The coconut tree

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Pic Courtesy : Beabeeinc.com

I grow straight up as years go by
from where I can see you below
while trying to eke out a living
going nuts with pressures in life.

The bark, the fronds, the husk
the nut flesh, the water and oil
do know I got everything to offer
as food or fuel to run your life.

Taste the milk from the nuts
enjoy the pure coconut water
you can eat the sweet ripe flesh
all you need to help preserve yours.

While stranded on a beach
waiting for help to arrive soon
pray to get an instance of me nearby
have the sense to break open the fruit.

To feed your thoughts and good self
do plant my seedlings and see me grow
you won’t be disappointed ever in life
for the Lord did make our lifespans equal.

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The Christmas Hope

The chill with the winter is here,
the holidays are back to rejoice
time to go on a shopping spree?
and what would you dear like
now that Christmas is here again.
Is  it easy or difficult to make a choice
would you buy a red robe, a hat
this time as a sweet year ends
indulge in those cute presents
for a poor kid on the street
to whom Santa is a distant dream
that I would like you to fulfill…

 

Wishing all my dear readers, Happy Holidays, a great Christmas and a Happy New Year ready to unfold into our lives!

Childhood Memories

Coming back to playtime during school days in the late 70’s in Mumbai. We did have the physical training classes but the instructor was always missing and therefore were free to play any of the games that we liked to. Some of us used to run around the school building in a “Catch me if you can” game, some used to loiter around the playground and others would visit hawkers who used to descend during that time, while some used to be in the classroom, playing with paper made balls and whatnot’s.

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Pic Courtesy: FSLIndia.Org

During recess time, there used to come, a few hawkers who could understand our weakness for sweets, especially the chikkis(sweet made of groundnuts and jaggery) and the cotton candy, the sugar balloons that we used to call them during those time. The chikkiwala (hawker who sold the chikki) had a chisel with him which was used to chisel out portions of chikki from his large circular plate, which he used to keep on his bamboo stand, away from our prying hands if not from our eyes. I thought during those times the chikki was costlier than gold, the way he used to hand it over to us for our 5 or 10 paise coins.

The process of making the cotton candies was enchanting for us, as the hawker used to make it a point to do the preparation in front of our eyes, so that most of us would come out and stand around him rather than going to any other optional hawker who offered his services to us on that day.

Since we used to reach home by 1 PM, there was plenty of time after lunch for a quick nap, and then to look up your books, or keep it for the evening and dash off to play with your friends from the building blocks for a game of cricket, marbles, bow and arrows, where both bow and arrow was made of discarded umbrella frames in the rainy days, or roll a metal ring across the roads barefoot and maneuver them brilliantly. These rings were from automobile frames, and so on..every metal thing in those days had a value as far as kids were concerned..

After such games or a round of story telling where kids used to gather around a story teller, who was one among them, and the sun setting would take them to their homes to ponder over their books and deciding priorities as to which homework needed to be completed based on the strictness of the subject teacher. By 8:00 PM most of us used to hit the bed to be in shape for another day at school that started at 7:00 AM.

This was the regular routine unless one fell sick when he or she had the complete dayin bed to give free way to the thoughts that used to hover in the mind like butterflies around a flower.

Then came the short vacations in the form of Diwali and Christmas, when one used to pay visit to relatives staying in the same city, and spend days with the cousins going to parks and beaches. Most of the time in such visited houses was spent in reading since most of them used to go to work and we would have to wait for them to take us out, when they returned from their respective offices.

The Summer vacations were a time when most of the kids used to go to their native homes that used to be in the same state or in different states. There were also a few who had no native homes to go to, so they stayed in the city and played all day except for going home for certain breaks. Since it was hot, some parents did not allow their wards to play in the sun, so playtime was restricted to, in the morning and the afternoons when the shadows came on to the playing grounds. During the rainy season, the ground would be transformed to a football ground. During a long lasting shower, this could become a mixture of fine clay, when some of us would try our hands at pottery.

