Saturday, July 24, 2010

Silence of the hands

Two hands
Sometimes four
One pose
Many meanings

'the protective' hold
'this belongs to me' clasp
'save me now' clutch
'what can I do now' knead

forever mine, embrace
stay close, finger-loop
dance with me, intertwine
all enclosing, hand-scoop

young and new
wizened and old
resting or fidgeting
twined and alone

so much is said
in the silence

** ** **

Sunday, July 4, 2010

But Series-ly


Things somehow fall in place.

Some things are meant to be.

What goes in, how it happens -

knows Nobody!

Somehow, some law

Governs all things.

A natural balance maintained

What is ordained to be, IS!

And then man steps in.

Mixing it up,



Even here,

Equilibrium steps in

Knowing or not

A Beauty in symmetry!

And this write-up is for the photo series – on series, on man-made symmetry and how there seems to be a pattern. Of its own, or with a nudge.


Saturday, June 19, 2010

Pati, Patni aur Woh: The Karadi story


You have to talk to THAT lady. 

Yes, the cute one standing right there. You muster up enough courage. Finally. And walk down to say hello. Just about mange to break the ice and there enters the twist in the tale, sivapoojayil KARADI and the kabab-mein-HADDI.
Hmm, not just in life but also in business. You wait hours to get an intro to the key contact you’ve been chasing for ages. And just when the discussion starts flowing, the danger-man enters. And you have to start all over again – to accidentally bump into THAT person at the drinks bar or at the hotel foyer, waiting for the car! “Oh, funny bumping into you here…hah hah…by the way, what are you doing tomorrow….Could we…..

This blog and photo series is dedicated to the Haddis of my life who somehow manage to elbow in, just when things started going well. And continue to do so.
I would be remiss not to mention the segmentation here: The professionals and the innocents!
The professional karadis:
Always there. Prowling! Never fail to impress. Never stop at nothing (sic)! Obtuse to a fault. Smooth as silk. USPs include Premeditation, Perseverance, Observation, Timing and the knack!
I should know. I belong here! (along with my fellow compadres whom I am duty bound to name – CS, Koo, Gokul, Sowri: leaving the biz karadis unnamed – coz, well, got to do business. Paapi pet ka sawaal hai)
The inadvertent haddis:
Not a clue. None, whatsoever! But they always manage to be at the right place, wrong time! Unintentional, Involuntary, Accidental – but again (seemingly) forever in the vicinity:  “Hey, I never knew you’d be here” will be the clarion call – and internally we would be fuming “OK, get on with it. Can’t you see I am busy with….ahem!” 

Not just breaking in, these haddis would be so glad to have met you that they plonk themselves right there. For minutes that seem like hours.

Pati, Patni or Woh – is thus a metaphor. For the in-between. The intruder. The one that doesn’t belong there (for that moment at least): But someone we will have to learn to live with and ‘Adjist’.
Grin and bear it.
With a smile!
* karadi = haddi = intruder, trespasser, prowler, gatecrasher

Wednesday, May 19, 2010



பயணம்  இதுவரை சுவைதான்
போகும் பாதையிலோ திரை  தான்.

நேற்றைய  நினைப்பிலே  மிதப்பு 
நாளைய  கவலைகளின்  துடிப்பு.

என்  கையில்  இருப்பதோ  இன்று 
அதை  ரசிப்பதே  நன்று!


Sunday, May 16, 2010

A little bit of green in a sea of RED

The earth is bleeding – for humanity's sins. That is the message I take from the huge exercise conducted today morning.

Chennai Trekkers had organized a city-wide movement to clean up the beaches of Chennai. Over 1000 volunteers covering the entire beach spread of the city. An amazing endeavor and a worthy response from the citizens of Chennai!

My group were the ‘Warriors’ but I would rather prefer the name ‘Crazy Cleaners of Palavakkam’ – the beachfront allocated to our gang of 30+ folks was North Palavakkam. The area allocated was approximately one square kilometer with Ranjith at the helm of affairs. The day started off with us forming a straight line (PT class, anyone?) and the distribution of plastic bags, gloves and instructions.

Green for bio-degradable waste and Red for non-degradable nonsense. Hence the title of the blog. All we found was Red Red Red everywhere.

