Madurai

The Pongal Magic

 

The birth of the Tamil month of ‘Thai’ occupies a special significance in my heart. For a farmer, ‘Thai’ is the tenth month in the Tamil calendar.  The arrival of ‘Thai’ is celebrated with colour, splendour, nature, gratitude and of course, good food : Pongal, we call it.  For a long while now, Pongal festivities in urban areas have been relegated to a fun bonfire, a fancy ghee dripping Pongal (the dish) and a lazy time in front of the TV.

The festival, though, has a lineage of several thousand years and the least every succeeding generation did was to mark it on the calendar. Which is fantastic. Needless to say, they celebrated in accordance of the times they lived in and added a layer of flavour.

As a kid, I recall running with a carefree energy, in farmlands of a distant dusty village cluster near Madurai in Tamil Nadu on the day of Pongal. Careful not to trample on the colourful ‘Kolams’ that dotted every doorway. Running to see garlanded cows and goats with a fresh coat of paint donning their horns.  Jostling to get a better glimpse of events at the village centre, atop the shoulders of uncles and cousins.  A uniquely rural Indian moment, if you will. Replete with painted horns matched in their colour by glaring ribbons, and blaring megaphones.  Shy women stood at the doorway of quaint houses and watched drunken men, cows, and kids like us traipse by.  The world seemed to have a spring in its step.

That is my memory of Pongal. There was magic in the air. The Pongal magic.

For long, I believed that it was ‘Thai’ that did it. For it heralded new beginnings. It meant that there was a shift in the seasons. The seeds that were sown months ago and nurtured over several months had morphed into something else. Grain. Food. It was time for a harvest. It was time for abundance.

To date, on Pongal day, a traditional Tamil rural household converges outside of their homes under the benign grandeur of the Sun God and cook. Boiling the milk and adding freshly harvested rice, even as it overflows, to signify gratitude and abundance. Or at least, that’s the story I have experienced.

‘Thai Piranthaal Vazhi Pirakkum’ they say. ‘When the month of Thai arrives, opportunities arrive’ is a loose translation.

The urbanisation of our lifestyles has drifted away from the rhythms of its rural origins. Retaining the ritual and missing the flavour. Yet, the spirit of the festival permeates the mid-January air.

Sometimes, that’s all that matter.

Here’s to a super Pongal. May there be new vistas for health, happiness and fulfilment in all our lives.  And even as they knock on our doors, may we have the prescience to hear the knock and open the doors of our soul.

May we live!

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A King and his kingdom

From as long as I can remember, I have wanted to stop here and stare. A long hard look, if you will. During this trip to Tirunelveli, I did it.

On the outskirts of Tirunelveli, just by the highway, within the precincts of a small town called Kayatharu, stands a lonely memorial. Lonely, because I haven’t seen many people stop here. Further and lip sealing evidence of no one stopping here : there is zilch commercial activity in the vicinity. No aerated drinks. No cigarettes. No parking area. Not even the cursory entry fee.

That doesn’t take away anything from the simple yet elegant majestic bearing of the pedestal, carrying a couple of drawn swords, a shield and a man standing atop, who seems ready to jump at you. I almost missed the ‘fish’, which is the emblem of the Pandyas, sitting pretty between the swords.

This is the memorial of a King who lived from from 1760 to 1799. Katabomman. Or rather, Veerapandiya Kattabomman. His life and heroics, like several others, would have continued to be confined to the dark ravines of apathy, fueled by a concoction of ignorance, a surfeit of history and the monochrome schema of day to day existence.

Thank God for the eponymous Tamil movie, starring Sivaji Ganesan that was released in 1959. For those that don’t know, Sivaji Ganesan was an actor who could get his molars to twitch and incisors to dance, just to bring alive a situation on screen. Well, almost. The film won a slew of awards and contains some searing screenplay delivered by a belligerent Sivaji. Some of those dialogues were part of the paraphernalia for any elocution competition in school. The film world brought a king, his kingdom and his time alive. A couple of centuries after his death. Sometimes, one act can condone many ills. This was one such.

