Sunday 21 July 2024


On the way...

To be on the road in a car, or a dirt track,

slicing through the mists and never looking back -

that’s where you’re most at ease, without any need

to think on what lies beyond or what recedes.


Ferns dip their dainty toes into the highway

waterfalls weave small rainbows into their spray

the eucalypti raise their hands to the sky

a mile is a unit of time flashing by.


As you draw near, the sandal trees make it plain

there’s no scent without a price of crushing pain.

The border staff check the car for smuggled goods

for gold’s almost equal to this sandalwood.


The yearning to breathe in freely perfumed air

does not work - you return to the road from there. 

From NH 85

I am back from Kerala after a wonderful trip - the monsoons are absolutely gorgeous in the mountains, whether it's the Himalayas or the Western Ghats. Kerala, being at the very south western tip of peninsular India, has two monsoons - one when they come in from the Arabian Sea and again, when they recede. It rained nearly everyday, a beautiful drizzle that gently misted everything to a dreamscape. Clouds floated across the slopes so close you felt you could just stretch your arm out and touch them. 

I first went to Munnar in the early 90's on a work trip. It wasn't the huge tourist destination that it's become now, I'd never even heard of it before. The town was a line of straggly buildings along a tiny main street, which I had no occasion to get into because we were put up by the client at a property some distance from it. My room had wrap around windows with the most spectacular panoramic views of the mountains and tea gardens. 

It was the kind of place that makes you want to return to it even before you've left it. I resolved to go back someday. On holiday - no work meetings, no client directed facilities tours. Taken me thirty plus years but now that's been ticked off. :) 

Marayoor is about 40 km from Munnar - there is a forest of sandalwood trees, some 65000 of them. I wanted to check out the scent of the live forest as opposed to dead wood and processed oils. So I badgered the family and our guide into a drive there. Unfortunately the whole area is fenced off, naturally...sandalwood is one of the most expensive woods in the world, illegal felling and smuggling has been an issue, deforestation is an ongoing problem in India anyways...So. Walking among the sandal trees is a strict no-no. The main road cuts through the forest, that's as close as a visitor can get. I asked everyone in the car if they could smell anything. No one could, our city noses are not up to the task. Cautionary tale in there somewhere, also a life lesson if one looks hard enough. 

The drive was beyond sublime though. The only sounds that of the winds and the wheels on the road. Occasional waterfalls cascading down the how-green-is-my-valley-type slopes. And once the engine was switched off, a thousand different birdsongs in chorus.

Strangely, I did not feel half the disappointment I thought I should. Maybe I'm finally becoming capable of appreciating the meaning of the journey being the destination. 

I hope your week is filled with the most beautiful sounds and scents of nature wherever you are. 

Sunday 7 July 2024

No high alert


I don’t have to close my eyes to see your face,

it’s in passing clouds, in each clod on the road,

it’s been outlined in the rise and fall of days –

as winters have frozen, as springs have thawed.


As summers have stormed in with their fangs bared,

as the lissom rains have twirled on the ground.

I hear your voice in the soft, whispered prayers

of the sea breeze in trees that it weaves around.


I don’t have to prime myself body and mind

I don’t have to take any extra care,

to sharpen my senses for symbols and signs.

Wherever I reach out blind – you’re always there.


However great the time and space we’re apart,

you’re with me still – nothing needs a high alert.

A scheduled post - because I'm on a short break in the Nilgiris but I'm reluctant to let anything disrupt the hard-fought fortnightly schedule of posting here. Fortnightly? is that archaic? I never see people use it, come across it anywhere in writing either, unless it's 'period' writing. Ennyway. I digress.

What I meant to write was that I'm quite unsure how to label this poem - all love poetry feels like something else too, to me - deeper than the glib labels words define. However, the lines have come about because of an old 1970s photo a childhood friend posted on a social media platform. I oohed and aahed over it, I'm a sucker for old snaps. It struck me later that I've managed to remain in contact somehow through all the intervening years with all the people captured in that photograph, though we each are continents apart at this exact moment and have been so through the major part of our individual lives. 

Should poems be labelled to reflect their source of inspiration? On a different note, isn't that - that I'm still able to be in touch with them - an ineffable blessing and a celebration deeper than words? 

