivers, and one wonders if it is telling us something about our minds. 


(all photos by Indian Homemaker)
studded with values
learned and imbibed,
good times
and bad.....

we are overcome
with  the immensity
of it all,
and stay cocooned,
safe and uninvolved.

Winds blow,
some fiercely,
wearing away
the layers
that cover,
and it is easy
to bend
in the direction
of the wind.

But the heroes
are those
who stand firm,
and brave
in the face
 of a wind,
eroding values in society.

And at the end of it all,
their palms together
in a
mass Namaste
to Some One Up There
who lets them be.....

Cycling in the clouds.....

Blogger friend, creative cook, cricket crazy individual, avid trekker,  Hitchwriter aka Dhiren,  who lives in Bharuch, Gujarat , has earlier appeared on these pages , whenever he cooked interesting things for the missus,  posted photos, and wanted the world to know.  Poems were composed, and folks salivated at the visuals.

He is now shortly off on the MTB Cycle Expedition in  Himachal Pradesh, that runs from 30th September onwards.

This  Hindi poem is dedicated to his immense enthusiasm ....

(photo used with permission of Dhiren Shah)

पायडल मार, तू पायडल मार
भरूच वाला,  तू   होशियार ,
दोन्हो तरफ तेरे,  भव्य देवदार,
पर्वतके बुलावे का मत कर इनकार ,
फूलों तारोंके संगीत तू सुन एक बार 
झर्नेके नीचे धीरेन-लीला थंडगार ,
बादालोमे  घूम घूम कर,  कर तू विहार,
बारिश की गीचड में मत पड बार बार ,
हिमाचल के रास्तों पर तेरा मुक्त संचार ,
तेरे पीछे सौ लड़कियां सायकल पर सवार ,
एक क्रिकेटी आदमी, और सौ नार ,
आगे देख के मूर प्लेटो कर पार ,
 भरूच वाला,  तू   होशियार ,
लेकिन, भूल मत , तू सिर्फ पायडल मार......

Friday, September 16, 2011

Leftover Inspirations.....

Some folks I know sneak into the kitchen when the missus is away, go haywire with the leftovers, get blinded by the awesome colors, stir it all up, and then sit and eat it, all by themselves with single minded devotion. Wiping it all up .

Then they post it on FB. With all the pictures. For us beginners to learn :-)

Then some beginners make poems. :-)))


    (all photographs and eating by Dhiren Shah of Bharuch)
Ramleela grounds
and Dhiren Leela

At Ram's,
old and young,
page 3 illiterates,
Page 1 crorepatis,
show business and artists
officers and others,
sang and shouted slogans
Anna broke his fast....

At Dhiren's
poor tired Rice,
playful Moong,
slim Fatakda Mirchi,
page 3 Gajar-on-a diet,
Posh Spice Gobi Pattas,
Weeping Tomatoes ,
to join.

They hesitated,
and the Chidambaram Adrak,
Chilly sauce,
led by the Noodle police
rushed in,
stirring it all up.

That's when
the Bharuchi
broke his 12 hour fast

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

High Worship

My friend Dr Asha, recently did a Kailas Manassarovar trip, about a month ago, and among many heavenly sightings, clicked this one, close to the Ashtapad mountain, where "eight steps" or Ashtapads, in the mountain lead to a holy place for the Jains. High up in the Himalayas, at elevations of more than 17,000 feet, breathlessness happens , particularly to folks , unfamiliar and unadjustable to such conditions.

And so I wondered about this "rabbit", which she clicked there....

(photo by Asha Shangarpawar)
Is that a midget bear,
an extra large mouse ?
And they said
it's an Ashtapad Rabbit
possibly in slow motion
in the Himalayas.

And she wondered,
if it was hypothyroid,
with a metabolic syndrome,
leptins and ghrelins
shooting lipids,
making it a great candidate
for bariatric surgery.

And it occurred to her,
still more breathlessly,
the rarefied Ashtapad
high up,
that ,
like the camel,
storing water
for its life in the desert,
was a case
of air being stored inside
to help it gambol around,
doing a Pradakshina of Kailas.....

Sip One, Get Two Free.....

Being a doctor means looking into the innards and taking a micro view. So when she visits gardens, my friend Asha, enjoys the wide splashes of color , but often zooms in on the details.

