Thursday, July 21, 2011

Impossible fantasy

I've spoken before of the 10-year old Chicu and her fascination with the landscape Corbett walked in, of how it seemed so remarkably far away to her that she did not even yearn to see it. When she grew up a bit more, she believed that a sign of maturity is to erect a fence around one's fantasies. And so the pine forests were replaced by a farm in the western Ghats .This she did yearn for, and visualised it in great detail- the kitchen garden, the view, the chanderi sarees on the windows. Eventually, that too got filed away as an impossible thing, something to be joked about.

And now, she's doing it. All growned up, and she's learned that its not necessary to limit dreams, just to reach out for them.

Come September, I pack up our life here and move to the hills. Mian and I will find a little house in the hills, and make it home for the next few years. We'll be in the district of Nainital, where Corbett lived. The area where we are moving to has pine trees and rhododendrons, and Himalayan magpies are as common as crows. More important, it has the two of us together. For that, I'd gladly exchange any number of rhododendrons.

We hope to rent a house built in the traditional manner, with slate and mud. A little garden we'll have, where we'll grow corn and roses, cabbages and jasmine. I'll sit in the garden and write. Mian will have me to come home to every night. It'll be a good life.

There are worries. The nearest coffee-vendor is 4 hours and an overnight stay away. I've always been a salaried person, and have quite liked the calm knowledge that come the first week, i'll have cash in my account. The one thing I am bad at is project-peddling. Mian will be away for six months in a year.

But the other six months will be together. I am excited and nervous at the same time. If I had a tail, it would be going around in circles.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

13 july

The blasts in Mumbai.
Feel compelled to record it somehow in here.
Though this is an over-recorded world. The images that allow no one their dignity, these times that make a pain-dazed person a 'good shot'.
My friends are okay..I still have 'what-if's going through my head

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

coffee, books, art

It happens sometimes that you like a place despite the odds; you keep returning there while unable to explain why. 124 Bluestone Road at Dehradun, is that place for me.

When I describe it to my friends, I find myself mumbling, unable to use logic to entice them there. Normally, mind you, I'd steer clear of a place that styled itself an 'art cafe'.  I would be dismayed by their 'pay what you like' policy, knowing that I would always overpay instead of running the risk of underpaying. I would be disappointed when I went there on a hot afternoon to discover that they only sold nescafe and a small range of hot teas.

But I go there. The place is always cool and dimly lit with scattered lights. They have books for sale. The teas are nice. Its quiet and unhurried, and no one minds when you settle down to savour your drink. They showcase local artists, including our young friends from Streetsmart. It is a lovely place to go there tired after a day of chores, it is even nicer to go there with friends. One such friend introduced me to the cafe, and perhaps I like it because of the conversation we had there. They showcase local musicians, and have regular concerts (put up on their Facebook page).

The easiest thing, perhaps, is not to overanalyze the whys..I like the place, and I plan on visiting it soon.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The story of Bakasura

Mum wanted a hen, and so got this ruffly-feathered 2-month old teen from a neighbours. The ruffly feathered ones are supposed to be good luck, they reflect all malicious thoughts back onto the thinker and prevent them from ever reaching the house. And mum and I were thinking of chicken tractors, and chicken manure and other such good things for the garden.

So she came, and her desire- and ability- to eat everything all the time prompted Mum to name her Bakasura, after the giant whose only claim to fame was his appetite. So things went well the first couple of days. She was tied by a long string to get her used to the place, and she seemed content enough. The only time she got agitated was when a neighbour's rooster would crow. We decided to get some company for her by and by.

And yesterday Mum called to tell me Bakasura had eloped. Apparently, our girl's appetite extends beyond food. The first day mum let her loose, she behaved in an exemplary manner. She ate grass and worms, responded to her name, and stayed within sight of the kitchen. Till 10 AM when that rooster crowed. Bakasura than picked up her skirts and ran to him, only to return 12 hours later. This went on a couple of days, and Mum decided to tie her again.

What's a bit of an old saree between lovers? Bakasura pecked it off and ran away again. Mum gave up, and gave her off to the owners of the rooster (her in-laws?)

The next market day, she'll get a pair.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Sindhudurg fort

It was built in the middle of the sea in the 17th century and has lots of interesting architectural features. And it is accessible by boats that have been built using the same techniques for centuries. And despite having lived in the vicinity of Sindhudurg Fort for 16 years, I never visited it. It was time, I decided. Buses run daily between Sawantwadi and Malvan, which is where the fort is. For impatient travellers, buses run with 15-minute frequency from Sawantwadi to Kudal, and then from Kudal to Malvan. Malvan is also where Malvani cuisine- the coconut-based seafood meals we associate with the Maharashra coast- gets its name from. So do eat a meal there.
Sadly, I forgot that the monsoon makes the fort inaccessible between June-September. Going there in the 2nd week of June was probably not a very smart idea and I had to be content with looking at it from the beach. The upside was that I got a jolly nice shot of it, if I do say so myself. I like that the photo seems black and white, but it’s an accurate rendition of what the day was like.

And here’s a photo of the bus-stand. I like the raindrops, the coconut trees and the hurrying conductor.

And finally, a note on the boats. I have read an account of the preposterous and barbaric way in which boats are built in the Konkan. I don’t remember the traveller or the period, and need to check. ‘The natives do not use nails or any iron’ the author had fumed. He went on to say that the boats were merely sewn together and therefore not sea-worthy. He decided that the boat-builders needed to learn modern methods.
And a couple of centuries later, here we are.