Chaand : Ek Kavita


Yesterday was full moon night and I could not resist capturing the glorious moon in my camera. I think I am in love again with the moon. Composed these few lines as I stood bathed in its lucid moonbeams.

Aaj yun lagata hai mano

pighal raha hai chand aasman me

chalak rahi hai chandni

har shakh, har zarre, har qatare  se,

khamosh hai raat

Bheega sa hai  aalam sara

aur kuch bheega sa hai

mann bhi mera

Suno,

kuch gunguna rahi hai chandni

hawaon me kuch sangeet sa hai

tham gayi hai

kuch pal ke liye ye raat

chupse se ghutno ke bal chal kar

chaad aaj  intne qareeb aaya hai

ek tashtari

maine bhi rakh de hai

apne dil ke  aangan me

kuch tere pyar ki boonden

Tapak  kar  gir jayen shayad

aur mil jaye meri

beqarar pyasi  rooh ko

shayd kuch sakoon

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A wanderer I met Last Night


yesterday's moon

Where have you come from O wandering moon

Is it from the land of sand dunes and oceans

Did you glide past his window

and see if he was longing for me ?

O luminous messenger of love

Do you have any message , some news

from my beloved?

Did he cup your face  between his fingers

and whispered sweet nothings for me

Or was he indifferent and veiled  his heart

and turn his face away

shutting you out

from his reclusive world?

silently I watch you move behind

the sad and lonesome leafless tree

trying to hide

your tear streaked face

Oh ! do not grieve for there shall be

a happy ending for you and me

in some other time and space

Go lonely wanderer

do not linger

shed your

ink black robe

and the gloomy Grey clouds

that hang around you

The sun awaits

in its Infinite Incandescence

illuminating the entire universe

and like me my friend

wait for the miracle to happen

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Banaras Revisited : Snapshots From Memory Lane


In the year 1931 on March 31st  a girl was born to Ramchandra  and Varada Moghe. The eldest of six siblings  she grew up in Theosophical Society and did her schooling and graduation in the Rajghat Education Center of the Krishnamurti Foundation, a beautiful 300 acre campus full of trees, overlooking the confluence of the rivers Varuna and Ganga, on the outskirts of the ancient pilgrimage city of Varanasi.

Fortunate to be born in that time and place, she became a part of the rich cultural heritage of  her birthplace. Her home was a hub for Music, Theater, literature  and she grew up listening to music maestros like  Siddheshwari Devi, Kanthe Maharaj, Gohar Khan , Bismillah Khan.

Many personalities from politics, music, art, theater, literature visited TS and she was fortunate enough to Listen to them.  Famous writers of hindi like Jaishankar Prasad, Munshi Premchand , Sarojini Naidu stayed and worked from there. The family was closely associated with  J. Krishnamurti, and many others.

Her father taught at Basant College and her mother ,  a homemaker and a B.Sc graduate from Ferguson College, Pune , among other things, designed first of the kind science workbooks for small children in Hindi .

After post graduation from BHU her Job took her to Rishivalley in 1953. She frequently visited her parents and later  married a lecturer of science  who taught  at the boy’s college run by Krishnamurti Foundation now called Rajghat Besant School. My dad was a close associate of J.Krishnamurti and worked for the Krishnamurti foundation.

Her last visit in 1959 was the end of her romance with the city of  Banaras for the time being.

Now after 45 years My Ma took a sentimental trip down the memory lane with my brother who was born in TS Varanasi.

It was an emotional experience and not a religious one. Although the city had changed considerably since her time, she was able to go to places where she spent her childhood and yearly youth, the molsary, mango, neem trees under whose shade she played with her friends, the house where she stayed and the school and college where she studied.

Ma was married in Sarnath ( it was an inter caste love marriage ) . She was unable to take pix of the beautiful Sarnath due to some problem but fondly narrated to us about the majestic yet serene stupa and the excellent museum which shows the rich display of Buddhist and bramanic culture. The temple of Buddha with lovely wall paintings depicting the life of Buddha  by Japanese painters and the Bodhi tree where Gautam Buddha attained Bodhisattva.

