August 30, 2009

August 23, 2009

Dreams

The autorickshaw driver might dream about buying a Nano. The slum dweller might dream about a small house made of bricks where he and his family would not get wet when it rains. The rich person living in a posh house with a garden might dream about growing that exotic plant, or owning a BMW. Just as there are as many realities as there are people, there must be as many kinds of dreams as there are realities.

I dream of justice. Many years ago, my family of gentle, genteel people were cheated out of a beautiful old house by a cunning builder. We faced tragedy and disappointment, we were denied what was rightfully ours. We have been living in a flat on that very land, trying to forget what happened, and getting on with our lives, putting the past behind us. Our children, who never saw the old house say once in a while, "Oh, we could have had beautiful birthday parties in the old house...why did all this happen?"

Many trees were cut down when the old house was replaced with this complex. With heavy hearts we allowed it to happen. But to the left of the building, there were still some trees remaining when we moved here...huge, old trees, one Alphonso and three sapota trees, all bearing the tastiest fruit one would ever find...and tender memories going back a few generations, associated with them. We could still see the birds and the bats from our balcony, and hear the insects at night. Then one day, a few years back, the axe got them too, and soon they were gone, leaving behind stumps, and some more memories.

The pain will never go away. The agony of what could have been gnaws me time and again. Others in the family are luckily more philosophical and spiritual, and believe that perhaps it was meant to be this way. But I am still angry and restless on and off.

Now suddenly an opportunity to do something in the place where the mango and sapota trees had been (last year this time, this had seemed impossible). I waited and watched, hesitated a great deal, and today, I put forward one little step. I got some saplings to plant there, of my choice---tree jasmine, cordia, tulip tree, tabebuia, sampange (the old house had one). Maybe I'll get a bakula too.

To me the planting of a tree represents hope.

A minute part of a dusty old dream is returning, and I tread very cautiously towards making it happen.

But I am afraid of this dream.

August 15, 2009

Independence Day 2009

Flag hoisting on our terrace, flag hoisting at daughter's school, and then in the evening, a building get-together for some fun and games with I-Day theme. Did a lot of research on the internet while putting together a quiz for the evening. While at it, I discovered some great music for the audio round. Here's a link to one version of Vaishnava Janato.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VS1QkpPltNw&feature=related

Do listen to it...it is lovely.

While searching for the songs on the net, I also came across many proud-to-be-Indian comments by NRIs, especially on YouTube. Ditto with comments on FaceBook.

My simple brain cannot understand why, despite such a deep sense of belonging with India, they cannot return to live here, the land they grew up in, and the land where their ageing parents and other family still lead a happy life. Writer Jaya Madhavan in her column in the Indian Express this morning, talks about her life in the US, before she retrned to India, when she felt, "In the land of seagulls/the crows try to merge with the snow".

They go for a purpose, I understand that. But why do they not return?

August 13, 2009

The rain, it does not come

It has not been raining at all. There are clouds...there have been clouds ever since the rainy season began. But it does not rain. It rained on 7 June as though to keep a promise, but practically nothing after that. Drizzled one day a few days back, raising some hopes. But once again, dry clouds. It is as though the clouds have forgotten how to rain. As though humankind is being punished for the way they treat nature.

The yagnas didn't help this time. Nor did the frog weddings, or the cloud seeding.

It truly is a dismal time. More than 170 districts in India already declared drought-hit; farmers committing suicide. Swine flu making big bad news every day. Terror threats, of course---the new world's malaise. Prices of commodities have already been high (tur dal Rs 108 a kg)...one can expect further price hikes. It is depressing. Maybe I should stop reading the newspapers or watching news. But even if I do that...how can I escape Yahoo's smooth news capsules? And I definitely cannot ignore the clouds...no technology needed there.

There have been years like this in the past. I tell myself it will pass. It has to pass, and there have to be better times.

My ever-optimistic mother says we still have the rest of August, and the whole of September. It will pour...and we will at least have ground water. I hope she is right. As they say in Hyderabad, "Aapke mooh mein ghee shakkar!"

August 08, 2009

Mother, daughter, grand-daughter

I dream of being able to paint, sing, dance, act. I can do none of these, but attempt to do them nevertheless! I present here, rather shyly, some colours from my amateur brush...

August 02, 2009

Butterfly on water

River Krishna in Vijayawada. This butterfly looks cool and happy...but in reality it was struggling to fly away. The water seemed magnetic, pulling it in...

Something philosophical about this scene.

An apology to Africans

We have had a professional connect with Africa for a long time. While at ICRISAT during the eighties, we met and were friends with sever...