Tuesday, October 31, 2006

From the murky past

Death come and claim me
Before I die inside

There is nothing left to live for

Reality is a lie

No one to turn to
No need to cross

Live alone
Until the grim reaper calls

Then I will embrace him

And leave this twisted world

Ne'er to return Ne'er to be heard
To change, perchance to dream
There's the rub, my friend

With change comes turmoil
With turmoil loss

Loss there has been
Loss there will be
Of heart, mind and soul
Until there's nothing to lose

To choose
To lose.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Orange you glad Odie-pooo??

Dundee provided the trippy orange filter. Odie posed patiently and voila!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

The Little Joys #2

hahahahahahahahahhaha :D That's one psychedelic butterfly though.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Child In Time

Let me be a child again
And taste that sweet innocent glee
Let me be a child again
With a wide wondrous gaze

Let me be a child again
With simplicity as my decree
Let me be a child again

Running amuck and free
Let me be a child again

On the first day of a summer holiday
Let me be a child again
When all money meant was sweets and toys

Let me be a child again
Inhaling freedom with every step

Let me be a child again

And bask in my mother's lap

Let me be a child again
And play cricket with a plastic bat

Let me be a child again
Belly laughs and unstiffled giggles

Oh, Let me be a child again

Let the child be me

P.S. The adorable muchkin is Mira, my niece, from my sister of another mother. Huggies baby!!*muah*

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The Little Joys #1

Stepping into the golden droplets of a hot shower after a long cold ride home through sleeting rain.


Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Dhoom Diwali Dhamaka Mumbai Ishstyle

It's 5 am. I'm traversing the deep caverns of my subconscious when a boom cracks through and nearly destroys my sanity. Welcome to Diwali in Mumbai. It doesn't stop there. The kids here are a lot more sadistic. They don't burst all their bombs in quick succession (the crackers in question are the ear piercing 'atom' variety). Instead they give you 5 minute gaps of blissful silence and just when you've let your mind slide back into some shut eye, another sonic blast, another cry of anguish and I'm feverishly grabbing every pillow I can find, under which I can stuff myself.

Then there was the October heat, combining the baking suffocation of Delhi and the damp stickiness of Mumbai. Never before have I shed tears at the first cool draught of an AC. Deliciously cold showers and blissfully tall cool glasses of water also served to assuage the scorching. I always maintained that there is NOTHING like water. I stand vindicated once more.

This was a time for family as well, close, large, affectionate, boistrous, ages ranging from 2 months (I've become a fond uncle again) to 90. As usual my hair, surplus and curly as it is was a topic of great discussion. There were cousins who proudly proclaimed that I look like Mangal Pandey, some who expressed envy, some who ribbed me about looking like a girl from behind ("oh Hari we could be sisters!" :D), some quietly disapproving, some more vociferously and an ever growing queue of aunts who have threatened to chop it all off in my sleep. Funny sight that would've been, a lanky lad running through the streets of Mumbai, screaming, "My hair, my hair." I've had nightmares about this. *Shudder* But none of that happened and we all instead discussed various treatments and shampoos, very useful indeed considering the origin of my wild hair genes.

I managed to catch up with some old and dear friends in the process. J, Ridhi and Ann it was fantastic to hang out with you again, after AGES!

Diwali here holds special significance to all Mumbaikars. The religious ramifications apart, it is a time to take a breath in a city that never rests. It is a time to rediscover family ties. It is a time to decorate - almost every home, Bandra bungalow to Dharavi hovel sport a wide range of decorations and lights, turning a dour, don't-have-time-for-you Mumbai into a veritable fairyland of good cheer and colours. It is a time to smile and laugh, a time to love and this is starting to sound like Turn!Turn!Turn! :D

Quite an apt song for a Dhoom Diwali Dhamaka Mumbai Ishstyle.

P.S. Mumbai is a street photographers multiple-O. I'm sure many people will heartily agree.


There are no memories but sunlit photos remind me of a time when I was 5 months old, stretched naked across my Grandmother's outstretched legs, squeeling (in the high ranges I'm told) as she lovingly massaged oil into my body. All those feelings from all those summer vacations spent around her came flooding back as she massaged oil into my skin once more. Y'all better be glad I was dressed this time. ;)

My dad's mom and my only surviving grandparent is touching 90 and still refuses to be a burden, pottering around the familiar confines of her Mahim home in Mumbai. She can still cook up a storm, she can still shoot out a sharp retort and she can still lead her own life with dignity and joy. The obvious frailty of her body is lost on her iron will. I love you Aaji. I'm really glad we got to share this Diwali together. It might have been special for you but it was immeasurable for me.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


Where's your mask
Put it on quick
Don't let them know
Don't let them in

The glorious charade
Has begun my friend
The end is ne'er near
Put it on again

Hide behind the other face
The whole world does
Frilly perks and lace
Put it on again

Wear Maya's goggles
Look through those bleary eyes
What you see isn't what you get
Go on, put it on again

I wear the masque
I wear it well
I wear it to my grave
Another lifetime wasted
A hundred more to save

Sunday, October 15, 2006

the clowns are here

The clowns are here
Cheer is here
Can you hear
Their pantomime
Can you see
Their smudgy tears
Can you smell the sawdust
Coughing through the aisles

The clowns are here
The careless laugh of every child
Infects every adult

Too stoic to see
Madness and mayhem
With a message in between

The child is within you
Set it free

The clowns are here
And every frown will flee
Every cobweb is banished
Even reality is real
The clowns are here
The clowns are here
The clowns are here
And I'm grinning with glee

P.S. I had a bit of an off day behind the lens. Duende got some kick ass photos though, perched on his high vantage point. Hopefully they'll be up soon. :)

Friday, October 13, 2006

the sarjapur blues band

What do you get when you cross a flowing beard psychologist, a classical guitar playing bhong and an effortless Vinu Mathew?

