Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Animals

I was fortunate to grow up with pets and there were times when our house could be pictured for the nursery rhyme "Old MacDonald had a farm"! There were ducks, hens, cows, goats, pigs, more than one dog, a clowder of cats and even a monkey! And it was the companion of a pet that I missed most after my books when I first landed here in Kuwait. But since I was too busy bringing up my kids, I somehow put down the urge to have a pet. When the kids were a little bigger, we had our first pet. A few love birds. It was fun watching them preen and croon to each other. One of them even hatched a few eggs but the chicks died for some reasons. The last one died after I handed it over to my friend when we went for vacation. The next was an hamster who was fun as long as it did not chew the wires of the speakers! The fellow was doing fine until daughter brought another one from her friend. She was an aggressive one and was forever fighting and injuring the poor fellow. But we had to hand over them to a friend while we went on vacation and they died either due to the extreme heat or because of the constant fights. 

And then she seduced us with her ways and captured our hearts. 

She was not really a stray cat but was looked after by this girl in one of the flats in our building. She waited for me when I returned from work and then just plopped down under the sofa. A very fuzzy eater and hence was hard to feed her. But if you meet her outside with her friends she gave no signs of recognition! She was the typical selfish cat!


Before we left for our vacation, I found her forever sleeping and now I realize why! As soon as our luggage was hauled up we found her lugging one kitten after another and dropping them under our bed! I am not sure how she knew we were back from our vacation! Three beautiful kittens and they were just a week old!

And then it became our job to open the door to let her out whenever she wanted! She found means to wake us up even from our deepest sleep. Luckily, during the day she decided to stay inside until the kids came back from school.

And the other day it was just another trip for her while the kittens stayed with us and since we were busy watching a movie ( a little loud I think), we missed hearing her call us to open the door. Someone had harmed her and her front legs were all cut and her beautiful face all blackened! I cannot understand how some can harm animals! I have seen little children do it and have wondered if it was out of fear or just to see the fear in the eyes of the animal. Or was it a car? We are still not sure.

We left her at home while she nursed her wound. Initially she refused to feed her kittens and we hoped she will be alright after a day or two. Right now she is much better, but two of the kittens have died. Now only one remain!

This reminded me of the guide of who took us on our trek in Gavi. He explained to us why men are called animals when they turn cruel. He said animals are never as cruel as men and it was wrong to give this name to a man. Only men can be cruel while animals only try to protect themselves. According to him, the only two stupid animal in the forest are the wild buffalo and the boar. They are the only ones who may attack you without any reason. And rightfully dumb humans are called buffalos! or in Malayalam "Pothe"! It was good to see the love this young chap had for the forest and it's original dwellers. He is part of the group of Sri Lankans who were forced to flee during the troubled times. Indian government let them stay inside these forests where they act as guides and also contribute towards cardamom cultivation. They don't own lands and some of them have left this place for good.

Here is something I wrote decades ago during my troublesome teen years and when animals gave me the right kind of solace.


Animals
I feel those who don't like animals miss a lot of fun and solace in this life. To me, they make up most of my happy moments. They show me a different world, a beautiful place of innocence, of loyalty of unselfishness too. They can teach us human beings a lot, a lot we ignore.
A kitten, so cute and playful! When I see it lift it's paws playfully, I feel so happy in seeing it's beauty. At that moment it looks as though God has bestowed upon it, all the beauty and sweetness in this world. It's eyes all round and it's body all fluffy and soft. The cat, the way it stretches itself, so tempting, so sensuous! No wonder a lady is complimented as sensuous as a cat! It has got that attractiveness which just pulls you. You just have to hold it. They have that royal look, that untouched grace.
A dog, ever loving and faithful. Ever ready to please you. It is so happy when you notice it, when you touch it, when you pet it. That is the most important thing that they yearn from their masters. That look which somehow tells them that we care. That trust in their eyes. Oh those beautiful brown eyes! The loving licks it give you.  And it asks not much in return. Have you seen it's happiness upon seeing you back from a trip? Can any human being replicate that happiness? 
People should never miss all this. They are God's soothing balm in this world full of sorrows. God knows that at times men need something more than the contact of human beings. Animals are God's wonderful gift to us.
Every animal in this world looks beautiful to me. I know that some of them are dangerous but God has never created any evil ones and they don't turn evil like men. They are consistent and they only defend themselves and in that process we indifferent human beings get hurt.
Love animals, they are worth your love! 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Violets

These are the pictures of the violets at my parent's place.






They were planted more than two decades back while they were in the tea estate and travelled all the way to Mavelikara. I don't know how it adapted to the hot climate. But my mother used to feed it daily with tea leaves that were left after brewing tea. Now she has lost interest in everything and it is Father who looks after them. Only a leaf is enough to create a new plant. If you place a leaf in water it will produce roots. Earlier there used to be more colors but now only the blue is left. 

