Friday, October 19, 2012

OMG! & Lucky me!

Oh! My! God! I have been away from my blog for the last nine whole months!!!
How did that happen I have no clue. Time just rushed by me I guess. But now I am here. And it feels so good to be here!
Morning I had gone to meet two lovely ladies from a city school - one is a principal, the other a supervisor. Both are such vivacious and warm creatures, I love being with them! 
Trust me, running a school is anything but easy and on top of it all,  if you don't watch out, it does some funny stuff to you on the inside.
Which brings me to how lucky I felt because there we three were; chatting away and laughing uproariously at the work place anecdotes that they were regaling me with.  
I always consider myself to be one of the most fortunate people as far as life in general is concerned. But with such good, wholesome, talented people I do declare to be luckiest!!! More often than not, they just walk into my life effortlessly and then my life is so much richer! Must have done some good last life. Definitely.

Monday, January 16, 2012

To Bank or Not to Bank........

There are banks and then there are banks. Especially in the last decade. Back in my growing years all banks fell into three categories: ones like The Reserve Bank - legacy of the "Raj"; where everything was awe-inspiring, everything felt larger than life. Then there were the user-friendly local banks where your family had an account for ages and so they all knew you all. And then there were the new apparently small timers-the cooperative banks where you got the feeling that you have come to a ladies compartment in a Mumbai local train. The rare male or two looked lost or resigned.

Of late there is this new breed of banks mushrooming all over. Imposing façade, interiors of sleek designs of glass, chrome and steel with shiny palest shades of tiles, air-conditioned cool, sometimes even a wall to wall carpet – all in all, a posh décor.

I do not like doing business with these new banks.

I admit the old local branch banks are dirty and dusty. People there do not speak English and are mostly never well groomed. Very homely, often slow (can sure be irritating if you are in a hurry) who go even slower if - as I said earlier - they all know you all-meaning your family. Then a few questions about how the rest of them are become quite essential – however in a rush you may be. 

There is a definite sense of bond and it is palpably so as you go through the paper work or stand in line or wait patiently for the person at the desk to look up so you can slide the passbook forward you need to update. 

Often the whole proceedings are punctuated with exclamations over a new sari, accessory or lost weight and all this is discussed embarrassingly loudly -loud enough for the entertainment of the rest of patrons. Then there are enquiries about how the rest of the clan is and only after their “pound” of gossip/small talk is delivered is your task accepted for execution.

Not in the new arrivals with the chrome and steel. There no one knows and no one wants to know who you are. You are just an account number - that too if you are lucky. If you are in to submit some “chalan” or a form or do some franking then no one wants to know even that. 

People there do not ever smile at you and if you attempt to, they look at you as if saying “stop that or else I am calling security”. 

Whoa! Whoever designed these new banks and the work culture did not remember that warmth comes from smiling not from carpets. Cool air from the air conditioner does not do anything for the harried faces and raised tempers. The starchy impersonal faces do not make you feel you want to go back because no one cares; even if you were to drop dead right there on that carpet.

I most certainly do not like such banks.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Back in college days I had three aquaria – one for the guppies – the whole bunch of them with brilliant iridescent colours flashing mercurial all day. 

Another was for the fighters – they came in deep rich hues of magenta-mauve, blue- navy and sapphire with fan-like majestic tail fins trailing behind them.  Nasty tempers they had! Often their fights would make ugly shreds out of their tail fins. Then there would be nothing majestic about them and they would so look like rag pickers! Funny breed!

The third one was for the gold fish. I had a solitary huge specimen that went round and round – eyeballing me emotionlessly. I sincerely hoped it was enjoying its space and life! There was – sadly -no way you could decipher that. 

Keeping those tanks clean took the better part of a day involving various buckets and big fish nets – which were actually soup strainers improvised for the job! I loved keeping my glass tanks clean and my fish healthy.

