Monday, January 30, 2012

Karmic Fish

My FB friend, and photographer  Sanjeev Hirudayaraj from the UK,  posted , what I call, a picture with great pathos  showing a bunch of fish in a frozen bin, after being caught somewhere.

This photo almost begged for a comment.  From a vegetarian. Such was the expression in the eyes of the stoic , but dead fish.

It means different things to different folks. To an absolute vegetarian, it is disturbing to see them lying like this, helpless, with their eyes open. Waiting, even after death, for some further mutilation, while some folks  rub their hands in glee at the prospect of a great meal.

I wonder what the theory of Karma says.
(photo bt Sanjeev Hirudayaraj)
A lifetime
quick turns and dives,
in underwater parks,
sometimes  alone,
sometimes with friends,
and sometimes,
trailing the big chaps,
chasing after
real and fake
in water....

That wilful streak in me
made me bite the bait;
I ascended,
not to heaven,
but to a dingy boat,
where I was summarily flung
into a bin
where I froze
into oblivion;
stupid me,
I walked into a trap with my eyes open.

They say it's my past Karma.

But we fish
dont get over at Death.

Without fail,
all our past Karmas are so bad,
that even after Death,
they cut us up,
singe us,
burn us,
slather us with stuff
and fry us.

Some folks
get memorials and plaques
dedicated to them
in a great hurry;
we folks
get someone slurping,
wiping the plate with a Pao,
and saying,
"What a great fish curry !" .

Nature, Nurture, and Ladyfingers

There is a wonderful FB Community called Assamese Cuisine and Recipes, where someone posted a photo of pink Ladyfingers or Okra as it is called outside India. My blogger friend Sangeeta Khanna  who is a botanist gardener commented on it along with her friend Nirupama , and I learned a lot about this variety.

Got me thinking about Nature and Nurture. We so called cerebral-cortex enabled folks keep inserting an OR between them. When actually we should be inserting an AND.

And learning from Nature.....

(photo by Marlee Basumatary)
Little broadbeans,
growing amidst
and learning
to find their way
to a sliver of sunlight
tall sugarcanes,
pick up a bit of sweetness
and even
a purplish blush.

Ladyfingers Okra,
cheeks all pinkish red
in the high altitudes
nippy air
of Assam,,
having possibly
grown up
amidst the beets
under the tutelage of
the dowager pumpkins.
and they revert
to their old color
in warmer climes....

Some roses too,
colorful colleagues,
picking up
a fine tinge of each,
avoiding extra thorns, 
but keeping
their own scent intact...

Unlike us,
smart bipeds,
the cerebral-cortexless ones,
to pick up the good,
and avoid
the doubtful and bad.

for us to learn,
as we  constantly
seek distinctions between
without realizing
that for
young ones to soak up
the good,
they must see
some good,
in the easy big bad
world around them.

We argue and discuss
so much
about Nature and Nurture,
without undertsanding
they are never separate,
and that
Nature always Nurtures

If we only looked.
And learned.

Banyan Aji

This photo of a Banyan tree, aged at the neck, so to speak, was posted by my blogger friend Magiceye, as part of his Mumbai Daily : Monochrome Mania series.

Nature has an unusual way of sometimes replicating outlines of human face-shapes. And sometimes it brings to mind the aging neck of a long-gone grandmother in her 80's.....

 (photo by Deepak Amembal Magiceye)
a versatile young woman
extending her mind
to many sides,
and reaching
far and wide
in native medicinal matters,
great attention to her
and green connections,
she now stands
in place,
in her golden age,
still majorly green,
unable to battle
the wrinkles
at her neck.....

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Ready to eat ?

My blogger friend from Kerala, Shail Mohan, first posted a wonderful closeup of Avial, the famous Kerala vegetable preparation, and then she followed it up with this wonderful capture of a plantain leaf, just right for picking. These were posted as part of the series , where she is participating.

Plantain leaves are  used for serving traditional meals on special occasions, and grown in gardens , since so many parts of the tree, like the fruits, the leaves, the flowers,  and even the stems  have great culinary value and utility.  Plantain trees kind of grow in groups , and you often see many new younger trees  around the older fruit laden mature ones.

Kind of gave me an  idea......

 (photo by Shail Mohan)

So many
crowded into a grove
in the garden.

Some mature ones with
a gaggle of kids hanging on.

Some younger
shorter ones,
growing alongside,
learning from the wet soil,
looking up
trying to emulate the elder sisters.

And some,
freshly unfurled
into adulthood,
bathed in an incessant rain,
shrugging off the drops,
faces scrubbed clean
and shining,
looking up to the Sun,
that the warmth
and the Gold
will attract
who will come
and take her home
for a lovely meal of Avial and payasam.....

