Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Virtual Lemonade

Folks working in 3 dimensional modelling software , do interesting things. Here is  a photo realistic fruit splash  done by photoblogger Pankaja Date , who actually works as an Animator.

Someone wanted to know if she threw fruits into water, clicked and the did trick editing .  :-)

The answer is that this is done using 3 dimensional models which you create using certain software, and then you use the facilities of that software to create such things. This has been done using the Blender Software.

Naturally, this inspired a  poem in Marathi and later on in English.

Read on ...

(Image courtesy Pankaja Date) 
काचेच्या पेल्यातलं
अनंत थेंबांच
बिना चवीचं, बिना वासाचं,
रंगहीन ,
दाटी दाटीने जगलेलं
जल बिंदूंचे कंटाळवाणे आयुष्य......
अचानक संत्री, लिंब आणि इड्लीम्बाचे
धसमुसळे आगमन,
हझारो थेंबांचे एकामेकांना धरून
उल्हासित उड्डाण ,
मधेच लिंबाला चिकटून राहाण
संत्र्यावारून घसरण ......
पलीकडे रुसून बसलेली साखरेची बाटली
शेवटी म्हणते ,
"काय हा बालीशपणा !
हझार चकरा घातल्या, तीन तास वाट बघितली,
आता तरी मला दार उघडा , म्हणजे सरबत मार्गी लागेल !..."

 A million Somnolent spheres
and odourless
totally bored ,
enveloped by glass....

A sudden excited arrival
Maltas, limes and lemons
falling in excitement
as the waterdrops,
thrilled to even more bits,
rise in
throes of a welcome ...

Indulgent sticking
to lemons,
sliding in delight off oranges,
the Sugarlady
now really upset
with the waiting,
finally errupts ;
"What childishness !
Thousands of image samples ,
for more than 3 hours,
will you open up now
so I can get started with the lemonade ?

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Road less Travelled .....

Pankaja Date, a photoblogger, has this habit  of  clicking the small creatures she sees on her way to work, which happens to be through a wooded area.  I don't think she was aware of Robert Frost's poem when she clicked this ; a caterpillar at a fork in the road, and wondering what path he should follow......

In today's day and age, but for different reasons than those given by the great poet, read about the path chosen by the caterpillar , at the Fork in the Road.....

( Instagram photo by Pankaja Date)
Hatched on
sun dappled greens
I satisfy
my hunger pangs
by chewing
on the nearest leaf.

Size is not the issue,
in my teenage
as I fatten
and moult
several times,
wandering about the green
with my colors
an curls intact.

A fork in the road
and I wonder
which path to choose......

It is time
to go change outfits
and wrap myself
in a grand
Chrysalis Pupa Saree,
before emerging
as a New Life Butterfly.

And then,
in this world where
seems to make you famous,
I remember
what my Ma taught me.

I choose
the road less travelled;
Not the one,
visible to all,
bright in the glare of the sunlight,
but one
that goes gently into the green,
where the
leaves will keep guard
as they nod in the wind
and allow me a gentle flutter
as I unravel the folds
and fly off.....   

Skin Stories

My blogger and FB friend Shruti Nargundkar , lives in Australia, and is an education innovator, entrepreneur,teacher, instructional designer, curriclum and courseware developer...loves to cook and feed people, read, write, listen to music and sing.

On her blog, she often harks back to the food ethos of her childhood, as she also picks up the culinary best her adoptive country has to offer.  Reading her post , Peel Repeal, where she writes about using vegetable peels for chutneys and relishes,  it suddenly brought home the fact, that culture, language, attitudes, culinary traditions and local idioms are all connected.

Like the attitudes towards peels and skins. "No skin off my back"  vs "  I will take off my skin and give it to make slippers for you.".......

(All photographs by Shruti Nargundkar)
It is amazing
how traditions
in vegetable society
idiomatic use of the
local language.

Not to mention attitudes in cultures....

The hi-fi Zuchhinis
Lord Avocados,
and Dowager Squashes,
preening in
summer style,
shrug off their wraps
in style,
so immersed
in their own importance,
it is like
"Do anything .
We dont care.
No skin of my back !"

And then
there is the
slender, slightly shy
and sometimes the
outwardly rough
but co-operative karela,
that not only
go to pieces themselves
to ensure
wild approval from Chapatibai,
but even offer
(along with
chillies and coconut types),
the skin off their backs
to make chappals
for her,
so she can make the trek
to a hungry one.....

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Lilly Olympics....

This beautiful water lily at the Mahim Nature Park in Mumbai , photographed by my blogger friend Magiceye, and posted  in his Mumbai daily: Camera Critters blog.

At first sight, the visual brings back recollections of the London Olympics Opening Ceremony.  The stadium, the lights, the people, even the Queen, except here it is a Queen Bee.

But here there is no sense of competition; just a sense of 3 bees, imbibing all the goodness on offer, in a co-operative way... 

Mother Nature
has her own
Olympic opening ceremony,
almost every day.....

A floating stadium,
that opens everyday,
no tickets,
all free,
a packed  audience
holding up their arms,
invoking the blessings
of the One above.

The acrobatic
buzz of the 3 bees
Amar, Akbar and Anthony,
as they
pick and choose
their nectar points,
to imbibe
to share
all flooded in gold,
and a million hands joined together
as if in prayer
in the centre of it all....

Bozoical Lifestyle Yoga

Bozo, Mumbai's only Dog-with-his-own-blog , is a keen observer of things around him,  and has often reached conclusions,  independently of folks who do tons of research and are awarded degrees and so on.

He is a conservative chap, who doesn't follow fads, but tries to incorporate useful things like Yoga , into his day-to-day  activities, like smelling opportunities (with his 100-times-more-powerful-nose) to do exercise, breathe in lovely lunch aromas, and get his neck rubbed, all simultaneously.

