Saturday, March 31, 2012

Idli weds Sambhaar

I wear glasses, and they always fog up when faced with steaming idli and sambhaar.

I think my blogger friend Magiceye, has a special special attachment on his camera which simply waves the steam away and automatically clicks.

 Or he wouldnt be able to post such wonderful photos of idli saambhaar.  Which he did  in his collection here at Magiceye's Fotothing, where you can actually taste the spicy hot sambhaar.....

Sometimes in addition to taste buds,  some other neurons  start firing.  You start imagining things and a poem happens.

(For those having no clue as to what idli sambhar is,  please see this )

She's been preparing
for the big day
almost 24 hours...

As a dehusked black bean
she enjoys soaking
in the water,
and puffing up
in delight,
knowing that
Cousin Rice
is doing the same nearby.

They meet
with great relish
in a stone pit
and sometimes
in an electric way,
losing themselves in each other.

Another twelve hours
of lying low,
and things
get a bit difficult
as the feelings ferment
and tempers rise up.

D-Day arrives,
and with some
salt and pepper wibhuti
gratefully accepted,
she goes in
for some
final steaming beauty treatment,
in a special enclosure
with places for others too.

A healthful glow,
lightness of heart,
and an anxious mind,
she steps into
a deep bowl
accompanied by
the chatni bridesmaid.

There is no need to worry.

Keeping time
to the music of a spoon
banged on a plate by a child,
the Sambhar Bridegroom
nicely comfortable
with a baraat of
shining onions,
traditional veggies,
and simmerings
of methi,
and tamarinds, giving their all.

Wonderful flavors,
fragrant steam
and the Idli
totally overcome,
simply melts
looking at the sambhaar.

What a delicious Idli-Sambhaar  wedding!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Mung Makeovers

This has to be the first time someone got overcome with the sight of mung usal  (a vegetable preparation of sprouted whole mung )  cooked Maharashtrian style, and clicked a wonderful picture, and immediately posted it on Pinterest.

My friend Magiceye, did just that .  Then a lady commented asking for a recipe. 

What she didn't know, was that she was about to get it in the form of poetry . Like here...

(photo by Deepak Amembal Magiceye).

Little jade
elongated globules
Getting a beauty bath
and a longish dip ,
from prying eyes.

A rich well-fed
from the long bath,
and wrapped in
soft muslin ,
as they
crowd together,
jostling with each other,
sprouting some
idle chitchat,
trying to ignore
slight warming of tempers.

So they rise
sprouting with the rising sun,
someone decides
to give them
a hot oil massage
as they lie in a wok,
sizzling small talk
Madame Chilly**, and Monsieur Kaddipatta***,
some wayward mustard seeds
with childish excitement.

Life has changed,
the jade green
has been replaced
by a sunny lemon pearly glow
without recourse
to Fair and Lovely..

It has been a coming out
into a new world
for the jade maidens
earlier so protected
on shelves.

we think
they need some spice
in their new lives,
there is a happy shower of
and cumin,
and coconut and coriander,
with a great sprinkle of lemon.

The sprouted jade maidens
are on their way
to a pink sasuraal****,
and this
was just a bridal shower

** jalapeno peppers
*** curry leaves
**** in laws' house

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Puri Pageants.....

The next best thing to eating something , is to see amazing pictures of that stuff on Facebook/Pinterest/Flickr et al. It also helps if you have a friend who likes to eat the same things that you do and in addition, takes wonderful photos of it..

Particularly in the category of what may be classified as Mumbai Food.

Bhel, which has appeared earlier in this poetry blog, as a "magic mixture" is one such.

This is a picture of Sev Batata Puri, which essentially has the same DNA as the Bhel , but just looks a bit more posh.

Stiff crackling wheat rounds, loaded with chopped onions, tomatoes, chopped/mashed boiled potatoes, spiced and slathered in 3 types of sauces/chutneys, Garlic red, green chilly coriander mint, and tamarind sauce. Salt and cayenne pepper sprinkled to taste, and Sev sprinkled liberally on top interspersed with chopped coriander, and possibly even finely chopped green chillies.

Naturally, a poem happened. And here it is !

(photo by Deepak Amembal Magiceye)

So many Farsaan Countries,
at the
Miss BhelPuri-World
at Juhu Beach.

Purees in statuesque poses,
studded with
tomato and coriander zardozi,
with a brilliant play
of Swar-onion crystals
glinting in the light;
A mash of potatoes
giving some body,
and she shivers
under the
flowing green chutney
as she wonders what else is in store.