Gardens in Mumbai are a vanishing lot. One just wondered what the bee thought....

(photo by Asha Shangarpawar)

Time was when
was a new garden,
and new nectar;
and it was a party,
for special flowers
in special gardens.

These days,
I see concrete
in place of petals,
and I get tired
flitting around,
like the new Malls,
all the gardens
look the same.

So how lucky is it,
like the Malls,
some gardens
have elevators
and escalators
tired bees.

Cool green
leafy ones,
which when they
nod and
move in the breeze,
take me
to the centre
of my flower;

To now partake
of the special Deal-
Today Only.....

Take One Sip,
and you get free transport
to the next flower
with Two Sips Free....

Monday, September 12, 2011

Modern Gopis and their Krishna

Tired cyclists from the Kullu Khardung La MTB Cycle expedition, resting at a sylvan spot on the banks of the Beas river (before it rushes ahead to meet the Sutlej) , cooling their tired limbs. The overhanging branches and the traditional riverbank dwellings kind of brought an old world feel to things . A click by one of the participants, Sangeeta Khanna!

You won't guess how "old world " a mind can go !

(photo by Sangeeta Khanna)
Age old stories,
Gopis bathing in the river,
and Krishna,
taking off
with their clothes
left on the bank,
to hide them
up in the tree.

Today, the Gopis,
empowered ,
sit on the banks,
sip coffee,
guard the windcheaters,
Krishna flows
in the rivers,
and mountains,
and the breeze
singing in the trees.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

A Gentle Celebration....

A photograph by Vikram Hazra, of a typical residential building in Dadar's old leafy Parsi Colony. on a road, possibly leading to what is called Five Gardens. Parsis are Zoroastrians, and have had a leading role to play in making Mumbai what it is today, be it in business, industry, academics, theatre, sports, almost everything, besides blending well into the multicultural multilanguage ethos of Mumbai....

(photo by Vikram Hazra)
Richly geriatric buildings
by the balconies
of experience,
a gentle gent
in a muslin kushti
matching wispy white hair
sipping his
pudina chai....

the hearts in green,
diamonds on the balcony grill,
spades in jharoka design
Aapro Jamshed and Freny
stepping out
to the Parsi Colony Club
for a Navjote...

Life is indeed
a celebration....

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Life supports

Vikram Hazra,  someone I have known, since he was a teenager, and someone who currently is a very versatile person doing lots of music, photography, writing,  and work of the spiritual type,  posted this photo on FB.   I wonder what was going through his mind . 

Here is what was going through mine :-)

(This is a photo of the Bandra -Worli Sea Link, that connects two suburbs of Bandra and Worli, in Mumbai, and is greatly used as a time saving route by folks going to and from work every day.  One of Mumbai's first modern bridges, Mumbai folks are very proud of it, although they grudgingly pay the toll :-)    )

(photograph by Vikram Hazra)

Two ,
firmly standing,
so approachable
from all angles,
providing an anchoring space
for wayward kids,
older fellows,
and a few
unconcerned about
which way to go in life.

They all clutch and hold on
as these two,
bear the weight
of the sins
of those who rush
thoughtlessly in speed,
and the
mass of humanity
trying to get on
with the business
of Mumbai living ......

Darkly Fair ? or Fairly Dark ?

 Blogger friend Shail Mohan,  with a very thought provoking click, in this land superobsessed with being fair;  in complexion, not necessarily in attitude .....

Sometimes, innocently pliable sunshine leaves and majestic dark butterflies,  combine to send us a message......

(photo by Shail Mohan)
Pity those
of rigid minds,
misinformed bipeds
who wallow
in superiority
the presence
or absence
of melanin.....

It is not Fair
to think Darkly,
or vice versa;

For they
set off each other's
in amazing ways,
when they
play together....

Friday, September 9, 2011

Dragonfly wisdom

Another wonderful dragonfly clicked by blogger friend Deepak Amembal Magiceye.  
Possibly in Mahim  Nature Park in Mumbai. Or possibly  somewhere on the road trip that he is on, at the moment. 

Mumbai was currently beset with runway problems, when , possibly due to excessive monsoon rains and washed away soil, a Turkish airliner got stuck in the slush off the actual runway, blocking and delaying hundreds of flights.

The sudden green drop off brings back some sad memories of a similar runway in the South,  which contributed to a very bad accident.

