Saturday, January 31, 2015

Politics in the Woods

An intriguing capture , by my friend Deepak Amembal, at the Sanjay Gandhi National Park in the northern parts of Mumbai.  Posted on his Mumbai-Daily blog.

It is as if two special folks, oblivious of each other, and intent on something, have arrived  amidst a splash of color, in a sun splashed  opening of the woods.

The "intent"  intrigues.  And then you see some parallels somewhere.  High fliers, and those that change colors.....

Read on.

So many
camouflaged by the
Green of the public woods,

safely hidden amidst
ordinary types
getting on with their lives,
building nests,
saving for the future
quietly moving around,
changing the color
of their thoughts and doubts,
a few
who move away.

Some ambitious high fliers,
and some who quietly
slither around
changing colors
and parties on demand,
alighting every now and then
on five star flowery places.

These two
ideally suited for
, should one say,
Politics ?

A Melbourne Mangal Event ....

Folks in Australia have a special link up with our Republic Day.   Both countries celebrate  on January 26, every year;  it is Australia Day  down under , and Republic Day in India.

And so folks like  my friend Shruti Nargundkar of Melbourne celebrated the colors of the Indian Flag and Obama's introduction to Gujarati cuisine at , by cooking up variations of Methi-Kele nu shak, or Methi Plantain( Banana ) bhaji.  

Check out her blog recipe here.

Given the strong behavioural properties of Methi Fenugreeka, and what can only be called  a presumed conservative Kela (Banana),  one expected a bit of drama in the finale.

But clearly, everything seems to have gone off fine.  In keeping with the new enlightened rules that encourage women Hindu priests  to officiate at all events, Shruti elevates things to new levels in her kitchen.....  :-)  

 ह्या मेथ्यांची नवी पिढी ,
जरा हट्टीच ….

बेसन रावांवर भाळून ,
वेळी अवेळी स्वतःला "हॉट" समजून
तेलात झोकून देणं ,
उन्धीयूच्या पब मध्ये पडून रहाणं ,
कधी कधी भाजणीच्या आहारी जाउन
थालीपीठात भाव खाणं …

आणि मग एके दिवशी
कुणा एका गाजर आजींच्या मध्यस्थीने
एक चांगल्या घरचे केळे भाऊ भेट्ले.

तिच्या सारखेच हिरवे ,
तिच्यासारखेच घोळक्यात लहानपण घालवलेले ,
पण जमिनीशी जवळचे नाते असलेल्या
तिला वाटे ,
कि कायम वृक्षाईवर लोम्ब्काळून आयुष
घालवणारा कसा असेल ?
तिचा नाजूकपणा , हरहुन्नरीपणा,
मधूनच कड्वट्पणे बोलायची सवय
त्याला पटेल का ?

आणि मग
तिचे कांदेभाऊ , ओवाई , मिर्चीबेन ,
मोहरी जिर्याच्या कडकडाट न जुमानता
धाउन आले,
आणि म्हणाले ,
"ओय मेथ्ये ,
तुला माहित नसेल,
पण केळेभाउ ह्या वयात सुधा शिजले
कि तुझ्या सारखेच बेसन रावांबरोबर
तेलात धमाल करतात ,
कधी कधी बटाटे रावांच्या डिक्टेटर शाहीला
शह पण देतात ,
आणि सर्वात महत्वाच म्हण्जे,
मोठेपणी खूपच गोड वागतात
अशी त्यांच्या कुटुंबाची ख्याती आहे . "

कुठेतरी मेथीला समजलं ,
असा माणूस पुन्हा भेटणे नाही ,
उन्धीयू वगैरे मंडळी येतात आणि जातात ,
पण हा माणूस खास गाजर आजींच्या ओळखीतला
आणि तिची आधुनिक लाइफ स्टाईल
समजणारा आहे.

सांगायची गोष्ट म्हणजे
मेलबोर्न मंगल कार्यालयात ,
अधुनिक प्रथे नुसार
श्रुती नरगुंदकर यांच्या पौरोहित्यात ,
प्रजासत्ताक दिनी हा विवाह संपन्न झाला … !
This new generation ,
the Fenugreeka Methees
are clearly
sometimes willfully stubborn.

Infatuated with young Besan,
spotted in 'hot' places,
wildly abandoned in oil,
fooling around at the Undhiyu Pub
and sometimes
even being smitten
and lording it in Thalipithian places...

And it came to pass,
 that the Dowager Carotta,
introduced her
to young Kela
scion of the Plantains.

Green like her,
and also boasting
of a childhood spent deep
amidst other young ones,
she wondered
how a Treemomma's Boy like him
would react
to her dainty demeanour,
her odd habits
and sometimes
her bitter repartees.

