Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Eid Mubarak

i know where he gets his trait from. i notice it each time and every time. His heart going out for the one who does not stand a chance. Knowing very well from the beginning that the game for the player is a lost one. Yeah he is always cheering for what the world has one word for...the Underdogs. And even when the game is lost he elaborates in great details of the outstanding abilities displayed by the lost team. He even remembers the individuals and their particular strokes and shots. i find it strange that when the animated discussion would be centered around the winning team he would be miles away dwelling into his favorite scenes. Replaying them and smiling within himself. Can't miss the glimmer of joy and satisfaction that i see then as i lift my eyes just to read his thoughts. As if he is saying, "Win or lose doesn't matter they DID IT and FAIRLY WELL."
i know it is in his genes...passed on from generation to generation.

From the chinks of the concrete i saw this tiny plant emerging and since i love foliage i just let it be. It has been growing and i had noticed the bud few days back. Then a couple of days back i saw the cute itsy bitsy teeny weeny looking like a daisy flower.
This time i found it so endearing that i devoted my entire attention toward it's furry stalk and the foliage which reminded me so much of that of chrysanthemums only thing this pretty cute one had a richer deeper color in it's green wardrobe.
At this moment i was seeing just one cute beauty and was thinking about not only of God Almighty but also of The him i was talking about in the beginning of my post. i was dying to share this find with him. Tell him all about it. That as a kid i was told it was a weed and how cruelly it would be yanked off the moment it would be seen. But resilience is all that she teaches and also hope. i was happy to see another bud there too which meant more of these cute itsy bitsy teeny weeny daisies soon for me and my concrete wall. The cutie throwing an aura that made the ubiquitous look somewhat divine.
Till today i had no clue as to what this cute beauty is called. So while i spoke to my sister over the phone i expressed my desire specifically to her knowing very well that her husband would definitely help me out in telling me the name of the lil stunner and probably more. He had actually, earlier but then i was not that sincere disposition for grasping of all the knowledge that he was imparting me with. i was just too distracted. It's not that it's his job that he has to protect the flora and fauna and all that diversity for he is the Chief Conservator of Forests but just like i react to this word weed he is also extremely sensitive about the term. So i remember him telling me the name but the fickle minded me let it all slip away easily just like water slips from our fingers. But i haven't forgotten his discourse on calling anything a 'weed' though.

Today i have it all...that more than a weed it is a great herb having antiviral, antibiotic, anti-inflammatory properties and the extracts of the plant is used for the treatment of wide range of ailments starting from boils, blisters, cuts, wound healing also encompassing diarrhea, dysentery and including serious disorders like diabetes and even cancer. i was surprised also to know of a recent study which demonstrates that extracts from the plant promotes hair growth too.
It is a well known in Ayurveda as a medicine for liver disorders and gastritis and heartburn too.
And name well scientifically it is known as Tridax procumbens so said that Omar Sharif look alike Chief Conservator Of Forest Co- brother of mine. Google did the rest for me thankfully.
Its common names include coat buttons and tridax daisy in English, Jayanthi in Kannadacadillo chisaca in Spanishherbe caille in FrenchJayanti veda in SanskritGhamra in HindiBishalya karani(ବିଶଲ୍ୟକରଣୀ) in OriyaKambarmodi in MarathiGaddi Chemanthi (గడ్డి చామంతి) in Telugu,vettukaaya poondu in Tamil, and kotobukigiku in Japanese. Probably there would be more but i did not have patience to serach for more because i got what  i needed. 
Maybe i was also just too happy to receive this gift like an Eidee from mother nature and i was in a hurry to pass this Eidee around to him...my son.
Eidee well from what i have known it is a gift given lovingly/ fondly on Eid Mubarak day to all youngsters by elders. It could be anything...clothes, toys, appliances and even money and of late gizmos and gadgets. 

i know my son would be delighted have a share in this Eidee too. It would give him yet another player to cheer for.  For this Coat button a Tridax daisy is an underdog too. Now knowing more about it's various winning strokes he might cheer even more forcefully and with more conviction .
                                                  I Learn More About God
                                                  From Weeds Than From Roses:
                                                  Resilience Springing
                                                  Through The Smallest Chink Of Hope
                                                  In The Absolute Concrete...
                                                 ~ Philip Pulfrey, " Weeds"  
To all my readers i grab this occasion in wishing one and all Eid Mubarak and a very very joyously green and happy Teej :) :) :)

