Sunday, August 30, 2009

Crossing Roads in Bengaluru....

" Is there any way of crossing the road at Madivala market without losing your life?" I often feel like tapping the traffic policeman there and asking him that. This police guy does not lift a finger to help us poor pedestrians. Still, miraculously, I find that I have survived to tell the tale. The Madivala market is the weekly vegetable/fruit/fish buying destination of most people in my area. It occupies a long stretch of the road with one side selling fruits, flowers, fish and the other side almost entirely dedicated to vagetables. Now, if you want to cross to the vegetable side, after buying fish and fruit (as I am in the habit of doing) then chances are that you will be mowed to the ground by a thousand buses, tempos, cars, autos, trucks, scooters and motorbikes that stream continuously down the road, without the policemen at the bus stop caring to stop the flow of the traffic to let us hapless pedestrians cross! Most of the time I employ the procedure of 'taking a dada', that I had perfected in Calcutta. This process involves the searching out of a fellow crosser, mostly male, who has that 'devil may care' look about him who is hell bent on crossing the road. Thereafter, you have to position yourself so that if this character has an error in judgement then he will be hit first by the crazy bus/car/ etc and you will have enough time to scurry back and pretend nothing happened! Some people have perfected the art of slipping in between the flow if the traffic as soon as it slows and somehow meandering in the flow and reaching the other side amidst relentlessly flowing traffic! I have a lot of respect for these people but somehow I cannot make myself do the same. I can wind through the vehicles if they have stopped at a redlight. I have to cross the busy Hosur road 4times every week day twice alone and twice with the mite as I take him to and from his school. When the larger vehicles stop at the light the two wheelers come rushing out from every crack and crevice so timing is very important if you want to escape alive! Then there is the peril of getting run over by a two wheeler on the footpath as they use it freely as the extension of the road. I have seen two wheelers going full speed on the footpath, and one even dared to blow its horn on me as I was walking towards mite's school! I mean, where are the pedestrians supposed to go?
I am a confirmed pedestrian, I love walking the streets of Bangalore. There is so much life there. The trees of bangalore are the best, large with branches outstretched....It is a pity that so many of them have to be cut for one purpose or the other. The road widening process has lead to the loss of several is heart breaking to see trees cut and lying about in pieces! I know that it is imperative to cut trees for the purpose of construction in a city like this, but is it not possible to be a bit humane about it. It will not harm anyone if the authorities pledge to plant ten trees for every tree they have to fell? Is it possible to not let the uprooted trees lie on the road? Their wood may be used by the needy...if they lie around in the rain then they will rot. I encountered these rotting trees on Hosur road where a pipe laying expedition is in progress. On the other hand I also discovered on my walking expeditions beautiful trees at the most unlikeliest of places giving shade and a certain tranquility to all who stand beneath them and watch the hectic city life go by.

Trees left rotting at the roadside (below). Two beautiful trees, one at a market place and another at a busy bus stop (above)

I found a film poster on a side street wall...Jack Sparrow, anyone??? Albeit a little well fed! heh heh! The other day I was visiting a friendly neighbourhood market and there was a crowd outside the cinema hall there. The hero, whose film was running was visiting the hall. The hero was greeted by loud crackers and the young shop assistant at the shop I was going to was standing outside on the sidewalk railing. When I asked him to give me some cashew etc he came into his shop, smiling.
"Is the hero here", I asked , "yes", said he. "I have never seen any hero from such close quarters" he added, his grin widening. " Ekdum Black hai" (he is dark complexioned), "aur poster mein fair dikhata hai" ( in the film posters he looks fair). I added a few lines about how all of them are just ordinary and look wonderful on screen etc and the both of us smiled knowingly at each other. I could not help lamenting the plight of us poor Indians, spending sooo much money to watch a make believe world. The stars paid sooo much and put on a pedestal to boot and the public, struggling to make ends meet, yet spending their hard earned cash to watch strange copies of others' films. The least film makers can do is show us some originality so that our money is not entirely wasted!

I took pictures of some other disturbing scenes in this beautiful city wich is a result of callous urbanization. Tell me, is it necessary for urban development to be this ugly? Can it not be planned and organized and systematic where it does not have to bring filthy exposed drains into being. Surely there is someone goofing up around here!
I have included also the phtos of some flowers in my balcony which bloomed in August to make the post less of an eyesore!

What I could not Achieve....

