Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Royal Tour 2012

No, I am not a technically infatuated individual. But such "technical" photos  of dynamos  inspire poetic thoughts, when you learn, that  they were part of a anniversary celebration motorcycle ride done by a bunch of 31 folks who call themselves "Bisons Ride Hard"   and do wonderful, fun and educational trips  across this wonderful land.

They recently did a 24 hour ride across the Sahyadris to Hubli in Karnataka, and then back to Mumbai via Belgaum, Kolhapur, Wai, Panchgani, and the coastal highway in Maharashtra.

A tribute to the hardy vehicle, Rani Enfielda, of the Royal Enfielders...getting a much needed treatment in PanchGani , while the others get theirs (with cakes etc)....

(photograph by the Bisons/Old Monk) 
Rani Enfielda
the Mango Man's Cleopatra,
celebrating her anniversary
a survey of her subjects

across the Sahyadris
and red hot Mirchi Plains.

A 31-exhaust bang salute
and the wheels turn
in great speed
churning her memory
as she remembers
saluting the tricolor,
praying to the Lord
on his own beach in Kokan,
and even going up
the Mumbai coastline
to dream of chikoos.

But this one is special.

Serenaded by
special LED lights
of the night,
dedicated but tired,
she is the queen
of all she surveys across the Pasarni...

And while her subjects
with something
the color of petrol,
she quietly checks in
to the Five-Songs Spa;
The source of her dynamo energy
needs a facial,
special petrol cleaning,
new oil lotions
a decent cleaning
of the brushes,
and she drinks a toast
to the group,
with a glass
of the oil-petrol mix,
beautifully mixed.

As Rani Enfielda,
she must not
and cannot rest....

She must lead them
down the mountain
and up the coast to Mumbai.

Only then
she will rest,
heaving a bit,
cooling in a garage amidst
envious BMW's,
maybe, just maybe
a few
tears of oil
will fall where she stands
leaning to one side,
how much fun it all was.....

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Waiting for Arjun ....

My FB friend Vithal C Nadkarni  is a senior consultant with the Times of India group. He writes the Cosmic Uplink column for The Economic Times edit page three times a week. 

He posted this wonderful photograph of the Shami or Purple Bauhinia, showing off is blossoms. Trees , per se, are an endangered lot in Mumbai, and so it feels good to see a tree like this , which he had actually picked up as a sapling from the Tusli lake Forest environs as a young man, and planted and later transplanted  to a larger area.

 Known variously , as pink butterfly tree, purple orchid flower tree, purple camel's foot and in Indian languages Bauhinia is called Mandar, in Konkani , and Rakta Chandan in Marathi, Deva Kanchan in Kannada, Kaniyar in Hindi. 

  As per the epic Mahabharata, the Pandavas were five brothers who fought against evil forces (in the form of the unscrupulous and cheating 100 Kauravas) with a set of their divine and distinctive weapons. They abandoned their weapons and went into exile for one year. They, led by Arjun,  hid their weapons in a Shami tree and found them at the same place when they returned from exile. They then worshipped the tree before going to a battle, which they won and this epic is also observed with the celebration of Dussehra festival, which we just celebrated . People symbolically exchange with each other, the leaves of this tree at Dussehra.

The Shami tree
has come
a long way
in body and in mind....


In ancient times,
the tree
standing with friends
in a forest
was an almirah
for shade,
maybe even messages.

it stands,
massive and stoic,
all the weapons
perforate in society,
a scarcity of oxygen
due to the avarice of a a few,
and so many of its relatives
by those nuts
addicted to concrete nests and money.

Continuing ceaselessly
to give shade
for an Arjun or Krishna
to appear again ...

Monday, October 29, 2012

Blooming in the mind...

My blog friend Sylvia Kirkwood of Tacoma Washington,  clicks magical photos which she posts on her photoblog, Sylvia From Over The Hill, along with quotations suitable for the particular photo.  She posted this capture, with the quotation "Age is no barrier. It's a limitation you put on your mind."

While she herself, at 78 is a shining example of what she quotes, sometimes a mind like mine, can go backwards into the old days,  as the image triggers a memory. As it did, of a famous photo of Marilyn Monroe, trying to hold down her white frock as it flared around her, her blond hair shining...

