Saturday, May 29, 2010

Eyes of the beholder.....

(Submitted for the
Travel Photo Blogadda Contest)

I am not much of a photographer when it comes to profusion of colors, compositions, brilliance etc. These things leave me tongue-tied as well as hand-tied.

And so I take pictures of things that convey an oddity/story/situation to me....

This was in the Cellular Jail in Port Blair, Andaman Islands. The floor which houses the cell occupied by Veer Savarkar. The rooms were nothing to speak of either in size or ventilation. But each room had this huge cast iron pucca latch, which actually went through the wall before it engaged with the door on the right, for locking. In a completely unplanned way, the evening Sun ensured that this would be a prison photo.

Singapore Jurong Bird Sanctuary
. What was captivating was the attitude of the flamingos, as their keeper appeared with , maybe , instructions.

What made me laugh was the supreme indifference shown by some, presumed paying of great attention by some, and lots of inter-flamingo chitchats that were in process , with them blithely showing their backs to the keeper. Reminded me of lots of meetings back home, and just a little bit of the Miss Universe contestants , given the grace and statuesqe bearing and confidence of the flamingoes...

Ross island, very close to Port Blair , Andaman Islands
, was a British military settlement before independence. Almost like a town. Today it houses the ruins of the old settlement and an establishment maintained by the Indian Armed forces. It can take several hours to completely go around the island. Wandering across a complete ruined settlement, while returning to the boat, I came across these ducks, marching so, in line, led by the commanding duck.... Just thought the ethos was so appropriate....

Mountains and peaks, stretching far into the distance, at the Grand Canyon, Arizona, USA, a fossilized tree, appeared to be invoking something , hands raised to the heavens. The thick branch on the left seemed to be opening up a beak, crying out. Surrounded by the amazing panorama of mountain colors, small peaks and plateaus , bare and strong, standing through centuries in support. I often wonder what such a tree must have observed over the hundreds of years...

At another point , at the Grand Canyon, the Colorado River, snaking through the valley deep below. I thought the plateau on the right actually resembled giant feet, of some standing deity or super entity.

The hugeness of the feet matching the grandeur of the Canyon; a watchful patron God, as it were, supremely standing on the river bank and mountain, protecting the ancient set up....

Monday, May 24, 2010

Whackers of the world, Unite !......

(Submitted for the Blogadda
"Whack!! this Wednesday" contest) (747 words).

Just think. The amount of times you’ve wanted to shout at a complete stranger, and when beyond tolerance,in plain words, whack him/her.

Then read on, and thank the Internet for allowing you perform the violence virtually.

Standing at the signal, several kilos of veggies loading my clavicles, waiting for a pedestrian signal. The signal changes, we start crossing, when a really fancy car, continues to move ahead. Tinted windows, uniformed chauffeur, guy in sunglasses reading a newspaper in the back, cellphone stuck into his ears.

The inability to notice signals, the defiance of civic norms, and the lack of concern for some who may come under its wheels is inexplicable. The crossing public, me in front, intersect with the car. Shouts falling on closed windows. The car doesn’t stop. A direct hit on the bonnet of the car with 5 kg of vegetables in a bag does the trick. Today, dented cars count more than dented humans. No dent anywhere on the psyche of the fellow inside, who seriously needs a whack.

Sometimes , it’s the way folks drive their minds. Like at the local recreation centre, open to all, with certain rules. You’ve stood in line, obtained permissions, followed rules, and noticed how sincerely the folks who work there behave. Comes someone, whose bigness of mind falls hugely short of the bigness of his emoluments and position in the hierarchy. He shouts and threatens the guy at the counter, because he dares to point out rules to him, The big chap is a month late doing his renewals. He speaks about going to higher ups. What an amazingly bad example to the young ones there. But abuse of power has made him deaf and blind. I wish it made him dumb too. Seriously needs a whack, or even two.

Ten years ago, I was lucky to rush with someone, in an ambulance, on a Sunday to a big hospital some distance away. A plaintive siren today, falls on deaf ears in traffic. Some cars and buses tentatively move to the side, but are thwarted by two wheelers, that plague Mumbai roads today. They squeeze through gaps, even scrape past your toes, overtaking the ambulance. The ambulance and the patient in trauma, struggles through the traffic, led by two wheeler monsters who think they are pilot wheels leading a luminary’s car. Whacking is really the minimum these guys need. They can’t be whacked enough.

Take the guy with his shameless moves in a packed bus. Standees only. Double the amount of people in half the space. Women, children, office goers, seniors. You push your daughter ahead of you, and stand directly behind her. But everyone doesn’t have someone. Another young girl struggling with her books and purse, trying to reach the exit. The queue moves every now and then when folks need to get down. The girl pushes ahead followed by a “decent” looking fellow, close behind, who presumably also needs to get down. She gives him a disgusted look as she darts to the door to disembark. He grins, and gets down at the last minute. I watch with growing anger, crushed somewhere in the middle of the bus. She could also be my daughter; the guy needs to be severely whacked.

The elderly lady who has driven in to buy some fruits from the gully off the main road. She trudges back laden with bags, and sees another car parked at a weird angle , making it difficult for her to leave. She knocks on the drivers side, where some guy is busy with headphones, stretched out in A/C comfort, waiting for his Memsaab to return. He ignores . She knocks, the bags of fruit loading her uncomfortably in the hot sun. She walks back to her car, then back again to knock. Finally a kind soul on the road does some concentrated window banging. The fellow inside erupts, abusing the kind soul and the lady. Possibly emulating his master. I’m disgusted. No amount of whacking will suffice here.

