Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Crunch opinions

My blogfriend Shail Mohan, besides being a a wonderful and perceptive blogger, poet, is also an excellent photographer.

She posted this mouthwatering photograph on her photoblog,  Shots and Captures

 Sometimes the urge to grab a handful (of peanuts, that is ) results in a poem ....#just sayng :-)

(photograph by Shail Mohan)
in wedding vermillion,
fine tasteful jewellery,
crowded together
at the venue…

Fewer fertile fields,
the obsession with the male crop,
fewer girls,
and the
popping corns
crowd around
the swayamwara premises,
packed in sections,
so turmerically wedding-ready…..

The brides,
keep an open mind,
and enjoy all;
children’s pockets,
little fists,
with older folks ,flowing with beer ,
sitting in newspaper wraps
on trains and buses…
just everywhere.

The popped fellows,
behind the restrictive
plastic wraps,
sometimes buttered in flattery,
huddle together,
the sex ratio
got so skewed…….

Black Brilliance....

My timeline on FB today is studded with so many wonderful photographs, posted by folks from all over the world, (thanks to a family member obsessed by photography).

And then comes this very perceptive click , from my FB friend,  engineer and fellow collaborator on Madness Mandali's  KavikalaSatish Suggala  .

Amazing capture !    Then again,  not so amazing, because that's how things are around everywhere you look ......

(This brilliant photograph by Satish Suggala)
Such a perceptive click;

How the future looks
for the girl
hit with acid;

The state of mind
of the raped Noida girl

and unlawfully
named by the cops;

The blank eyes
of an Aji
whose free cataract operation

The way the
side road was at night
when the masked goons attacked;

How the textbook looked
to the 5th class boy
studying nights
the last candle gave out
during planned load shedding
in his village;

The color of the humor
when the planning commission
begs you
to enjoy and live
on Rs 26/32 a day;

And finally,
the color of the crores,
confiscated in UP elections,
stashed in Switzerland,
lining the deep pockets
of those
who wear power-white.

Prize winning photo indeed !

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

On the line.....

This is  a visual someone posted on Facebook.

Gives a new meaning to "being online".

And  you wonder if the birds,  "comment", "poke", "share", and "like" things, wonder who visited their profile, and post pictures of the various Poles they descended on while flying cross country.

and her 1500 friends
all on Lightbook,
and all,
amazingly on (the) line
at the same time,

Some liking
what others were saying,
some posing,
some nudging, poking
and making smart comments;
some posting
photos of their trips
to other Poles,
some simply lurking

and some sharing
what they think 

are outlandish
attitudes and words.

And way below,
in a window,
a biped with a laptop
uploaded on FB,
and got a "like"
and a comment saying,
" Just when I was counting friends, some of them flew off....".....


Monday, February 27, 2012

My this telomeri, telomeri di !

A friend recently posted this

And I need to applaud. Wildly.  Perhaps poetically

But first a word about telomeres. ...

Our genes/chromosomes replicate during cell division , which is what growth is all about. Many times , in the process, the ends of the chromosome/gene strings or DNA sequences, get corrupted or fused with neighboring strings (just like stitching two ends of cloth together, reduces the length of stuff), and this changes the nature of our chromosomes in unpredictable ways, causing various health problems, Big C etc.
But nature has gifted us with telomeres which are buffer spaces at the end of the chromosome/gene string, which face this, without allowing a mess up in the length and composition of the actual DNA/chromosome string.

My friend, You are really, your own telomere!

Some chromosome and DNA strings,
like misguided kids
who idolize goons,
try to replicate badly,
messing up the surroundings
in dangerous ways....

But not
if you are your own telomere,
straightening out
the genes
commanding them to behave,
a chemo storm,
and sometimes
through the
lightening of radiation;
but almost always
and mostly
by exercising
those genes that
sing out
loud and clear,
"I can, I must, and I will"....

every storm
tangles with dark clouds,
and every gale
bends some tough backs,
but only
a few,
straighten up again,
brush off the sand,
squeeze away
the depressing drops,
and look upon the jungle
collapsed tree branches,
as something
helps you climb up,
smile at the Sun
in a new dawn,
and sing
at the Top of your voice,
"My this telomeri, telomeri di !"

Sunday, February 26, 2012


My blogger friend, Braja Sorenson is an author,poet,yogini,spiritualist and photographer, who lives in Mayapur, West Bengal.   This at the confluence of the Jalangi tributary of the river Ganga, near Navdvip.
Braja has posted this wonderful visual in her blog, Braja's India

Mayapur is reachable by boat across the river.  Although certainly not the type shown here.  But it makes you more appreciative of river transport of varying types. Not necessarily having to do with masses.

And possibly having to do with a old wizened fisherman, much like his boats, who drifts along the Jalangi to catch fish; sometimes to sell, sometimes to eat.