And the slippery green, the dark, the mess of stem networks in the background suddenly starts making sense...

(photo by Sylvia Kirkwood)
In an ever changing
fluid life,
she stands
her blonde wisps of hair
reflecting the light,
as she holds down
the undulating expanse
of her white frock,
so perfect
on her frame.

And sometimes
we forget
that the world
would not have seen her
had it not been
for the complicated
underwater maze
the green room support chorus,
shining flat in the background,
the slimy creatures
in black slithering
amidst branches
so much behind-the-scenes networking,
and her powerful admirers
who occasionally
plucked her away
and displayed her on their arm....

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Bozoical Breaking News

Bozo, Mumbai's only dog-with-his-own-blog still believes in living by rules. That is what his mother taught him, and he cannot stand those who make a hobby of disobeying. 

Unfortunately, there are some others, who get swayed by a flying lifestyle and the freedom that it gives.  Mumbai is full of such types.

But clearly, the city continues to run, simply because of citizens like Bozo, who ensure that rules are followed in their own little patch of green.   Sometimes, they do get ideas from watching TV as they lie at the feet of Magiceye in the evenings. ....

Bozo in citizen journalist mode ...

This black winged fellow
must be
a politician.

Here I am,
minding the house,
guarding some
grains and stuff
kept out to dry
in the balcony.

To be sure,
we have safety railings
so I don't
go overboard
chasing such trespassers,
as I dart
between the hibiscus
and roses
and the tulsis.....

But encroaching,
swooping down,
trying to grab things
that do not belong to them,
and then cawing away
as if someone was wronging them,
are the hallmarks
of those
who specialize
in flying around indiscriminately,
scavenging around
and filling their coffers.

I will not rest
and like Arvind Kejriwal,
I will
expose their deeds,
shell nests, winged directors
sharp beaks and all.

I see them all
below the balcony
for the bark statement.

I guess I need to do my best woof ....


Saturday, October 27, 2012

Life's gentle slopes....

This is a poem written on demand.  From another blogger , who likes the subject of this photo and thought the nose ring needed to be honored with a poem.

This is a young photoblogger  who is obsessed with noserings .  Never loses an opportunity to wear them, despite not having a pierced nose.

When I was young, it was always known that those who carried a nose ring well, and looked amazing wearing it, had the ideal nose :  lovely, straight, and delicate like the fresh bud of a champa flower .... नाजूक चाफेकळी .

Today, you don't have to get your nose pierced, you get "naths" or noserings that clip on, and how you look wearing it, really has to do with how thrilled and happy you are about it.

You need to hear what the pearls feel .....

Pearly whites,
shining in the smile
amused at the
of some other white pearls,
on a
thin path of gold.

A few by themselves,
a few clumped together
with some
beady red types
pretending to be rubies.
and then
throwing themselves a curve
to form a lovely
pearly flower
reaching out through the
to the gold wire.

As the little gold molecule
said to the beady pearl,
"The nose is not pierced....
Be grateful
for the gentle slope
of her nose;
Had she the nose
like a champa bud
specified by the standards,
you and I
would have slipped
fallen by the wayside
in no time ....."

Friday, October 26, 2012

Free Mindful Fall ....

My FB friend, Arvind Khanna, of Delhi, posted this capture of a Champa flower in soft landing on the grass, in a park.

 Bringing to mind a lifetime of existing, first as a bud among many, on the tall branches that flowered ; then in a fragrant flouresence of white , gold, and pale green stems, so secure in company of others.

And then the fall.

And it occurred to me that there were different modes of fall.  

Read on :

Some fall,
palms facing up,
hankering for more,
enamoured as they are
of positions high up there,
end up
crushing their base,
or turning over
in the grass
to a broken life.

And some fall,
because it is time to fall,
after a lifetime
of giving
sustenance to
birds, bees, and Gods
and a fragrance to other's lives;
they fall,
palms downwards,
head bent in gratitude
only to land
on blades of grass
rushing to meet them.

some fingers
then lift them,
cup them in palms,
and offer them
to the One who made them.

Perhaps, they go to heaven ....