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Monday Surprise My Bin Mausam Barsaat

For want of anything suitable and wanting to relieve the mother which looked laden with fifty if not thousand babies i had very carefully relieved her of all her babies hanging here there and everywhere all over her and transferred them into a discarded wooden crate in which my husband had bought the season's first Alphonso mangoes home from the market. Not that we are Alphonso mango fans rather we have a major penchant for Malda mangoes and no amount of all that blah blah about Alphonso being the export variety can convince a staunch lover of all that has the flavor of Bihar that anything can ever match in taste, sweetness, color and fragrance to a Malda , that too a Dhoodhiyaa Digha Malda http://www.telegraphindia.com/1120616/jsp/bihar/story_15617787.jsp#.U85dpfmSwR4.

He purchased Alphonso an entire wooden crate of a box of it more as a rebellion. As if proclaiming his patriotism to his country grown produce and detesting with bitterness the ban that was imposed on our poor Indian Hapus aka Alphonso mango by the European Union for what he said was European Union's lame excuse more a conspiracy rather against India... Yeah that's what he had exclaimed about the excuse of one of the shipment containing fruit flies to be.
i guess that's the lingo these days. Lame...haha...i find the word funny though for in my mind's eye instead of focusing on the burning issue discussed i start imagining a cripple mango. Hahahaha imagine a mango escaping one of those boxes on crutches with a few fruit flies hovering behind and the funny clitety clat sound the crutches are making.
So much for my imagination running wild...when words are spoken...

Okay now coming to my mother...Kalanchoe who is also known as Mother of Thousand and her babies. They are no longer babies anymore. They have grown and are ready to be mothers themselves.
And i looked at them fondly counting the numbers because that many earthen pots i would be needing. They sure looked like they were ready to have individual spaces of their own. Then as i shifted my gaze to the left a flash of something deep other than green caught my attention. From the edges of the top of the crate. After that i have no words...just that we have a saying in Hindi for it...bin mausam barsaat meaning literally that it rains when there is no season for it to rain.
Actually monsoon has been playing hide n seek with Delhi and this i see...ironical...

Peeping from the side i see the winter/spring flower Petunia bud which is eager to open it's brilliance to me and strike me down with pleasant shock and wonderful surprise.
"How did you pretty one...when...",  i started having these conversations with the flower sitting there on the ground and wondering how it has found what it needed to survive when in this heat life has dried out like papadums ( crispies/crackers) of most of my flowering plants. This being a winter and spring one. How it has taken birth and gone through it's cycle to appear as a bud ready to open it's eyes...i wondered and had these conversations with the flower and when i was done i had to go fetch my camera to take these shots of the entire so that i could happily, fondly blog about Nature springing it's many surprises on me yet again this Monday morning.

Although i went about my daily chores i realized that sun was up and heat was steadily becoming unbearable i ran upstairs to check on the little baby Pinky. If it could manage to say hello to the bees, the birds and thus the universe or has it become a poor shriveled up dried shrimp itself.
i must confess though i had negative images as i took to the stairs but as soon as my eyes fell upon that Alphonso box i was overjoyed. The baby shone happy and fully bright and gurgling with excitement in it's crib.

My baby as i fussed over her delicate body was teaching me the essence that is oft repeated these days about living in the moment. i forgot my anxiety. Nature is a great teacher a guru of all gurus.
 i thought as i went downstairs that although the monsoon was failing us each and every time the clouds the harbinger of promising rain which only brought in more humidity left us in the lurch perhaps all that was good for my Petunia. Or else how was this possible when my Zinnias had shriveled up and even with all my hybrid sunflowers gone which are supposed to be summer flowers how did this delicate Petunia find what it needed to survive ???
For a moment i wondered if when at six in the morning i step upstairs tomorrow will i still find it there. Then i just let the feeling pass. 
Remembered the oft repeated words and it sure did work for me to carry on with my day as usual without getting worried about my baby Pinky upstairs in it's Alphonso crib soaking in all that humidity from the gunny cloth earth filled mattress below and the rest from the Heaven above.

