Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Ode to अळूची पातळ भाजी : अबकी ताजी, अळूची भाजी …

My doctor friend Asha, has fingers, which besides doing surgery, are also amazingly green, and she grows all kinds of stuff on her window sill grills.

Like these just (this morning, 22nd April) harvested Colcocasia leaves, purple stems and all, lying in wait before dedicating themselves to a great traditional maharashtrian  vidarbha style recipe,  in honor of the visiting daughter and new granddaughter.

 Maybe the unseasonable drizzle and thunder the previous evening had something to do with it. Maybe , the impending elections, but the whole thing inspired a poem. In Marathi.  

Because Aluchi  Patal Bhaji doesn't happen in English.  Just simply,  अळूची पातळ भाजी !

Photo by Asha Shangarpawar.
पूर्वेच्या सूर्याच्या तेजात
रमलेले लहानपण ,
सहेल्यांबरोबर दाटीदाटीने

केलेली कुंडीतली कुजबुज,
ऐन वयात येताना
फ़ेअर आणि लवली च्या दिवसात
आलेल्या साडीवर
जांभळ्या रेषा व छटा
आणि एकामेकाना सम्भाळणारे
आणि खांद्यावर पसरणारे मोठे हिरवे पदर.

एक दिवस अचानक
पावसाचा शिडकावा ,
गर्जनेसहीत त्यांचे गृहस्थाश्रमात पदार्पण
वैद्यांच्या हाती विधी ,
आणि उरले सुरले आयुष्य चिंच दाणे डाळी बरोबर
घालवण्याची साधी स्वप्न …

आरोळ्या नाहीत,
सभा नाहीत
अग्रलेख नाहीत,
आयुष्यात जे यॆइल त्याला सामोरे जाणे
आणि आलेल्या माहेरवाशिणीच्या
स्वप्नातली भाजी बनून राहणे …

अबकी ताजी, अळूची भाजी …

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Cardiac Peppers

Sometimes, you come across amazing wonders of nature, during routine events like chopping vegetables.

One such, appeared when I was chopping red peppers for a for a vegetable stir fry.

A heart, complete with its chambers, and assorted jutting arteries, fell out of the innards of the red pepper.

Surgeries,  agonizing cries from the mother pepper,  and then a quiet coming to terms with what life had dealt it.

Life, what is left of it, must go on. An experience,   immensely hot and stirring,  immersed in pasta.....

Presumed healthy
she peered from the basket,
nudged by
her yellow and green cousins,
all pondering
about their pastaical future.

A sharp incision,
and uncapping
and a sudden emergence
of an open heart,
complete with
arteries reaching out
to the main pepper body
now all howling and red inside.

A slow quietening,
a turning over
to accept what life has dished out,
and she sits
for one last time
beside the
surgically traumatised
open heart.

There's is just to
grow, bloom, smile,
occasionally cry,
and then submit, helplessly,
to a hot afterlife
amidst Life's Greedy Pastas.....

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Pencil of Life

We often hear people say, "God is in everything around you".   They probably mean, that there is a teacher in everything around you. No matter how insignificant the thing may be.

Like even a pencil.  That has lessons for us in the way it lives it's life.

My friend Braja Sorenson   , of Mayapur , West Bengal,  wrote this post  "Existential Crisis or Just a Bad Day". 

Which was so much about  life events shaping us , teaching us , as opposed to being simply stuff we react to . The BIG difference between then and now.

Sometimes one's response happens in the form of free verse. 

Well ensconced
in the cylindrical hexagonal wood,
the graphite sits,
sometimes exposed,
sometimes working,  
sometimes sharp
sometimes broken in the course of living.

Life sharpens it
from time to time,
sometimes individualistically
through blades of experience,
and sometimes
through a mechanical tumult
turning full circles.

The best pencil is the one,
that knows,
that in its shortening there is growth,
and at the end of the day,
it needs to pay attention
to what is written,
how it is written,
and when it is time to get sharp again…..

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Fruits of her labour.....

Summer is all about raw mangoes (kairi) , and various chutneys and relishes made in households across India.   This typical quick and fast raw mango-onion relish, designed to cool you down after a hot session in the unforgiving sun, is a childhood favourite.

A friend on FB, on an extended  visit to her maternal home, saw my post and visual, and pined for this.  Her mother, promptly made it and posted her version of it.

Naturally, a poem resulted, and I had to post my version of it .

 In words.   In Marathi, and then again, in English...... 

मोहरून यौवनात या ,
आमवृक्षावरचे मंतरलेले दिवस,
उंच फांद्यांवर लोम्ब्काळत लोम्ब्काळत

घेतलेले झोके ,
मधूनच कोणी मारलेले कौतुकाचे दगड ,
आणि मग एक दिवस कधीतरी
सख्यान बरोबर
एका मोठ्या पिशवी नाहीतर टोपलीत उतरणं ।

राग नाही, वाद नाही,
"पण पण" नाही ,
फक्त एका माहेर्वाशिणीच्या हट्टा खातर
कांद्याबरोबर केलेले स्वतःचे तुकडे,
मीठ, तिखट हिंगाचे शेले पांघरत
गरम तेलाचे चटके ,
आणि उगीचच आयुष्यात
थोडे गोड वाटावे , म्हणून पेरलेली साखर ….

कुणा एका गीतेची शिकवण पाळणार्या कैरीबाई ची गोष्ट ….
आपण आपले कर्म करत राहायचे,
आणि स्वतः फळ असूनही,
फलाची अपेक्षा ठेवायची नाही ……

A fragrant pubertal blossoming
A magical debut
clustering amidst the mango greens,
a swinging teenage
hanging out with indulgent stems,
An occasional glare
at those trying to reach her
with a throw of luck,
and then an obedient descent
into baskets and bags 
with her friends....

All for a girl,
visiting her maternal home,
and pining
for a special chutney day.

No cribs, no arguments,
No listen-to-me ,
Just an indulgent going to pieces
along with like-minded onions;
comforted by a dupatta
dotted with crushed cayenne, 
hing and salt,
as if to protect
from a lashing 
of hot tadka oil;
and then,
a quiet pinch of sugar,
just like that,
in honor of the sweet days of youth....

The quiet Kairi Lady,
living the lessons 
of the Bhagwad Gita....
Hers is to do her duty
The best she can,
And despite being a fruit herself,
not to worry
about the fruits
of her  matchless labour....

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Electoral Oreos

Digitised life has meant that ordinary daily activities become special. 

So while , back in my younger days, we quietly slurped up our non-fancy  khichdi, thalipeeth, chapati  breakfast, today, someone, like my young friend Ratandeep Dhody,  is so overcome by a Strawberry Oreo  relaxing amidst wheatflakes-in-milk, that he clicks before he eats.

As someone who frowns on things like Oreo,   the electoral times in which we live,  and the blatant violation of the election Code of Conduct by Big Candidates,  it is but natural that some words come to mind, to teach the Oreo,. what else, but a lesson ......

The electorate is happy, Ratandeep is happy.......    :-)

Cracked, hard edged
junta wheat flakes,
taking a well deserved break

in the milk of
electoral kindness,
and a pink creamy
chocolatewalla leader type
arrives suddenly with a chamcha
"Suniyo, mai Oreo....
Vote for me ...."

And one alert Sardar
points out
the violation
due to Election Code of Conduct
the Oreo dissolves in shame
and gets slurped up,
as the wheat flakes
whoop it up
in the milk
Yeh to Apni Apni Party hai !