The Masala Union rushed in
with a deputation
of Onion-Ajawain-Mirchi types,
who braved bursting protesting
mustard and cumin seeds
to say ,
" Yo Methi !
Kela has spirit,
and when suitably cooked,
he too has a thing going
with the hot oils
to the eternal consternation
of the Potato Clan;
whats more,
we hear,
that folks like Kela
get sweeter with age ;
a win win situaion na ?"

The Fenugreeka Methi
realized her folly,
the passing nature
of the fancy Undhiyu Lads,
and gave thought again,
to the new family tie up,
set up by the sweet Dowager Carotta.

To cut a long story short,
Fenugreeka Methi is now
Fenugreeka Methi Kela,
thanks to a wedding
at the
Melbourne Mangal Karyalaya,
on Republic day,
officiated by
the newly ordained,
Gurubehen Anna-maa Shruti Nargundkar,

Friday, January 30, 2015

Alphabets in Shame

My friend Mukta Atrey on a recent visit to the state of Tripura in the Northeast, clicked some amazing vignettes  of the Life and Times of folks who live in this wonderful part of India.   Several amazing captures of Unakoti, Matabadi, Pilak and Debtamura regions may be viewed here

Sometimes it just makes one wonder about the direction in which we as a people are evolving, and whether what Einstein said is actually true , ie    “The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education.”.......

Eons ago,
A physics 
all about cosmic energy,
a chemistry

hidden in local foods,
a biology
that encouraged bovine
and simian members,
a maths that
added well wishers,
subtracted enemies,
multiplied good deeds
and divided
what they had amongst others,
the art shone through
on heartfelt worship
in stone and clay,
somewhere in the Northeast
a celebration of life
by those whom
"literacy" did not spoil.

The alphabets cringe
in shame
at what education
has done
to those
who claim to be
descendants :
a shameless calligraphy
as they mindlessly
having nothing else to show,
the learned illiterates.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Idy and the 8 am Batata friends....

Long time ago, people quietly had their breakfast, and got on with life .  Not any more.

Today,  not only do folks have amazing breakfasts, but they post photos about it,  creating an entire population of hungry jealous friends who see it first thing in the morning. Things get worse, when there are excellent cooks, great photographers and hearty eaters , all in the same family.

My friend Deepak Amembal, posted this capture of Idyappams and Batata Song ,  a kind of fusion dish bringing together the  best and most popular items,  of South Indian and Konkan Saraswat Cuisine  , respectively. 

Something that has a message . Nothing in life is easy.  Ask the Idyappapms. It isn't fun being made to squeeze through perforations in life.

It's a lot of painstaking effort.  But having Batata friends look out for you, makes it all worth it ....... ?


A snow white innocence,
a trusting leap
into boiling waters
and then
a misunderstanding
as someone
puts her back together
only to
pass through
pressing troubled times
all in pieces,
only to sense the wrath of steam
again in life.

Life, it seems,
has other plans,
as some
popular golden folks,
emerging experienced
from a
red hot and tangy
swagger into the plate,
beckon some fingers,
and decide to
take things into their own hands,
trying to comfort her,
" Don't worry,
Times have changed;
Your life will never be the same ,
Mai Hoon na ?...."

Monday, January 26, 2015

Kachra Re, Kachra Re....

Left over veggies, never had it so good.

My friend Shruti Nargundkar of Melbourne, actually managed  to hit the winning shot
 in the Kabab Wars, hitherto being bossed over by the  carnivores, with fancy names like Galouti Kabab  and Reshmi  Kabab.

Except this was a delectable drop shot across the  culinary net,  in the form of a mixed veggie kabab, based on all the leftovers from yesterday.  

She calls it a Kachrey Ka Kabab (Trash Kabab) ,  in a backhanded whack to those who call anything veggie , as  Ghas Foos.

Perfect for a time when we look for Sustainable and Recycled Lives.

