Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Digging into a mind ?

Human Creativity knows no bounds. In a single week, I come across photos posted by friends. First, the Stepwells of Gujarat, and today, my friend Deepak Amembal posts a picture of this square municipal hole in the premises of the Sion Fort, Mumbai, as part of his Mumbai Daily series. .

Many times it is about celebrating an ability, a gift of skill, a great appreciation of symmetry and beauty, combined with using it for a social good, relevant in those times.  Like the Adalaj Step wells found in Gandhinagar, Gujarat.

And then , we have the artless, unprotected municipal structures, built with blatant disregard for the aesthetics of old structures , like Forts, as simple as they may be. Like this massive unimaginative hole, constructed in the Sion Fort, in one of the Central suburbs of Mumbai. And many artless types signing their names for posterity on the rocks alongside.

Sometimes one questions  the evolution of the  cerebral cortex  and/or human mind ...

They say
we have evolved.

From beautiful
constructed step wells
holding concerned thoughts for
the future
of a populace,
thoughtless artless holes
with no thought of safety
of carved identities
of those
who came by
to get away from it all.

A hundred years from now
someone will doubt
of the human mind....

Sunday, December 28, 2014

A Bozoical Miltonian Win

Bozo Amembal, Mumbai's canine blogger, has learned to take Mumbai's young-people's-fast-lifetsyle in his stride. Despite some metallic types dragging away his chronicler and mentor Deepak , on wild trips across the country, he has learned to take a long term view instead of instant excitements amidst engines firing and sparking ...

And this is his time to rejoice and enjoy. His dearest friend is visiting from far away lands, and he sits happily, watching the new goodies about to enter his life.

Bozo's philosophy.  It works.  Someone  called John Milton said something similar once.

They also win
who simply sit and wait...

like Miss Desert Storme,
snatch away my folks
and take off with them
spewing exhaust
across mountain roads
and riverside ways,
on therapeutic organ upgrades
at special places en route,
and keep wandering for months.

And then there are folks like me,
who learn
the art of patience
as they grow old,
count our everyday blessings,
keep the environment clean,
and wait
for a special person
to come in a special season,
with special gifts
that light up my eyes.

Eat your heart out
or should I say,
Eat your carburettor out,
Desert Storme.

Like I said,
They also win
who simply sit and wait...

Thursday, December 25, 2014

The Dream House स्वप्नातले घर ....

There simply is no explanation  for a lady painstakingly designing and setting up an entire realistic dollshouse for a little girl, complete with rooms, wallpaper, furniture, decorations, plumbing, lighting , carpeting , linen, flowers, flooring , curtains and what have you, all custom designed by herself with a friend. 

The lady is an indulgent grandma, and the little girl, is her only granddaughter, old enough to appreciate and get super thrilled with this.  Some other curious  grandkids are also drawn to it ....
My childhood friend Vidya Vartak Joshi, is the artistic grandma, who initiated and completed this incredible project.  
Take a bow, Vidya !

कधी कधी एका आजीच्या मनाच्या
एका कोपर्यात
काही स्वप्ने घर करून बसतात
आणि नातीच्या साठी
ती अर्किटेक्ट , इण्टिरिअर डिझाईनर,
सुतार, गवंडी आणि शिंपी
पण बनते .

विशाल सोफे,
दिवे आणि पुस्तकांचा दिवाणखाना ,
थंडीचा रंग बघून
लपाछपिकर्णारे पडदे ,
गुलाबी रजई वाला पलंग ,
गोड धोड बनवण्यासाठी
सर्व सोयीन सकट एक अत्याधुनिक
स्वयंपाकघर ,
आणि मजेत,
लुकलुकणार्या क्रिसमस ट्री च्या
दिव्यात एका सुंदर
जेवणघरात कुटुंबाबरोबर
घेतलेला मेजवानीचा आस्वाद .

कुठेतरी हळूच
बाळाच्या आगमनाची स्वप्ने बघून
तयार होणारी त्याची
नर्सरीची खोली,
आणि सुंदर सुंदर खेळ आणि कपड्यांनी
भविष्यात भरणारी इवलीशी कपाटे .
आणि मग
कुणा एका हुशार बाळाला
आजीच्या मनाचा सुगावा लागतो,
तो हळूच दार उघडून
आाजीच्या मनात जावून बसतो ,
आणि म्हणतो,
"ताई ग , हे तुझे घर ,
आणि आजिच्या मनात ,
माझे घर !"…
deep in the recesses
of a grandmotherial mind,
grows a dollhouse plan
for a golden granddaughter,
and she gleefully flits
between being
an architect
a designer, a mason,
a carpenter
and a furbisher.