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The beauty of it all .....

Long before fancy folks introduced the word "entrepreneur", some rural folks have been introducing us city folks to handmade implements with great use in kitchens and gardens.  One such lady in a roadside stall selling various types of knives and implements, on the periphery of Delhi, cheerfully roasting in the midmorning sun. The woman who sells the knives, iron tools, Kadhais, Mortar and pestles, wooden chaklas etc. at the weekly bazaar...

Clicked by my blogfriend, gardener, birder, and nutrition researcher Sangeeta Khanna , on one of her forays , possibly looking for handmade traditional implements for her house.

The lady in the picture, probably never learnt marketing, or  fancy talk with customers, but can possibly give a run for their money to those in a uniform, a badge around their neck, wandering in air conditioned halls.

The inconvenience, the Sun, the  missing "road" in the roadside, and the quiet effort to earn for her family. Making friends with Sangeeta an additional plus. 

And it all shows in this beautiful face....

roasted brown and fragrant,
like the old rich

and respectful;
a mass of dalia****,
with a bit of
clove, cinnamon,
and nuts;
or perhaps,
a beautifully stirred payasam
smiling at you
as it thickens
the almond eyes,
and pistcahios,
and raisins
amidst safrron streaks
in a morning Sun.

Beauty and practicality
with great alacrity
as the fair white dupatta
rises up
to wipe a
shining wet face,
and in a
complete understatement says,
" I guess I should have known this....
Fair isnt Lovely any more....!"

***Rawa : Cream of wheat
****Dalia : Broken wheat,bulgur

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

An Elephantine Dussehra

My blogfriend Braja Sorenson is well acquainted with temples, processions and elephants,  since she lives in Mayapur , Paschim Banga in the vicinity of the Iskcon Temples.  She posted this photograph of an elephant getting into the spirit of the festival, so to speak.

I just thought this beats all those L'Oreal, Revlon and Lakme folks by miles .....

(photo by Braja Sorenson)
A childhood
spent wandering behind her mother
amidst jungle treks
and river baths
in Thekkady
or was it Periyar,
she doesn't remember.

Then an adolescence
on being shifted
to a park in Pune;
bearing a decorated seat,
taking these bipeds for a ride
waving with her trunk
acknowledging folks
like a model on a ramp;
being poked
as an instruction  to turn back.

a trip somewhere
in a huge van
or a train enclosure,
unable to get her bearings,
and she was told it was God's work
at a temple procession in Mumbai.

And then all those walks
across the
terrible Mumbai roads,
noisy autos, racing bikes,
four wheeled colorful contraptions
with two legged colorless types inside;

Sedate in the Sun,
she paces across the potholes,
of her burning soles.

She hears music,
folks in colorful mirrored garbs,
dancing away,
whirling to the beat
of some folks on a stage
trumpeting songs...
Evil looking chaps
(like the ones who
salivated at her tusks,)
set up for burning.

something good triumphing over evil.

An inexplicable urge
to dance
and play garba
with her painted trunk,
her back
decorated with colorful seats,
and a tikka and crown
with beads on her immense forehead.

That is her dream.
Before she gets betrothed,
possibly to someone
in the latest elephant technology park
or some one's
grandson in the wilds of Thekkady...

Unlike the bipeds,
she follows rules 
of traffic, noise, and others
of the Mumbai Police,
who refuse her permission.....

And so  she pines for
and makes do
with some Alta streaks on her feet
Nail polish
on her sculpture Nails
and carries on.

The former,
because honestly,
it is good for her cracked heels,
and looks amazing;
the latter,
Hey ! it's in fashion !

It's festival time,
she needs to put
her good foot forward ...

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Bozo Against Injustice

Bozo, Mumbai's on dog-with-his-own-blog thinks things have gone too far.  Sometimes he gets really upset. But he never throws tantrums like some folks he sees on television, accusing,  shouting and pointing fingers. 

He has, unsuccessfully, looked for the organization called Dogs Against Injustice, but having not found it, is thinking of approaching a certain individual in UK, who he thinks understands him.

Bozo has no control over who clicks his photographs because he is so photogenic. Mostly it is Magiceye.

