Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Feathered Visitors

It is monsoon here in Maharashtra and the city is as green as it can possibly be. Nights are pleasant and cool and I have my morning visitors in larger than usual numbers – the feathered kind.

A pair of bulbuls comes religiously to my living room window for food. They like the berries on the Asparagus creeping up on the grill and if I do not rustle the newspaper they do not see me behind the sheer curtains and begin pecking at the red berries. I feel so honoured!
Not both of them of course, one always holds back a bit and they take turns at the berries.

Occasionally the hornbills come, craning their long necks and staring out with the large ringed eyes. Yup. They do stare. I guess the rings round their eyes are responsible for that even if they don’t mean to. Not that they stare at me, they have better and more survival linked stuff to watch out for - like the alert and menacing kite birds that frequent the skies above them. Hence the neck craning and staring - always peering at something distant.

Kites are regular in that area and so make their disapproval for these visitors quite clear –often.

Hornbills make weird sounds when are talking amongst themselves. It is so like snakes gurgling – that is if ever snakes were to gurgle they would sound just like them. I am thinking snakes because that’s how their necks look – snake- like. Not when they are just sitting quiet on the branches of Jacaranda. It is when they want to call, they go lifting their head and whoa! There is quite a length of the neck under it all that and it all slowly uncoils! Very amusing to see that!  

Then there are Sunbirds and Weavers and of course the ever present Crow Pheasant or 'Bharadwaj'.
Crows, pigeons and sparrows were part of my childhood back in Mumbai but here in Pune I rarely see a sparrow and only occasionally crows. Population of pigeons is high just as in Mumbai. 

At home we have an African love bird - supposed to be hailing from Madagascar. Not a pet but a rescued pet. Someone lost it, my kids found it and since we hail from a family that takes pride in animal rescue we had to keep it to help it stay alive.

There is a whole story about that bird named “Melo Melo” but that is for some other time.
For now some pix for my readers to know what birds I am talking about. Bulbul, Hornbill and the Sunbird - in that order.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

High Well Being with mobiles, chimes and pea pods!.........

Today’s Google Doodle reminds me that I went searching for the mystery of the bunch of pea pods - in two tones - from the other day’s Google Doodle and came across this brilliant piece of writing in Washington Post’s Opinion-Blogs & Features section. It is really great writing!

I miss such wit in writing – rare, rather absent in my daily newspapers and almost everything in media. Mediocrity is the theme of the day I guess. Do go and read this blog by Alexandra Petri. The title of her blog is named “ComPost” with a line under it saying “she puts the ‘pun’ in ‘punditry’. Hehehe.....!

Which also - by the way - made me go look up the word “punditry”. Extremely enlightening – the internet is! Also, fyi, GM food means “genetically Modified Food”. Do read her. These people have the power to bring so much to you – all ready and easy. I feel so grateful for all this!
Here is the link to her blog – this particular one – that’s why the link is so long…..

But do go browse all the pages of Blogs & Features of Washington Post. They are amazing –all!

Now about today’s doodle: 
It is the mobile by Alexander Calder - an American sculptor who is renowned for inventing the mobile.
No, not the contraption all of us now cannot live without that also goes by the name of cellular phone but the strung together and hanging overhead object d’art. I found this image of one of his magnificent mobiles - pasted here for you:

I wonder if the mobile really is his invention. Weren’t these things around for centuries in Indian households – strung over a baby’s crib? Hmmm….I guess that would be an interesting thing to research – for an artist or a sociologist/anthropologist or even an archaeologist.

I being none of these, shall only wonder and feel happy to remember how much I love chimes. They too are “the mobile” aren’t they?

I love the way they sound when breeze hits them!

Have loved and wanted glass chimes all my life. Not available in this city of mine and I don't travel - much. Someday I shall go to a glass factory in Europe and buy a few - for my retired days when I can sit in the rocking chair in a lush garden, watch the sky, listen to the breeze and the chimes! Sigh!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


I love mornings and I do not like talking in the mornings. It is the time to be silent, to let oneself awaken gradually. Not dive head long into the day with anything – least of all noise. 

I hate hurried, near-panic mornings. In fact I deeply abhor rushing around and having to listen to sounds – like talking - in the mornings. Early hours are for preparing for the day; not chattering away! 

This fact came home - quite painfully - to me when I had a house guest once who just wouldn’t stop narrating anecdotes – all very interesting, thank you but…I mean, hello? Up with dawn, she is right there, yada, yada, yada……….Oh! My God! Not in the morning!

In fact sitting down in the early morning hours – quiet and uninterrupted - with a big steaming cup of ‘chai’ and the fresh newsprint all around me is my definition of starting the day well. For me mornings are highly significant, an almost holy ritual to usher in the day. 

So, may you all have lovely mornings…well, most of the times!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

My prayers........