Nervous in tears,
in anticipation of
some spicy
red questions
thrown all over her,
she takes refuge,
under a reassuring blanket
of a mature
tamarind sauce
that seems to say,
"Just a little while more;
Mr Sev is on his way
with the results."

Mouth watering visions,
amazing flavours,
and Mr Sev
goes over to all the purees,
and sharing himself
with all.

Unbearable suspense,
a difficult wait,
and finally,
the plate is raised,
the band plays
the World now has
6 Miss Sev-Batata-Puri-Worlds.....

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Bozoical Need-for-Speed

You never know what living in Bandra, the queen of the Mumbai Suburbs, home to so many of the Bollywood types, does, to someone like Bozo, Mumbai's only dog-with-his-own-blog. 

He has been lying a bit low for a while,  as per his doc's suggestion, resting, taking some meds and generally observing things around him.   The recent unusual cool weather (now incidentally gone), was a boon , and Bozo did some short walks around the building.

Sometimes, he too gets inspired  by watching this . So he came back an tried out something.  He pressed some button. And instead, heard this song . And danced. 

And his mentor and activity-chronicler, Magiceye simply couldn't click him fast enough.  And got this picture , slightly blurred..

Magiceye thinks it's the camera limitation.  Shutter Speed.  Bozo thinks it's some fluid in Magiceye's eyes....... 

I am illiterate
because I cannot read and write;
but I am educated
I learn from experience,
I hear carefully
when the doctor tells Deepak
something about me,
and I peer over his shoulder
he looks at the
Health and Fitness page on FB.

And so for a longish time,
I took my meds,
ate healthy meals,
and took adequate rest
physically and mentally too.

I also notice things.

Like when he goes to a place,
stands on something,
presses a button,
and instead of him,
the road moves,
sometimes faster and faster.

They dont let me come in there,
so I thought
I'd try this out
at home.

Except when I pressed a button,
a song
called Dhinkachika
came on,
and I ran all over to see who was singing.

the road didnt move.

I did,
To the beat. 

And although
they tried to click me,
for once,
I beat the black contraption,
by speeding up.

I must rest now.
It doesn't help
to get so competitive
in my old age.....

Friday, March 23, 2012

Dosa Lives !

Seeing such a wonderful photograph of a lovely thin paper Dosa kind of brings a smile in the morning, as you sip a cup of coffee. :-)

Once again confirming my suspicion that my blogger friend Magiceye  has his Camera attached somewhere to take automatic pictures when something smells, looks and tastes so good .....

And then sometimes you wonder what the Dosa might be thinking of its own life ....

It came to me, initially in Marathi, and later on in English...

As they say in French, Bon Apetit ......:-))

(photo by Deepak Amembal Magiceye)
आयुष्यात किती विविध अनुभव येतात .
काही आयुष्य किती क्षणभंगुर असतात ....

एक शुभ्र डाळीचे आणि तांदुळाचे लहानपण,
पाण्यात डुंबत डुंबत केलेई धमाल,
आणि दगडी उखळीत एकत्र एकरूप होणे ....
रात्रभर एकत्र केलेल्या गप्पा ,
बुडबुडे येई पर्यंत हसणे ,
मग एका गरम तव्यावर
सोनेरी आत्मा समर्पण करून ,
चटणीच्या गावा जाणे ...
कडक चटका लावणारी गोष्ट .....

multifaceted lives
momentary liives.

Childhood friends
Black split hulled beans
and fragrant rice;

Hours spent by both
playing wildly
immersed in water
and then
urged to come together
in a stone grinder
to teach them unity.

Hours again,
spent in covered secrecy,
giggling and bubbling
in mirth,
and then
one day,
harakiri together
on a hot burning griddle,
dignified ,
golden and stiff
they are transported
to the
Land of chutneys....

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Power postures....

Another great capture of flamingos at the Sewri mudflats by blogger friend Magiceye.Posted on his blog as part of the ABC Wednesday-J series.

It is significant how certain populations occupy certain beneficial places, whether in the Sewri mudflats or in daily life ...

Read on :-))

at a rarified top,
standing tall,
observing discretely
what others are getting,
checking out opportunities,
with their long beaks
and wide influence;
home and work areas
next to water sources,
at a leaping distance.

the hoi-polloi
far away from drinking water,
rationed through the mud,
crowding in
places cursed with damp,
high density homes,
and yet,
when the former win elections
in the swamps,
the latter congregate
in a terribly
indisciplined way,
pushing this way and that,
ostensibly to congratulate,
but really to see
if there are any leftover crumbs for them...