The Ashoka pillar still stands there in Sarnath shinning beautifully even after so many years. Photography was not allowed at many places even near the major temples in Varanasi , the Kashi Vishwanath temple and the Sankat mochan Temple.

At the age of 79 my ma has a spirit of a child and she managed the cope with the travel, crowd and narrow lanes full of bulls and cows and people, the heat and dust in spite of her very frail health  to look around and make the trip a memorable one for her.

I am glad  she was able to fulfill her desire and it was a joy to watch her describing all the details with so much happiness.  Now she wants to take us there and  that is one trip I am looking forward to.

I am sharing some of the pix  with all of you , A snapshot journey down the memory lane through my mom’s eyes. Hope you will enjoy.


Sunrise at the Ganges

Mom could not take many pictures in the city due to her health condition and as she puts it , she wanted to absorb it all in her eyes rather than in the camera so most of the pix are from the ghats and TS, Rajghat compound .

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Banaras has many ghats but some of them are famous for religious purposes. The boats are called Dongi in local language and the house boats are known as Bajda , the boat man is called mallhar.

A ghat is a very special type of embankments that are actually long flights of wide stone steps leading down to the river where people can take a holy dip.

Dashaswamedh ghat, manikarnika Ghat, Manmandir ghat are some of the famous ones. Manikarnika is where the cremations take place and also the last rites and rituals for the dead are performed by the Hindus.

After the breathtaking beauty of Ganges  Ma took some pix of TS  and Rajghat which are a treasure for all of us.

The buildings of the Theosophical Society were designed by Surendra Nath Kar an architect from Shanti Niketan. and the sculptures and reliefs at the Vasant college were created by Rudra Hanji fondly called Rudrappa , a friend of my grandfather. The old Banyan tree is a memorable part of ma’s childhood. The Montessori school where she is sitting on the steps is now an assembly hall. The steps were designed in a way so that children of the age group 3-4 could easily climb them.

Ma and a friend under the beautiful flower shed

The TS compound

Morning view of Ganges from Rajghat

The bridge on the river is the oldest and was the only bridge during ma’s childhood.

The Old Banyan Tree in TS

The Varuna river has been turned into a small Nalah ( a dirty river stream where all the drainage water goes) The pic shows the confluence of Varuna and Ganga .

Ma will complete 79 years on 31st march this year and I am delighted to travel back to her roots through her.

Thank you ma for the pix , for all the interesting stories, for the delicious mithai 🙂  and the prasad from the temples. It was the most memorable  day spent together.

Avant Garde Awards,A Post on DV male victims, Votes and Tuesday Thoughts


This seems to be the longest blog post title I must have come up with. 🙂

It is a hot sunny day here in Delhi and over the cup of coffee , with an engrossing football match going on between Liverpool and Manchester United, I am trying to work. Don’t know why but I am in a reflective mood today.

Reason?

A lot of inner chatter.

Questions that seek answers but hang in the air unexplained.

I had got mixed response when I wrote this post about male victims of domestic violence . Not everyone feels comfortable to talk about an issue which needs a lot of understanding and support.

I have yet to come across people who can boldly come out and raise their voices, share their experiences and discuss openly about this issue. That is more true of Indian men, here and abroad.

Something holds them back. Is it because the law is more sympathetic to women across the globe? Or , Is it that the image created by the society comes  like a barbed wire between their hurt and justice.

Read on here In Silence I suffer, the hidden hurt

Although the story line and the names are changed, this is a true story of a friend. He  suffers terrible mental and physical abuse at the hands of his wife… Both of them are educated… He is the sole bread earner and on top in his area of expertise… Yet once home, he gets brow beaten and even physically beaten up by his wife although  stronger than her, he just accepts what she deals out without any attempt to defend himself. The severity of her abuse has increased over the years… He seems to accept this as his lot and does nothing to come out of this dead-end situation… What makes him accept this kind of treatment when  he has so many options before him? A question I am unable to answer.

