Sunday, June 30, 2013

Thingies of the Mind....

A wonderful video from Rahul Sharma called Time Travel.

 A group called Indiblogeshwaris have a Tuesday Thingy Program, where the assignment was to watch a particular video, and blog about what "it spoke to you". Very clearly, they werent looking for an expert music review or description of places Mr Sharma visited in the course of his Time Travel...

 For someone whose plans to go somewhere always get inexplicably modified, and who controls the urge to dance on outstanding music out of consideration for the downstairs neighbors, I simply played the video and wrote what occurred to me as I listened to the music....

Lady, you said Brevity is an art. You asked for it.

So. In poetry....

Mind Music
Twiddling wide
across the Santoorini landscape,
empowering me
to shout,
“yes, I can!”

Telescoping out
from the Hum, the Drum, the Mum
and then Sum,
sorry Some…..
warming on memories,
skimming through windows
some half open,
inviting to push,
running out,
breathing in
the fragrance
and the fun
of living.

There’s a flow,
there is warmth,
there are colors,
there are kids,
a trillion smiling folks
and most of all
and a great big thump on the back
“Oye , Kahan jaake ayi tu ?
Welcome home !”

A Bozoical E-Rubaiyat

Sometimes I wonder if this guy Bozo , Mumbai's blogger Dog, is actually more evolved than us.

I mean, he watches folks all around him, and their activities in the rain. He sees folks sleeping off, getting up late, fiddling around endlessly on their phones, watching television serials, and various sports without moving their own limbs, all the while continuously imbibing stuff.  

And then he watches some folks,  having proper meals, doing some yoga, and spending a decent afternoon of a stormy day , with a book .

And he simply knows who he should emulate.  I wish some bipeds could understand this and learn.......

I hear there used to be a chap
called Omar Khayyam
who wrote about
a loaf of bread,
a jug of wine, and thou....

Very clearly,
he missed out
on the finer things in life...

A drizzling monsoon,
me sitting ,
in the breeze,
nicely rubbed and dried
after a butterfly chase,
a crisp dosa
wrapped around my paws,
warm milk in the bowl,
a few special London treats
sitting alongside,
as my nostrils get into
an exciting quiver,
at the sight
of a book,
of me,
for me,
by someone else.....

Sorry, Omar !
Bread, wine and thou
are not a patch on
dosa, milk, and me ....

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Mind Zoom

This is NOT a photograph of  coastal city clicked by someone flying up there.

Believe it or not, this is a photograph of millions of fireflies , clicked amidst the forest trees at night. My blog and FB friend Bhavesh Chhatbar decided to visit the Bhimashankar Hills in near Pune/Karjat in Maharashtra to enjoy the season of fireflies.

Monsoon set in on June 3, and he made the trip on June 8, reaching Bhorgiri, a village on the edge of Bhimashankar at 7 pm.  Do read about this in his photoblog  .

Sometimes, the mind has an ability to zoom much higher than you think......

you look DOWN
at others,
strapped in your hangups
at 32,000,
life blink away
in the cities below,
amidst turbulence.

And sometimes,
you look UP
into the hills and trees
on a monsoon night,
and celebrate
with the fireflies,
all lighting up
again and again and again.

A good start to the monsoon
in the Deccan,
and the mind zooms high,
in delight,
of course,
at more than 32,000 feet....

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Bozo's Vadani Kaval Gheta.....

Bozo, Mumbai's original blogger dog, certainly thinks a lot.  He has learned a lot of things by simply observing people in their daily activities.

And unlike some bipeds I know, he never blindly follows or apes anyone.  And reasons out things for himself.  Like mealtimes .

 He is not a saint by any means,  he has his share of mischievous fun times,  sulks when he feels more attention is being paid to two wheelers that just roar all the time,  and is known to do delightful leaps when he sees folks he likes.

At all other times, he has his 4 feet firmly on the ground. As he sniffs, tastes and gobbles up some yummy stuff for lunch...

