Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Mind Traumas....

Luci Shail, Kerala's leading royal blogging dog lady, is very upset, and trying to face it bravely all on her own. Her "Mom" who is also her constant companion along with the camera, is across the seas, on a visit, and Luci wants her to return soon.

But like her cousin Bozo in Mumbai, she thinks a lot, and reasons out things for herself.

Being  so young, she is not so good at hiding her emotions yet..... but she is learning!

(photo by Shail)
a Queen is a prisoner
of her mind.


searching for someone,
is bad.

What is worse,
is some birds
who keep posing
on wires and trees,
who keep reminding me of
how i disapprove and
hover around as she clicks.

They say a son is never yours
and the daughter is yours
for life;
she's gone away to her son,
and the daughter
even though otherwise
a Queen,
pines away,
behind the mind bars.....

Fudgy rooth kar : "फजी" रूठ कर अब कहाँ जाइयेगा

My young FB and blogger friend Akanksha, from Delhi, is currently  away from her folks on work, and  recently posted a visual of something she cooked for dinner, all by herself, thousands of miles away.

While my fudge eating days are long gone, I could quite imagine what must have gone through the fudge-mind, being part of a linearly eaten 3 course meal of noodles, sweet an sour veggies in sauce , a big dollop of fudge, and coke.. :-)

This time in Hindi. 

(photo by Akanksha)

चोंकलेट अनारकली परिधान करके
फ़ज्ज अम्मा रूठके बैठी .

यह क्या रानी के देश की पद्धत ,
की पहले सब

खट्टे मीठे चीजोंको नूडल्स के साथ खाना,
खूबसूरत सब्जियोंसे
अति गरम कढ़ाई में
आइटम सोंग करवाना ,
और फिर सॉस का बारीश होना ....
बादमें शौक शौक से कोक पीना ....

फज्ज की बेहेन जिलेबिबाई ,
उसके खुद के देश में
बिरयानी और नवरतन कोरमे के साथ ,
बीच बीच में लस्सी में डूबकर समय बताती है
और सब के साथ खुश रहेती है .....

अब नया देश, नयी सीख .
फज्जम्मा को अभी भी
आशा है, आकांक्षा है ,
की उसका दिन भी
एक बड़े चमच के साथ जरूर आयेगा

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Groundnuts and Discrimination

My FB and blogger friend, avid traveller in the backroads of Maharashtra, traditional food connoisseur, and avid photographer and chronicler of culture, Priyadarshan Kale's joy knew no bounds when he spied freshly harvested groundnuts in their shells, on his foray in possibly the Grant Rd  market in Mumbai. 

While there is nothing better than eating these steamed and salted in their shells, (as Priyadarshan did, and so posted on FB) on a wildly rainy day, when the government itself urges you not to venture out into torrential rains , there is another world out there, where others are fighting it out, hot in the kadhais, as life gives them a roasting. 

First inspired in Marathi, then in English. (Be grateful I don't know Gujarati....)

 (photo by Priyadarshan Kale)

देशावरील पश्चिम महाराष्ट्रातील
भुइमुगा बाई शेंगा परिवार …

त्यातले काही ,
हाय-फाय भागात राहून,
मीठ वाफेचे फ़ेशिअल करून,
दक्षिण मुंबईच्या रस्त्यांसारखे
गुळगुळीत बनतात,
खोटी खारट आसवे गाळतात,
आणि चीनी मातीच्या ताटलीत
आराम करत
कोणाच्याहि आहारी सहज जातात …

आणि काही ,
खड्डया खड्डयानच्या रस्त्यावरून,
पुरा संसार एका सायकल वर घेउन
निघालेल्या फेरीवाल्याच्या बरोबर रहातात ,
आणि समुद्रावर
एका काळ्याकुट्ट गरम कढई मध्ये
आयुष्याचे चटके खाउन
इकडे तिकडे फिरत
मुंबईच्या आम जनते सारखे
कधी काळवंडतात,
कधी फुटतात ,
मग कालच्या वर्तमानपत्रात
न छापलेले , गुंडाळलेले
वृत्त बनतात
कुणाच्या तरी चेहर्यावर समाधान बनून
अंतर्धान पावतात

 Generations of the
Lady Groundnut family
residing on the plains
of Western Maharashtra....

frequent hi-fi areas ,
enjoying exclusive
steamy salt facials,
then revel
in competing
with South Mumbai roads
for smoothness;
then lie back luxuriously
on bone china plates,
shedding salty tears,
as some one powerful
and in white,
and swallows
so many nuts of the ground.

