I spent Independence Day weekend in Pune, away from the madding crowd. Friends and I drove up to Sinhgadh on one day and the next was spent mostly wandering around Old Pune resisting all the tempting street food (damn, no matter how hard I try, food always comes up. And I was making a special effort to focus on our motherland’s natural beauty for this post-Independence Day post!)
I took the train back to Mumbai the next day (avec drama, of course), and though I had work to do, I resisted pulling out my laptop until the last tunnel was crossed and the crepuscular light made phone photos impossible. I’m amazed my little Nokia got such a clear shot of the waterfalls, less grand, admittedly in 2 megapixels, but still – not bad through the grimy glass of the
Koena Koyna Express!
It’s a different thing to have “don’t walk on the grass” signs on lawns, but this one – Please do not spit on plants – is posted in the lobby of one of the poshest, best known office buildings in Nariman Point, Mumbai’s financial district. The sheer necessity of having to post such a sign is what’s boggling my mind. How many people actually spat on the plants before the management put this up!??
I recently celebrated a birthday — and had myself a party. And got more flowers than I knew what to do with. Every single vase in the house was in use. Finally, I resorted to breaking up the bouquets and chucking the baby’s breath and other fillers to fit the actual flowers into smaller vases. I squeezed the remainders into a pen stand, wine bottles, and even a breezer bottle.
Fresh flowers — I think I’m addicted. Just looking around my digs makes me happy. Six days later, the place still smells great! And the corridor outside looks stunning, if I do say so myself 😀 So I had to document it with my camera phone and share my handiwork! Pause a minute. Take a deep breath. Maybe you’ll be able to smell the roses…
(The rest of the flowers have been photographed on my Olympus and, therefore, don’t belong on the blog.)
Towards the end of October and then through December, there’s a totally heady scent that cuts through the gritty grime, the fumes, and the general smell of something burning, here on the streets of Delhi. There’s a huge tree right outside my house, in fact. And though it’s done blooming, there are plenty in the neighborhood under which I pause just to inhale the scent. Late one night, a friend and I were going to coffee in Defence Colony. We parked under one of these near the gumbad, and asked one of the parking attendants the name of the tree. He did tell us what it was called but the next day neither of us could recall what he’d said.
But, then I asked my handy dandy walking-talking Encyclopedia-Botanica (my mother) and I hadn’t even gotten to describing the sheflara-like leaves when she pronounced I was drunk on Alstonia Scholaris. She said it’s the only thing she misses about Delhi.
Taken at my office, this madhumalti bush in bloom made me smile for weeks 🙂
The Nine “divine” days of Navaratri just finished. (I had no idea it comes twice a year, btw. Yeesh.) and there were a lot of poojas and such all across the country.
In Bombay and Kolkata, idols of the goddess Durga were eventually, erm,
drowned, immersed in the sea with great pomp (holding up traffic madly). On the 10th day (Vijay Dashmi), in Bombay, at least the cars all wear a smile of marigolds. I have no idea why. And some shops and homes are wreathed in garlands, too.
This photo was taken in Delhi. Bhola Singh was up to his elbows in pretty flowers when we left. What fun!
So, early one Saturday, I went downstairs to get something and heard Meena, one of the maids, screaming from the garden to Anita the other maid upstairs on my floor to shut the balcony door immediately — there was a monkey on the parapet. Given that Anita is petrified of the dogs, Meena guessed right that having a monkey come in while she swept would not have amused her. So Anita shut the door. Meanwhile the monkey hung out and calmly watched all the chaos.
I can’t believe that such a huge wild animal is hanging out in suburban Delhi. Yes, we see them at tombs and in large parks but in congested, residential South Delhi? Anyway, I’m haunted by the thought of said visitor stealing my underwear which dries in the balcony he was just below. I’m not sure what I’d do if I found this chap in my bra and panties — let him keep them, I guess.
This is an old photo…maybe 3 months old now. I’ve had it saved in a draft post since I took it because it’s just heartbreaking to write about. This little imp of a puppy hangs out at the dual ATM’s near my house. When we first met him, he was fuzzy and frolicky, as puppies are. The next time I met him, he had a huge wound on his head, but despite the dried blood and flies, he was in great spirits, gamboling, playing, wolfing down food. The watchmen and workers there were engaging with him, looking after the little cutie. Now, three months later, he’s sick. He’s lost his fur. His eyes ooze, he’s got fleas, he’s pretty wretched. And it breaks my heart. In Bombay there’s the Welfare of Stray Dogs that sterilizes strays and attacks the problem at the root, so to speak. I’ve been dying of guilt over this puppy. I should have called one of the animal shelters and had him fixed early on at least. And vaccinated. But this is my dilemma: should one even bother? It will sound heartless but is that really the solution? Should one actually just let them die out — as they surely will (in fact, as another sick dog down my street just did?) Wouldn’t euthanasia be a kinder fate than dying slowly once your cuteness disappears?
Ok, so I’m romanticizing wildly and anthromorphizing, as well. But when it rains and rains and rains in Bombay, everything looks like it’s smiling. Well, to me. Erm, probably because I don’t live there 😉 and don’t have to deal with crazy commutes. This past week in Bombay was super cool. After having lived in cold, cold rain for 12 years, I was happy to go out and stand Titanic-style on the balcony every time it rained because it was so wonderfully warm. I’d nearly forgotten how lovely and refreshing and welcome rain can be.
There is a loo blowing in Delhi now. No, I’m not saying there’s a toilet…blowing in the wind. This is the hot wind that blows across the Thar Desert. Temperatures are soaring. Right now, at 9:50pm, it is 43 degrees Celsius (105.8 Fahrenheit). Last week though, everytime the temperature pushed 41, it rained. And during one glorious shower, the flowers blooming in the garden were crying petals. It was so pretty. There was hibiscus, bougainvillea, lillies, and flowering shrubs leaning up into the falling drops.