Thursday, November 29, 2012

Perceptions of Threat

My blogger and FB friend Bhavesh Chhatbar, has posted some amazing captures of winding roads amidst the Green Kokan landscape scene in the Westren Ghats. He specialises in cropping closeups of his photos and presenting them as Premium Photo  Paintings.

Jaitapur, in Konkan has been in the news for a nuclear power plant being planned there, and tough opposition to it from the locals.  

When I looked closely at the closeup on the left , I actually saw something there......

So many
native upright folks
greening the land,
a richness of
mountains, rivers, and the ocean.

unable to stop
trespassers wandering in
trying to
exchange it all
for radiating spheres
of energy
at Jaitapur.

Whispers of beauty

My blogger and FB friend  Swathi Ram,  was so delighted with her purchase of these antique earrings, that she modeled wearing them, the makers of this jewellery posted the photo on FB, and were thrilled to see nineteen FB comments in twenty minutes, admiring either the earrings, and/or the model.

I look forward to another photograph of Swathi, possibly modeling an antique traditional nose ring .

In the meanwhile ,  I just found out something ......

(photo by Swathi's friend Ravi )

It sits,
quiet on the Lobula,
intense in design
nudging the green,
and tries
to blows a wisp of hair away
as it tries
to entangle in appreciation.

Then it waits
and realizes,
that the wisps
are actually saying something;
"hear, hear!
It has to be a special day
so many with
so many nice words
pour forth on FB....."

Monday, November 26, 2012

Offerings and Prayers

My blog and FB friend Bhavesh Chhatbar  recently posted some great captures of the Shehar ki Masjid  at Champaner in Gujarat. He specialises in what is called Premium Photo Painting, and this is one such crop.

Dating back to the 15th century, these are supposed to be the private mosques belonging to the then Sultans. Declared as World heritage Sites by UNESCO, the area of Pavagarh in the hills and Champaner in the plains is dotted with mosques and temples.

The 8th century fortress at Pavagarh was held by a Rajput dynasty till the famed Sultan Mahmud Begda captured it in 1484 after a 20-month seige and renamed it Muhammadabad, the second capital of the Gujarat Sultanate. Over time, Champaner declined from capital to provincial outpost and changed hands many times as the Mughal Empire fell apart. Pavagarh Hill has many pilgrims visiting. Legend has it that the toe of the Goddess Sati fell there so the hilltop temple always draws crowds, though it is very difficult to reach.

At the end of the day, it is all about prayer, worship, and making your thought offering, to the One Above. 

Baking golden
through the Ages,
facing the wrath
of various greedy attackers
mindlessly  grabbing,
they both stand,
The Pavagadh Hill Sati Temple
The Champaner Shehar-Ki-Masjid,
succour and knowledge
and blessings
to enrich the minds
of its worshippers.

A prasad offering
of golden cream crackers
with a serving of peas and corn
served on a
stone plate
scalloped at the edges
in celebration
the One who Resides
in it all.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Bozo and the Competitor....

Bozo, Mumbai's only dog-with-his-own-blog , is certainly acting mature these days. Maybe it is age, maybe it is something he is learning from watching folks around him, but even when his mentor Magiceye is not around, and is away on a trip, Bozo acts like a responsible member in the family, keeping an eye on things, controlling urges to rummage around in cupboards for goodies, and jump on sofas and stuff.

There is of course a fine strain of fleeting jealousy between Bozo and the latest entrant in competition for Magiceye's attention, a two wheeler Desert Storm .

Read on .

You might think
that i have something in mind,
standing as I am,
next to the almirah,
watching folks get organized
for what I think
is again a trip,
with the
chocolate colored
two wheeler monster lady,
Desert Storm,
my current rival in the house.

I know
where all the goodies are
in the house,
but I am not greedy.
and I only have to ask.

But currently
the boss and the young one
are away,
unlike the chocolate monster lady
who constantly purrs
and coughs, and roars
and sips petrol
through fancy pipes,
I prefer to wait
for the family to return.

I smell things better than her,
I hear things better than her,
I even see things better than her.

But we oldies sometimes
indulge  these
willful youngsters
and let them think
they are better than us ......