Friday, January 27, 2012

Vote For ......!

It is one of the fun parts of being a blogger, that you make many friends; you never meet these folks , but everyone acts as if they know each other very well, and remember each other .  It is actually true....because, your words are mostly you.

Sangeeta Khanna, my blogger friend from Delhi, is a trained scientist/botanist with amazingly green fingers, who is also a nutritiionist, admirer of traditional cooking and ayurveda, photographer , and dietician; that is when she is not participating in Himalayan cycle rallies with other daring women.

Dhiren Shah, known alternately as Hitchy in the blogworld, is another friend, who besides being an experimental cook, crazy cricket person, and poet (mainly when upset), lives in Bharuch, Gujarat, and is an avid follower of Sangeeta's food advice; that is, when he is not dishing out expert financial advice to unsuspecting folks, or participating in Himalayan rallies of another type...

Sangeeta recently posted an amazing set of photos of her garden resplendent with greens of all kinds, the types of which you never see in the market, as far as freshness and quality is concerned.  Somewhere between drooling at her garden, and possibly agonizing about the recent cricket happenings in Australia, Dhiren  remembered me, and my tendency to make poems on photographs that move me.

There was a Facebook nudge, and the following happened . While you ponder over 3 folks having nothing else to do on a Friday evening than drool over spinach, have a look at the slideshow, highlighting the subjects of the poem...

(Please ignore my name on the slide show. The photos are clicked by Sangeeta.  Picasa added my name on its own :-).....)

The Green Election Commission
the wiry grasshopper
to check
if election code rules
were being bent
by the plants.

And so he watched
from behind a tree trunk,
as the
Bok Choys
threw their weight around,
glaring at the
baby spinach;

The posh Zuchchinis
looked around
in a Page 3 manner
at the climbing Peas,
as if to
join in despair
at the lowly junta spinach
got roundly snubbed.

The crowded spinach and
the coriander greens
in their element,
at the Sangeeta Leela grounds
in new Delhi,
urging the
Tulsi's firangi cousin Basil,
Dills of Dilli
to join,
along with the
slightly quiet Celeries.

No dearth
of housing,
lots of water,
and good nutritious
unadulterated organic food,
and a
mother-like leader
who let them play
in the garden....

The grasshopper
went back to the
Green Election Commission
threw a Dill
on their able,
and said,
"I resign,
and I am joining them.
Roti, Kapda,
and a Cool Makan,
with an honest,
knowledgeable leader
who enjoys
playing music with the soil
and creates wonderful green songs !

I will vote for her "

And the Desi Gulab,
opens up a wee bit more,
smiles at the cherry tomatoes,
and says ,
"Didnt I say she would win ?"......

Kralanic thoughts ....

Nisha Jha, my blogger friend,  who loves to take off and travel SOLO to different countries, and then  sits soaking in the memories amidst her wonderful clicks, is currently in Cambodia doing volunteer work,  meeting folks, eating, and writing about what she likes. 

Like Kralan.  A kind of cousin of Puttoo, a similar Kerala traditional dish.  She writes about it  on her blog  and you can enjoy some photos of her sojourn in Cambodia  on her FB page here  and  here

The world over , wherever Bamboo is grown, or grows, it has myriads of uses,  some of them in cooking as an implement.  It is amazing to see the similarities in what is stuffed inside the hollow of a bamboo and cooked, say in Kerala and Cambodia.

My Malyali friends tell me that the bamboo piece is reused again later. In Cambodia, it looks, like  it is peeled open to access the delicious stuff inside, and is not usable again.  Maybe its different varieties of Bamboo, or possibly the benefits of plenty.

Different geography, different history, different people , and  different methods.  But what is inside is so similar.

Makes you think.  

(I just found out that another blogger friend, who has wheels and wings instead of feet, is also in Cambodia and she and Nisha have just met.  Possibly over a Kralan lunch ?  :-).....Who knows !)   

(Photos by Nisha Jha)
Growing long,
looking tough,
hollow inside ,
with an amazing ability
to bend
when under demand,
whether to hurt
to blindly praise someone.
Say hello to Mr Politician.

Some grow
old and tough,
and on harvest,
change their minds.

Life isnt all
about power
and tall status,
but about giving of yourself,
bits and pieces at a time,
holding yourself wrapped,
again and again,
some like minded friends
like rice and coconut,
all together,
simmering deliciously
on a bed of Coals,
to emerge
from the hot tunnel
into the real world
ready to repeat this
all over again.
Say hello to the Social Worker.

But for some,
its their entire life.