I sense a poignant parallel between him and the boats...

(photograph by Braja Sorenson)
Shoals of fish
with the tributary
to wash their sins
in the Ganga...

He sits,
fourscore and more
lined with age,
rich with hair silver,
sensing the net pull
as he
struggles to get the catch
of the day.

the other boat
she comes along;
Younger in age
but looks older,
lines of age and slog
held together
by firm beliefs.

On a good day,
the fish sit with her.

On other days,
she just watches the fish,
as they bypass her
to reach the Ganges
for a newer life
in a bigger world.

The fisherman sighs.

This is
much like his kids,
who have gone
to Kolkata,
to a newer life
in a bigger world,
leaving him and his wife
deeply lined
in worry beside him,
in aged desolation,
awaiting them
on the sands
of time.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Dark Chocolate

FB allows you to see many wonderful photos taken by so many photographers, amateur and professional, simply because some folks are friends of FB friends. It is another matter that so many of your friends on FB are folks you have never met , but you actually think you know, from seeing and following their work , in albums, blogs etc.

This is a wonderful sunset photo from Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, clicked by Kiran Mohan , who is actually a friend of a friend, Joshi Daniel  (who has figured earlier on this poetry blog)  but is also now my friend  :-))

This week has been one for writing about cakes and poetry . Like here.

Now one more ......

(photograph by Kiran Mohan)
Molten beach waves
pulled by thick sand,
richly with
seashells and secrets
and sometimes
some unwanted additives,
baking slowly
on a hot day
slowly getting
on a chocolate evening
under a
subsiding point filament Sun....

Soon the
baked sea
will leave the sides of the beach,
and sit back
unpaired footwear,
and coconut shells
where it once was.....

Friday, February 24, 2012

Horse Sense

My FB friend, and extremely versatile photographer Sanjeev Hirudayaraja lists this photograph clicked by him at the Lea Valley Riding Centre, London, as a absolute favourite.

These two must have been really preoccupied with worries about some important concerns in their lives,  to be unaware of someone creeping up close to click them.

I hear someone saying the  Z -word, which implies that you dont have to be in horse kicking distance, and can use Zoom.

I prefer to speculate about the worries troubling these two, that gets them so preoccupied with each other....

(photo by Sanjeev Hirudayaraja)   
And his folks said
"Smart, handsome
race-course returned,

super qualified.
tall equine catch,
very fair,
slim, tall,
from a "cultured"
trainer no bar....

But he met
an amazing golden filly,
who flew
like the wind
and cantered
alongside him after meals
sharing sugar cubes.

The two,
at the end
of a strenuous running day,
catching breaths together,
sharing the trauma,
so typical
in the world of bipeds today....

The insistence
and the misconception
by his folks
Fair is Lovely.

The Golden one
has just realized
someone must fight,
and that
Silence is never Golden....

Two hearts.....

My blog and FB friend Kavita Saharia of Guwahati, in the North Eastern state of Assam in India, participates in a Friday blog ritual called "This moment ".

As she says " A single photo — no words — capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember."  This is what you post on a Friday; no words, but just a photograph that has touched you.

This is something she posted today.   

Those who are no good at photography, must often make do with words.

(photograph by Kavita Saharia)
his best friend
he quietly bends
to rub
his running nose
against his fingers,
as he runs
down the path
to the fields.

He has seen his ma
carrying his baby brother so.

below a tree
she unwraps
the rotis and onions,
and sets out another plate
as she watches him
eyes bright,
the pup against his heart....

Tough Majesty

A wonderful vignette of multicultural Mumbai from my blog and FB friend Slogan Murugan also known as M. S.  Gopal, who specializes in spotting sociological images and stories from Mumbai .

A festival celebration, possibly amidst the trader community , resplendent in all the finery, it is fairly routine to see such a motorized chariot waiting next to you at the signal.

 One has been witness to elephants lumbering besides purring Mercedes's with tinted windows, as well as charioteers in old jeans,  in empty silver decorated chariots, rushing with undue haste for an assignment at some festival, taking a smart U turn at some signal..

This is a photograph clicked in the Pydhonie  part of downtown Mumbai. 

In case you wonder why everyone looks so serious and possibly angry, it might possibly have to do with  the significant name on the shop on the left of the photograph.

 (photo by Slogan Murugan)
Aaj ke Raja Log
on a Power Drive,
with a "Ki Jai"
roaring in the mind,
empowered on the side
riding through
the entrails of Mumbai
at 73 Rs a litre

The fellow
without headgear
kicks into top gear
as he smartly accelerates
next to the Yuvraaj..

Kasab** on the sidelines.

Tough angry looks from the King
as the dowager folks
turn to look
at what the world is coming to today...

