Mumbai Rains.

What a din the rain makes. What a racket, as it falls unabashedly over rooftops, cement and tin alike. Plunging, splashing, bouncing, rickety, rackety as though it would drown the world and us along with it.

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The pigeons and the crows have found shelter under tin roofs and awnings, nooks and crannies, where ever they can spread their wings and thrill the raindrops off their bruised and soaked feathers, cooing and cawing their complaints at the ceaseless rain.

Only the humans tarry on. Under the futile shelter of their umbrellas and cars, trains and buses, shaking the raindrops, that always manage to seep in, negligently off their skin and their attire. Soaked or miraculously dry, life does not stop for a wee bit of rain. There are places to go, jobs to do. Rain, though ceaseless, is almost an after thought.

Except when you sit at a window and gaze at it in awe. Then it is an entity to be reckoned with as it sprays through the window, every now and then, cool and refreshing. A source of life and much day dreaming.

Hitting THE wall.

Ah! There lies THE wall
with its mad scribbles that cannot be made out.

I have come to it at last.

The bricks look worn, chipped in places, raw,
where a multitude of heads must have paid their obeisance
brandishing hopes of a return gift.

The elixir of literary immortality.

I can see ink stains, the faint impression of a palm even,
made in desperation no doubt…

Looking for that break in its solidity,
in its sheer opaqueness,
for that weak spot that will make it crumble..
fall away like so much dust

and ash….

I have been here for hours, weeks,
staring at its crumbling façade,
its sheer unbreakable-ness.

I have offered it my blood, the sweat of my brow,
the food from my mouth,
my soul…

anything, anything to decipher the writing on that wall,
to watch it crumble and fall.

Anything, anything at all.

Morning wakes in silhouettes.

What life grows there

hidden from me..

what dreams

between twitching ears

and blades of silage

limp with dew

where

puckered mouths nibble

on the sweetness of summer grass.

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Three things to remember – quoting Mary Oliver in a letter to Nancy.

I wrote a letter to a friend today.
It had roses on it.

The kind I would like to have
in my garden someday,
frothing pinkishly on trellises,
peeking with red flouncy eyes
through the windows of my bedroom.

Temptation leaning on the sill
making eyes at me.

In the letter I wrote her a poem,
not mine. But it reminded me
of her.

“As long as you are dancing, you can
break the rules.
Sometimes breaking the rules is just
extending the rules.

Sometimes there are no rules.”

And I see her dancing
as she always does,
twirling, twirling
with a paintbrush in her hand,
a smile trembling on her lips,
and music rolling off her hips.

Dancing, dancing deep into the night,
breaking all the rules.

Painting a memory.

I was about 12 when I first saw it. My grandmother, a renowned poet, always received varied gifts from people who loved her poetry. Bits and pieces of this and that. Feathers, book marks, pressed flowers…at least, that is how I remember it. They were all the more precious to her for their very simplicity. One such was a 3X2 ‘photo’ of Jesus Christ. It was an itty bitty little print. I had just returned from school and she held it out to me. I remember my heart squeezing painfully in my chest and silence beating heavily on my eardrums. I remember tears prickling my eyes and a deep, yawning hole opening somewhere deep inside me. I do not know why but it moved me deeply. In that moment, it felt as though my very soul were under siege. I asked her if I could keep it and she said of course. For a long time after that I carried it with me everywhere, tucked in the backpack I wore like second skin. But then years flew by like the pages of a book and I lost sight of that backpack and the photo along with it. But the sentiment remains. It has never quite gone away. It comes and it goes, washing over me like a tide when I least expect it.

Recently, I came across the book, ‘The Last Temptation of Christ’, by Nikos Kazantzakis. It has been an intense read and an eye opening one. That, along with the memory, inspired me to paint this….

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Do let me know what you think?

A Day at Ann Arbor. {The Main Street}

The sun was at a slant. Evening, then night was fast approaching upon the heels of a lazy afternoon. Walking was thirsty work. It was time to hit the town.

Music, Food, Wine, Chatter…

The Main Street was bustling with people out for a good time. Some eateries had wide comfortable couches on the sidewalks with broad umbrellas. Cozy comfort. Sparkling wine, sizzling food, smiling faces adorned the sprawling tables.

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There’s something about live music, isn’t there? It just adds a whole different feel to an evening. It lifts and elevates.

And just when I thought things couldn’t get any better, found this jewel of a bookstore on one of the side streets. I am sorry to say that I did not note down the name of the store but I spent a very happy hour browsing its musty, helter-skelter, knee high piles of bookly treasures.

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And then, for the finale, a pizza and a pint at The Jolly Pumpkin.

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And on that note ended our long glorious sojourn at Ann Arbor. Tally Ho, my lovelies!

A Day at Ann Arbor. {Matthaei Botanical Gardens}

A photographical glimpse. :)

The Tropical Garden.

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The Cacti Garden.

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The Bonsai Garden.

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The walkways.

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There were many many different plants along the walkways which weren’t in bloom yet and so I do not have any photographs of those. :(

The nature trails.

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What groweth here? A shroom? A snail?

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Very few things are as pleasurable and satisfying as walking bare feet in the grass. It was soft and moist under my feet. The stream gurgled along, prancing, singing, tinkling…gentle company to my rustling, lingering feet.

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And this sweet creature, taking a moment to bask in the sunlight in his front yard.

He invited us in for a cuppa but we had to forego the immense pleasure for sheer lack of time. Tick tock!

A Day at Ann Arbor. {A Moment of Prayer}

A quick stroll from Zingerman’s Deli brings you to the front steps of this beautiful

St Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church.

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Said to be over 150 years old, it has beautiful vaulted ceilings and stained glass windows.

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Light filters through and comes to rest on the pews. Bright, healing, it fills one’s heart with reverence. There is a deep spiritual silence within these walls. And a call to prayer.

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Gratitude filled our hearts. And peace.

Bless us all this day, dear Lord. Amen.

A Day at Ann Arbor. {Farmer’s Market}

Across the street from Zingerman’s, there was a Farmer’s Market in full swing! Flowers, fresh produce, herbs, breads, honey, jewelery, scarves, pastries…faces flushed with percolating culinary ideas and baskets flushed with matching produce…

There is something deeply satisfying about eating straight off the land, in a manner of speaking, isn’t it? Of connecting with the faces, the loving hands that have grown the red rhubarb and the green green lettuce.

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{I was worried about offending the vendors and so decided not to take any photos of the produce.:)}

However, I did see this above a sliding door that leads to wonders within like a cafe, an art store, a fresh produce store..to name a few…

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Wonderful, isn’t it?

And this sweet guy waiting so patiently for his loved ones. Bless him!

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I hope he gets a very special treat for his patience. Fresh from the market too!