Wednesday, August 01, 2007

The craters, brun maska, a cuppa tea

I opted for another hour of my beauty sleep.I didn't have to spend 2 hours travelling to fort for my meeting. My sister had already promised to get me there in 45 minutes if I agreed to drive faster than I usually do. The roads are clear and there's only a small bad patch(with a few potholes) she added.
The Bombay Port Trust road doesn't have a small bad patch. It has only bad patches of huge crater-like potholes, so my 45 minute drive was more like a trip to the moon's surface. We dodged potholes and bullock carts, and more potholes and trucks and lo and was a scene straight out of Die Hard 4. A trailer truck had almost overturned and then changed its mind before turning turtle by precariously balancing itself on all its right wheels while the left wheels were up in the air like a dog spraying a lamppost.

The eventful drive did however prove to be much shorter, with no traffic signals and lesser cars.
What does one do at 9:15 am when you're 45 minutes early for a meeting!! Yasdani bakery beckoned, and we sunk out teeth into a warm brun pav with oodles of maska spread on it. A piping hot cuppa followed. Life's little pleasures are sometimes experienced in the most unlikely places...the old, rustic parsi bakery is just one of them.

Satiated and happy with both, the crater laden BPT road(for saving my travel time) and the brun maska(food always makes me happy) I started yet another day on a happy note.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Rainy Days and Sundays..

The skies opened up and overwhelmed the earth and her parched occupants. Relentless and incessant, the downpour rendered many-human, mammalian, amphibian and other forms of life in various states of despair.
Safely tucked in bed with 'tuesdays with Morrie' my only displeasure was at having to cancel my weekend plans to paint the town red. The rain Gods summoned and I stepped out on a rainy Sunday to burn a few calories with an evening walk.
Gulmohur and copper-pod blossoms, the season's last mangoes, countless limbs of countless trees, a dozen egrets, a couple of dead kites...were all strewn over the colony garden. On the close inspection the pariah kites blinked their eyes, the only part of their drenched body that showed any sign of life.
They spent the week between two rainy weekends lying flat in our garage, letting me hand feed them and nurse them back to good health. As the strength returned to their almost dead bodies, they took to the sky, with one last circular flight around the house as if to say goodbye.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Traffic Police Encounter in Sion!!!

I grew up on large helpings of 'values' dished out by my grandmother. So, yesterday when a pot bellied, bribe-crazy traffic policeman stopped me at Sion for alleged lane cutting I arrogantly refused to slip a fifty rupee note in my licence. When I opened my wallet to hand over my licence he eyed the fifty rupee note right next to it, expecting me to subtly offer it to him in exchange for my 'freedom' and my time. We all know how painfully time consuming it is to follow-up with the traffic police to claim your confiscated licence.
Infact, along with my even fiery sibling I put up a fight. The cop had let a few BEST buses cut right across my little sunshine car, almost crushing me against the divider in the middle of the road. 'You don't argue with a Traffic Policeman' my Mom scolded me later. Common sense refused to prevail and 'Values' took over instead. 'You are your values. Stand for what you think is right.' Grandmom would be proud of me.

The next day, after having to give up on my beauty sleep, which is a weekend ritual I drove to the Police Chowki to get my licence.
The receipt the Mamu had given me mentioned something about appearing in court after 15 days for 'guidance'. Also something about the 'offence being compounded...'. Failing to understand what it meant I imagined myself standing in court defending my grave crime-lane cutting!!! "Mein yeh Gita pe haat rakh ke kehti hu ki saach ke sivah aur kuch nahi bolungi'. And maybe if they decided not to arrest me after all I would swear again." Mein yeh Gita pe haat rakh ke kehti hu ki kabhi, kabhi lane cut nahi karungi.'

At the police chowky it was a different story. Another pot-bellied mamu sat at a dusty, grilled window collecting money, tearing receipts and returning people's licences. It didn't get any eventful than that. His peon spent forever looking though dusty drawers for my licence which was no where to be found. A paan chewing cabbie yelled on his mobile phone while paan stained spit dribbled down his chin. He was just one of the many errant commuters who drove on Mumbai's roads and every now and then ended up breaking signals, lanes or sometimes just falling prey to a greedy hawaldar who hadn't made enough pocket money that day.

They finally retrieved my licence, charged me a hundred rupees, gave me another receipt and I was to drive away hoping my next encounter(which is inevitable on the Mumbai streets) with a Traffic Police was decades away. And if by chance I encounter one soon I still know ' I am my values'

Friday, June 01, 2007

One Cuckoo flew over my nest

Here's the story of a female cuckoo bird that flew over my nest...
In distress, chased by the crows, voicing her fright and pain rather loudly she found her saviour a security guard who drove her tormentors away and brought the injured bird over to our place.
No amount of coaxing got her to eat the fruits offered to her.
Hurt and probably hungry after spending 2 days with us she set on another journey in a dark cardboard box to 'Karuna'. Karuna is a NGO which helps animals and birds in distress. She is hopefully in safe hands and on her way to recovery.

For information on Karuna -

The website has some useful info- phone numbers for Karuna volunteers, phone numbers for snake rescuers, etc

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Baby Boom Time!!!

Slumber-kissed nights interspersed with the incessant chirp of baby budgerigars in my balcony has been my pride of the last couple of months. As the first brood of youngsters left the nest, the diligent mother set herelf to the task of raising another brood. Set to the endless task of cleaning her nest and feeding the ever-hungry fledgelings, her day seems busier than any regular birdie.
Budgerigars, natives of Australia, are very popular pets all over the world. Hardy, easy to care for and easily bred in captivity, the birds rarely survive if set free. I've known people who set their budgies free in an attempt to give them a better(free) life only to watch them being pecked to death my crows.
My neighbour recently rescued two budgies that someone had set free and had ended up on the crows' lunch menu.
Do educate people that though it's wrong to keep animals and birds caged, it's only fair to let the ones that were born and bred in captivity to live their life safely in the captive environment they're familiar with. That is the only world they know and setting them free only makes them easy prey for cats and crows.

Butterfly Effect!!!

I got home after a tiring day at work on 5th Feb and logged on to check my emails when a friend pinged me to tell me that my 'butterfly effect' photograph which I'd mailed to Hindustan times was selected for picture of the week and was published in their 5th Feb Edition of HT Cafe.

I'd photographed a male common eggfly butterfly that I'd found sitting on a leaf, basking in the sun.

The male and the female of the species are markedly different.

For more info on the species-