Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Ode to an Ajwain Life.....

Ajwain   (known variously as carom, ajowan, or bishop's weed)  leaves are a favourite for making bhajias.

 Easy to grow (from cuttings), with their smooth texture, amazing flavour, not to mention nutritional benefits  and slightly stiff physique, they are ideal material for coating and frying, on a rain drenched Mumbai monsoon afternoon.

While we enjoy, it suddenly comes to mind, that it isn't  such a pleasing prospect,if you are an ajwain leaf......

An ode.....  to those who simply wait and get fried in life .....

एक रेखीव , मउ , हिरवे आयुष्य ,
जोडी जोडीने किशोरवयात पदार्पण करणे ,
वर्षा ऋतूच्या शिडकाव्यात ओले चिंब होणे

चण्याच्या पिठाच्या विरहात तुटून जाणे ,
आसमंतात भिनलेल्या ओव्याच्या वासात
गुंग होउन
भजीच्या पिठात गटांगळ्या खाणे ……

अचानक गरम तेलात पडणे,
मोठे होणे,
आणि फुगून जाणे .

रेखीव , मउ , हिरवे आयुष्य
कसे एकदम
सोनेरी, ओबडधोबड , चकाक्त बनून
गरम चटका देउन जातं

नशीब ,
आयुष्याच्या शेवटच्या क्षणी
घोटभर चहा बरोबर होता….
A green, soft life,
full of direction,
a birthing and growing up
in identical pairs,
a teenage getting drenched
in monsoon showers.

A 'Besan'ic*  pining
for the soft yellow flour,
and a sudden drowning
in its fragrant paste
amidst whiffs of ajwain
celebrating in the air...

A sudden growing up,
and a puffing in consternation
as they fall in hot oil.

The green soft life
is history,
as they now singe the mind,
in their latest
hot golden, shining
amorphous avatar.

Thank God,
they had a cup of tea
for company
in their last moments....

*Besan ~ garbanzo flour, staple cover of all bhajias

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Message in a Boat....

My friend Prasad Paranjape who normally prefers to click tigers, monkeys, birds, woods , and even homo sapiens  , clicked this on a trip to Ladghar on the Kokan Coast. 

Clearly, there was a message in all this. 

I found it.

First in Marathi and then in English.  

आयुष्याची बोट ,
कधी दिशाहीन तरंगत फिरते,
कधी विचाराच्या शिडावर वार्यावर वाट शोधते
आणि कधी चुकून
किंवा अगदी ठरवून
गोंधळाच्या वाळूत अडून बसते .
तेव्हा समजुतीच्या वृक्षाच्या आडोश्याला
बसायच असत,
वादळे , वारे, त्सुनामी , लाटा , वाळूचोर , कच्ररावाले ,
याच्याशी दोन हात करायला शिकायचं असत ,
वृक्षाच्या छायेत विचारमग्न व्हायचं असत ,
एखाद्या भरतीच्या मोठ्या लाटेकडून शिकून
एक क्षण पकडून,
पुन्हा मार्गी व्हायचं असत ,
Floating mindlessly
in the Waters of Life,
at times,
seeking direction,
mounted atop the Sails of Thought
wild in the wind,
the Boat of Life gets stuck,
by accident or plain stupidity
in the Sands of Confusion.

The smart One,
leaning against the Tree of Experience,
learns to counter
 storms, winds, Tsunamis,
sand mafia, and polluters,
and then ,
catching the High Tide at its peak,
slips quietly again
into a dedicated Life.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Kabhi Lucinda , Kabhi Luci.....

Tired of seeing the same old photos of the same old politicians and leaders ? That is probably why, so many have taken to and specialized in photographing nature and pets.

Two canine stars, Bozo Amembal of Mumbai and Luci Shail of Thiruvanantapuram have blogs and reams of e-space dedicated to them, their adventures and moods.  While Bozo is older and worldly wise, Luci is a teenager,  with all the teenage angst and attitude.   She would probably qualify one day, with her regal bearing and attitude,  as a show stopper, at the National Canine Fashion Week

My blog friend Shail Mohan, who chronicles the Life and Times of Luci, in all her avatars,  clicked this, in between attending to birds, flowers, raindrops, skies, and protecting her spectacles and stoles from being chewed up by Luci......

(photograph by Shail Mohan)
And then
sometimes she has
her HRH Lucinda days.

Sedate actions,
respectful behaviour,
very aware of herself,
and her exalted status;
showing her best profile,
eyes slightly downcast,
hands at the chin
in a Nehruvian statesman pose.

Teenage is tough.

And you cant forget
that you are Luci.

You need to run everywhere,
chase every butterfly,
steal every stole,
bark at every bird,
but there is an awareness
there are hidden admirers,
and someone is watching.

This is closest
she can get
to doing a selfie,
ever since she tried to wear
the chewed spectacles...

Tuesday, July 8, 2014


These are troubled times, warring times. Particularly so, for some who work in the profession of Florence Nightingale. That too, in far away lands, attracted by the remunerations offered in a country, where oil and money are more important than education.

 Forty six Indian nurses, primarily from Gods Own Country, as the Indian State of Kerala is often referred to, working in Iraq and sending home their earnings to educate their families; caught in the militant crossfire, bundled by them into buses,and taken from place to place. Massive efforts to trace and free them through talks, and they arrive home after facing buses, bombs and uncertainty.

A salute to the enterprising, dedicated nurses...

In God's Own country,
some trees
must step out
of the Silent Valley.

It isn't easy
being a Tree.

A testing of the soil
and the waters,
a rooting
and imbibing
as she slowly learns to be a Tree;
where others rest,
where some temporarily nest,
while she
slogs to distribute
the riches of the Earth
to all her branches and leaves
and even some hanger-ons.

There are chain-saw times,
woodcutting days,
and she goes bravely
into the future,
away from her land
flying on wheels,
leaving behind a bereft ,
confused but healthy stump

Different lands, different people,
desert sands, demanding mountains,
but she has learned to root;
She conserves the water,
rejoices in the leaves,
and realizes,
that growing means facing
more unpredictable winds.

Some winds are quiet,
some scrape by,
and some attack,
as she stands firm
amidst many others like her,
there to work the soil,
enriching it
along with herself.

Her fruits,
quietly reaching back home,
as she faces once again
another weird season
another mercenary
darkly dangerous howling wind.

She has made her mark,
with her quiet caring,
in a country
of another God
where history is crushed,
ambitions fed unbridled,
truths hidden,
houses razed,
man kills man,
women must hide
and children play with guns.

She returns home
in the eye of her mind,
to help
the old tree stump
to harbor nests
and places of rest
once again.

There is No Empty Nest Syndrome
as she flies way again
to ensure
that nothing is empty again.

Yes, it isn't easy
being a Tree.