Monkeying with Education

Another  amazing capture by Prasad Ganesh Paranjape  from a trip to the Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve near Nagpur in central India.  He has a series of photographs of the langurs/monkeys , in what look like very human traumatic life situations.

Have a look at his photos here.

She clutched her mother
around the waist,
deaf to their entreaties.

"I don't want
to go to school
in the new woods....

There are these
strange cousins
with 2 legs missing
and they come there
in contraptions
that spew gas
and throw things around.

The only lake in the new woods
is getting silted up
and there isn't much water to drink.

I see buildings
in the distance
and hear shots sometimes.

And then
there is just too many of us,
with not enough trees..."

And the father,
the angry little one
"Kya karein,
Only the Tigers and Lions
have reservations,
get benefits,
radio tags,
and really count.

As for us
forget Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan***,
its not even Sarva Vruksha***** Abhiyan yet....."

*** Education for all (national project)
*****Vruksha : trees

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Election Promises....

My friend Prasad Ganesh Paranjape recently visited the Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve near Nagpur  and clicked some amazing outstanding photographs of not only several Tigers, but these langurs and many birds, all in action.   Please see all his amazing  photographs here.  Don't miss these.

The langurs in action, actually present a great visual  as to what is happening in the country today.  Even the expressions of some remind you of prominent personalities.

I just wondered what the elder fellow here was telling the younger, possibly foolish one .....

How many times
must I tell you
not to believe
anything they say?

Things were different
when I was your age.

You respected and believed the king.
He took care of his subjects,
and ensured
the trees remained for us,
brushing aside
the possibility
of clearing the forest
and naming
another palace
in memory
of someone.

Election time,
and they make promises
faster than
ice can melt in
a desert summer.

Did you really think
they'd make you
managing director
of the
Bharatiya Kela and Moongfali Nigam ?
Don't you know ,
it is Maryadit ?

OO-pa-ma, OO-pa-ma, and The Clean Picture!

The Mumbai summer is now setting in, and sitting under a agitating ceiling fan, at a dining table, imbibing hot fresh breakfasts, amidst amazing flavours emanating from a morning kitchen, is infinitely preferable to bending in the hot morning sun, to click the expressions of a narcissistic flower...

Which explains why my blogger friend Magiceye, took inspiration from his breakfast, and captured this photo of Oopma, or Upma, before he possibly tasted it.  This is made, from cream of wheat or rice, with folks in the south tending towards the rice.  It is made in Maharashtra , (from cream of wheat) and called "sanjaa",  and looks a bit different because we also add turmeric powder, and the sanjaa always has a yellowish tinge. Served with chopped fresh green coriander and grated coconut. Sometimes with a yum chutney.

These Upma shades of cream, slight gold, and green slivers in between reminded me of the mundum-veshti traditional dress worn by Kerala women.

Cream of rice or wheat
roasted golden,
warm particles
gossiping together,
waiting in

Golden ghee
dripping in the color
of the Mundum Veshti
exploding in a spot design
of mustard seeds,
fenugreek and
a shower of
green designer kadhipatta.

The roasted all pervading
cream particles,
coming together
spicily with
a hint of tamarind,
and a casual throw of cashews
amidst the
browns and greens,
grated coconut jewellery.

Closed and covered
for a while
she soon emerges
in her
delicious glory,
in her Mundum Veshti
to face another great morning....

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Incredible lightness of being a Paanpoley...

One way of trying to go on a diet, is to write poetry on delicious food photographs, instead of eating the stuff. Not that it works, but just saying.

My blogger friend Magiceye probably eats with a camera strapped to his forehead, which automatically clicks when he says "Wah ! Wah!" . I cannot think of any other explanation for the all the yummy photographs that appear during his various trips as well as  at his home meals.   This one , Paanpoley , was posted on FB, as well as here.  

Paanpoley is a form of rice crepes , prepared after soaking, and grinding rice etc.  You can watch a video  on how to make it here

Some folks have it with red-chilly -garlic chatni, and some with coriander chatni.

I need to stop. The .jpgs are too overpowering ......:-))

Just so all of you eat your heart out. First in original marathi, then in a possibly inadequate translation .....

(photographs and eating by Magiceye Deepak Amembal)
कोकणातली पावसात
तुडुंब भरलेली भातशेती ,
बांगड्यांची किणकिण, आणि पुन्हा पेरणी ;
पातेल्यात पाण्याशी एकरूप
झालेल्या तांदुळाला सर्व काही आठवते ,
आणि डाव धरून गरम तव्यावर पडताच,
त्याच्या असंख्य डोळ्यातून
पाण्याची वाफ दुक्खाचा सुस्कारा देउन
बाहेर पडते....
कोणीतरी त्याच्या आयुष्याची घडी पुन्हा घालते ,
आणि ताटलीत ठेउन म्हणते
" जा हो! चटणी बरोबर सुखी रहा !"

