Thursday, July 31, 2003

There is something about Mumbai

Enigmatic,incomprehensible I am not sure how I can term it, but there is definitely something mystifying about the place.

A city which never sleeps, a city which boasts one of the best transport infrastructure in the country, Mumbaiites say you can never get lost in their beloved city, I disagree but I am not trying

Malabar Hill, Lokhandwalla, Hiranandani and Dharavi too
Mahalakshmi,Siddhivinayak and Haji Ali, every nationality, every religious sect, live cheek-by-jowl
Marine Drive, those gigantic waves leaping over the walls, the Queen's necklace, the Gateway of India
The city of celluloid dreams, of rags-to-riches tales
Of pavement dwellers,and noisy chawls and of sprawling bungalows at Bandra

But, also of daylight shoot-outs, of dubious business deals, of bomb blasts, the 1993 riots

Yet, the next day, there is the usual rush for the 7:37 local.
And that is what is so unfathomable about the city

Monday, July 28, 2003

When three generations of women go out in the torrential rains,
The youngest generation is cribbing about the rain, about the mud, about the traffic, about the world in general
The middle generation is ignoring the younger generation and could be cribbing but not aloud
The oldest generation is the happiest of the lot. Wading through the puddles, managing those bags and the umbrella and the sari, no complaints whatsoever.

It is the way they have been brought up, our grandparents. We work hard too, but not most of us are involved in hard physical labour. They are strong mentally because they have seen a lot in life, the freedom struggle, rationing of food, no electricity, no telephones. Just plain hard work in the fields or at home. They could not crib, they were more or less satisfied with what they had then and still are.

Its all ok to talk about generation gaps and stuff, but there are lots of things to learn from them, most importantly to value people, value money and to value what you have now.

Friday, July 25, 2003

Who let the cats out

I live in a locality where all happening events, if any, can be easily classified into two categories- thefts and inaugurations (of a community hall, joggers' park etc.) Everyone keeps busy (yeah, in spite of the fact that most of them have retired) and there is not much interaction daily. But I am aware of some basic facts like A has married twice, B has no kids, C's son is in Australia, or probably at Uncle Sam's...

The other day, here I was, just back after a hard day's work ;), and I hear Uncle B shouting "Pandu, kuthe ahes tu gadhav??". This comes as a surprise to me, "Mom, I never knew Uncle B had pet donkeys .. And how can anyone name a donkey Pandu, u know donkeys should be christened ...uh..oh..I dunno, but not Pandu definitely"

Mom dear is watching some saas-bahu dope. Without flinching an eyelid, she says "Pandu is a cat. Probably lost and they are looking for it"

(Next time someone calls out Pandu, I will be looking out for a cat, a donkey and a guy in that order)

I join the hunt and sure enough there is Pandu dear on neighbour D's awning, (the cement structure over a window acting as a shelter) on the first floor of their bungalow, meowing away to glory.

"Pandu, khali ye, ikde ye, ikde ye", cajoles Uncle B. Pandu dear is scared, all it does is keep meowing.

Aunty B on scene now, "Pandu, come here, you are embarassing us". The number of spectators has swelled to 8 now, excluding Pandu dear's brethren who are scampering about, worried for one of their own.

Aunty B gets a towel and Uncle B plus the D family is on the terrace now. They let down the towel but Pandu dear aint doing the needful. All it does is, u got it, meow. To add to its woes, C's Alsatian is barking threateningly next door. Now if Pandu dear were to be Garfield and the dog Odie, we need not have worried.

Change of strategy. They let down a bucket, no progress, then a bucket with apna Parle G, nope, all Pandu dear does is ... ( I am not saying it now). Aunty B, even more embarassed now, informs the group that Pandu dear does not like biscuits.

The fire brigade is called. In the meantime, ground operations are under way. Uncle and Aunty B stand with a towel spread out right under the awning and Uncle D is prodding Pandu dear from the terrace, with the hope that he will fall into the towel. This scene I must tell you is very funny. We engage in small talk, I get to know C's son is in Malaysia, Whilst busy thus, I somehow manage to interrupt the conversation and tell them that Pandu dear has changed location and has jumped on another awning.

They shift places, the towel still spread out. More coaxing, more cajoling, and Pandu dear summons all courage and jumps on to Uncle B's head, its nails cutting through his cheeks and finally onto the ground, (with the towel nowhere in the jumping-process picture). While we celebrate the success of Operation-Pandu, the fire brigade sounds ominous sirens in the distance.

I live in a locality where all happening events, if any, can be easily classified into three categories- thefts and inaugurations (of a community hall, joggers' park etc) and cats stuck on awnings meowing away to glory.

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

Everyday I decide not to blog. But in fact I think its therapeutic, it helps me work better. For me, writing is better than net surfing when I decide to take a break. Here's another of my not-very-successful attempts at poetry, I cant think of rhyming words and stuff

I watch you as you make rivulets in the earth
Where the kids shall sail their paper boats

I watch you as you wash away the soil
The tender saplings just beginning to sprout

Will you wash away my sorrows and my fears too
so that i shall care not what tomorrow brings

Will you wash away the jealousy, the greed, the hatred in us all
so that no triumph surpasses that of humanity

Will you wash away caste and creed and the boundaries between nations
before all that remains is a bleeding wasteland

I watch you as you make rivulets in the earth
and secretly hope that one day the sun shall rise on a world that is one

Tuesday, July 22, 2003

It does not help for a person of slightly fidgety disposition to attend a meeting in which he/she is least interested.

