Thursday, December 25, 2008

Snapshots from Satara

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Some patterns and other stuff clicked with my cellphone camera. From Satara. We were on our way to Kaas. We stayed at my cousin's cousin's place.

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p.s.
All photos clicked with the Sony Ericsson K790i phone camera.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Marathi Manus !



This is the land of Bal Gangadhar Tilak. Of Veer Savarkar.  Of Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.

All fighters.

All giving their lives in the service of the nation.

Today in this same land we have people bidding for the highest posts of public service.  Of others who pick on the weak and feel strong. Of the poor who kill themselves because they cannot even feed their young.  Were are we going ?  Have we all lost all the fighting spirit which makes this land special ?


Do I have the moral right today to stand up with pride and say
Vande Mataram !! ?

Monday, December 22, 2008

devrukh: misc stuff

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the navratra lights

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'aalu' leaves and house

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kaka's tea shop

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a 'bhel' stall

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Shreenivas. A fellow photographer I met here

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Me. As seen by Shreenivas

Sunday Flower

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from Devrukh, Ratnagiri.


“Religion is something left over from the infancy of our intelligence, it will fade away as we adopt reason and science as our guidelines.”

~Bertrand Russell



p.s.
late again. :) was travelling.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Four mosquitoes and a marriage ceremony.

the full moon and the tree and the electric pole
the full moon and the tree and the electric pole


The old fool was game to go for a marriage. He is not the type to attend marriages, but a night in the foot hills with friends added to the good deed of attending a marriage led him to believe it would be good to go. There was also some added responsibility of carrying a few fellow fools along - especially the baby fool and the fat fool. To come to think of it, even the fat fool is a baby. hmmmm.

So, as is the custom of fools, they all gathered over the whole afternoon. It was only a delay of about 6 hours so they headed happily towards the distant hills. The host decreed (albeit late) that we had to procure our own comestibles and feed our own hunger. The crazed fool led us to some good food on the way, especially the 'dabba ghosth'. That done, we headed on. The night was fresh. It was cooler here than in the ugly city we left behind.

We arrive to find that we have to look after ourselves. It was a beautiful night and sitting there on the road looking up at the full moon, it was not worth worrying about a few comforts. The bulk of the MalangGad was silhouetted against the sky... And there was a lot to contemplate. hehe. A few wise dogs from the nearby settlement paid us a visit to see what mischief we were up to. Seeing that it was only the fools on a foolish errand, they let us be in peace.

Then folks retired into the cars for some forcefully caught rest. The old fool was restless as the mosquitoes tasted and liked his sweet blood. So he went around randomly clicking some photos of the silently lit night.

Morning came. Old memories appeared to unsettle the old fool, but he stood firm. Ha. He has gone beyond. The fools were joined by some smartly dressed fools who arrived in the morning. They all danced in font of the horse with the man on top. Then they got the man off too, to dance in front of the horse. It was a weird thing about the horse.

Well, It was a good ceremony. At least for the two people it was for. As is with the fools, there were up's and down's... but anyway what's a journey without trouble, I ask?




the beyond
the beyond: the red carpet misleads one into a sense of happy bonding where the 'happy' has to be in context the bars. heh.


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red carpet


the stage for a change of life
the stage for a change of life


the fan and the choking spanner
the fan and the choking spanner.


night life
puny suns


blue pipe and a red tap
Blue pipe and a red tap. I wish a yellow liquid had come out.


friends
lights of a happy life


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how it all looked bright


speak
the speaker with the pots

Sunday Flower

Wildflowers, from Kaas.


"Life is the flower for which love is the honey."
~Victor Hugo



p.s.
A day late. :) I was in Alibaug with the beer

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Sunday Flower

Flowers


"Expect nothing, live frugally on surprise."
~Alice Walker

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Wisdom of the ages.

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Mhatre looking at his life. (a day before he left for the US)

What I Have Lived For

Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong, have governed my life: the longing for love, the search for knowledge, and unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind. These passions, like great winds, have blown me hither and thither, in a wayward course, over a great ocean of anguish, reaching to the very verge of despair.
I have sought love, first, because it brings ecstasy - ecstasy so great that I would often have sacrificed all the rest of life for a few hours of this joy. I have sought it, next, because it relieves loneliness--that terrible loneliness in which one shivering consciousness looks over the rim of the world into the cold unfathomable lifeless abyss. I have sought it finally, because in the union of love I have seen, in a mystic miniature, the prefiguring vision of the heaven that saints and poets have imagined. This is what I sought, and though it might seem too good for human life, this is what--at last--I have found.