Wide comfy sofas,
a well lit living space
with great bookcases,
tailored curtains
fluttering at the window,
a pink comforter
resting on a pink bed
in a pink room;
a modern swish kitchen
and a twinkling Christmas tree
at a spiffy dining table,
laden with yummy stuff...

A baby's nursery
getting its final touches,
with cupboards
waiting for toys,
and just then 

the  littlest  baby,
crawls up to the house,
pushes open the main door,
and goes straight in
to sit
straight into
the delighted grandmotherial mind,
" Sis, enjoy your house;
as for me,
I am at grandma's ....

:-)  ... "

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

A Turn for the Better .... वळण लावलेला सागर सेतू

This is a wonderful capture of the Bandra Worli Sea Link , posted  from the Bandra Fort Side, by my friend Deepak Amembal, as part of the Monochrome Mania Series. 

A relatively new bridge on Mumbai's western Seaboard, connecting the two western suburbs of Worli and Bandra, and designed to cut commuting time , this is a new landmark construction in a city , which was until then used to old style straighter bridges over the creeks.  
Clearly, the Arabian Sea near Mumbai, must have felt something .  Those waves rolling across towards the bridge (lower right), probably had something in mind, in Marathi and then in English....

(Some expressions in Marathi cannot be translated into English ...  :-)    )

गावात नव्यानीच आलेली सीलीन्का ,
आणि बातमी सन्सनाटीच होती …
कमनीय , उत्कृष्ट तब्येतीत ,
सागरात डौलदार पणे
लक्ष वेधणारी ती,
आणि किनार्यावरील खडकांच्या
खोड्या काढणारे लाटाभाई
अचानक तिच्याकडे वळले
आणि शिस्तबद्ध युवकासारखे
तिच्याकडे धाउ लागले .

गोंधळून गेली,
थोडी थांबली,
"इश्श, काय हे !"
म्हणत झटकन डावीकडे वळत
वरळीला निघून गेली ….

 New in town,
Miss SeaLinka,
clearly a sensation
when she arrived.

Perfectly sculptured,
healthfully strong
the cynosure of all eyes
as she stood
in the sea ,
and t'was a matter of time
the WaveDadas,
who troubled the rocks
suddenly noticed her
and started rolling towards her
with alacrity
and foam
in their eyes.

alarmed  and
a bit confused,
just got all her cables together,
and said ,
"Oh, My my ...."
and quickly took a sharp left
and simply rushed

to meet
her future at Worli...

Sunday, December 21, 2014

A Bozoical Clarification....

Ah ! Bozo Amembal, Mumbai's blogger dog, is back after a long hiatus. He has been a steadfast pillar of strength in the house, with  Deepak away on his three country trek, and  breathes a sigh of grateful relief,  now that he is back from those sojourns in the hills and beaches,  with the Desert Storme. 

Yes, it has been tough, and he is aware of who he needs to thank ; actually he has been a quiet devotee of Bappa for a long time.  

Clearly, these have been months of growing up, in more ways than one. Deepak recently posted a photo on his blog and FB, saying Bozo was acting "Pricey".

 And Bozo doesn't like being called Pricey.  (Must be the influence of that pricey Desert Storme)..........

"Pricey" :
it is a wrong choice
of word.

I rejoice
in the
advent of winter,
cool saambaar weather,
no rain,
folks back from
countrywide trips,
a room
to celebrate
a sense of thanksgiving,
happiness and good health
with Bappa.

I notice
that Bappa's usual vehicle
is missing.

And so
I consider it
a "priceless" opportunity
and a great honor
to stand guard
as a substitute
Bappa vehicle.

If you think
that is "pricey" look,
Hmmpf .....

Just my 2 woof clarification....

Sunday, December 14, 2014

खरं का खोट्ट(ओ) " A Khotto Life

I have these interesting friends, all called Amembal, and all hailing from a certain ancestral village in the coastal areas on the state of Karnataka.  They all simply specialize in photographing all kinds of yummy traditional foods made in their houses, subsequent to which they sit down and polish it all off with a good cup of filter coffee. 