Hope your month has begun well, have a wonderful July. 

Saturday 22 June 2024



Photo by Foad Roshan on Unsplash

Sometimes, even the winds can’t imagine

how far they’ll take the dandelion seeds,

the river can’t tell where the rocks fall in,

the exact direction of the whirlpools’ spin,

how low branches – by inches, come to impede

shore hugging small crafts. Force them to cross –

midstream. Sometimes, even gods are at a loss.


Those who are always buffeted by fate

directionless, in search of a place to peg –

a mooring from where to learn to navigate,

to untangle themselves and lay limbs out straight,

know that walking has least to do with legs.

Know that feet themselves can be the maelstrom

regardless of where they go or come from.

Strange things have been happening to the weather here, Kolkata has been giving itself airs that it is the Arabian desert. Though it's got the temperatures almost correct, it's way off the mark in humidity and the result is an unbearable mix.

The lemonade is certainly coming in handy, no dearth of lemons here, further ones have materialised since I posted here last - hey, we have a never ending supply! As usual poetry - both reading and writing, is a peg of sorts and therapy and a huge comfort. As is the blog and your company. Hope you are cooler and more comfortable wherever you are logging in from. Thank you for being here. 

Sunday 9 June 2024



The longest ten years of this life were spent

in waiting for the tide to turn, the run

of bad luck to abate. And for someone

to stand alongside and say - we hadn't meant

this by the mandate, it was all a mistake.

That we must speak ill of the friends with whom

we'd built sandcastles. That there was no room

for shared air or dreams - that our pasts don't make

us us, we're the sums of our differences.

That you're not me and I am not you - 

and we must observe our separate taboos,

confined to neighbourhoods scarred by fences.

Yes, the longest ten years. But now we're done.

And breathing out is enough celebration.

Hello, hello, long time! The longest I've been away from my home on the web, which is the only steadfast unchanging home I've been able to live in so far. It's been too long. Though I did pop into the WEP catch up post early this month. 

A quick update - the vision issues are still ongoing, the tsunami of graduated eye drops will continue for the near future, I'm still running in circles round the ophthalmology clinic.  Life has also handed me a few other lemons to make lemonade with meanwhile. However, on the plus side I was able to vote! after nearly 30 years, that improved my mood no end. And the outcomes have been better than expected! Go, democracy!

I've got a bit fed up of being fed up, I'm totally not cut out for the perpetual grumpies. So I thought I'll write myself to a better place. And here I am. A fresh start at a blogging schedule. I'm aiming for twice a month for now and hopefully will be able to step it up and get back to my weekly posting routine sometime sooner rather than later.

I hope life has been smooth and beautiful for you meanwhile. Hope to catch up with you shortly. 


Tuesday 30 April 2024

Z is for ze end


Well, it's time to zip it up after posting a zillion photos...

Zebra crossing, Sarat Bose Road, Kolkata, India.

Zebra crossing, near Natural History Museum, Raleigh, NC.

Zebra crossing, P&G Plaza, Cincinnati, OH.

Zebra crossing, Dealey Plaza/Elm Street, Dallas, TX. 

Zebra crossing, Constitution Ave, Washington DC. 

Zebra crossing, Victoria Parade, Suva, Fiji. 

Zebra, crossing. Masai Mara, Kenya. 

Zebra not crossing. Sheep crossing. St Catherine, Sinai, Egypt.

Well, that's it. Another April, another A-Z, muddled through somehow. Hope you enjoyed the pictures.  Big fat thank yous to all those who visited and encouraged. 

For the last few days, my eye has been super sore. And closed for the most part. Back as soon as this never ending rubbish is sorted, hopefully sooner rather than later.

A very happy May to all!

Posted for the A-Z Challenge 2024

Monday 29 April 2024



Y day and so close yet so far, yikes! It's turned out to be a total yorker, if you know what I mean. Didn't expect Y to be so difficult, but there it is... 

The old, original York, UK. Incidentally, a yorker is not a resident of
York but a cricket delivery, one of the toughest balls to bat.

Newer, new York, USA.

Darb al Asfar - translates to Yellow Alley, Egypt.

