Friday, January 29, 2016

The Free Spirit....


The humming engine and the beating heart,
All in sync with nothing to part,
The winding roads and the valleys wide,
They pass along like the veil of a bride,
The gushing cold air, the frozen hands,
The short-pit stops and the little errands...
The waving kids and the surprised glances,
They add to the thrill of biking romances,
The peace of a journey and the crease of a heart,
Both need caressing to keep them apart,
The mighty man and the animal inside both remain tamed,
The revving machine does the magic, often never named,
The rights and the lefts, the dives and the drifts,
Feel them all like a bird in the sky....
Free from traditions and bondage of any kind,
Free from niceties, obligations and games of the mind,
Free from the idea of right and wrong,
Free of borders and free of mind,
Feel the free spirit like a bird in the sky....
Feel this freedom - a biker's high!





Sunday, December 6, 2015

A city in deep waters


When the well's dry, we know the worth of water (Benjamin Franklin). Conversely, when the waters overflow we know the worth of people and life.

A seemingly conservative mostly hot south-Indian city has seen many-a-days of drought and dryness. Here, many households do not have direct water-supply lines and rely on deep bore-wells and paid tankers for water. Mineral drinking water in cans is a big business in itself here. But then as they say, literally, when it rains it pours! In the last two weeks, Chennai has seen the heaviest rainfall in over a 100 years! Some reports claim that Chennai has been lashed with several normal/dry years' worth of rain in just a couple of days! Now, nature has a peculiar way of settings things straight. It answered a question - why would a generally hot city with limited rainfall need sparkling silt-free drainage? (Brr..) Lets save the city-planning and Municipal efforts; money is better utilized in distributing 'essential' freebies - TVs, grinders, laptops...Shall we?

The initial few days of slightly heavy rain did not fret the rain-hardened Mumbaikar in me. But, when it continued battering, leading to several feets of water across the city, followed by a pre-cautious power outage across the city, 'panic' was not just a word! I had a Deja-vu from 2005 of wading through waist deep waters in Mumbai - that was just one day.

Auto rickshaws and other vehicles submerged in the flood waters in Kotturpuram area of Chennai. R Senthil Kumar/PTI via AP
Source: Indian Express
Thousands were stranded across the city. With several parts of the city with over 4 to 10 ft of water, some even with 18 ft. Those living in slums had nowhere to go, holding on to the little they could salvage they moved to temporary shelters in government schools. Families living on ground floors of various apartments sought refuge in flats on higher floors. With no functional mobile networks and no electricity - communication was completely cut off for more than two days. Hundreds of cars, auto-rickshaws, bikes were wading in water or broke-down mid-way. Airport runway got flooded, railway tracks were flooded - cutting off the city from the rest of the country. And most depressingly, over 250 lives were lost - several due to electrocution and gushing water current.

The heaviest rainfall in over a century caused massive flooding across the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, driving thousands from their homes, shutting auto factories and paralysing the airport in Chennai. Reuters
Source: Indian Express
Only prayers could be heard amidst the late-night pattering incessant rainfall. Basics of food, water and a roof to sleep under was the only biggest worry to many. Thanks to numerous contributors and volunteers, the city witnessed the power of philanthropy and the good side of human nature. Together with the rescue operations by the Army, Navy, NDRF etc. hundreds of volunteers waded through waist deep water and reached out to hungry and distressed souls. Rescue on boats plying through the streets, helicopters dropping food packets, etc. showed that hope is alive to those stranded. Many individuals opened up their houses to accommodate others. Some theaters and malls opened up too. Many small institutions (surprisingly some political institutions as well) and organisations worked in full swing cooking and packing food packets for distributions. Lakhs of food and water packets were and are still being passed on, especially to isolated areas. Support from neighboring states and their residents pour out overwhelmingly. This crisis has bought out mutual care and compassion beyond the superficiality of class/religious divide. Reinforcing this were the social media platforms effectively being leveraged to reach out and help in time (#ChennaiRainsHelp). Now, with Indians even tolerating extremes of nature while helping others, where does the debate on Intolerance of ideas stand?
Patients being shifted from a flooded hospital after heavy rains in Chennai on Tuesday. PTI Photo
Source: Indian Express