Life is then
carefully holding together
and guiding
differently gifted folks
like rice, coconut,
all awash
in the milk of human kindness,
boxed in from all sides
cooking in empathy
on the Bed of Life,
only to
sacrifice oneself
and sometimes fall apart,
just so
the world enjoys
the delicious, nutritious
and beneficial fruits of labor.
Say hello to a Mother.

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Incredible lightness of being a Cake.....

A blogger friend, at one time an IT expert, but in addition, now  by choice, a photographer, chronicler of the life-and-times-of-her-greatest-creation (not shown here),  a versatile cookery expert, voracious reader, traveler,  car-rally person, and very lately, someone who has ventured into  her own bakery start-up, Monica Manchanda  recently started her very own bakery classes  by popular demand. 

Those of us staying thousands of miles away, had to make do with delicious photos on Facebook.  Some were inspired to write poems.

It just occurred to me that cakes ,like humans, have life stages like childhood, Grihasthashram (householder stage), Vanaprastshashram (old age detachment etc). They just don't have the "Sanyas" stage.  Instead they get wonderful Icing . 

(All photos appearing below  were  clicked by one of the the participants, and my name erroneously appears because I tried to do a slide show.  (next best to being there )....

A childhood,
with fun and games,
in a bowl,
playing catch-me
with the mixer blades,
as the sugar and butter rush in ,
like a smooth balm for the hurts....

Then flirting with walnuts, raisins
dabbing a bit of vanilla perfume,
a bit more attentionto the
Dark and  Handsome Chocolate.

as the
suddenly rushes in,
reminding them all
of their
rising duties;

They mix
hesitantly at first,
like a new bride in a new home;
then with gusto,
as she realizes
she likes it all ....

New pan houses,
new heating
and they mature
to a busy brown,
like grandparents,
nice and soft inside....

on a lovely cakeholder,
with so many
sweet cherry and sugar
falling all over them,
as the visiting ladies applaud.

And the lady who defined the
Life of a cake,
stands back
indulgently watching it all:
A sweet life,
full of energy,
and fragrant warmth.......

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Secret of the Owls.....

My blogger and FB  friend, Lakshmi Sharath, a travel writer, columnist , photographer, birder, editor, posted a wonderful set of photographs of owls (possibly baby owls) which she encountered on her daily walks in Bengaluru .

She has been on a whirlwind of travel trips in the  recent past, and is soon to take off on a new assignment.

Actually, there is more to the owls than meets the eye.  I just found out .

(photograph by Lakshmi Sharath)

quiet exalted types,
not given to
wild chirps,
excited flutters
and exhibition colors and dives,
simply worry
and seethe within
at what we
see but
do not comprehend....

We came from Chennai
as part of her trousseau
of all the kanjeevarams
and temple sarees and jewels.

"Keep an eye on our jewel"
her folks said,
"and we have been doing just that...."

But she doesn't listen,
as she moves around
with wheels,
should I say,
as she travels ceaselessly,
clicks and writes,
without rest.

Wild weather changes,
and the body rebels,
enforcing a rest
in Bengaluru.

She doesn't know this,
while she thinks
we are being playful
on her walks,
we are actually keeping a beady eye on her ....

Self confidence....

There is so much that nature teaches us.Blogger friend Magiceye posted this picture of an Indian Reef  Heron,  contemplating itself in a pool of water at the Sewri Mud flats, on Mumbai's eastern seaboard, as part of his Camera Critter Series .  A proponent of multitasking, it probably keeps one beady eye also on some wriggling stuff in the water, which may be a good meal, side by side. 

There are Indian Reef Herons  in a wide color spectrum between dark grey and greyish white to white. Sometimes it looks like Mumbai's urban sensibilities and modern ads , have affected these  nice birds.  Sometimes, it depends on the company they keep. 

And sometimes, it is left to the older generation to explain .......

(photo by Deepak Amembal Magiceye)
Times have certainly changed.

when we were a
united group,
flying together
and sharing
all the good and bad,
whether at
or elsewhere...

Maybe it is because
they hang around
with the
pink and white
this young generation,
is obsessed by
about being
Fair and Lovely.

If they
observed themselves
in the sandy pools
at Sewri.

It's not important
what others think of you.

What matters
is what looks back at you,
when you look
into that pool of water,
whether it smiles back !

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Auspicious Evenings......

Blogger and FB friend, dentist, photographer, and travel raconteur, Dr Kavita Saharia, often posts photographs of things native to the state of Assam, in NorthEast india, where she lives. She recently posted this wonderful photograph of a flower, that is called "Godhuli Gopal" in Assam.

