Some Shots From the Nature

Nature never tires of giving us surprises. It is the end of March and the weather is taking a turn for the hot and sultry weather. Presently, the trees which have shed their old leaves are supporting fresh green and brown leaves.

A few days ago, the process to shed the inefficient leaves aided by strong winds was in full progress. The roads and avenues were littered with falling dead leaves which were swept here and there by strong breeze. I remembered Kabir whenever I watched this phenomena.

Kabir was a great saint of India. He engaged in a dialogue with the God on a friendly and equal footing as opposed to so many of us who are so awed by the God and always beg for the blessings which He showers without asking. On seeing the dead leaves falling and flying away from the tree which once was adorned by them Kabir sang the song as follows:

Patta Tuta Dal Se Le Gayi Pawan Udaye
Ab Ke Bichade Kab Milenge Door Padenge Jaye
Kabir Aap Thagiye Or Na Thagiye Koi
Aap Thage Sukh Upaje Aur Thage Dukh Hoye

Which can be loosely translated as under.

It is all metaphorical. The dead leave is like a human soul who has separated and drifted away from the the creator. It can be said when these twain shall meet again. The soul will mingle with the creator and shall be released from the cyclic birth and death. So it is not good thing to fall in love of material things but introspect oneself.

Anyway the wise sage things which are easier said than done. But simple conclusion is that we should strive to become better humans. This is the lesson which nature wants to convey to us through several cues daily. Even in the time of so much rough weather, it treats us with good views.

It is so many days since…….

It has been months since I had put the pen to the paper. It seems that urge to write has been blocked by some unknown hand which is holding back my hand.

There are thousands of things on my mind which I wish to share by putting them on the paper. In fact due to the multitude of the things, it has become a big task to manage them efficiently.

The words seem to flying thick like flies before my eyes and only thing I have to do is to catch them and arrange them on the paper in a logical manner. But they are so nimble and dart away as soon as I try to catch them. They want to be free not imprisoned on the paper.

And also there are other emotions which are preventing me to write. These are indescribable in words. They are the feelings which don’t have any name. They are all so abstract like propositions in the quantum mechanics.

Today I am trying to break their resistance and holding the pen I am devising my own grammar and words. Let it be boring. Let the real emotions do not lend them to be put out on the paper in black and white.

Some Pictures I shot in 2011

I have the habit to carry my htc mobile on my walks. I walk almost daily and think that one day I shall be like what I looked like when I was young.

As the years passed by, body began to accumulate pounds. Walking became a necessity to keep fighting the flab. As a bonus, I am rewarded by some good photos. I usually snap whatever appeals me. Most of the times it is the nature.

More pictures will come up. Please continue to visit this post.

Bootstrapping the Life

God’s creations are not comprehensive. His ways are an enigma for us to understand. Even a tiny event taking place in the nature is beyond our understanding. How the life is sparked in the body made of flesh. I think many times that if we assemble all the organs into a human body, can it come to life by itself?

An analogy can be drawn from the modern day computers. A computer is assembled from the hardware like CPU, mother board, storage media, multimedia. Even after assembling the hardware, it is just a lifeless piece without any use until it is booted.

Booting involves a small program called “Bootstrap” which makes the machine to come to life and starts the vital functions like loading the operating system which readies the computer for doing useful work.

Similarly, there must be something, some spark of energy which the God must be infusing in the lifeless body and bringing it into the action. The body becomes ready for performing various functions.

A computer can be rebooted if there is some hitch in the programs. This can occur so many times in the life of a computer. But in case of living beings since the time of booting till the end of life, this happens only once.

It is rightly said that there are dissolves in the reel life but the real life goes on.

Marathi literary festival in Ghuman Punjab

88th Marathi Literary Festival was celebrated in 2015 thousand mile away from Maharashtra in a non descript village called Ghuman in Gurdaspur district of Punjab. Looks surprising why? The reason is that this village has an important link with Maharashtra. Great saint Namdeo came here during his wanderings and remained here for 18 years.

He is said to have born in Naras-Vamani village of Satara district in Maharashtra, Bhagat Namdeo. It was during 12 to 13 century but there are doubts. Anyway it was before the founder of Sikh religion Guru Nanak was born. Imagine about 800 years ago how the saint must have travelled nearly 2000 kilometers when the means of transportation were few and far between. And also why he chose this place only. During these years saint preached here about the one god and leave the bad customs like casteism plaguing the society here. 

Saint Namdev

In one of his compositions , he tells the God, how he was thrown out from the temple as he belonged to lower caste. He himself beseeches the God why He had ordained him to be born in the family of cloth dyers which is considered low caste. He tells God that he has returned out from your temple and sitting at the backside of the temple. Full poem in Gurumukhi with English meaning is reproduced below.

People here still revere him. His teachings were so pious that 61 of his Shabads were included in Adi Granth , the holy book of Sikhs by Guru Arjan Dev, the fifth guru of Sikhs.