During summer, when the bullock carts came laden with ice meant for restaurants, that was covered with saw dust and jute blankets to keep it from melting, all of us would rush behind him. As he took his knife to cut out the ice block, we stood in attention, to gobble up the pieces of ice that would get scattered on his cart. Come marriage in nearby community halls, we would rush to savor the ice cream and the cool soft drinks, unwelcome visitors though we were, the host never did mind us visiting such reception parties…

The Boy of Tidings

It is still dark in the city as the sun was yet to wake up at the horizon from his deep slumber late last evening. It seemed he was tired of peeking through the clouds brought about by a cyclone that had ravaged many a southern state and was still streaking to conquer uncharted territories on the Indian west coast trying to make a landfall before it died down. The Ockhi cyclone had made a surprise appearance at the southern tip of India and  churned the Indian ocean and the Arabian sea much to the horror of coastal towns and villages and had played with the lives of the fisherman community who had travelled the high seas during the last few days. Though it ran shy of the indian coast so far, the wind  the churning waves and the rain had in its grip the towns of Kanyakumari, Nagercoil, the Kerala coast and had ravaged Lakshadweep islands, the damage of which is still to be known.

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Pic Courtesy: The Hindu

The newspaper boy had already started his work near one of the many bus stops in the city, trying to sort out the many news papers and magazines that he need to carry across to homes to those news hungry and elderly people who would wait for him for happy tidings as he would swirl the newspaper at them from a safe distance. He still had a good aim to reach somewhere near their outstretched hands, as if it was a offering from the gods at dawn.

But today, the winds and the slight rain had made his job difficult. Navigating his cycle through the pools of water on the streets from the overnight rains, he had to go and find out a dry stretch on the steps of each house where he could safely deliver the paper full of news that should not be drenched while his eager readers this day decided to stay within the safe confines of their home instead of looking out to welcome him.

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Running late, he saw the morning sun after so many days in his distribution work. The  sun with a mighty effort had finally gathered himself and had started his journey across the still cloudy skies. As he looked down, the only movement he could detect was a tiny boy braving the cold windy weather going to each home with a sheaf of papers…

The Lost Salary

Anand was a happy man today. He had counted his salary twice as it gave him a nice feeling as his fingers touched the crispy notes. After all it, it would not remain with him for long. He checked the wad of notes in his pocket when he climbed on the bus, once more while he was seated and when he left the bus at his door step. Thank God, it was still there, but he knew, all these would disappear soon. He wondered if inflation was the main thief in the country.

“Good evening Anand, you look a happy man today, am sure it is the salary, ” remarked the grocer Dayal, to whom Anand owed a month of grocery bills. “How much do I owe you, Dayalji? asked Anand bringing out the wad of notes. Painfully he parted with almost 20 percent of his salary. As he approached the gate of his housing society, he saw Ramu, the milkman with big milky teeth, waiting with glee on his arrival. As they parted, another 1500 had vanished from the crispy notes. The measure of happiness had already started vanishing along with the size of the wad of notes.

The society office boy came next day morning well in time to catch him before he left for the office to collect the monthly charges. Anand’s wife asked him to keep a 1000 for the cooking gas cylinder that might arrive any day. Just as he wanted to contain any more spends, he bumped into the newspaper boy who collected another 750 for his 2 newspapers that satisfied his morning ablutions.

With the electricity bill giving him a shock, as he paid it at the electricity office, Anand wondered how many more debits awaited him, now that a paltry sum remained from the salary he received, a few days back. On the train, the ticket checker asked for his ticket or pass, which he promptly showed. The checker handed it back with a smile. Only when he was putting it back, trying to make meaning out of the smile, he noticed, that the pass was expiring the next day. That means another set of notes would vanish tomorrow.

The second day evening, coming back from office,  he saw boys at his apartment complex trying to get a tangled kite from the network of television cables. Anand called the cable boys lest these kids might wreck havoc on the cables. They arrived in minutes but only left after collecting their monthly due payment.