Baby Pinky my bin mausam barsaat in all her radiant color and gurgling with joy was telling me the same which once Osho too had said, " Just live the moment with intensity and totality. Live it with as much joy as possible, with as much love as possible, with no fear, no guilt. "

Perhaps no one knows but i was definitely in grave need even without knowing my need to heed this oft repeated words more than anyone else.

Nature occasionally surprises us with events which are a little away from the norm but she also conceals much valuable wisdom up her sleeve. Who knows one day she might surprise you with a rain of of some which rather as a lesson feels like a blessing. One which soothes your burning with desperation, hopelessness and forlorn seeking solace and refuge from somewhere...anywhere... heart. And then the oft repeated word starts soaking in along with all that blessing that has just rained.
i went upstairs today and checked her out...she looked as beautiful and bonny...with the rest who had allowed her that snug corner in a manner that she could keep her face out and keep saying hello to one and all.

Just before i quit i would love to share my ideas about my breaks...my self induced projects related to my green babies. Feel first delighted to introduce the Mother of Thousands...my Kalanchoe...with her serrated lovely green leaves...all her babies were hanging all over her...now in that Alphonso crate of a box.
Her babies some of them have already been lifted from that Alphonso crib and assigned their own space like these...
Now precisely twelve more to go...so that's how my Wednesday is going to be if and when i am going to take my break. But wonderful thing about my Green Wednesday is that my Baby Pinky will be there to greet me with her bright radiant Hello and keep me company in my happy green break.

Friday, July 18, 2014


Post updated on Feb 27, 2015...certain corrections...
(Kindly look into the last para of the post)

A kind blogdost of who religiously promotes each and every post of mine just suggested the other day that i share with blog readers how i take my daily breaks to make my days interesting. i had just finished reading what he had to say and since i was in complete agreement to what he just shared i also felt like adding my bit into the comment box of his and thus the suggestion. i thought my blogs were evidence enough but if the motive behind all my blogs centering around the same topic was lacking then yes i take a break everyday from my mundane chores by turning towards that which gives me the most happiness and priceless self satisfaction. Call it farming / gardening whatever but i love working with the soil, seeds, plants... . It is hard work all that farming i do with the weather being muggy and hot but believe me i don't feel tired after having done what i had set myself in for the day. When i return indoors i am happier and energized for all that routine that comes later. 
Working with my vegetables/ plants is one of the so many ways i take my breaks.
 Listening to the music of my choice while sipping tea going through my favorite column in the newspaper is another, later after all my chores are done i love to watch a good movie. And by good movie i mean anything which makes me think and feel good about it later even after the movie is over. It could be an animated fairy tale or a fictional sci fi.  Some true stories like '' The Intouchables'' and not true stories also leave an indelible imprint like the movie called, '' The Words" starring Bradley Cooper, Dennis Quaid, Jeremy Irons and Zoe Saldana. Definitely movies based on true stories, documentaries and if nothing is available then of late these Pakistani soap operas that are being aired on this currently free Channel called Zindagi. i love the language happening in the serials. The Urdu interspersed with the Hindi in the dialogues and like to see manners so appropriately used in the language besides the stories feel fresh and nice too. Moreover i am a Gulzaar, the great poet fan so how can i miss seeing Kitni Girhain Baaki Hain. Translated i think it should mean , ' How many knots more to be untied '.
Point is i don't wait for my breaks to happen if and when they will in the form of a holiday of a choice destination kind . i take my breaks everyday. 
i do more for my daily breaks which i shall share later but first i must assert that the enzyme, the catalyst for all that basically comes from my first break ie my plants. i manage to finish all my chores and do all that plus more because i have already got my daily dose of vitamin green and mineral brown.

