Archive for the ‘Nature’ Category

“Under the darkening blanket of the evening sky,

And borrowing light from the vehicles passing by,

I spotted a cluster of trees

Bearing fruits of a strange appearance

But wait; upon closer look I saw that they weren’t fruits

But hundreds and hundreds of egrets

Tired from feeding in the fields

Sitting still as the skies

Interrupted only by a sudden squawk of a startled member

At the horn of a mad lorry down under”

“How is it possible to feel nostalgia for a world I never knew?” asks a stunned ‘Che Guevera’ while wandering through the ruins of Machu Pichu in Latin America in the movie- The Motorcycle diaries. I asked the same question to myself once when I visited the Big temple or Brihadeeshwar kovil of Thanjavur, which I had never seen before. I ask that question once again today-“how can I possibly feel nostalgic about my parents’ childhood?”

From the innumerable travels I have made through the roads and rails of Kerala, I fondly recall the recent trip I made to my home in Cochin from Chennai. Having got no tatkal tickets, I decided to board the Kovai express from Chennai early in the morning. Though worried that I might have to risk standing all through the journey, I still decided to hope for the best and go ahead with the decision. I’ve always loved to travel by trains. I like to travel especially in non-ac compartments where I can open the windows and watch nature roll by like a movie. A sequence of beautiful frames running at length to keep you entertained and enchanted all along. One could come across places of such beauty that there where times when I had been tempted to pull the chain and get down of the train. Paddy fields, women working in the fields, cows and calves, small hills and rivers all made an appearance. Since I normally take the night trains from Chennai to Cochin, I had never really seen the stretch from Chennai, after Jolarpettai till Coimbatore.

During my college days, I used to go home very often. And the Tamil Nadu-Kerala border was a much awaited event. Politics, business, trade, families, societies- borders signified different things for different people. But for me, it only meant a canvas where two beautiful landscapes merged. The transition was done easily. If you missed the small bridge, it was all over in the blink of an eye. And now for the first time, I was travelling all the way from Chennai to Coimbatore, taking in all the splendid sights. And let me make an honest admission here. Malayalis world over might complain about the stagnant growth they face on the career front in Kerala and then flee in search of better opportunities elsewhere. But no matter how far they flee, there is but one thing they will talk about proudly, and that is the unpretentious display of fecund fertility of its soils. The greenery of Kerala is well-known. And we generally have a tendency to look down upon the other states in an air of arrogant comparison. And yet, as I looked out for the first time to look at the hills of Yelagiri blowing gentle wisps of clouds above them, and the agricultural produces that were being nurtured in the wombs of these interior landscapes, I couldn’t but feel ashamed of myself to have been ignorant about the fertility that the soils in my neighbouring land possessed. Where nature forgot to bestow, man sowed. And reap he did, rich praises from an ardent lover of nature who would rather see many shades of green and blue than grey. But the most impressive place that I saw was a few kilometers after Tirupur station. A temple surrounded by a natural pond with little kids bobbing up and down and rolling around in its waters, in the midst of a rich green field instantly made my heart jump up. The chain, uh..oh.. if I could just pull that chain….

But the journey had to continue, and I got down in Coimbatore, half relieved to have reached my destination and half sad to have my journey end so. From Coimbatore, I walked into a small hotel near by that was crowded with all the people from my train. Anticipating the bus journey ahead of me, I decided to take something that would go down well on my stomach and ordered curd rice. As a kid, I used to detest traveling by buses. The bumpy roads and in the case of hill stations, the hairpin bends used to churn my stomach and make me feel sick. And then when I went to college and was forced to take up bus journeys, I started to work up a stamina for bus rides. It later turned into a strange kind of love for the ride down the country roads. The worn down KSRTC buses with a ‘K’erala (not ‘K’arnataka), suddenly seemed like a good deal to view the country side. I thoroughly enjoyed the many journeys I undertook in and out of Kerala. Little did I realize that that love was to live forever and grow more with time.

From Coimbatore, I went to Gandhipuram bus stand and took the next bus to Cochin. The sky was marvelous with white fluffy clouds and the sun throwing its divine rays from behind it. The whole scene was ethereal. And as I entered the fertile soils of my homeland, I couldn’t but help think about the many smells that were now fast entering my nostrils. It strangely reminded me about my father and about his childhood.

And that’s when i asked myself- “How can I possibly feel nostalgic now? For his childhood?”

How can I know that the giant trees whose smells became distinctly clear and stronger during the night as they flew above the paddy fields, collecting many more aromas and growing in its intensity, had been responsible for sowing the thoughts that my dad thought and later inspired him to take to writing as a way of putting into words the best way he could, the beautiful thoughts that floated in his head? Perhaps it’s because those very trees whose names I didn’t know, were now continuing to work their inspiration through me, with thoughts that created such sublime emotions that the words I use from my memory is but vain. I don’t know how effective our words are. After all, catching a thought, infusing it with the right emotion and then trying to put it into sentences using the technique of recalling words from one’s memory is but a very inefficient way of communicating. For the beauty of the thought is far more intense and captivating. And it is a blessing, even if it is only for brief seconds, to hold that beauty inside you. And in that moment I also realized, to have been able to hold that beauty, to see it, know it for what it is and feel it the same way my dad had held it in his own heart many years back as he trudged through a lusher and verdant landscape is how, I am now able feel nostalgic about his childhood! That beauty we held in our hearts, inexplicable as it is, is the unseen link, connecting us through the ages. And I think that’s how i am able to know what he felt like in his younger days.