Naturally, his mentor and activity chronicler, Deepak alias Magiceye, is always present to document his efforts.  And no, Bozo hasnt yet thought of the Tadaasan and Mayuraasan , though he may try Simhamudra   .......

 He is leaving something for the peacocks and trees. ...

What can I say ?

I can't but help see
stuff on TV,
when I sit
in silent communion with Deepak,
after dinner....

I also see ads
about gyms ,
losing weight,
and yearly fees,
on the back pages of newspapers...

Folks don't understand
good health
is all about,
eating sensibly,
doing some  housework yourself
to bend and stretch,
walking everywhere possible,
and controlling your temper.

Sometimes, gentle yoga helps.

Not the acrobatic stuff.
I leave that
to the
Yoga dogs calendar people
in the UK.

I follow the Iyengar Yoga
for seniors...
Exercises using props
available around you,
to aid
in holding positions...

Announcing the start
of a new FB group,
Yoga Dogs.....

I'm trying
to get the hang
of Sheershaasan,
in the meanwhile
you can see me doing
Bhujangaasan there .....

(after which you can rub my neck !..

Friday, July 27, 2012

Black tents, boxes, and reflections

Remember those photographs of your childhood, when photographers covered themselves in black glory, before clicking your likeness ? Remember those class photos, with people on the left with knees turned one way, and those on the right the other way, waiting for some guy to emerge from under the black tent and get done with it all ?

My friend Umashankar Pandey, who is actually a writer, poet, photographer moonlighting as a banker, wrote an amazing blogpost about being a child in the throes of a parental campaign to have his photo clicked , for transport purposes....

Do read the post ! 

Turns out that he is now stuck with another black box of sorts, but he is inside it ....!

(photo courtesy Umashankar Pandey's blogpost)

Another time, another age.

A little boy,
mortified with the
feminine gazes,
sits uncomfortable
with pursed lips
and accusative eyes,
wondering what lies
inside the Big Black Box
under the tent
and what magic
the man
on the other side
fiddles with
to come up with
that is a picture of him.
(The little boy).

the boy,
little no more
himself sits inside the Big Box,
both him
and the tent
a bit smarter,
covered with a
dreaming and typing,
one gem after another
sometimes in sepia,
sometimes in swarovski
and sometimes
in blinding technicolor.

And so many sit,
avidly speculating
on the other side
quizzically wondering,
if he is clicking
a photo,
a poem,
a story,
or just having a good laugh at them all ……

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The Mynah Chronicles

What do you say when a blogger called Sukanya Datta comes across an injured Mynah chick, decides to protect her, and takes her to the house of her friend, Sangeeta Khanna ?

And what do you say when they rig up an impromptu "ward bed" made of baskets,soft cloths and more and make the bird comfortable, and treat it with lots of rest, care, food, and boosts of confidence ?

 And what do you say, when the baby bird, enjoys,  thanks to Sangeeta, amazing meals of soft wet dates, moist bread and a dessert of mango, golden enough to match its beak ?

 And what do you say, when  "Doctor Sangeeta" simply scares off all the free loading crows, cats and shikras, circling in for the kill, gives the little bird a bath, and readies it with encouraging words to face another day, in this Big Bad World ?

An absolutely true story, that calls for a million bravos !

(All photos by Sangeeta Khanna)
officially in-charge,
lifted her shoulders,
simply shrugged;
those who do not listen
must bear with the consequences....

A so
the Mynah Chick
lay helpless on
the path
much trodden
by a Sukanya,
who stopped
and scooped her up
to see what she could do.

A trip to the Music Lady's
and an hour later
the little bird
yet hopeful,
in a makeshift ICU for birds;

A hanging covered
basket incubator
and the chick rested
and recouped,
energised by
soaked dates and bread
little mango pieces
fed carefully ,
day after day,
by the lady.

A short bath,
a shrugging of the droplets
and the mynah chick
drying itself
in the warmth of human kindness.

Shameless Molester crows
and the hissing cat,
not to mention
Raptor shikras
powerfully eyeing
and contemplating
a blatant visit,
all now held
under IPC section 144
to keep them away
the strict glare
of the Music Lady..

how it works for
in a human biped world,
the Mynah
now sleeps well,
secure and strong,
stretching back, eyes closed
and possibly dreaming
of its next mango meal
lovingly fed
by the Music lady
who speaks words of reassurance.

who is used to taking credit
for everything
and never any blame,
hopefully has learnt a lesson....

Monday, July 23, 2012

Life Penalties ?

The human body never differentiates between nurturing a male and female foetus.

Post birth, for some, the cry at the entry into what is considered a wonderful world, is sometimes, never completed.

 And we never learn, even from animals. Who pour out their traumatic and poignant anguish in their own world.

If we only heard and learned.

 My friend Uma Shankar Pandey, posted an amazing poem called The Mourning Cat. Read it. Again and again.....

The anger didnt subside. It inspired this .

Uterine twists
in utter agony,
squeezing dry
with amniotic tears,
but so many happy wails….

For some,
it was
the last time
they were happy.

Life is a game,
only some get to play.

For others,
it is all about
being sent
in penalty kicks
into the trash.

The Ump watches it all,
if these days the game is fixed…

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Many Happy Returns of the day, Bozo !

It was celebration time yesterday, for Bozo,   Mumbai's only dog-with-his-own-blog.  Bozo is now 9 years old !

Yes, he certainly looks spiffy , possibly after a wonderful bath and brushing, relaxed without his name collar from London , which is probably being polished  before he wears it today.   But even then , he is alert to various troublesome folks who fly around dangerously close and try to intrude in the house, and shows his shock and displeasure with  flared nostrils and a proper angry growl.  All captured so wonderfully by his mentor, Deepak.