Isn't it amazing,
so many need
special places to sit,
special places to keep food,
special implements to
touch the food,
despite being blessed with
long useful fingers ?

The food
is actually
specially brought to them...

And then
their eyes need a TV,
the ears need a conversation,
as the food
gets chewed down
and washed down
as some of it,
gets left over
and wasted on the plates....

I ,
on the other hand,
go to the food,
enjoy the
and flavors,
and taste,
and simply dig in,
making sure
I don't spill and waste anything.

Preparing food is actually worship.

Eating it with
relish and respect,
is like providing a dessert
for the Gods.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

In praise of "अळूची पातळ भाजी".....

Saw a detailed post by Namita Tickare on the FB group Sikandlous Cuisine relating to  "अळूची पातळ भाजी" (the traditional Maharashtrian vegetable gravy preparation made with Cococaasia (Arbi)  leaves).

Though it is cooked at homes in season, along with many other delicacies like "ALuchyaa Wadya", what it really brought back, is memories of having this in wedding and thread-ceremony sit down ( पंगत ) lunch celebrations, as folks were served by different people coming by with one delicacy after another,  continuously announcing its advent, as they went down the line of seated folks, while the hosts, hands folded, walked around , urging everyone to enjoy the meal at leisure.....

(photo : Namita Tickare)

गठ्या गठ्यात बांधलेला अळु ,
हुश्श करत ओट्यावर मोकळा होतो ….
काय करणार ,
आज काल निव्ड्णुकीचे वारे वाहतायत जोरात …
चना दाल वाले सेक्रेटरी ,
महिला मोर्चाच्या इमलीबाई ,
अनुभव नसलेले परंतु
आवडीने भाग घेउन
स्वतःला अगदी
झोकून टाकून काम करणारे कच्चे दाणे.

सर्वएकत्र येउन हुशारीने
गरम पातेल्यात यशस्वी लढा देतात ,
जंगी सत्कारासाठी सरसावतात ….

गरम तेलाचे निरंजन ,
त्यात लसून मिरचीच्या वाती
आजूबाजूला कडाडून पडणार्या मोहरी-मेथीच्या टाळ्या ,
हळद हिंगाचे शुभ आगमन ,
आणि बेसनाचे सोनेरी आवरण नेसून
होणारे औक्षण ….
आणि अत्यंत आपुलकी ने
सर्वाना आपलेसे करणारे अळू व मंडळी ….

थोड्या खोब्र गुळाच्या अक्षता,
चिंचेचे गंध ,
अळूची पातळ भाजी
दणदणीत मतांनी निवडून येते ….

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Thalipeeth on a Rainy Day....

Thalipeeth, is a very healthy, roasted multi-grain dish, greatly loved in my state of Maharashtra. The base flour is made up of roasted, rice, wheat, dals, pulses, coriander and cumin seeds, all mixed and ground together. This flour is stored in a dry place and used as required. The flour is called Bhajani.

The element of roasting makes it better for digestion. This flour is often mixed with stuff like onions, green chillies chopped, coriander leaves, and sometimes, simply fenugreek or methi leaves (in season). With a bit of added oil,curds, salt and spices, a wet dough is made and slapped straight on to a hot griddle by hand. A bunch of holes are made on the surface to help in the cooking, and the Thalipeeth is cooked covered.

Traditionally eaten with garlic chutney and a dollop of white butter (just extracted from churned buttermilk), folks also enjoy it with green chutney and a bowl of curds.

My friend Magiceye, just had it for breakfast, and remembered to click it in all its glory !  Those unlucky types who cannot taste it must make do with a poem ....

tucking in her palloo
at the waist,
gathering the errant
rice-wheat-dal sons together

and giving them
a disciplinary roasting
and grinding
they will never forget,
as they sit
in a large paraat,
having just left
closed dabba confines.

But a mother
can never be
permanently angry;
and she showers them
with chopped onions
and dainty coriander
as the fine mirchi pieces too,
tag along,
as a bunch of green methi damsels
await their day.