संक्रांतीच्या शुभ मुहूर्तावर
जमलेली आणि दमलेली
गाजरबेन, बिटाबाई ,
अति विशाल सिमला मिरचे ,
कान्देरवाञ्चा विरह
न सहन झालेली टोमाटा,
स्वतःला "फ्लावर" म्हणून सुधा
ब्रोकोलीसार्ख्या दूरच्या भावाला
आवर्जून घेउन येणारे
लोण्याच्या शिडकाव्यात भिजलेले देशभक्त,
कुणा एका सामोसेरावाञ्च्या तडाख्यातून
पळून आलेले
बटाटेसिंग रताळेसिंग मटारे ….
"हम बहुत, हमारा एक " ची घोषणा
एकत्र येतात काय ,
कौतुकाने कोथिम्बिर-आले-लसून
ह्या वयात आलेल्या मुलाना आपलेसे करतात काय
अत्यंत नम्रतेने मीठ मसाल्यात
एकरूप होउन
"हम साथ साथ है !"
म्हणत सुबक वडे रुपात
पावान्ना आणि वाटलेल्या डाळ्यान्ना
जवळ करून
गरम तेलातले दिव्य करून
हिरव्यागार चटणीला
"चल ग …"
प्रजासत्ताक दिनाच्या मिरवणुकीत
कबाब कवायतीत हजर होतात काय …
नवाब वाजिद अली जी,
आता गलोउति चे कबाब
झाले गलतीचे कबाब ,
ते विसरून जायचे …
आणि मग
कधीतरी कलियुगात
मांसाहारी कबाब अचमबून वर बघतात
आणि "माझा हरी " कबाब ना बघून
शरमेने तुकडे तुकडे होउन जातात ....
Gathering with the 
Sankranti crowds,
Mamzelle Carotta,
Senora Beet,
the Dowager Capsika,
and  Tomataa
pining for the Onion Union;
let's not forget
the stirred and fried
bringing along the NRI broccolis
in a patriotic burst,
just managing
to avoid colliding with
the potato, sweet one and peas,
all just escaping away
from a samosa-y life.

And they congregate
amidst slogans
"We are many, Act as one",
while they mentor
the coriander ginger and garlic
young ones
messing around
with the salt and spices.

Taking along
the teary bread
and somewhat
more maturely roasted gram,
as they take upon themselves
all the heat
the oil bestows upon them
as they line up
holding hands with a demure green chutney
to perform
in the Republic Day
Parade of the Kababs.

"Nawab Wajjid Ali,
Sorry to say,
your Galouti Kababs
must be a mistake
and must now
be called Galti Kababs.."

On a cold Kalyugi Day,
they look up
to see
the celebratory
Kachrey Ke Kababs,
and ashamed of their Galti,
simply dissolve 

in despair,
into a million pieces....

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Safed Tikka...

Amazing blooms in a balcony  tended with much care , somewhere in Bandra.

My friend Deepak Amembal posted this capture today.  At first I thought this was a koranti flower, which has varieties in many colors. Then , I realized, there were no long stamens and   a sense of it being a sadafuli took over .  Maybe it is something else all together.   I am told by Deepak, that the gardener-in-chief  lady will confirm by the evening.....

And then it occurred to me that it really didn't matter. It was enough that it was a flower amidst many other flowers, all  works of art, and all unique in their own way ...


अचानक एका पहाटे
बाल्कनीतील तुळस आणि जास्वंदी
आपापसात कुजबुजू लागली ,

कुणा एका राणी रंगाच्या कोरांटी कडे
कटाक्ष टाकून
काहीतरी एकामेकाला खुणावू लागली ,
आणि शेवटी
"काय ग , नेहमी एकाच सलग रंगात असतेस तू,
आज हे पांढरे फलकारे कसले ?…"

आणि नजर थोडीशी खाली सरकावून
आपल्या मागे किती तरी हिरवाईचे
पाठबळ आहे
ह्या पासून दिलासा घेत
ती म्हणाली,
"आम्म्च्यात कि नाही,
गुलाबाची दृष्ट लागू नये
म्हणून ह्याला
सफेद टिक्का लावणे म्हणतात…. "

 Hushed conversations
between Tulsi and Hibisca
at dawn,
quick curious glances
at Sadafuli
just opening up
to the world
in Royal Rani Pink.

Puzzled ,
yet gathering courage
they ask ,
" Hey, whats with the white streaks
in your normal spotless
face ..."

And she breathes in,
confident in her place
amidst the
lovely supportive greens,
and humbly explains,
" Aiiyo.
They call this
'the putting of a safed tikka';
you know,
just in case
someone like Miss Rose
casts a nazar.....?" 

Monday, January 19, 2015

The Runner's Secret...

There are many who participate in the Mumbai Marathon.  Some run to breast the tape, and some run to click the effort.

This post is dedicated to my young friend Kavi Arasu, who has been running the marathon for several years, and keeps himself fit in practice throughout the year, despite his tough and busy working life.  He can be seen expressing his delight in the capture below...

 It is also dedicated to another friend , Priyadarshan Kale, who year after year is out there in the early hours of a cold Sunday, clicking folks  making stupendous efforts, as they actually compete with themselves.  (While many of us  clutch hot coffee in cups and watch folks roughing it out on TV)...

It is also time to acknowledge those at home who make all this possible. 

And so many others....