Buying the grainy fish food packets and fresh worms for them, running the bubble machine; buying exotic plants was the fun on weekends. So was selecting and adding carefully measured liquid pigment drops to the water in my aquaria so that when the lights came on in the dusk it all looked so dreamy! I was very happy then and miss that time of my life so much! 
Then life moved on and aquaria and sundry other things that made up my young life were a thing of the past.

Till my Dad went and bought a pair of gold fish for my toddlers. With excitement mounting, we worked on giving them a pretty and safe home –with all my memories flooding back.

We bought a beautiful gigantic glass bowl for them – just like in Tom & Jerry! I didn’t have such fancy stuff back in my time. All I had was rectangular glass panes sealed together by black strips of tar. But I was so happy with that! 

Needless to say that my kids were ecstatic! We named the gold fish Hunky and Dory. There was no way of knowing which was which since they were like two peas in a pod. I’d have named them ‘Twiddle Dum Dum’ and ‘Twiddle Dee Dee’ but that wasn’t very easy for the kids to say; so Hunky & Dory it was.

That again is now in past. At present, my kids are busy with their lives but I have a companion – their legacy before they got so busy with their lives. 

It is a lost and rescued love-bird from Madagascar. It is silly and it has an attitude! It also is extremely melodramatic!

Being a full-fledged animal rescue kind of a family we always have some creature or the other – all varieties - two legged, four legged, feathered, finned and furry ones – under our roof. But more about the melodramatic love bird and our other animal rescues in the next post.

Great day, all!

Thursday, November 17, 2011


Life is - most of the times - routine, mundane and monotonous. But then some quirk of fate or whatever comes your way and you are so flung out somewhere that you have no clue where you are and how to go on with your life.
A while ago a news item from the morning paper threw me so bad that I am still recovering from it. I have walked around with a knife stuck in my heart since then and am waiting for the great healer – time - to heal me while I pray for the mother involved in that heinous incidence.
The fact that her – whoever she is - son who died was 23 years old and my son completed 23 yrs recently are certainly connected – painfully.
Her 23 yr old was returning home on a two wheeler after wishing a friend for the birthday at midnight. He was hit by a car. The car was occupied by some drunken men; the driver too was inebriated.
The young man was injured badly and so they decided to dump him in front of a hospital and leave unobtrusively so that he gets the medical aid and they plain get away with it.
Well, fate played a cruel hand and they saw police near the hospital and so they took him to another place and left him there while all the time he kept pleading with them to let him talk to his mother!
The young man died during the night on that quiet deserted road.
The fact that a good citizen had witnessed the hit and had left not wanting to be involved in “police matter”; certain that the man was being taken to a hospital and so felt that there was nothing more that needed to be done.
The next day he found out that the victim had died and that too on another road and he put two and two together and gave police all his help to nab the offenders.
I have no clue how the mother is going to spend the rest of her life and the knife in my heart stays for a long time, I know.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Bitter Sweet!

Most mornings see me keeping time to go to work. Once my morning chores are over, I am dressed and ready to board an auto rickshaw to my office. This is the luxury of living in Pune after half a lifetime in Mumbai. No more locals and buses for me. That means no more “sardine tin” style packed sweaty, smelly throbbing masses of humans, the stench of a dirty city and the incessant grating noises of all kinds. 

Everyone keeps saying that Pune too is going the Mumbai way but I feel it still has a lot to offer me. The day it doesn’t I am so moving on! 

Today morning I saw a dragonfly hover over the interlocked paved road as we waited for the traffic light to turn green. Dragonflies are tiny creatures, their bodies so long  and thin, with gossamer iridescent wings that one can barely see them while they keep hovering speedily – so like a chopper in mid-air!

Richly hued in two three shades of blues, it glistened away while all around us the morning traffic hummed, sunshine a bright dazzle as it is now the start of the October heat here in Pune. It did the chopper-thing all the while that we were stationary and once the hum changed to varied noises of gears shifting, it sped away. Wonder what was it that it was searching for.... food? water? mate? Come to think of it what do I know of what a dragonfly lives on or for! One more search for Google today I must say!