I mean Bozo of Bandra
so much nicer than Desert Storm...

(Is that a name ?)

Friday, November 23, 2012

BKC , Growing Up.....

My FB and blog friend Slogan Murugan, who is also M. S. Gopal in real life, specialises in bringing to you, vignettes of Life as it happens in Mumbai, a city that never stops.

Check out his blog here.

This is one of his captures of the frenetic construction activity that seems to be happening in the Bandra Kurla area, hitherto called the Bandra Kurla Complex.

The part of Mumbai, lying between the tony fashionable western suburb of Bandra and the reallife hard-knocks-of-life eastern industrial suburb of Kurla, was actually marshy land through which the lethargic Mithi River snaked its way to the Arabian Sea.  The river still exists, but the land has been reclamation, and developed , into an area that now boasts of very high land prices, huge office complexes, consular office set ups, various Bank Headquarters, star hotels, exhibition grounds with an odd unavoidable residential colony thrown in. The construction is all powerful steel and glass, glinting in the harsh Mumbai sun

Reminds you of something ? ......

(photo by Slogan Murugan  aka MS Gopal)
Some so upright
and standing tall,
some others
falling across
to make connections,

holding close
at each junction and meeting;
A veiled clarity,
politically tinted,
as they look out
for some
more adventurous types,
who prefer cutting
oblique corners
to reach
their own heights.

The Sun shines bright
on those outside,
with limited options
facing rain,
not to mention
shining surfaces
making their eyes
blind to
what happens
in high
and erstwhile transparent places.

Things, they say,
are really Complex
in Bandra Kurla......

Monday, November 19, 2012

Innocence and Tea

Divali, is never always about fat laden, sugar laden overindulgence amidst brilliantly flashing lights in winter.

For some friends like Sangeeta Khanna of Delhi, it is about enjoying the warmth of a Divali morning, made more lumnious by the play of the Sun's rays  in translucent teacups filled to the brim with some amazing brewed, hand rolled, silver tipped white tea.

(Silver tipped white tea,  are very young tea leaf buds, tightly rolled up as they were when they were harvested, and covered in the fine, white down from which white tea gets its name.  This tea is handpicked early in the springtime, before the buds have rolled out to become leaves. Picking white tea is commonly a job for women wearing gloves. The buds are not actually touched by human hands before the Silver Tipped white tea ends up in the teapot of the happy tea aficionado.....)

No scheming minds
No boiling tension,
no strong spicy words,
no raging red attitudes,
and an unsuccessful
effort at calming
by an ombudsman milk.

A clear
radiant baby mind,
to the brim
with the joy
of the baby tea leaves,
not yet learning
to unfurl,
fresh and high
intoxicated by hill air,
gently splashing,
sighing and resting
in a warm kettle pool.

A gentle wandering
two tea cups
warmed by the Sun
on a
divali winter morn,
and their smiles widen
in the cups
as they play with the Sunrays,
look up,
watch her
touch her cheek to theirs,
and ask,
"Sangeeta, What are you planning for breakfast today?"

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Bozoical Despair

In a world, where both celebrations and mourning involve going over the top, forcing folks to tolerate a lot of inconveniences, rudeness and selfish inconsiderate behavior, Bozo, Mumbai's only dog-with-his-own-blog has realized , that there are some folks who never learn.

 When things get too much, he huddles into a room, and lies on the cool floor, trying to feel secure amidst familiar furniture and closed doors. And while he may look like he is sleeping, he is not. His mind ticks on.

And his mentor Magiceye, clicks in sympathy.  Bozo is worried about something .  If they would only listen .....

It is a dark night,
and the lights strung on balconies
and winking oil lamps,
tell me
that it is Divali once again.

Just in case I have doubts
there is
an endless
and deafening bursting of crackers
by the neighbors.

You see,
we fellows
have built-in amplification
in our ears,
and the sound is frightening.

I find the quietest place
in the house,
amidst sympathetic furniture
that eats up some of the sound
and I lie down.

The cool tiles
calming an agitated mind,
it suddenly occurs to me
that I am
a lucky dog.
I have a place to hide.

What about
those little  kids
who work in firework factories,
streaked in explosives
with their bare hands,
because some at home
must get their daily meal ?