While the flower looked familiar, the naming of this flower in Assamese was a delight. "Godhuli" refers to the evenings when the cattle return home kicking up the dust ("dhuli"), or as they say , "when the cows come home". This flower, it turns out,  blooms in the late afternoons ....:-))

It is interesting to know that this flower is widely grown across India,China, Peru,and Mexico, and is called Mirabilis jalapa (The four o'clock flower or marvel of Peru)!

A curious aspect of this plant is that flowers of different colors can be found simultaneously on the same plant. Another interesting point is a color-changing phenomenon. For example, in the yellow variety, as the plant matures, it can display flowers that gradually change to a dark pink color. Similarly white flowers can change to light violet.

We call this plant Gulbaxi in my language, Marathi, and I have childhood memories, of plucking these, in several colors,  and twisting them into wreathes to decorate the hair, something all little girls did in my " simple, non-e childhood"....:-))

(photo by Kavita Saharia)
and pale,
but with a tinge of pink,
she's been at it
since the morning,
sweat shining
on her brows.

Green experienced mamis
crowding around,
and helping her along,
themselves refreshed
a cool sprinkle.

The Sun
prepares to depart,
at having missed the event,
amidst a rustle of the green
there emerges,
a young one,
pale and pink
and eyes tightly shut.

She breathes easy now,
the glow returns.
And she waits,
with the  accompanying greens,
to see,
what color
the new arrival's eyes
are to be.....

Friday, January 20, 2012

Seeking Shelter ...

One never knows what interests people these days.

My young FB friend , engineer and fellow collaborator on Madness Mandali's  KavikalaSatish Suggala,    posted this amazing photo on FB recently and I was fascinated   while thinking about the interplay between the various items on display. here.

This was probably  a makeshift bench somewhere, where tired folks sat  without any worry, totally unaware of the perils of getting clothes mired  and torn  in the nails
while getting up.

Clearly, the little yellow carefree leaf, had no such fear.

And a poem happened.  First in Hindi (our National languge).  Then the English happened ....:-)

(photo by Satish Suggala)

कुछ चीज़े
ढकल ढकल के बिठानि पड़ती है ,
कुछ चीज़े
हतोड़े से मार मार के एक जगह पर
बिठानि पड़ती है ,
और इतने सब शोर में ,
कुछ चीज़े
हवामे उड़ते दुपट्टे की तरह ,
तैर तैर कर ,
थक कर,
अंत में
स्वखुशीसे चुपचाप नीचे आकर सोती है
और सोचती है :
" चलो , आज रातको तो आसरा मिल गया !"......

battered with age,
and rough at the edges,
managing to fit in
after a push here
and a shove there;

shiny heads,
and banged into submission
by massive strokes
the Hammer of Fate,

And in all this
raging chaos,
Some quietly float in,
like a scarf
swimming in a wind,
thought fatigue,
settles them down,
to rest
on the rough-hewn base,
" Ah well, I have made my bed for tonight, anyway !"

Beauties ,Doubts, and little boys

My blogger friend , Bikramjit Singh Mann, posted this amazing picture of the forest area behind the Sukhna lake near Chandigarh, in the state of Punjab, in North India, as part of the Wordless Wednesdays Series.

There is an eerie stillness about this scene. The bare trees, the tangled branches and statuesque tree frames, the clear amazingly reflective water, and the sky watching it all.

While some may hasten to photograph this, it occurred to me that somewhere, someplace, there was a little boy, just itching throw a disturbing pebble into the water, and watch in glee, as the perfect images helplessly mesh into each other.

(photo by Bikramjit Singh Mann)
anorexic model types,
posing with raised limbs,
firm, shapely maidens,
in intense effort
to project an “S”
older maa’ms
intricately ravaged by
the passing of time,
inter-offspring fights,
freshening up
in an effort to be
what they are not,
as they look down
with the sky,
the fluid mirror below.

A little boy,
a small pebble of a doubt,
the images dissolve
beauties into beasts,
and the sky,
with real ordinary features,
has the last laugh……

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Umbilical Links.....

My blogging and FB friend Sandhya Kumar, clicked this wonderful photo on a family trip to Munnar , in the southern Indian  state of Kerala.  I have an inkling about what this flower is, but I a not sure.

Sandhya posted this as part of her Wordless Wednesday Series....

Somehow, the entire  design, life dynamics, and ethos of this flowering wonder, seems  to  hint at something....

I tried to find out, what ....

(photo by  Sandhya Kumar) 
So many
ensconced cozily,
in a green mantle,
new to this world,
facing a world
brothers and sisters
of various ages,
but the umbilicus
still strong,
and uncut,
piping continuously,
and the ethos
living and giving,
as they prosper together
in the Sun.

