Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Dark clouds of the Mind !

My friend Sylvia ( who probably has a child a bit younger than me) , is an absolute whiz with her camera, and her almost daily blog post is a panorama of beautiful things she sees either from her new house, or at some place she visits.

I've been inspired to make some headers for her blog , purely out of a sense of fun, and this picture of the black clouds posted in her Sky Watch Friday series, got the grey matter into a tangle. Being a great believer in MS Paint helped.

And a poem resulted.

I show the wonderful original, and the "messed up" resultant header below !

(Click on each to see a larger picture !)

(photographed by Sylvia Kirkwood)
They fly around,
the monsters
of the mind,
dark and agitated,
through the
usual calm and blue...

Only to
and timidly
go to pieces,
or trouble
someone else
some other time
in another land,
the Big yellow
appears from
behind the pines,
and peace

Monday, May 30, 2011

And the Pond Heron ponders.....

Ever seen a pond heron at the Sewri mudflats on Mumbai's eastern seaboard ? Magiceye , who has a photo blog, (amongst many others) has a picture of one, pondering , amidst the stuff, on his Camera Critters post on his blog.

Slightly spoiled white habit, amidst the desolation around , and the demeanor of the pond heron, reminded me of a particular, frequently observed human species in Mumbai : the politician, who switches political parties at will.......

pure white habits
tinged with a bit of gray,
the cap
blown away to the side,
slightly disheveled
by the winds of change,
he carefully
his constituency.

are getting sticky
with the
frequent ups and downs
around him.

There are holes around
where he might slip
deep into something
some may be traps .
Who knows ?

Stepping around
with much care,
should help....
worse comes to worse,
he can always fly
another political outfit,
the UFI,
United Flamingoes of India ....

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Bird's mind view.....

Some folks think of great music when they see photographs like this .

Like my blog friend
Kalyani, who suddenly remembered Aarti Ankalikar from the film 'Sardari Begum' here - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pQ_y6IhhGhY&feature=player_embedded...

And then there are folks, who, with the impending monsoon, and the amazing shapes in the photograph, think of more mundane, boring stuff, eg clogged storm drains, the scourge of Mumbai in the monsoons.

I guess you must learn to take the good with the bad......:-)

(photo by Kalyani)

त्या झाडाला एक सवय होती;
सकाळची पाण्याची,
आजूबाजूची जागा स्वच्छ करण्याची
गडबड उरकली ,
कि एकदा
आकाश्याच्या आरश्यात बघायचं,
थोडी पानं इकडे तिकडे अड्जस्त करायची
फांद्या हलवून आळस द्यायचा ,
छप्रावरच्या पक्ष्या कडे बघून नाक मुरडायच....

एके दिवशी
आरश्यात स्वतः ऐवजी
भारदस्त काळे मेघ दिसले ,
गडगडले ,
आणि झाडाला काही कळायच्या आत
छप्रावरचा पक्षी हसला आणि म्हणाला ,
मुन्सिपालतीनि ह्या वर्षी गटार साफ नाही केली ,
आता बस पाण्यात ,
मी कसा ढगांवर जातो,
आणि तुझी मजा बघतो बघ !

Some habits
die hard.

Since childhood,
every morning,
post the hurry and flurry
of watering and cleaning,
Madame Tree,
freshly bathed,
would look into
the Sky mirror,
adjust her leaves just so,
and preen;
followed by
a langorous stretching
of branches
in a mild
movement of air,
designed to cook a snook
at the little bird on the roof,
watching all this avidly.

But one day,
when she looked,
the Sky mirror
instead of green,
black clouds,
imperiously rumbling;
and before
Madam Tree could figure out,
the bird on the roof
smirked, and said,
"The municipality
has not cleaned
the storm drains this year....
so sit and enjoy your time
in the floods,
while I soar
high ,
way up above the clouds,
watching all your fun....."

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Three-Stone stoves of life....

My blogger friend Harekrishnaji, visits all kinds of nice eating places across various towns, from 5-star buffets to places where they organically cook native food of my state. This is his depiction of some fragrant rice cooking on a typical 3-stone stove, fired by wood.

While folks cook this way on camping trips and stuff, for some people across the country, this is the only way they know, because its their only source of fuel.......

The original poem was in Marathi. As usual, the English effort follows.

आयुष्याच्या चुलीचे तीन दगड,
सासूसासरे ,
आणि नवरा ;
कधी चटके, कधी धूर ,
कधी फोडणीची तडतड ,
कधी आनंदाने उकळणारी आमटी,
एखादं भाजणार बोट ,
शिजणार्या आंबेमोहोर चा सुवास,
चुलीत शिजणारे छोटे छोटे बटाटे ,
कधीतरी एखादं जळक लाकूड ढकलावं लागत ,
कधी कधी मोठा ज्वाळ होतो ,
कधी तर फुंकणीने
कुणाच्यातरी हातावर फुंकर घालावी लागते,
अगदी डोळे पाणावतात ,
आणि जेव्हा ती
कौतुकाने आपल्या मुलांना
गरम भाकर्या करून वाढते
चुलीचे तिन्ही दगड
दीर्घ श्वास घेउन,
ज्वालांना गप्प करून
हळू हळू सुखावून
शांत होतात

A raging Fire
3 Rocks and Stones
of Life:
her in-laws,
her parents,
the husband........