I wonder what goes through the dragonfly's mind...

(photo by Deepak Amembal Magiceye)
He'e been
buzzing around,
checking out
the CSIA flower shops
passengers and
not to mention ,

His Turkish cousin
did complain
about things
being wet
as in tears,
and slippery
as in Ministries

Gingerly ,
golden lights
blinking on the wing
he accelerates,
as he taxies
for take off.

suddenly rises
in vertical takeoff mode.

Antennae out,
wings raised.
with relief,
he flies,
when they will realise,
these Mangalore type runways
with sudden drops
at one end
are really bad news....

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Letter to God

Blogger friend , Braja Sorenson, who lives in West Bengal , posted this in her photoblog Braja's India .    From the beach at Jagannath Puri (in the state of  Orissa, on the east coast of  India, neighboring the state of West Bengal). 

Honestly, there are no words.

(photo by Braja Sorenson)
childlike as an adult,
from those who
pretended to be caretakers,
free and open
to the sky
and sea,
she huddles,
a leftie,
fingers a letter
to her God
in the sand.

in the breezy sand,
she does not move.

Her finger may not
have moved,
but God has read the letter....

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Doorways of the Mind (edited)

This visual, captured by blogger friend Sangeeta Khanna , while cycling across the Ladakhi landscape as part of the Kullu Kahrdung La MTB Cycle expedition, would possibly stand as a beacon of hope, for those unfortunate ones, who have lost all the color in their lives.

It is also a shining example , of how things are never black and white. How we must never give up hope, no matter how tough the environment.

Nature has a way of bringing a smile into your lives.

(photograph by Sangeeta Khanna)
Tough and wizened,
facing personal calamities
like a rock,
she lives,
facing each day,
in a biting North wind,
with a lot of
good sense,

Papering over some cracks
an unwavering belief,
be it aeons later,
the little one
will return.

She nudges
the little grasses
around her,
and cleanses her face
with some serious scrubbing
till it shines.

The flowers of hope
had been blooming,
hang over the door.

An old grandma
welcomes you,
to step in
Doorways of her Mind.

Edited to add : Sangeeta herself is an accomplished research botanist, wonderful blogger, homemaker, and also a poet. Do read her totally amazing take on this same visual on her own blogpost "The Himalayas conspired.... "

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Sheep sense

A photo of sheep trudging along te Manali Leh Highway, as clicked by blogger friend Sangeeta Khanna, as a member of the Kullu Khardung La MTB cycle Expedition.

They probably encountered all types of vehicles , including ladies on bicycles, as they manoeuvred the narrow roads, with huge peaks on one side, and deep gorges on the other.

But with all the trekking the sheep do, they, unlike us, so called intelligent bipeds, follow certain strict rules, as is clear from the photo.

Read on.

(photo by Sangeeta Khanna)
They are always
on a trek
in life.

Hotfooting it
on the Manali Leh highway,
through slushes
and landslides
with their
biped manager.

Dodging large cars,
ladies in pink
as they look
for meadows and streams

What is amazing
that on
narrow paths,
the elders
with horns
always occupy
the difficult path
at the edge of the road
looking down into a gorge,
keeping the young ones,
on the trudge
up the mountain.

And we think
our brains have evolved !

Monday, September 5, 2011

Himalayan Dentistry

Dipping once again into this almost infinite sink of lovely photos, clicked by Sangeeta , on the recently concluded Kullu Khardung La MTB Cycle Expedition.

One of the advantages of a ground trip, is that you get to see interesting setups like these, in the rockfaces.

And any effort to associate any technology with these, fails majorly. As you can see below .

(photo by Sangeeta Khanna)
Like the old lady
with tough gums
but crooked teeth,
the rockface
appears to joyfully smile
the uneven
molars and incisors.

The cycling expedition
dentist lady
wonders if
braces, crowns
and root canals
would be useful.

And a soft wind
from the top,
the little grasses,
in a direction,
where the water flows
in the gorge,
as if to say,
"My canals,
and my crowns
are here

As for the braces,
Brace yourself
for some outstanding
Tibetan food
a few miles from here !"

Appreciating in style.......

Still partaking and enjoying the treasure chest of wonderful photos from Sangeeta Khanna's Kullu-Khardung La MTB Cycling Expedition photos.