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Festive season for me is a time to go to the local market, watch all of the interesting activities there and then get really high on yummy home-cooked food. So there i was, plonked on the bed like a flimsy bag of stuffed corn, heavy on an assortment of delicacies from an original ‘Iyer veedu’, and on the verge of falling into a deep and relaxed siesta on Ganesh chathurthi day. Inside my tummy, kozhukkattais rolled and spicy ‘rasam’ burps made their way up every now and then. Looking out through the balcony door, watching the clouds drift againt the blue sky, I was a peaceful picture of contentment. That’s when this guy landed on the balcony and cawed for a piece of that peace.  So I broke a piece of ‘kozhukottai’ and placed it on the parapet for him to feast on, while I secretly filmed him on my camera….




And that’s another picture of contentment! 🙂

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And if it weren’t for those two coconut heads who bounced about and craned their necks in to come into the picture, I would’ve tried churning a real tear-jerking tragedy out of this…


drowning sun

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I love that unusual bit of nature’s design which I don’t click intentionally, but gets captured and comes to my notice only after I print or copy them onto my system. They manage to bring out that whacky 4-year old girl in me with the weirdest of imagination, who would go, “I cAn sEE d back of two ‘cocodiles’ painted in bright green in this picture….Caaan U find out wer dey are?”




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What nature takes, it also gives back. A week ago, this ‘Peepal tree’ was a story of drought and death with skeletonic branches stretching out in horror. And today, it is almost irrecognisable with its new coat of healthy new leaves.



 “And the young ones danced merrily in the breeze and under the open blue skies without a care in the world. Ah, what sweet joy is but childhood!”



Im telling ya, all babies are born pink!



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….and its sema hottt machi…!


 The bright young faces of our times started to whine and wither as the Sun God stirred up in his seat and got ready to claim and abuse his power. The cycle of the seasons had come a full round to give him free reign once again on the hapless folks of this lovely city that I have come to call my home.

Summer was in full swing (already) and even in all that dust and heat, Chennai ‘pattinam’ looked radiant in the sun! I’m here to showcase a few summer shots that I managed to capture before the Sun God shot a sun beam and burnt a hole in my head. I intend to run it as a series all along this week!

A kind word: If any of you unfortunate kids are here because Google directed you to my page thinking it can help you with ‘info-searching’ on the various plant species of Chennai for your science project, then please do be sensible enough to close this window immediately and get back to your homework before your mommies spank you for going through the contents of a 23 year old woman’s fantasy filled life. And if you are here by your own free will, then please chuck your notebooks, forget that plants and trees have names and humans have intelligence and proceed only with your visual senses and a happy heart…


Q: What do you call a tree that reminds you of another tree but you know for sure its not the tree you know very well and which you also dont know how to search for in Google?


 Ans: An unknown tree!

 Though these yellow clusters of flowers resemble the common ‘yellow bells’ flower, this is NOT the ‘Yellow bells’ tree. How do I know that? Simple. The branches and leaves of this ‘unknown’ tree are quite different and I have seen only one such tree in all of Chennai and my life!


The ‘Pink Tehoma’ tree (more Google) spends a major part of the year in quite preparation, unnoticed and unappreciated behind elegant bamboos, gorgeous raintrees and popular mango trees. But come summer, and they unleash their lovely creations to push everybody else into the background and inspire many hopeless souls like me to stand in the middle of the road and gape in awe! They strangely remind me of cherry blossoms and manage to convince me everytime rather stupidly that its going to snow in another 2 seconds.



A lazy ladder leans against a drab building wall and watches with detached interest, two lousy bicycles fighting. One cycle gets disgusted and turns its handle bar away. The ladder wonders if it should intervene and solve the dispute, but decides its too much of an effort and stays put. So the Pink tehoma takes it upon itself to bring back the order of the day, realising that all it’d take would be a gentle flutter, and its rosy tubular flowers would willingly plunge from the branches to spread a pleasant pathway and instantly dismiss all ill-feelings amongst the cycle brothers.



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Remember the Indian Terrain ads? The one that had Kunal Kapoor sitting in smart Indian Terrain brand clothes against a small tea shack with ‘bondas’ and a little Indian girl on either sides? I loved the composition of those photographs (and the model Kunal Kapoor) so much that after it was released, I went ahead and gave them more publicity through my ‘word of mouth’.

But today, I have replaced ‘Kunal Kapoor’- the one guy worth every dribble of my drool from all of Bollywood, with something more real and ahem, more attainable- This!!!




I had to talk to the real owner of this pic for almost half an hour to convince him and put up an aggressive fight to fend off a few other claimants to wrench custody of this picture that has a similar feel of the Indian Terrain ads… Of course, one must be willing to understand that it was taken with the limitations of a phone camera without particularly any other intention than sheer visual pleasure.


I give the credit for this capture to the real guy who deserves it- Big daddy! Though it was not intended, the colours, the lighting and the blue walls have worked brilliantly to make it a well-constructed photograph. Also, I cannot stop looking at this charming lil guy who has posed for this picture with his ears all spread out… Aint he a real ‘chundu’?  


Talking about Indian terrain ads, I’d like to post one of my own pics in here under this category. Although, this one will only qualify for a ‘Fake’ Indian Terrain. 





This was taken during one of our CTC treks to ‘Yelagiri’ in Tamil Nadu. We had camped at a village at night and the early morning sunshine turned out to be a real inspiration when it brightened up and brought out the dormant colours of this quiet little village.


Hmmm, somehow this post has turned out to be all about Big Daddy. One picture was taken by him and the other has him in it. And they both have ended up being together under the same category in a post. Strange indeed!




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