**Kasab : the lone terrorist arrested for 26/11 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Jealous Lunch

There is nothing more traumatic  (for  someone sitting on the top floor of an apartment complex, on a burning noon  in Mumbai, with no airconditioning, a tired ceiling fan, and a roasting room, )  than seeing pictures  of warm brownies, ice cold vanilla icecream, and a great chocolate sauce, and someone mentioning that they are having that as lunch !

My blogger friend Sangeeta Khanna  posted this picture on Facebook. She is not a mean person at all, but for a moment, a whole bunch of folks must have thought so.....

A warm brownie, a jug of sauce, and a dollop of icecream,  and tons of jealous friends  unable to share it    :-(     :-))

(STOP PRESS !  Omar Khayyam changes his mind :  Modifies his requirements from loaf of bread and jug of wine to the above ! .....:-)....)

(photograph and eats  by Sangeeta Khanna )
Languid in
folds of
liquid chocolate,
under a blanket of vanilla,
she rests;
fresh from a
warm oven bath,
breathing in the aroma
looking up at
the lady
poised to
tilt the jug....

A few rivulets of
chocolatey tears,
flowing down the sides,
and the lady relents
and keeps
the jug aside.

It's time
for the silver spoon
and the brownie to
finally meet
and rise
and watch the
in the lady's eyes.....

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Sheet Observances.......

Blog friend Braja Sorenson, who is settled in the sylvan environs of Mayapur-on-the-Ganga  after sojourns in Australia, New Zealand,  and who describes herself as an author, spiritualist, yogini, poet and photographer, posted this wonderful photograph on both her blogs, Lost and Found in India   and  Braja's India.  

With a wonderful quotation from Rumi.

For some folks immersed in the daily semi-spiritual process of living far away amidst urban nitty gritty matters,  this visual spawned some different thoughts.  And one is amazed at the persona that one imagines, just from a picture of crossed trouser-clad feet,   resting on what looks like an observant bed sheet.

(photograph by Braja Sorenson)

Some feet
of the ages
shod in coverings,
"smooth as silk"
by exfoliation
in an idle life.
The bedsheet is not impressed.
The candidate has no initiative.

Some feet,
of the ages,
having climbed up
in the world
on a tough staircase;
Sometimes in bad footwear,
Some cuts, some hurts,
but treated in time,
the feet showing signs
of the traversing
through dark alleys.
The bed sheet respects, and
offers a cool soft support....

Some feet
of the ages,
still trudging on bare skin,
pulling life's handcarts,
loaded with young and geriatrics;
The heat sears the sole,
deadening feeling;
but not in the heart
and the soul...
There is no time and place
to rest back
and put the feet up.

The bed sheet searches,
unsuccessfully ,
finds no feet
to support and wrap;
And notices,
just a small toe-ring
that rolls away
glinting in the noon day Sun.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Stony Melting Heart.........

My young blogfriend Pri who has a wonderful blog called Nostalgic Moments, recently wrote a wonderful story about a fight between a stone statue and a wax statue.

 Do read her wonderful and poignant  post "In wax and stone lies a story known..."

Reading meanings into the story commensurate with one's age was an interesting exercise for me. 

And then read the take below, of someone, who as they say, has seen a lot more summers  transform into autumn and winter, only to blossom in spring again....

every stone statue
that stands
getting eroded
wordy deeds
katabolic acts,
is a soft nucleus
flooded lachrymally.

It just takes
a long long time
to reach it.

All around,
reincarnations in wax
sculpt visions,
manic swinging between
tearful melts
new lives.

It takes
a shuddering shaking
and quaking
in the depths
of the earth,
for both to realize
they are ,
at the end of the day
a little bit of each other,
and beholden
to the same roots...

Black and white balance....

My blogger and FB friend Ganesh Balaraman , posted some great pictures from a trip to Mahablipuram, near Chennai (southern part of India). Besides the sea, and the sunsets and the sculptures , he has posted an amazing picture of a guinea fowl, that was possibly taking the air, somewhere in the grounds of his hotel.

With this amazing plumage,  these folks are often taken for granted on farms.  They move around eating up insects and even seeds of weeds. Once in a while, like any humans, they do get attracted to things like tomatoes growing on trees etc. The eggs they lay are a bit smaller than the eggs laid by the standard hen, and like any typical mother,  the guinea-hen always knows when someone other than she and her mate have touched the eggs. They are subject to being chased by dogs etc, and are blamed for the terrible sound the produce as they communicate their feelings.  Somewhere in between a chicken and a turkey in importance,  some unscrupulous folks pass them off as chicken meat in restaurants.

But they are old style simple folks. So much so, that they are a monogamous breed, and they actually mourn the demise of a spouse.

(photo by Ganesh Balaraman)
They are criticised,
Their call-noise abhorred,
as they strut around
the farm,
picking and devouring
insects and weed-seeds
straying into the tomatoes too.

