Friday, December 27, 2013

Brains and Bird Brains

My young friend Akshay Dandekar clicked this in the greens at Badlapur, on the outskirts of Mumbai, closer to the mountains.

Never has the difference between the generations been so clear.  And so emulated by the birds.....  


She sits
to one side,
harried and dishevelled,
drying the perspiration,
taking a breather
from all that
flying around,
checking the neighborhood,
planning the day,
figuring out the meals,
worrying about the kids.

When will they learn
life isn't just about
the feathers remaining just so,
the red neck ring
shining bright,
and posing
on the wires
discussing the latest styles,
the birds go by ?

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Tea for two....

My blogger friend Sangeeta Khanna has green fingers combined with an encyclopedic knowledge of  foods,  food traditions, food science, and  food values . She is also a talented food photographer, whose photos inspire words.

Like sometimes, tea is a concoction boiling with endorphinic elaichi and ginger; sometimes it is a languorous seeping of a crushed lemongrass leaf along with some others in a quiet pot.

And sometimes, it is just a quiet grandma teapot, sitting on a roughhewn wooden table in the shade of some big trees , absorbing in,  all the flavours of the leaves, and then , on seeing some folks, rushing in to pour its heart out into the cuppas, watched by a midmorning sun.

It isnt
about shining
in a chak chak world.

But about
quietly sitting
in the shadows,
and ruminating
on the greens and leaves
within and without
that so generously
give of
their own treasures
and flavors,
and then
learning to give
on your own steam,
so that
for two simple
hard working souls
it becomes
a golden Sunday morning
adorned by the Sun.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Pink and Perfect

My friend Bhagyashree Moghe of Pune has green fingers, and lives surrounded by amazing blossoms. She recently posted this photo on FB, and very clearly, there was a message in the visual.

A message about how each one has their own day in the sun.   And how no one is worried about tanning and turning dark.  In fact you get lighter in the sun.  And how the younger darker sibling remains sensibly enveloped in the caring family greens, growing up, awaiting its own day in the Sun.

No nonsense of fair, dark. No complexes.  Just all beautiful , wherever they are.

(photo by Bhagyashree Moghe)
A protected bringing up
amidst expansive green concerns
redolent with

cool waters,
good nutritious food,
and great supporting
and straight folks
helping you face
daily grind.

And to each one
a day in the Sun.

Unlike us,
those in the Sun
get lighter,
while the darker one
sits enveloped safely
amidst the trusted greens
in the shade
confident in its own skin,
mobilizing to face life.

We of the Fair and Lovely hangup,
are simply blind.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Chivda Kejriwal

It is clearly not a coincidence, that my blogfriend Shruti Nargundkar of Melbourne, posts a recipe and a biographical post  on her blog, on the proletarian Chivda, made during Divali, which stays on, loyally, to cater to nibbling pangs, sometimes in association with even onions and tomatoes, long after the Divali excesses are over and done with.

And what a fitting post at a time, when the Aam Aadmi Party (~Ordinary peoples' party)  has valiantly fought the Delhi elections,  and has performed well enough to trouble the  folks at India's two biggest parties , drunk on their own might.

They sit,
cheek by jowl,
some in tatters,

some quietly listening
Watching it all
unfolding on the stage

Some Peanut Bhaus,
desperate to fall
hot into the fray,
when they see
some green Mirchiakkas
flirting with some
stiff Kadhipatta types.

And then
some spoilsport Red Chilly netas,
feeling all ignored,
thoughtlessly joining the fray
causing some jealous fumes.

The opportunistic
Cashew and Chana offspring,
falling in
to acquire
their share of a golden future,
and all the while,
the volunteering Mustards,
Sesames, Khuskhuses
keep crackling and nudging
complaining to
the Coconut slices,
getting angry,
egged on by the
waiting Turmeric
and short tempered Hing.

The Pohas
cannot sit by.
For sixty years,
they have been thrown
into the hot inflated oils,
and emerged,
burnt, scathed,
but unbowed,
and they have learned.

The time has come to take the plunge.

The Aam Pohas
rise as one,
wait for things to cool,
and before you can say C_H_I_V_D_A
they have thrown themselves,
heart and soul
into the fray,
actively mixing around ,
observing folks,
communicating intelligently,
well aided by
salt and sugar advice
and support from
local Corianders and Cumins
all given with
such stirring eloquence.