And do they have
a place to hide
something blows up around them ?

Did anyone say anything about A Dog's Life ?

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Strands of Life

My young friend Swati Maheshwari blogs at Espial  and posted an amazing set of  photographs reflecting Diwali in her post Lights, Sweets and Celebrations.

Swati , is a management graduate, PR professional, entrepreneur in the field of sustainable development and green products, and co-owner of Rustic Art  a place where everything is handcrafted and original,  and everything they make  is untouched by chemicals, machines, animal testing, animal fat and even artificial fragrances & colors.

Swati is photographer par excellence, and surprisingly, a biker too.  A few thoughts about individuals, who enrich themselves with the opportunities made available to them, and endeavour to give it back; so different from the usually trodden path.....

Given a long rope
of opportunity,
love, friendship,
indulgence and creativity,

she slogs to turn it
red and gold,
rich in feeling
golden in style,
learning and understanding
then wrapping it around,
keeping it close.

In so many
ups and downs
isobaric isothermic life paths,
she unravels these,
smiling to herself,
and sharing strands
with others,
golden memories for them
during festivals of light....

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


My FB friend Arvind Khanna from New Delhi, posted this very evocative photograph on his Photo Page.

It is a measure of the shamless greedy going-ons  in the prominent realms of power, that a beautiful  visual of a sole oil lamp, flickering  vis a vis  some big lights in the distance can bring these thoughts in your mind below....

 (photo by Arvind Khanna)
escaping from the
fake, well-to-do
prosperous ,

leading powerful lights
of the capital,
individually well ensconsed,
but still
and checking each other,
all usng free energy.

And she runs
and runs,
only to come to rest
on the outskirts,
where a
sole Diyabai
makes the best 

of some
oil saved over days,
to bring a smile
on the face
of a child
just awakened
in her lap.....

Happy Divali, Diyabai!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The coming of age of Anarsa.....

My blog and FB friend , Shruti Nargundkar of Melbourne, writes a wonderful post recalling her childhood Divali celebrations, and preparation of some Maharashtrian traditional foods like "Anarse" by her mother and grandmother.

Please read her post "The Chest of Hope" ,  to know more.    As well as the recipe for Anarsas. Made from rice powder, suitably fermented with sugar /jaggery, as Shruti says  "These anarsas/delectable morsels taste earthy yet intriguing due to the rice wine like flavour!"

Naturally, this inspired a poem on Marathi about the "wedding of Tandula"....(Tandul is marathi for rice) and her state of mind just before the big day.  An English version also happened. 

कार्तिकात ठरलेला विवाह ,
कौतुकात भावंडात रमलेली तांदुळा ,
आणि आजकाल मनाची होणारी घालमेल ....

स्वच्छ तोंड धुतले

तरी सतत वाहणार्या गंगा जमुना
आणि आईने
पुन्हा पुन्हा तिचा चेहरा धूउन
काळजीने फिरवलेला हात .

बाल मैत्रीण गुळा ने येउन
एकजीव होउन घातलेली समजूत,
आणि दोघींनी लपून केलेले चार दिवसाचे हितगुज.

वयात आलेली तांदुळा ,
सुखाने विवाहास राजी झाली .

पिकलेल्या केळाबाईन्चे ऐकले ,
आणि त्यांना आनंदाने जाउन मिळाली .
शुभ मुहूर्तावर सोनेरी शालू
चापून चोपून नेसून बोहल्यावर चढली ,
खसखशीच्या अक्षता झेलत
सौ. अनरसा फराळे झाली ........
giddy in anticipation
of a wedding in the November Kartik Days
blessed with a festival of lights,
suddenly apprehensive
of leaving home
fussed over amidst brothers and sisters.

And the tears of separation
flow unchecked,
as her mother
washes and wipes her face
again and again.

Her best friend,
closeted herself with her
and spent four days
setting her mind at rest.

coming of age,
now ready for the Big Day.

Cooperating with Lady Banana,
drenched in the pulp,
she appears
in a golden silk saree,
draped in slick style,
as she faces the moment.

A confetti of poppy seeds,
a dip
and anointing
with hot ghee
and the Tandula of yore
emerges as
Ms Anarsa Faraley,
ready to enjoy Divali.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Tea generations ....