In my world,
in Mumbai, you need to be alert.

minding one's own business,
are all things
I learnt here.

But some of these crows
are the limit.

Not satisfied with
sitting on cows' backs,
as they wander around,
and loudly cawing
on balcony ledges,
flying in dangerously close,
troubling folks. 

some of them,
like some bipeds in Mumbai,
possibly underage
and immature,
have taken to racing around
without care....

I guess this crow must have flown in from Nepal.

A country where
Crows are worshipped
with food and flowers
on Kag Tihar day,
dogs are worshipped
the next day
on Kukur Tihar day.

I mean,
yes, it was my birthday,
yes, I had a wonderful bath and brushing,
yes, I had some delicious treats,
and yes,
so many came to rub my back.

Maybe the crow thought
it was festival time...

Maybe he came to wish me.
But given the way he was behaving,
maybe he flew in from Delhi,
where Tihar
is actually something else.....

Ah well.
It's my birthday,
and I forgive him.

As they say,
to err is very crowlike,
but to forgive;
that quality is mine !

Friday, July 20, 2012

New Age Monitor Lizards

My very young friend (she is still in school), Sharvari Paranjape, follows her father and brother into the realm of Photography, and has taken some amazing photos on her trips to various wild life sanctuaries and woods.

See some of her totally amazing captures from Nagzira Forest , here.

Ghorpads or Monitor lizards in English, figure in one of the most popular stories of valour and bravery from the days of Shivaji.  Tanaji Malusare , used these Ghorpads, to climb the fort of Kondana on the outskirts of Pune; he flung them , so they could latch on tight to the parapet ledge, and climbed up on a rope attached to them . He lost his life but won the fort.

The contrast with today is shocking.

(photograph by Sharvari Paranjape)

Even the "Ghorpads" have changed.

Early days
in the forefront of battle,
displaying leadership
with Tanaji Malusare,
as they latched on
to the
Kondana Fort ramparts,
and helped
the Maratha soldiers
and wrest the fort
for Shivaji,
from Udaybhan Rathod.

they sneak around 

in safe camouflages,
some feathers here,
a few folks there,
while assorted creatures
of their jungle,
beg them
to play a more proactive role....

Like one Ghorpad was heard telling another,

"Why would anyone
want to stick the neck out...?"

A great arrival....

My blogfriend and FB friend, Shail Mohan of Trivandrum, posted this wonderful capture of just born tender neem leaves, possibly from her garden , with their wondrous copper glow, and just like us humans , yet to be firmed up spines.

However, unlike us humans, these trees do something else that is sensible.

 Read on...

(photograph by Shail Mohan on her Sony Cybershot W-150)

So many
and raw;
some younger than the others,
all sticking to the mater
a bit tired
and bent in fatigue
from the natural delivery
observant older
greener ladies.

Each new arrival
clutching on
with the
smallest umbilical cord
but biggest attachment,
and no one even
bothers to ask
they are girls
or boys….

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Guwahati tree ?

My blogger and FB friend Sangeeta Khanna , has perfected the art of capturing birds in exciting situations, with almost human-like expressions on their faces.
She recently posted these two photographs of a Shikra Kite (a smaller size kite variety)  agitating over having killed a squirrel and then having to share the excitement with some crows passing by, who also wanted to participate in the subsequent proceedings.  

It's amazing how those who presume themselves to be in power, act innocent,  those bystanders who participate, play stupid, and  the poor squirrel, lies dead , having had no help.  Even in death. 

Reminds you of something ?  ............. 

It's a free Tree.

Whether you fly in and out
of the foliage,

whether you run up and down
its expanse,
whether you dig
around the trunk,
while ants creep up the leaves.

But some
hero type Khaap Panchayat
Raptor Shikras
actually get excited
by the squirrelian stripes
and the blatant rise
of the tail,
and swoop in
to molest and kill.

But observed
by a gaggle of passing crows.

Shikra-Crow skirmishes,
Hindi film style,
two goons who think they are superior,
till they see
a camera telephoto
panning by. 
The Crows escape
pretending they weren't there,
the Shikra,
one claw surreptitiously
on the squirrel,
looks on as if to say ,
"Kamaal hai !
Squirrel apne aap aai, mai kya karu?

the representative
The National Squirrel Commission
poses under the tree,
flicks a branch aside
and says,
"Yes, this was a squirrel.
We request
all other squirrels
to avoid looking for nuts
with their tails up...

The Pattice Award....

"Pattice" , made of an outside potato and flour covering, and sometimes, stuffings of various types inside, is  a very popular preparation, enjoyed in various ways in Mumbai. Naturally, my blogger friend Magiceye, has had it this season, and faithfully photographed it before eating it, and posted it here.

Although sometimes also made  with cooked green plantain fruit, by those, for whom potato is contraindicated,  It is time, that we acknowledge the role played by the  versatile potato in our troubled lives..... 

Proof, that  saviours too exist in society......

in a
mercenary world
you find
simple community leaders
giving of themselves

Alubhai Batatewale
always in the crowds,
rushing in
to offer his considerable
in keeping
strong willful
immature types together.

In pressure situations,
giving the skin off his back,
he offers himself,
in collaboration with flours
and breads
to strengthen things,
the popular arrival of
Coriander Singh Mirchi,
Adrak Bhai and Lasoonabi.

Then its time
to console and hug the
sulking Green peas,
even the  Coconut
completely in shreds
troubled by
sidey chilly and kismis.

"Don't worry,
I am with you always"
he says,
as they both live through
a hot and sizzling
a testing time on
one of Life's griddles.