Over the time that I have known him I see a very fatigued, hurt, pained man searching for love and dignity he so much deserves and  trying to make the best of what life has given him. It is very easy for us to comment and advise but to go through this hell every day and manage it all takes courage and strength.

Especially with Indian men rooted in family bonds, traditions, age-old dogmas and the rules and regulations forced on them by the society, it becomes a tough task to simply move away. Not many can muster u[p the courage to  take on the so-called social stigma of  “abused husband”, the jeers and taunts and the shame attached to it.  Man is seen always as a opressor and never as a victim.

Sad but true.

I am glad the post was picked up by the judges of Avant Grande Bloggies Awards  and reached the final voting.

Do vote for me Here

if you think the issue need attention.


Ssomehow all of this has come at a time when I am myself trying to figure out about relationships, love, marriage and has the institution of marriage has failed completely. Yes, It has I feel. I write about DV ( both men and women suffer from it) , and many forms of it and yet I am unable to take control of my situation. Does it make me more sensitive to those who stay in a relationship for one reason or another and can never break and cross that invisible chain that sets their boundary. Married now for 19 years i am still searching for the answer.

This an issue just like marital rape which always get pushed under the carpet. I hope these men who suffer in silence will come out and start afresh  and find a life full of love, peace and dignity which they deserve.

May be it’s time to  think WHY?

May be it’s time to look within.

Ones again.

Do leave your views and pass the link to friends if you find this worth sharing .

Of chocolates and secret hiding places


Who moved my chocolates?

“Life is like chocolate, it’s the bitter that makes one appreciate the sweet”


The scene opens at T’s Den 😉 ).

The main Male protagonist visibility shaken by the events of the day is speaking on the phone with his MIL. The anxiety writ large on his face.

The main Female protagonist is furious and is holding a court . The accused or for now I can call them suspects are her two teenage children.

The offence – robbing their mom off her two precious bars of dark chocolates .

The question that baffles MP is How can the mother control the kids if she herself is equally childish ?

Childish ?????

The FP is pained. Only those who have passion for the sacred thing called chocolate or chocolat as the French call it can understand the feeling .

Sensuous, silky, bitter, sweet, nutty, fruity, intoxicating aromatic chocolate.

The arguments continue and the tension mounts . The suspects plead not guilty  but their plea is brushed off .

The MP is still trying to find some logic and calls his wife’s mother for some much-needed help but discovers that  the chocolate crazy MIL is proving to be of no help and is actually siding by his tantrum throwing wife.  He is not amused. He curses and slams down the phone .

The boys have taken a vow of silence (any thing you say will be held as an evidence against you) and are pretending to look as innocent as they possibly can.

The questioning continues.

The bars of chocolate in question were hidden at a secret (supposed to be secret) place to be eaten at leisure at some perfect time but now that box stares at the owner. Empty. Not even some leftover crushed pieces. No sign of any evidence.

The situation is grim .

After  long session of one woman verbal onslaught everyone is tired.With damp eyes and broken heart the FP declares that the suspects are grounded till they confess or at least find the culprit.

There is a loud protest and slogans about child abuse and freedom of children and their rights .They all fall on deaf ears.

The court is adjourned .

The MP tries to put in his efforts to calm the situation but there seems to be no end to the flying tempers .

The boys want the sanctions to be lifted. The FP wants her prized possessions back. The MP wants peace on at least one Sunday of his life.

FP decides to take a day off from the kitchen and pulls a quilt over her head and sulks. NO Chocolates,  No FOOD.

The suspects bang the door to their cell (room) and accuse each other of having put the other one under suspicion.

The MP picks up his car keys and rushes out in rage .

Uneasy Silence descended at T’s den.

The scene closes.