The Sarjapur Blues Band of course. Folk, blues, rock, psychedelia (unintentional?) and jovial booming vocals. 30 mins of head bobs. I was late. :S Not too late though. :)

In other unrelated news Friday the 13th was quite uneventful. :\

The Lone Stranger

Solitary spectre standing tall

Channeling clouds of thought
Watts and wheres and hows cast aside
The tower of defiance
The spiral of shame
The gridlock of desire
The release of pain

A breath of fresh air
And a day begun anew
There are mind paths to traverse
Places to go

The spectre remains still
Letting the vagaries wash by
Another day done
And then we will fly

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Hampi Utsav

'Shalom, mallaca,' nods a smiling little boy, waving his hands in my direction. Beleaguered from the long, bus-hoping journey, I looked at him semi-deliriously, believing for a moment that I had stumbled on the Middle East in search of the elusive Hampi. But it turned out that the boy's name is Raghu (every second male member of this population is called Raghu or Ravi). When I answer him in my 'street' Kannada best, I'm eyed with suspicion. Then suddenly, he turns to his companion, a still smaller boy and says, 'Kannada goththu,'(he knows Kannada) and in the same breath, looking up at us, 'Where you from??' his eyebrows forming worried crevices on his forehead, 'Bangalore,' I answer with a sigh. The dynamic duo left without much ado.

The sizable Israeli population that resides in Hampi has ensured that kids like Raghu have become cunning linguists, jumping tongues from their native Telugu, to Kannada, to Hebrew and finally accented English, like the Israelis. They're everywhere, communing with friends and family, flower children with their children, nature starved corporates, youngsters just done with their compulsory army duty, all drawn by the call of a land free from laws, a land free from societal norms, a veritable Valhalla a foreign land called India where they treat everyone with qualm.

That isn't to say that the local folk are ravenous foreigner-chasing wolves. They reserve a special place in their resorts and hearts for anyone who will smile and address them in respectful Kannada or English. In terms of acco, across the river, Shanti in particular offers a primo view of paddy and the dare I say it, mighty Tungabhadra. There have been rumours of croc visitation and even nesting but I haven't seen one, through several daylight and stumbling nighttime jaunts to the riverside. Among the rest (save a few who will try and con/wiggle/beg/semi-demand money from you) there are people who will smile at you, their white teeth shining at you from two hundred meters away, as you whiz on by on some speedy Gonzalves TVS Luna, people who will wave you down and politely offer a seat at their son's modest wedding table, people who will reach out and shake your hand, tiny tykes screaming 'hello, hello' with glee. People who will make you smile, chuckle and laugh.

Then you have the monuments, some crumbling, some recently refurbished, some showing strains of their many moons under the baking Hampi sun. The Vithala Temple Complex and the Queen's Bath in particular are worth their walks in gold. The alluringly named Concubine Bazaar leads up to the slightly spicker and spanner Achyuta Temple Complex and is a desolate walk. The constantly bustling Bazaar street with the imposing Virupaksha Temple complex towering over one end, is a source of cheese, history and food and the occasional procession. The ruins aren't particularly ancient in comparison to even Delhi but have a good 700 years on me.

If all this excitement hasn't got you scrambling to call your travel agent (we wish), then let me introduce you to the bounding, gravity defying, stupefying array of boulders, some eerily forming the shape of Hanuman's head (Monkey Hill). The temple topped peak is an easy climb even if your last bout of guilty exercise was back during the Cold War. The view from up top is tear jerking. The rhesus monkeys are best ignored. The venerable Baba of the temple will bring out the chi if he's in the mood.

Deliciously tarred roads snaking through endless green paddy fields connecting the Anegondi (Hampi’s old capital) road to the humungous many-laked reservoir. Here, pray that you run into a resourceful teenager called Raghu/Salman Khan (he likes to keep changing his name) as he will willy nilly procure for you chips, beer, biscuits and huge rubber tubes that you can float on in the vast reservoir. It's also good for a swim, if you have the suit and the confidence. The reservoir is trippy as hell, on a full moon night but be warned that on a sweltering day, there is little shade hereabouts to give you welcome respite.

There is also an aspect of Hampi that brings out the closet ornithologist in me, screaming out bird names like a frothing maniac while my companions look disinterestedly at me, politely nodding at my more frantic appeals. Yes, kind patrons, Hampi is also for the birds.

And beasts, and semi-humans, and simians, and humans, and hippies and everyone with a mind for seeking magic. It took me 23 years to get here, it’s going to be a while before I can say goodbye.