A bit of oil,
a bit of curd,
and its an abhyanga snaan
with clean water
as they come together,
only to be patted dry
on a hot griddle.

Like our heroes
these guys too
change their names
and are now known as Thalipeeth.

Perfectly cooked,
with amazing roasted makeup,
shining in anticipation,
they relax
on a Thali,
along with the
wayward spicy chatni types.

Before they realize
what's happening
its time for the Butter ladies
who simply melt
at the wonderful sight.....

Some distance away,
Bhajanibai's friend
Dahibai sits,

When the first
flush of excitement is over,
she knows
the Thalipeeth
will come home to her......

Captain Bozo ......

Bozo, Mumbai's blogger dog, has come a long way !

Along the way, he has observed how folks celebrate events, and social occasions. He knows when to act wilful and childish, and when to act like a responsible person.  He knows when he can be casual and when he must be on his best ....

Often the centre of attention amidst friends and family , he performs with great elan, on such occasions, smelling opportunities to impress, and at all times, alert , to any commands, coming in , from , the Lady of the House ....

The hand that rules the kitchen, rules his world....

So many have known me
I was so little,
and although
I cannot pronounce the names,
I say them
with my wagging tail.

A pouring monsoon outside,
folks visiting
an airy warm abode
with their
bright silks,
traditional outfits,
sipping ginger tea,
decoction filter coffee,
and yummy stuff
being prepared in the kitchen,
to be first blessed
at a special prayer
to the family Gods.

I am the
responsible assistant,
welcoming folks at the door,
keeping away
from chewing footwear,
being careful with small kids,
not jumping on
grand folks.

I stand alert,
bathed, brushed,
and on my best behaviour
to secret commands
only I can hear and smell,
from someone
in the busy kitchen....

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Banana Tales

My blog and FB friend, senior corporate finance officer and best selling author Ritu Lalit, from New Delhi, recently posted this visual, to bring folks down to earth from their mango-kiwi perches, as well as praise something that has for long, been taken for granted by us.

The humble banana. That shares 25% of our DNA.  Including the revenge gene....

And there is lots to learn....

Hang together, folks,
and be a mellow yellow
in the face of
mercurial stuffy
highly individualistic

reds and greens.

Lead all
on a process
a peel by peel
discovery of You....

Sometimes sweet,
sometimes elaichi,
sometimes petite,
sometimes infatuated
with all good things
like milk,yogurt and jaggery.

Should you, however,
throw the peel
there is nothing worse
than a hurt banana skin;

The Red will return to you
with a slipping
hurtful vengeance
in the green..

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Bozo's Prarabdh

Bozo, Mumbai's blogger dog, has a spiritual side to him. It isn't immediately obvious when he barks at the birds in the balcony, chases butterflies, and stiffens his tail in disapproval while observing Lassie from Carter Road trying to show off.

But sometimes he wonders how his life came to be how it is,  his folks, the fun he has, and how they take such good care of him.  I mean Bozo, does not eat pellets of dog food.  With his amazing olfactory powers, it is not surprising that he prefers, traditional Saraswat cuisine, and biped breakfasts.

And then he thinks back to something called Prarabdh. Your current life destined to be the way it is due to your actions in your past lives.  And he , being a spiritual type, accepts it and revels in it.

(He was seen smirking at the Desert Storm in the garage, on his recent outing. I mean just compare how many photos of Bozo are taken , vis-a-vis  the Desert Storm. He simply wins hands down.)  

I believe in miracles
and I believe in Prarabdh,
which is something
clocking up credits
in your past births,
that decide
how you will enjoy this life.

And I guess I must have done
something good.

I came up
to the house,
as a small puppy,
cradled in the arms
of the little girl,
and stayed on
to play with her and her brother,
observing them,
and the family
and learning from them;
Nuzzling them,
listening to all,
stretching in front of the TV News
and getting educated
on how NOT to behave
and enjoying the wind in my face
as I went with them
by car.