The region, renowned for its stark and bare mountains, shows an interesting structure to the rock. Layers upon layers, like slabs of stone arranged with geometric appreciation, even extending to gaps and turns and elevations of plains.

But Sangeeta photographed something, which tells of the immense perseverance of the flowering plant, as it finds its way through the labrynth of pathways inside the rockface, to finally emerge , out into the Himalayan sun.

Much like a bunch of intrepid ladies, braving flooded roads, narrow paths, deep gorges, and mountain peaks, to emerge smiling , in their pink windcheaters, onto the sunny ,rocky plains.

(photo by Sangeeta Khanna)
Layers upon layers
in tough precision,
formal angles,
and gaps
the straight and the endless,
to form
across centuries,
a tough geometry rockface.

But just like a
strict and tough father,
to become,
in the face of a grandchild,
a magically

So this
tough millennium rock
shrugs a bit,
to allow a flowering
Pink greeting
to emerge through its gaps
to grace its
normally angry face.

No, its not becoming soft.

But there is a huge
group of young ladies
in pink windcheaters,
cycling by
in an expedition,
and grandfather types
must smile
and applaud....
in matching style....

Lethargically to Leh.....

Sangeeta Khanna and her friends were not the only folks traveling on the high altitude Leh Manali Highway, as part of their Kullu-Khardung La MBT Cycle Expedition.

Among the several pictures available in her album here, one stands out for the sheer bovine expanse of a certain creature, ambling along prosperously, as the skin and bones assistants hovered around in a "suitable" subservient manner ...

Just reminded me of something .......

India Against Corruption
gets a clarion call
from the
higher elevations.

Elevated ministers*****
of stealing fodder.....
are you terribly surprised,
at this
massive prosperous
looking chap
in the centre,
with a black mark against him,
trying to stay ahead
of his
skin and bones
chamchaas ?****

**** chamchaas : local word for yes-men of politicians

***** Certain chief minster was/is an accused in a massive fodder scam. He was elevated to the central cabinet. (Cheating people is one thing, but cheating cows and bulls ? )

The world according to ........

Some more photographs of the flora of the Himalayas by blogger friend Sangeeta Khanna. From her Kullu-Khardung La MTB Cycle expedition for Girls.

Have a look at the entire collection here.

And then come back and wonder about these mosses and lichens growing on the flat rocks, in the stark stony wilderness.

In patterns, that tell how the world was , as seen from the Ro0f of the World, the Himalayas, with maps in orange and yellow, long before we appeared .......

(all photos by Sangeeta Khanna)

Rock of the ages,
bearing clues
as it lies
starkly facing the elements,
in the mighty
panorama of the North.

Be it in patterns of
lichen or moss,
Be it flat or round,
Like Gallileo said,
or Mr Thomas Friedman,
tell the story
of a world as it was,
as it is,
and as
it is likely to be.

The legend in yellow and orange...
If we only looked.

The Art of the Bagha

One more amazing photograph from Sangeeta Khanna , who was part of the Kullu to Khardung La MTB Himalayan Cycling expedition .

On the Manali - Leh road, cycling on narrow roads on the Moore plains, between mountain peaks on one side, and deep, deep gorges on the other, wonderstruck by naturally formed rock faces, yes, actual faces, being created by possibly , the natural elements and the willful flow of the Bagha river, eroding the rocky banks.

Its as if the river , carrying memories of the ages, simply deposits them , perennially on the rocks.

The simple faces, proudly stand.

It reminded me of something else, carved into mountains. Commissioned, in the US. Presidents, On the peaks. By humans.

This then, is in honor of the ordinary man, the hard working Ladakhi villager Nature's Own, the River Bagha......

(photo by Sangeeta Khanna)
Pink windcheaters
on a solitary road
fluttering against
mountain peaks
and a deep gorge.

The Bagha River,
deep below,
cutting a path,
millennium memories
of civilizations,
ordinary folks,
kings, queens, children.

she cuts a figure
ice cold water
eroding a compliant stone.

And they sit
in stark opulence,
in honor
of those
simple folks,
of centuries ago.

Some commission
their presidents
in Stone, on mountain peaks.

And some
are a continuing process
at honoring
the ordinary,
by the Bagha,
creating history,
as she rushes
below the Moore plains
to meet the
River Chandra...