 Same is true of Aishwarya Rai .  (No Magiceye doesnt click her pictures). But when she cribs, folks listen.

All Bozo can do is write a poem....   

My eyes,
they say
eyes are a window
to the Soul..

But for the Soul,
it is also a door
to look out through.

Though sometimes,
they fill up
due to things I see,
and then
I do see things
in a blurred way.

Folks are changing.

He is smitten with
this outrageous contraption
with two wheels
and takes her
on visits to see Ganpati Bappa....

He goes off
to Morachi Chincholi
to watch the
Peacocks and peahens
do the
"Ya Raoji, basaa raoji"

And just
because the bulls and cows
make better eyes,
he goes riding in their carts
in their village...

Tell me,
whatever happened
to taking me to Juhu Beach ?

Rooted Folks....

My young friend, Nanki Nath, from Jaipur, studied at the the National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, and is currently a doctoral student at the Industrial Design Centre, at the Indian Institute of Technology, Powai (Mumbai). She is also a blogger, and blogs at , what else, Nankinath  

The campus where she studies  (and where I live) , is 400 acres of virgin land on the shores of the Powai lake, where parts have been landscaped and organized amidst structures dedicated to educating  the country's young.

Wooded areas, mowed lawns, folks with laptops and wires in ears, cattle moving around thinking of safety in numbers, shorts, tees, heads covered with saree palloos, kids on bicycles, walking to school kicking pebbles and sticks around, we have them all.  Sometimes with a leopard thrown in for variety.

And it just came to mind, that this capture of a tree, from her office, really tells it like it is .....

(photo by Nanki Nath of IDC)
Designer trees
one of a kind,
all pervading

amidst a
straggly lawn
shying away
to the edges,
starved of resources,
hogged by this
unique leafless entity,
looking down in wonder
at its shadow roots
just below the surface.....

It takes
an old mother tree,
aging graciously,
remembering its life,
a tree resplendent in leaves
crowded and green,
communicating ,
holding in its womb,
and squirrels,
to grow roots so deep,
that they spread
deep inside the earth,
a rock here,
a spring there,
chatting by a water table,
telling everyone
about those
who sat in its shade....

And a 1st year M Des***,
nudges a 2nd yearite,
and asks,
"Should we move those benches elsewhere now ?"

*** M Des : Master of Design,  the first degree offered in Design, a  2 year course.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Junglee Gardens

My friend Sangeeta Khanna of Delhi, who is a  green thumbed plant researcher, nutrition expert, traditional food scholar,  trekker and photographer,  posted this photograph , of an early morning sun focusing on folks in her garden.   Then she wonders if she should be calling it a jungle, given the free and wild way in which things are  growing....


There are artistically landscaped, color co-ordinated gardens, where no one really knows the names of the plants and an orchid is superior to a homegrown cherry tomato , rose, spinach or karela.

And then there are gardens, where the trees are free, the various fruits and vegetables grow together, fighting for places in the sun, some rebel, some are mature, and some behave like teenagers, obsessed about their looks.  A good mother knows all her children .

She walked amidst them , and clicked the Sun trying to trespass....

My friend can probably tell you the life histories and characteristics of most of those growing in her ?

It takes all kinds.

Some stand,
tall, green and upright,

in middle age
brown vertebral spines
managing all the foliage.

in balance with their land
cheerfully face up
to each morning
humouring the Dew kids,
big leaves
lording over the little ones,
some stems weighed down
by the fruits
of their lives.

Some middle class types,
eek out an existence
in the shadow of
the large,
some defiant E types,
think they are
on an Internet cable
connected to the world
on a high.

But the ones
to really take the cake
are these
fair and beautiful
flowery damsels
artistically posing
just so
trying to catch the
tanning Sun
through a patch in the Green....

Fall has arrived,
and Ma Earth has declared
it's all about
Brown and Lovely......


Friday, October 19, 2012

Stones, Hearts, and Living....

My friend Deepak Amembal, when he visited Hampi in Karnataka State of India, must have been spoilt for choice when he looked through his camera viewfinder.  He could have kept the camera button pressed, and continuously clicked, and he still wouldn't have run out of these evocative rocks that represent an entire civilization in stone, on the banks of the Tungabhadra River.

