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‘Left’ enlightened

Bangalore Mirror. Monday 02 November 2009.
http://www.bangaloremirror.com/index.aspx?page=others&do=epaper


The city’s rather exuberant traffic has given me more than a fair share of Bangalore Bombaatness to revel in. The timing of something that happened recently, still cracks me up.

Fade in: RT Nagar traffic junction just after the Hebbal flyover. I was among the first line of vehicles. Having just caught up with my friend soon after my recent return, I was relying on the movement of other motorists around me instead of paying attention to the traffic lights ahead.

As engines started to rev., I pushed the pedal and inched forward before noticing that the green light was still off. A good few vehicles had sped past and I hesitated, though way ahead of the stop line.

As a driver still outsmarted by continually reformed and ill-marked roads, my perplexity was mounting to near panic. My friend had gone completely quiet and I was effectively solo.

Never to be beaten, this is what …

Moon hydrograde Earth and other Article-ations.

Bangalore Mirror. Friday Oct 23, 2009.

With all this talk about Chandrayaan finding water on the Moon and others finding ways to challenge its potability on Earth and still others ever more determined to blast the last rocks there to squeeze out whatever it can from the regolith, the gushing vision of life-saving hydrant pouring down from the heavens above, for the time being, stays hypothetic.

Wonder what a vaastu expert’s take would be on this. To which direction of the orient would the moon be of us earthlings? Whatever the order there, Mr (or Ms depending on your parent culture) Moon has been quite a talking point nevertheless. And with my little boy on the watch, the cosmic forces always point to one plane – entertainment. There must have been some strong lunar vibrations even on that day then, when on his first solo net crawl, he happened to land on a web page on, who else but moon-man, Neil Armstrong!

That week at school, the topic of exploration in English was the Articles, a, an

Time tides over

Emirates Parent Plus. March 2010.

Smiling through nothing more than a snooze after an entire week of exasperating sleep deprivation, I looked at my son, smart in his crisp whites, chin-up and thrilled to be back in school after a long and well-deserved break.

Having beat the rush hour, we reached school unexpectedly early that morning and with all room doors still shut and maintenance staff only just trickling in, there was not much else to do but wait.

The virtually empty school building worsened the heaviness in my eyes as we sat there, just the two of us, my little boy leaning on my knee. It’s been a year since we officially started life in Bangalore and one question repeated itself through the fatigue weighing me down into the cold steps outside the classroom: “Is there anything I wouldn’t do for my child?”

Again, I looked at his beaming face, now bobbing up and down along the row of floor tiles, when my eye caught the poster on the wall behind him. Boldly calligraphed was: “Many p…

Article-ations

I never know what will bolt out of Space when my little boy is on the watch. Under his visor, this week, was a web page on Neil Armstrong. At school, having covered a short chapter on the astronaut, it so happened that my son’s first internet search on the man, coincidently, presented itself on July 20, exactly 40 years to the day Mr Armstrong first stepped on the surface of the moon.
Small step. Beat 1.In the Language part of the same subject, the current topic of exploration is the Articles, a, an and the. We had completed an extensive worksheet and other exercises, by the end of which my son was quite a little master of their usage.This is what shocked me earlier. He repeatedly intoned: “The-is-used-with-a-par-ti-cu-lar-noun-or-with-the-name-of-some-thing-that-is-one-of-its-kind. The-is-called-the-de-fi-nite-arti-cle. The-in-de-fi-nite-arti-cle-is-used-be-fore-a-common-noun-that-is-sing-ular-in-num-ber. A-is-used-bef-ore-a-con-so-nant-and-an-is-used-be-fore-a-vowel-sound. They-are-c…

A truly poetic extravaganza

Deccan Herald. Sunday, June 14, 2009
http://www.deccanherald.com/content/7909/a-truly-poetic-extravaganza.html

Why pull a page out of history when you can step right into the book? And in a repository of such eminence, every single step I took bore the entire awe and reverence of my being.

The art connoisseur’s fantasy, the historian’s paradise, the devotee’s sanctorum and the cynic’s crucible, this sovereign city-state, seat to the catholic authority − the Holy See − contains itself within two succinct square miles of the city of Rome.

Like a jewel, Vatican City stands, tucked within its impenetrable walls, in the middle of all the din and razzmatazz that the Italian capital is famous for. Inside, its serenity is as imposing as its flamboyant opulence. Where the present is a breathtaking legacy of yore and the past just eyefuls above, the psyche becomes a humble melting pot of emotions that linger on forever.