And those with
the evolved
cerebral cortex,
in a hurry
to severe the umbilical links
one by one.

In a hurry
and design,
a green monetary mantle of their own.

Living, yes,
giving ?

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Ruminating in Neutral Gear

My young friend, Sudhir, posted his delight at having completed 100,000 kms in his car in 5 years 5 months 15 days 22;  most of those spent visiting delightful places  in the South of India,  beaches, mountains,  wild life sanctuaries , and some , in the course of earning his livelihood.  

There seems to be a reason, why despite 6 digits allowing the meter counting upto, 9,99,000 kilometres,  the thing initializes to 1, at completion of 100,000 kilometers.

As he idles on a full tank :-)  , I  just wondered what it could be......

(photo by Sudhir Bharadwaj)
The Key of Life.

Switch it on
and watch.

slow and tentative,
but treading carefully,
navigate through obstacles,
reach a good pace,
with reams of experience to fall back on.

quick of the mark,
dazzle in their
gradient of learning,
and reach somewhere high,
leaving everyone behind,
till there is none
left  to  wish and applaud.......

And some,
their minds
stretched like accelerators,
a occasional cautionary pull back
by the middle class clutch,
go higher and higher
on the metre,
revving up in the mind,
so many thoughts a minute,
always aware,
life is never a  race.

The drive is the best
when you know when to use the brake.....

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Dawn Worship....

Half Marathoners, 21 km runners, participating in the Standard Chartered Marathon 2012, generally take off across the Bandra Worli Sea Link, Mumbai's latest showpiece.

Normally out of bounds for pedestrians, this place is chock a block at dawn on Marathon day, with thousands of runners, warming up, exercising, stretching, and almost straining at the leash to start. An ideal setting , for a morning Kakad Arti (the early morning prayer ritual), with so many lit lamps, a quietly (c)lapping Sea, and that heavenly light raining down on the runners, as they thump across the bridge, naturally, photographed by blogger friend Magiceye, who was actually there ! 

He posted this as a part of the series of posts.

The grandeur inspired a few lines in Marathi. English follows...

 (photo by Deepak Amembal Magiceye)
पहाटेची काकड आरती ,
समुद्राच्या लाटानच्या नादात ,
उगवत्या सूर्याच्या साक्षीने
असंख्य निरान्जानांच्या प्रकाशात
तालात पळणारी माणसं,
आकाशातून पडणारा
आशीर्वादाचा प्रखर झोत .....
आज माराथोन चा दिवस !

 So many worship lamps,
lighting up,
the Kakad Arti,
the early puja,
celebrating the dawn
of another day,
the rhythmic arrival
of the
curious sea waves,

The enthused Sun ,
preparing for
a possible early arrival,
and thousands of steps
of runners,
in a beat
the Sea Link,
blessed by lights from above.....

It's Marathon Day !

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Friends, Muscles, Marathon-men ....

Today has been a great day for us, as one of our blogger friends, Kavi, ( who has featured often on these pages)  completed the full marathon , a grueliing 42 kilometres,  in the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon 2012.  It's is not easy in a place like Mumbai, designed for bad traffic and long commuting times, , to keep up with place specific and time specific practice.  All this while doing a typical high power corporate job .

A strong will, aided by a disciplined routine of practice,   supported , always, by an enthusiastic family back home, yields wonderful results.

I always thought HR meant Human Resources.  I now find out that it means resources within a human....

This is an ode to the those :-)  that made it possible

The excited Biceps Femoris
with an oxygenated red,
nudged the Semirtendinosus
into action;
The Rectus Femoris
and the Vastus types
were signalling
that it was time...

The weather was cold,
they were warmed
along with
the Adductor Magnus,
and the Gracilis
not to forget
the Popleteus
and the Flexor Longus..

They nudged
and pushed
and fit
into one another,
the Heart conducting
Orchestra of the Red,
beaming oxygen
across the scene,
dripping all over
in appreciation,
a dedicated plan and effort,
hard work, pain,
and practice
a poetic chap.

For him,
of the Body Company,
where the
internal recruitment
so excellently done,
the HR fellow :-)
needs to be congratulated....

A Bozoical Green

Unlike many folks who are confused about when to call it a day , from an active working life, Bozo, Mumbai's only-dog-with-a-blog, takes everything in his stride.

An also unlike many folks we all know who pretend to be something and do the exact opposite in their quest for power,  Bozo has followed the Green Philosophy all his life. First as a pup, then possibly as a teenager, casanova, householder and now as a senior citizen.

Blogger friend Magiceye, his mentor and chronicler of his Life nd Times, posted this picture of Bozo,  keeping an alert watch from the balcony...