The battle over,
they rest ,
browned and singed,
catching their breath on a cool dish,
helped by
volunteers of the
Green Chutney Andolan.

even then ,
with one ear alert
for possibly
impending Ragda floods.....

At a time when
you get thrown into hot burning oil
for the slightest reason
by folks
trying to be popular
and powerful,
Alubhai Batatewale
is too be awarded an PH.D
Pattice with Hara Dhaniya .....

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Power Bites and Drumsticks

My newest FB friend  Arvind Khanna,  is a Botanist by training, and currently works with the Council of Scientific and Industrial  Research in New Delhi.  A very versatile nature photographer, he also does food photography , since his wife is a well known food blogger and trekker, Sangeeta Khanna , who has inspired numerous poems on this blog.  

 He has posted an amazing series of parrot captures, showing a parrot sitting in solitary splendour on one of the branches of the drumstick tree,  single mindedly putting in an amazing effort trying to break open the dried long drumsticks beans .

One simply admires the dedication , the ambition, and the  perseverance of the bird. And then one wonders  about some other things too....:-))

(Please ignore my name on the slide show. Picasa is to blame. All photos are by Arvind Khanna)

In a tree world,
the drumstick country is up for grabs.

Resource-rich with edible
and fruit
he tried and tried
to get
a license for defruiting,
and succeeded
because his friend nested
in the minister's garden....

First the small pods,
torn and pecked
in false poses
reminding you
of the One with the Flute.

one day,
feet firmly clamped,
a yogic stretch
to bite off
another one at its stem,
the red beak
clutching on the fruit
for a tightrope trudge on the branch.

Ambition blinds
as he swings vertically,
with tail always up,
swiping another drumstick
to investigate
the riches.

Bigger, the better,
all for himself,
munching on
the power seeds of the drumstick...

Last heard,
the pigeons and janata parakeets
were discussing fruit reservation in Trees. :-)


My bogger and FB friend Priyadarshan Kale (aka Harekrishnji and Rajabhau) has been driving and trekking in the hills on the outskirts of Pune, and his photographs and commentary on the rural scene, food, and people is something you shouldn't miss.

 So many of his photographs, feature the ordinary men and women, who never feature on TV and newspapers, but are the actual hardworking folks, roughing it out, so all of us can enjoy our lives with so many food and other conveniences.

This visual of the subserviently walking sheep, head down, followed by a helpless resourceless dog , simply accentuated a glaring contrast of life as we observe it today.

The Marathi version was inspired first;  the English happened later.

(photograph by Priyadarshan Kale)

गुळगुळीत संसदीय फरशी वरून,
जोडीने पुढे
विलंबित तालात चालणार्या
सभापतींची जोडी,
मागे लष्करी इत्माने कवायतीत चालणारा
लष्करी अधिकारी,
मागोमाग रेशमी भार्दस्तातेत
संथपणे पदन्यास करणार्या राष्ट्रपती ....

वैराण टेकड्यांवरून
वण वण फिरणारी
दगड धोंड्यांवारून ठेचकाळत
आयुष्याच्या उतारावर
एका कुत्र्याच्या मदतीने
शेळ्या हाकणारी ग्रामीण शेतकरीण.....

सांजवेळी ,
एक ,
शेळ्यांनी उडवलेल्या धुळीच्या कणात
आपले स्वप्नातले घर बघते ....
आणि दुसरी ,
एका सहीने, मान डोलावून
अधिकाराच्या धुंदीत
आपले भविष्यातले घर नक्की करून घेते.

काय म्हणालात, स्वातंत्र्य मिळवून किती वर्ष झाली ?

Slow stepping
in pairs
across the red sandstone,
House speakers in pairs
leading the procession,
by an alert,
military aide,
the land's first citizen,
swathed in
sycophantic silks
with a suggestion of gold.

And somewhere,
far away,
two willful wayward sheep
running wild,
followed by a
frustrated guard dog,
as the farmer's wife,
turned shepherdess,
across rocky difficult
barely grassy terrains
looking for food
for her wards.

to what she calls
a home,
amidst the evening dust
kicked up by the
unsatisfied sheep
And the other,
with a flick of a gilt edged
official pen,
and a satisfied nod,
signing away
to herself,
an official house,
of the people,
but not by the people,
or for the people.

Beg your pardon,
Did you just ask about when we gained independence ?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Learning to Bystand.....:-(

My friend Magiceye, posted this photograph  of a crow getting the capital punishment, almost poked to death,  watched by the Crow society.   You may see it here  at 365project.org.

With rules of civil society being changed, abused, and implemented  with an eye on those in power , and the recent happenings in Guwahati and elsewhere, one just wondered if the crows were learning something......like the Bystander Effect.    

An ordinary life,
struggling for open skies,
and avoiding
powerful swooping
eagle eyed spies.

Did he offend
a neighbor
with a bad Kaw Kaw ?

Was he found
making eyes
at a local girl crow ?

Or is it a she crow,
who decided to elope
with a he crow
she scavenged around with..?

They were both found
the bougainvillea branch
sharing a chapati,
he retrieved from a kind balcony.

They poked him
and molested her
to bits,
two leading powerful
gunda crows,
impervious to being photographed.

And the rest of them,
simply stood around,
supposedly stunned,
but gutless,
proving the Bystander effect.

The crows have learned a lot
from us.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Perils of Polymirchi

There is nothing more mouthwatering  on a monsoon day, than a whole mirchi pakoda (~jalapeno pepper fritters), or rather a plate of them, devoured with a nice cup of hot chai.....

It so happens, that my blogger friend Magiceye likes to inform his friends of all the interesting stuff he is enjoying, and he posted this mouthwatering snap on 365project.org.

Some how the shining gold, and the suggestion of green inside , and shining faces makes you think of life events. Like Swayamvars; events where in historical days, men competed to win a bride.  Today, times have changed. And so often, the women are in for a surprise.