I guess biped girls
move away from the family
when they are older,
and my friend did too.

And sometimes,
just sometimes,
I look back over all the years,
and miss it all.

But they notice.

And then
the young man,
holds out his palms,
sometimes with a treat,
and i quietly
rest my face there,
an occasional lick,
a neck stretched for the
rub that I know will happen,
and a secret smile
on my face.

My Prarabdh is fine,
the oppresive heat has gone,
everyone is home,
the girl,
no longer little,
might come on a visit,
rain showers in Mumbai,
Some One Up There smiling,
All is right
with my world.

Yeah !
Before I forget,
Eat your heart out Desert Storm ......

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Vangi-Batata Bharlela Rassa .....

Vangi-Batata Rassa   (Curried potato and aubergines in masala gravy)  is an eternal traditional favourite,  and something that is imbibed to the last drop of gravy by using the various Indian flat breads to wipe the plate clean.

My blogger and FB friend Shruti Nargundkar of Melbourne  (who recently won a prize at the Mehta Publishing House blog contest for a very Australian sounding dessert with Indian fruit) ,  posted this amazing visual of a  Bharela Ringan Bataka (Gujarati)  and  Bharleylya Vangi-Batatyacha-Rassa (Marathi).  Complete with the use of a traditional style vessel that goes by the intriguing name of "langdi.".

Please see her entire post along with the clarifications and recipe here.

The slender aubergines/vangis, glistening in the masala, and the hefty potatoes imbibing all the spice from the masala  gravy , the special type of lids with water, and a touch of red auspicious tomato to round it all off.

I thought it was much like a Mass Wedding.  (Often conducted in India, by Social Workers , for those who would not normally be able to enjoy the pomp and show in their own nuptials..)     Why ?  Read on .....

Bhai Rassa,
well known
for his social service,
now announcing
mass weddings,

for those
who would wish to save
on decorations and food,
the officiating priest,
and ultra fancy clothes....

Vaangiben (and brides),
after a prenuptial face wash,
adorned in
warm besan gold
studded with sesame spots,
and a drift of
smeared dessicated coconut;
the green coriander sari
wrapped amidst
some chili designs,
her haldi ceremony
amidst some spicy friends
smearing it all on her.

Batakbhai (and the grooms),
post a warm abhyangya bath,
rubbing himself dry,
unaware that
all the above
is shortly to arrive at his place,
sharing the haldi ,
the spices,
and the zing;
as he gives in
to the excellent flavours
and revels in visions of the future
with Vangiben.

The auspicious moment,
at the Langdi Mass Wedding Hall
the mustard cumin confetti,
bursting in exhilaration
in the oil,
as it sees
the several
Vangibens and Batakabhais
gathering together.

The final blessing from Sir Hing
and the
brides and grooms,
go around the fire,
their emotions
in a fine stir.

A fine counseling
inside closed lids
laden with
the water of the land,
a final benediction
from the Tomatobai,
and the couples
respectfully arrange themselves
in the Langdi premises,
smile through
the red, hot and gold
and are ready
to face the world.

And Rotiben,
kind of looks at Bhakrirao,
nudges Purisaheb,
and says,
" They all look so wonderful, na ?"

Friday, June 7, 2013

The Final Fix ?..

The game of "glorious uncertainties, " is now a game of"inglorious certainties",  with the entry into it, of folks , who really do not know what sport means. 

Betting, Spot fixing,  game espionage,  spurious signalling, power games  and lies, have brought such disrepute to the game.

I feel bad for the two original members of the game. The Bat and the Ball . 

Can you imagine what must be going through their minds. ......

Born of a willowy mother
in the Kashmir valley,
she grew up
in the shade of
a veil of leaves,
descending down around her
as if to
protect her innocence
as she imbibed,
by observation
and practice
some tough grains of life.

waxed protectively
at the ends,
and with facials by Linseed
she aged well
and became
an outsanding Bat of her times
with the aid of some
helpful handles,
and a firm grip on things.