A few burns, some smoke,
a sizzling
hot dressing;
a curry boiling in glee,
a finger singes,
as the
Ambemohur rice cooks,
small baby potatoes
bake and brown
amidst the stones.

a need
to shove in
a length of burning wood,
a sudden conflagration
in burning gold,
and someone
quietly bends,
and blows
on a hurting hand,
amidst the watering eyes.....

She turns back,
make fresh bhakris,
hot off the gridle,
for her kids....

With a deep sigh
the fire relaxes,
the three rocks
nod in appreciation,
as the
little ones
polish away their plates...

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Botox for the mind

Some folks not only live in beautiful environs, they also enjoy taking and showing their wonderful photographs. A blogger friend, HareKrishnaji, a committed foodie, naturelover , and photographer, recently came up with this gem of a photographic "dialogue ".

(photo by harekrishnaji)
She stands,
erect, yet
slightly bent
and thoughtful,
one of the few seniors
on a road leading
to the new housing complex.

in her
old green memories,
her mind tapped
by those wonderful
gulmohur blossoms,
when she stood firm
in the breezy,
rocky plains,
so many
from the intense heat....

But age has withered her,
she stands bare,
facing up to the vagaries
of age,
just curious
whether there is a Botox for the trees.

And her
little granddaughter,
full of bloom,
in her dance of life,
in an artistic pose
a pat on her back, and a smile
to the
arthritic old lady's face.

She has found the Botox for the mind,
and it is
and blooming
in exhuberance
right next to her ....

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

White with Gold - summer colors

My young blogger friend Kalyani, often posts pictures, with a color palette that simply screams the specialities of the season......with backgrounds, and colors bringing back memories of school summer holidays in native places in Kokan, traipsing around in the hot sun in white petticoat type sleeveless frocks, climbing trees, plucking flowers, making them into garlands and "wenis", secrets amongst cousins, afternoon escapades, playing and fighting over "Sagargotaas", and gorging on juicy mangoes, and being shouted at for studding the pristine white with gold ...

(Wrote the Marathi poem first; did an English version for my Non marathi friends; probably not as sweet in English, but what the hell, enjoy the mangoes and chafaa flowers ! Summer's here ....)

(photo by Kalyani Wakkar)
उन्हाळ्याच्या सुट्टीत
सफेद फ्रील वाले झगे घालून,
दुपारच्या वेळी
झोपाळ्याच्या खोलीत ,
मामाच्या घरी
सागरगोट्यानचे फेकलेले डाव
चोख्लेले रायवळ आंबे,
त्यांचे सफेद झाग्यांवर पडलेले
सोनेरी पिवळे डाग ......
एका सोमवारी सकाळी
आठवणी हसल्या ......

A hot and sultry
May afternoon
the family homestead
in Kokan,
little girl cousins
at grandma's,
in soft
summer frocks;
the Sagargota stones
have been abandoned,
for the
liquid gold
of the RaiwaL mango,
and swallowed,
as is,
the yellow gold
drips inulgently
on to the
pristine white innocence....

And while grandma
takes a nap,
the creaking of the old swing,
the giggles,
and plundering
of mangoes continues,
in the mind,
making you smile,
and sultry,
Monday morning
in Mumbai....

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Colored minds

It takes all kinds and all colors. To mix.

Sometimes, you need to add a little heat to stir things up.

Life's like that . In societies with colored minds.

She falls
like instant coffee
in a glass
of milk;
room temperature milk;

The stirrings
fate and destiny,
try mixing,
and dissolving,
the creative spoon
milk hesitates
in acceptance.....

Does it need
fire to be lit
so that
the lactazed
crazed molecules,
go wild
in brownian motion,
in this shakeup
the milky white society,
the coffee granules
as their own ?

To make,
not too late,
a delicious,
Café Latte
in their lives..?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Sunflowers & Meduvadas

About 15 years ago , we were travelling towards Aurangabad by train, and early morning saw our train chugging past big fields of sunflowers. A small voice, nose pressed against the window, piped up , " Mom ! we've learned about this in class ! Sunflowers ! For oilseeds ! To make oil for cooking ! Wow!".......

All that came rushing back when I saw these photographs (they look much nicer in the original post) taken by my blogger friend Swaram, as part of her Wordless Wednesdays!

That probably explains the fried meduvadas......

