Friday, July 31, 2015

Angry Fish, Gandhian Rice......

My friend, Just A Girl From Aamchi Mumbai (JAGFAM), just posted this photograph from a wintry and very cold Perth, on Australia's western coast.

Do check out her other posts on the blog here.

An excessively cold winter's day, combined with a deep longing for hot tasty fish curry and rice,  and then , as she says , "But perhaps the cold penetrated my head as well, and I ended up with a disaster. The Curd split in the curry, and the fish looked like some alien floating in a puddle of sauce. And since I was so hungry and couldn’t give a damn, I ended up eating the curry. Thankfully it tasted good, which goes to prove that one must not judge anything by appearance J So here is too ugly curries and beautiful Fridays."

Hey, JAGFAM, there are no Ugly Curries.  Just some skirmishes  , with excellent end results .  

Streaking around
the Indian Ocean
at the height of a winter

isn't ideal
even for fish.

A bleak future
of being netted,
covered and frozen,
and they arrive
fuming in anger
on the kitchen counter.

A petulant rage,
a refusal to mix,
the spices and chillies
simply fanning it all,
and the peacemaking curd
becomes the last straw
as they fight to the finish
breaking the curd to smithereens.

It takes a fresh steaming rice,
a veteran and a witness
of several such
willful angry behaviours,
to broker a peace.

And the onions
golden in their final moments,
nudge the exhausted chillies,
wink at the fish
and say
" It's OK.
A bit of a spirited fight
always brings
a gourmet quality
to the dish"...

JAGFAM wonders
if the white and saffron
have any other significance
in tonight's war?

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Through the Hole in the Wall.....

Modern architectural wonders on technological campuses,  designed to hold complicated creators of knowledge, electronic, mechanical, and human,  often are so heat intensive, that  there are deliberate apertures created  in the  brick and mortar enclosures to let in natural air.

Sometimes, this enables a young photographer to get a more enlightened view of another wonder outside.  A Banyan Tree on the campus which simply predates, by several decades,  the architectural marvel frequented by learned biped types.

Sometimes, the architectural wonders have a sudden loss of power in life, and then the older ones have a lot to teach us.....  

 (Photograph by Pankaja Date)
it is about
selfish knowledge
digitally shining
in enclosed spaces,
of brick, mortar
glass and air;
much of it
from the sound of words,
the squeak of a mouse,
the tap pf a key
the rustle of a page
and the angry drone
of a  machine
doing desperate revolutions
and then
looking plaintively
at a round hole
willing some air to come in
and cool things down.

And again,
sometimes ,
it is about
a young plant,
slurping the sap
through its trunk,
the give and take
with everything around,
the sky, the sun,
the clouds and the soil;
growing and reveling
through so many years
in its ability
to spread wide its knowledge
through its leaves and fruit,
and enabling so many
to connect with the earth again.

No noise, no desperation,
no obsession
with appearing superior
knowledge enabled,
just a  green face
held up to a monsoon rain
realizing how good it is,
and looking on
in empathy
at the concrete chap
with the hole,
helplessly cribbing
at a power outage
in his  heart.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Down the Up Staircase....

My friend Slogan Murugan, has a wonderful blog called  Mumbai  Paused.  Do have a look at it. 

As everyone knows, Mumbai never pauses. For anything.

But he travels all over the city, and  posts photos on his blog, that often tell a story, and make you pause and wonder.  Like this one he clicked in Vashi, Navi Mumbai.

About the  good. The bad. And the "Chalta Hai" that the city has now become, in its unending obsession with vertical growth and all-in-one design.

And even then, the children of the city make do with what they have.  

The stairs
have such a boring life.

Pointless climbing
next to stained walls
and narrowly allowing
one prosperous type at a time
to scrape across
their squared surface,
owned as they are
by everyone as
super built up areas.

Super folks
buying super houses
with marble floors
safety doors,
modular kitchens
and personal balconies.

before resuming the climb,
the stairs stop,
and watch.

A game is in progress
in the super playgrounds
provided by the
protected , shared,
one 'carpet area' free
for the youngest one.

What did you think ?

A garden ? Nah.....

Then he wouldn't be a super builder,
just a stupid one.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

A Fragrant Death

My friend Sandhya posted this wonderful photograph she clicked, of a yellow pumpkin creeper, with an interesting past.

It grew, perhaps by total chance, in a pot that actually held a jasmine plant.  An inability to thrive at some point, in an environment not conducive to living, and this plant is now no more.