With equal passion I have sought knowledge. I have wished to understand the hearts of men. I have wished to know why the stars shine. And I have tried to apprehend the Pythagorean power by which number holds sway above the flux. A little of this, but not much, I have achieved.

Love and knowledge, so far as they were possible, led upward toward the heavens. But always pity brought me back to earth. Echoes of cries of pain reverberate in my heart. Children in famine, victims tortured by oppressors, helpless old people a burden to their sons, and the whole world of loneliness, poverty, and pain make a mockery of what human life should be. I long to alleviate this evil, but I cannot, and I too suffer.

This has been my life. I have found it worth living, and would gladly live it again if the chance were offered me.

~ Bertrand Russell (1872-1970)

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

'Common Man'




A scene from the movie 'A Wednesday'. Hats off to all involved in the making. People, lets get inspired !

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Sunday Flower

Flower From Anarkali, Mahabaleshwar


"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects."
~ Robert A. Heinlein


note: this was one of my favourites and was my signature long back

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Enough is Enough !!


Mumbai Terror Strikes!, originally uploaded by Saket Selot.


Again some misguided mindless animals come and wreak havoc in our city. In fact calling them animals is insulting animals. Animals have better morality than these cowards. They should be caught and hanged in public like the cowardly criminals they are. So the people who want to make them into martyrs will know who they really are.

I have been a proud Mumbaikar all my life. But of late I am having a different view to the so called 'spirit' of the city .. I think that it has diluted into 'chod na', 'apne ko kya farak padta hain' type of apathy. We are chicken. We have no voice. We have no opinion (or rather opinions we only voice when drunk in the local bar). We accept such a lot of *BS* which happens all around us all the time. Corruption. Bad roads. Bad quality of life. And as if that was not enough - dadagiri, crime and now terrorism. I think villages are better - they have unity and they freaking CARE about their space.

It is such a shitty feeling when I stop at a signal and some A**hole keeps honking because he wants to jump it ?? This has become a regular feature now. So funny when we see an Ambulance wailing and weaving a way through difficult traffic and most people not helping ?? Such a beautiful view are all the posters and boards put up by all the political parties in all corners of the city.

And our Media. Their 'breaking news' and their 'exclusive on OUR channel' stuff. I saw on TV one guy dragging an injured feller along, and 4-5 'journalists' feverishly clicking photos of the scene ... wah wah.

Is this city dying ? Or is it just the spirit ... ?


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sunday Flower

Flowers, Mahabaleshwar


"Democracy can't work. Mathematicians, peasants, and animals, that's all there is — so democracy, a theory based on the assumption that mathematicians and peasants are equal, can never work. Wisdom is not additive; its maximum is that of the wisest man in a given group."
~ Robert A. Heinlein (Glory Road)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sunday Flower

Yellow WildFlowers


"Free will is a golden thread running through the frozen matrix of fixed events."
~ Robert A. Heinlein

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Sunday Flower

Flowers, Mahabaleshwar


"The only Zen you can find on the tops of mountains is the Zen you bring up there."
~Robert M. Pirsig

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Sunday Flower

Flowers
From Anarkali, Mahabaleshwar


"Is love like art - something always ahead, never quite attained?"
~Edward Weston - The Daybooks.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sunday Flower

Sunflowers
near Badami


"The various moments of one's life usually look mundane. Why a few see otherwise is due to their interested eye."
~ yours truly in 1999 (heh.)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Sagargad, Feb 1998

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Moon. Old photo taken in the Campus


Sagargad
February 1998

This was a nice trek, one which left a lot of fond memories. The fort itself is not very big or famous, and is located in some remote place. But I romanticised the hike very much and enjoyed it in some sort of private way.

I was invited to the hike by Siddharth. A guy called Vinay (Siddharth's college buddy) had his ancestral house in a village near the fort. We were supposed to go to his house and then proceed to the fort. It was a small group. VP, Sarang, Richa, Nivedita and me from the Campus and Vinay and Siddharth. The girls were from the hostel and mostly kept to themselves. VP and me had a few small tiffs, so stayed away from each other. Sarang was sort of young.... I hardly knew Vinay. And Siddharth was busy with the girls. So I had decided even before the hike had started that I would enjoy it on my own.