(photo by Swaram)

So many
golden children,
proudly standing
and waving
with their green mothers,
amazingly anchored
to the soil
of the motherland.

A bit closer,
and you see
them share
and share alike
the richness of the earth,
the support of the
verdant green,
the benevolence
of the sky.

Bend down
to talk to one,
and you see
the bright eyes,
amidst the
yellow halo,
some red
from squinting at the sun,
some dark and serious in intent,
and some tiny ones,
way inside,
with great designs
for a wonderful life,
not as a flower
in their mother's bun,
but as a wonderful medium,
so she can make meduvadas for them….

Sunday, May 8, 2011

And what a pair ...!

A blog friend, young enough to be my daughter, wrote a post on growing old together.

And nostalagia kicked in from half a century ago, in Pune. Which was such a different place then....

In the garden
of my parent’s house
was a tough guava tree
next to a prajakta tree;

A small cemented patch
with a little tap
to attach the water pipe.

Early mornings
would see a carpet of
orange stemmed prajaktas
on the slightly damp
fragrant with wet mud,
as some school kids
walked to school,
eyeing the guavas.
And sometimes,
someone would shake
the prajakta tree,
and the guava tree
would look on proudly
at the lovely flowers
floating down to earth.

So many children,
coming by to wash
jamun spots on pants,
mud on frocks,
all the while
planning for the guavas
and collecting the flowers,
and both
the guava and the prajakta
and grew old together,
even as we children moved away…..

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Formal Brilliance

I have never understood why formal means black , white, and western.

A switch in geography , whether for academic reasons or culinary reasons, makes things exciting.

A young friend, who has entered the hallowed portals of a very highly regarded business school in Hyderabad, after a willful carefree and wonderful corporate tenure in the world's 3rd most expensive city , possibly got encouraged and inspired by the peacocks on their campus, when a student photo shoot had 569 other folks in western monochrome outfits, pretending to look formal.

The peacock must have been (formally) thrilled with her peacock-ink- blue sari ....:-)

Great company for the National Bird ....

She hangs out
on the sill
of the balcony,
cooling it
amidst the green;

Never knew
the gardens
at this business school
would make
learning and flitting
through the various subjects,
though clearly
bookish and coatish,
such a pleasure....

And it's more so,
when she notices,
another peahen,
in similar
blue colors
flowing around her ankles,
running circles
on those sweeping staircases
around all those
formally dressed
in boring
blacks and greys....

Friday, May 6, 2011

Sponging Off......

One often wonders whether humans learn from birds, or birds learn from misguided humans.

Maybe the latter is true .....

Blossoms in mango orchards,
harbingers of
days of young fruit,
by the late
winter sunshine;

And a chirpy type
flits across,
picking at the fruit
with a well aimed beak;
testing the skin,
the firmness,
or the lack of it,
the ability to
prosper and grow
on the parent tree.

Blinded by the
sips, slurps,
wings of color
and flights of fancy,
the fruit,
its soft gold,
and half shriveled,
lives to tell the tale.

Of a show bird,
who doesn't recognize it any more,
but executes
a jeté
of a ballet pose,
as it bends down
fakely, daintily,
to admire
the honey
and the gold dust
another fragrant flower
in a distant garden.

Possibly waiting
to cheat another fruit,
on another tree,
once again ?....

Monday, May 2, 2011

Some colorful fun....

So many people who take wonderful photos participate in worldwide weekly photo projects with a specified subjects. One such is Monochrome Mania.

Magiceye has an eye for some masterpieces in monochrome, that are to be seen in the Downtown area of Mumbai, where British and European architecture was at one time , the most popular style, complete with statues etc.

Here is the Mckinnon Mckenzie building in Ballard Estate.

(Smashing, old chap, isnt it ?)

with a torn shirt
oversize halfpants,
hair bleached
effluents in the stolen water,
he travels
without ticket
on the Central Railway,
dodging folks
at VT,
escaping on the side,
a Pssst way
of "living"
as a homeless
glue sniffing
wandering child.

Spies the big building,
slips down
from the branches
he postures
like some of the statues
he has seen
in the big city.

Someone has clicked him.

His day is made.

there isn't
any color in his life,
anyway .....

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Sweet Circles of Life

Sometimes, a move to another geography, is stressful. Absences make things fonder, and the comfort food is sometimes sweet.

Like Jilebis.

This, for one such person, currently in the throes or whatever......but pining for jilebis.

A well blended
enlightened move,
eyes straight ahead
looking for a mind exit
as she slowly narrows down
her objective.

and the light
at one end,
as she tumbles out
in circles
into a hot
bubbling oil,
and puffs up a bit
in delight,
only to be told,
she needs
a quick sweet dip,
to energise her
for the foreseeable future.

Life is the whole jilebi,
little straight roads,
every now and then,