(picture by Deepak Amembal Magiceye)
When I was a little pup,
green was
the color of the ball,
the young fellow
tossed to me,
and the color
of the young lady's
she got all decked up
for a pooja
in the house.

Teenage green
was what happened,
when Moti
next door,
went running off
with my then best friend,
and she went,
just because....
well, because !

Green was
what Lassie felt,
when I strolled around Bandra
on a date
with Luci
visiting from Kerala...

Now as a senior citizen,
green is what
I see,
when I watch
from my balcony,
as I growl
and bark
those cutting trees,
throwing plastic around,
stealing from people's gardens,
even troubling children....

I told the folks
who interviewed me,
The Canine Mirror.
"I see a Green Future"....

The tough, the endless and the smooth....

My friend Pratibha Phatak, posted some wonderful pictures from her trip to Bhedaghat, in the state of Madhya Pradesh, India.

The place is famous for its incredible marble rocks, that rise up to a hundred feet on either side of the flowing  River Narmada;   the white saccharine limestone is seamed by veins of dark green or black volcanic rock, all reflected in the water.  The Marble Rocks dating back to the pre-Cambrian age, are a gorge along part of the Narmada River’s 1,077 Km (669.2 mi) path through  Madhya Pradesh. The Narmada meanders and later becomes turbulent as it plunges down in a a mighty waterfall known as Dhuandar.

Makes you think. About the past, and future ....

(photo by Pratibha Phatak)
built upon
the efforts of the past,
one on top of the other;
Some smooth,
some scraggy,
some roughhewn,
with nooks and crannies
by events unknown.

Some a result
of past Karma;
Some ,
a result
of present carelessness;

staying close to the greens
securely wrapped
in the early morning mist.

Through it all,
the only constant,
The River of Time,
to its
final destination,
an Endless Sea.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

A royal vigilance....

My friend Shail, a very enthusiastic blogger, photographer and poet, posted this picture titled "Vigilance" as part of series.

A great take on something we see all around us;  a mother/father, bereft of simple things in life, making do with whatever they find, to ensure that their family is safe, and guarding their future. 

In the old days, stuff was commissioned and constructed for the protection of the people and the kingdom, by the King. Today, ordinary folks simply make do with stuff constructed for some other purpose,  while there is special protection, in the land, only for the King !

(photo by Shail Mohan)
Huge 'Fort'ified Sahyadri Hills,
old crowded trees
and paths,
a king's life in there,
and defences like
gates and
parapet canons,
sometimes used
to blast traitors
instead of gunpowder.

And then there is this
stone fortification,
another king,
a mostly arid landscape
studded with mortar.

The mini canon,
A relic,
the family of the king,
who boasts of no troops,
moats or gates;

And he sits,
proudly on it,
in solitary splendor,
in the Sun,
puffed and alert,
guarding those
who he calls his very own.

In today's world,
they should name the wall after him.....

Friday, January 13, 2012

Methi-no Theplo Lo !

Fresh Methi(Fenugreek) in season, lends itself to some delightful recipes, particularly if eaten straight off the tawa(griddle). Blogger friend , Magiceye, recently traversed by road and train through various Indian states that use a lot of this leafy vegetable , and seems to have had a grand time sampling the goods.

He posts this amazingly delicious mouth watering photo of a Methi Thepla,as part of his series.

Enjoy it with a virtual Chundo, or a piquant chilly pickle. Yum !

(Ready to eat Thepla by Deepak Amembal Magiceye)
ground to smithereens,
with a stingy besan,
watching those
upstart leaves
with bitter lives
shrugging the water off.

The other members
united in their ethos
pour in;
Jeerabegum and NamakDada,
the svelte Mirchis,
with a lashing of
Ooh La La Lasoon,
all celebrating
in an unexpected dollop of Dahi.

Some great calisthenics later,
they all come together,
clutching each other,
in anticipation
of a roasting of their life.

A bit of an angry puff,
some dark looks,
and a respite from it all,
as a  smooth lotion of ghee
spreads across....

In these difficult times,
they have learnt,
the best happens,
when they all
come together....

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Magic Mixtures by Magiceye

Blogger friend Magiceye posts a wonderful photograph of "Bhel" , a typical Mumbai snack, eaten all over , and particularly on the beach, with varying levels of tanginess, and "hotness" (hot as in red chillies), in his series of  photographs at

Different places have their special ways of making bhel.  And it is interesting to delve into the minds of the churmura(puffed rice crispies ) and other dry additions, as they enjoy being drenched in the spicy and tangy showers.....

In the meanwhile, ....yum !