One of them Amit Amembal, recently posted this capture of "Khotto" or a special kind of idli, steamed in a cup made out of leaves of the jackfruit tree. 

To see how the cups are made, watch this .

These idlis, look a bit bossy compared to the normal idlis one makes, giving rise to some political thoughts.  And it is simply incidental that the word "khotto" is very close to something in marathi that means "lies". 

भारदस्त नेते
फणसाच्या पानाच्या स्पेशल आसनात बसून
चिंतन बैठकीत

वाफेत मोठ्या मोठ्या गप्पांमध्ये गुंग.

चटणी मोळगापोडी पामराना
आपलं वाटत
रहाते ,
हे लोक फणसासारखे आतून कन्वाळू बनतील .

पण त्यांच सगळ लक्ष
साम्बारी आगमनाकडे असत …
आणि बिचार्र्या चट्ण्या घोषणा देत
एकिकडे पडून रहातात ....

एका कलिंगडाची दुसरी गोष्ट

Somehow "Watermelon Rind Badis" doesnt sound as nice as कलिङ्ग्डाच्या सालीचे सांडगे, if you know what I mean.

My friend Shruti Nargundkar of Melbourne, writes a wonderfully nostalagic  post about holiday afternoons in her childhood, spent delightfully guarding special spicy items made out of watermelon rind, and set out to dry on the house terrace or  yard.

It isn't just about the taste and the convenience.

It is about the philosophy of the immense energy that goes into growing something and taking it to its logical end;   of utilising every possible part of it, in a unifyng manner, and passing all these values to future generations, so they too, can learn .

कुणा एका नदीच्या वाळ्वणटात
गेलेले बालपण ,
कडक कोरड्या उन्हाच्या विद्यालयात

लागलेली शिस्त,
आणि वयात आलेली हिरव्या
नक्षीची कलिंगडा,
आपल्या देठाशी आलेली कुरळी
वाळलेली बट ,
हळूच बाजूला सारते ,
आणि एका मोठ्या टोपलीत बसून
सासरच्या मार्गी लाग्ते.

वापरा आणि फेका संस्कृतीच्या विरोधात
ऐन यौवनात तिने केलेलि चळवळ,
वंशाचे काळे पांढरे पिवळे दिवे
व्यवस्थित सांभाळणारी,
डोक्यावर सासरच्या थपडा झेलणारी,
दिवसे दिवस गोड मानणारी ,
अश्रू ढाळीत का होईना,
पण स्वतःचे चंद्रकोरीच्या आकारात
असंख्य तुकडे करून जीव लावणारी कलिंगडा ,
शेवट पर्यंत देतच रहते.
देतच रहते.

कुठे आजच्या नाटकी जगात
"माझ्या चामड्याचे जोडे बनवून
चरणी अर्पण करीन "
असं उदगारणारी आम्र सौदर्यवति ,
आणि कुठे
आपले यौवन अर्पण केल्यावर सुधा
उरले सुरले सर्व
पोहे, बेसन, मिरची , हिंग , जिरे,
व तिळाच्या मदतीने,
एकटवून ,
सूर्याची उपासना करून
आपल्या अनेक वन्श्जान्साठी
सांडगे रुपी उरणारी कलिंगडा ….

ह्या कलियुगी जगात
आम्र सौदर्यवति राणी ठरते ,
पण कलिंगडा
बरण्या व डबे भरभरून
अनेकांच्या घरी
जगभर विहारते,
आणि कधीतरी
दूर कुठेतरी ,
एका बर्फ़ाळ्लेल्या संध्याकाळी
वाफाळलेल्या वरण भाताला
चार चांद लावते …

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Sanskari Uthappas!

There cannot be anything more delightful, than the Grandma of the house, making a special Sunday breakfast for everyone.

My friend Amit Amembal recently posted this capture of the Uthappas prepared his Mom , both the routine and the stuffed/sandwich variety, before he devoured them.

And though Uthappas may have suddenly been found themselves famous on Facebook, and becoming popular ,  it is good to know, that , at the end of the day, an Uthappa never forgets his traditional Sanskars...

I guess Alok Nath would greatly approve... 

Grains of rice and
and pulverized ,
lying in an
agitated fermenting state
all night,
talking about the
morning program.