For the ordinary
normally ignored Aam Pohas,
a great united debut
into a public Chivda life.

Way up on the shelves,
the Motichoor Laddoo High Command,
and Chakli General Secretaries,
with the tearful Karanjees,
and desperate Anarsaas
can only watch
the successful debut
of the
Aam Poha Chivda Party.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Kakdi Ballad

There are some blogger friends like Dhiren Shah , who love to tell stories through their food photographs.
Like this breakfast, of butterless grilled cucumber tomato sandwiches (with chilly sauce) , and the designer almonds, clearly clicked before he devoured it all.
And then again, its all about the message of the traumatised cucumber , Kakdi Ben, as she relentlessly wages war, al a Kejriwal, on behalf of the Aam junta veggies. 
ककड़ी बेन का आक्रोश।

कभी तो

हम मक्खन के फेशल करते थे,
टमाटरबी के साथ लड़कीवाली गपशप करते थे। ।

काश , ये कैसे दिन आये ,
एक धीरेन हमें
बिना फेशल या मेकअप
ऐसेही मिर्चीगुंडों के साथ
ब्रेड कि जैल में बंद करता है ,
फिर ज्यादा गपशप ना करे
इस लिए अलग अलग काटता है ,
और ऐसेही
कुछ भाव खानेवाले
उपरतक हाँथ पहुंचनेवाले बादामके साथ
बिठाता है.

ओय कोंग्रेसी बादाम ,
अब आम ककड़ी टोमेटो जाग उठे है ,
हमें मख्हन कि मेहेंगाई नहीं चलेगी ,
बादाम वाले , अभी सुन लो,
खुद कुछ न करके,
पोज़ में खड़े रहने में कुछ होशियरी नहीं है।
यह देश के रंग सॅंडविच में रहते है
 There was a time
when we did
soft butter facials,
gossiping simultaneously
with Tomato Bi.

What has the world come to,
when any Dhiren
can stuff us,
without any makeup
into a breaded jail
along with some Jalapeno crooks,
and even cut us up,
to stop us
from talking with each other;
and all the while,
the so called hi-fi almonds
strike poses and smirk
right next to us .....

Hear Ye!
Oye ruling Almonds,
the tomato cucumber masses
have awakened ,
and the Aam veggie party
will agitate
and vegitate against
the butter inflation.

posing and gesturing
a la Almonds,
will take you nowhere;
the sandwich proudly bears
the colors of the flag .....

Monday, December 2, 2013

Bozoical Bandra Farewell

Bozo , Mumbai's blogger dog, is bereft. As a senior, he has learned to be controlled in his emotions, but sometimes, he feels compelled to tell the world what he feels.

His family is going to be away on a trip to a holy place , and he is to stay at what everyone calls a holiday home. The people there are nice, but Bozo still doesnt like staying away from his folks.

And so, he has taken inspiration from the great Harry Belafonte's Jamaican Farewell,  and has sung his own Bandra Farewell.

Down the way, where the lights are gay
And the waves crash daily on the rocks;
I took a ride on an I10 seat
and when I reached Bandra I made a stop.

I am so sad to say, they are on their way,
To Vittal and they stay for many a day,
A lump in my throat, and tears in my eyes,
I dont like to say goodbye to these guys...

There will be sounds of chantings everywhere,
And the aarti lamps moving to and  fro,
Delicious Prasaad will be making the rounds,
And I'll be pining for it, in Bandra you know...

I am so sad to say, they are on their way,
To Vittal and they stay for many a day,
A lump in my throat, and tears in my eyes,
I dont like to say goodbye to these guys...

On the roadside, I see from my Bandra window,
Families taking their Bozos for a walk,
"Take me to Vittal, I promise to be good ",
And I'd say this to Deepak, if I could only talk....

I am so sad to say, they are on their way,
To Vittal and they stay for many a day,
A lump in my throat, and tears in my eyes,
I dont like to say goodbye to these guys...

Friday, November 29, 2013

Return of the Natives

Nature always reflects what is happening in society.

A very evocative photograph of  soil erosion captured by my young FB friend Akshay Dandekar, on a recent trip to Matheran,  a hill station in the Sahyadri mountains  on India's western coast.