 Monsoon full fields
and rice transplanting
in absolute flow
in Kokan,
the women,
pushing back
the tinkling bangles
to get on with the work.

Today, the rice,
completely one with the water,
helplessly poured on to the hot griddle
erupts with millions of eyes,
spewing forth
a sad steam....

A while later,
someone tries to
put things in ordered folds,
slides it on to a plate,
and says,
" Go. Have a wonderful life with the Chatni.....!"

Bozoical real wisdom

Mumbai's veteran only-dog-with-his-own-blog, Bozo, sometimes get philosophical . Maybe it's because he is getting older. Maybe because he is the type who doesn't hanker after something,  all the time. Maybe because he runs and leaps less and thinks more these days. Maybe because his boss is retired and he feels retired too. Who knows.

 But his mentor and life-and-times-chronicler Magiceye, was recently privy to some of his thoughts, while he clicked a formal photo of Bozo, (much similar to a certain photo of Nehru in profile. Only the paw at the canine chin is missing). Magiceye posted the photo here.

I've seen folks
studying and shaking
their heads,
over a piece of paper
describing their stars at birth,
and often wondered,
in their right mind
would even bother
about exact times  and celestial stars
when one was there,
just born, 
right in front of them....

I don't have a paper.
I was born somewhere else
where trees and walls
barred the sky;
but where I am now,
I've been treated like a star.

They indulge me,
applaud me,
worry about me,
listen to me,
play with me,
photograph me,
and even scold me at times.

I have folks
across the world
enquiring after me,
and like a sailor,
I have my admirers
swooning in every port...

For a fellow,
unlike these bipeds,
didn't have
a worried Mom
for many years,
I must have had amazing planets and stars
smiling down at me. 

Being born of a womb
was not all.
I was born again
in someone's heart ....!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Tree and Empathy

My blogger and FB friend Varsha Tiwary who hails from Central India, is a bureaucrat, poet, and someone who loves to live in balance with the body, listening to what it has to say.

Have a look at her two blogs,   Wholesome Options  and Poetic Break  .

  She recently posted a lovely capture of what she poetically described as , "Weeping Willow curtains Off the Beauty; as Mountain lake and Sky Become One."....;  possibly a scene at the window of a lovely mountain cottage that enchanted her...

 As she says , "Nature heals where nothing else can : age loneliness and much else......."

I agree. 

 (photograph by Varsha Tiwary)
She remembers
the house
with the lovely garden
she sat at the window
of her room
as a child,
hair freshly washed,
and a gust of mountain wind
would tumble it
over her face,
tickling her eyes.


she sits alone
in an empty house,
with a smooth shiny pate
in the company
the Emperor of Maladies.

The old tree
with a great memory,
and even greater height,
bends over
with its branches at the window,
to see the little girl
who once sat there
long long time ago....

An "Inconvenient" Life ?

M.S Gopal aka Slogan Murugan, posted this gutwrenching capture, at the Korigad Fort , near Pune/Lonavla , on his post here.

Life to day, is worse, for cows, bulls, homeless, and  women.  All subject to thoughtless rules, chauvinistic power-drunk attitudes, one-eye-on-elections  platitudes, land grabs, and subject to a political mess.

From a time when cows were an integral part of a farmer's life,  when they fed off the nearby environ greens (when not ploughing/being milked), to be able to come home at dusk in the "godhuli" dust,  today, they need to wander further and further for food (like the rural women go further and further for drinking water), thanks to agriculture losing out to the concrete lobby.   From being treated carefully and respectfully , utilitywise, even post a natural death, by folks who specialised in the non-capital intensive technologies, they now face  arbitrary politically motivated laws and rules,  and mind numbing slaughter situations, brought on by  folks who count everything in terms of money.          

 (photo by Slogan Murugan aka M S Gopal)
Some look back
at a life
in a homestead cowshed,
and enjoying the greens
in the fields,
once the few days of ploughing were done;
Preening and making eyes
at the harvest time,
the frisky little ones,
fussed over
as they gambolled around.

Looking into worlds beyond
was about
being useful
even in death,
treated in respect,
by trained hands
in traditional technology...

green of the grass
has given way
other paper greens,
as avaricious powerlords
pour concrete
down the
farmers' throat.

