Archive for March, 2014

The persist-ant…

March 31, 2014

Scurrying across the path
I saw this little ant.
It bore a heavy burden,
Its legs were all aslant.

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It stopped every now and then
And shifted the mouthful it had.
But never gave up on the task:
A persistent lady…or lad.

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The prey in its jaws
Was about its own size.
But the long-legged ant
Seemed found it tasty and nice.

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I never did find out
How the story ended.
Did the ant succeed,
As its way it wended?

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Did the other ants in the nest
Cheer at a successful chore?
Or did the ant abandon
Its task, and drag it no more?

I left it a mystery
As I consigned the moment to history.

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Not sweet dreams

March 29, 2014

I do not like the places
I go to, in my dreams.
My sadness at separation
From the beloved children
Is, while being worked on,
Hidden deep in my heart.
The sorrow of the end
Of more than three decades of marriage
Lurks there, too,
In the dark crevices of my heart
The wrongs I have done: the hurts I have caused
The many things I could have done better….
All these are not, as I thought,
Dealt with, and forgotten.
They hang, with little burrs,
In my subconscious mind.
Perhaps this is why I rarely dream;
Because, when I do,
I go to these places.
I feel, once again,
What I do not want to feel.
Scenes flash before my consciousness
That I thought I’d discarded…
No, I just seem to have buried them
Beyond the reach of my everyday thoughts.
They come out, and mock me.
Sadness, loneliness, regrets:
They once again assail me.
I wish they would not.
I do not like the places
I go to, in my dreams.

Banjaran, and name-bracelets, India Gate, Delhi, 260314

March 27, 2014

First my daughter had two Banjara girls, whom she asked to thread together various name beads for all of KTB’s friends at Urban Sprouts, the daycare back home:

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The threads they used were so colourful:

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As were the ornaments on the girls’ hands:

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The beads cost Rs.2 each, and though the girls were illiterate, they asked for our help in stringing them together the right way:

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You can see “ABIGAIL” being spelt out here:

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While they did their work, corn-on-the-cob was shared:

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Soon, word seemed to spread that here was a person who would pay well, and she seemed to be running an ethnic cottage industry on the lawns of India Gate!

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My daughter finally had to walk away with others pestering her, but she was happy that she’d given them employment, at least for a while.

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These Banjarans were so colourful…I wish their lives were as colourful, too!

A walk and a climb in Highrisegaon, 260314

March 26, 2014

Yesterday I was far too knocked out by the migraine, but this morning, I did wake up in time to leave for my walk by 5.45 am. It was the lovely “ushat kAlam” ..the pre-dawn darkness slowly glowing into ambient light.

I went down the stairs…and it was dark enough that after a few floors, I had to go back to the lift and take that down to the ground floor. Out I walked, and with the tall buildings looming on every side, I walked along, being careful to get my various co-ordinates so that I would be able to find my way back through the Redwood Sequioas of Gurgaon.

Several things caught my eye. One thinks, perhaps, that each building is a compact “village”…but that is not so…most people living in the apartments are strangers to each other…they just share the cocoon, and the sense of camaraderie is pretty fragile. After I got no response to my third or fourth “good morning”, I stopped wishing anyone.

I went out of the apartment building I was staying in, and walked out to the “downmarket” area that I could see from the 19th floor balcony…from which the maid, who works in the apartment, comes. The area is divided by a “nullah” (sewage canal), with all sorts of filth in it, in which several huge-looking pigs (some actually having back-bristles like boars) were rooting around. What a difference between economic strata, separated by a road and a ditch! And yet, the residents of the building depend deeply on the denizens of this “pocket sector” (as one of Anjana’s banker friends in this area described it) meant for the “EWS” (Economically Weaker Sections). The drivers, the maids, the “ironwallahs”, the many domestic and menial services provided to the residents…they come from these “pockets”.

I noticed the early morning services in operation. Milk, in plastic sachets that were stacked in hard plastic crates, was being unstacked after being unloaded from the vans, and being delivered. Newspaper vendors sat in groups, with the day’s several papers in front of them, folding deftly, and inserting the various leaflets that make them a few extra rupees every morning, as well as the supplements of each newspaper. Maids and servants were walking to work, some with a shawl over their torsos, against the early morning’s slight nip. I was cheered to see some maids (yes) on cycles. In fact, at one place, I found several cycles, and the security told me that I could borrow a cycle if I wished, and return it after going around. That made me very happy!

I came back from the open road, and decided to walk along the buildings themselves. Between the high-rises were some even more opulent “low rises”…in this region of high real estate values, to have a bungalow or a low-rise building with just two or three floors must mean sky-high cost!

The spaces between the buildings were plentifully planted with trees and plants…and I was happy to see that not all of them were stunted and pruned to human domination…there were quite a few trees that supported a lot of squirrels, and birds…and as the sun rose, butterflies flitted along, too, as (did dragonflies. There were assigned walking paths, but I could walk along the entrances of the various grand apartments, and look up at the incredible variety of the architecture…some of which was pleasing to the eye, and some of which was…otherwise (“Neo-Gurgainyya”sums it up best for me.) The anonmyity of living in such apartments is, I suppose, both a comfort and a discomfort sometimes…but the greenery helps one in adjusting to this kind of city life.

I watched Bulbuls, Sunbirds, Pigeons and Wagtails; in the ditch, Lapwings looked incuriously at me; I saw a few Flowerpeckers in the Bottle-Brush trees, and did my chanting (108 names of Anjaneya, kanakadhArA stOtram, and some more slOkA), meditated in peace, watched some ladies doing yoga…by this time nearly two hours had elapsed.

