Saturday, July 22, 2006

The lost poems

Unable to assimilate the growing hatred in the name of religion, I prefer to remain in my own understanding of religiousness and spirituality appreciating the beatitude of life, with open eyes without any prejudices hidden behind the eyes and looking with clarity at a small flower or grass or butterfly or a sunset or watching a moving cloud that gives more blissfulness than any other religion would have offered. The pre-requisite to be initiated into this religion is childlikeness, innocence and ignorance. Let innocenceness be the only religiousness and all it requires is the readiness to be a clean mirror that reflects nothing, utter silence and purity. The whole existence will be transformed for you; each moment becomes ecstatic and even sipping a cup of tea becomes more prayerful as any other prayer prescribed by any religion.

Apprehensive of the world to which I have brought my son Pranav, I wish he would remain in this childlikeness, innocence and the ignorance as long as he could. The moment he starts knowing things, he will no longer be a child. He will become a part of the adult world and will be initiated to the civilization loosing his essential nature. The old say, it is not easy to be a son; I say that it is more difficult to be a parent in this world and Sujathaa would agree with me too. In an effort to be a good father, I am getting transformed into the childlikeness. I have started recollecting all that were beautiful in my life and one such thing of beauty are the poems I had cherished during my childhood.

Pranav not only gets excited, but also attempts to imitate, when I rhyme the poems that I have treasured from my school days. The first time when I tried it, he stopped his cry and hence, it has become a habit of mine to rhyme these beautiful verses whenever he cries. I could recollect with ease, the bits and pieces of the lines as they were learnt with the child-like innocence. Though, I was unable to appreciate the grandeur of innocence at that point of time because of the ignorance, the remnants of my childhood has endured to this day and have started flowering through Pranav. I am sure this is case with most of the parents.

Here are the two beautiful poems that were taught by Mr.George Joseph (GJ), one of the English Teachers, when I was in my sixth class. Though, I am able to remember a couple of stanzas, my memory fails every time I try to complete these poems. I would greatly appreciate if any one could complete the missing stanzas, so that I need not repeat the bits and pieces of these poems.

FYI – The name of the poems are – “My House is red” and “Trot Trot the baby goes”. I couldn’t find then in the web. The poems were present in the sixth class English book in CBSE syllabus in 1987 and were later lifted owing to their childlikeness, when the syllabus was changed in 1990. The NCERT has failed to realize that the most extraordinary things in life are the most ordinary ones. Any Amaravian? JP, JK, Batcha, KNR, Murghki?

My House is red

My house is red,
A little house,
A happy child am I.

I laugh and play,
I live long day,
I hardly ever cry.

I have a tree,
A green green tree,
To shade me from the sun.

And under it,
I often sit,
When all my works are done.

My little basket,
I will take,
To trip into the town.

4 stanzas missing...........

Trot Trot the baby goes

Trot Trot the baby goes,
Trot trot to town,
Across the river,
Through the hills,
Up hill and down.

Trot Trot the baby goes,
Trot trot to town,
3 stanzas missing

Monday, July 17, 2006

Eaters of the dead

The morning sleep snuggling in side the warmth of the blanket to counter the cold winter of Kodaikanal was an ecstasy by itself. That too when you are back from the hostel to spend your vacation, no one would bother to wake you up until 10’o clock when you are woken by the aroma of the coffee cup held by you mom. But that day was an exception. To my surprise, my mom woke me up at 6’0 clock. Though unwilling to peep out of the blanket, I had to force myself out of the blanket as my mom informed me that my dad wants me at the backyard. I jumped out of the blanket and threw a shawl around my head to cover the ears from the prickly cold of the backyard, which is an extension of the field.