He , born a Ball,
of Tehsil Cork,
in Meerut,
grew up
in the little alleys,
a disinterested flat fellow,
suddenly hammered into
a well rounded personality,
hung out to dry
an learned to face
the elements.

A protective
fine leather cover,
tailored just so,
skin hugging
above a tight wrapping
with affectionate woolrope
with the necessary 6 seams
running across
a blood red central midrif.

They would meet often
he and she would
actually indulge
in  a fling.

Sometimes, she would
with a great sesne of humor
reply in kind;
she would flick him away
and he would pretend
to race
to the boundaries
of his imagination;
sometimes ,
she would actually duck
and miss
allowing him
to spend some time
with the fellows
who always stood behind her;
and sometimes
she would gloat
as she saw him go sky high,
sometimes to get caught !

Proudly walking out
with the openers,
the entire stadium applauding,
 and she would watch
 in great anticipation,
as he twisted,
got scratched and spat on
and even oiled
as he  piruetted
in some magical fingers,
before taking off to meet her
in a magical arc

But alas.
Like in Bollywood,
there is a villain in the story.

who fills ideas
in the mind of Mr Ball....
She spends
so much time
with other fellows
in the Kitbag,
you need
to divert yourself
away from where she waits for you,
and doesnt matter
if she still scores.

No need to
always fall at her  feet;
its OK to bounce up once in a while,
and never mind
if you get swept off
so long as you properly fall
into someone's hands".

Its difficult for Mr Ball
but he has no choice.
Some folks
simply cannot tolerate
the Pitch magic,
and the Howzzat band
that always plays,
when he and the Bat lady meet.

Life has become difficult.
of feeling secure
with the players paraphernalia,
and chit chats with
the pointy stumped fellows,
back in the pavillion,
they both get flung into a corner
as some folks immediately
get on their phones.

Folks dont realize
that Mr Ball and The Bat lady
both have ears,
and have some
sensational stuff in hand.

A lifetime
of being friends,
they want
to now spend their days together,
perhaps watching from the pavillion,
or even
being on the field
Rahul and Sachin play.

What do you do
when the villain
continues to misguide ?

Mr Ball, and the Bat lady,
the field violence,
erroneous fingers up,
glares, bad mouthing,
towels used to signal
rather than clean....

It is time
to return
to the Willow Woods
via Meerut

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Clean bodies , clean minds....

Mumbai's blogger dog , Bozo, is a great observer of human traditions. Sometimes, he even tries following some things to the best of his ability.

Like he has been watching bathing rituals at home for years together.

And while we don't know whether he is obsessed with the latest dog shampoos, and brushes , there are some little things he observes and follows.

Read on.

I've seen babies
being bathed,
wrapped in soft towels,
powdered and clothed
in soft cotton.

I've seen children
fooling in the shower,
then running out,
a towel carelessly wrapped,
and then being chased
by Moms,
so they can get dressed
instead of playing with dinky cars.

I've seen older folks,
sedately emerge
from a bath,
mouthing some prayers,
and then sitting down for a
proper daily pooja ...

I keep thinking
it's all so complicated.

Unlike me,
I get scrubbed and cleaned
with some
nice smelling soap,
as I enjoy being bathed,
out of a bucket,
and sometimes
dancing under a shower,

A bit of drying,
and I shake myself,
spraying everyone around
with water particles,
and run around
out of sheer exuberance
on a sunny morning.

sometimes I wish
I had soft muslin shirts
which I would wear
after being powdered ,
just like the babies.

Never mind.

The babies and I
have one thing in common.

We both
are so happy after a bath,
that we love
to take a
nice nap soon after,
to wake up
to some yummy stuff.

In my case,
I know there is some Ganpati Prasad
waiting for me
from Deepak's latest trip,
and I know,
I must have a bath
before receiving it ......