A middle class ethic.

An acceptance of color,
equal amounts
of white and dark,
no hankering
Fair and Lovely,

and Glowing Complexions,
as the white pearls shine
on the black feathers.

An acceptance of Fate,
and Karma,
as some of them
land up as some one's
pseudo-chicken meal
in a fancy hotel in Mahabalipuram...

The male's voice is a shriek
as he walks away
with a strut
and an arched back
blooming in importance.

The SAHM female,
pleads with a call
resounding as
"Come Back, Come Back".....

And unlike the
modern biped
who unheeding and careless,

plays the field,
this male returns back
to live again
with his lady wife,
to grow 

to mourn each other
in their old age.

the Guinea fowl,
unlike the humans,
are monogamous folks....

A coastal romance....

Post-monsoon and winter days, folks like to drive down the sylvan Kokan coast, to the ancient Ganpati temple at Ganpatipule, on the west coast of India.

 A beach temple,  the 400 years old Ganpati image at Ganpatipule is said to have sprung up from the soil. This deity faces the West, so as to guard the western gates, unlike deities in other Indian temples who face the east. The temple is at the base of a hill, and pilgrims walk around (pradakshina) the hill as a mark of respect.

My friend Harish Krishnan,  a social media evangelist from Mumbai,  did a quick trip to Ganpatipule recently and posted some wonderful photos here.  Below is one such.  

According to a local folklore, the Hindu god, Ganapati, taking umbrage by a remark made by a native lady, moved to Pulé  (a few km ahead of the town) from his original abode of Gulé. Thus the region was named Ganpati-pulé. 

Dont know if Harish Krishnan noticed, but there seemed to be another native lady at Ganpatipule.....

(photo by Harish Krishnan)
Ruthless driving
on NH 17,
and then a quiet descent
to a brick red
a crescendo of waves
rushing in full tide
the Ganpati Aarti.

liitle distance away,
a few raised rocks
she sits,
her jet black
coconut-adorned hair
falling languidly
over her eyes,
looking up slowly
through her green eyelashes,
at the waves,
foaming in fun,
trying again and again
to reach her feet...

She hears him say
he must return,
in response to Niravian calls....

She blinks
her salty tears
through her green eye lashes
as the ocean waves
recede quietly,
not wanting to interfere...

has never understood
why anyone
would want
to go back
from Ganpatipule.......

Monday, February 20, 2012

Life in Death

My blogger friend Magiceye, is on a road trip to Central India, and keeps tweeting interesting photos of historical places, roadside lipsmacking food, and amazing sunrises and sunsets.

One such pertained to the burial place of Mumtaz Mahal, (the 4th wife of Mughal Emperor Shah Jehan) , who died in Burhanpur, Madhya Pradesh (central India) in childbirth (her 14th child), while on a war campaign with her husband,  and was buried there .  In her short married life of 19 years, she bore him 14 childen.

 Shah Jehan, who later on married 7 more ladies , never forgot Mumtaz Mahal, and commissioned the Taj Mahal , at Agra, as a memorial to his beautiful wife .

Sixteen years after she was buried in Burhanpur, the grave was exhumed, and she was transported to Agra by one of Shah Jehan's son's, and re-entombed (if such a word exists).

(Another of his sons was not so nice. Aurangzeb , jailed his father and enthroned himself. Shah Jehan, embattled by health problems, lay staring at the Taj, reflected in the face of a diamond  in his room, it seems.  This was entirely possible.

 When Shah Jehan died,  two guys quietly transported his body across the river by boat and he was laid to rest next to the tomb of Mumtaz Mahal.)

So many ordinary folks live ordinary lives, die , and are left in peace amidst the elements.

Mumtaz, had a Life, even in Death. 

(this photo by Deepak Amembal Magiceye)           (this photo via Google)
Mumtaz mahal : The old memorial on the left, and the newer one on the right

Some are born
under an outlandish
congregations of planets
and stars,
possibly with the Sun and Moon
both vying
to occupy a constellation
at the same time,
flummoxing the astrolgers
and Life in Death.

Bethrothed at fourteen,
married at nineteen,
as a fourth wife,
mother of fourteen
in nineteen years;
she faded away
at the last birth.

Resting at last
in the soil of Burhanpur
lapped by the Tapti Tiver.

unlike simple mortals
she had a Life in Death.

Sixteen years,
and miles and miles later
disturbed from an infinite sleep,
shifted to Agra
and entombed again,
watched by a husband,
who married seven more
as he now lay,
gazing at one
of the
Wonders of the World.
The Taj Mahal.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Bozoical Maya.....

Once again, we are back with Bozo, Mumbai's only dog-with-his-own-blog.

For a minute I thought it was Bozo  looking at himself in the mirror.  The next minute it was clear (to a photographically incompetent person like me), that taking a photo like this wouldn't be possible.