Cheek by jowl
with other seniors,
stunned breathless in a truck,
to the abattoir

And some,
ending life alone,
on a greenless hill,
no food, no work,
no NREGA*** for cows,
from a party,
that once had them
as their election symbol*****,
and has now
switched instead
to a Hand,
most often found
in someone's loaded pocket.


*** NREGA : National Rural Employment Guarantee Act .  

***** (I have seen old elections using this symbol)  Original INC (Inidan National Congress) which was founded by AO Hume and Annie Besant. This party under the leadership of MK Gandhi won freedom for India (from colonial suppression). This party DIED in 1969 when Mrs. Indira Gandhi split the party and created the Congress-I - virtually every freedom fighter went to Congress-O (which is also dead). The election commission of India froze the cow and calf symbol after this breakup engineered by Mrs. Indra Gandhi.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Loopy Birthdays.....

This is a birthday poem in honor of Ms. Loopy Maya Samarawardene Pintu, aka as Loopy, (and not as L.M.S.Pintu, as folks from Bengaluru might expect),  who is celebrating her birthday today, and has a wonderful birthday post written in her honor , here. By her Mom, my blogger and FB friend  Sangitha.  Do read .

 As an honored member who tilts the majority in the family into the female domain, she nevertheless has a very special  part of her heart reserved for the young fellow of the house, who is the youngest. She of course is treated as the youngest "daughter". Between the two, they have a lot to say, laugh and have a lot of fun.

You can see everything Loopy wants to say, reflected in her amazing eyes !

(photo by Sangitha Krishnamurthy)
This split moment
when I looked up
and saw Mom click,
it all came back to me,
and clouded my
by-now-full mahogany eyes…..

Coming into a new house,
traipsing around books
yet to be
arranged in racks,
practicing running up the stairs,
at the little fellow's feet,
while he did homework,
all the while
asking his Ammaa funny questions,
while we girls,
my elder sis and me
tried our best not to laugh.

into the kitchen with Mom
to give her
moral support
on a hurried school day,
making eyes at the dosa’s…..

And increasing
my friends circle
so fast,
they’re starting a Facebook for dogs.

I don't always look so
posh and silky.
And no,
Mom never oils my hair.
Its just my
love, happiness,
and pride
for the family shining through ……

Happy Birthday Loopy ! (The older types still call me Lopamudra…:-))

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Lord Zooms....

My blogger, photographer,,travel-writer friend Nisha Jha, who blogs here and has travelled solo in various far eastern countries, also maintains a page , Le Monde -A poetic travail   where she posts amazing photographs  and writeups from her trips, amidst new places and peoples.

She posted this picture of a giant hibiscus variety that she saw in Malyasia, and the hand you see in the photograph is hers;  held specifically, so that you can imagine the size of the hibiscus.

The first thought that came to mind on seeing this, was that of Ganpati (or Lord Ganeshji)  , who  loves these flowers, and is worshipped with the red variety of these flowers.

Am putting own here the first thoughts that came to mind (in Hindi).....and then possibly a completely inadequate translation in English....

(photograph by Nisha Jha)

मन में भक्ति हो ,
और सब के प्रति
सन्मान और प्यार हो,
छोटे हात से दिया तोहफा
गणेशजीको  झूम  किये जैसा
बड़ा दिखता है .....

When you worship
in complete faith,
and hold
love and respect
all your fellow beings,
even a small offering
made to Lord Ganesh
is seen by him
in a
Zoom view.....!

Mother Rose.........

Mumbai emerging from a fake winter, warming up , and spring makes itself felt in the lovely rose blossoms that appear on the myriad balconies in myriad flats in Mumbai.

Blogger friend Magiceye  posted this photo of those he discovered,  blooming in his balcony. 

And I noticed something else in the photo....:-)

They stand,
blood red,
in layers,
wrapped around themselves,
just so
amidst the green
and tall...

While the younger ones,
ideally draped
not a fold out of place,
redolent with thorny security,
qualify for Miss India,
she ,
the red saree
in tired folds around her
slightly concerned shoulder
opens up her arms wide
in front,
to hold
all her own
close to her
despite their thorns in life....
She's Mother India.

Green means .....

My blogger friend, Shail Mohan, versatile poet,sensitive photographer, and chronicler of the life-and-times of Luci the dog (as she goes through a wild adolescence), often posts photographs that, in addition to being a visual delight, often make you think.

One such, "Shades of Green" was posted on her photoblog .

Made me think of  natural  colors, organized colors, and different meanings of the word "green " !