His memorial stood right beside the highway and I wonder why I didn’t stop for all these years.   It is overcast today and the weather pleasant. So, under the aegis of a Sun who is playing truant, like a king who ceded his throne to the clouds, I enter tentatively.

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Within seconds, I become aware there is no one else there. Its just me. Never in my life I have had a memorial all to myself.  I walk, conjuring solemn memories of watching the movie along with dad and my brother. The majestic single pedestal, an array of plants and even a small children’s play area, all stand silent. Wonderfully maintained. Which of course, was a surprise considering the absence of commerce.

In the next few minutes, I discover that the statue has been sponsored by Sivaji himself and opened by the Congress leader and former chief minister, K.Kamaraj. Sivaji sponsoring a statue of the hero of the film, who he played in the film, would sound like the height of astute self propagation, in modern day marketing terms. But, I doubt if that era had already seen the devious depths that we have sunk to now. Who knows!

I spot a line which states clearly that this after all the place where Kattabomman was hanged by the British. So, it wasn’t just a convenient location for a statue, but a place of importance after all.

The story went, as far as I could remember, Kattabomman was a valiant king, who refused to pay taxes to the British and fought them. He had initial wins but was later done in by fellow clan, was captured and naturally, executed in front of his subjects.

A king and his kingdom. It perhaps was something to become King then. I walk around, imagining how it would have been in 1799, to be a bristling 39 year old fighting the British army, in his own backyard. My faculties that normally facilitate imagination stay unresponsive and I let them be, content with the quiet. For some reason a lump forms in my throat, as the silence grows on me. Vaguely disrupted by passing vehicles on the highway and their blaring horns.

In a bit, I spot an inscription. I read it first with some awe and then with mild amusement. I reproduce it here. It was all in bold letters. That’s one change. And the only one at that.

“Katta Bomman, a great tamizh kind had power and it was visible, tangible and real for ever. A courageous king never bowed before autocracy. A dazzling hero and dashing warrior dissipated hypocrisy.

Among perfidious traitors, Katta Bomman had moving faith, miracle generating faith, situation changing faith, displayed patriotism, pacifism, pragmatism and humanism whipped off the the then calculative, crafty cruel kingdom.

Friends, no, dastardly Ettappans only betrayed him to English royalty, never Katta Bomman deviated from fairness, justness probity and nobility. The lower he fell, the higher he bounced back with vitality, had reverberating, resilient and unshakable, devotion to Lord Muruga only.

Sowed the seed of freedom and earned the eternal fame. Sowed the seed of fortitude and hushed the needless shame. Shimmered as a radiant light and roared as a lion before the then collectors, shone martyr, alas, Katta Bomman was hanged because of the traitors. – D. Chandrasekaran. I.A.S. Chennai. “

I pulled out my white handkerchief, rubbed my eyes and started reading again. To carefully craft in stone stuff of this order, would require inordinate courage of the order that Kattabomman possessed. That was clear. But to go ahead, sign it and tag the Indian Administrative Service, took this to a different plane altogether.

I stood for ten minutes speculating how such words would have sprouted. Perhaps this was literal translation from a speech. Maybe he was high. Or was promoted. Or was going to retire. Whatever.

Right next to the big stone inscription stood a smaller one. By the same D.Chandrasekaran, I.A.S, Chennai.

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It sure looked like ‘adjectives’ were on short supply for a long time and suddenly, they went on a sale!  The granite plaque provides some relief to the sombre mood. After all, it was the memorial that I came for. I train my eyes again on the statue that is majestic and seemed modeled on Sivaji the actor. Perhaps, there were very little of reference points.

I leave quietly. Without saying a word. There was no one to say anything to of course. But Kattabomman’s heroics and the stone inscription by D.Chandrasekaran I.A.S, Chennai, leave me tongue tied that I don’t want to pursue any conversation with anybody, even if someone was around. As I leave, I turn and take a long look. As Kattabomman stands tall, looking at the buzzing traffic almost with disdain. I tell myself he is entitled to that view. The disdain, that is.