Like the Mirchis ......

Old Swayamwars
were all about
the men proving their worth.

Times have changed.

And there is the
Mirchi Swayamvar.

Chiranjeev Saubhagya Kankshinis
all waiting
in baskets lined with
green plantain leaves,
by the ginger brothers
and lemon and kadhipatta bosses.

Some tall ones,
wrapped in light green,
next to some younger cousins,
real short and stubby.
Then the dark and mysterious
medium height lavangi angry types
lying in wait,
for someone
with a matching temper.

Some slightly proletarian ones,
soaked in brine,
massaged with oil and kept out in the hot sun,
to improve their shine.

Some act real cut up,
as they are flung into
an oil performing
a crackling tadka .

Some perform harakiri
in the company of raw mango,cumin garlic
and the main crook,
who is actually
spying against the
Mirchi Liberation Front.

Some simply
get left out and
turn a burning
petulant red.

And some,
get selected,
washed and cleaned
with great care,
then wrapped
in the traditional
turmeric yellow besan
Ashtaputri wedding sari,
studded with
flakes of salt, cumin
and a confetti of rice flour.

A slight anointing
with hot oil,
a welcome from the
groom's side,
and she is then led
by the hand,
into boiling oil
to participate
in the biggest
Swayamwar test of her life.

A shining golden wrap,
her tears shining through,
a sudden burst of
seedy emotion,
and someone
helps her out
to tap her dry.
on a cool plate.

She has arrived
at her Sasural
only to find
so many like her
sitting there.......

She didn't realize Polymirchi was so rampant in society...

Bozoical Corporate Advice

Bozo, Mumbai's only dog-with-his-own-blog  is now a veteran of these once-a-week photo sessions, and continues to hold his own, competing with birds, trees, butterflies, oceans, and all kinds of yummy snacks, that keep getting clicked by his mentor and life chronicler, Magiceye.

Not only is he a photographer's delight in the way he poses, but deep inside that head, there is a lot of churning of thoughts going on, thanks to what he sees around him.

You just need to look deep into the brown eyes....... 

Fresh from a
monsoon sprinkling,
shaking myself dry,
I watch
the camera turn to me,
close enough
to touch my nose,
after having its fill
of trees, birds,clouds
and a variety of breakfasts.....

I wish
someone sends my
closeup to Unilever.

I do not hanker
for a film role,
nor am I competing
with hot shot models.

Its just
that I
with my
amazing olfactory gifts,
an opportunity.

My dark wet
black nose,
with shades of
old age pink,
set in a
brilliant bone structure,
is my natural
gifted by Nature.

Look deep into my eyes,
admire my
new fashion
dark brown vertical eyeliner
from the
sides of the nose.
And be jealous
of my shapely ears
with shades of pink and brown.

When will Unilever learn
they must
not simply promote
Fair and Lovely,
but the Dark,
the black,
the brown,
the pink,
because they all
make me what I am ?

Take it from me,
that's the future of advertising;
Bozo, Luci, Pablo, Sam .
They all  rock !

Angelina Jolie,
Priyanka Chopra,
John Abraham,
Virat Kohli,
eat your hearts out....

Saturday, July 14, 2012

On your mark.....

My blogger and FB friend Shail Mohan lives in Kerala, India's southernmost state, that enjoys the first landfall of the southwest monsoon every year.

As if to celebrate this year's special event , the Olympics, and thanks to the verdant environment she lives in, she has posted this amazing photograph on her blog , Shots and Captures.

Someone in my family used to swim competitively, and it reminded me.....

Hot evaporations
of sweat
high into the sky,
moisture laden faces,
facing up
into the wind
during practice,
some dark
cloudy forebodings
from lightening quick folks
and they finally
stop drifting,
the Olympian
City of the Brollies.

A gentle tapering down
from hard practice,
pitter-patter through
verdant greens,
and village downs,
and they stand,
on the green line,
hanging in anticipation,
ready for their event.

On their mark,
get, set,go,
a slight leaning
they dive
straight into
the pool of greens,
some in graceful freestyle
and some
in a butterfly stroke,
to the great amusement
of flying folks ***
chattering in the greens

*** I do not mean V. Mallya and S Kalmadi

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Seasons and Purposes

My blogger and FB friend Shail Mohan, posted this excellent capture titled "winged beauty" on her photoblog , Shots and Captures .

A place at the top, the pinnacle, a dignified grey silk with occasional gold and orange, and the now thorny life ahead.

An oft heard and oft observed story.  Mentioned by folks in ancient times too:

From the Bible, Ecclesiastes III (King James Version): 

3:1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven..

 (photo by Shail Mohan on her  Sony Cybershot W-150)
and ensconced at the top,
unwilling to dwell
on the climb,
she turns around
delicately but firmly,
to make an eventful descent.

the path
that brought there
there has changed.

So many thorns
along the sides,
and she traipses
with great care
that the fine rich
decorative silk trailing behind
does not leave any
sharp pointed memory.

A slow
but mandatory descent.
Making way for another butterfly
at the top.

she had actually thought
she could fly away
the pinnacle itself….

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Final Silent Scream

For an environmentalist,  there cannot be anything worse than seeing polluted seas and rivers and hundreds of fish washed ashore due to inhospitable seas and low oxygen.

For a pucca vegetarian, there can be nothing more traumatic than the expression on the face of this fish, silently screaming the horror.

My FB friend Nivs Khemka Photography captured this and a few other marine scenes . Do have a look at them here.

What a life and what an end !