And some,
crowding together
in a vendor's basket,
his entire life carried along
on his bicycle,
on hugely potholed roads,

end up
tolerating roastings
in a dark thick wok.

Like the city's own folks,
a burn here,
a hurt there,
a darkening here,
and sometimes
they just go to pieces.

Becoming a happy piece 

of unprinted news
for someone,
who gets them
wrapped and served
in yesterday's newspaper.


Sunday, July 21, 2013

Bozo ka Budday !

Bozo, Mumbai's blogger dog, is a standing example of why "nurture"  wins over "nature"  , most of the time.  

He has had his wild years, infatuations, usual teenage problems, but all along he has been a great observer of how people behave.  Particularly on their birthday.

It is Bozo's birthday today, He will no doubt get special treats, a wonderful bath and brushing, but amidst all this, Bozo has not forgotten, something he learned from the children of the house. 

If his pose in this photograph puzzles you, read on......

Growing up
with the young ones
of the family,
I learnt many things....

there was
a time to play,
a time to study,
a time to sleep,
as well as
a time to play tricks,
a time to keep secrets,
a time to tease,
and always,
a time to laugh.

But I also learned,
that on your birthday,
you think of all you have
and thank someone for it.
sometimes by going
to the temple,
and sometimes,
by touching the feet
and doing namaskar,
to the elders of the house.

Deepak clicked me
doing my birthday namaskar
to Grandma....

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Dance of death

My blog and FB friend Bhavesh Chhatbar clicked this amazing visual of a Bracket Fungs on one of his treks in the Western Ghats (western coast of India).

 Bracket Fungi,  produce shelf- or bracket-shaped fruiting bodies called conks that lie in a close planar grouping of separate or interconnected horizontal rows. Please click on Bhavesh's blog to see some more clicks of this fungus.   

Planar groupings of interconnected horizontal rows,  sometimes in blue and gold, swirling as if doing a garba , in anticipation of Navratri.   But the bracket fungi are seriously sinister. They sometimes contribute to the death of a tree and feed of the dead wood for years .

Some still
dance and twirl around,
swirling their blue ghagras
as they dance
and sing

and celebrate the goddess
nine nights
of the garba.

An enraged goddess
of the mountains,
letting flow her copious tears
in thunderous waves,
angered by
the cheating,
the powermad,
and the shameless crooks,
and she roars
amidst the stones
silencing the trees
in one fell swoop.

They lie,
in their last moments
the swirling moves
of the bracket fungus
as it slowly eats into them
doing the dance of death.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Dangerous Buzz

My FB and blogger friend,  cricket crazy foodie, a Nikon Bhakt and trekker, Dhiren Shah, posted this photograph which he captured in his garden at home.

Somehow,  the smooth, shiny blackness of the moth (Bhanwara) , buzzing around an innocent pastel flower bud, growing in apparent security amidst the verdant greens, brought to mind some recent troublesome happenings , that keep getting reported on the news.

But like Dhiren said, the Bhanwara/Moth didnt realize that he would be "shot"...

Some buds,
falsely secure
in an unavoidable routine life,
amidst so many
green ones

who call themselves family.

Blooming, playing,
sometimes happy,
sometimes bored
sometimes resting
amidst the green,
but always
by the mercenary
shiny villainy
black minded Bhanwaras
who bide their time
on visits to the locality.

The story repeats everywhere.

And sometimes, 

for the budding flower,
it is better, to close up, 

and fall
away from it all.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Unch Ticha Jhoka

My about-to-be FB friend, and friend-of-a-friend Prashant Godbole just posted this amazing visual, coincidentally just when the wonderful Marathi serial "Unch Maazha Jhoka" based on the life and times of the late Ramabai Ranade and her husband Justice Mahadeo Govind Ranade , came to its logical end.