Turns out , that Bozo's mentor and chronicler of his Life and Times, Magiceye, did some tricks. No, its not a case of twins separated at birth meeting up at Magiceye's.

He used the fx application on his Sony Ericsson phone, to discover Bozo's twin.  (All Greek to me )....

It inspired  some poetry, first in Hindi , our National language. And then one, in English. 

(Magic tricks by Deepak Amembal Magiceye)
सामने ये कौन आया , मन में हुई हलचल ,
मेरे जैसा ही दीखता है, मै तो हो गया पागल,
मै हात उठाऊँ , तो वो भी करता है अनुकरण,
क्या करून समझता नहीं, क्या जाऊ मै शरण,
मै पास गया तो वो भी आया मेरे पास ,
वैसे , मेरा कोई लगता नहीं वो ख़ास ,
मै मच्छी का अस्वाद लेऊ, तो उसने भी खाया ,
मेरे पास दीपक आये तो उसके पास भी पड़ी छाया ...
अगले रोटरी मीटिंग में बोलना पड़ेगा , किसीने देखि है ऐसी माया ?

My disbelieving mind
wavers and wonders
what I see
before me...

So identical,
it drives me mad..

I get up,
he gets up;
I raise a paw,
he does the same to me;
and when
I move towards him,
he fearlessly moves towards me...
He gobbles fish
when I do,
when Deepak
comes and stands
behind me,
he shows a shadow
next to him!

Life is all about illusions and Maya !

(Woof ! Must tell them
the Rotary Club Meeting
when I attend next)!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The HimHer Code

Municipal elections today in Mumbai. My blog and FB friend Slogan Murugan , who chronicles everything "Mumbai"  has posted amazing captures on his blog , Mumbai Paused .

Among many photos, this one on Acharya Donde Marg,  showing the presence of "law and order"  next to some signs, which inadvertently  make a complete hash of the combination of the universal icons for depicting male and female. 

The make shift government-issue-chair-palanquin  actually meant for the old and handicapped citizens, actually brought to mind  the second photo below(sourced from Google) ; a son carrying his aged mother to the voting booth .

One an action from the head, and the other , from the heart.

(first photo by slogan murugan)
There is her
and there is him,
and there's the Law..

He and she slog
to work
through surging crowds,
asphyxiating train rush
return home
to worry about
children and
life again
the next day.

she is so bent
with age,
the grounds come up
to meet her
when she stands;
so he carries her,
his special responsibility,
to cast her vote.

on a fancy road paved
with tiles of the future
the Powers-that-be

make a hash of "him" and "her", 
cursed with
the lack of clarity.
Him and Her,
they walk,
shuffling, supported and carried
right over the sign,
while those with handicapped minds,

they also serve
who only sit and wait ?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Sometimes hunter, sometimes hunted....

My blog friend, one-time fellow competitor, cricket fanatic, trekker, innovative cook, photographer, and in his spare time, a financial advisor and planner, Dhiren Shah, recently went on a visit to Pirotan, an Arabian Sea area in the Marine National Park, Jamnagar District of Gujarat state (on India's west coast).

He was participating, in Anubhav , a marine camp with Anala Outdoors.   This was a camp for kids to learn about marine wildlife,  admire them, learn and have fun with them, and understand that they need not be afraid of any  denizen of the sea.  And that one must not provoke animals etc.

See all his pictures here and here.

Like in many other things, real life intervened, and the kids were also shown the  seafood industry  set ups.  Fishermen with the catch.  Lifeless fish heaps. They saw many of those, captured, dead, and prepared for export,packing and sale. 

One of those,  a post-life picture of a baby ribbon fish , possibly wondering about the use of the sharp teeth now,  and the expression in the eyes,  got the mind-wheels churning....

 P. S.  As you might have guessed, I am a pucca vegetarian....:-))

(photo by Dhiren Shah)
I move around
in oceans
minding my on business,
for long swim-treks
with friends,
taking great care
not to mess up
as we pass by
amazing coral reefs
and marine flora and fauna.

What amazes me
is when biped fellows
who come to enjoy the oceans
just like us,
get their kicks
out of
catching us,
asphyxiating us,
and then,
displaying us,
"Good God ! Look at that !".....

That's what I was about to say,
when they caught me:
"Hey Bhagwan !
Will these guys ever realize,
should another
stronger civilization exist
and discover the earth,
this will
exactly be the look
on the faces of the bipeds
after being caught...."

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Strawberries (and Papaya) with Cream .....

Strawberry season here in Mumbai, and FB and blog friend Magiceye, posted a wonderful photograph of strawberries, which got some one's taste buds tingling. There was a suggestion about Cream.

And lo behold,in minutes,   Magiceye posted an amazing visual of Strawberries and Papaya pieces, immersed in each other in a wonderful cream that smothered them.