A Stepping on to a hot tawa,
and a coming of age,
escorted by
of every hue and color,
and adorned with
capsicum and mint
studded with
onions , tomatoes & peanuts.

And the older Uthappa,
nudged the latest one
to arrive,
and said,
"You might think
you look like a pizza,
but that's no reason to forget
your Sanskars
when you see Grandma."

And the younger one,
bashful on the plate,
promptly folded over
in a Namaste,
unconcerned about
some capsicum types
that didn't understand
what was going on. 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

A Leonine Comment.....

My cousin Madhuri Pai posted this photograph,  clicked on her recent visit to Sasan Gir, a National Wildlife Sanctuary in the western state of Gujarat.

As she says, they could observe these lions for a long time, as they were resting, and just watching them so long was an amazing experience.

It just  occurred to me that besides an impression of a royal afternoon siesta, there was something else that was being conveyed....

(photo by Madhuri Pai)
So many stately kings
now in the Sun

Swachh Abhiyans,
so many posing
with brooms,
and kharataas.

It takes a Gir Queen
to understand,
that the Swachh Abhiyan
starts from onesself,
and the King
continues to reflect
on the stupidity
of the evolved bipeds
excel at licking
those in power....

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Soft Wares and Soft Wears ..........

There is something star-like , about not being self conscious, yet enjoying the feel, the fall, and the print,  and the non five star  ambience at the world's most popular fashion extravaganza, that plays out on the roads of Mumbai.

This photo was posted by my friend Vidya , as a share.

She stands, supreme and stable, in her Corner Mochiwala flats,  displaying the now-you-see-them-now-you-dont Pairovski Anklets,  a bunch of bags on her arm, her face a picture of today's confident woman, pulling up someone on the phone, for possibly, being late.  On the other hand,  maybe she didn't call, but received one, steeped as she is in the Special Missed Call culture.

Welcome to the multitasking , social media outfit wearing woman of Today.  

There are Fashion Week designers who sell telephone and cow  print outfits for outrageous  sums.  

Not this lady. For a traditional touch, the Facebook border is in green, and the blouse too  falls in line. 

Last heard, Samsung and  Apple were negotiating for Sari Rights......

Showstopper for Google,
walking the
Paver Block Fashion Extravagaanza,

in a
WhatsApp saree with
an auspicious green
Facebook border....

Special Twitter designs,
Googlized weaves
on a Youtube Lehenga style palloo
in Pink,
and she sashays
to the edge of the pavement
strikes a pose
at the Zebra crossing,
clicks the rickshawalla
and dials.

She must
make a missed call,
if she has to save
for the next big thing :
The Blue Tooth Nine Yard Saree....

Monday, December 1, 2014

Tall thoughts , Green words....

My childhood friend Vidya from Pune, clicked and posted this  capture of symbiotic living, thanks to the Gulmohur tree, which she found on the  greens , where she often goes to play a round of golf.

This crowding of plants of various sizes, cheek by jowl in the lap of a gulmohur, brought to mind the urbanization of Mumbai .  Huge tall buildings in the city proper, towering above tarpaulin studded ground level homes, with a huge deficit of green. And then , right there, there are single family 47 (23?)  storey homes, where the gardens and greens proliferate vertically.

This Gulmohur is luckier. And so are those that crowd inside it to watch the world go by.....

   (photo by Vidya Vartak Joshi)
Nature often aspires
to real life
as we see it.

Or is it the other way around ?

Vast curated greens,
crew cut lawns,
well defined holes,
and folks in noiseless vehicles,
gliding around
and mobilising to tee.

Some proletarian
enthusiastic crowds,
settling in wherever
in nooks and crannies
of old trees of the city;
some big well connected ones
lording it over others,
and some powerful
in sheer numbers,
looking up
and peering
to see
the ball in flight.

And the big one,
nudging the young ones
with its white root
said ,
" This is so much nicer
than living and seeing
next to you,
a 47 storey
vertical garden house, na ?"

And the Gulmohur,
listening in
smirked and said ,
"Ha ! Indeed ! Antilla !...."

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Ruminations of a non cricketer

Cricket had its beginnings , sometime in the 16th century. It was then a game.

Two youths were fined for playing cricket  at Siddlesham, Sussex in 1611. The first match was played in the year 1700 at the Clapham Commons.The first six seamed ball was manufactured by the Dukes of Penshurst,Kent. 