Their lives were dedicated, among other things, to education, training and freedom from harmful social customs for women.

 This visual simply shows it all. The strides taken by the woman today , her confidence, her handling of tough stuff, and the gentle support of the male of the household. She is almost like the machine, but with a mind, and better strength....

Clearly, this is NOT the story everywhere. But it is good to know that yes, the women have come a long long way.....

Do check out Prashant Godbole's site  as well as his work  here....

The lifetime shock absorber,
guaranteed suspension support,
occasional brake,
creative clutch handler,
steering them all
to progress,
potholed roads,
narrow greens ,
often trudging up mountains,
holding up mirrors
to reflect her success
to those who encouraged her.

So many tunnels,
so many chowkeys,
sometimes paying tolls in life.

She stops,
takes a deep breath,
fixes her palloo around herself,
an almighty kick
as she idles,
looking around ,
and accelerates into the future.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Bozoical Windows

It is not surprising to note that, in Bozo's world,  like in our own, there are folks obsessed with beauty, fairness,  and so on.   It is also not surprising to note, that Bozo,  like  a sensible fellow , despite being a prospective  unwilling model for Fair and Lovely, actually shuns all this stuff.

He has his own take on beautiful features. His own and those of others. 

He isn't averse to posing.  But it doesn't change the way he thinks.

(Sigh.  And I thought the bipeds evolved a cerebral cortex....)

I have known some,
with secret filmy ambitions,
who traipse around
the promenade at Land's End
in their golden glory,
fluttering theirs
at filmy Alsatians and Great Danes
out for a walk with their folks.

Then I have known some,
little ones,
who have such amazing hairstyles,
à la Beatles
that they aren't aware
that they have eyelashes
until they fall asleep...

But I am happy the way I am.

I don't flutter mine,
at anyone,
but simply
treat them like
a window curtain.

When I raise them,
I see the sunrise,
the beautiful flowers,
the plants and birds
in the balcony,
something yummy
in the kitchen,
and mostly,
all my folks,
some of who,
have eyelashes,
I think, 
the same color as mine....


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

They also serve who only stand and wait.......

My FB and blogger friend Nisha Jha, is a travel writer, photographer, blogger, and also someone who enjoys volunteering to work with kids' education, in lesser known places in other countries.

Recently on an invited trip to Spain, she visited, Catalonia, and posted this photograph of the Montesserat mountains (behind a famous monastery) , which are a natural wonder; serrated and barren pinnacles of sandstone erupted from the  mountain base. These were  known to the Romans as Mons Serratus (Saw-Toothed Mountain) and to the Catalans as Montsagrat (Sacred Mountain).

Sometimes, when we humans abuse natural, human and spiritual  resources around us, it seems nature conspires to rise to its full height , and in an amazing display of stiff backed unity, stands tall and powerful, ready to fight all...

of wars, crusades,
with a few centuries of

and sometimes democratic peace,
and they stand,
their optimism
gently eroded
year after year
by events triggered
by money, color, religion,
and extensive greed.

Boiling lava frustrations
amidst the rocky tissues
they dare not
explode out
in helpless anger
or fall apart.....

They can
protest en masse,
standing cheek by jowl,
in geriatric attention,
leaning on each other
the blue and white
which has been
a witness all along....

Sunday, July 7, 2013

The Perils of Colocassia

My blog and FB friend Magiceye, recently posted a lip smacking visual of a snack made predominantly in Maharashtra and Gujarat, called Aluwadi, and Patra respectively in those regions.

Collocasia leaves, plucked, cleaned de-veined, are layered with a thick mixture of besan (garbanzo flour), spices, and a tangy tamarind sauce. Several leaves , layered one over the other, then rolled up nicely, and steamed in a colander. Cut into pinwheels, these slices are either deep fried, or tempered with a dressing of hot oil, mustard seeds, chillies, hing , shredded coconut, chopped coriander leaves and so on.

Probably gobbled up as a side dish at a Sunday lunch, or nibbled on with a masala chai, while watching, say, the Wimledon final 2013, which is happening right now.

