Monday, September 28, 2009

In which she moves again..

but only a floor up. From being a mouse in a cozy cave to being a birdie in a light-filled nest. I liked my earlier house, I like this one too..and I love, love, love the windows that fill our home with light and air.
I am still settling in, and will be nesting for the next week or so, but am home for Dussehra ,and that is good.
A note to those whose opinion matters to me, especially The One: When I said I want a pink bedroom, I did not mean this pink. honest.
That shall be changed in a month or two, but I cannot do anything about the grill over the washbasin. No doubt, it is a holy symbol and will prevent vampires from entering. However, for me the whole swastika-in-a-circle-in-a-square thing is unsettling, to say the least. what do i do with it? place a fern?
Or I can simply brew me some coffee, take it and me to the balcony, and sit looking at the sky.

Ah yes.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

la vida locavore

corny title..but how can one resist it?

In the year that I have been in Dun, I have eaten more local and more in tune with the seasons than I have since my childhood. I make no claims to eating truly local- my coffee comes from Mysore, the nutty-sweet parboiled rice I love was grown along the Konkan coast, and my olives, sadly, have given many a whale a migraine.

But when it comes to produce, I do tend to eat seasonal and local. It makes so much sense, I have been doing it unconsciously. I just realised it yesterday when I had a lets-dance-a-jig moment on seeing some baby radishes with their tops still attached.
and today i saw these..

They are called 'singadhe' here, and I have no idea what they are..some type of marsh/water loving plant seems to be indicated by the occasional slimy bits I find near the stems. Beyond that, I haven't a clue. I first saw them a year ago when I arrived in dun, and here they are again.

And now lots and lots of greens will flood the market, and grapefruit, and other such yummy things. this is a fun way to eat- stuff oneself with the freshest, best, (and funnily, cheapest) of produce. By the time I get tired of something, it's season is over and there is something else to look forward to.

Addenda (28 September)
  • The singhade are water caltrops, and thanks to Maals for telling me of them
  • I take back the 'corny title' comment, because since I posted this article, I found a website by that name and a fine one it is too..

whom we met..

On the trail to Mukteshwar, as we came out of the forest, we came across this little chap. Perfect setting, no? the clumps of grass, the black-and-white spunky little calf, and those skies. Barely visible in the snap are the Himalayas, which we could see a lot more clearly.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


today it is exactly a year since I began working here.
Last year, today was my first day at work, I had found a coffee shop the previous day ,and I was darn pleased with myself.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Petal trails

So I am back to telling stories of my weekend trip to the hills. The walk to Mukteshwar was full of wildlife..both flora and fauna. This post is not really another wildlife roll-call, because I want to tell you of the flowers.

Wild flowers there were many- ground orchids, and flowering grasses, and daisies. These were pretty enough, but did not intrigue me.

What intrigued me is that the forest path to Mukteshwar was strewn with dahlia petals. Not all of it, but enough that I would notice. There was a trail of them along the path, and every now and then, a little group of the petals. Not too many, maybe a half dozen. But definitely noticeable. I actually considered napaeae, but laughed the thought away.

The mystery was solved when I came across two women who had come there to cut fodder for their animals. We stopped and chatted for a while, and as they turned away, I saw the petals again. They were wearing dahlias in their hair, and the flowers were shedding their petals. As they walked, the women were leaving a petal trail

hm. So maybe my wood-nymph idea was not too wrong, after all.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The most important thing

about not living alone is that every morning, one's first waking act is to focus on and smile at the person one loves.
Not a bad way to start the day..

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


does not receive very much space in the guide books, but I loved the place.

Maybe it is because I went there on a glorious morning, maybe because I walked to Mukteshwar along a mossy forest trail, maybe because the One was with me.

Or maybe the reason is more prosaic. The advantage of going there by the forest trail is that one bypasses the tourist area with the hotels and dhabas. Instead, we pass a lovely mixed forest, then traditional houses, and finally emerge onto a ridge with a few shops and the post office.

And what a post office! I have seen cute daak buildings in villages before, but
never one so well-loved. The garden was beautifully kept and in full bloom. The place sparkled like the little cottages of my childhood stories. Being a Sunday, it was shut, but someday I will enter it.

But the entire place has an unreal air to it. Some day, I think someone spilled a seed packet of dahlias. Now, they have taken over, and along the roadside, on the cliffs and every place, one sees these spots of deep, rich, velvety colour. I suppose the ecologist in me should be distressed, but they are pretty!
I liked Mukteshwar..there is a tea shop there with a glorious view..we couldn't go there this time, but there is always next time.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Terrible Beauty

Transformed utterly:

A terrible beauty is born.

The beauty and futility of life was in Yeats' mind when he wrote 'Easter 1916". On a smaller level, the same thought occurred to me when I saw this moth in the bathroom. I looked and looked and could not get enough of the intricacy of the wing pattern. The markings simulate a proud, angry, cruel face. The unveiling of the terrible beauty to the would-be predator is only a last resort, though. The shy moth prefers to hide and its colouring is marvelously suited for camouflage. As if to emphasize this gentleness, the wing edges are frilled.

Multiple levels of protection, multiple strategies to survive. All for a life spent in a desperate attempt to procreate and lasts a few days- if it is so lucky.

A waste? Who are we to say so?

But Yeats answered his own question, I think..


To know they dreamed and are dead;

And what if excess of love

Bewildered them till they died?

Another day at the office..

There are offices and offices. I tagged along with The One to his place of work last weekend and found myself in a world of sheer unadulterated beauty.

From the awe-inspiringly enduring..

to the heart-breakingly ephemeral.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

One wild and precious life

I came across this poem posted by Baraka , and I know that it will stay with me for a long, long time.

Her latest post also talks about turning a decadal year, and the overwhelming feelings this event can evoke. And it is true that the passing of years, of decades, are generally looked upon with dread.

I don’t see why. My thirties have been a time when I have understood myself most. I now know me, and while I might not like all that Chicu is, I certainly am fond of her and accept her. In some ways, I am calmer and more accepting of the things that cannot be. But this does not mean lassitude..because I am also quick to recognize the things that can be, and quick to reach for them.

And that has been good. In the last three years, I have had more change and more adventures than in the previous nine. Childhood dreams (travel, work, domesticity- and I love this one- driving a road roller) have come true. If I continue at this rate, my big childhood fantasy of walking the old silk route will come true at 40.

Can you guess I’m looking forward to that? To finding out what else I can do with my one wild and precious life?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

these days

I am like a pup chasing its own tail.
Far too much is happening at work. I need 36 working hours each day. Things would be easier then. things would also be easier if I was less confused. Oh me, oh my.
and yet, and yet, these days
When I go home, the One is there. It has rained in the afternoon, and the evening is cool and clean. The sky is a vivid gold-pink with slaty clouds. Bats wheel overhead in a mad rush to sate themselves in the post-rain rush of insects. Later, the lights of Mussoorie come on. We sit, by ourselves or with friends, and drink in chai and conversation. There is pleasure in everything- in deciding dinner, in sipping coffee, in the moos of the cow next door..
Wouldn't exchange these days for the world.