Here in Mumbai, fruit vendors will sell strawberries, packed in small cardboard boxes, lined inside by leaves from the native farm. Some folks who think they are modern but are environmentally unaware, continue to sell them in plastic boxes. The sturdy Papaya, is found, many times, wrapped in a newspaper sitting with its contemporaries, and emerges out only when the vendor tells you that he is a good piece to take home.

Naturally , it gave me ideas. ....:-)

(photo by Deepak Amembal Magiceye)
A bridal red,
Strawberry Tai
sitting amidst
her relatives and friends,
on a carpet
of green leaves,
by her family
before she left the hills.

She goes through
some tumultuous times,
in a bag
with the
rowdy bananas
and phoren-returned apples
all together
with an unusual
wrapped in a newspaper.

Times have changed.

it's Papayabhai, the groom,
who comes covered
with newspaper,
for his own good;
while the bride
giggles and nudges her friends.....

Some pre-wedding jitters,
and they arrive together
at the
cool white grounds,
absolutely in pieces,
on their Big Day.

The auspicious time
has come,
and Strawberry Tai and Papayabhai
simply clutch each other
as the  wedding guests
shower them
with dollops of fresh cream,
amidst a confetti of sugar....

Despite 14-2-12 = 0
They celebrate Valentines Day !

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Aaj ka Arjun......

My blogger and FB friend, and prolific chronicler of interesting and out-of-the-way places to drive to, on road trips across Maharashtra, particularly in the Sahyadris, Priyadarshan Kale, gets so immersed in photos of mountains, rivers, rural roads and greenery, that sometimes a bunch of backpacks (his own) strewn on a green plateau, makes for an interesting composition.

Riding his Zen, through forests for extended periods, before returning back to the intrigues of civilization, made him remember the story of the Pandavas, retrieving their "weapons" from the Shami tree, after completing their banishment to the forests and the incognito-one-year, before returning to face the Kauravaas...,  to face the realities of life .....

Inspired in Marathi , then an effort in English....

(photo by Priyadarshan Kale)
सह्याद्रीच्या कड्याकपारीतून
"झेन" मनस्थितीत फिरताना ,
अचानक काळेकाकांना
आपली खांदाशास्त्रे
शामिवृक्षा ऐवजी
दुसरीकडेच दिसली ......
हिरवे कडे, खोल दरी ,
दूरवर दिसणारे कौरवी गाव ,
त्यात फिरणारी लाल दिव्याची गाडी...

निळ्या आकाशाकडे कटाक्ष फेकत ,
त्यांनी  खांदाशास्त्रे उचलली ,
सुंदर प्राणवायूचा दीर्घ श्वास घेत
मान हलवत रथात मागे टाकली ,
आणि साश्रू नयनांनी
सौंदर्याचा निरोप घेतला...

सोमवारी हस्तिनापुरात
जाणे अनिवार्य होते .....
अज्ञात वास संपला होता आणि
ट्राफिकवास व  डीझेलवास  
सुरु  होणार होता !

the exalted green
of the Sahyadris,
on an incognito weekend.

He stops
the Maruti Zen,
to stretch his feet,
and looks for his usual goodies
in his shoulder bags.

Double shouldered bows
with no arrows,
he is Arjun
retrieving his stuff
from the Shami tree.

Immense plateaus,
green valleys,
Boring civilization in the distance
and a  red beacon car
a few miles away.....

He sighs,
and throws his stuff
in the back
of his Zen chariot,
bidding the woods goodbye.

He must be at Hastinapur-Mumbai
by Monday...

It is now time to
to give up
the mountain spray,
and meet up
the perfume of traffic and diesel
once again.....

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Life and Times of a Samosa......

Photographs of the ordinary and mundane are often replete with meaning. And so when my blogger and FB friend Magiceye posts photographs of everyday stuff, I search for a hidden meaning :-)

Mundane or not, this very mouthwatering visual, sort of weakens a firm mind.
But there is a solution .....

Eating imbibes calories. Poetry hopefully doesn't. .....

So.  Bon apetit !

(photo by Deepak Amembal Magiceye)
Its been
A hard life,
from a soft existence,
to facing
drippings of hot oil,
surprisingly cold water
and then
a life altering
palm and finger massage.

Mr and Mrs Samosa,
now totally wrapped
the activities
of their potato kids.

The missus,
holding the kids close,
wrapping her palloo
around her shoulders;
The man,
used to all this
the other potato kids
stands alongside.

Chaos reigns
as they slip into hot oil
and they clutch the kids closer,
to keep them from
feeling the Heat of Life.

A temporary reprieve,
and they rest
on a cool white surface,
some green sympathy.

Bravely facing
a human
with shining eyes
and a watering mouth.

Ma and Pa Samosa .