 As my funny lil’ contraption of transport raced away from the spot my mind jumped back to my childhood when I caught them with my bare hands and admired their intricate beauty up-close before setting them free.
Such exquisite creatures! The reticulated veins on those transparent paired wings and its large mosaic eyes accusingly glaring at me, constantly reflecting light and its jaws clamping over air! 

Two things stood out in my mind while on that nostalgic trip. One that I - as a lil’ girl - was much braver and two – of late I am almost startled to discover that so very many pieces of my childhood are still there to be accessed. Something like this and the pictures come rushing in – pulsating with all their details. 

This has never happened in the last two decades that I was hectically busy raising kids, keeping a full time job and being a care-giver to aging parents. 
Amazing thing this human memory is! I never knew that my mind could conjure up such vivid images so quickly of things past! Things so trivial but replete with smells, shapes, shadows and sounds! Quite a colourful memory I have! I guess all bitter sweet things will come visit me now, as the future unfolds. I am already excited!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Morning Walk.....

After a long break I've started my morning walk and the enchanting times are back! My home is barely a kilometer away from Pune University and so that’s where I am at each dawn. As I step into the campus, the street lights go off and then it is all dark, silent and so very beautiful!  The moon glows overhead, birds are not all up yet and there is cool breeze! Sigh! How I have missed all this.
There is a nice patch of garden through which I pass that has a riot of colours as myriad flowers are now in full bloom.  

I walk – happy and free – swinging my arms, a spring in my step. Earlier I used to rush to and fro since my morning chores before getting to work in time were innumerable back then. Of late my duties have lessened and so I enjoy more freedom to do as fancy takes me. 

Once just at the start of my walk I saw two tiny dots glowing away in the dark underfoot. I drew closer to peer at it and Whoa! It was a worm with its rear all lit up, crawling across the path. The worm had “tail lights”! Two dots shimmering in a gentle white glow! Wow! Had never ever seen anything like that before. Kept marveling at it for a long time! Also prayed for its safety since it was bang in the middle of the path.
Another thing that never fails to bewitch me is the way Antigonon (Coral Vine) and other creepers with so many hued flowers spread themselves over the huge, dark clump of trees at one turn. I especially love Antigonon's vernacular name from my childhood: "Ice cream Vel". 
The very air around this "flowery carpet over trees" is fragrant. The whole thing looks mysterious and yet quite scenic! Little things like these make me so glad that I chose this city to live all those years ago! 

Before heading back I go and sit on a bench under the trees in the same garden. To listen to silence, empty my mind and look forward to the coming day to give me all that it has to offer. For a city dweller like me, sitting – and doing nothing - under a tree has always been both a rare treat and a great delight.
I have always been fascinated by the sheer massiveness of the Baobab tree there. But this time around I see the enormous trunk of the Baobab tree rotting away – I suppose termites have been at it. It came as a shock to see the majestic giant lurched forward so, most of back of its trunk hollow now. A terrible, heart-breaking sight! But the foliage is green as ever and so I trust it to survive. 

Pune was where I spent all my school vacations and it is still an enchanting city to me with strange and charming childhood memories that are sparked off by a flower here and a whiff of an herb there while walking so happily. The hues of the morning sky, the luminescence of the moon in the wide expanse of the sky with that distinct “green” smell of the leaves and of the vegetation underfoot – all grips me like some magical experience. 

The other day on a whim I chose a little off beat path to circumvent the garden and an owl shot out from the bush pell-mell – rudely awakened from its nocturnal perch. Wow! I had never ever seen an owl up so close and I don’t know who was more startled – the owl or I.

It was a small bird and while it tried hard to make some sense out of this giant figure intruding by tramping along so close; the realization hit me that there was no fluttering sound of wings whatsoever! The bird went helter-skelter but there was no sound! I didn’t know an owl could do that! I guess it is the hunter’s requisite. Crows, pigeons – the whole noisy lot – is what I have known. Not this swift little object so supple on the wing! Took my breath away! 

I love going back to my magical land of early dawn!