Sunday, October 28, 2012


Third post for the day.

I've said before, the moon has never been as significant to me as it has been of late. Rather, I now realise that it has always been significant but I had not noticed. 

Isn't it curious how some things never come your way and when they do, they tend to come in bunches of three - a new word, or a concept or a piece of trivia? I had never heard about the Sahasra Chandra Darsanam – it had never been done in my family – but a friend told me last year that her family was going to have a pooja and a gathering to mark her father-in-law’s turning 83 and a few months. It was to celebrate a point where he had experienced a thousand cycles of the moon in his lifetime. Then another colleague of my father's turned a 1000 moons and then my Guru mentioned it. Not that you need to have seen a thousand full moons with your eyes, he specified, knowing perhaps that many of the fools that he looks after stay hunched over their petty lives, instead of looking up at something profoundly amazing simply because it happens every month. The body apparently has its own way of experiencing the ebbs and flows of the world around it. Once it has known a thousand lunar cycles, the human system alters in a few ways, making it easier to shed your karma – or that's how I understood it.

But it is no hardship to look at the moon. And when a full moon coincides with your travels, well, sona on top of suhaaga. It happened in Zambia. (Where I was not able to take the Rainbow Walk, which takes you to the Victoria Falls by moonlight and, if you're lucky, gives you a glimpse of the Moonbow - a rainbow refracted by moonlight.) But I was happy enough to be in a lovely cabin by the expansive River Zambezi under a full moon. It was light when I sat to meditate in the lounger outside; when I came to, it had darkened to deep purply ink, the moonlight glistened off the choppy waters and it was so beautiful. I have no picture of that sadly, and I doubt any lens of mine could’ve done justice.

A month later, my incredible luck saw me in Srinagar. As the moon waxed, we saw it every day – rising from behind craggy mountain frames, as we stood about this Mughal garden and then the next as darkness fell… 

From Chashm-e-Shahi Gardens, Day 1

From Nishat Bagh, Day 2

On our third day there, we were in Gulmarg, making our way back (rather late) to the parking lot where our anxious driver awaited the posse of women he was in charge of. As we walked back, there were these views.
Strolling down the lanes of Gulmarg, Day 3

As we drove back to Srinagar, the world had turned monochrome. Only blue-black and silver seemed to exist; we turned bend after bend to a new view as the dappled woods stood bathed in moonlight. I had not seen trees throw shadows that sharp at night.

On the fourth day, we had a party on top of a houseboat. The full moon was on time, voices carried this way and that over the water, sounds of paddles sloshing, and in the distance, traffic on the road.
Full moon over Srinagar from HB Hilton on the Dal, Day 4. Pic: Nishat Fatima

You can’t hold moonbeams, of course, but now and then, you come close enough.

Andananta etha?

We were talking about Kshana kshanam yesterday - what a classic it is, how refreshing the music, the way the songs were 'taken' as they say in Tollywood-speak. And of course, Sridevi. Gamine charm, mobile face, now innocent, now sexy, now crafty, now ditzy. She carried the movie. Venkatesh rocked too, but Sridevi!
So as I'm feeling somewhat excessive:

...and, why the heck not!

Whachoo doin', Ramu? Kuch cheezein apne aap se bhi seekhni chahiye.

The in-between times

I had a haiku for the rains, I really did. A hauntingly beautiful one. But I procrastinated, and now the season is past. A new one advances but we are not yet in its grip. So the change of header demands not a remark on the seasons but something else.

So just like that, this funny haiku that's a study in plotting, on how to tell a story... and the importance of the villain.

shiny red apples
the painter introduces
a caterpillar

~Greg Piko

Thursday, October 04, 2012


Dust lies on the shelves of this blog. The haiku hasn't been changed since the summer, the air is musty, and everywhere, cobwebs of abandoned posts.
But soon - a post on Kashmir, which I visited last month, my story on Zambia, where I travelled in July, a header change, some thoughts on the moon... much!
In the meantime, I post now because I'm running very very fast from a deadline that is upon my heels and will slay me if I don't wrestle it to the ground. Wish me luck.