Category Archives: Nature

Walk with me


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Let’s walk this way. You and me. The sun will shine bright for us. The shimmering water will add a glitter to our eyes. Take a look at the flowers meant for us. We won’t make them leave their homes for us, but we’ll be there to marvel at the thousand shades and fragrances they have arranged for us. Keep your ears open to the faint soothing music of the foliage and the birds, and your skin ready for the caressing breeze. Be keen - they only serve the most sensitive, you know. Won’t we accept their invitation? After all they are free!

The life – duties, worries, plans, money –  is a light year away. They won’t come to disturb us unless we invite them and lose our minds to them. They make us sick. Consequently we end up fighting. And why should we take along with us resentment and the doubt who had had the last word, instead of the bliss , which is again free?

The sun will soon take leave but there will be the charming night. Thank God the moon is not another star. The pale light is just right for us as we glide down the smooth slopes of sleep reminiscing the blessings of the day that had seeped into us through our senses. Tomorrow is yet another day! 

My village


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rubber close

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Jack fruit 1

banana

Jathi

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Pulhi

wildflower

Bamboo

Ripples


Now I am a lake.
Every skimming swallow
And every blowing breeze
Stir up ripples on me.

They spread out,
Grow wider but less intense.
Seconds,
Minutes…

I wait for stillness -
Patiently!
And then it sails in -
Peace!

I savour
The brief lull,
Till the  swallow or breeze
Returns to taunt or tickle me.

Let the swallows skim
And the breeze blow,
They can’t help it,
I don’t mind rippling either.

Fancy tickled


Words rarely do justice to the ‘spontaneous overflow of my emotions’. Yet, just an attempt to string the desultory thoughts.

It was stirred up a few days ago, by some delicate pictures and verse. Thank you, Usha, Shail, and my dear sister!

And it was taken to its peak by a film on TV. The familiar songs of that film had never evoked much interest in me. Prejudiced, I had written it off as trite. When I started watching, it was already halfway through and so couldn’t even get the storyline.

It was the dampness depicted that tranced me out. You will be wondering how a film, that too on the mini screen, can do that. Well, as the saying goes, it’s all in our head. The film may not appeal with the same intensity to the aesthetic sense of another viewer. It simply jibed well with my mood, that’s all.

 

The dark green foliage, the shades, the serenity, the sounds, the smell of the soil, the wetness of the forest… It all came trickling down to my soul, through something beyond my normal senses.

 Where am I? In the sweltering desert or in the middle of some remote rainforest? I couldn’t discern. I couldn’t control the urge to open the window, anticipating the raging clouds, the shroud of darkness, and the rustle or the rumble of the distant rain. The repulsive sun made me retreat to the forced coolness of the room.

My daughter once told me there is a special smell all about my parents’ house. (My husband and kids had been to that place only during the monsoons when the whole place will be soggy and cold.) While young I loathed the dankness for the creatures that crawled and crept in, seeking refuge, though snuggling under the covers, tuned in to the pitter-patter on the roof, ah, was bliss! (How I treated myself to the abreaction of that experience elaborating on Nissim Ezekiel’s Night of the Scorpion!  Much of it might have gone over the heads of my hapless students born and brought up here.) I used to yearn for the dry summers. Now that very same Dryness has got back at me!

Grateful to you film maker, cinematographer and the one who chose the location, for that treat!

Nine more months to go!

Nine looong months in between me and the heavenly showers…

Shore of peace and tranquility


This time I will go for a cool post.

Which is the most pleasant, cool colour? Of course, green. Have a look at these shots (stock from the last vacation – I have enough to last me for two years ;) ) and just start adoring green. The place is Alappuzha, Kerala.These pictures and the memories associated with those moments will revitalize me in the fatiguing summer. Hope you will enjoy them too. 1

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Come get roasted!


   “Hurray! Summer is here!” the dust storm announced last week.

I surfed to find out what my friends around the world are up to. The sporty ones are playing games, the foodies trying new recipes, and the fashionable after the fads of the season. Lucky people… I envy! But we, the desert people, have a different story to tell.

Here’s a challenge for you – come down to this part of the world at this time of the year, if you dare!      

  (On the way, don’t let those showy Bougainvillea flowers mislead you. They are kind of rebels, pretending to be cool with their shameless paper smiles. What right do they have to be called ‘flowers’?)