Since then, the ball has come a long way. It has been beamed, bounced, tossed, and sometimes "thrown".  There are rules for how high you can bend/raise your arm while bowling, and there are ICC rules about how many bouncers can be bowled to a batsman in an over. These rules keep changing between 1 and 2. In 1991 , the rules allowed one bouncer per over per batsman. The players and umpires cribbed, and the number of bouncers was increased to 2. British umpire Dickie Bird said the judging of intimidatory bouncers  was to be left to umpires.

First Phil Hughes. Then, a day ago, an Israeli umpire died after being hit by a bouncer in a match where he was officiating.

It is a sign of the times today , that physical intimidation of the batsman needs to be resorted to, in lieu of  good intelligent bowling, and gundaism in the form of sledging is considered  a valid activity  by teams, for mentally troubling the batsman to disturb his concentration. .

Perhaps , what with the business and  betting, fixing and tampering,   it is no longer a game ?

Ask the ball and the bat.

It is not
a sporting fight
between the bat and the ball.

It is a war between
the bowler,
and the guy who bats.

And the red cherry
a veteran
of so many years,
a contemporary of the willow,
rues the
she has been flung
at people,
aimed at their heads,
between the eyes,
thumped on the chin,
and banged on their chests,
as the willow,
so talented at
sweeping, cutting, and lofting,
stands forlornly by,
sadly unable to connect
and defend.

She quietly rolls down
the 22 yards,
meets the solitary stump,
about the umpire
who got hit by someone like her
and died
in Israel,
and wonders,
sport will be played as a sport,
and not as a desperate war to be won
with battle plans,
and enemy sledging.

Simply Soornoli !

My friend Deepak Amembal recently completed a two month long, three country, pan Indian motorcycle trip, along with a friend. He is now currently visiting his native place for a special annual celebration of the family deity.

This is clearly a time to enjoy native delicacies as well, which may be made in Mumbai as well, but simply taste different, when made in places full of family, history, and memories of childhood.

 Deepak just posted a photograph of a Soornoli that he had for breakfast. A delightfully ventilated pancake/dosa, sweet with flavors of coconut, jaggery, and dahi, and pohe (rice flakes).

Clearly, it isnt just us who are impressed with his motorcycle trips and photographs that he posted throughout.

Sometimes, those in the photos also react ..... :-)   In English and Marathi.   Too bad I cannot speak Konkani .....  :-)

तान्दुळाबाई आणि मेथीताईंची
स्नानानंतर हळू हळू २-३ तास कुजबुज ,
मग पोहेकाकांचे अचानक पडलेले लक्ष ,

इतकी सर्व मंडळी
काय चर्चा करत आहेत
हे ऐकायला
धावत आलेले
ताक्शेठ , नारळीआजी, आणि गुळोजि राव.

रात्रभर चर्चा, कुजबुज ,
आणि सकाळी लोण्याकडे फेकलेले
प्रश्नार्थी कटाक्ष …

शेवटी गरम तव्यावर पडताच
छोटे डोळे चक्क उघडले,
मग समजलं .

दुचाकी वरून भारत भ्रमण करणारे
आपल्या गावच्या देवाच्या
त्यांच्यावर असलेल्या
परमेश्वरी कृपादृष्टीबद्दल आभारदर्शन प्रार्थना
करायला आले होते
आणि चक्क समोर बसलेले .

धन्य होउन सुरनोळी
तव्यावरून निघाली ती थेट
त्यांच्या थाळीत ….
Lady Rice and Fenugreeka,
fresh after their baths,
discussing something
with great alacrity,
an inquisitive Poha uncle
trying to join the proceedings,
unwilling to be left out,
Buttermilk Singh, Shrimati Coconut,
and  Vittal Jaggery Rao,
falling in with the group.

Unsuccessful night long
attempts to question
the Stuffy Butterbhai
sitting aloof in the morning. 

And then
a grand descent
onto a hot tawaa,
a bubbling mind
and a clear opening of eyes
as the edges curl in gold,
in honor of the new realization.

Sitting right in front
of them all
is Deepak,
now visiting his native place,
doing a thanksgiving pooja,
after his amazing Pan-India
motorcycle trip.

An impatient Soornoli,
loosening itself
from the tawa hold,
simply slides on to the spatula
and on to a plate,
along with
heart melting butter.