 (Photograph by Nivs Khemka Photography)
At one time
the waters were a fun place
where I'd traipse
around with my friends
sometimes amidst coral reefs
playing maze-maze,
and sometimes
the various Miss Ocean 2012's
(Sea, Bay, Ocean),
pirouetting and gliding by
with the Sting Rays
playing gaze-gaze.

there is so much
evil in the water.
Its abnormally cold,
the various chemicals
simply spoil the taste and the smell,
not to mention the breathing;
The mercury attracts,
but hurts when we get it inside,
and the less said
about the
slimy oil ships that breakdown
and cause a "pralay"
in our world,
the better.

These are the killing fields,
as we get entangled
in fancy nets
studded with bait
for a dseperate hungry species.

I tried,
I really did,
I shouted a warning
to my fellow fish
as I struggled to bite the net
to escape.
Dont know if they heard....

Let this open mouth
be a message to all
the so called
smart greedy bipeds
that unless
you discipline yourselves
and your dirt,
Nature stands,
jaws wide open,
baring teeth,
to destroy you....

At one time, like I said,
I played
Gaze Gaze....

Now its just GAZE,
with mouth wide open
and eyes wide shut.....

Keelback Lessons.....

For a minute I thought this was an unusual snake, with the face of a frog and the rest like a snake. Turns out , that my new FB friend Nivs Khemka Photography  clicked what is called a Striped Keelback Snake , in Nasik recently, possibly  in the act of devouring a frog. 

See some of the her amazing photographs here...

Reminds me of a Marathi saying " लहान तोंडी मोठा घास ...."  or (Big Bite for a small mouth...)

A relatively smaller snake, with a tail portion that is almost a quarter of its whole length, it has these distinctive stripes, and  it is normally gray or olive green in color, enabling excellent camouflage around unsuspecting victims. It has yellowish spots on the sides of the face, which tapers down to a slender neck. It has black crossbars all across its body, and they are more distinctive in the head area. This one is usually found on banks of water bodies, and sometimes even a few feet under the ground, when it decides to hibernate.  This snake specialises in eating smaller creatures like frogs and toads in a very mercenary way as is evident in this click.

 Why does all this ring a bell ?  Read on ....

 (Photo by Nivs Khemka Photography)

Power Stripes
fudging an actual color,
across the body,
a vivid color at the head,
the face sides
with a Gold yellow tinge,
this one slithers around,
near waters and banks,
sometimes even
going underground.

Declaring itself nonvenomous,
it moves around with a
long tail,
for ordinary frogs and toads,
croaking with happiness
at the first rains.

Big mouth
in an unbelievably small body,
it pounces
on the unsuspecting
from behind,
devious, cruel,
allowing the frog
to sense a slow death
as it holds out its hands
in desperation,
the other toads
to spread
the news.

Why does the slime,
the slithering,
the gold tinge on the face,
the deviousness in acquisition,
the demo of a greedy devouring
and the
occasional going underground,
make me feel,
that the Keelback
would make an excellent politician ?

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Ballad of Doodhwati

Rainy , dull monsoon days in Mumbai , with Wimbledon happening, and all that excitement gets you hungry enough to pine for a hot paneer bhurji with a toast or paratha. 

My friend Magiceye, actually gets to eat  all this , which of course, he photographs and posts here .

A living example, of how wonderful things can happen to very ordinary types like Milk (Doodhwati), and that one must never give up trying and looking ahead in life.

The curdled milk would "whole"heartedly agree. (Note : "Whole" milk makes better Paneer)

A Distressed Doodhwati,
restlessly boiling,
all her enthusiasm
simply soured
by the lemony antics,
and utter chaos reigns,
as her bosom friend,
Whey Kumar,
decides to separate
leaving her totally
curdled and coagulated in misery.

But most things happen for the good.

And so she
is delicately wrapped
in a fresh white muslin cloth,
gathered together and comforted,
till the tears stop
she feels strong and solid again .

A strong and cheerful girl,
Doodhwati is ready to enjoy life again.

Hot griddles with oil,
calling out to
the item number onions,
and tomatoes,
doing their stuff
as the chillies and bay leaves
sizzle in support.
"me, too, me too "
says the ginger and the garlic,
avidly joining in
the dance,
with the  Turmeric Man,
and the Coriander Greens
and Doodhwati,
throwing in their lot
in the celebrations,
with the elderly Salt , Pepper
and Masala types
as they stir themselves
in a wild disco
on the high heat.

A little bit of catching the breath
on a low flame,
covered by conservative worried
and she finally emerges,
and lipsmackingly beautiful.

She arrives,
to meet a waiting paratha
watched by the Whey Kumar ,
now sitting in a boring Jar.

"You were never like this earlier"
says the possessive Whey Kumar,
"What changed ?"
and she smiled
as she got caught by the Parathaa,
and said,
"No one's really born beautiful,
but scrambling freely with one's friends
makes one so ....



Signature Spider , Ph. D (Tricks)

My FB friend , Nandan Tavanandi, posted this wonderful click of a Signature Spider up to all kinds of tricks in the web. 

These Spiders, weave webs, not only with silk, but also with smart thinking.  X pattern white  zigzag weaves to highlight their residences to keep folks alerted.  Then a cunning consolidation of the many legs into four, to align with the X, the intertwined leg hairs, glinting in the sun, making the spiders appear like a flower in the centre of an almost invisible silk web.   The smartness doesn't end there.

Read on.  And stop wondering where , we , as evolved bipeds, got all our mean ideas from.   

 (photograph by Nandan Tavanandi)
Smartness in relative.

painstakingly weaving
a gossamer delicate home,
make it more secure
by knitting in zig zag strips,
in an X-pattern.
a fake No Entry sign.

As if
having a cerebral cortex
in every limb,
many legs
pretending to be four,
thoughtfully aligned
with the zigzag,
she sits
at the centre of it all,
reflecting the sunlight,
to appear as a flower,
the lumbering bees and wasps
that rush to visit.

she watches the male
weave his smaller web alongside,
and offer it to her
to wrap the eggs.
Thank you, monsieur,
his utility over,
and she proceeds
to eat him up.