During my recent visit, I found a poem that my mother had written about the violets. While we were kids she maintained a journal where each of us siblings contributed something. It was called the Philip's Journal. There used to be a box where we siblings were required to drop our contributions. Mother being the publisher and elder brother the editor each contribution were scrutinised before selection. It was mostly to keep us quiet at least a few hours during the holidays. With no neighbours around, we kids needed innovation to keep us occupied. 

I found these journals still intact and found time to capture some of her jottings which I intend to copy it here.

It looks crude but it was entirely home made! My mother used to maintain a blog earlier but not anymore.



Violets

I wonder who named you violets,
Beautiful, beautiful indeed
of various colors; purple, violet
pink, lilac, blue and white

Tending you is a jole sweet.
It teaches anyone patience.
How tender and timid you seem
But living ever in silence.

No on can kill your life.
Your single leaf can live again
Each giving to a new life
Shaming the destroyer's gain.

Who cannot love and tend you?
Nobody can be jealous,
if I say I love you
And love to see you everyday.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Time to return?

These days I realize that we are returning to the good old days than anything new! The past few decades were fast paced and we embraced the new with no second thoughts while discarding the old ways. Luckily, they are making a comeback. 

Let me go through some of it on this blog which has been neglected since some time! Yes..I was on vacation and had a wonderful one too. Am back much relaxed.

While in Kerala, I noticed that most households have started a vegetable garden. Two decades back it was common to have one where you could have your daily requirement of different coloured spinach, long beans, chilly, yam, gourds etc. etc. Now even those without much land can grow vegetables in grow bags on their terrace or balconies. At my parent's place I noticed the grow bags supplied by the panchayat at the rate of Rs. 500/-. Guess this is as per the scheme run by the Kerala Agriculture department; the details for the same is here: But since the rains were bad, it did not take off well initially. But just before I returned and when the rains subsided, I found them yielding well.

The Grow bags supplied to my Parent's place

3. Promotion of Urban Clusters: Rs. 400 Lakhs 
3.a. Terrace Cultivation :
It is proposed to popularize vegetable cultivation, in two corporation areas viz. Kollam and Thrissur Corporations by selecting 13250 beneficiaries from each 10  corporation. 25 nos of grow bags along with seedlings of major 4-6 vegetable  crops, preferably nonpandal varieties like Amaranthus, chillies, brinjal, Bhindi  Bush cowpea, tomato, cabbage, cauliflower, palak etc.worth Rs. 2000/- will be supplied to each beneficiary at 75 % subsidy (Rs. 1500 ). Grow bags will have a dimension of 40cmx24cmx24cm, 600 gauge (150 micron) thickness, UV Stabilised , white outer and black inner and should contain 10 to 12 kg potting mixture. The growbag should contain the details of the scheme as Name of Department, name of programme and year of implementation (in Malayalam) along with the details of the supplying agency. Minimum 15 houses as a cluster
in a residence association will be supplied with growbag with seedlings, wherein the association should take the lead role for the supervision and maintenance of the garden including collection of beneficiary contribution of Rs. 500 each.
Most food bloggers write about the best cooking utensils and I realize that these were and still being used by Indians. The ones made with iron/Cheenachatti and Earthenware/Manchatti. I have stopped buying the non stick pans and pots. I do have some manchattis and also use ceramic coated pans. The fish curries have to be prepared in earthenwares since the acid from the kokam can seep into the vessel. The taste of a sambar made in an earthenware is distinct. 

And now the latest invention from the west: the healthy way to poop! The idea of squatting when defecating is not a new one. Indians (maybe the whole world?)  did it all the time and still do. Our railways I think, still have it. But the Indian style toilets have almost disappeared from most households in Kerala.  Have a look at this article. 

Cycles are back with a vengeance on the Indian roads! Good! With the petrol price being increased every other day and government thinking of ridiculous ideas like shutting pumps after 8 PM, the best and healthy way of transportation would be the cycle.
Shoddy tracks no deterrent, cycle sales graph soars
Cyclists may have been decrying the poor and unusable condition of cycle tracks across Pune roads, but this has not affected the sale of cycles in the city. From medium-end bikes to the more expensive imported versions, they are all available and have takers in all age groups.
Hero cycles' new plant to target premium bikers
Targeting the premium bicycle market which is growing at 40 percent annually, Hero cycles Monday opened a new all-aluminium cycle plant here with an aim to increase sales five-fold.
Riding to success on a bicycle 
When M S Athirup, a Thiruvananthapuram-based engineer launched At his  Bicycle Club (abc), the city’s first cross-city bicycling club, little did he know about the immense response his initiative would garner.The club, which started off with 35 members in Kochi, now has more than 1,000 members. The club rents bicycle for two hours for Rs 2.Athirup is excited that corporates are showing interest in his initiative. He said three companies from Infopark have approached him to seeking the  service of Athi Bicycle Club.

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