Scene 2 opens with the MP placing two new bars of liqueur filled dark chocolates on the table with strict orders to the boys to lay off them.

After an endless wait the FP finally decides to work on her beloved  PC and leaves the sulk bed to come to the other room.

Her eyes catch the gleaming bars of deliciously sinful bars of chocolates on the dinning table .

With rising emotions she picks them up and places them close to her heart. In a matter of a moment all her anger, hurt and pain  melts away.

Such are the magical soothing effects of chocolate.

There is a sigh of relief from MP who knows that it is time for one more happy ending .

The suspects sit on their beds waiting for the verdict.

FP finally gathers her emotions and sets them free of the charges under Benefit of doubt.

The younger of the two boys gives a tempting mischievous smile to his mother, who in turns hugs him fondly but one thing is clear.

Nothing in the whole world can make her share her chocolates, you have to earn it to eat it .

Afer the incident the kids learned some new state of the art tricks to outsmart their mom. They say every generation is better than the previous one. 😀 My kids certainly are proving it right and my mom never fails to give that evil smile that says .. “I am loving every bit of it,  you deserve it all honey.”

Zephyr’s post Hide and Seek reminded me of my childhood days when mom tried her level best to hide food stuff  like laddus, toffees, burfis, cookies, chocolates and other such sumptuous delights and I would always ferret them out. It was a great advantage to a die-hard foodie like me that my elder brother had lactose intolerance and all the sinful basundi, ashrikhand and other yummy stuff came my way including the nuts and raisins which he disliked in the smooth flowing kheer etc.  but still I resented that ma should make that extra effort to hide laddus ets.

She would tell dada where exactly she had managed to hide the laddus for him and he would look at her with pity, knowing the box would certainly be empty. I never disappointed him. Ma still hid things.

The fun part was that the places she decided as the safest easiest to find. Something to do with my being super sensitive sniffer. It was not just the usual things that mom had to hide, unusual stuff like imli, anardana, etc needed much more protection. The case of the missing imli ( tamarind) remains a popular story that ma loves to narrate to my kids when I complain of their  hide and seek adventures.

As a little girl I loved to eat raw tamarind and ma would hide it at most unusual places and one day when she would be off and in mood to make that delicious aamti or sambhar  she would call dada to recover the goods only to find that her plan had failed . She would only find traces of the tangy delight and some pits. 😀

I would close my eyes ,ears and pretend dead till the storm died down. Never had I imagined that I would get boys who would shame me with their awesome skills of not only finding the hidden things but also hiding them.

Blackmail is the only thing that sometimes works with them when I discover something missing. Unfortunately both my boys have developed exactly the same tastes as me and every time a drama like the one above takes place I feel guilty of doing all that I did as a kid. But these are the joys of childhood I guess. Childhood, did I say ? ;D

Well, you can’t blame someone for doing this,  it’s all about having undying passion and love for that particular delicacy.

It’s jungle rule here.

Take care of your stuff,.

Beware of the robbers.

Eat or drink as soon as the thing enters home to avoid being left out.

Eat your fill 😀

Keep cordial relations even with the enemy, you never know when you will need allies.

Discover new unthinkable places to hide your booty and

If you can not do any of this just show who is the authority here. 😉 That pretty much works.

One of the best places to hide chocolates is the vegetable tray in the fridge. Just put the bar or box there and load the veggies on top of that. Till now it has worked. 😀

The idea is to keep changing the secret hiding places every now and then and always keep your super sniffing nose clean 😀

Pariah Kite : Majestic bird of prey


Pariah kite ,with it’s brown body is a common sight in Delhi especially in the green Delhi Ridge. I was fortunate to captue some quite moments as this majestic bird of prey pearched itself to take a good look at the world below.

Delhi has more than 2,4oo breeding pairs of these kites and they are very well adapted to live in human vicinity.

This large, brown kite is easily distinguished by its forked tail, a feature particularly noticeable in flight.

