Monday, December 31, 2007
Friday, December 21, 2007
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
This prompted Ro to visit the Madiwala Lake last Saturday afternoon. The 114.16 hectare lake, with a wetland area of 24.74 acres, was built nearly 300 years ago. It is said to have been built overnight (don’t ask me how!) and it got its name (which means washerman) from the washermen folks who lived around it. The water was supposed to have been so clean that people would travel several miles to take drinking water from it. Not any more.
The many varieties of fish, the rose garden and the nursery have long since disappeared. Replaced not surprisingly by a slum on the habitable bank, contributing to human waste contamination of the lake water. The forest department has done precious little except to put up a very badly maintained children’s park and deploying a apathetic gatekeeper whose main concern is to collect Rs. 3/- per ‘entry’.
But we saw the spot-billed pelicans. This more than made up our day which was otherwise ordinary. Not in hundreds though, as the news article promised but may be a few dozens of them. With most of them dozing on the trees at the island, only a handful of them played up to the crowd and displayed their skills at take off and landing. This island is their home in the lake for the two months that they decide to spend here.
Pelicans are strange birds. They lay 3 eggs at a time and only one survives long enough to reach adulthood. The weakest ‘chick’ is done in early by the stronger ones. Of the remaining two, one slays the other so that only one survives at the end. So no need of ‘hum do hamare do’ there, was Ro’s comment. Wise eh?
Saturday, December 08, 2007
I am not a picky reader. I usually read whatever lands on my lap. This means I read a lot of forgettable stuff that no one in her/his sane mind would ever want to get close to. Stuff that by the end of the book you would hope to forget how you started reading it.
Idling through Landmark@Forum I had picked up a few books for Ro. I have read and liked Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni. So The Conch Bearer was a natural choice. Fact that the paper back print was large and was on discount made it an obvious choice.
It all started with helping Ro to read the book. It wasn’t long till I got hooked and waited impatiently for him to sleep so that I could race through the book myself. Even bribed him to carry it as my flight read. He is still reading and hates being told the story and insists on discovering it all by himself.
So his journey is still on. But mine was magical, as the book took me to my Kolkata, traversing through the cold dingy lanes to the warmth of the human heart. I became once more a twelve year old fighting to keep the innocence of believing in my heart as the world around caved in. For Anand, the protagonist, the path and the guide appeared as divine intervention. For me, neither the path nor the guide has ever come to rescue. Or maybe, I never believed enough.
Friday, December 07, 2007
Sphotik is six. A precocious six with dollops of still-remaining innocence. Sphotik lives with his mother. He loves his school and has few friends but not too many. His mother works in an office. She had taken him there a few times. She tells him she would be home with him if they had enough money for everything. Sphotik wants to see his mother home. He doesn’t like that she works so hard and at times comes home late. He tells her when he grows up he will take care of her and she doesn’t have to work at all when she is old. His mother doesn’t reply, just smiles and kisses him on the head.
Sphotik loves his mother. He has loved her for as long as he can remember. But he wonders why she looks sad even when she smiles at him. He has seen her cry when she thought he wasn’t looking. There really isn’t anything that he wouldn’t do for her. He just wants to see her happy. He tries to be good and tries to do everything she asks him to do. He loves watching Cartoon Network. He wishes that his mother lets him watch TV more often. He doesn’t know why she has been so sad lately. He has even stopped watching TV on Sunday mornings.
She plays with him, tells him stories, helps with his homework and makes yummy sandwiches for lunch that his friends love so much. But Sphotik knows she is sad. He had asked again and she had shaken her head and smiled. But Sphotik knows. She didn’t have her dinner last night. He knew when he opened the refrigerator in the morning to get his candy. He has also seen her standing in the puja room and there were tears rolling down her cheeks. He so wanted to hug her and tell her that everything will be all right. But he just prayed to God, please make my mother happy. He even wrote a note for his mother and drew a big heart. She hugged him tight and cried when he gave it to her. He doesn’t understand these adult things. He wrote it to make her smile. He hopes she loves him.