Yesterday’s news of the terror attacks brought back painful memories. Images flashed by – policemen behind stacks of sandbags, with drawn rifles, fingers on the triggers; opposite my home in Mumbai to nab the terrorists hiding/escaping from Lokhandwala Complex in Andheri. My turning back on my way to work to instruct my old mother and the maid to watch the kids, to not to go to the windows when they hear gun shots - to avoid a stray bullet. Not to let my toddler play downstairs, near the gate of the building for the same reason. To stay put at home. I’d have liked to chuck my work and stay home with them but I chose to leave.
I remember thinking that God alone knows how long this sensational situation may last and I had a job to do and I decided to go.
In Mumbai, life is like that, no one stops. People go about their routine, almost stepping over dead bodies if that is what it takes to get to work. Often I have come across – especially in literary world – this being referred to as heartless.
I do not agree.
To give in to terrorism is letting them win. That is the aim of terrorism. To paralyze the normal life. To hold us back from the very act of living. To stop a city from functioning.
So what do you do? You carry on. You - by doing this - do not let them win.
But for a few days one will carry the sadness in one’ heart at all the needless destruction – of person, property and trust. Images of bleeding innocent people, children, and women will haunt us all for a while, making ask silently. “Why, God, why? Why does it have to be like this? When are we going to realize that taking away anything from anyone in such violent manner does more damage to us than to the other? That violence and anger never resolve anything?”
There is no answer and so with time the memory fades and life goes on.

On a final note I wish someone puts a stop to the insane, repetitious news casting on Indian television. In a span of three minutes you get to hear some cub reporter in a near-hysterical high pitch scream out a description of what is being flashed sixteen times a minute simultaneously on the other half of the screen. Some banal question and answers to and fro with someone near the scene and those over and over again flashes of gory images. I mean hello? Must news on television be so cheap and idiotic? Isn’t there a better, saner more sophisticated way of bringing the news to the viewers?

Well, as I pray for those hit yesterday, I also pray for the people who do this - so misguided, so convinced that they are doing the right thing.
God help us all!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Today's Doodle

Oh! Wow! The doodle today shows 450th anniversary of the  St. Basil's Cathedral, Moscow. There is a fairly good clip on 'YouTube' too. Go see, all. 
Earlier it used to pain me to see such old and ancient monuments preserved and loved so well by the western world. I deplore the state at home.
But of late I have let go. I'd rather celebrate 'what is' then 'what is not'.
So if it is St Basil's cathedral, Yeey! I am all for it, let's rejoice man's energy in loving all that is great and artistic. And religious of course.
Do check out the clips, images and of course the information on the net.
Beautiful murals, sculptures and so many art objects.
It seems the edifice is of an enormous stature and size but apparently the inside is not spacious at all.
But do go see how extremely well cared for a site that is.
Love the meticulous efforts to keep it all clean, shows the respect for it.
Quite inspiring I must say!
Have a happy day, all!

Sunday, July 10, 2011


Few years ago I came across the term in one of the Sunday editions of 
Times of India and was extremely intrigued by it. Those were the
times when the net wasn't my every day companion and guide.
But as soon as it became one, I went searching for more on Ho'oponopono. 
This is essentially what I found:
“The native Hawaiian people practice something called Ho’oponopono,
which means to make right. Each evening they close their eyes and
practice the gentle art of letting go of everything from the day.
It helps to find your own center of peace by ‘letting go’ each day. 
Also, understanding that as you do this, you are making room for
new possibilities to emerge. Blessings to you as you learn that letting go
is a process for life.” 
Wow! Isn't it? 
I also found out that the words - if roughly translated into English,
mean four beautiful sentences that can be used like a prayer. 
They are: “I love you, I am sorry, Please forgive me, Thank you”.  
I think that is an amazing concept.  
Now I have a whole set of images of magnificent scenic beauty depicting 
these very words for my desktop.
Works amazing for me! 
Try it, all!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Of late I try not to miss the sky much.....

After all I grew up in the city of Mumbai; back then called Bombay; where one gets to see a patch of sky from one’s house and that too if very lucky…which I was…..have always been! We had a playground right in front of our balcony so there was a sizable chunk of sky to look at.

When I shifted to Pune I lived in an old run down family house for two years. That house was blessed with an easy access to a terrace that allowed me to realize my long cherished dream – that of sleeping under the open sky! Needless to add that at each opportunity I’d be upstairs watching the sky.

From that terrace I could see vast open sky in all its glory and in varied 'avatars' - like all heavy and somber with rain laden clouds, sometimes so crystal clear and blue that I would feel as if my very own cells vibrated with its clarity.

Then there were the awe-inspiring sunsets! That was the time when for the first time in my life I discovered that clouds can be pure blazing golden too!
Hues of pastel greens, pearly pinks and lilac were not so new to me but the sheer bold luster of the gold in the clouds was so new that it took my breath away the first time I saw them. I distinctly remember gulping!

The sky soothes me like nothing else does. I have been able to resolve so many complicated issues that life threw at me by sitting down to watch the sky for hours! Just plain blue sky dotted with few birds like kites circling way up there is my remedy for a troubled mind. 
But no more it is possible to look at the sky the way I love to. 
Though I try very hard not to, I do miss the sky. But I have lived long enough and taken enough in this life to hold the faith that one day I will be spending hours again, watching the sky in all its magnificence.