(photograph by Shail Mohan  on Sony Cybershot)
They lived,
and grew together,
in the corner
of a
carefully landscaped
suffused with flowers
of every hue
and  shade.

Not for them
the obsession
with age and white
and lines,
and they mixed in wild abandon,
to the perfectly manicured lawn
and some
hi-fi folks
in states of permanent youth.

And as the
landscape architect
walked around
on the
shades of green,
just so,
they nudged each other,
made way for a foraging squirrel,
forgave Luci
for running rough shod through them,
and backslapped each other saying,
" Green means
never having to worry about your color....
Does anyone understand ?......."

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

One step up.....

My blogger friend Magiceye  recently posted this  photograph,  of a determined  cow  trying to figure out an access  :-) into a Jaisalmer (Rajasthan)  Haveli. While one admires the intricate latticework, jharokas, and typical Haveli architecture, one cannot but wonder at the very clumsy attempt at defining the steps leading to the door, like an afterthought.

I guess the cow is not really surprised.  She may not have a developed cerebral cortex like humans,  but her eyes and her opinions are as sharp as ever.  

Read on to see what she says....

(photo by Deepak Amembal Magiceye)
Big buildings,
fancy architecture,
bigger names to
all these places,
but we always
fall short
with the
connecting infrastructure.

My cousin in IIT Powai
they can still walk up
department entrances,
and casually walk over
gates with
"cattle guards";
the guards
have an old design
and we
have bigger hooves;
and no one really
to check.

How can the
and homeless
find stability,
you give them
an infrastructure
help them climb?

Monday, March 12, 2012

A Bozoical Portrait.....

Bozo, Mumbai's only dog-with-his-own-blog,  making multiple appearances this week!

Fatigued from clicking skies, food, flowers, and monuments  to dead and gone queens, warriors and kings, on a recently concluded road trip,  his mentor and chronicler of his life and times , Magiceye, must have decided to click some pictures, where the subject actually came and snuggled at your feet  later.

Bozo, who clearly knows when he is being photographed, decided to give his best senior  statesman pose....

For most of us,
it's really,
a dog's life;
scrounging around
for answers
to life's questions,
running around
on roads
with guys and gals in
similar boats,
growling and tangling
with folks
with doubtful intentions.

Except me.

I found my family
8 years ago,
as a little fellow,
and went home with them,
to be a part,
and share
in their joys and sorrows
celebrations and surprises.

Never knew what my mother named me,
but my friends
often called me names
I did not understand.
Till I came home
and found out
that I was Bozo...

I often see
from the corner of my eye,
when Deepak looks at me
through a black contraption
and clicks..
I've seen
young folks in the house
smile into the contraption.

I just thought I'd give my
elder statesman pose
in this one......

Go forth, young fellow !

This amazing capture by Slogan Murugan, also known as M.S. Gopal, actually leaves you wordless. As he says ,"I have a camera. A few words. And I tell stories..." ....

Then you recover, look closely to ascertain what the liitle boy must be thinking,  remember your childhood,  and sometimes, a poem happens.

Have a look at more of his wonderful works at 

(photo by Slogan Murugan)
Wide eyes,
Vibhutied forehead,
clutching a
checked bag and water bottle,
he tugs at his
uniform pants
and steps out,
holding on
to a
maternal proud hand,
shooing away the dog,
all agog about it.

Some moons later,
he listens ,
but preoccupied
with thoughts of
marbles in the recess,
and someone's birthday chocolates,
as his ma hands him
the forgotten
slate pencils with a point
and a tiffin.

The Sun,
watching it all,
smiles extra wide
from the other side,
he too
had a grandpa
to pat him,
and send him on his way,
across the world

Gilt-Edged Cardiac Chemistry

Gold is called a Noble metal, and its nobility is highlighted by the fact that acids have no effect on it. (Unless of course, you are Aqua Regia, but then Latin is not my strong point).

One of my young blogging friends, Pri, wrote a wonderful post on Acid Tests in Life, and how we fool ourselves into thinking , that we have passed the acid test "in relationships", simply because the environment is conducive to it; only to have the world collapse in shambles around us, during inclement times.  I think , the number of seasons (62 in this case), one has seen in life, gives one a different perspective, and I rush in (where qualified folks fear to tread) ,to reassure my friend.....

And then I realized something.  We primarily use Gold to adorn the persona. The purest Gold cannot be made into adornments. For that , it has to be made less noble, with the addition of other metals that give it some hardness, that allows us to design beautiful things. This "impure" addition makes it react to the acid.  The amount of other metals added decides the karats and the strength.  (22,18,14,10 etc).