I saw something in the photograph.   Which I attach alongside , together with the original.  

आजकाल प्रलोभनं इतकी असतात
एरवी एकामेकाला

घट्ट धरून बसणारी लोक सुद्धा
एकामेकाला जोडणारी लाल आई सोडून
कुठेतरी दूर पळ्तात
जग बघायला निघतात
आणि उन्हात होरपळून ,
एकामेकाला धरून
घाबरून परत निघतात.

बाहेरच जग सुंदर असतं ,
रंगीत अस्त , स्वप्नात्ल्यासारख असतं ,
"ये, निर्धास्त रहा ,
आम्ही सगळे आहोत ,
वेडा वाकडा असशील पण आमचा आहेस
अस म्हणणार लाल मातीचं कोणीच नसतं …. "

 So many children
safely growing together
amidst familiar soils,
a non stop exposure
to other worlds
sees a few
leave the fold,
stray away
into a dry and cruel world

Glamorous and dreamy
at first,
it slowly burns
deep inside,
as they struggle back,
holding on to each other
after someone
who always said,
"Come back to the fold,
twisted and turned
you may be,
but in the end,
you are ours,
deep in the red of the earth."

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Eiffel Saheb....

So many have clicked the Eiffel tower in Paris, from the base, from its levels and so on . But this photograph, clicked by my blogger and FB friend Deepak Amembal aka Magiceye, on his recent trip to UK and the Continent, gives a different perspective.

There are so many , upwardly mobile, some in body, some in mind, and some in dedication. 

But it remains a fact of life, that no one goes to Paris to see the lamposts radiating warmth and light , or the bare, brave,  wintering tree.  Today, it is all about the tall, mighty, and powerful.  

Tough and standing
facing inclement weather,
she shrugs,

shedding the dead leaves,
and gestures broadly
amidst expressive branches,
looking up,
at the warm gold countenance
of the lamp.

"You know,
it isnt enough today,
to spend a lifetime
flowering, fruiting
and giving shelter,
or even lighting someone's path
on a cold and foggy day.
You need
to be
like Monsieur Eiffel,
tall, tough , powerful,
of intricate making,
well connected
and strong;
and able to withstand
vagaries of life.
And yes,
if you can earn revenue,
your life is made ...."

Monday, November 18, 2013

Scorpion Tales

My Fb friend Amit Amembal clicked this visual of a scorpion at the Sanjay Gandhi National Park in the Northern suburbs of Mumbai .

What is amazing , is how the scorpion , has taken on the mix of colors that it "sees" around itself;  trying to blend in with something  so different to itself...  ; specifically since all the surrounding stuff is inanimate ....

And it reminded me of something else....

So many
cunning types
with evil intentions

are often unrecognizable
as they
artfully blend in
and participate
in the colors around them.

Unless of course,
a keen eye
on their surreptitious movements.

it is the CBI,
and sometimes
it is a Click....

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Inclusive and Exclusive Growth

My Fb friend Nirupama Sundar posted a photograph of what happened when a few groundnuts fell accidentally into a pot where some mint was growing. Two months down the line, she harvested what you see below.

 No, it wasn't minty groundnuts, or groundnut leaves with minty flavors. No nonsense folks like groundnuts , simply learn from where they end up falling, do their best, and get on with living, the way they are supposed to.  No attitudes, No fuss, just a getting on with what they were meant to do in life, in the best way they can.

That's why no one talks about Nishkaam Karma in the vegetable world.  They live it.

Those like us,  just discuss, talk, lecture about it.

And yes, some of us also write poems......   

with special places
to grow,

end up green,
and presumed upright,
unconcerned about
what lies below their
exalted feet.

Some slightly
willful types,
demand lots of
special foods feeding,
morning and evening sprays
and end up
simply fair and lovely,
with more show than substance.

And some
really wander
far and wide,
where hands and pockets go;
sometimes they escape
to see the world,
and then
become one with the new home,
settling down,
enjoying the new world,
and when its time to move again,
they bring along their fresh pink kids,
wrapped in muddy brown,
"Chalo, you at least got to experience this, na ?
This will help you
when you get roasted and shelled
and even crushed......
Remember, its Nishkaam Karma !"