Crying doves and walking dogs—6 am


IMG-20150531-01316net protection of another kind

Crying doves and walking dogs—6 am

The Sun slows down on a dusty day

Tied by a string to the horizon.

As I pass by the forest land empty streets

a dove despairs

And wails ooh hoo hoo. A peacock soothes

And shrieks, ‘wait wait’ while

Tiny birds consternated in leafy trees

Chirp ‘yes, aye, that’s right, see see’

Some whistle in joy a passing gull


The mandir pandit as usual is singing

On the mike out of tune and dolefully

To a very patient sherawalli*

Three ladies march like cadets in the park

Breathing breathless home truths and esoteric

Recipes kids shout my turn my turn in street cricket

And the garden hose washing cars snipping hedges

And cooing babies a girl discusses her home

Work sitting on a gate step on her mobile phone

Panditji fades away blissfully into the distance

Whirring air conditioners tell me I’m home.

The title actually should be Crapping Dogs.

The opening line would/could/should be

Colonel Kaul takes his dog for its morning call.

*Sherawalli is Goddess Durga riding twelve armed on her sher (lion). Sherawalli is the one with the lion.

My mistake seems to be a tiger and eight arms. Here’s one with a lion and ten arms :-

Soundtrack of Life

Background music for real life


Real life does not have background music. That is why sometimes it seems so drab. In the movies even a simple thing like smelling a rose is glorified with an entire orchestra highlighting the moment, the action is slowed down and the heroine’s hair bob like fluffy dark clouds.

Life would be so exciting if it had background music. Imagine a clash of cymbals when you serve that beautiful omelet or sunny side up egg lovingly to your child. A rhapsody while you shave; a symphony while you take a morning walk and a jazz solo when you get a par on the golf course.

Of course a lot of us have iPods with headphones or stereo systems at home to give background music while we work or jog; but I want music every time I sharpen a pencil or write on the laptop. A special serenade when I look at my wife and an oozing Manuel and his Orchestra when we have a family dinner. Of course an overdose of music can be like an opiate which shuts down the mind. It reminds me of the Shakespearean lines from Twelfth Night

‘That strain again, it had a dying fall.

Oh, it came o’er my ear like the sweet sound,

That breathes upon a bank of violets,

Stealing and giving odor. Enough, no more.

‘Tis not so sweet now as it was before.’

I suppose I would be quite satisfied if I heart Radetsky March by Johann Strauss Sr. every time I turn on my laptop–

Net Protection of Another Kind

net sleepers

net protection of another kind

Saw these people sleeping under protective mosquito nets and the careenings of my mind led me to nostalgic home memories of sleeping on the roof in summers with white sheets and while pillow covers cool in the summer night. Protected by the mosquito net we watched the moon and stars deep into the night. Also reminded me of the beautiful movie concocted by that solid team of Ruth Praver Jhabwala, Ismail Merchant, James Ivory and in this case Satyajit Ray. The movie was Shakespeare Wallah. What a wonderful musical score by Satyajit Ray. Indian Raags, Western Classical music mixed in a tempo which only a resident of Shonar Bongla could conujure.

Shakespeare Wallah trailer:-

The first scene with the rickshaw is so peaceful and joyful reminiscent of the quiet life of the early years after partition. The music is a grand mix of violins and sitars, oboes and clarinets. Indian trains and Shashi Kapoor at his most handsome.

The soundtrack and the scene with Shashi Kapoor watching the mosquito netted beds hit me then like a gentle tsunami.

The movie is still as beautiful now in its black and white innocence as it was then in 1965.

Watermelons Anyone?


watermelon seller on roadside

watering mouth watermelons

The months of May and June in Chandigarh  see the arrival of truckloads of watermelons from Rajasthan, UP and other states. The water melon seller parks himself with family on the roadside for the entire season and sells this juicy fruit at approximately a dollar for three kilos. The ones you see here weigh about five to six kilos. So with bargaining you can get a good watermelon for a hundred rupees. Right now there must be a hundred such watermelon sellers all over the Tricity of Chandigarh, Mohali and Panchkula.

Monsoon clouds sound the death knell for watermelons because they get juicy and sweet in hot temperatures only; also with the rains the desire to have watermelons disappears much to the disappointment of the sellers.

Gauchos-Motorcycle Cowboy Milkmen of Chandigarh






Most people prefer the pasteurised milk that arrives in half litre polythene packets from established government milk plants. Some with roots in rural Punjab prefer their milk fresh from the udders delivered by milkmen riding on motorcycles with huge aluminium and colorful plastic containers. They are an essential part of morning life in Chandigarh.