Anand was now left counting as to what remained and if he had enough money to survive the rest of the month after provisioning for miscellaneous expenses like bus fare, school fees, vegetables and fish at the market where they would not give him credit. Despite the lost salary, he firmly decided with the next salary he would buy a small camera, a thought he had been cherishing for so long…

Diwali Greetings

Here is wishing all my readers a Happy and Prosperous Diwali. May you enjoy being in the midst of loved ones, among the festivities and the celebrations and all that the Festival of Lights brings with it.

Diwali marks the homecoming of Lord Rama with his wife Sita and brother Laxmana to his kingdom Ayodhya after 14 years of exile.The victory of Rama in the epic battle of Ramayana symbolizes the victory of good over evil.

Diwali Dates

  • Dhanteras : 17th October 2017
  • Choti Diwali  : 18th October 2017
  • Diwali : 19th October 2017
  • Govardhan Puja : 20th October
  • Bhai Dooj : 21st October

 

Lost in a forest

survivetheforest

Yet another from the Lost Series.. Reading Time Max.10 mins Words:1530

It was quite some time you had been thinking of driving through a forest and your dreams turned a reality last month when your visa came home along with your passport through a friendly travel agency where Mike or Mac made it possible for you? The travel flight to to the  airport at Tiguasa was itself a 7 hour saga with a 3 hour overlay at Kanwabe airport where there was this one flight every alternate day to Tiguasa you had taken. This place was situated in the expanse of the 500 hectare forest reserve that had been carved out of the 2000 plus hectare woods of Sagwarosa where all sorts of wild life abounded.

The gamekeeper office had given strict instructions for everyone to follow. The visitors should slice themselves in the 8 passenger traveler bus that would take you through the heart of the game as they called it. The first trip would start off at 9 am and end at 4 pm and was properly charted for the inmates of the bus to see most of the wild life that abounded in Tiguasa. Not much of the great cats were here save the occasional leopard and a few old lions somewhere hidden away from these day trips made in the bus.

Coming back to the itinerary for the day. It had begun well with a decent breakfast with a lot of vegetables coupled with Brown bread and a serving of hot coffee mixed with coco lending it a chocolate taste. The bus or van as it appeared was rumbling away as the 6 passengers ascended it. It already has a seated driver (who it seems is a new guy substituting for someone else who seemed sick today) who would flash a beaming smile at every occupant including you as they got seated. The cushions in the seats were a bit old and torn of at a few places especially at the edges making you think of what did happen while the tourists eyed some creature that came their way.

The bus took off on a winding and dusty track such that the dust from it would come into the bus at times. The air conditioner of the bus was built in legendary times since it did little to cool the inside and appeared to be more of an oven rather than a cooler. At the back of the bus where there is enough room can be seen lying a bunch of bananas.

It is at this time you pass a cursory glance at your fellow occupants. There were it appeared by the magnetism of the mannerisms two couples and an elderly gentleman. Sensing your glance, the elderly gently put out of his hand to introduce himself. The name is Stein and when your hands shook his, it nearly shook your complete self. Others also joined in..John and his wife Rita. Lin with his pretty wife Long who appeared in her early twenties.

You are sitting in the left rail with Stein in the front row whereas the 2 couples are chatting on the right wing of the green bus. The driver is humming a song in his language looking back every now and then for appreciation but then all occupants eyes are busy scanning for any forest native who might grace that way. First sighting was of a fox who was disturbed from his sleep by the mechanical Fargo bus and meandered his way to a better sleeping place or to wash his face you would never know.

Then came a flash of parakeets with long tails and a fast of yellow on natural green. They created quite a commotion as they flew over the starboard side only to disappear into the distance.

On the right side after a ride of 15 gruelling mins, there appeared a large natural pool that looked more of a waterhole with an assortment of animals quenching their thirst and preparing themselves for the day ahead. A small gathering of deer, a resident hippo and a few buffaloes could be seen. You fish out your digital camera as you saw others do the same and start shooting pictures of the silent hurdled group. The deer are on alert ready to bound at the first sign of danger, the hippo has a tired look at the bus as if he has seen this for quite some time. The buffaloes seem to be in two minds whether to move on, or share some space with the hippo. After a few minutes of anchor, the bus moved on to another place this time where the bushes and shrubs gave way to a bunch of trees with hanging branches. The trees look properly watered as the green leaves on them make you think so.