So while it may look like one's relationship  has failed the acid test  by reacting to the acid,  another way to see the same is to realize that it is pointing to a way to strengthen it, so it can be proudly enjoyed , in future seasons. 

 Chemistry of the acid type in NOT supreme.  That of the people type, is, and lasts.

  (photo courtsey Google)
The acid
is like a teacher;

Sometimes lovable,
sometimes intimidating,
sometimes cursed.

unlike us
she knows
about different golds.

There are
the purest ones,
unchanged in acid,
regardless of
season fluctuations...

Then the
22 and 18 karat folks,
who absorb some
presumed sins,
in the interests
of being tough
in rough times...

And then again,
the 14 and 10 karatwalaas,
open to the world
and all its
doubtful additive ideas
in an effort to be the toughest.

The most impure
get the worst treatment
from the Acid teacher,
sizzled in scar tissue.

Its a strength
of test, endurance and learning,
as the gold
can always learn
new lessons.

It doesn't mean it failed the test.

It simply means
that it is
learning about life,
gaining strength,
and hopes to adorn some
wonderful lives
come spring....

Sunday, March 11, 2012

A Bozoical Waiting

After a long break, Bozo, Mumbai's only-dog-with-his-own-blog is back.   His mentor and chronicler of his life and times, Magiceye, was away on a longish roadtrip.

Bozo has suddenly grown up,  and behaved like a responsible fellow in the absence of Magiceye, although he would prick up his ears, when the phone rang, every now and then.

A very thoughtful capture of a very thoughtful Bozo , posted here.

(photo by Deepak Amembal Magiceye)
I've leapt with joy 
when the young fellow
came home,
and I've rushed
to be scratched
and rubbed
when the young lady
returned from college.

I've rushed around the house,
where I shouldn't,
searching for folks
who had gone somewhere,
and stood still
at the window sill
on my hind legs

I am not young anymore
and have learned the ways
of the humans.

They go away,
they send messages
and speak
on little contraptions
that everyone carries,
and although
I think
technology is absolutely woof,
I know it
when they talk about me.

I don't agitate and run any more,
unlike some
fancy folks I know
who keep getting makeovers
because they are named after a TV star.

I behave my age.

I lie down
and watch
the preparations in the house.

He is returning today.

Can you see the light of delight in my eyes ?

I wait for him to return
so I can lie
at his feet
and get a wonderful rub...

Geriatric musings

A great capture of the Indian Reef Heron by my blogfriend Magiceye, clicked at the Sewri Mudflats on Mumbai's eastern seaboard. Posted by him as part of the Camera Critters series in his blog, Mumbai Daily: Camera critters.

The Sewri Coastline , earlier densely populated with mangroves, has suffered through the perils of industrialization and construction in the name of progress.

Today,  it is a protected bird area .  I hope the birds continue to think so too, in the years to come.

(photo by Deepak Amembal Magiceye)
Tough days for old folks,
in Mumbai.

In earlier times,
I've swooped down amidst the waves
to tangle with fish;
when the waves receded
my friends and I
pecked around
the mud
searching for dessert.

Thanks to
the biped's proclivity
for pouring waste into the ocean,
my plumage is prematurely grey,
and arthritis hurts,
as I tread gingerly
amidst the flats
riddled with
chemical scar tissue.

No wonder
our youngsters fly off,
depleting a nest
that is itself no more
the firangi flamingoes
Kokan beaches
further south...

Like I said,
its a bad time for old folks in Mumbai...

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Turtle Trek !

My FB friend, collaborator in the Kavikala project,   Chief Paperwalla at Paperwalla Art, Chief planter at Project 35 trees (planting and nurturing a tree each in the 35 states + union territories in India), Hari Chakyar , posted this photo, clicked by his friend Arun Singh , at Velas near Ratnagiri,  south of Mumbai, down the Kokan coast.

Velas is  a remote village in Mandangad taluka in Ratnagiri district. The occasion is the Turtle Festival, a celebration of Nature’s wonder in which baby turtles of the Olive Ridley are released into the sea by Sahyadri Nisarga Mitra’s volunteers. The marine turtle conservation movement has been underway in Maharashtra since the past nine years.

Several folks from Mumbai , including Hari Chakyar and friends, were present in Velas, to witness this amazing trek of the turtles, towards the sea.

I just wondered  what the turtles must be thinking .....
(photograph by Arun Singh )
For years
we did this trek.

nudging each other,
paying attention to our steps,
and we 

stopped when we wanted,
Sometimes to catch a breath,
you happened to like
the turtle
coming up just behind you
simply because
the Sun looked so awesome....