Keep this in mind - I won’t let you have a cool time within the air-conditioned rooms. Because you MUST be where the real Summer has been unleashed on:

* the streets where the laymen drudge,

* the growing buildings where the less privileged/deprived expats work their fingers to the bone, just a few feet below the bloody sun,

* the stuffed classrooms and the tin-roofed playgrounds, where the commoners teach, work, study and play….

(Sorry, I can’t enlighten you on the summer life in the other parts of the desert as I am not so familiar with it. But I guess it must be much worse.)

No, no, that is not enough to get the heat across. What about a dash of lava on my post? Step back!

Into some bitter realities at least a few of the schools have to face during summers:

  1. Summer schedule – it’s awesome! The glad news is that one should be up by 4.30 (usually this is time I will be chased by a lion in the land of Nod, or stupefied by an exam paper I am not prepared for.) to get into the school bus by 5.30 and reach the school by 5.55 a.m. Don’t worry, the nasty, insomniac Sun will already have lit up the whole city.
  2. As the mercury rises steeply on certain days we will have to turn off our AC’s to keep those in the class rooms running. (We do it without grumbling – call it dedication, sacrifice or such equally noble, dignified terms.) That means others who are not in the class rooms most of the time, including me, will be left with a few options. They can get 1. melted down, 2. roasted, 3. boiled, 4. simply evaporated. That depends on the stuff they are made of. I think I am wax – I am melting.
  3. After the first two or three hours of the confrontation with the heat, we will start getting hallucinations and see mirages. One may feel like a soaring hot air balloon, then gradually floating… It’s a wonderful sensation.
  4. You may be wondering how we cope with such hostile weather conditions. Thanks for the concern, but it’s just a matter of two-three days, after which …… we will get used to it. Invention’s mother (you know, Ms. Necessity) is a pretty good teacher. We have become wise enough to realize it will feel better with the computers and lights turned off – like ‘from the burning fire into the frying pan’. Ah, that’s a different version of the same experience. Just for a change.
  5. Advantages? Yes, I have ferreted out one. We can completely forget about the loo – our bladders will usually be empty, as the skin might have become too leaky to hold any fluids in. We only need to sponge up the sweat from the exposed parts of our body. So keep boxes and boxes of tissue papers handy.
  6. We have eked out one more advantage. Even in the school compound we usually wear the abaya, the full length black robe. But since last week we have thrown them away, because the heat is that unbearable! Now most of them have taken out their collections from the last vacation. Blessing in disguise. Lewd eyes go to hell.

I am sure this won’t scare you away and you will definitely include this ‘hot’ spot in your itinerary. On the other hand, if your summer schedule has already been fixed, in your prayers request Him to cut our summer short. And for your kind information, we have decided to stay back here for the summer vacation as part of our declaring solidarity with the local community in their misery. (Don’t be amiss that it has something to do with the skyrocketing airfares.)

Long live our trees


 Our little environmentalists from grade five did their bit towards creating awareness among the students on the World Environment Day. Aren’t their posters cute?

1. DEFORESTATION

2. SAVE EARTH

3. CHIPKO

4. COME TOGETHER

5. CHIPKO

6. AGAINST DEFORESTATION

Once again my favourite tree quote:

Only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realise we cannot eat money. ~Cree Indian Proverb

Forest to Fuel


There was a charming rhythm in the way they walked. But in that pristine surroundings the sight of their day’s collection was a bit disturbing and disheartening. However, I should not forget that for me it was just my pleasure trip while for them it is their struggle for existence where they cannot afford sentiments towards Nature.

A few shots from one of remote hills of Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu.
1.Women, forest, firewood, Kodaikanal

2. Women, forest, firewood, Kodaikanal

3. Women, forest, firewood, Kodaikanal

4. Women, forest, firewood, Kodaikanal

‘Save a tree. Eat a beaver.’


 You can’t be suspicious of a tree, or accuse a bird or a squirrel of subversion or challenge the ideology of a violet. ~Hal Borland, Sundial of the Seasons, 1964

(Therefore this time let my tree-photos ( vacation ’11), supported by the words of great people, speak to you.)