The Hindu - A visit to the flood affected areas (Tamil):


NDTV – People stranded across the city, Rescue begins

This was a city where several did not carry an umbrella for most days of the year, except for protection from the sun in peak summer. Climate change is not a newly coined word, but may be now many in Chennai would relate to it. We have just one solution to save us - making peace with raging nature.We could start by living in an non-intrusive and non-deploring manner with water bodies and forested areas. Also we could go back to our textbooks and learn our lessons on drainage planning from atleast the ancient Harappan civilization- even that was Indian, wasn't it?

In the meanwhile back in Chennai, water has receded in most parts leaving behind gaping potholes and cracks on roads. While temporary filling & construction is on, municipal workers have started cleaning up the mess. Fear of epidemics loom large and hospitals are preparing for the same. Volunteers are being offered tetanus doses. People in temporary shelters remain worried about what next, while those with damaged homes and vehicles are counting their loses and thanking those who helped. Several areas like Kotturpuram are still in the dark, with resources reaching slowly owing to persistent water levels.

Chennai might not see any tourists or visitors for quite sometime. Several migrants are also planning to catch the next flight/train home. But nature has bought several new rare visitors to Chennai lakes - Migrant birds! With the birds, let us hope and pray that the sun shines and the city rises to a better dawn.

Note: All videos and pictures are attributed to the respective news channels/websites from which they have been sourced. None of the images/videos are my own.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The best of me

Alive, I am,
but for a few hours, dead asleep,
Alive, I am,
but for a few hours, watching the screen,
Alive, I am,
but for the couple of hours, commuting away,
Alive, I am,
but for the cacophony all around,
Alive I am,
but for the routine of a day,

Well, alive am I? I am obliged to ask....
Yes, I affirm, for the wanderer in me travels miles together,
Just looking at the moon she leaps altogether.
The wayfarer in me, doesn't tire so easy,
She does go on forever & is never so lazy...
She smiles at a kid, not wanting to disappoint,
She smiles like a kid, not so much in control,
Travel is her passion, close & quaint,
Travel keeps her humming, light & faint,
She sees the world in a lens of her own,
She takes those moments to her world, when alone,
She carries those pictures for her to show,
She shares them with the world for them to know,
That the little we have between sunrise & sunset,
Is the little we can to end up with no regret,

I like her in me, for she is more of me.
I call her back & forth, for she is the best of me!!



Sunday, September 7, 2014

The simple life



Birds of my song,
Lilting to my tune,
Memoirs of my dear,
My love my queen!
The waves dragging your feet,
And your languid trail by the sea,
Our names on the seashore,
May it remind you of me,
Its my path & your destiny,
Or is it the other way round?
Why are our fates entwined
I may never know
I know you , I know me
I know the world around.
You say, if life were so simple
As the timeless chirp of birds
You would sing the love song
I would whistle along.
Just take a day off
Off from your beaten path
Lets get lost together
I will find you at last!
Ask me why,
not where we shall go
I would tell a story
And you would know.
That life is simple
with all honour & glory
Its just us or may be the world
who build up the story!




Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Sing a song...

I sing a song for the birds to hear,
I sing it loud and clear,
It doesn't matter to them or me,
It doesn't matter my dear,
The day was long,
The dusk is near,
Yet it doesn't matter my dear....
I sing a song for the birds to hear,
I sing it loud and clear,
It makes the trees sway left and right,
It makes the bees stand upright,
The flowers bloom for the bees to taste,
The hoppers jump to show some haste,
Yet it doesn't matter my dear :)
The serious talks,the anger like hawks,
the pride of power and the power of money,
Nothing ever matters my dear.....
The tune of life and beats of love,
Both interplay a musical existence and thats when you must
sing a song for the birds to hear,
Sing it loud and clear.....