So the other day i walk into that part of my garden where i have my veggies...my kitchen garden. Tell you the truth we still have to get our daily vegetables from the market for what i grow either is not available in sufficient quantity or the daily supply is lacking. Heck i am a grower of another kind. i grow vegetables just for the thrill of it. To see the seed sprout into a sapling, become a baby plant then grow into a slightly bigger plant. Get super excited to see the flower the promise of the vegetable that soon it will turn into and finally to touch and feel that vegetable in my hand. When the size of the vegetable suits me delicately dislodge it from it's mother plant to happily fill it in my basket and gloat with the feeling that here is my vegetable that i have grown. Sometimes i let the vegetable just overgrow. Maybe out of sheer 'no use' factor and have it there hanging growing large and filling up with it's seeds. The seeds which make their presence felt through the skin of that vegetable. Okra for instance. You know what i mean. A large okra looking pimply all over. Or a gourd growing pale and rough...later perhaps the black seeds to be taken out and used as a body scrub...perhaps...

But in doing all this and growing just for the thrill of it i have come face to face with a lot of beautiful life which i never could have known existed. 
Who says only a jungle is teeming with life. Grow vegetables...especially gourd of all types and you shall know just your gourd patch alone will be an area which has species which might put an aquarium with all different colorful varieties of Pisces to shame. i tell you trust me had i not grown this bottle gourd and ridge gourd i wouldn't have known. Some i have been fortunate enough to take shots of. They are all here. And barring the grasshopper and that yellow wasp i don't know the names of any of these beautiful creatures. Perhaps one of it is a fly but i would not be sure. All i am sure of is that they are pollinators. In doing what they should do to survive they are helping my flowers which shall soon turn into those vegetable i can touch and feel then delicately dislodge and fill my basket one fine day.  
Some beautiful, metallic and shining like jewels on those green leaves or flowers of the vegetables detected the heat in my breath and just flew away leaving me in the lurch. No not in the lurch but the image of a wet and clear image of the beautiful yellow flower of the ridge gourd and that black something that was resting in it's underside.
 Just the other day i had seen a bumble bee the size of a black olive making quite a buzzing sound landing on this yellow flower of my ridge gourd. i saw it settle there and by the time i had released the shutter it had already buzzed off leaving me with the flower and some dark something whom i thought it better not to disturb. 
Another day the bumble bee that olive sized one returned but only to become a happy meal of a large Brown Headed Barbet. Too bad i was just too aghast with the whole scenario. And never did i anticipate that the Barbet would gobble the menacing sounding big black bumble bee. 
The camera just hung in my hand as a silent cry of shock Haaaaaaaa escaped my panting breath. God alone knows why i started panting. The Barbet then flew away to some other tree and i could hear it's satisfied stomach full Kruk...kuk...Kruk...kuk coming from some nearby tree.
Thank Lord Almighty for the squall which made a mess of my creeping, twining, wool zy greenery that i had to go that side to fix it and then get to see these tiny and colorful creatures for once in my life. Would i have ever noticed otherwise... that favorite Netherlandy orange fly past me and then settle down on the large leaf. Coral i call it my coral bug...what else can i call it. The body has a gloss and richness to it also. Looks harmless and so cute and when they fly past you they look like orange feathers drifting in the wind...
i saw then sitting snug inside the flowers too. Peacefully still, without a sound or movement. i could only take a clear look at it when it flew outside the flower and sat on the edge of the leaf. Wanted to take a pic from the front but every time i moved it would turn into a drifting orange feather. Finally i had to make do with what i could but i loved this beautiful living Coral.

i wish i had known this when my boy was a baby. Would have loved to teach him this poem too along with the rest that i taught him when his eyes would open wide with curiosity and amazement. But of course then i myself was sort of not that too liberal and kind with myself either. Maybe could not find that time to notice or feel what apart from my child gave me happiness. But it's never too late is it?  i picked up a beautiful one at http://littlestarslearning.blogspot.in/2012/06/who-lives-in-your-garden-poetry.html and for the time being i shall call it the quits beause the poem is just too beautiful. Maybe how else i take my daily breaks i shall continue with that in my next blog.