So what this person does is stare in space/speaker with his/her gray cells working overtime but in a tangent direction such as "What have I done to deserve this", "Why cant I spend my time in other useful activities such as blogging ;)", "Ahh, to be in a hammock on some sea front with a novel in hand".

Whilst busy with such wishful thinking, the person does not realise he/she is doodling too instead of jotting down the minutes of the meeting

Some time later, the the tables have turned, and there are half a dozen eyes staring back. He/she is expected to answer some question , and yeah its not about good commenting tools for blogs nor is it about the best time to visit the sea. What happens next is for the reader to imagine.

Vipassana could help. But most meetings shall always be boring. Period.

Monday, July 21, 2003

Recently noticed that the word for mother in most languages (that I know of) starts with "m".
It could be a coincidence but it could also mean that somewhere deep down, in spite of all those differences of culture or of opinions , there is something solid that binds us all.

English : Mother
Hindi : Maa
Marathi (used in the olden days) : Mai
French : Mere
German : Mutter
Spanish : Madre
Dutch : Moeder
Russian : MaTb

(courtesy : WorldLingo )

Thursday, July 17, 2003

Ever thought of getting a blood test done to check out why mosquitoes bite only you when there are at least 4 other people in the room.

Why me, God, why me ?

Monday, July 14, 2003

From high up there, it seems as if you are Gulliver and the land below, Lilliput, the farms like a patched quilt, all those shades of
green outdoing each other, the station at Malavali and the cars on the Pune-Mumbai express highway appear like a child's toy.

To be atop the Visapur and Lohagarh forts in the Sahyadris, at nearly 3500 feet above sea level, is a heavenly feeling. The slight drizzle, fresh air and the shattering silence is a welcome change from the air-cum-sound pollution ridden city of Pune.

We trek through the thorns that line the trail, or descend through waterfalls, occasionally stopping to admire wild flowers or dewdrops glittering like gems on the leaves or a snake skin shed in the water.

Lunch is best appreciated and enjoyed when you are about to drop dead due to an empty stomach, an enthusiastic and adventurous colleague even managed to concoct a dish consisting of a boiled egg with some groundnut chutney on it plus some yoghurt and jam.

This was the second real trek I have ever done and I cannot thank my friend Rashmi enough, for lending a helping hand, literally, whenever I was in dire straits. Whoever said trekking is child's play obviously does not have grip-less feet like I do :)

Thursday, July 10, 2003

"....Till death do us part"

Sad irony. May their souls rest in peace. Amen.

(In memory of the 29 year old conjoined Iranian twins Ladan and Laleh Bijani )

Wednesday, July 09, 2003

I am a simple girl with simple needs ( few novels, a TV, a cable connection, a PC, an internet connection etc..).

So in order to blog regularly, I need to bring out the extra-ordinariness in my ordinary life. So here goes....

At first I thought it was a thief. But no thief from a reputed finishing school would shine a torch through a nearly-opaque window pane at 11:30 at night.

Then I thought it was them aliens ( I had been looking for them in an earlier post on this blog, and maybe they had found out somehow), signalling for me.

I am feeling brave and adventurous. So I go out to investigate, I look at the skies too. I see nothing which could fall in the categories mentioned above.

Once inside, I see the light again on the curtains. Now I am kinda sure the place is haunted.

It turns out to be an insect with some light-emitting capabilities, a very powerful greenish hued light. Very extra-ordinary indeed.

Tuesday, July 08, 2003

There comes a time when you start un-despising what you despised

Like how, at one point I used to find small kids a trifle irritating, for no fault of theirs nor mine. Not any more. No apparent reason for this change in feelings. Just happened.

Could it be because I am growing older. Could it be because I see traces of my childhood in them, because they bring back cherished memories of the safaris, the tents and the campfires, images of the animals migrating to the Serengeti, the mighty Mt Kilimanjaro, of volleyball on the white sands, of playing pirates, of exploring the caves and the ruins of forts, of 'standing' on the equator, of so much more ....

"When you look back in time,
Remember the roads you travelled,
The people you met,
The experiences you had,

And you will have just one regret,
That you cant go back and do it all over again"


Right now what I want desperately is a Time Machine

Monday, July 07, 2003

I am a novice at poetry. But I hope to improve over time. As of now, the first poem on this blog

The deafening roar
As the waves crash into the rocks
You must be here, I shout
I have searched the mountains and the valleys below
The fields of gold and the rivers that flow
Every temple, every church
Every mosque, every synagogue

You must be here, I shout
I could not find you any place else

You are right, He says
You never found me because you never cared to look
I was in the leper there
But you never cared to look
I was in the madman everyone threw stones at
But you never cared to look
I was in the scraggly dog everyone kicked
But you never cared to look
I was in you
But you never had the time to look

Friday, July 04, 2003

Sometimes it gets to me, the virtual world.
Where a smiley is not always what you are feeling deep inside
Where a 25 year old guy is not always 25 years old or maybe not even a guy

And where, when you die, they will bury you offline