(photograph by Deepak Amembal Magiceye)
on the beach,
Sir Churmura sits,
hankering after the touch
of a slender Sev,
some spicy entries of
fried chana dal.
Lady Farsaan,
flashing in with her

Some Onion ,
back from a tearful cut,
hurting with the cut chillies,
looking out for
the quiet Kothimbir
all depending
on the boiled potato pieces,
to lead them
into the dry mix,
the days
when slivers of raw mango
also joined the fun.......

It rains
tamarind water,
green and red chutneys,
the entire lot
whatever happened
to the
peanuts and chivda folks
that used to join them
in Pune....

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Bozoical Pearls of Wisdom

Sometimes, folks like Bozo, Mumbai's only dog-with-his-own-blog , can teach us some lessons. Bozo has been unwell, and has been asked to take things easy. His chronicler , and my blogger friend Magiceye, recently went on a New Year's pilgrimage to Vaishnodevi, and Bozo saw the photos on FB :-)

This is a photo of Bozo contemplating life, and the lessons to be learned. Posted by Magiceye , in Bozo's blog, here.

(photo bt Deepak Amembal Magiceye)
I ruminate a lot,
now that
it is cold,
and I don't go out so much.

And I think
of those
who wildly drink and drive
simply because
the year changed....

Of those
that hog
that one last "wada",
their 5th,
although diabetes glares ...

Of those,
who take spurious pills
to stay wake
for last minute studies
after a merry year
spent fooling around....

We must listen
to doctors and elders....

I so wanted to visit
with Deepak;
but the doctor
prohibited me.

There is a time to
and a time to rest.

And I stay home,
smelling everyone's presence,
from memory,
as I wait for them to return
the Mata's Prasaad ......

Why this Zugmayeri Di ?

Sometimes the most ordinary thing impresses with its regal attitude. Such as this common Indian House Crow, photographed by blogger friend, Magiceye. He has posted the photograph in his post , part of the Camera Critters series.

As he says , " The common house crow of Mumbai, sitting for a portrait :)".....

Regardless of whether you call it the Common Indian House Crow, or Corvus Splendens Zugmayeri  , it is useful to dwell upon the life and times of such a crow, and wonder how it can express its angst.

Luckily these days, there is a popular song for that. This is the Zugmayeri version for crows.

(photo by Deepak Amembal Magiceye)
Sir Corvus Splendens Zugmayeri*** ,
of Anjarle,
on the lush
Kokan coast,
now settled
in Bandra, Mumbai
since the last generation......

on the scarcity of trees
he can alight on,
in this metropolis,
worried about
the competition
that exists
to scavenge
something he wishes to....

Its a difficult life,
what with
so many wires crisscrossing
the sky,
all those towers on buildings,
such terrible deisel-ised air,
and having
to fight
with eagles and gulls

The hair is getting whiter,
the eyebrows sparser;
and although
He can see better than most,
He stares in anger,
but asks,
"Pray, tell me, 
why this Zugmayeri Zugmayeri Zugmayeri Di ?..."

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Fighting the mental black....

FB  and  Blog-friend  Ganesh  Balaraman  posted this amazing photograph of daybreak in Bangalore, possibly  during the recent havoc wrecked by the North East Monsoon .

The photo kind of brings to life the perennial situation for women in India : at the end of the day,  a lonely mental fight against all odds....

(photo bt Ganesh Balaraman) 
She stood
her mind overcast
with dread.

facing an upward climb
in a once bright
and colorful happy world.

Brave and solitary,
of the
imminent black
surrounding her thoughts,
she looks up
at the cool breeze,
her only ally
in a clouded world.

"Lose not
your hope",
she heard,
"This too shall pass.
Nothing can hide
the warmth
and glow
that defines you..."

And with a powerful nudge
to the
goonda cloud,
the breeze,
went away,
to gossip with the leaves...

Friday, January 6, 2012

Living Ruins

Blogger and FB friend, Aarti Krishnakumar of Chennai, posted this photograph from Hampi, Karnataka, on her blog, Wandering Soul.   A place declared as a Unesco Heritage Site, Hampi was the capital of the Vijayanagram Kingdom in the medeival ages. Ruins of an entire vibrant city , spread over 25 square kilometres (10 square miles), indicate all the facets of city living then.

On the periphery of the Vithalla Temple ruins, there is what appears to be, Tula Bhara ,  a decorative pillar set-up, used for installing giant balances that hung from its 12 ft wide pillar, at a height of 15 feet. The decorations included the likenesses of the king and consorts.

Back in the old days, "giving" , by the exalted to the ordinary was part of the lifestyle, and on special occasions the king was weighed here against gold, precious metals, gems and grains, and the contents donated to the general public.