A family,
that gets together,
grows together,
suffers together,
and ends their life together,
in a harakiri
of human greed.....

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Meowing Times....

My FB friend and photographer Nandan Tavanandi,  posted these wonderful photos of cats, in his FB album called Waghachi Mavshi.  Which means "the aunt of the tiger", in my language, Marathi.  (To read a story that explains the relationships between animals and their attitudes read this .)  

Tiger's-aunt or no, the cat moves with a great sense of attitude and seems to be thinking about something important.

While the cat seems to be on some kind of reconnaissance/fact-finding round in the woods, it wasn't very difficult to imagine what was going on through the smart cat's mind.

Given the election atmosphere in India, sudden alliances, understandings and changing of loyalties ,  diktats by the Election Commission (at a huge cost) to cover items like statues(presumed) advantageous to certain candidates,  and remembering a long gone politician (of my youth) who gave up electoral politics to do social service,  the following lines happened.....

(Originally thought in Marathi, then made in English...)  

रानात निवडणुका,
कोणावर विश्वास ठेवावा ,
समजत नाही ...
निर्वाचन आयोगाने " उंदरांचे सापळे
हिरव्या गवताने गुंडाळा ",
म्हणून फतवा काढला ;
वाघोबा बोलणी करायला येउन गेला,
माकडीण सारखी झाडावर एक बोलते,
माझ्या समोर दुसरं;
रानडुक्कर टोळी सभा उधळ्त्ये,
अस्वल मधेच माझ्याबाजूने बोलतं,
मधेच वाघोबासमोर मान डोलवतं..
मला वाटत , आता
कोणीतरी काहीतरी बोलायचा आधी
माझ्या सारखी ज्येष्ठ मावशीने
"मी पक्ष्यांचं काम करण्यासाठी रानाच्या बाहेर पडत्ये "
असं सांगितलेलं बरं! ...

She tours
taking stock
of the land....

Election season,
and the Election Commission
has decreed
all rat-traps must be covered
with green...

So difficult to decide ...
Such unreliable colleagues,
untrustworthy, fake;

Tiger has been in
for some strategic talks,
Lady Monkey has been campaigning
and speaking
both ways,

Then the Wild Pigs
keep creating a ruckus
in meetings,
and Old Bear,
sometimes smiles with me
sometimes drinks with the Tiger...

Maybe ,
I should,
in the highest tradition
of Indian Politics,
retire myself
with great fanfare
from the field,
and declare
"I am doing this
so I can serve the people better"....

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Bozoical Fashion

Bozo, Mumbai's only dog-with-his-own-blog is back !   His mentor and chronicler , Magiceye, recently captured him in one of his  quieter moments.

Mumbai has been having a strange winter.  Temperatures colder than we have seen, and just when you think it is winter,  you face a sudden hot day  and start sweating. Bozo doesn't just take naps, but is a keen observer of things around him, and he even watches TV sometimes.  He doesn't watch all the Election brouhaha, or the excitements in New Delhi or Cricket  Debacles.

There is so much more to life ....

(photo by Deepak Amembal Magiceye)
in Mumbai's toniest suburbs
has its moments....

Lying at the master's feet
as he watches TV,
I heard someone talk about
Kids India Fashion Week,
where small kids
walked the ramp.

I can see
a day, when
they will have
Canine India Fashion Week
and folks like
my friends Moti and Boris
will do a show
wearing bow ties,
and Lassie of Carter Road Fame
will fight
to be a showstopper
and walk with a smirk,
her Hill Rd Jackets.

Me ?
I lead a simple life.
When its cold,
I do push-ups,
holding on to the window sill,
or balcony railing,
as I await
my master's return;
and when its hot,
I do
an inverse Shavaasan
on the
cool marble floor,
cooling my nostrils
a rotating fan...

These guys have a Fashion "Weak"....

Mine is a special Bozo Strong !

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Stork Satyagraha

My FB friend, and photography enthusiast Nandan Tavanandi encountered this bird on a trip to Bhavnagar area of Gujarat (on India's western coast), and immediately labelled this stork as stubborn.

Maybe,  because they were trying to forge ahead on this path, and the bird knew that it was , possibly, not allowed, there being a bird sanctuary in this area.

This ability to abide by the  strength of your conviction, and follow through with action, just brought to mind another BIG entity*** who originated somewhere in this region too.....

(photo by Nandan Tanavandi)
Our home,
Velavadar Black Buck National Park
and Piram Bet
near Bhavnagar,
rich with
tropical grasslands,
getting trespassed.

Green means different things
to those
erect and sell buildings
and those
fly in
to nurture young ones.

One jingles
and the other waves
in the breeze.

those who should know better
refuse to read
and tread dangerously,
I must do my duty,
come what may.

And stop them
from going where
they shouldn't....

Like the Big man
from my region said,
"Be the change you want to see"......