That's a dessert called Bali Breakfast, made of mango and whipped coconut
milk, not an egg. The 'yolk' was runny just like the real thing though.
Cuca, Jimbaran, Bali. 

Private yachts at Denarau, Fiji. 

Fall leaves in a lucky shade of yellow! Texas.

That's about all I could scrape together for today. Funny how what you think will be easy turns out quite different, while the expected difficult ones don't create as much of a problem. C'est la vie.  

Thank you to all those who've read and supported me through this erratic version of A-Z. Hopefully, I can be back for the finale. 

Posted for the A-Z Challenge 2024

Sunday 28 April 2024



I shall Xploit the following photos to Xtricate myself from the predicament that is X...

Needs no captions, right? At the NC Museum of History, Raleigh

Is this an Xample of obsessive memorialisation?

Beyond weird....

Spot the X - how many do you see? NC Museum of Art, Raleigh

The label on the case you wanted the Xplanation...

More Xs spotted...Mirror Image by Maud Gatewood

The detailed label. NC Museum of Art, Raleigh, NC.

Some Xtra large Xs among the stripped branches. East Fork State Park, OH

Bowl with X. Indigenous American art. Dallas Art Museum, TX.

That's all for X, and boy, am I glad that's over! Hope you've enjoyed the photos. Just a couple more left now, thank goodness. Happy end days of the challenge to you if you're A-Zing! And happy cusp season if you're not!

Posted for the A-Z Challenge 2024

Saturday 27 April 2024



From the age of 16 onwards, that's when my father gave me a point-n-shoot Kodak, wherever I've gone in the world, the one thing that's gone with me is a camera. From Washington DC to Wailoaloa, Fiji. From Wikala al Ghuri in Cairo to the White river and to Wadi Rum. 

Mashrabiya window in Wikala al Ghuri, Cairo.
For the privacy of women.

Plaque on the medieval wall of Bath, UK.

White river on a gorgeous, early winter day. Carmel, IN.

Humayun's tomb, Delhi.

Old wooden windows from the 1920s/30s, Kolkata. 

Wading hamercop, they live in a wide variety of wetlands in Africa and
Arabia. Masai Mara, Kenya.

Stained glass window, Bath Abbey, Bath.

West Potomac Park, Washington DC.

Weeping willow, Kew Gardens, Greater London, UK

Watching the lights recede, Singapore.

4WD in Wadi Rum, Jordan. 

I'm ending with a video - of wave watching on Wailoaloa beach, Fiji. The tide was coming in. I went for long walks on this beach sometimes as it was the closest to Denarau, where we lived while we were there.  One of my friends on viewing the clip, commented, 'It's sounds like the earth is breathing.' Wow! Did she nail it or what?

That's all for W for windows, waves, winter and water. Hope you've enjoyed the photos. Happy A-Zing! - if you're participating, we're well into the last week now! And happy cusp season to you, if you're not! 

Posted for the A-Z Challenge 2024

Friday 26 April 2024



I keep using the URL to put in the badge above but I'm unaware about what the letters actually signify. I shall get off this post and directly find out. 

Here are the photos for today - U is for umbrella and V is for visitor, which is what my role is in all photographs posted here, though I am not visible in them. That's because I'm behind the camera, eyes glued to  the viewfinder.

Umbrellas at the White House. Washington DC.

Umbrella climbing up at the Jefferson Memorial, DC.

Umbrellas at the Lincoln Memorial

More umbrellas going down the steps.

At home drying on the landing. Kolkata, India.

On the way to Abby Falls, Karnataka, India.

Batasia Loop, Darjeeling, India.

Pineapple seller. Near Coronation Bridge, India.

Namdroling Golden Temple, Mysuru, India.

Darbhanga Ghat, Varanasi, India.

The Great Banyan at the Botanical Gardens, Howrah, India.

In case you were wondering - an umbrella is an umbrella and not a parasol when it's made from a waterproof material. An umbrella can be used as a parasol, and it is often used so in India. But a parasol can't be used as an umbrella - it will not protect against rain. Now you know which to carry when.  

That's all for today. Hope you've enjoyed the photos. Happy A-Zing! - if you're participating, in the home stretch now! And happy cusp season to you, if you're not! 

Posted for the A-Z Challenge 2024