A few weeks ago, the Brat Girl came to me all excited and asked me whether she could join the 'Guides', the girls wing of the National Cadet Corps."It is during school hours", she said, to my great relief, for I did not know whether I would have been able to take her to school early or bring her back if she stayed back. I remembered how keen I was to join the Guides during my school days but could not for precisely this reason, no one could pick me up after school. I was happy to let my brat join the guides. She looked so smart in the blue little daughter, looking so big and important! I thought of all the things my baby can do which I cannot....She can skate, cycle, swim(after a fashion), ride off on a horse, breeze off on a camel. She looks small and shy but she is tough inside...she went off on those crazy fair rides which has a boat shaped ride swinging at precariuos angles...the Mr came away looking a little green about the gills after taking the ride with her but she was unfazed. I don't have the guts to go for these rides, never had! All in all, I could not help feeling quite proud of my tiny gutsy Brat...may she achieve great heights!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The season of festivities!

It began with raksha bandhan... and then they came one after the other...lakshmi puja here in bangalore, then janmashtami and now Ganesh puja and the month of ramzan also in progress...lo and behold, it is that time of year when there are festivities all around. We celebrated all the festivals in our own way at home. Last year the mite was very suspicious of the string tying and did not want to tie one. However this year he wore all his rakhis (sent by grandmom and aunt and the one given by the Brat Girl) very happily. He wore one to his school too! In our house even the girl gets rakhis so the Brat also had a few of her own (sent by grand parents, uncle and aunt and one given by the mite)!
On the lashmi puja day we were invited at the landlady's place. aon Janmashtami I got a small idol of infant Krishna and the Brat made rangolis, she was also invited to make rangolis at the landlord's son's place which is just behind our house.
This time on Ganesh Chaturthi the young boys of our lane organized a one day puja right in front of our house. It was like having Ganesha in our own homes. All the people of our lane enjoyed the one day affair! We were called for the aratis and prasad was delivered at our door step. There are a few other pujas in our neighbourhood and the whole place is full of lights and joyous festivities!
This time the Durga puja of the Bengalis has also been preponed by a month and I am having that queer puja feeling from now itself! New clothes are being bought with a gusto! You can visit any mall or any place where clothes are being sold, and you will find the place teeming with Bengalis calling to each other- " Aei shirt ta Haru kakar jonno kemon hobe?"(how is this shirt for Haru uncle)..." Eta Papai ke suit korbe" (this shirt will suit Papai)etc.
Last Sunday, we had our own special festivity- it was 'craft day' at house. I went and collected two of the Brat girl's friends and the three of them made short work af several tubes of fevicol and numerous glitter packets and cut up two t-shirts and two pajamas to make 'friend' mix and match clothes for themselves. The girls had a blast and I had the afternoon to watch a film with the Mr at home. The mite cooperated tremendously and all went off well.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Does this life have any meaning??

A young girl, my niece, woke us up with a jolt last Sunday morning- she made us ponder- what are we doing? Does our existence make any sense, or do we constantly try to distract ourselves from that one and only reality- DEATH. That sweet girl, dedicated, sincere, responsible, religious and devoted to her parents poured 5ltrs on kerosene on herself and struck a match- why, because, she somehow felt betrayed that her God had not heeded her prayers and saved her mother, who died scarcely 10 days before after a prolonged illness. We were stunned beyond belief, how can an educated, responsible girl do this to herself, to her father? WHY WHY WHY? She had a bright future before her but she did not want to exist in this world without her mother, she chose an excruciatingly painful death for herself. Nothing that this world can offer to her was enough to match with her desire to be with her mom. Her mother, who , throughout har life wanted nothing but to have her well settled. It is true that her father may not live long after this tragedy, but then I wonder, we all have to die one day, so did the child show her GOD her own superiority in choosing her death?? Is her God sad, happy, intimidated? I guess we will never know. Is there a life after death when she can live with her mother in peace for eternity? who knows, but while we are here on earth we have to believe that this live and this earth is what we were meant for. We must struggle on...we must not attach such strong emotions to that which is unknown (our God), we should always strive to make this life beautiful for ourselves and for others. After this incident, I immersed myself in the life that I have lead. Picked up the much postponed task of scanning old photos with a vengeance. I found a lot of peace amongst my memories, I got in touch with a few more and re-read the comments of astonishment and joy and laughter which my friends posted on our class X snaps...and I have is good, we must hold onto it and hope and pray that Goid does not put us to the test, torture us too such an extent that we think of putting an end to it all! May we get the strength to carry on with our lives with a positive attitude, while remembering the ones who have gone, let us not forget the duty we have to those who are still there...I pray sincerely that mother and daugther have found peace with their God..