The spider eggs
with an undeniable
mercenary DNA,
and the little ones
simply eat each other,
till they energize
to break out of the wrap.

Does it surprise you
at all
that we
the smart bipeds,
have evolved
into a
and sometimes,
blind, deaf, and dumb  people? 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Bungee Jumping For Dummies

My FB friend and blogger Sangeeta Khanna,of Delhi,  is a botanist, antioxidant researcher, nutritionist, someone who studies and practices traditional indian medicine and cooking, trekker, birder, and photographer.  She is blessed with a green thumb and a garden, something most of us city dwellers cannot enjoy.

Despite her numerous and wide interests, she still gets enticed with little things happening in nature, and photographs them for us to enjoy. 

Like here below......

(photograph by Sangeeta Khanna)

sheltered by
the long arm of the leaf,
nibbling on the surface
he would often
venture out
on the green bridge
and make his way across
laboriously dragging
applauded by
the various
dicotyledonous ladies
and some even lobular
and in whorls.

One day,
he felt
a bit different,
but still wanted to cross,
till he spied the
contorted rope
and decided
to bungy jump.

He swung
on the rope,
and lost it,
till he realised he was flying.

The rope had sprung back,
because he had
now become a butterfly !


Bozoical meditations....

Bozo, Mumbai's only dog-with-his-own-blog  has his own  sensible way of handling nonstop heavy monsoon downpours in Mumbai, and as he sees folks on TV talking about it "raining cats and dogs", he almost feels like suing them for defamation.

Bozo , is a very well informed person,  and has become wise in his old age.

He spends a lot of time, meditating about things on the cool floor, and his mentor and life-chronicler Magiceye, captured him during one such session .

Wild tornadoes,
spiralling winds,
lifting and carrying off
creatures of the land and water;
then depositing
over a city
along with a torrential rain.

Frogs, birds, Fish,
spiders and bats
centrifuged and flung down
word-corrupting bipeds
convert Greek
into "cats and dogs".....

Never mind.

In Mumbai,
I just stay in
on heavy
non stop pouring
windy monsoon days.

You never know
what the winds carry
in their tornado  pockets...
and who wants
to be showered
plastic,trash, dirt and junk,
not to mention
empty promises
and lies ?

Not all my friends are so lucky.

And so,
as my thoughts gather
and spiral up
with great speed,
I shut my eyes,
lie down on a cool floor,
and say a thank you
to Him who made me,
and gave me a wonderful family. 

(Just in case you see my
ears perking up,
its all those thoughts
flowing out
in ordered file. ...
we never rain things on people.....)

Sigh. Will these bipeds never learn ?

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Melting Studs

My blogger and FB friend Shail Mohan, besides blogging on her dog Luci, is also a published poet and a sensitive photographer with a very perceptive eye.

 She lives in the southernmost state of Kerala, where many houses still utilise local artists in their homebuilding, and you find amazing styles and lush greenery. Shail has an ocean of everything to click, and she almost catches every fish. Or should I say, every stud in the elephant's nose....  err, trunk ?

Monsoon raindrops are her  speciality and you can see them here

Her latest posting about nose studs....   something done today as a fetish, or a blindly followed requirement. It was actually done in the old days ,scientifically to activate a nerve in a nostril, that lessened the pain for women, in their days dedicated to being future mothers....

Ancient noses
by Vaidya Sushrut,
and a fine piercing
at a nostril node
to lessen the pain
for those female bipeds
mobilizing in life
to perpetuate generations.

A nose in
metal and stone,
pierced and studded
in support,
of the myriads of
and horses,
unable to breed new generations,
sacrificed at the altar
of a human greed
so terrible,
the stud sheds itself
in tears……

High on a Swing.....

My FB friend, and photography enthusiast , Prasad Paranjape, posted this capture of a glass of rum, describing it simply as MCDOWELL RED RUM ALWAYS ON THE ROCKS.

Many a life and a house has been affected by overenthusiastic senseless imbibing of what looks amazing here,  and those who have quit, know the difference.

I have neither imbibed nor quit.  But can imagine the blatant mindset of the golden liquid.  Which inspired this poem. 

And only those who watch the latest wonderful Marathi Serial "Unch Majha Zokaa"  will understand the reference to "rummi" at the end.

Originally written in Marathi. A possible translation follows...

स्वतःचीच झिंग,
खोटा सोनेरी भाव ,
स्वारोव्स्की परवडत नाही
म्हणून बर्फाशी लाडी गोडी..
किती लोकाना फसवले,
किती लोकांना बदलले ,
किंतीन्च्या घरून वदवले ,
पण ही बया आपल्याच धुंदीत ,
आपल्याच स्वप्नात
काचेच्या आतून आंधळी ...
ह्या रमिला कधी कळणार,
कि तिचा झोका कधीच उंच जाणार नाही ?

A swinging life,
Drunk on her
own importance,
a false attitude
of being giltedged and golden,
messing around
and snuggling up
to the ice cubes
they are Swarovski
on the rocks.....

Countless people misled,
countless lives changed
for the worse,
countless families
worriedly pleading,
but she remains,
uncaring, self centred,
blind to the outside ,
as she pretends
to see through the glass.

Will this Rum-i
ever realize,
that despite her
swinging life pretensions,
her swing will
never fly high ?

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Bitter Truth....

Karela or Bitter Gourd is not anywhere close to being a favourite food of mine. But sometimes , you get curious after seeing the same unwanted vegetable presented in a different avatar. Like in a stuffed fried one.....

My blogger friend Magiceye, clicked and posted this as part of the 365project.org project.

