Saturday, 28 June 2008

Beads for jewels

I always say that Manipal Hospital's greatest asset is its nursing staff - they are gems. My mom, dad and I have all had our turns in the hospital's Intensive Care Units, and every time, the nurses have taken such excellent and sincere care of us.

So when Daddy went in for bladder surgery, I decided I needed to do something special for these gems of the Urology department. I'm fascinated by all things Native American (I would like to believe that somewhere in my ancestry there is a Cherokee soul) so when I discovered the craft of cording with beads, it became a hobby. However, I didn't think the nurses would appreciate little beaded lizards, so instead I decided to make each of them a beaded name-tag on a key-ring. They were thrilled with the results, and so was I, so decided I must share some pix here.

P.S. The hand is mine.

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Tree #7: a chikku tree, Bombay

I'm not too sure if that's spelt right! This is a wonderful fruit tree - little leathery brown domes that you split open, and scoop out a grainy sweet pulp .. tastes delicious! And makes for mind-blowing milkshakes, too. Some people call this fruit 'sapota' and I think the origin is Mexican.

Got a nice cheery SMS this morning from my friend Jill in Bombay, informing me that this tree has been planted for me in her garden. Jill is one of my oldest and dearest and truest friends, right from the age of eleven. I had just run away from boarding school the night before, and she had got blamed for a prank that some other girls did - and so we both had visits to the principal's office that morning, which is how we met each other and ended up becoming Best Friends. More than thirty years later, we still are. I could write a book about our friendship (and I probably should!) and all the magical fun we've had through school and beyond.

And another tree for our planet - joy! I wonder who will be next on my list!

Saturday, 21 June 2008

Meet the youngest member of the family

Meet Gobi, the newest addition to my flock! Her name is Hindi/Urdu for "cabbage" as her colour matched the cabbage I fed her the day after she arrived. It seemed apt, as her stepsisters are Neembu (lemon) and Maska (butter).

Gobi lives with the grandparents and hasn't met Neembu and Maska yet. She's just a baby and doesn't fly too well, so managed to sprain a foot on her second day at home, with a bad landing. It's all better now, but she prefers hopping and running about to flying, ever since. Her favourite person is me, and she's happiest sitting on my shoulder, chewing my earlobe. And her favourite thing to do is explore the carpets for any tidbits she might find (we sprinkle a little birdseed there for her, to make it a more rewarding experience).

I'm happy to report that she is a friendly child and enjoys meeting people. She's not too fussy an eater, either. Other than the staple millet (birdseed), she chomps on coriander, spinach, cabbage, apple and also had an enthusiastic nibble at a digestive biscuit.

Yes, she poops on me from time to time. and I'm a little nervous over her interest in my nostrils. But so far, so good. Like all doting parents, I shall keep you updated on her progress from time to time!

Friday, 20 June 2008

Crocus going nowhere

Like art, it's a path that doesn't particularly lead anywhere, but
what a joy it is to walk it. I dream of planting crocus bulbs and
French marigolds on every city street.

P.S. These pictures were taken in May, in my parents' garden.

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Before the monsoon

There are days like this. When I feel dry, bare, buffeted.
All around her, the others still wear green; this tree is out of sync
with the seasons. She follows some other rhythm, some African beat
that only she hears. Her pods have been emptied of their cellophane seeds,
ransacked by wild parakeets and squirrels. When they fall, these pods
look like canoes. But though the skies are grey and the wind promises rain,
it lies, and so the canoes rot slowly in the graveyard at her feet.

P.S. This is an African flame tree that grows at the edge of the graveyard behind our terrace.

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Tree #6: an Ashoka tree, Bangalore

Six down, 36 to go. Where are all those promised trees? Last year on my birthday, I asked my friends to plant trees for me in their gardens. I wanted 42, and in just two months I shall be 43, so I guess I'll be wanting one more if I haven't met my goal by then!

This tree is courtesy of an unknown donor, who planted it most unwisely in something akin to a window box at our office building. Mr. Arasu, our gardening genius/doctor/magician, brought it over and planted it in front of our house. So far, so good. You could say it's in foster care. It's surviving, but will have to undergo another uprooting to a more suitable spot when we can find one. It currently stays alive but not wonderfully, under the shade of a frangipani tree. It needs its own space, and the sun. Ashoka trees grow tall and straight like pillars (Ashoka pillars? Perhaps that's how they got their name), and it may not be able to do that from where it is.

And now I think it is time for me to some reminder emails to all those potential tree-planters out there. Of course, anyone reading this is welcome to join the club - just plant a tree for me, and send me a picture of it once a year.

P.S. The other gentleman in the picture, seemingly wilting against the gate, is the security guard at the building next door. That's not our gate, by the way. Ours is old and rusty, and once was white.

"Wouldn't it be lovely ..

From the drug-abusing poems of the eighties to the alcohol-guzzling ones of the nineties. Which just goes to show: it's no use getting rid of an addiction if you don't deal with the SOURCE of the problem. The addiction is always a symptom of something deeper. So if you manage to quit one, you can be pretty sure it will resurface in a different form sooner or later.

Wouldn't it be lovely if we didn't need?
Wouldn't it be easier not to feel?
Wouldn't it be nice
to have a heart made of ice?

Then we could chip it to pieces
and put them in the kitchen sink
and our drinks would be deliciously cold
all evening long.

(written on 5/4/97 at 3.04 a.m.)

Edited 11 April 2014

Monday, 9 June 2008

"If I could ..

Many survivors of child abuse feel like this for much of their lives, knowing that there is something wrong with their lives, but not knowing what it is, or why. Learning and understanding about the long term impact of childhood abuse changes that.

If I could only drift like a shark,
cruel and free
and not drown in petty seas of my own misery.

If I could only sleep as a child does
and wake wondrous and pure.

If I could only dive into my soul
and not simply wait on the shore.