A special friend

Sometimes, in this journey called life, one meets people who are there with you for only a short while, almost as if they were on a specific purpose—that of making a positive difference to your life. I met one such person in the very first week of a year-long stay in London—Mohand.

But before I tell you more about Mohand, a little background information…

The year in London is, perhaps, the most memorable year of my life, in more ways than one. And one of them was searching for affordable, vegetarian food that I could manage within my limited scholarship allowance. I could have cooked in the communal kitchen in the place where I stayed, but I could not stomach the sight and smell of meat, chicken, fish, etc.

Rajshri, a friend & colleague from work, was already in London on a short-term visit when I arrived. A vegetarian herself, she had done quite a bit of research on vegetarian food joints in Central London and introduced me to some of them. The Cafe le Midi, on 23 Warren Street, was one such place, and we would meet up for lunch on Saturdays there. Rajshri soon returned to India, but I continued going to the Cafe every Saturday for lunch.

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My ‘now’ song: Abhi naa jao chhod kar

Do you ever have a song, an idea, a storyline, or an image stuck in your head? And it just refuses to go away? For some time at least. I have this with music—it could be a song, an instrumental piece, a jingle, etc. This becomes my ’now song, and the “nowness”  (pardon my English here) could be for any length of time.

My ‘now’ song is Abhi na jao chhod kar ke dil abhi bhara nahin from the film Hum Dono.

I love this duet by Mohammad Rafi and Asha Bhosle, so beautifully filmed on Dev Anand and Sadhana. Rafi’s mellow, persuasive voice and Asha’s flirtatious response makes this song an all-time favourite. It is Rafi’s 30th death anniversary on 31st July 2010 and this is my tribute to him.

Enjoy. :-)

Full moon of the teacher

The Year: 1995
The Place: A leading publishing firm in Bombay

The copyeditor let out a sigh of frustration. She had been copyediting an English translation of an autobiography originally written in Marathi, for the past two weeks. Progress was slow, painfully slow, largely due to the poor translation, and the list of queries for the translator and/or author was growing by the hour.

“This is not translation, this is torture!” grumbled the copyeditor for what was probably the millionth time.

Then, the copyeditor came across a sentence that stumped her completely and she knew that she could go no further till this had been understood. The sentence in the manuscript read:

It was the full moon of the teacher.

“Full moon of the teacher? Full moon of the teacher? What on earth is that? asked the copy-editor aloud.

The copyeditor felt a headache coming on. She decided to walk around the office and see if her colleagues could help her figure out what “full moon of the teacher” was.

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Travel Shot: Traffic jam on the River Cam

25 April 2009: Punting in Cambridge

A visit to Cambridge is incomplete without punting on the river Cam. Usually an hour-long trip, it is a different way to experience Cambridge and, of course, to listen to some outrageous stories and gossip about the University town and its famous alumni from the punters. ;-)

And that is exactly how I explored Cambridge on a beautiful, lazy April day.

A walk of faith: Palkhi

I wonder about the concept of “faith” sometimes. Faith in a belief, faith in a religion, faith in people, faith in relationships, faith in God… Faith. An abstract, nebulous concept for some; yet, a strong, clear path for others.

My faith in the concept of  faith was tested during my recent trip to Pune, when the annual Palkhi Festival of Sant Tukaram and Sant Dnyaneshwar passed through the city on 5-6 July 2010. The palkhi or palanquin of Sant Dnyaneshwar carries his footwear on a silver bullock cart; I am not sure what the palkhi of Sant Tukaram carries.

A group of varkaris singing abhangs (devotional songs) around an idol of Sant Dnyaneshwar

According to the Maharashtra Tourism website, the Palkhi Festival is a 1,000 year old tradition where devotees/pilgrims, known as varkaris accompany the palkhis on foot to Pandharpur over 22 days in June (the Hindu month of Jyeshta)–July (the Hindu month of Ashada). The Palkhi Festival ends on Ashada Ekadashi.

Thousands of devotees make this annual trip every year. This year, the ToI has estimated that 3 lakh varkaris joined the 2010 Palkhi Festival. On the day the palkhis pass through Pune, roads get blocked, traffic diverted, and schools and colleges declare a holiday.

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Colour therapy @ Tulsi Baug

A walk in the Tulsi Baug area was just what I needed to lift my spirits after the visit to Vishrambaug Wada. Of course, it helped that the Tulsi Baug area is just across the road from the Wada.

It is difficult to explain what exactly Tulsi Baug is. In spite of the name baug, which means garden, it is not one. Tulsi Baug has about two temples and shops selling brass and copper items, as well as puja items. The market surrounding Tulsi Baug is also known as Tulsi Baug, though I am sure it must have a name like Lakshmi Market!

I first discovered Tulsi Baug as a college student, when I had time to spare between my music classes and my college lectures. Each week, I would set off in a different direction and explore yet another lane or market. I still recall those days with a lot nostalgia.

Anyway, I spent a happy hour wandering around in the Tulsi Baug area and poking around in the shops, generally having a good time. It was colour and texture therapy all the way.

Enjoy the photographs. :-)

The dilapidated, but beautiful Rameshwar Temple at Tulsi Baug. Some kind of repair work seemed to be in progress.

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