The karela/bitter gourd, at first sight, does not have much going for it. Its appearance, rough jagged exterior, its taste,  its bitterness,  go against it.

But cooking it differently sometimes makes you look again. 

And learn. That the vegetable , is a chock-a-block with medicinal benefits......

Is there a pattern ? .....

Was it a corrupt politician
or thief
in a previous birth,
that it is cursed
now in this life,
with a poky warty skin,
and limply
hangs on a vine,
amazing lobular leaves
and yellow flowers...?

And does it undergo
the Rites of Redemption
in this birth ?

A clean wash,
and then a gentle scraping
of all that is wrong.

A redemption cut
along the length,
and a purifying immersion
salt and turmeric water
till the sins flow.

The cut hurts,
as they are patted dry
and the seeds
of evil,
removed from the innards,
soon to be replaced
by new life stuffings
of cleansing spices,
comfort potatoes,
with a dash of
onions, chilies ,
garlic and ginger,
minor reminiscing
over a
previous tamasi life.

some willful ones
are then tied up,
the entire lot
purified in steam,
till they give in.

A final cooling off,
a trial
through hot oil,
and an offering
to all,
as  the old life goes into pieces,
singed and browned
in apology
on a plate.

the bitter gourds of life,
with great medicinal value,
God's way
of teaching someone
to atone for old sins
turn over a new leaf
in a new life.......

In praise of Amti Bhat .....

My blogger friend Harekrishnaji aka Priyadarshan Kale, goes exploring in the hinterlands of Maharashtra amd more so when the monsoon starts.

An expert on traditional food items and where you get the best of the lot,  in places way out in the countryside, he with his faithful Zen, often traverse Sahyadri peaks,valleys, unknown jungles, and rivers, to occasionally arrive at a home, where, fresh from howling winds, unrelenting rain, wandering clouds and a cold nose, they are transported to heaven at the sight of steaming hot rice served with a spiced hot dal, called "amti" in Maharashtra.

In his own words : "बरोबर दिशा धरुन चालत, डोंगरदऱ्या पार करत अंधाऱ्या रात्री मुक्कामी पोचल्यावर चुलीवर शिजलेल्या गरम भाताचा तो भलामोठाला डोंगर, त्यावरची ती वाफाळलेली आमटी. विसरणे नाही. अंतिम सत्य एकच. आमटीभात. गरमागरम आमटीभात." 

 These poems in Marathi (original) and and effort in English dedicated to Amti-bhat....

 (photos courtesy Google)

काही अक्खे , काही कण्या,
एकत्र रोळीमध्ये,
पाण्याच्या मोठ्या सरीतून निभावून
दोन मिनिटे स्वस्थ पडलेले .
मग धो धो पाणी ,
चटका लाउन जाणारे पातेले ,
आणि उचंबळणार्या विचारांना
ढवळून काढणारा डाव ,
बेभान पाण्यात फुलून उठणारा भात ,
सगळी एकामेकाला चिकटून बसलेली,
आपल्या भावी आयुष्याची काळजी
करणारी शित....

एका राजाभौंचे आगमन ,
बाहेर वार्याची धमाल,
हात पाय धुउन ,
मनातली भूक ओठावर ,
आणि एका सुगरण काकू ने
वाढलेली गरम गरम आमटी.

भुरका मारून तृप्त होउन
ते वदले,
"हेच ते, हेच, अंतिम सत्य ,
गरम आराम आमटी भात ....",
आणि त्या सर्व कण्या
"इश्य , काय हे !" असा मुरका मारून
आमटीत बुडून गेल्या .....

Some full grains,
some broken in
dehusking times,
resting together in a colander
after a torrential wash.

Then a tumultous dip
in a vessel
full of water,
but searing in its heat,
and their thoughts
bubble forth,
as the spatula
ensures a massive upheaval
amidst the
now empowered grains...

They sit,
stuck to each other,
secure in their numbers
wondering what lies ahead.

Enter Rajabhau,
he of the monsoon drives,
whistling winds, waterfalls,
and lost roads
in deep jungles.

The wind bangs the door shut,
as he dries up,
and sits down
enraptured by
a mountain of steaming
apprehensive rice.

A pot of dal,
just subsiding
after a massive
boil of emotion,
amidst mustards seeds,
coriander leaves toran,
spiced , tamarined,
and turmeric on the face,
finally meets
the rice.

He mixes it all up,
and slurps,
the warmth shining in the eyes.
"This is,
truly, the one and only truth;
Exquisite Amti-bhat,
on a wind swept monsoon day,
amidst the rural green,
straight from the stove..."

And the rice grains,
watch each other,
throw themselves in the Amti,
and say
"Aiyyo ! What a life !
What a life !".......

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Bozoical EKS.....

One more poetic chapter in the Life and Times of Bozo, Mumbai's only dog-with-his-own-blog. 

Life in a Metro teaches you to be philosophical. At least that's what Bozo thinks.  You have to accept what happens. 

But even then, sometimes it shows on your face. And what is worse, folks like Magiceye, photograph it, despite being the cause of it all.

But we fellows don't hide our feelings. After all, we are only human .....

We fellows
are stoic chaps,
and whatever it is
we take it in our stride .

it is happening
all over again.

A time when
I couldn't
turn a room corner
without colliding with
the young chap
in a hurry,
and a time when
a peek into the young lady's room
saw her getting ready
for exciting times.

There was a brief
summer of joy
when I realized that
Deepak would now be home
much more.

But no.
It is not to be
and I am upset,
yet philosophical....

I am back
to gazing from the balcony,
paws up on the railing,
a silent wail here,
a brave snort there....

What to do ?

We fellows must endure
the Empty Kennel Syndrome
in our old age.........