***The Father of the Nation...

Friday, February 3, 2012

The Plot......

As children in school, we learnt the depressing fact, that parallel lines never meet.

In real life something else is true.

This is a non-mathematical-and-poetic AND/OR  non-poetic-and-mathematical response, to a young one who wrote a lovely poem about misunderstandings, egos, hurts, memories and doubts peppered with with obstinate outlooks.

If destiny plotted attitude vs time,  one might possibly see something like this.  (With a wild hope that the fibrillation happens at some time :-)....)

 (amazingly unscientific graph by me)

Parallel lines
were not
born that way.

They were sinusoidal
the enthusiasm
and belief
flattening out.

With some element of shock,
it is still possible
they may fibrillate
meet some day.

A rose, by any other name .....

My FB and photographer friend  Anand Amembal  posted a profusion of rose photographs, after a trip to the Maharashtra Nature Park in Dharavi, Mumbai.

This particular photograph , has a dark background (achieved by adjusting the aperture and shutter speed), although the photo has been clicked in a garden during daytime, possibly noon !

And this had something to do with a sense of starkness and sharpness of the rose that came through, reminding me of someone , who once bloomed with great hope for us in the country, but now prefers a dignified silence, surrounded , by what some might say, is dark times. 

Those who read the front page of newspapers as opposed to Page 3 and sports pages , may know what I am talking about .....

(photo by Anand Amembal)
facing up,
fresh into the sunlight
bringing new hope
on a new day,
in a garden
with opportunistic weeds,
he stands now,
old ,
and tired
of what he sees,
wiry young
z-plus security
surrounding him....

lost in strength,
and color,
a few
curled in disgust,
he stands,
doubting all those
green in envy
crowding around,
and relaizes,
how difficult it is
to be
Head flower
in a chaotic garden....

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The 'Red'dish Bull

My blog and FB friend, Nisha Jha,  who blogs at Le Monde - A poetic Travail is currently in Cambodia, volunteering at a school, and has posted pictures depicting life in Cambodia here.

One of the pictures was that of a popular street food in Cambodia , described as Barbecued Bull.  

That  marketing should have reached this blatant level was very disturbing, but not surprising.  Times have changed, wars have  happened, and life is short.   So is memory.

Ages ago, Prah Kor , the revered fighting bull of Cambodia, and his sister, Prah Keo, were cheated and kidnapped by a jealous King of Siam (Thailand) , who wanted to own them. They were separated by a special rope as they hid along the  Stoeung Proth (Proth River), and Prah Kor was taken away, never to be seen again.

Today the bulls are still taken away .  To be eaten. Dismembered. And never to be seen again. 

  (photo by Nisha Jha)
Prah Kor,
the magical
fighting Bull of Cambodia,
into defeat
by the King of Siam
who dragged him away
with a magical rope
stretched to separate him
from his brother bull,
on the shores of
river Stoeung Proth.

There are no more
magical ropes
or hopes...

Evolution means
you gore it,
kill it,
hang it,
display it,
cook it,
and dismember it
in public,
to devour in pieces,
spiced into oblivion.

History repeats.

The Rope is now called
Survival of the fittest....

Take a bow, Mr Darwin....

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A Swinging Life ?

My blog and FB friend, M S Gopal aka Slogan Murugan, has an amazing photoblog, The Indian Road Romeo , where he posted this very evocative  visual, clicked by him , on a trip to Nashik Vineyards. He also has another photo blog , Mumbai Paused  dedicated to Mumbai, the city  that is always on the move, as he describes it.  An amazing collection of vignettes  from Mumbai.

  Nashik is a few hours north east of Mumbai , on the banks of the reverred Godavari river, and the soil is supposed to be ideal for grape cultivation. Since the last few years it has appeared prominently on the Wine Map , with great attention being paid to the cultivation and soil etc.

Grapes as a cash crop, and wine as an industry, and land as an asset,  is an attractive proposition.  Except for the local woman villager, who finds ways and means of looking after her little child, while she slogs in the fields.

The owners make profits, export wines, hold grape festivals. The lady's husband may typically be found with his cronies in town,  drinking away with his friends.

I wonder what the child will think when he grows up.

(photograph by Slogan Murugan /M S Gopal)
Some big men
not always
sons of the soil,
worry about soil type,
ground fertility,
and pests,
proudly siring
and nurturing vineyards...

Some other big men,
the weather,
the life stage,
the fertility,
the nurturing,
the burning Sun,
sire some little ones,
to a bare minimum life
in an organized vineyard.

Wrapped in
colors of maternal softness,
rocked by the breeze,
they watch
the seasons
change from bare posts and stakes
to laden vines.

Like their life,
from a bare,
lazy, spoilt,
drink-with-your-pals father
to a
hardworking mother,
who looks on
in wonder
at both the fruits of her labor....