Such a pointed comment on our modern society, where folks emigrate from simple areas to those with slavish global standards, and suffer from being misfits.

And clearly , an ode , to a natural beauty .....

 (photograph by Sandhya)
Healthy, robust
daughters of the Earth,
adorned with green flared outfits,

with a simple flower
and tendrils,
find it difficult
to get a life
in places
where size zero
fair, white and lovely flowers
and socialize in groups
often exuding
the latest perfume....

Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Incredible Lightness .....

There are some types of laces, which have you stunned with their intricate design and workmanship,  and should you aspire for it, you pay through your nose, and spend the rest of your life being very careful , while wearing and storing it.

And then there are some,  which happen on a hot griddle,  on a monsoon morning, a new design each time, and every single design is a dedication  to family. Sometimes from a daughter to her parents (as in this case), sometimes from a mother/grandmother to her family ,  and sometimes, from someone  for someone , who is considered a universal family.  Full of taste, and an attitude that keeps you asking  for more.

The lucky recipient of this second type of lace is my fiend Vidya Vartak Joshi, who posted this photo just before imbibing it all......

violent laces,
facing each other
at Flanders,
unable to feel
Belgian or French,
but nevertheless
suffering through
pulls of threads,
interfering needles,
and bobbins
crossing each other
in preplanned design,
then pretending,
usurping names like
and the likes. .

but dead.

And Some
non violent Rice laces,
patient in fermentation,
strengthening their minds
with "Daal"ian friends,
from the nation's fields,
looking forward
to hot and exciting times,
as they
walk on to
a shining Tawa,
and twirl
a gown of lace,
a new design every time,
additionally getting
studded with gold;
never forgetting ever,
their old chutney friends.

They don't
Usurp names of places.

They dedicate themselves
to hungry folks,
and call themselves
Amma Dosa Lace.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Omelette Salsa

You never know who might be making news or headlines on a given day !

And we are certainly not talking  about folks shouting at each other in  a circular building in Lutyen's Delhi.

It really is about an Omelette Salsa being performed in Bandra, and my friend Deepak Amembal  clicking a keepsake photograph, before devouring it all himself.  The Omelette, that is.

Details of the event.  And no, these dancer  folks are not appearing in any movie.  It is simply all about performing a wonderful salsa before being  reincarnated as something else somewhere else, deep inside a human....

The whirl and the beat
of the
white and yellow,
so light
on the fork,
the chillies and onions
doing the essential twist
as they join in,
salt and pepper doing the twirl,
as they all
throw back
the shoulders
on the tawa,
hot in anticipation
of an omelette salsa.

A quick lift along the edges,
a smart turnover,
and she shines
studded a bit in hot gold
giving come hither looks
to Monsieur Pao.

The Bandra Salsa,
danced on the second beat
of the
Cheese and Coriander Music,
the Pao
watches in consternation
and she spins and turns
around an
interfering shining fork.

Another spin
as she meets the Pao,
and the ketchup
simply spills in approval.

Terence Lewis Choreography ?
It's the Amembal Salsa Academy.....

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Jackfruits and Empathy

My friend Deepak Amembal is very lucky in one respect. He travels widely to various far flung places in India on his Royal Enfield bike, and gets to taste local delicacies.

When he stays put in Mumbai, the goodies from all over the country, somehow reach him. It is not as if you do not get them in Mumbai. But things from home taste different.

Like this jack fruit. Growing during its lifetime as a huge amorphous green thorny mass, oddly hanging onto its mother tree, it comes into its own , when it is cut, peeled, and little golden pieces with individual seeds are harvested from it .

A special Konkan product, a  product of the coastal area , which has seen unseasonal rains and widespread destruction of crop this year.  And like the people of Kokan, tough outside, but with a heart of gold .....

A capture of such a heart by Deepak Amembal....

उच्चपदस्थ , सनातनी
काटेरी कोकणी वल्ली ,
वयात येउन सुद्धा

मातुल वृक्षास घट्ट पकडून
जगातील ये जा
हिरवी सृष्टी ,
आणि पावसाचा हैदोस बघत
संथ पणे आयुष्य घालवतो .

कोकणी माणसा सारखाच
हा बाहेरून कडक माणूस
आतून खूप मउ असतो,
आणि सर्व आम्बालोकाची दुर्दशा
बघतो आणि हळ्हळ्तो .

अवेळी पाउस ,
वाहून गेलेली झाडे,
वार्यांनी पाडलेले वृक्ष ,
आणि अनाथ झालेली फळे.