To heal mine aching moods,
Give me God’s virgin woods.
~Clinton Scollard

Alone with myself
The trees bend to caress me
The shade hugs my heart.
~Candy Polgar

The trees are God’s great alphabet:
With them He writes in shining green
Across the world His thoughts serene.
~Leonora Speyer

Trees are the earth’s endless effort to speak to the listening heaven. ~Rabindranath Tagore, Fireflies, 1928

Climb a tree – it gets you closer to heaven. ~Author Unknown

Trees are much like human beings and enjoy each other’s company. Only a few love to be alone. ~Jens Jensen, Siftings, 1939

You can live for years next door to a big pine tree, honored to have so venerable a neighbor, even when it sheds needles all over your flowers or wakes you, dropping big cones onto your deck at still of night. ~Denise Levertov

Oaks are the true conservatives;
They hold old leaves till summer gives
A green exchange.
~Roy Helton, Come Back to Earth

Trees are your best antiques. ~Alexander Smith

We say we love flowers, yet we pluck them. We say we love trees, yet we cut them down. And people still wonder why some are afraid when told they are loved. ~Author Unknown

(Can you spot a 'young' fool in the picture?)

God has cared for these trees, saved them from drought, disease, avalanches, and a thousand tempests and floods. But he cannot save them from fools. ~John Muir

(Not just one fool, but two!)

Trees are poems that earth writes upon the sky,
We fell them down and turn them into paper,
That we may record our emptiness.
~Kahlil Gibran

The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing which stands in their way. ~William Blake

Every creature is better alive than dead, men and moose and pine trees, and he who understands it aright will rather preserve its life than destroy it. ~Henry David Thoreau, “Chesuncook,” The Maine Woods, 1848

A tree which has lost its head will never recover it again, and will survive only as a monument of the ignorance and folly of its Tormentor. ~George William Curtis

Only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realise we cannot eat money. ~Cree Indian Proverb

The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit. ~Nelson Henderson

The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The next best time is now. ~Chinese Proverb

If I knew I should die tomorrow, I would plant a tree today. ~Stephen Girard

Save a tree. Eat a beaver~Author unknown

Their Grandparents’ House


My parents’ house is just an ordinary place as far as we
grown-ups are concerned. But for the kids who grew up in the artificial set ups
of the desert, even a blade of grass is a matter of wonder. Every nook and
corner offered them feast for their eyes. Let me take you along to some of
those scenes.

Giants in the neighbourhood:

For our neighbour, partitioning his property might have been
a big deal as he had many ‘giants’ to divide among his two sons. Now the sons
who live uphill and downhill have chained two of their elephants on to the
rubber trees in their plots. While the Trivandrum Zoo (at the State capital)
houses just one elephant often there were many around our house!

My kids were filled with awe to see them feed on the palm
leaves, the way they curled their trunks, the prize tusks, the fanning ears,
the heaps of elephant droppings, etc. The elephants were in an angry mood and
we could hear them trumpet unceasingly. I did feel sorry for them, though they
were taken good care of by their owners.

On our way back we spotted this millipede heading along. I
had a kind of aversion for such creatures, but don’t know why, recently I have
started admiring them. They are not jumpy like the crickets or the frogs, not
fluttering like the butterflies or the dragonflies – just cool and composed. Don’t
you think it is beautiful?

The nest:

The little humming birds (or better you name it) have been
the inhabitants of our place since my student days. Earlier they used to
construct their nest under the net above the well. When the drenching rains made the nest-making a risky affair, (once the nest almost fell) my father decided to guide them to a safer place under the eaves. He made all the necessary arrangements for the shifting and luckily the birds did not ignore the good intentions.

The windows of the drawing-room open to the live show of
their life and it was so peaceful watching it. The kids learned a few
practical lessons, more than what their EVS books offer.

Attending a wedding:

The last wedding I attended was eleven years ago where I acted
bride. Since then so many of my dear and near ones (including my sister) got
married but I missed every single one of them. This time I was in the thrill of
attending a cousin’s wedding.

The wedding ceremonies in the villages have not completely
lost their charm and above all their innocence. Everyone in the family will
have some role to play, making them feel an integral part of the ceremony, and
that is the beauty of the traditions.

On the eve of the wedding the brothers-in-law
(one being my husband) twisted the threads for the wedding knot. (For the first
time I got to know the concept behind pulling out exactly seven threads from
the wedding saree for this purpose.)

Another memorable event of the eve was a traditional
Christian dance performance, which reminded me of Kalarippayattu, the martial
art form of Kerala. The powerful Kerala culture permeates all our religious
functions – slight alterations are made just for the sake of giving them a
different identity.

(Idea stolen from my daughter’s holiday homework.) Moral of the blog: Now and then go through the assignments of your kids – you will get ideas to (blog)bore your readers.