Poetry in flowers


Bougainvillea cascading down in all its delicate glory

camouflaging the crumbling walls

symbols of peace, solace,  joy and hope

delicate wild butterfly flowers

fluttering, dancing,

whispering sweet nothings

to the morning breeze

carpeting the dusty lanes

with their soft bright petals

like  torrent of colorful words

poetry in flowers.

Poem : You are there


The footsteps of your soul

do not echo with mine

you are gone and yet

you are there

in every waking and sleeping moment

of my life.

I see you

in the shadows of my silent thoughts

and in the music of the veiled midnight

when the lonely crecsent moon

wanders in the sky.

In the whisperS of the wind and water

in the songs of the morning birds

in the sparkle of the light

that fills the dew drops

you are there.

In the pain that rises

from the depth of my being

and melts like a melody in my veins

you are there.

You are there

in the dark recesses of my mind

Where your love, still moist and warm,

breaths life into remains of my ravaged self.

you are there in the unspoken words

that hang amidst

the long conversations we had

and in the muted cries of the heart.

You are there in my

deepest yearnings,

my smoldering resentments,

my worries and hopes,

and my secret longings.

When the night plunges into the fiery dawn

and strains the eastern sky

you are there.

In the faint light of the moon,

which limply hangs from the

torn garment of the night sky

you are there.

In the unfamiliar eyes

that read my face and

the story written in them

you are there.

In the Splinters of memories

that dig deep through my soul,

leaving it bloody and bruised

you are there.

You are there in the

gaping spaces of my life

that yearn to be filled.

Tucked away somewhere in the crevices,

tear stained and crumpled, forgotten

like some old love letter

you are there.

I find solace in your being and not being

silence and reciprocation

togetherness and absence

knowing you are nothing but

a fragment of my dreams.

The Tattoo : Fiction


It was a wet afternoon in Mumbai and he was glad that finally he had found a place to call his own. He had found the job in the best tatoo parlour and they were really thrilled at their talented find. Finally he was progressing towards realizing his dream.
The building where he had moved in overlooked the sea and he had the flat on the sixth floor so the view from the balcony was breathtaking.He did not much like flats but there was no option.

As a tatoo artist he needed to do his creative work in peace, without any disturbance and the flat offered just that. He went to the window and looked out. The house next door was beautiful. It was a colonial house with a huge garden and shady trees. He had pleaded to the broker to get him the house but the man had vehemently refused for some reason. He loved to look at the house and wondered why no one stayed there. He could see the cobwebs and disheveled porch and garden and the swing.

The bell rang rather sharply.

“Who could have come at this time, in such weather?” he muttered irritatingly turning down the volume of the T.V.  He had been watching L.A.Ink.  Kat von de was his idol.

He did not know many people except for some clients at the parlour.

He opened the door.

There stood the most beautiful girl he had seen since he landed in the city. There was something in her deep blue eyes that held him captive for a few moments.

” yes? Can I help you ?”

She spoke in a voice that could melt any heart.

” Hi, you are a tattoo artist, right?”

” yes, I am”,  he said thinking someone from the parlor must have recommended him.

” I want to get a tattoo done right now. I don’t have much time.” She said in a velvety voice.

“Now, but I don’t do work from home, you can come to the parlour tomorrow?” She must be really desperate to venture in such weather he thought.

He was not interested but the temptation to spend some time with her was over powering.

“I don’t have much time, please ” she looked pleadingly at him.

” come on in”, he said still perplexed at this beautiful intrusion.

She sat very still as he worked on a multicolored angel on her arm.  Her skin was the color of ivory, soft and glowing. He felt his heartbeat quicken.

She remained silent throughout , gazing at the downpour and the roaring sea outside.

The silence was getting on to his nerves. He wanted to talk to her but did not utter a word.

After two hours of hard work  the tattoo was complete. The colors shone brightly on her smooth skin. She inspected the work with her deep intense eyes and smiled. Handing over the money he had quoted she walked out without a second glance.