कधीतरी मुंबईची मंडळी ,
कौतुकाने हाताला तेल लाउन
ह्या कडक व्यक्तीच्या मनात खोलात बघतात ,
वरवरची आवरण बाजूला करतात ,
"अगोबाई, छान 'कापा' निघाला की …."
अस म्हणतात,
आणि ह्या कडक फणसाच्या
अंतरंगातून ,
डोळे भरून चकाकणारे गरे
एक एक करून बाहेर निघतात

This Kokani personage,
highly placed ,
traditionally conservative,
tough and thorny
in attitude and looks,
still Oedipusly clings
to branches
of the Mother tree
observing calmly
the world go by,
amidst a monsoon storm
playing havoc around it.

But like most folks from Kokan,
this hardliner
is actually a softie inside,
and holds back tears
as he thinks
of the mango orchards
devastated by unseasonal rain.

Now in Mumbai,
he submits
to the traditional
plucking and cleaning
by hands smeared with oil.

They unravel and peel,
and look deep into his
troubled mind,
at the discovery
of al dente fruit inside.

It is just
that every single piece
of the  golden fruit
shines bright
like eyes
brimming with unshed tears.

Happiness is.......

Actually, it is mutual .   Hot comfort food, just off the fire, glowing  in anticipation, and  a  person, fantasizing about spicy morsels , full of wholesome taste, stories and memories , sliding down a throat that has been pining  and waiting for it. 

Things get even more exciting if it is winter.

Which it is, Down Under.  At the moment .

My friend , Just a Girl from Aamchi Mumbai  , to whom , home is now Australia,  waxes ecstatic about enjoying hot sambaar rice with Poppadams (papads)  , on a cold winter's day.    As she says, " The frisky Sambhar covers the very eager Rice in all its glory till they become one. And then when you crush a crunchy Poppadum on top of them, the union almost becomes complete. Your fingers bring them together in a perfect symphony and your eager mouth is more than ready to gulp down this perfection one bite at a time till your soul feels complete. If this is not heaven, what is? "

Do check out her blog here.    The photograph below by JAGFAM herself !

She sits
adorning herself
with golden slivers
of onions,
daal spots,
and a
plethora of
veggie ornaments
much in demand.

A final spray
of Sambaar Compact
and Foundation,
a winking tamarind
slipping in sideways,
and she is ready,
avidly nudging the ladle,
who has promised a meeting
with the great idol,

A slow motion arrival
a la Bollywood Films,
an impatiently steaming
agitated bhaat,
about to crib to the
papad villains,
and she falls
gently, with her veggie
maids of honor
on to the bhaat.

The great Milan,
watched by the
Papadian Villain,
who throws his lot
in with them,
"Tujhe dekha to yeh jaanaa sanam"
plays in the back ground.

A sudden shadow,
shades of Jurassic
as huge fingers appear
to grab them all.

The humans are coming!
The humans are coming!

And the papad,
having fought along with the
bhaat and sambar
nudges a devastated drumstick,
and says,
"You know,
it doesn't matter how life ends;
what matters
is how happy
you made everyone around you...."

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Golden 'Girls' .....

In  a world full of  corpulent, aging , so called powerful folks,  their doubtful legacies to the young ones around them, their greed for power regardless of ethics,  and all of them regardless of party affiliation,  showing amazing inflexibility of body, attitude and thought except when it comes to money and votes, news about Oinam Rashi Devi, aged over 75 yrs , hailing from Manipur, comes like a sudden breath of fresh air, in a compartment loaded with pushy, sweaty folks in a office time fast local to CST ....

Here she is, in action , at 75+ , during 35th National Masters Athletic Championship  in Coimbatore on February 25 2014. She came second in the long jump.

(Winner of the gold medal was another 75 year old,  retired professor Vijay Lakshmi S Nair  whose performance was equally impressive.)

Way to go, ladies !
Oinam Rashi Devi  and Vijay Lakshmi S Nair , may you jump higher, longer, and win many medals.  You are an inspiration to all of us . 

The young ones
must decide
who to "follow".

It is not as easy
as a tweet
or a click.

For some,
silver in age,
it is a life
of responsibilities,
hard work,
and practice ,dedication
and true effort,
never ignoring
those that depend on them;
a life
of reaching higher
in the mind and body.

For others,
a fake silver
in a true age,
a life of
declarations, announcements,
false assurances,
stiff and fake attitudes
that bend
only in the presence of money,
manoevered awards,
equally fake folks
paying respects to them
as wise elders


The young ones
must decide
who to "follow".