There is something comforting, about pouring yourself  a decent cup of brewed tea in a verandah, just coming to terms with the arriving sunrays on a reflecting glass table. 

And unlike dainty bone china matching sets  with a dainty tinkle, this tea is all about brewing in an old silver/pewter teapot handed down from your folks,  a sugar pot that bears an inscribed date of significance etched on the steel, and a huge tough  sensible tea cup, the likes of which a kid might use to have his cornflakes  in a hurry. 

My friend Sangeeta Khanna obviously enjoys her tea like this on these cold mornings in new Delhi, as she enjoys her garden from the window .....

(photo by Sangeeta Khanna )
The chubby ceramic
young one,
freshly awake
glinting in the
early morning Sun.

You need
to be made of steel,
as a parent
dispensing sweetness in dollops,
as you straddle two generations,

indulgently disseminating
warm spiced flowing love
from its warm silver heart,
to the modern grandkid
who is
thrilled to bits
but all ears,
as it asks for
that one extra spoonful
of sugar ,
from its Ma.

Good Morning !

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Bozoical Solutions

Bozo,  Mumbai's only dog-with-his-own-blog has been through a lot in his younger wild days.  Some good friends, some undesirable ones,  just like all of us.   And one think he has learnt, in all these years, now that he is a senior dog,  is that , one must THINK, on one's own , before rushing into something.

A few years ago, he would have dashed around and barked his head off at the bird who messed up the balcony ledge. These days, he barks a bit out of habit, but spends more time nosing around trying to figure out things.  His mentor Magiceye, clicked him in one of his investigative moods.....

We fellows
are blessed with
a fine sensitive nose.

We smell
and birds
not to mention
yummy stuff happening
in the kitchen.

My cool nostrils
flared in anger
on seeing this desecration
of the balcony ledge.

Ears perked up, tail straight
I stretched and sniffed,
glared at the sky,
"how dare they ....."

And then i remembered
I too used to do such stuff
in my younger days
to mark my territory
when i ran wild with my friends.

I am older now,
and I have learnt
that everyone has their own way
of showing power,
even birds.
I also learned,
that a frightened bird
will also do this.

Like I heard someone say,
space is limited
the earths population
grows and grows.

Territories must be shared
both minds and territories
must be kept free
of dirt and bad thoughts.

I think
I will wait,
for this to dry,
and then scratch it away with my paw.....

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Political Evolution at High Altitudes...

My  blogging friend, botanist researcher Sangeeta Khanna  recently visited Sikkim , and  was smitten by various local veggies that don't normally make an appearance , say, in big metros.  Naturally, she probably lugged back a basket of those , to experiment later while cooking.

Have a look at the various vegetables here.  While some were heard of but not seen , there were some which looked a bit hybrid. Like the ones below.

Neither the brinjals nor the  tomato parivars would have been thrilled.  Purity and all that.

And a thought kept reccurring in the mind. ......

The Congressi brinjal
BJP red tomato
eloped to the mountains
straight from the backyard

of Lutyen's Delhi.

No Party Sharty
in the Himalayas,
and a tough
but a healthy life
slogging in the winds
and cold
and brilliant Himalayan Sun,
their children happened,
losing all the
excessive colorful traits,
except the beaklike stem
all the shouting their parents did
in Parliament.

You can tell
whose children they are,
but they all now belong
to the Greens Party.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Sahyadri Burger

My  blog and FB friend Bhavesh Chhatbar, has dislayed some amazing captures of the beauty of the Sahyadris, in the Bhor area of the Western Ghats. An original  State highway ,  since then replaced by a fancy characterless expressway, passes undulating through these ghats.

Please read his entire post and photos  at his blog, here.

These are photo paintings by the the artist photographer. 

To a proletarian  hungry  person like me , the second  photo perhaps brings back some memories.......  McD, Eat your heart out !. 

The Sahyadri burger
grilled under the Deccan Sun
served on a bed of
rich green forest,
on an

alluvial bun
rich with the seeds of
and sunflower.

A side serving
of sun fried bitumen highways,
and mountain paths,
a few fresh vegetable fields,
and a glass of ice cold water falls
that have
just tasted the
monsoon thunder.