But spare a thought for Ms. Colocassia. He name sounds as Greek as the tragedy that befalls her...

of the Arbi clan,
prospering greatly
in the wet earth of the monsoon,
and like all girls
she loved to put on makeup.

Everytime the experts came,
she raised herself
on her purple stockinged legs
and grabbed their attention.

And then one day,
she was taken away,
miles from her home,
cleaned up,
and a layer of
besan foundation
mixed with spices
and a tangy tamarind sauce
was applied all over .

Just when she thought
that was all,
she was rolled up,
and made to sit in a sauna
till she lost all her green innocence
and belief in makeup.

Cooled off,
and thinking calmly,
she bravely faces the cuts
of a knife,
as she is cut in pinwheels.

Like her mother said,
enjoy your childhood
with Mother Earth;
life is so unpredictable after that;
Its all hot oil,
and curling at the edges,
and then lying on a plate,
trying to brush off
the coconut,
mustard, and coriander hanger-ons..."

Bozoical Leaps

In a world where folks mindlessly run after superficially attractive things, it is amazing to know that chaps like Bozo, Mumbai's blogging dog, actually weigh pros and cons in their evolving minds.

Here is Bozo, captured by his mentor and life chronicler, Magiceye,  contemplating what to do next.

Unlike some folks I know,  he doesn't blindly run after goodies on offer.  And while , in certain circumstances, he will not think twice about rushing,  he clearly, has all his four feet, firmly  on the ground.

Mindless followers,
blinded by craze,
thoughtlessly throwing aside
that borne out of
cool thinking,
useful advice,
a study of things around you.

I used to be
a bit like that
as a kid.

But I have learnt.

And while,
where  my folks are concerned,
"ain't no mountain high enough,
ain't no valley low enough
and ain't no river wide enough",
and I will leap.....

when you hold up a treat,
my mouth waters,
and my eyes gleam,
I will think twice
before I leap.

I am no longer
the kid I was,
and besides,
who wants to have
London treats
after a great Dosa meal ?

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Showstopper for Bhagwan and Devi....

Once again, my FB and blogger friend, Dhiren Shah, celebrating the acquisition of a new 55-300 Nikon lens in Bharuch, Gujarat, in the garden of his house.

 Very clearly, this lizard has seen it all.

Folks with Nikons darting through trees, leaning down from balconies, chasing birds in trees. And now , a lizard cannot even perform at a Fashion Show in peace.

What are gardens coming to, these days, I say ......?

(photograph by Dhiren Shah)
He slithers down
the brick and leafy ramp,
metallic outfit,
and punk hairdo intact,
to strike

a model fashion pose,
as he glances
at the Nikonwala with beady eyes.

Not everyone
gets to model
color changing designs
of Bhagwan & Devi,
at the
55-300 Garden Fashion Week 2013
and I hope
the Bharuchwala
realizes how special I am ......

P. S. I may be a lizard model, but Dhiren, you need to watermark your photographs of folks like me.  

No country for butterflies

My FB and blogger friend,avid traveller,photographer,food enthusiast, and nature and wildlife lover Dhiren Shah, posted this on FB, possibly in celebration of acquiring a new lens for his Nikon.

For some reason, the attitude, pose and outfitting of this butterfly, reminded me of convocations at universities  and institutes, where  the chief guest, always an eminent person, solemnly draped in the convocation gown arrives and addresses the audience , standing at a lectern , exactly like this butterfly. Hands on the lectern before him, holding sheets, looking up occasionally .......

And then it is all about what we wish would happen and what actually happens.....

(photograph by Dhiren Shah)
He arrives,
resplendent in his
convocation gown
of stunning yellow
bordered in black,
by the
solemn academic procession
of bees, moths,
and dragonflies.

on a green dais
holding on to a green lectern,
occasional glasses
on his head
to read the garden message,
he addresses
the graduating
flowers ,leaves and caterpillars.

Half way through
he hears a crack
as the wood is hit,
the lectern shakes,
his leafy pages slide away,
as the audience
and he
scurry and fly away,
what they have always known.

The biped lobby
is at it again,
and will run over them all
with concrete
in the days to come.