Travels along Morni Hills Road

Morni is a hill station about 55 kilometers away from Chandigarh. Morni in local language is referred to peahen. The name is derived from the name of girl of a local ruler. There were many small princely states all over Shavlik hills. The rulers were mostly Rajput many of whom owed allegiance to Mughals.  Morni hills were ruled by Rajput from Sirmaur which is near Nahan in Himachal Pradesh. The place is situated in Shavlik hills and can be reached through a road from Panchkula. The map of the road is given below:

The road is serpentine because hilly area begins just after crossing the Panchkula and after a continuous climb for about 20 kilometers from Panchkula, the path begins to descend. I have gone up to point where this descent begins.

There are hills covered with wild shrubs and trees including teak. When you begin the journey towards Morni from Panchkula there are hills covered with thorny acacia trees. Hordes of monkeys roam along the road. All day they are there squatting on edges of road and climbing on the adjacent trees. People who came to visit Shiva temple near Berwala, gave them banana and other eatables. This causes the menace to normal visitor who is afraid to get down.

On the way, is Gauri Shankar temple which is seldom open. It seems more of a private property of some Guru who enjoy immense clout over politicians rather than a public place as the temples are generally opened to public. After about 8 kilometers there is small bridge on a seasonal branch of Ghaggar river which is dry in the summers. There is a place with dense trees and foliage along the river which is marked as a bird sanctuary. But you have to be very patience for sighting the birds.

There are few fields where farmers can be seen working. The area beyond Panchkula suddenly takes on an idyllic character. Hills along gorges seem like walls of brown mud completely devoid of greenery except the exposed roots of some trees at the top. In these walls, one can see parrots clinging  on to the holes which they must have dug for raising their nests.

One can also come across, the men and women sitting in the cars stopped at different spots engaged in cavorting activities from the city giving slip to their legal partners. Groups of young boys and girls can be seen drinking and making merry. Due to the drunken driving in the hills many a times fatal accidents have been reported.

There are Gray langurs, also called Hanuman langurs or Hanuman monkeys hiding in the bushes and occasionally coming into open on the road or to cross the road. They seem to be shy of humans and avoid humans unlike the monkeys. There are many birds and trees which bear flowers and adorn the landscape.

Birds


Trees


Animals

Owl on the wall

I regularly go out for morning walks. Since there is no park near, you have to walk cautiously to avoid being hit by speeding vehicles which continuously pass on the road. So the fun of the morning walk is marred but one has to live life compromising since we are not kings. I found the recourse to going out into the chunk of fields which are still intact despite the greedy eyes of the builders for acquiring the piece of land for any price and turn the land into concrete jungle.

Secondly, i go to walk into the river bed of Ghaggar river which in winter and summer is dry and occupied by tall grass and thorny shrubs. Many beautiful birds inhabit the water and the grasses. There are water wading birds. There are ubiquitous wattled lapwings which makes alarm calls at your approach and begin flying and circling over you. There are green parrot like birds which are very fast.

Anyway, since it has become unbearably hot it is not possible to go out unless you go before the sunrise. So these days, I walk inside our society along the path adjacent to the boundary wall. It is about half a kilometer in perimeter. Here you are distracted by the people who come from all the sides.

One day while walking, I spotted the spotted owl sitting on the boundary wall near a tree. I took the pictures with mobile camera. Usually other birds are easily scared off and does not allow you to approach near and fly away. I took chance to approach it. It saw me but did not make much effort to fly. It will rotate its head and see through half closed eyes. I could almost touch it. It was very lovely bird.

After some rounds, I found it sitting there. On close inspection, I saw one of its parents sitting on the scaffolding of electrical distribution system. It did not allow the approach and flew away as soon the camera was trained on it. Then I spotted another one sitting on a neem tree outside the boundary. Whole family was there.

Outside is the fallow land with bushes and grass. Nearby are dense woods where peacocks roam making the calls. These owls must have found their prey like small rodents or others small birds here.

After that day, I could not find them any day except once.

Evening Walk

It was Friday and holiday due to the birthday of some leader. I could not get up early in the morning and therefore missed my morning walk. I decided to make up by going out in the evening.

The day before there was big wind with heavy showers. It seemed as if there will be much needed respite from sweltering heat. Whenever one goes out for a walk, the oppressive heat engulfs him. It weaves a cocoon around us and tries to suffocate us by imprisoning us in its cocoon. I thought that climate will cool down but it turned out to be empty rhetoric. It was all thunder storm and wind which albeit broke many weak twigs from the trees and some fronds from the palms lining the avenues. There was huge banging of windows and doors. The rain caught many unawares. There was a puppy which was wailing due to rain and though its mother had brought it into the entrance of our block, it was feeling very fidgety and tinkered with cycles parked near the staircase.

It became quite pleasant after the rain and thunder has gone. Also it became evening. The clouds were thin white transparent and scanty. There was the moon in the sky. It peeked through the veil of the clouds and looked dull and sick. Here and there, occasional stars also penetrated through the veil.

What was more?