My dad and a group of his friends were laughing in a joyful mood and on seeing me the laughter faded away. I could see a creature lying encircled by the group. My sister was already there with her panic stricken face. Anand one of my dad’s friends told me that, my sister and me would be the fortunate people to get the lion’s share today. Still half a sleep, I was wondering at the creature that resembled a monkey with a black fur on its body, golden brown fur on its head and had a long black tail. On seeing our terrified face, my dad told that he shot this Mandhi (Nilgiri Langur) during the last night’s hunting trip in the mathi kettan shola forest. He told me that, Mandhi lives in the shola forests that are rich in medicinal and aromatic vegetation and lives on herbs, nuts and fruits that have high medicinal value. Hence, its flesh, blood and the cud are known to be the panacea for many diseases. Now, Rajaiah took a knife and a container cut the Mandhi’s throat and filled the container with the oozing blood. We were offered a glass of blood that was fresh and warm. I gulped it and extended the tumbler to be refilled, while my sister was satisfied with one tumbler. Everyone laughed and said one tumbler is more than enough. We were instructed to jog till the golf course in order for the blood to get digested. When we came home after an hour of jogging, the group was gone and my dad was getting ready for the day. My mom was engaged in preparing meat to be cooked, while my granny was treating a big portion of the meat with salt and turmeric paste. We helped her to dry them in the sunlight and then hang them on the cross cabled strings inside the chimney for uppu kandam (salt-cured meat). On seeing my enthusiasm, my dad promised to take me along with him during the next hunting trip.

It happened the next month, when my dad planned for an over-night stay at a work site 40 KMs from Kodaikanal. We stayed in the jeep till 11:00 PM and then sneaked into the thick pine forest. After walking a while, we enter a shola forest and the site supervisor made a bed out of the dried leaves and spreads blanket for us to rest. We remained there for a very long time without uttering a single word. I was instructed even to keep the breathing very low. I was growing impatient as the time grew and it was already dawn. I was almost fainting with sleep when a thundering noise shook my senses to life. I saw my dad and his smile told me that he had shot something. Slowly we moved towards the direction where the shot was fired and near a stream we found a spotted dear lying motionless. It was a great moment of delight after waiting in the fierce cold throughout the night. We took the head and the skin for making stuffed deer (taxidermy) or a trophy and the shoulders for meat. This was the first and the last time I went on a hunting trip. However, every vacation was marked with relishing some new animal. The list grew like Nilgiri Langur, Spotted Deer, Wild Rabbits, Ibex, Kelai Aadu (Wild Goat), Royal Pigeon, Flying Squirrel etc.

In the following years, I rarely visited home during vacations. During one visit, dad told me that hunting as a game has died out and it is considered a crime as the animals dwelling in Palani hills are being declared as endangered species. The double barrel gun that was presented to my grandfather by the Rajah of Sivaganga for having shot a tiger rested in the attic, only to be taken out for license renewal and over-hauling. When my father died, it was surrendered at the collectorate. I was not eligible to hold a gun license as I was a minor at that time and my uncle was not interested anything else but his business. Later, in an effort to recover the gun, I discovered that the gun was auctioned to an arms dealer named Veeramani of Dindigul, as there was no one to claim it.

As a mark of remembrance, I capitalize every opportunity to shoot animals with my camera and have caught many that my dad has failed to catch with his gun. Shooting them in the camera seems to be more pleasurable as the snaps become valued possessions. All the game, big and small continues; but the guns have been replaced by the cameras.

Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to any actual persons, living or dead, events or locales is entirely coincidental.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Visiting Grandma

I made a quick trip to Kodaikanal last friday to see my granny and to visit our family temple. Spent some time chatting with my granny and performed a pooja at the temple. I couldn't visit the KMU as it was open only on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Mark has moved to his Farm House and hence would require more time to meet him. I missed an hour of rowing which I usually do whenever I visit Kodai as I had to rush to catch the train. Though it was only a few hours I could spend in Kodaikanal, it was a rejuvenating and a fulfilling trip. Here are some snaps I captured during the trip.

Manjalaar Dam view from Dum Dum rock which is at KM 12 of Kodai-Ghat Road

The dried up Rat Tail Falls view from Dum Dum rock which is at KM 12 of Kodai-Ghat Road

My Grandma - manifestation of strength, hardwork, love and compassion.

View of our temple- Shree Bathra Kaliamman Temple at Pambarpuram, Kodaikanal

A group of devotees celebrating a festival in a village on the foot hills of Kodaikanal