So many rock structures, some amazingly balanced despite the ravages of erosive time, vestiges of a splendorous living city  teeming with art,commerce power and life. 

It just occurred to me that there must have been old people then too, and I wondered how the society then treated them.  I saw a very evocative image in these rocks clicked by Deepak, and I have a question.

Read on...

(photo by Deepak, white line imagination by me )
The old man,
ramrod straight,
bag in his right hand,
and his frail wife,
resting a while,
her head on his shoulder,
legs crossed;
a pause
the intense mid day sun,
thinking of
of their days alone,
and no one coming to see them,
The children
tunneling in
success and progress
to fill coffers
on any day,
win against the Joneses
and these two
waiting for a deliverance
and requiem in stone.

And then these too,
solid as they come,
a she sits looking up
head on his shoulder,
wordless against the sky
aeons under a burning son,
washed by the winds and rains;
they've seen the cities of gold
the celebrations
the plunder,
the artists and the city,
the stone hearted art.

they are not alone.
As folks
of all colors and persuasions,
come wandering by
to peer and look up at them,
click pictures,
paint and write stories.

What a pity,
in this day and age,
the old parents
have to turn to stone,
for someone to notice them....

Cycle Stands of Life

My blogfriend Kavi Arasu, the original person who encouraged me to start this poetry blog, is back again with this very interesting capture.  The systematic parking of cycles, the slightly different cycle models to the right ,  and the existence of non-dug-up sidewalks probably means that this is not Mumbai.

Never mind.

The message conveyed by the scene is surely universal .....

(photo by Kavi Arasu) 
A sinusoidal life
replete with peaks and troughs,
allowing speedy zooms
a momentary
resting at a base.

Some though,
constantly on a curve,
cycle through life,
eyes only ahead,
and miss out
on the
and Peace.

The troughs
are the
Cycle Stands of Life;
where you
you have land legs,
a deep breath
inhaling leaf fragrance,
a pebble
creating ripples in the water
and a sudden thirst
for the beauty around you..

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Bhakri Tales : एका भाकरीची दुसरी गोष्ट ....

Some folks have all the luck.  My friend Shruti Nargundkar of Melbourne recently visited her maternal home in Maharashtra , in India,  and was blessed with  some amazing childhood events, happening all over again.  She recreates these for her own family in Melbourne; but there is something about a winter morning, green smells , wet earth at dawn, bath water fragrance in a traditional copper boiler, Zunka scraped on an cast iron kadhai,  and a dollop of ghee melting in a hurry on a steaming hot bhakri.....
A married daughter coming  to her maternal home on a visit , is an EVENT , like no other.  Read about it  , on Shruti's blog post  "Heart cooled in homecoming...
Some of us who  don't get impressed by the fast globalized breakfast cereals and quick foods, that need to be marketed so much , often hark back to our childhoods in  Maharashtra, where food was cooked  and served  (in present parlance) , "on-line " , so to speak, bursting with freshness,  flavour, nutrition and love. 

Nothing beats sitting along side a Mom making Jowar Bhakris, materializing and blooming on some red hot coals of a sigdi, a breaking of it into crisp fresh halves, steam emanating from the innards, as it is slid into your plate with a dollop of white butter and/or ghee; and you greedily have it with the traditional Zunka, (spiced garbanzo preparation), some amazing vegetable curry, pumpkin raita or even just plain cut onion and a chilly oozing attitude. 

There had  to be an ode in Marathi and English.....

आठवणींची रात्र लांब असते
विचार दूर दूर वरून घरी येतात
आणि आडवे होतात ...
आणि पहाटेच्या थंडीत
घट्ट झालेल्या तुपासारखे एकत्र होतात ....

सूर्यकिरणानच्या उबेत ,
आईच्या आनंदाश्रुंमध्ये चिंब भिजतात
आणि मायेने
पाठीवर फिरवलेल्या हातांच्या स्पर्षांने
हळू हळू कधी कधी गोलाकारात बसतात ....