Folks who frequent these beaches have zero care of the damage being done by them. Education is secondary – basic civic sense is missing. How many plastic covers did we find in this one square kilometer? Thousands! Not an exaggeration here, plastic covers of all sizes, plastic spoons, wrappers, clips; it appeared as though this place, visited by many on a daily basis, has been in continuous use as a sanitary landfill.

As a researcher, we were told that until sometime ago (and some continue to do so, stealthily), folks used to scour the dustbins of target audience to study their consumption pattern. Some of them ought to visit our beaches. Broken brandy bottles, flung cigarette packets, plastic wrappers of chips/pickles and pan parag covers! Quite a story indeed!

The cleanup lasted close to two hours with an early morning start and included two short breaks. Backbreaking work in the middle of the May heat – but not a word of complaint from the committed crowd!

After clearing the beach, we attacked the adjacent road which also served as a walking path for nearby residents. Have they been walking with their eyes and more importantly, nostrils, closed? Apathy to the extreme and we needed a bunch of volunteers no way connected with this area to come in! Blame the government for all we can, ask ton loads of questions, give forth millions of unsolicited suggestions – but to actually do some work: “ Hmm Hmm – that’s not my job”, will be the answer!

A little bit of green in a sea of red. This refers to our ‘collection’ at the end of the exercise. So many Red bags, so few green; with plastic again being the main villain of the day – and no dustbin in sight for miles!

In my opinion, the purpose of this entire clean-up exercise is two-fold. One - to actually go and clean up our city and Two - to create an awareness and spread a message to the nearby residents and pollutants that they can contribute a mite or two towards the cause.

The cause of cleanliness and saving our planet. One plastic cover at a time!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The ‘experience’ seekers and the Khmer Cookie

Holiday travelers can be divided into two categories: The “Tick-mark Taras” of the world and the ‘Experience’ seekers.
(Sorry Tara, but “Tick-mark Thiruloganathan” doesn’t have a zing, does it?)

A lot goes into these categories but from personal experience, we tend to gravitate from one to the other based on the type of holiday, our companions on the trip and the all-important ‘mood’.

For the Tick-mark Taras, it’s all about the tourist locations and the ‘patel’ shots – and I’ve had my share of that. More than enough I should say!

And then the experience seekers – to get into the skin of the place being visited and do that ‘out of the ordinary’ trips. Scuba, Cooking, Gliding, Home-stays et al.

Now, to our trip to Cambodia; which got extended due to the political problems in Thailand!
This time around, we decided to get into another ‘experience’ – that of Khmer cooking. Now, my better half does experiment a lot at home and yours truly is the proverbial guinea pig – so, taking all that cooking to an international ‘lab’ was a natural extension.

We registered for a Khmer cooking class at ‘La Papier de Tiger’ – let me redefine that – she did and I tagged along as a photographer. This was done the previous night where we had to finalize the menu. We, but of course, went in for a previously non-existent veggie combination.

The day started with a trip to the market to pick up veggies, spices and other items required for the day’s menu. Quite an experience! The market was pretty similar to Koyambedu market (or Kothal chaavadi or Thaneethora!!!), except for the addition of live fish, pig-heads, crabs and other sea creatures! And the crowd! The head-chef/instructor of the day was Jenny and she went around guiding us through.

Back to base and was pleasantly surprised at how organized the training area was. There were five in the group, two from France, one each from the US and Australia and Anu from India. All washed pans and cutting blocks covered in cellophane. The ingredients/veggies were given to the ‘cookers’ and it started off. The focus was not just on cooking but also presentation and quite some tips were shared. Tomato flowers, Mango sickles and fancy carrots.

Anu made pumpkin soup, tofu and veg curry with rice and finished off with sticky rice with mango for dessert.

The entire jing-bang got over by 1PM after which we got down to lunch, actually the best part of the day. Food turned out quite good and each of them was handed a certificate.

(Don’t we Indians love certificates – whatever we do, we want that extra – whether it adds resume value or not….) J  

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Rokne Waala Kaun?

Rokne wala bas ek
Apni androoni awaaz
Chup karey chalaa chal
Apni nishaani banaaney!

Rahey khud par vishwaas
Choddey bhookh aur pyaas
Badey chalaa chal
Sikandar ban ne!

Ek sapna, Ek saathi, Ek Sena
Aur koi saath de na de
Yunhi chalaa chal
Duniyaa jeetney.