Monday, August 20, 2007

A slice of life

"In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous."
- Aristotle

Last Saturday, enjoyed a well deserved outing to a local Panchayat called Mavoor. The trip was meant to be a field visit for an academic project, though, it ended up more as a picnic.

The countryside in Kerala has been discriminately blessed by nature. For a philosophical mind, a drive on its narrow roads can be alluring at the least - it inspires many moods at once. The breath-taking vistas abundantly strewn across the land's vast fabric are catalysts for poets and heaven for photographers.

Trees flanking the roads provide a natural respite from the sun

The roads are narrow but well laid for most of the stretches, including many National Highways. The abundant greenery and the calm blanket of peace spread across the entire landscape can provide a good food for thought for creative minds.

The Stretch to Mavoor

Water is the most abundant of all elements in the "God's own country". Monsoons bless the earth in Kerala for as much as 4 to 5 months in the calendar year and large stretches can be found covered with water during June to September.

A snapshot from our bikes

Many rivulets emerge only during the rains

Coconut is one of the primary floras of the area and those classic picturesque scenaries of tall pine like trees can be spotted almost everywhere. Drying coconut is one of the primary occupations of local people and inhabitations are located across most of the rivulets besides which such trees are found in abundance.

Most parts of Mavoor are on the banks of "Chaliyar". Heavy coconut vegetation can be noted in the background

A local coconut drying unit

In terms of education, which was one of the major thrust areas in our study, I found the state to be pretty well "advanced". Even the small village had a decent higher secondary school complete with all basic necessities. A healthy male-female ratio, low drop-out rates and a sufficient number of teachers, all constitute a substantial arrangement.

The Higher Secondary School building at Mavoor

Imagining a school this large in a small village is tough for people coming from most parts of northern India

The trip as a whole was the best enjoyment I've had since coming to this place. An exhilarating journey, a wonderful respite from the mundane work and a first-hand experience of the God's own expanse, all contributed to the hearty smile on everyone's face!

A part of our group

They ended it all with the customary sutta!

P.S. All pictures courtesy Kajal, the "unofficial" trip photographer! :D

Saturday, August 18, 2007


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व्यस्त जीवन के कुछेक बेचैन पलों में जब
तुम्हारी यादों की क़सक होती है
जड़-चेतन हर तत्व में हर ओर
सिर्फ़ तुम्हारी झलक होती है

इन अनवरत बारिशों में
तुम्हारे नटखटपन की मिलावट है
इन विस्तृत घाटियों के खालीपन में
तुम्हारी उत्कटता की आहट है

इन घुमावदार सड़कों के उस पार अब भी
तुम्हारी परछाईयाँ अठखेली करती हैं
उन पर्वतों में डूबती-उतराती घटाएं
यादों की आँख मिचौली करती हैं

रात्रि के तीसरे पहर वाले सन्नाटे में
तुम्हारी मोहक-अविरल बातें गूँजती हैं
रौशनी के नीचे असँख्य कीट-पतँगों की भन्नाहट में
तुम्हारी उच्छृन्खलता खलती है

माना आज तुम साथ न सही
पर इक सुखद अनुभूति तो है
वो चंचल मुस्कान आस-पास न सही
भरोसा उन यादों के प्रति तो है

जीवन से कुछ प्राप्त हुआ हो न हो
पर स्वयं पर इतना अभिमान तो है
तुम्हारी चेतना में क्षण भर को ही सही
आज भी आता मेरा नाम तो है!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

I need a miracle

The marvellous Bon Jovi...

"He said
I'm just one man, that's all I'll ever be
I never can be everything you wanted from me
I've got plans so big
That any blind man could see "

There's more to it...

"Your feet are grounded still
You're reaching for the sky
You can let 'em clip your wings
'Cause I believe that you can fly"

And the best part...

"It ain't all for nothing
Life ain't written in the sand
I know the tide is coming
But it's time we made a stand
With a miracle"

Friday, August 10, 2007

आओ मिल कर बैठें

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कई वर्षों की ख्वाहिश है
तमाम ज़िन्दगी यूँ ही बिताने की
कुछ गिले-शिकवे मिटाने की
कुछ पुरानी यादें सजाने की

वो रंगीन किस्से, वो छोटी मुलाकातें
उन जामों का हल्का सुरूर, वो दिल की बातें
वो परिंदों सी आज़ादी, वो सुकूनी रातें
फिर साथ आने की, वो बाज़ियाँ बिछाने की

कुछ पुराने साथी, कुछ पुराने मंज़र
कुछ दिलफेंक नज़ारे, कुछ हसीन खंजर
कई आड़ी तिरछी राहें, कई अजीब सफ़र
हमाम में एक बार फिर, वही नज़्में गुनगुनाने की

कोशिश तुम्हारे ग़मों को फिर अपनाने की
एक ही थाली में फिर हर रोज़ खाने की
तुम्हारे दिल का वो कोना वापस पाने की
ख्वाहिश है, एक बार फिर दिल-से मुस्कुराने की

Inspired by Chandra's post.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

The frosted glass

Something seems to be going against the natural. I am being taught to divide life - into grids. And its being blatantly preached with such simplicity as if the world has always been like this, in a two-by-two matrix. It started off with a minor discomfort, theories to divide businesses into grids. Moved on to a more disastrous idea of dividing problems and solutions into grids. Consequently followed division of the population - they named it segmentation. And they didn't stop. Our "education" seemed to be incomplete without including the outrageous ideas of dividing personalities... I'd rather use the direct term than the metaphor - dividing "humans" into grids.

The system thus goes on. After all, you must learn this "art" to secure your 14th storey office in an uptown location (By the way, "I LOVE NY" is a common phrase on T-shirts of "humans" studying here). Find out what characterizes him: "high" on this, "low" on this. Pat, here's your chance to spot the "opportunity". "Target" that, encash that, you are suddenly the winner. Applause.

Its been a mixed experience in terms of my own life in the past one and a half months since I am here. Its a good feeling when you observe that your parents have a sense of proud because you are here. Friends have a reason to bask in glory; juniors have reasons to ping you up in the hope of some tips which might just work. Your own demeanour changes when you walk on the roads in other cities with that IIMK T-shirt.

The other half - I'm slowly learning how to be a programmed machine integrated with time-management functionalities so as to generate maximum possible outcome. I learnt DC++ usage so that I can search for sunrise pics on the network - the sunrise which nobody here would see in their two years' stay and which is always covered by others' cameras. I learnt to repeatedly boast of the natural beauty of the place to friends on phone, though I myself experienced it just once with that Kappad trip in the initial days. When I sometimes feel to drown into alcohol on weekends (its a different story that the time never permits you), it goes against my own old-days preachings - people drink not because they want to ward off trouble, its rather to have good times with friends. Everything is too artificial from all perspectives, I'm learning to pretend to be happy.

It rains for almost half of the year in Kerala. And I am dying to get drenched...

Too much of a pessimist I am, huh?