This is me singing ;)

Sunday, February 23, 2014

The rolled parchment (Part 1)

It was a rather dull day, dry and arid. It reminded one of those desolate plains in Sahara. The kids scurrying around the house were the only signs of life. No birds chirping outside, no bells of the roadside temple, no cycle bells, no horns of vehicles plying on road. It felt as if everybody but the kids were on a snooze mode.
The kids were playing hide and seek.Every single time some kid is caught the others shriek and get caught too.Then they do the same thing again. There is no monotony in their play, because they do it with absolute enthusiasm.
The house was peeling plaster at places and yet the beauty and aura of an old house hung around. The pillars were very huge and broad, good places for the kids to hide.There were hundreds of patterns on each pillar: mostly floral. The stone floor was cold, unlike the weather. Chipped at places, the floor stretched unevenly throughout the house.
Walking slowly, holding the walls and pillars, she moved from room to room.She was searching her grand-daughter. The girl wasn't playing with other kids.She was a very reticent girl.Always huddled in some corner of the house, looking at pictures or reading through newspaper bits, she rarely made her presence felt. Only her grandma could find her in the house.
The house was huge with ten rooms and a large verandah. Pots lined the verandah, most of them filled with water.The center of the house was roofless making it more unified with the elements of nature.The roof was tiled, the faded red baked tiles gave it a picturesque look.
If at all it rained like those good old days, the whole central area would be filled with water and kids would be sailing paper boats all over the mini-pond.But now the sun fiercely shone into the house making it bright and sultry.
But whatever be the weather, Pallavi would never be too involved. She remains aloof, humming some random tunes. She liked dressing up though, all the jewellery and make up fascinates her. One could always find her in a pretty ghagra, with neatly plaited hair and kohl lined eyes.
What was she dressing up for? Well, it is sad but true.She waits for her dad to take her to the fairies in the town.She has been waiting for a year.She knows that it won't take her dad so long to return from his visit to the town.She faintly remembers some one carrying her bleeding dad into the house.They took him back though.He was taken back while he was fast asleep.They lifted him on a parched bed made by her elder cousins.People were crying around her.Her grand-mom was always beside her, wiping her tears and smiling at her.Everything was alright, but something was amiss.
She doesn't remember her mom so well, but her cousins told her that her mom was taken away in the same way.They told her she was smiling with her eyes closed when she went.
Four people carried her dad away and her brother was leading them somewhere.
Her cousins told her that they all go to a very celebrated town, a place where everything is green,variety of flowers bloom there, children ride on horses and fairies bring gifts everyday.
She too wanted to go there, she was waiting for her dad to take her. At-least he can bring her gifts from the fairies.
But there were no signs of him returning.Every evening after crying for her dad she would doze off on her grand-mom's lap.

What would give her closure and make her realize that she has to move on? Is a twelve year old mature enough to understand life and death?Will the realization break her and scar her for life?How long can a seventy year old grand-mom stick around? 

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Let's meet!


Let's meet and then:
Let's take a walk,
Have some chai at a roadside stall...
Let’s watch the sun rise sitting on the promenade,
Observe the splashing of the cool ocean with hot samosas nearby...
Let’s talk animatedly forgetting where we are and what we are,
See the world through each others’ ideas...
Let’s paint a wall randomly,
Observe the hues mix deeply within...
Let’s hop in the rain and splash the water around,
Forget that we are not very young...
Let’s race each other on cycles.
Let’s play hide and seek and shriek when we are found.
Let’s find a laden tree and pluck the fruits discreetly,
Oh and then let’s run for we are not to be found thieving around...
Let’s play football, you teach me some tricks I’ll kick ‘em around!
Let’s go rafting down a voracious river shouting in thrill,
Or better yet go in a roller coaster with several loops and shout inside out !!!
Let’s sit together play some cards over some snacks.
Let’s later sit singing our all time favorite songs.
Let’s discuss some funny incidents from the past and feel nostalgic.
Let’s then fight a bit for we need to test our friendship sometimes,
Let’s forget it and laugh over it, for we need a flavor in our memories...
Let’s take a picture of this mighty day with myriad experiences for our memory is a lost paradise!

Let’s part, it makes our next meeting even more exciting and adventurous!!!!!