Kilometre after Kilometre,
one foot after another,
the lungs and heart

applauding in a
regular celebratory beat,
a sudden banking in the road,
a much appreciated sip
of the seasons cool water,
a splash mixing with
the sweat shining on the eyes.

A friend,
powered by an urge to run,
but unable to do so,
rushes to click
and is rewarded
by an image
of someone
who just figured out,
that besides
long distance blessings,
prayers, cheering,
wishes of success,
dedication of those
who make the running possible,
and quiet encouragement
from the skies,
what really powers the last lap
is the face of someone
at the winning post,
jumping up and down,
from a knee high position,
eyes bright and searching,
wreathed in smiles,
charging around here and there,
to the tune of
"My Daddy Strongest...".

Sunday, January 18, 2015

दोन बुटांची तिसरी गोष्ट .....

The Mumbai Marathon happened today .

My friend Priyadarshan Kale  always attends the Mumbai Marathon every year , at the city end,  and posts interesting pictures like this one, of a young girl participating in the 6 kms Dream run. In full traditional 9 yard silk saree regalia, complete with a nosering. 

 These are times when any physical activity almost always requires some kind of mandatory special outfits.  So different from when i was a child,  and just about any physical activity could be done by a lady in a nine yard saree, tucked in just so.

I just wondered what the shoes mus have thought ....    ( I don't hold any special brief for either of the shoe brands mentioned; it is just that the young girl's shoes looked like those owned by a runner in my family.    :-)     )

खूप लांबून प्रवास करून
एका सुन्दर डब्यात बसून आलेले
नाय्केराव बुटे व  रीबोकसिंह पादत्राणे ,
शेवटी बाहेर पडतात
आणि एकामेकाना न्याहाळून
अनेक विचार त्यांच्या मनात येतात .
काळे कुट्ट कपडे ,
आणि पायावरून  घसरणार्या
घामाच्या असंख्य धारा ;
काही मुंबईच्या  हवेत उडून फस्त ,
आणि काही
रॆबोकाञ्च्या डोक्यावर
मोज्यातून सरकून टपटप थेंब ;
आणि कुठे
नाजूक पाव्लाभोवती
सुंदर गुलाबी नायके,
आजूबाजूला सळ्सळ्नारि
वार्यात उडणारी,
पण लक्ष ठेऒन, हळूच
पाया भोवती लाडाने गोल फिरून घाम टिपणारी
काठपदराची हिरवी जरीची
नौवारी रेशमी साडी ,
आणि तिला सांभाळून धावणारी
आपल्या आजीची नथ घालून धावणारी
एक सर्वगुणसंपन्न युवती।
साडीची एक रेशमी सळसळ
बाजूला करून,
नाय्केराव म्हणतात,
"रीबोका , नशीब लागतं हो ! …
 प्रत्येकाचा पळणारा वरचा ठरवतो,
पण राजाभाऊ अचानक फ़ोटो काढून
तुझ नशीब जगजाहीर करतात त्याच काय?"

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Lessons in Blooming...

"Bringing up" flowers in Mumbai is had work, given the lack of open spaces and limited space in high rise balconies.  But some folks like my friend Deepak Amembal manage to grow many different blooms, attract many different birds, and even click the flowers,  blooming together.

And then post the wonderful capture.

Possibly in a difficult terrain, but clearly, with a sense of unity and regard for each other.

Something , that we as an evolved species , seem to have forgotten.

They knew about
sustained living and greening
before we made it

into a conference item.

was all about
differing shapes and sizes,
and encouraging
the flowers of labour
to live in harmony,
in color,
future prospects,
and yes,
white pigmentation
on the faces of some.

Unlike us,
they know,
as children
of the same Mother Earth,
they are equally
to Some One Else Up There
who receives them
in a garland every morning
at dawn ....

Friday, January 9, 2015

Coucal Nritya....

My friend Shail Mohan, of Thiruvananthapuram, often known as the Bird Lady and Luci's Mom, lives amidst greenery greatly favoured by all varieties of birds. She also enriches our knowledge by identifying these birds by their  special names. 

In these days of Fair and Lovely, it is impressive to see this capture of a Crow Pheasant, also known as a Greater Coucal, engrossed in his (or her) own version of a graceful ballet.  Possibly giving all the Swans a run for their money, with respectful apologies to Shri Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.......

Which must hereafter be referred to as the  Greater Coucal Ballet.

 E-Immortalized by Shail.   Enjoy....

A leaping flight
a jette
a pirouette

an effortless stretch,
a gentle landing.

it's a black tu-tu
ballet claws,
and a gentle shake
of a plantain tree
as he bends
deep to peck at a fruit,
with backstretched wings
in the final
part of
Greater Coucal Ballet
celebrated with a Caw Caw Libretto
the Greens of Thiruvananthapuram.