Saturday, September 20, 2014

  A pre trip publication bonanza, though some of these did get published earlier, only I found them now....

  A poem here:

Two translated poems here:

A short story here:!store/c1r46/!/Child-of-Words-Issue-2/p/41351903/category=8768132

Monday, September 15, 2014

Leh. One more week to go. Less than a week. That hollow-gut feeling. Wondering what 16 deg C and 6 deg C (and lower) will feel like, after the salubrious climes one is used to.  Well, when it rains here it rains the hell out, but that’s it.  Since one had booked oneself way back in March, its not as if this is a surprise.  Even if flight no’s have changed, flights dropped without any notice --that got me scrambling for the workplace travel desk. Volunteering . This time the living is going to be different. No qualis, no hotel room, no chattering tour group “safety in numbers”. I have a sleeping bag meant for the Arctic. And I will find my way there. This season the air will be very thin and oxygen scarce. Last week I was worried about the weather there, but this part of the state seems to have been saved of the natural disaster that has finished Srinagar for now. The Chini do periodically threaten, but that is par for the course, in the army museum one gets the feeling that this particular war was not over, it was just put on hold a few decades.

For some reason it seems important to remember the rain in A’bad that afternoon. Where did the gentle rain I was familiar with back in the 80’s go? This was pelting, drench to the skin rain, wading required—though I compulsively carry rain gear wherever I go. The home situation was sobering. Hammers home the point—life is a privilege. Life is too short. Do what you must do.

9000 full-grown , magnificent trees. That’s what BMC will massacre to widen one wandering lane (that was once a walking track) so as to join two suburbs better. I’d like to box their collective ears. For each full grown, few decade old tree they’ll plant 5 saplings and not one will survive past week 1. What rascals. The group ought to be airdropped on Khardungla and asked to breathe—that, gentlemen, is what low-oxygen  content air feels like. And yet we have people like Dr. Usha and Renee to honor and cherish the green we have left—the teak are in bloom.

How can this scoundrel carry this off so well?

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Today I've cancelled, booked and rebooked tickets. Maniac style.
How quickly bad goes to beyond worse. How quickly the big C takes its dues, wipes one out, no mercies, no quarter given.
Even if you've read someone's face month after month, seen the writing there.Yet.
I'm all right. This is not about me. Other than the much-ignored wake up call not to take life for granted.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Cat-and-dog and the zoo rain where the heavens send sluices of water on hapless denizens. Just after I assured someone monsoon was over and done with.  Sneaky rain this, the gardener at the park had to lend me an umbrella. One minute sunshine, next rain. Like life!

Behadd was so GOOD. Why can’t we make TV programs half as good as theirs, considering we have almost the same gene pool etc etc? Had stopped watching Sat. night taken aback at what seemed like a standard storyline. So glad I caught up with the rest y’day.. superb storyline. Umera Ahmed is a stunning writer.

Model Town Andheri W Ganpati. That’s where these pictures are from. Beautifully crafted.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Space is a luxury in this city. Yet the 1970’s style institute by the sea, abundant with space, so empty,  their equipment very seventies too, should be interesting volunteering there—if they’ll have me, that is. Getting there and returning will be a challenge, took me about 2 hours and jumping in and out of multiple modes of transport one way. Phew.

Now some luxury I have seen, but nothing quite like this—marble lined parking lots, garages at Pali Hill. Old money speaks quietly.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

From Ujjain you take a train to go to Maksi. From Maksi village you either take a tempo or call and ask to be picked up…a dirt track with tons of potholes and bumps leads to Luniyakhedi, to Padma Shri Prahlad Tippaniya’s home and institute set in the middle of nowhere amongst miles and miles of green fields…

Maksi station has a platform at ground level so you have to climb down the seedi or jump a bit…

This time it has not rained enough… the ponds were not full… but enough rain to give a gentle green cover and get a cool wind blowing…unlike Mumbai, Malwa rain is gentle rain, falling softly on the ground

We were about 18 people at the institute, though a few people left after 1-2 days… about 8 people stayed on for all five days. It was a motley mix—a few people had been there previously as well. Shabnam Virmani joined us for a few days—she’s a documentary movie maker and  was one of the pioneers of the Kabir festival. Linda Hess joined us too—she’s a  Prof at Stanford , now is in her seventies and VERY lively—has done a great deal of scholarly work on Kabir, living in Malwa for 12 years, going from village to village in a jampacked car for performances… Also met a young boy Vivek who is teaching at UCLA—he was living in the institute and documenting the work for his PhD thesis…superb dholak, tabla and harmonium player too…Ankit Chadha, the dastangoi—famous storyteller  in the Persian style was with us too…

Living arrangements were basic—simple poly-fiber matresses , grab a pillow, sheets—though I had taken my own. Many people preferred to sleep on the terrace. The mosquitos were powerful. But what a sky! So many stars… I saw jugnu—fireflies—for the first time ever..magical!

Most people would be up by 6-6.30, go for tea—with milk from the homestead’s buffaloes and cow – they actually bought a new buffalo for the workshop. J Then a bath, the bath water heated on a choolah—a few bathrooms on the first floor and also a row of nicely tiled bathrooms behind the institute…Then breakfast and then the singing lessons would begin about 9.30 AM or so…breaking for lunch around 1, reassembling around 2.30 PM and continuing till about 5 PM.. most people would go for a walk to lake or just roam around …dinner around 8, and then more singing or talking…someone would begin and the rest would just join in…Prahladji spent his entire day with us, and the women from his household cooked for us and looked after us, pampering us.

5 days of no internet, no newspapers , no TV…perfect!

As you can imagine, the goodbyes were quite emotional. The last  session was a feedback session and a few people cried…

Will share more memories as they come to mind. Right now, the music echoes.

Saturday, August 02, 2014

Random observations
Almost empty trains rattle and sway, cutting through the night. trains that have passengers plod through, steadily.

At the park: Such a cascade of song from a  delicate bird. Droplets in a line trace a pine branch.

Layers…  what you see is not what is… revelations you had never guessed at. Such sadness. Despair. In sharing, so much of the past comes to life. So much seeps through, shapes the present. And now it’s too late. Life is a privilege.