It was completely peaceful. There was no movement in the nature. Not a leaf was rustling. It was in complete contrast to the afternoon’s weather. Nature seemed to have gone to still mode from the animated mode. All seemed like a picture. Had it not been for the wet roads, dripping trees, nature had tried its best not to leave a trace of its exploits. But the water on roads, poodles in the nearby ground betrayed it. Otherwise nature had become so still like a naughty boy who after spoiling many things in the house plays a very timid and obedient boy. Only sounds that of cicadas which were piercing the otherwise rare tranquility. There cacophony was as if hundreds of tailors are snipping the cloth pieces with the scissors. Bats were flying from one tree to another and foraging for fruits hanging on the branches. Partially eaten fruits, the rinds lay scattered beneath the trees. It was not the handiwork of bats alone because in the day time, parrots gorge on these trees.

And lo, suddenly without any rhyme or reason, breeze has broken and started shaking the leaves of the branches. The still picture has dissolved and animation mode again has become active. In fact, the the weather here is still very hot and humid. Even during the night, many times the body perspire effusively. There has been no torrential rains which every year threaten the city. In fact the city has become captive to such abnormal phenomena. Though the rain is necessary for agriculture, for filling up the lakes around Mumbai with such exotic names like Tansa, Vihar, Tulsi, Vaitarna and Bhatsa because the water for city supply comes from these lakes, yet BMC must be feeling happy that this year nature has not put it into embarrassing position and exposed the inadequate arrangements made to deal with the flood situation.

Panvel Railway Station

Panvel has a very important strategic location. It is a crucial link between Mumbai and South India. All the trains running on Konkan railways between Kerala and Mumbai and North India pass through Panvel railway station. Trains as important as Rajdhani and Shatabdi are passing through Panvel. It is also the last station of Harbor Railways link between Mumbai and Panvel catering to thousands of travelers everyday.

There was a time few years back when only a few services operated on the local line. The train was almost empty till it entered the main Mumbai. Many passengers came sleeping on the seats. The situation was such that security  guards were posted on the ladies compartments.

The situation is now completely opposite. Both Mumbai bound and Panvel bound local trains are full to brim. If you don’t board them at the starting station, chances are that you will have to keep standing during entire journey.

This reason this has happened is the migration of thousands of families of working class living in the crammed shanties in Mumbai to New Mumbai.  Mumbai city is ever hungry for land. It gobbles whatever land comes its way. Skyscrapers are sprouting from the bosom of earth like the vegetation in the rainy season.  The rates in Mumbai are sky high and after selling even a small house one has enough money to purchase a reasonably good house in New Mumbai and purchase cars to ply as taxis or open some mart. But the biggest factor is some good space to breath after getting suffocated in Mumbai for years.   People are ready to undergo suffering due to traveling to far off Mumbai in return for the good living space for their families. So the introduction of  trains is the prime mover of all this change. The rates of property have begun rising in New Mumbai and Mumbai is extending its tentacles like an octopus.

But, the amenities at the railway platforms are pathetic. Take for example Panvel station. There are lots of passengers coming and going to the station. There is no temporary parking for the people waiting with their vehicles to fetch their relatives which get down at the station. There is a long line of auto rickshaws occupying the one side of narrow approach road to the station. On the other side, local buses come and go and stand there waiting for passengers creating a total mess. The scene in the night is even more strange. In the pucca place between the road and station, so many people sleep in the open. There are dogs foraging inside the dustbins. They shit everywhere. Donkeys squat amongst the sleeping people. In short, the station is bursting at the seams.

Talking about the approach roads to the station from local bus stand, from Hanuman temple near the city rest house, the road passing in front of Sai Baba temple, the less said the better. Take for example the road passing through Sai Baba temple, from main road to just short of the temple, the path looks like a hell. It is not a road at all. It is full of potholes. The inhabitants living on both sides in the shanties live almost on the path. They wash outside. They are almost sitting on the path. Children run here and there and before any warning dart in front of vehicles. It is irony that such conditions prevail near the Baba’s temple. So many affluent people visit this temple everyday but nobody seems to care because they come in the air conditioned cars with the windows rolled up. Baba who was the emancipator of the poorest of the poor seems helpless in this matter. Since he used to stay among the poor and downtrodden people, it may that the same ambiance has been created by not doing anything to alleviate the lot of these poor people.

Similarly the road coming from the highway near Hanuman temple cannot even pass for a road. It is in very bad condition. There are big sections which are totally the potholes. Businessmen are using the  roadside for parking the loaded trucks. These vehicles are battering the already threadbare road. Builders who are building the houses on the sides use the road to stock the building materials. After the job is over, nobody bothers to clear the mess they created. Big mounds of sand and pulverized stones lie on the road. These mercilessly damage the tyres of the vehicles. There are so many bumps and potholes that the vehicles as well as the owners groan with pain.

This is not the end of the story. Just at the confluence of all the roads leading to the station, there is big circular place between them. It has been totally occupied by the caravan people. They have pitched their tents there. Around the area emanates the smell of shit as these people have turned the whole area around into a big open lavatory. Administration seems to has turned a blind eye towards all this. Nobody seems to inspect the roads. The users of the road are paying taxes in turn of such badly conditioned roads. There is no sanitation around the station. It is all running by itself on a fluke or on a chance.