Sometimes it’s the pool. It’s the peak of summer. Changing rooms are crowded. Mothers more concerned about swimsuits, Children, least bothered. We go in to change. Loud conversation between two mothers in change cubicles, on fairness and dark skins. Running down of a good swimmer who happens to be dark. The trouble is, she is there, in the changing room. The mothers have just miseducated their kids.

The question is, how do you whack minds ?


Whack them hard!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Has politics gone to the dogs ?

The Bharatiya Shwaan Sabha recently held an Extraordinary General Body Meeting in the far corner of the Rose Garden at Rashtrapati Bhavan.

While there have been rumours circulating for sometime about the brewing discontent in the Shwaan population in Lutyen's Delhi, things came to a head on repeated barks received from Karnataka.

The fuse was lit when the BJP president recently referred to Mr Lalu Prasad Yadav and Mr Mulayam Singh as dogs who liked to lick certain feet.

Reliable sources indicate that unrest actually began when an ex-PM called the Karnataka CM a Bxxxxxd, and then people were at pains to explain that this was like calling someone a son-of-a bitch.

Tiger, who is actually a dog, but the President of the National Shwaan Sabha, protested vociferously at being associated with the two Yadav's , and called this the biggest insult faced by his party. He was accompanied by Don , the Karnataka State Shwaan president, and was being interviewed by Varkha Mutt on the lawns at India Gate.

" My party, the Bharatiya Shwaan Sabha, has been the only party with no defectors so far. Our members have participated in all the country's law and order events, and played a leading part in the fight against terror. We Bow only in front of those who are Wow. Thats the Bow-wow principle......

We do not like being associated with geriatric ex-PM's and their spouting of abuse , neither do our lady members like explanations being given by others. The Ex-PM may have been called Kaminey in Parliament during a no-confidence motion, but we Kuttas of India have very different standards. The Left has been advising us to hold out for Shwaan Reservation Bill. But we are real patriots, and prefer to spend our time in active duty rather than making deals in Parliament.


Latest reports indicate a massive gathering of dogs at Parliament House, getting organized to hold a protest rally. Several dogs from Raisina Hill were seen racing into Parliament for the Rally.

Delhi Police, have sent a posse of their best chaps to guard the House, and avert any possible biting altercation, where the two Yadavs are concerned.

Of course, as in any political party, entry of a goonda element cannot be denied. This is particularly important in view of the fact, that latest news from the Health Ministry indicated adulteration in the latest rabies vaccine bought in large quantities from Bulgaria.

According to the latest Home Ministry notification, the two Yadav's have now been elevated to Z+++ security, in view of the threat and bite perception from the Shwaans.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Death:, by a sister, of a sister, for a sister....

Whodunnit ?

(Submitted for the Mystery Fiction Blog Contest at Blogadda. Ajay Nair has written a story called "Reunion", laying out some clues. He also paints a great picture of the mentalities of everyone involved.

And we are supposed to solve the mystery. Possibly happened as below.... in 398 words :-) )

Lila was democratic that way.

In death, as in love.

She had experienced and distributed her love equitably in impulsive, willful , hurtful and careless ways, and commitment to an individual, never kept her from seeking new pastures. Her leap from paramour to paramour was always dramatic; courts, cases, shooting, riding off cliffs…. The gift of a virus from G, and public perception of that virus, today, didn’t always imply death, and she was smart enough to know that.

Unlike Sia.

Who never really got on with Lila, never wore the snake armband. And Lila never forgot the drowning episode.

Sia, who Lila was never able to control.

The person who died was actually not Lila, but Sia.

The drugged tea was meant to throw suspicion on the narrator. The bullet necklace kept the pointer firmly on R. The scarf was a reminder of M’s wild behavior which she suffered. Her interaction and tangling with G was public matter, and couldn’t get any worse.

Sia went in last. Lila, probably convinced her to wear the armband , once , for her sake, and Sia did, not knowing that the red on the snake head-hood was actually blood from Lila’s arm , studded with the virus. Lila probably offered her a sit-down tea, two sisters, having a presumed last tea together.

Sia reeled under the poisoned tea. Lila, giving up all pretence, got up, and forced her to exchange clothes, and places. The spread of artifacts on the floor and bathroom was probably the extent of a surprised tussle. Lila wore Sia’s clothes, and emerged outside, head down, weeping. Everyone of Lila’s suitors, would be sympathetic to a desolate sister. The tears would work.

The tea was having its effect on Sia. She came out after Lila , wanting to explain.

But no. She shivered. It was affecting the brain, and she was confused.

She emerged in Lila’s clothes, wrapped as a patient would be. No grace and charm , like Lila; but a woman trying in hurried gestures to convey something, which never emerged.

T'was all over. . The meeting, the reunion, and this world.

She shuddered and returned to the room, unable to comprehend what was happening.

One illuminating moment , it occurred to her that she was drowning.

Lila had not only succeeded in pointing fingers at her paramours, but she had won in the end.


And you know, regardless of what one looked at, in Lila's house, the predominant image that stayed in the mind was this .