We were supposed to meet at 6p.m. at Sion Hospital S.T. stop to catch a bus to Alibaug. But the girls were uncertain about going and as Siddharth had primarily arraigned this hike for their sake, he spent some time running around till all was well. We were only late by about 2 hours. Vinay was pissed of waiting for us and the last bus has also left for Alibaug. So we waited for a bus going through Pen. It was about an hour before finally a bus arrived. It was a plain old ST. I had taken my Harmonica and surprisingly Sarang had also brought his along. We spent some merry time making weird noises to the accompaniment of the bus diesel. At last at around 11.30 we got down at Pen S.T. stand. There were no busses going in the direction of Alibaug. For some time we were in a real fix. We tried the autowallahs but it was too far for them. Standing on a lonesome highway in the dead of the night, with uncertain shapes whizzing by at high speeds as if on urgent errands, I couldn't but help feel unreal. You have this feeling of being a total stranger in a strange place. Finally Vinay stopped some truck which was going to some village near his own. In a hurry we all scrambled towards the cabin. The girls, Sarang and Vinay got in. The cabin was already crowded and so the driver asked the remaining of to climb in the back. Myself, Siddharth and VP ran back and climbed over. The truck moved of as we settled down on a cargo of onions and potatoes.

It was a novel experience, this traveling in the back of a loaded truck in the night. We could see the surrounding landscape in the pale light of the heavenly bodies. The road was smooth and it seemed to me that it was we who were stationary and all the dark houses and shops, all those ghostly villages, the silent fields and woods, were passing by us.... on some strange and secret journey. This short truck journey will remain in my memory for a long time because at that moment it created a very vivid image in my mind's eye.

Finally we reached our destination. By now I was in a very happy mood, though the others were probably sleepy. Again the search for transport, though to Vinay's village this time. We got a couple of auto's and even though they demanded an exorbitant charge, we had no choice. We finally reached the old house in a quaint, old world village at around 1.30am. There had been some new construction and a new hall had been built on top of the old one. Here we all relaxed. We all were hungry, and Vinay suggested that we cook a chicken and eat as there was nothing much left for us. The girls only ate vegetarian food so they had some left over vegetables and hit the hay. By this time Vinay had rustled up a couple of old buddies and together they caught a cock, killed and cleaned it up. They put up some home grown rice to cook and also the spiced up cock. While it cooked for about an hour or so we all had a good time having "men" talk. Then we ate the poor cock and went to roost ourselves. Early in the morning everyone was up as is the custom of the place. We had tea and got ready to leave for the fort. Vinay's mom had packed up a lunch for us. By the time Vinay arranged for transport we thanked and took leave of his parents.

Vinay had arranged for a huge 6 seater diesel rickshaw. I took some 20 noisy minutes of traveling through small winding country roads to reach the village at the base of the fort. It was a small village, with its tiny half naked children playing on the dusty lane. It brought back some long forgotten memories for me. I had lived 5 years of my earliest memories in such a tiny village. Though, as it was very much near to Mumbai and many commuted to worked there, the villagers were well off, unlike the ones here who lived in much poverty.

Vinay had brought a couple of his village friends who knew the way to the fort. The initial part of the path passed through the village fields and surrounding shrubs. As almost everywhere in the Konkan, the fields are not extensive but are small terraces on the hill slopes. The ground is mostly rocky and barren and does not retain water. Being near the sea there are no big rivers and even though this region receives heavy rains in the monsoons there is water shortage soon after. The people here have to live in abject poverty and lead very hardy lives.

Crossing a small nullah signifying the boundary of the village lands, we entered some dry brush at the base of the hill. After climbing for an hour or so the vegetation changed and became more and more denser and wilder. It was still drab-gray-green, but the presence of large ancient trees made it look rather majestic. We came across a huge mango tree which had part of its trunk burned. We spent about 45 minutes monkeying around this tree. Many snaps were taken with Sarang's camera....

A two-two and a half hour climb brought us to the fort. The top of the fort was more or less flat. There were signs of excavations as some gold coins had been found recently. There was a stone kunda with dark looking water in it. One the west side of the fort there was a sheer drop to the lowlands which rolled on to the sea. The town of Alibaug and further south, the famous Dharamtar khadi (creek) were visible in the distance. The view was very peaceful and beautiful.... the wind brought the tang of salt even up to the fort. I would have liked to stay there for a day or so but we had to hurry and get back as the girls had to report at the hostel before 10p.m. We had time just for lunch, so we could not explore the fort. We went along and found some nice shady tree to eat it. Lunch consisted of rice bhakris with bhaji of vaal. After resting for half an hour it was decided to head back. On the way back we came across a part of a great stone wall and every one had to climb down it. It was great fun. More snaps.....