In this vast conglomeration of museums beyond compare, each sculpture, painting…

Alternate, still mostly modern

Deccan Herald. Sunday, May 24, 2009. Edited as : An Alternate Modern Twist www.deccanherald.com/content/4122/an-alternate-modern-twist.html It was cold. And rainy. And grey. With the BBC weatherman promising cloud upon cloud for the next three days, spring-time London couldn’t hope to get more Londonesque. To beat it, we couldn’t find a better time to get more ‘un’Londonesque. So while most Londoners travelled away to the respite of holiday lands, we stayed put to enjoy the city-in-respite without the crowds, inching traffic and congestion charge.Destination: Tate Britain. Now before you tense your forehead, let me also add that we had in tow, our excited son full of seven-year-old beans. Yes, I am still talking about ‘the’ Tate, and what was expected to be a rather sombre journey through 500 years of British art and situational history, quickly turned into an invigorating little excursion, most enjoyed by our delighted little boy. Time has certainly moved on fast. If we are here in a…

Let’s turn over a Neem leaf

Deccan Herald. Sunday, March 22, 2009. Edited as : Turning over a neem leaf
http://www.deccanherald.com/Content/Mar222009/sundayherald20090320125295.asp

In a reversal of roles, the hunter becomes the hunted and clambers up a leafy tree to escape the tiger. Night falls and the tree remains his sole refuge. Fearful and hungry, his restive fingers incessantly pluck leaves off the branches, dropping them below. By day break, the tiger is clearly out of range, so the hunter lowers himself to the ground and spots a heap that the leaves he had been dropping through the night, had made. He also spots that the tree that gave him shelter was a Bilwa tree and the heap of leaves had made a mound on a Shivalinga. Instead of foolishly defying the animal or running aimlessly in sight of it, he trusted his instinct and gained succor of a tree that shaded him from danger. His adversary at bay, he walked into freedom. Little did he realize, then, that his hunting days were over, and not just instinct, bu…

Is trust just a listed word?

Deccan Herald. Sunday, March 15, 2009 (ref: Full circle )http://www.deccanherald.com/Content/Mar152009/artic20090314124029.aspAlove-struck adolescent dished out 45 rupees for a single stalk of red rose. There were more in line for larger numbers and even gallant bouquets. Some others hovered ever so romantically about their belles while I simply watched with a smile in my heart. Inadvertently, though, I was also darting my eyes around protectively, just in case there was a vile party pooper, eagerly waiting for his hapless victims to make the first mistake.To my relief, even the black cat decided against crossing the road and walked tamely along the pavement. What I also saw was an undeniable fear relegated to an external cache, certainly not accessible for that day.

In another part of the city, the Aero India show zipped ahead. The crowds on the ground thronged with a gusto overwhelming enough to match the daredevilry of fighter pilots manouvering their supersonic toys through heart-…

Paradox of poise

Deccan Herald. Sunday, 22 February, 2009. ref: 'Whim-bledon' Turn left off Wimbledon Broadway and take the 4th right into Effra Road. Tucked away at # 124, the temple priests piously go about their daily rituals - intermittent jingles of the holy bell soundless, outside double-glazed parameters. For the uninitiated, a Hindu temple in the middle of this quintessentially English town, is the ultimate paradox. To those home away from home, it is a charming microcosm of a vast envelope that is the Indian subcontinent. A cozy bubble that will not burst. Hands folded and eyes closed in humble resignation to the remover of obstacles, I let the calm radiate through my being, disentangling my thoughts and revealing the way forward. Every once in an infrequent while, when my world closes in around me with conflicting desires and hazy identities, I look to my sanctuary - an oasis that keeps me from wilting, sound and proud in the knowledge of who I am. I leave its threshold, reconnected …

Shikari Shambhu phir phansa!!

Shikari Shambhu’s all worked up:
he’s seen some felines prowl.
His cuppa tea still steams the cup
But Shambhu’d rather growl.

All geared up from head to boot,
Rifle on shoulder, he’s ready to shoot.

One look to his left,
he glints to his right.
He huffs and he puffs-
oh! what a brave sight!!

Behind that bush…
Right down the hill…
He tweaks his mush
all set for the kill.

Slowly and slowly
he goes all the way.
He thinks of nothing holy
while barging through the hay.

A whisp in his ear,
an ant up his leg,
a shriek from the rear,
makes him stumble on a keg.

Pinned on the ground
there’s a brief coloured pink,
with hearts inside round
and squares and in link.

But Shambhu is now blind
with a rage young things dread,
unless they’re the kind
that yearns for his tread.

Back-up comes quite soon enough,
with bricks and bats in place.
They pounce on pairs whose luck runs tough
and rejoice in their disgrace.But the Ranger finds this errant boy
and pulls his dipped hat straight.
Not spared, were those who worked his ploy
when bars rei…

Full circle

Complete with song, dance and fabulous midnight fireworks, we bought in the new year, even this time, with much frolic and fanfare. Against my own expectations and to the surprise of a few others, the undeniable (thankfully waning) fear set in our consciousness was relegated to an external cache, not particularly sought after. While the DJ unleashed his music and our facial contortions suitably magnified heroic gesticulations, many minds were thinking the same thought: the crowd turnout was less than half of what has hit the dance floors on this evening every previous year. Though it gave us more room to flail about, it was also perturbing to a point − would the evening be reported as merry in the morning papers and would the New Year truly be Happy.At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world hardly slept, a geyser of fireworks lit up the sky and bouquets of colourful sparks drizzled over the larger grounds beyond. Stringent army and police cordons ensured that all roads were s…