dated  27.05.2015:  i have had this great opportunity thanks to technology and Facebook in having a personal tete a tete with a Guru i had been seeking. The author of a wonderful book which has helped me identify many great wonderful beauties in nature i was blissfully ignorant of until now. His book i am sure must be helping so many others just like me. The book ' Common Indian Wild Flowers' by Issac Kehimkar.
So my Guru tells me the Barbet would not have eaten the Bumble bee or the Blister bee which also i had seen the other day ...because Barbets are fruit eating birds. In my this blog i have mentioned and i think in retrospect that i did not see the true picture. A vegetarian cannot become non vegetarian just like that. It could just be my imagination. Apologies for such wild imagination for hearing the crunching sound and imagining the brown headed Barbet to have gobbled the big black bumble bee. All it could've actually done would be to chase...and the bee would've vanished and i thought the crunch i heard was of the bee being made a meal of. Thought that just like Sarus and the so many cranes maybe Barbets are omnivores too. So much for ignorance.   
And for this enlightenment once again i am very grateful to my Guru...Mr Issac Kehimkar on whom i now latch my hope for some timely help. To guide an ignoramus like me from making such blunders in future... i humbly beg and hope...

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Just Let Them Be

Where would i be in this hot and humid summer morn when i am always worried about hydrating my greens more than myself. Here...
Sitting on that chair surveying the grass precisely the areas around the small raised mound i made below the Harsingaar/ Paarijaat tree planting it with a couple of Yuccas, Alpinia variegata and lots of Tradescantia to give it some drama and color.

Harsingaar/ Paarijaat my favorite ( Nyctanthes arbor-tristis ) and i remember having blogged about it once. 

The grass required trimming which meant some good patient working there and i didn't seem to mind the humidity that clung to my skin and made me feel quite muggy with all that sweat ready to drip down my face like raindrops early in the morning as the sun was showing up. The greenery made me feel cool from within.

i was ready with my scissors and all to trim the grass which was sort of looking unkempt and overgrown. Besides it was shadowing/covering all my beautiful rocks, when something moved on one Yucca leaf . That slight quiver and thank God i caught it or else this blog wouldn't have happened.

i had no frigging idea if it was a snail sans it's shell or a slug but whatever i could understand the reason for the Yucca having those ugly spots here and there now. But the creature does not scare me nor does it look yuck to me. The ponderous way it moves and the way the body stretches reminds me rather of an accordion. So forgetting the job in hand i just stood there watching it's movement for quite some time.
 i would see it shrink in size like a mass of shapeless fat rubber and then stretch like a wriggled pipe long and thin as it walked along the edges of the Yucca leaf. The feelers moving just slightly. i did not want to scare the peaceful quiet creature but was curious to see how it's face, if it has a face looks like. Must confess though that i sure was getting also distracted by the shapelessness of its structure too as it lazily, seemingly rested and for a moment i thought it had read my intentions for i saw the raised head.
Then for several minutes it just lay there. Sometimes the feelers were in sometimes they were out. One particular instance it looked quite funny. Shapeless just hanging there with only one feeler visible from where i was viewing it.
i kept looking as it's feelers felt the humid air and did it's magical vanishing and appearing acts. The more the merrier numbers. At first i thought it has just two feelers but i was wrong. There was a pair more. Don't know whether they were it's feelers or what but they were smaller and they were there. A couple of them more but smaller than the front long with a drawing pin head tipped type and evidently clear ones were there resembling in structure just the same but in contrast to the long ones that were black the smaller ones were pale white almost translucent white .

There were other creatures now joining the morning sunrise trying to grab my attention as my object of attention just lay there with one feeler and they were in motion much for my attention to diverted briefly from this to elsewhere.
There was a bee which flew by and a Barbet had already started with it's kruk kuk kruk kuk. My gaze chose to follow the bee because the Brown Headed Barbet could not be spotted and was with the bee for sometime as it took it's nectar flitting from one flower to another and when the gaze returned back to the pavilion to where my object of attention lay i realized that all that while i had looked the other way it had sluggishly but definitely almost reached the summit of the Yucca leaf.
i wish i could reproduce what it did there for i can just compare it to acts done by trapeze swinger artist. Balancing there twisting it's body this way and that. Sometimes it felt like only half of it's body was attached to the leaf as it just hung other half part of the body floating in air as it did it's routine act with it's head with it's projecting and clearly visible feelers. All of them...the long and those tiny ones.