Centuries later,  one looks at these ruins and customs, and wonders  how things have changed....

(photograph by Aarti Krishnakumar)

There are Ruins,
and then
there are
more ruins...

A Tula Bhara
or King's Balance,
in Lord Vitthala's presence
in ancient Hampi.
and Precious metal
weighed against the King,
distributed to the
ordinary folks
of the kingdom.

a different Tula Bhara
so called
developed cities.
Away from a heavenly presence,
Bribes ,
matched by
the equivalent
of an ordinary man's
several years' earnings,
are collected
and directed
to the
rulers pockets.

And I wonder
which are living ruins
which are dead....

Monday, January 2, 2012

Life of a Star...

Blogger, photographer, naturalist, and wildlife educator and expert S Karthikeyan , has posted this interesting  post on Mayflies  visible on a trip to the Kabini River Lodge, in the state of Karnataka.  

Mayflies , lay eggs in the river water, which sink to the bottom. At some point the eggs hatch, and what come out are "nymphs" that are aquatic types, and breathe through gills. Somewhere in the maturing they emerge from the water and fly , lay eggs and the cycle repeats. The matured nymphs have a very short lifecycle.  Mayfly matured nymphs are attracted to Lights.

The grace of a matured nymph Mayfly had a strange resemblance to an old film banner , that of Rajkamal Kalamandir (of V Shantaram).   And the life cycle reminded me of some life and times of a beautiful actress/heroine, who probably also loved the Lights,  and who had to face all the brilliant highs and lows in an early truncated life.

(All photos in color by S, Karthikeyan; banner from Google)

Leading heroine,
to Kabini Kalamandir Films,
graceful as
the logo,
destined to
finally rise
from the water.

with translucent wings,
gamboling nymphs
vying for a film role
wrapped in  wet wings,
waiting for the big break
when they can

But the script
calls for
shedding the old,
with spider villains
waiting to molest,
tear, kill,
with sometimes
even the Boss Bat
    with relish.

A Web entangled tragedy,
small in size,
but of epic proportions,
as the beautiful
sacrifices her life
without meeting
the Hero
in her life.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

The "P" Supremacy

My friend, and nature and jungle lover Prasad Paranjape  recently visited the Kanha National Park, and captured this photo of , what I call the Serious Owls watching the going-ons, or,  possibly,  him,  in serious concentration , from a vantage point in some tree. 

Something fake in the serious look.  And it suddenly brought to mind, people sitting in the gallery of our Parliament, watching the amazingly juvenile shouting and tearing of papers below (30th January midnight happenings).  All quietly watching the happenings in the well of the House.  Mouths shut. Because this was, after all , Parliament.

Wonder what the owls would have thought ?

(photo by Prasad Paranjape)
We came to learn new things
every day
serious eager students
from the gallery
of Parliament.

Something not taught
in Owl School.

Parliament is supreme.

Rude interruptions
standing and yelling
from your desk,
the Speakers voice;
Our teacher
would have rapped
our knuckles,
and had us
stand outside the class
to await the principal's wrath.

But no.
Parliament is Supreme.

Dashing over to a
speech maker,
grabbing his papers,
and tearing it to shreds;
daringly flinging it on the floor;
Our teacher would have
caned us,
sent us out,
had us clean the school trash,
and called in our parents
the next day.

But no.
Parliament is Supreme.

And the fun part is
none of these actions
for contempt of Parliament.

We're not as serious as we look,
and we watch and learn.

Change schools ?

Road Maps for the Future

My blogger friend, Kavi Arasu appears here after a long time, with this wonderful photo taken in the Muir Woods in Northern California, during his recent travels, and with a wonderful post for the New Year , which you can read here.

As he says , " On a drive to Muir woods, CA. The road was inviting, stellar and simply still. Yet so very alive and full of possibilities. That's my wish for you in 2012 !"

I happened to recall my younger days as a graduate student in the US, in the early 70's, learning road rules before taking the driving test, and simply remembered  the meaning of unbroken double yellow lines  on the road .

Sometimes the road also speaks....

(photograph by Kavi Arasu) 
The Path
to the Future,
stretches ahead,
undulating at times,
occasionally straightening
in realization
of responsibility.

At all times,
the double yellow lines,
of anger,
wild ambition
and disobedience
that we must never cross,
where allowed
in an emergency,
great understanding
respect and

one day,
those upright,
old redwoods
on the roadside,
greatly stirred,
will nod at each other
in the breeze,
perhaps shedding a few leaves,
maybe wiping a few dew drops ,
and say,
"You'll do well, son !
You learned well ...."