लहानपण च्या आठवणींनचे
निखारे कसे फुलतच राहतात,
भुकेल्या तव्यावर पडलेल्या छोट्याना
एखादा मायेचा पाण्याचा हात लागतो,
आणि जुन्या स्वप्नात बुडलेल्या
एका वाढलेल्या ताटात
झुणकामाय मिरचीला आणि कांद्याला
जवळ घेते आणि म्हणते,
"इतकी सुंदर पापुद्रावली भाकरी
आणि तूप नाहीतर लोण्याचा गोळा
यांच्या बरोबर 

एका ताटात असायला नशीब लागतं !"

journeying for miles,
way into the deep night,
resting at their destination,
snuggling close and thick
like an aggregating
dollop of thickening ghee
in a cold winter dawn.....

A shower of warm sun rays,
a sprinkle of maternal tears
overflowing joy,
and they come together
in a satisfying dough,
patted into rounds
with great concern
and resting hands on back.

Roasted on hungry griddles
Old memories burning bright
and fresh again,
the grainy surface
gently wiped
by a  concerned Mater's
wet palm,
old stories bloom
into cheerful new pockets,
cut and waiting to exhale
in mirth and joy.

The avidly waiting
Dreamy Zunkabai
cossetted together
with the wayward onion
and teenage Mirchi
suddenly blinks and says,
you must have done
something good
in your past Karma;
it needs  lots and lots of luck
to be on the same page
as such an
amazing bhakri
with that melting dollop

golden butter or ghee...."

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Bozo Royale

Bozo, Mumbai's only dog-with-his-own-blog, is in a good mood.  The rains have gone, taking the terrible thunder and lightening with them,  not to mention the puddles and wet everywhere. 

There is a nip in the air early mornings, the balcony is fragrant with the various plants, and it is once again fun to spend time wandering about the house, checking up on stuff, breathing in the gardens , peering into the kitchen, and scratching on the sofa leg to catch the attention of Magiceye, who is actually smitten with a certain twowheeler these days .

Even then, Bozo's cheerfulness must have been contagious, because he happily clicked him in his favourite domain....

You know,
some are born kings,
some strive to become kings,
some have kingship
thrust upon them.

(I've heard the
then young fellow
read this
ages ago
while doing his essay....)

I was born
far from any palaces,
in the midst of chaos,
got mixed up
and ran with the wild.

Kings don't do that.

These Dada dogs
troubled me,
teaching me all the tricks,
a little girl took me home.

This doesn't happen to Kings.

But here I am,
so many years later,
freshly bathed,
a bit of exercise
and a satisfying grub,
in a cool balcony
away from the October heat.

I breathe in deeply
the perfume of roses and tulsi,
and wheatgrass
and  hibiscus,
mixed with
the aroma of cooking;
I acknowledge my
flying subjects,
who look on from the window ledge,
and I sit, stretch and sneeze
someone rubs my back, tickles me
and says "God bless you!"

If that is not about
kingship of this jungle
being thrust upon you,
I don't know
what is !

Monday, October 8, 2012

Monsoon Ghosts

Mumbai has been thrashed , the last few evenings, by an onslaught of  rain amidst a lot of grumbling thunder and crackling lightning.  This odd-timed rain is of no use to the ones who really look forward, year after year , to a good monsoon for their crops. Like our esteemed politicians, all fire and brimstone, noise, and no substance.

My friend Magiceye, captured a typical rainy late evening scene in a suburb of Mumbai, as folks return home , on dark roads, lit only by vehicle headlights sometimes,  with dull visibility,  and a sense of having to make do with the  lack of proper infrastructure. 

Looked ghostlike. Two bright eyes, bobbing and floating in the gloom. Till I realized whose ghost it could be .

The Monsoon ghost
its energy spent this year,
simply wandering around,
with sound and bright fury,
in totally random places,
descends on Mumbai
like a politician
with no substance,
flying in
amidst lights
by a
noisy helicopter,
but with nothing
useful to say.

Walking ,
finding his way
amidst dark potholed roads,
trees cowering under
an onslaught
of illegal building plans
and empty roads,
lit by a lone four wheeler
limping on
expensive fuel.

A lone dog,
wandering ,
looking for shelter,
gives him a look,
emits a disgusted moan,
and disappears into the darkness.