What to do ?
These people
in pink gumboots
and hawaii chappals
simply crowd
around us,
taking pictures,
exclaiming, jabbering,
"awesome awesome",
watch us move our heads in and out;

Some even
kneeling in the sand,
to click us,
as if we are the
Kokan Turtle Fashion Week showstoppers;
and that simply
makes potholes on our land,
which we must traverse.

Ah , potholes ! now I know.
Must be from Mumbai !
Hai na ?

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Life Marathons......

I hear , running marathons, is getting popular these days....

As International Womens' Day draws near, I just wondered why ....

She now runs the
Marathon of Life,
but focused,
all by herself.

has clearly been
a very different ball game.
as a ping pong ball,
she spun
wildly across the green table
as she believed
first one,
and then another,
tolerating devious shots,
till she once fell,
crushed into pieces
under some one's
branded uncaring footwear.

Was she
a shuttlecock,
sometimes shot across
and sometimes
evilly dropped
as she clutched
on to the net;
and sometimes
declared "fast"
and relegated to trash,
in favour
of a spiffy new
fair and lovely
more obedient one?

Or was she
a foot ball,
kicked around
at will
on some one's whistled  instruction,
from reaching her goals,
by so called "keepers",
who kicked her right back
into the chaos
that was her life ?

Possibly a tennis ball.
As they first practiced
banging her head
against the wall,
again and again;
then on a larger stage,
whacked her
back-handed and fore-handed,
and sometimes
even powerfully
tossed her out.

And again and again,
she looks
high up
at someone sitting there
on the big chair,
who sagaciously nods
at her,
gestures to her,
and announces the
Life mantra,
that really,
doesn't seem to work.

Love-All ?

Start ?

Really ?

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Crouching Tiger, Zooming Man

A brilliant capture of a young tiger prince, named Sultan, by my young friend Sudhir Bharadwaj, who recently went on a trip to the Tadoba Wildlife Sanctuary , near Nagpur, in Central India.

 He and his group were very lucky to actually see many tigers in action , even crossing a stream. A special thing was to see four tiger cubs, reported to be 3 to 4 months in age, feasting on a deer, possibly killed for them by their mother.

What an introduction for the kids ; a vicious killing, a grand meal, and a semi siesta in the grass disturbed, by the sounds of a jeep, slowly advancing amidst a curtain of dust, as their eldest sibling, Sultan, settles down to be the family watchdog, peering with sharp eyes, alert, on a sunny afternoon....

 (photo by Sudhir Bharadwaj)
The mater moves ,
around the periphery,
checking for
a sense of danger
and an outsider's tread.

The four little ones,
out into the world,
playfully shove each other
they tear and chew
around the carcass
of the
carotid-less deer....

The sound of an engine,
rubber on grass
and gravel,
a throw-up of dust.

The man with the Zoom
for it to settle.

Some little ones have gone.
Their eldest,
lies alert,
eyes bright,
camouflaged in the leaves,
not knowing
that the Zoomwalla
can still see
the quiver
in his nostrils
and the light in his eyes......

Friday, March 2, 2012

Leap of Faith ?

Clicked recently, at Tadoba National Wildlife Sanctuary, three hours away from Nagpur, in Central India.  By my young friend and wildlife enthusiast, Sudhir Bharadwaj, who is otherwise a peaceful corporate type.

The tigers were out in full force, and were captured on film, swimming, trying to climb a tree,  majestically lording it over a road crossing.  They even saw  4 baby tigers salivating and making a meal out of a deer, which had just breathed its last, while the Tiger mom was out looking out for more.

Then he captured this amazing photo  of a simian in flight,  which I thought had a message ......

(Photo by Sudhir Bharadwaj)
They come
loaded with jackets and lenses
binoculars at the ready,
whispering quietly,
desperately searching
for the fellows
the country
is officially out to save.

I lean
from the swinging branch
as a quiet descends,
to watch
4 baby tigers,
enjoy the remnants
of my erstwhile friend
the deer.

I told him,
not to go near the water.

But at the end of the day
Its the same story.

Inadequate drinking water
six decades into independence,
and the big
and the powerful
have a monopoly
bossing it over us,
second class citizens,
first class fools.

I flit,
nimbly from tree to tree,
scrounging for my own,
leaping across
the road
bossed over
by the jackets and cameras
in jeeps,
and I look at them,
think of my ape cousins,
and go,
ye gads,
is this what evolution does,
and is this
what became of
folks like me ?