Lady GaGa in the mountains

Two intrepid blogger friends, IHM and Sangeeta Khanna, recently participated in a Women's (actually, Girls') Himalayan MTB Cycle Expedition from Kullu in Himachal Pradesh, to Khardung La , 37 kms north of Leh, in the Ladakh region. Organized by the Youth Hostels Association of India.

Some brilliant photos here .

This is a view from what is called Rani Nala ( the Queen's Stream), on the way to Rohtang Pass. All of the broken white is hard ice, covered with dust. The visual had an unexplained "lip" formation, and with so many modern ladies cycling past smartly on their mountain bikes, some thoughts began buzzing in my mind.

A poem happened. Paththari bai (`Lady Stone') should really now be Barfani Bai (`The Ice Maiden')..... but I always tend to look below the ice for the mind of the Lady ...

(photo by Sangeeta Khanna)
Paththari Bai,
although a grand dowager,
having lived centuries,
still looks
like a mountain beauty
who does lifetime facials
with Beas Water***
smashed pebbles,
and mashed pears.

But some things have changed.

She's been trying
"Fair and Lovely" ****
and Lakme lipstick
that comes
in double tubes.

It doesn't agree,
and her face
has broken
into patches
of hard white,
around puffed lips.

She watches
civilization drifting
up and down
the roads.

And I think she
has been
to some ladies talk....

***The river Beas
**** A fairness cream marketed by Unilever in India to benefit , not the women, but their own coffers, thanks to the national obsession with "fairness".

Romancing the Stone :-)

As she says, it was "an adventure of a lifetime".......

Two intrepid blogger friends, IHM and Sangeeta Khanna, recently participated in a Women's (actually, Girls') Himalayan MTB Cycle Expedition from Kullu in Himachal Pradesh, to Khardung La , 37 kms north of Leh, in the Ladakh region. Organized by the Youth Hostels Association of India.

Khardung la is the wolds highest motorable mountain pass (17,582 feet, or 5602 metres), maintained by the Indian Border Roads Organization, and is of strategic importance.

They have returned with a veritable treasure of photographs, experiences, oodles of confidence, and amazing tans. I look forward to a series of fantastic blogposts from them.

You can see some of Sangeeta's photos here.

Some very unusual rock formations as below. And some of my (some say, weird) thoughts below:-)

(photo by Sangeeta Khanna)

Paththari Bai,***
in repose,
younger ones,
with a hint of green;

Age belies her charm,
as the smart sky,
the tingling winds,
some single minded clouds
still crowd around ,
vying for her ...

And then she spies
a battalion in pink
cycling by,
and some stop,
mouths agape,
wanting to capture
the romance.

And Paththari Bai
all overcome,
pulls her ghunghat
and turns her head,
looking down.

Thats how she remains.....

***Paththar = hindi for "stone";
Paththari bai = Mrs Stone or Lady Stone

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Brave new Mumbai ?

Another wonderful photograph from blogger friend Shail Mohan, from Kerala. Tough exterior perimeter walls, sometimes close to the house, and planned excavations made to allow accumulated rain water to flow. What is a beginning for some is an end for some others, like the ferns; clawing their way through the tunnel, out into the sun....

(photo by Shail Mohan)

Brick and Mortar
to keep in
with a vengeance
what's yours;
And a few gaps
made on purpose,
to allow
washed stuff
to flow out.

But those
that learn to thrive
amidst no roofs,
exalt in the
warmth of the tunnel,
the dampness in the eyes
of the walls;
they creep,
stepping over
remnants of branches,
and obstinate rocks.

They have met such types before.
Inching ahead
they emerge
the mother branch
shielding the others
from the sun.

Another monsoon,
another tunnel,
another roof,
another smile.

Why do I think
this is the story of Mumbai?

Friday, September 2, 2011

Small and Green is beautiful.....

Blogger friend Shail Mohan posted some wonderful pictures of greens emerging bravely across barren browns. This set of photographs, is titled Survival, and may be viewed here.

So evocative and indicative of how small things , putting in immense effort, and with a lot of pluck, can slowly emerge , destined for big things.....

(photo by Shail Mohan)
the dormant
dull exterior,
of empathy in life,
is that little idea
stretches for food,
the cracks
in the opposition,
and then,
supported by many little ones,
all looking
to follow a sharp lead
and take their place in the sun....