i read this article by Mr Ranjit Lal. i am his fan and follower. Don't miss a single article of his ever since we have switched over to The Indian Express replacing The Times Of India which we were subscribing to earlier. Actually i eagerly wait for that magazine section called EYE of The Indian Express on Sundays just for this article by Mr Ranjit Lal.
Am a fan of his writing laced with humor and fun and his intense knowledge on all things not so bright and beautiful as well as those that are. But what i admire most is his honesty. Unlike other naturalists he does not deceive his readers by just sermonizing about all creatures and is quite frank about his likes and dislikes. This one on snails from his column ' down in jungleland' that's how it's given in the newspaper in lowercase published under the heading," The Real Slim(y) Shady'', he calls them immigrants of the illegal kind and has no qualms in letting his readers/fans know why he nurtures his dislike for them. i just smiled out aloud when i read as he sums up his article, '' Considering that in one earlier piece I had defended the rights of "illegal'' immigrant species on the grounds of survival of the fittest and because in the ultimate analysis we're all immigrants, blah blah? Well, I was going through a list of the plants these guys have an appetite for and that includes, bhindi ,( Okra), Bananas, brinjal and papaya-all of which I have growing in the garden. And no darned, snot covered snail is going to get between me and my veggies! "

That explains the chewed up bits of the foliage in my garden too. But as for me i have another take on this.

 Every morning as i take a walk around the vegetable part of my garden i see it brimming with so much of life that i can only thank the Almighty for having given us this earth which produces for survival of all of us. When and if it is tilled and attended to the produce is in plenty. Personally i feel there is enough for me and the creature which glistens with mucous and leaves a silvery trail of slime. Not unless there is a deluge which gobbles up all my green babies. Do i have reasons to worry then if nature takes care of problems that we just conjure up in our imagination. For all i know as soon as monsoon is over they won't be seen anymore. Even Mr Lal informs me now that they can seal themselves up retaining their moisture in their bodies for three years which is called aestivation. 

Now my creature i don't know if it's the same species as the one species of land snail Mr Ranjit Lal has talked about but it regaled me nevertheless to know of their sex life...and that in that what was most interesting to know was about the orgy of these hermaphrodites. Did not know that.
 What more was enlightening was when i learned through this article that the peaceful quiet creature of mine can infect one with a ''nasty'' form of meningitis if they are handled or eaten under cooked. Maybe the Chinese eat them although in his article i read that, " they are considered a good source of protein in their home continent and for army troops."  His dog however sneezes in disgust when he sniffs at them says he...​http://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/the-real-slimy-shady-digging-up-the-dirt-on-snails/#.U8UYlYUOEUk.gmail

At first i thought of sending my picture to Mr Ranjit Lal to ask him if the creature i saw was it a slug or a snail but then i thought it better to blog about my trapeze swinger blob of a shapeless mass which reminded me of an accordion as it stretched, first. i sure have my doubts although somewhere in the ground i saw a shell too but it could belong to some other creature and not this. On second thoughts maybe sometimes snails do take a walk without their shells...do they...or don't they. i guess i shall learn all about it soon. 
Till then...i can only say this. Snails or slugs...slimy yes both but let's be kind to them. Just let them live...let's just stop all the cruel things we do with them. Just let them be...



Who could have dreamed them up? At least snails
have shells, but all these have is—nothing.
Small black antennae like fat pins wave
as if they could take in enough to get them through.
Turn them over, they’re the soles of new shoes,
pale and unmarked as babies. They flow,
the soil itself learning how to move and, moving,
almost staying still, their silver monorail
the only evidence of where they’d been.
And they die quiet, or at least (thankfully)
out of the human ear’s range, between two stones,
under heels, shriveling in salt or piss, at the tips
of sharp sticks. Fight back, I hear myself say,
do something. Don’t just take it. But they die
as they had lived, exuding slime, like
the smaller boys, who’d just
stand there, miserable in short pants,
school socks down to their ankles,
school tie unknotted and askew, and flowing
from noses slow cauls of snot that
from time to time they’d lick or sniff back up
part way, until it flowed again, coating
the upper lip, falling into the mouth, mixing
with tears before anything had been done,
the fear itself enough, so even if we wanted
we couldn’t let them off. Sometimes it was
the knee “where you daren’t show your mother,”
other times the kick in the shins, the stick over
the head, the punch in the mouth, while they
just stood there, or double up, gasping
for breath, and we did it again.
Slug or Snail who are you...ponderously you move...ahhh can't focus properly...