Coincidence

Is it a coincidence that we met or that we share the same birth date? That we have now been friends for about 21 years – much of our adult lives and have aged together.

Soon it’ll be 2nd September, the date that binds us together for many reasons – for one, it was the day in 1998 when my conscious brain first recorded your presence as a fellow student/ batch mate in our college pursuing our masters in Business administration. It was the day, when we first celebrated our birthday together in class, thanks to the thoughtfulness of another classmate – who I shall remember mostly for this reason. She bought a cake and bade us to cut it together. I saw you for the first time, registered your presence and as someone who shares my special day, and from then on there’s been no looking back.

I like to believe we were destined to meet – to support and love each other through this journey called life. To enrich it for the other, by adding flavors of love, shared joys, sorrow and understanding, the bright colors of adventure and the subtle pastels of poetry and music, fragrances of memories created by travel and holidays together, sometimes the grey of confusion & anger has clouded our relationship but then it’s always seen the clarity of white  light.

Over these years as my friend, you’ve helped cultivate my mind, change it bit by bit.  You have helped me unravel layers of my thoughts, opinions and mind. You’ve made me a better person, I have no doubt about that. I’ve drawn from your maturity and balance, your vitality and strength, and you I hope from my positivity and openness.

For this birthday, I thank the universe for your solid unshakable presence in my life and your love & I ask the same always.

Written gratefully and in response to Linda Hill’s #SoCS – Stream of Consciousness Saturday

 

 

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My precious you!

 

My precious cup of tea – I’m sure I’ll love you till eternity

You comfort me when I’m sick and cold,

And I hope you’ll still be strong & around, when I’m weary and old.

Blue and white, waiting on the shelf, I knew instantly you were to be mine,

Of the set of 4 that I had bought you with, only you stayed

to make my mornings warm & cheerful, my evenings a comforting delight.

When someone holds you, I always try to dissuade,

Will they treat you with the love and care that I do, I’m always afraid.

Your delicate look belies your strength and age,

Not a chip or crack and I’m grateful for that, may your beauty never fade.

Blessings for you to shine, sparkle and preserve your blue

My tea sure tastes best when it’s with you – you add that flavour to it, don’t you?

 

How I came to love tigers

To see a tiger is to love it!

The emotion of seeing an animal in the wild is completely different from seeing it in captivity or in an enclosed sanctuary.
I learnt this when I spotted my first tiger in the wild on a safari at the Bandhavgarh National Park (BNP). It was in 2008 and my husband and  a friend joined me post a work trip to Madhya Pradesh (MP – the central state of India), for a visit to BNP.
We arrived in the afternoon at the M P Tourism property there and were lazing post a heavy lunch when the manager suggested the afternoon safari. He said we should do as many as possible if we were keen on spotting the elusive tiger. We agreed excitedly as we’d thought of doing the early morning safari the next morning and had so much time to kill – and thus after quick arrangements of a vehicle and permit we were off. About an hour and half into the safari and after having seen the caves on the little hill inside the forest, plus a tad disappointed, our experienced driver heard a deer call!! And the rest as they say is history and will always be cherished in my memory.

On the edge of our seats we looked about for about 20 minutes before we spotted this beauty – tigress ‘Bandhavi’ in the bushes right next to our vehicle. Completely camouflaged we spotted her only because of the movement of the tall grass there. Refer the featured pic. And what a day it turned out to be thereafter. She kept us company for the rest of the afternoon. After crossing the road ( as in pic 2) she lay on the edge of the grassland for a long while, before walking into the sunset. It’s an image imprinted in all our minds and hearts and we discuss it often – in the dim light of dusk, the orange hue of the setting sun reflected on the golden grass of the forest as the tigress walked in slowly and gracefully getting lost in the bushes – only her swishing tail seen for a while. We stood there for a few more minutes and sighing deeply returned back to the hotel – a long standing wish fulfilled with happiness in our hearts.

My love for tigers blossomed that day and I eagerly read up everything about them. Jim Corbett remains a favorite author and his books give an insight into the intelligent minds and lives of this superb animal.
We went on many safaris to see tigers in Pench and Kanha and Tadoba national parks in the following years but the first experience remains most cherished and etched in my memory.

In the later safaris, I didn’t see the elusive tiger many a times and while it did leave me disappointed, I came to appreciate just the beauty of these dense forests and the many flora and fauna inside.

In India with almost 70-80% of the world’s tiger population, we have the benefit and responsibility of protecting these majestic animals from extinction. Our future generations should be able to see them roam free in the wild and marvel at nature’s beauty.

Take my word for it – Make your next holiday a tiger safari holiday, you’ll come back a changed person.

Pic 1 & pic 2 in Bandhavgarh national park.
Pic 3 – Jim Corbett National park
tiger bandhavgarh2

Tiger Corbett

Rains in Mumbai – perspective

The roofs drip waste,
peeling plasters flutter in the wind,
as the asbestos sheets threaten to come crashing.
The stench that defines this place now washed away,
the by-lanes are mini streams and hold a threatening sway.
One room houses, jam & jostle beside the drain,
the temporary tarpaulins covering the roofs, offer little resistance to the rain;
the bricks to stop them too feeble to fight,
just like the people inside.

We fight our battles everyday for a bit of food and shelter,
that offer no comfort for the ill and sick – they might as well have been on the street.
The choking gutters, spreading out our waste like valuables for all to see,
the dampness dampens our spirits, pervades our being,
this claustrophobic slum life in Mumbai is our misery.
Yet, you’re always welcome,
Oh beautiful rain! Your pattering drops momentarily dull our pain,
the accompanying wind tugs at our clothes and our troubles,
isn’t that why we find him so lovable?
As the thunder clouds gather, we feel our spirits lift,
our faces upturned with expectation and smiles,
we realize although a burden, life is still a gift.
And in those precious few moments,
we know we are equal in the eyes of nature – she treats us all the same.
Rain – the life giver!


The privileged
From the cosy confines of my verandah, I watch the rain as my maid serves me tea,
I snuggle deeper into my wicker chair, knowing I can pull out the awning if it threatens to wet me.
The spray off my whitewashed railing wets my face, the gentle breeze grazes my cheek,
I breathe in the scent of the earth, this moment precious, gives me the peace I seek.
The sea in the distance dances her joy, her waves leaping up to touch the drops,
I sense the play and the glee of the firth, one can hear the roar and the joyful mirth.
The sky is a deep hue, the trees verdant green, the earth deep brown, the hitherto dusty leaves sport now a sparkling sheen;
The birds watch from their in the nests, the dance of the plants in the pots,
all the living – old and young, yes we’re all besot.
And for a while all life pauses, to pay homage to this wonder called rain.

(The rain from the perspective of the rich and the poor in Mumbai)