We decided to head back on a different path as Vinay said that there was a beautiful Mandir (temple) which he would like us to see. As I mentioned earlier soon after the rains the water flows down to the sea in the Konkan. The path we started on went over the adjoining hill. It was horribly dry and everywhere there were sharp stones, thorn bushes and dry bamboos. The soil was more rocky on this hill and therefore there were hardly and big trees. After an hour of hard walking through torturous thorn with the sun beating down us in full glory, we were getting suspicious that we were lost. The Mandir was not to be found and we were getting desperately short of water. Luckily we came across a collection of huts. I was surprised that anyone could survive on such a harsh and dry spot. But looking at their pathetic condition I guessed that they did not have any choice. They could hardly afford it, but gave us some water. In normal conditions we would never have drunk it as the container and the water itself was very dirty. But that time we happily gulped it down. We requested the lone male there to guide us to the path which will lead us down to were we started from.

He lead us through a tangle of brush and intersecting goat paths to a bigger looking trail, which according to him lead directly to the village from where we started. He asked us for 100 rupees for his trouble. Vinay was shocked at his demand and gave 10 rupees. The man went away grumbling after haggling uselessly for some time. We made a very rapid decent to the base (at considerable risk to ankles and necks) as we had lost some time wandering about. We all washed our tortured faces and necks in a small stream just outside the village. The problem now was that there was no conveyance to Vinay's village. We had to walk on the tar road for about 1and a half hours in the blistering sun to reach it.

Everyone was dead tired when we did reach. Everyone except me had lunch. The plan now was to reach Revas bundar before the last ferry for Mumbai left. For that we had to reach an intersection on the highway and catch some bus or rickshaw to Revas. This intersection turned out to be another hour's walk in the sun. Finally we reached it and got one of those big rickshaws. It cost us 10 rupees a head for a pleasant 25 minute drive through some very green and picturesque coastal countryside.

At Revas, Vinay went to get the tickets (which, by the way turned out to be very cheap). The rest, except me had sugarcane juice. After Vinay had got the tickets we all went to the jetty where we had to wait another 30 minutes for the ferry to arrive. When it did arrive it was almost sunset. There was a mad scramble to procure seats. We all jumped onboard from the sides and got good seats. The ferry started for 'Bhau cha dhakka' in about 10 minutes. As soon as the ferry was out of the harbour, people started to climb on top of what was some sort of a deck. We all went up and sprawled around.

The sun was setting behind some palm trees on a sand bank. The sea birds which had accompanied us from Revas flew alongside, gleaming golden white in the light of the setting sun. There was a group of returning picnickers who were singing all sorts of old Marathi songs to the accompaniment of a bongo. It looked right out of a picture book. I and Vinay lay on our backs and enjoyed ourselves. The rest were playing antakshari. Soon darkness fell and the birds returned to their roosts. As we neared Mumbai we started passing huge ships anchored outside the harbour. The ships had hundreds of lights on them and looked almost like villages. What sort of life did all those sailors lead?, I wondered. Travelling the world.... away from home and friends...

By the time I finished wondering such thoughts, we had reached Mumbai. It had taken around an hour and 25 minutes . We all went to a bus stop just outside the bunder and caught a bus which left us near Dockyard Rd. rly station on the harbour line. The train was empty and our journey uneventful as we traveled to Kurla Stn. Every one was silent... reflecting on the trip... thinking their own thoughts. This trip had been a lot different from our previous treks. It had not been one filled with loads of fun and frolic, but it had been a thoughtful and enjoyable one... at least for me.


(The next day, to our disgust, we found out that Sarang's camera did not have any film in it)

- Abhijit Rao © 1999

Sunday Flower

Flowers, Mahabaleshwar
from Mahabaleshwar

(slightly late: apologies - no access to the internet)


"“One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.”
~ Plato


note: I should have come across that earlier. sigh.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Of tea and other things

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These above are backsides of four shops surrounding the place where we have tea. The mosquitoes invade our abode in hordes at 1800hrs. Like an army. On time. So we packup and leave for the tea and respite. There is some kind of involvement with all the strangers who come and go at this spot. Feels like you are part of something. Come morning we head here again, to join the world, as if. There are other like us who appear here, and so by virtue of the common placement, we smile at each other. There are those who come to not be lonley. Other, slow moving, pass through, this being on their paths. People hardly talk. There aint much to say.

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