The weather was just warming up by now, but I climbed the 19 floors to the terrace with ease, and was only slightly huffy and puffy when I reached the front door. I was happy with my morning walk, climb, observations and thoughts…

I walked into the apartment to greet everyone, especially the two children who are now the center of my universe. They ran to me and hugged me; the younger one showed his two teeth in a happy grin; the elder had some anecdote to relate….I was back in my present world..and I left behind the world of Gurgaon, the High-rise Village.

An enjoyable evening of folklore and children’s theatre, 230314

March 23, 2014

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Click here

to see my review of the evening (which was more than just the play), by Bangalore Little Theatre.

I’m glad I could show KTB a bit of children’s theatre in India!

She’s learnt other lovely songs, too….

March 23, 2014

she’s been learning more songs at Urban Sprouts, her day care….

I ‘d LOVE to sit by her all the time!

A heritage doctor, 180314

March 20, 2014

I first visited Dr H Suresh’s clinic in 4th T Bl ock in Jayanagar, in 1979, when my daughter was 6 months old. She’d been having severe diarrhoea for two weeks, and I was at my wits’ end as I was staying with some friends and desperately worried about her health.

Dr Suresh’s clinic was called “Deepa Clinic”, and that formed a further bond. I learnt that it was his daughter’s name. He promptly treated my infant daughter, who recovered.

When we moved to J P Nagar in 1997, my neighbour told me about a G P who ran his clinic nearby. “He’s not too high-and-mighty to see everyday ailments,” she told me, “He’s our family doctor.” So, when KM was ailing, I went along with her…and there it was, Deepa Clinic, at the same place where it existed in 1979.

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Over the years, since then, Dr Suresh has treated our family for so many ailments. He is a General Practitioner in the true sense of the word….he sees all patients. He has also been the only doctor I know, who made house calls. When we brought back my father-in-law from the US, who had suffered a stroke at 84,and was getting progressively worse with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, as well as a series of strokes that ultimately carried him off 3 years later, it was Dr Suresh who came home regularly to check on him, and prescribed such minor medications as would keep my father-in-law reasonably comfortable.

When my daughter married, and she and our son-in-law came to visit, he treated their coughs and colds, too, and stomach ailments. They swore by his treatment.

Dr Suresh is a doctor of vast experience; when he finds something wrong in a patient that is out of the ordinary, he immediately lets us know and refers us to the specialist in the field. This happened with at least three friends of mine…one brought his wife, who was promptly diagnosed with stomach cancer; and two more major ailments.

And now, I took my grandchildren also to him. True to form, he did not prescribe antibiotics for my son in law or my grand-daughter, but said that my grandson did have a bacterial infection which needed to be treated with antibiotics. This is something I like very much in him…he does not prescribe medicines unnecessarily….another rarity in today’s world. He’s much more likely to dose us with some of the tablets on his desk, and by the time we go back for a repeat consultation 3 days later, we are cured!

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Dr Suresh continues to be a General Physician….he does not aspire to be a specialist, but his wide experience of seeing patients stands him in good stead in treating people. He is most unusual, and to me, worthy of great respect, that he has continued in this same location, for the past 35 years (at least)…and preserves the quality of his life by taking days off on birthdays and his wedding anniversary. I do not know his wife, son, and daughter (and their families) personally…but I feel that they must be lucky, indeed, to have such a wise and contented person.

I salute this physician who has become that rare wonder, the Family Physician. Doctors like him are very, very rare, and I hope Dr Suresh a very long, happy and healthy life, bringing health and happiness to all the patients he treats!

The Morris Minor, Woodlands Hotel, and a wedding, 190314

March 20, 2014

As we entered the Woodlands Hotel just off Richmond Circle, to attend a wedding, our attention was riveted by this little gem, parked in the campus:

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The

MORRIS MINOR

is a beautiful little car!

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As if to keep perfect company with the car, these old buildings of the Woodlands Hotel looked so lovely:

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We attended the wedding, too…the youngest daughter of one of the old families of Bangalore and Nanjangud:

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All in all, it was a day when history and heritage seemed to thrive in modernity!

The Holi Full Moon

March 18, 2014

The full moon of

Holi

festival where evil is burnt up…..

She came up when we were visiting our friends.

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She rose along the side of the buildings:

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She told the children in the playground that it was time to go home:

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She looked like a sandal-paste moon:

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But later, she looked more prosaic:

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How The Booda grew up before our eyes…

March 17, 2014

Amazing what a difference hair makes to the appearance of a person…even when that person is just 14 months old!

That was Kalyan being shorn of his hair. My daughter wrote

this

about the first haircut…

Traditionally, the hair is offered in a temple, but the parents didn’t want to do that.

So here we are at the haircutting “saloon”, where “gents” get their hair cut:

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AM admires the baby hair one last time:

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Checks its length:

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The hair is wetted down:

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He touches his wet head!

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He isn’t bothered at all:

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The shearing begins:

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The process is nearly complete, and is being documented by his father:

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It was the elder sister who was more upset, and sitting with a crumpled-up face in a corner!

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I had to come out and get her some mango juice and some chips; but then everyone came out, and we all had “orange kucchi ice” (orange juice sticks, utter sugar bombs!)

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Our friend got a share, too:

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We went to our friends’ home, where he was bathed, and sandal paste applied to his little head:

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He played quite happily, wearing his new shoes:

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Within a few minutes, he went from being a little wispy-haired baby to being a little boy:

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The full moon that night reminded me of his shiny, sandal-coloured head!

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