He stared at her back till she vanished from his eyes. It seemed like a dream. He pinched himself and again looked at the money, his first earning since he came to Mumbai.

Closing the door his mind drifted again to the girl.

Unbelievable. He thought.

It was getting dark and there was no sign of the rain stopping. He boiled some eggs and made himself a huge mug of coffee.

Next few days were hectic and he hardly had time to relax but somehow his thoughts wandered to the mysterious girl who had visited her that day.

He asked at the parlour if they had sent someone but they had not.

He wondered who had told her about him.

One Sunday he finally got a day off and the Whole day he relaxed, shopped and did some work on his designs. In the evening he went to a pool party and  returned home late.

It was a cool night and the full moon was brilliantly shining in the sky.
He aimlessly wandered to the window and looked out. The house next door was bathed in moonlight. his eyes scanned the unkempt gardens. Something caught his attention. There was someone on the swing. He peered closely and his heart racing. She seemed familiar. It was strange, no one lived there. He checked his watch. It was around 2:30 AM.

Did he drink too much? He wondered. He just had a few drinks.
He brought the binoculars from the closet and adjusted them. His hands began to tremble as he focused on the girl and spotted the Angel tattoo on the ivory skinned bare arm. He removed the binoculars and looked again.

The swing was empty, slowly swaying in the still night.

Creative Recipes with Apple Cider


Apple Cider is one of the most loved drink all over the globe. Apple cider is not only delicious but also has great health benefits. It has natural antioxidant values and has vitamins C, E and beta-carotene (vitamin A), pectin and vital minerals such as potassium, sodium, magnesium, calcium, phosphorous, chlorine, Sulphur, iron, and fluorine which combines to protect against the cell damage that can lead to cancer and cardiovascular disorders. But the drink should be had in moderation to protect the liver.

It can be used creatively in any kind of alcoholic or non alcoholic drinks.
Here I share with you some of the wonderful recipes that can liven up the atmosphere of any get together and if you are drinking alone, there is nothing better than an Apple Cider delight.

1.
Lemony Cider

Apple Cider-120ml

Bacardi Rum-60ml

Sugar syrup- 10ml

Lime juice -10m

Crushed mint -A few leafs

Method:

In a cocktail shaker pour all the ingredients and shake well.

Pour in a high ball glass.

Serve with crushed mint on top.

2. Brainstorm (shooter)

Tequila- 45ml

Apple Cider-15ml

Put the ingredients in a shaker with lots of crushed ice.

Shake well and drain it into a shooter glass

Drink in one sip.

3. Punchy Cider

Ingredients:

1/2 Cup Water

1 cup Sugar (or less, to taste)

3-4 inch sticks cinnamon

2 table spoon Whole Cloves

1/8 table spoon Salt

750 ml Burgundy or other red table wine

2 Cup Chilled cranberry cocktail

1 Bottle Chilled apple cider

Method:

In saucepan bring water, sugar, spices and salt to boil.

Simmer 10 minutes on low heat

Strain-out and discard the spices

Cool the syrup.

Combine spiced syrup with wine, cranberry juice cocktail and cider.

Pour into punch bowl.

Add ice and lemon slices. (Ice Thin lemon or lime slices)

Source: Calgary Herald Dec 15/93 from the collection of K. Deck

4. Spiced Apple Cider (32 drinks)

Ingredients:

3.5 fresh Apple Cider

1 teaspoon chai masala

Chai masala recipe:

Perfect freshly ground spices (masala) mix, like cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cardamom and pepper.

Combine ingredients & simmer for 30 minutes.

Serve hot and use cinnamon sticks as stirrers. (Makes 32 drinks)

5. Hot apple cider (great for sour throat)

Ingredients:

1/4 tsp sugar

1/4 tsp honey

Method:

Add boiling hot water to mix it.

A little lime juice and stir.

Sip slowly.