What was that? there now, you could hear some chilling cries of some animals, and before you can connect the sound to their owners, there appear a few elephants on a rampage, it seems one was trying to get away from others. He finds way through the narrow road and the thickets and almost overturns the bus. The other bunch is playfully behind him but they are a bit slow as they see the bunch in the bus including you and drop their investigating trunks in the now fully stopped bus. Where are the passengers and the driver? They have somehow gone and ran for their lives, as you were wonder struck with the trunks of the playful mammoths. You had some sense in you to get out of the seat and drag those banana plantains to the near reach of the trunks of those medium sized elephants. They grabbed it out of the open windows just as you were transferring it to them. In a jiffy, they disappeared after they had gobbled up the food, leaving you to yourself.

Taking the bottle of water in the small bag, you get down and start jogging on the look out for your fellow passengers who are nowhere in sight. The jogging person in you makes a bunch of monkeys come down from their lodgings and try to harass you or that is what you thought allowing your legs to make a dash out of that scene, to a much thicker part of the woods. The next bus should be on the way in another half an hour, but you are reluctant to go anywhere near those monkeys who now have stay put on the road.

There are quite a collection of trees here as they give you cool shade and it would be better to climb a branch or two to be on the safe side. As you grace up a tree holding on to the tighter twigs that support you as you ascent, some sticky substance on the branch make you lose grip and cause you to fall headlong as the twigs give way and you land with a thud on the soft sand below.

You don’t know how long you were in that state, and by the time you are back to your senses, it is dusk, you get up with a nasty headache and take some time to find your bearings. It was a wonder that you were safe on the ground all these hours, maybe the forest goddess was taking care of you all this while. The bag has fallen some place and you search for it with final success among the fallen leaves. Grabbing a gulp or two from the water bottle, your senses are alerted to some noise coming this way and you try to scamper up another tree but it seems your left leg has a tearing pain and is unable to help you much in the process. After making a couple of attempts, you try to flee to somewhere near the road, that is some meters away. There on the road, you try to stay and before you can think you see two hyenas at around 50 yards walking towards you.

That is it, you think, this is the end of me, I was supposed to be killed here and you resign yourselves to the fate in front of you. But the winds of luck change in your favor instantly as the same rampaging group of elephants come your way from the right in their usual frolicking manner and when they see you, they are delighted and stay put amusing you with their trunks resting on your shoulders, some on your stretched palms wondering what else you have got for them.

A few more minutes, a motor car grunting across the road comes to a halt, and a couple of rangers get down to salvage you as the elephants gladly make way for them, and you are so happy to see some human faces now. Upon enquiries, you were glad to know that the co-passengers and the driver had met the ranger’s vehicle minutes after they had dashed out of the bus. Now that the day trip had come to a close with the Sun bidding bye, the memory of Tiguasa however getting etched for life where you had almost got lost in a forest.

My father was the richest man on Earth that day

A father’s Love…. A beautiful post by Rakhi Jain.

Thoughtsmith's Corner

I was studying in the first year of college. Our hometown was two hundred kilometers away from Delhi. My father applied for a hostel accommodation for me. Many relatives were local but he insisted on my living in the hostel. He said it taught young people to interact with friends from different backgrounds. Managing on our own, instilled independence in our personality. For a middle class family it meant a lot of expenditure.

First time living away from home, initial months were tough for me. For a small town girl, metro life was a culture shock. I was living with girls from super rich families. There were daughters of beaurocrats, army generals even foreign diplomats. It was a surprise watching their enormous collections of expensive clothes and shoes. It took me months to make likeminded friends. I missed home and rang my family often.

Once papa came for his business trip…

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