And unlike McD,
so many
together share in its delight,
"We are loving it !"....

Monday, November 5, 2012

Infectious throat poetry

Sometimes, one is so inspired by one's own self and one's afflictions, that one doesn't need a visual to inspire poetry.  Like a hypothyroid.

This is a season in Mumbai, where there are noticeable drops in temperature, lots of pollution at ground level, and throat infections are common. I've tangled with adenoids, tonsils and stuff with the children when they were small . But never really suffered myself.

They say old age is a second childhood. Don't know about other aspects, but my recent affliction, along with a hypothyroid (sluggish butterfly shaped neck gland),  had me trying to manage flows from all orifices of the face (except the ears).

 As i looked up from the sink, into a traumatic visage in the mirror, that I realized was actually me,  somehow the idea of writing this poem on it all, was immensely cheering.   :-)   (Lots of poetic licence taken, doctors may object)


Page three adenoids
spic and span pink,
now trying push off
layers of yellow white
in infectious disgust.

But , food
be it chaat
or paté de fois gras,
as is it's wont,
tries to sneak down anyway.

Till it hovers
the thyroid,
the butterfly gland,
obese due to overwork,
still doing its job.
like a good hypothyroid should.

the butterfly wings flutter
in a hurry,
getting a
spray of food back
to the lazy adenoids,
who dither
and push everything right out.

Sometimes we don't know
if the corruption
is due to
adenoidal status conscious bureaucrats
or the
fluttering loyalty ministers

But wouldn't it be nice
if we could
throw up
and simply throw out
all of them

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Gushing Life Moment

My FB and blogfriend, travel writer, trekker, photographer Nisha Jha , recently visited Phillipines , and posted this wonderful visual on her visit  to the Magdapio Waterfalls, where apparently Francis Coppola shot the movie Apocalypse now.......

I've always remembered what we learned in school about mountain springs, how they are formed, and origin of rivers.  There was something about the gushing speed of this waterfall, captured so well, that brought a virtual story to mind.

She of the mountains
in the melting moments
of snow,
in a slow flow
towards the plains
with her assorted children
streaming around
jumping across boulders
and sneaking around some roots.

And she pines
for the one
speedy child that got away
into the rocks at birth,
lost in the crevices,
but traveling by intuition,
moving where life takes him;
tantalizingly close to the top,
within hearing distance of the mom,
but mostly,
eroding rocks,
and pushing its way
in an effort
to see the light.

A pleasant mid-day sun,
and she flows,
as usual,
with the kids,
watching some folks on the banks,
and sees them click.

A glance
and the sunlight sparkles
on her face,
wreathed in waves
of unbridled delight.

It's the truant,
speedy child,
having found a spring opening,
cascading down
to meet his Mom,
gushing down at high speed
amidst huge sprays
in the biggest F1 Race
of his life.

Bozoical secret wishes.....

Bozo, Mumbai's only blogging dog  is someone who learns a lot by observation. In addition, he has folks who read to him,  and he listens, particularly when it relates to him.

He has seen his family enjoying books, has hung around peering into books and magazines being read by them, and had hoped that someone would at some point come up with a book for him.

Turns out, that in celebration of a chap who learned good things in life by observation and deep canine thinking,  an old lady from the far away woods in Mumbai actually came up with that book.

Yes, Bozo practices reading. And listening. And Magiceye captures him doing just that.

But he has a secret wish.

Read on .

There is something
about nature and nurture....

At first ,
I thought
it was about
someone playing with spellings.

Then I would
observe folks
sitting down  to read
after a tired day in traffic,
or an incessant rain
outside on a weekend
leading to a read
with a cup of masala chai.

Then there were kids coming in
from muddy sports
who washed up
and got down
to book basics.

Nature didn't bless me
with reading eyes,
but I observed
and I liked, and I learned.

Now that I have my own book,
I sit with it,
trying to figure out how to turn the pages.

I don't really have to.

My life has been an open book,
and my great family
helps me turn the pages.

I just wish,
like so many folks who blog,
I could have a poetry reading
at a 5-star place
and have my friends
Luci, Pablo, Lindy, and Sam attend....