Back home, I dig up some history. And read about how Kattabomman and others fought the Polygar wars much before the first War of Independence in 1857! Each page revealed a slice of history that I had abysmal clues about. I read about ancestors, descendants, tax structures and many elements that complete the richness of the picture.  I sit there, sipping my filter Kaapi, thinking of what it must have been like to be a 39 year old king to be hung from a tree, in front of his subjects.

And then I think of D.Chandrasekaran, I.A.S, Chennai. The coffee seeps in to shake my inaction.

In one reflex action, I open my calendar on the phone and on the 16th October, I mark the death anniversary of Kattabomman. Silly, you may think. Some actions cant be explained. So, lets leave it there.

Statue !

This is second in the Madurai series. The first one is here.

Ever remember playing a game called ‘Statue’ in school? Well, I do. You didn’t have to do much. Someone had to point to someone else and say ‘statue’. You were required ‘freeze’. Just pretend you are a statue and watch the other chaps lick their lollipops and wallop their chocolates.  And you had to wait till they came around to point in your direction and say ‘statue’ again. If you wanted to be a winner that is. 

In most cases, as soon as the lollipop was unwrapped, people gladly embraced defeat, disgorged themselves from the statues they were forced to become and went after the lollipop like an animal in heat. That story is for another time. 

But there are several statues that adorn roadsides and have watched the world go by and sort of had a ringside view of the change that is happening in the world. Every city has a few. Madurai has them too. 

Those that bear the names, shapes and figures of political leaders, leaders of a sect, a community etc have automatic addition to the following. Like being born in that community. In that sect. Or being sold to a political ideology.  These statues themselves undergo a clean up or two. Regularly. 

But how about literary figures?  People who made a difference to an art scene? To language and therefore to culture and life?  How good are their statues? There are few such statues that I found.  As I slugged the camera around and decided to rediscover ‘home’ as I sought balance on a roller coaster of a trip back home. Pardon me however for the poor quality of my snaps here. Most of them are tilted. Perhaps indicative of the state of my mind then.

These statues have seen me grow from a young boy to a bristling young man and then morphing slowly into the graying balding chap that I am. That is, THEY have seen me. Never before have I paused to give them a second look. Never. Which is surprising considering that I normally am interested in such stuff. I have passed this road as many times as perhaps there are rain drops in a monsoon shower. These are in the Tallakulam area of Madurai. A small area of less than 2-3 Sq KM. 

Here are a few statues that I found and some looking up the web lead me to some people that I didn’t know of that well and lives that made a difference to a different generation of people. 

So here is an invitation for you to dive deep into their lives and see if we can make more meaning. Perhaps you would like to dig more. Or if you already know more, maybe share  here!

If only God came back and waved his magical fingers and brought them alive, I am sure these statues would spout stories that world doesn’t know. How fascinating would that be! And for that reason, and for that reason only, I think we must petition God to walk the roads again. 

Most of these statues are ones erected as part of the World Tamil Conference held in 1981, I have recollections of that conference as a massive event that got talked about for a while. I was too young to understand the nuances of language and the passion in the conversations at home but was old enough to soak into the pomp and pageantry! That these statues have been there from then on is a ‘nice to know’ thing. 

In an area that is earmarked for rain water puddles, marketing campaigns for two wheelers, protest strikes of various political parties and Kabaddi matches sit two piercing statues. 



First off, there is Kavimani Desika Vinayagam Pillai. A tamil poet who translated the work of Omar Khayyam. Wikipedia  doesn’t give me much else. The name is more than merely ‘familiar’ but the thirst for knowing him more stands revived. The tags underneath the post on Wikipedia point to a few things that points in a direction.  They read : “•  People from Kanyakumari district •  Tamil poets •  Indian Tamil people •  1876 births •  1954 deaths •  Indian writer stubs”. Helpful!   



A little distance from there stands U.V.Swaminatha Iyer.  Wikipedia   holds much more on him than Desika Vinayagam Pillai. U.V.Swaminatha Iyer  called ‘Tamil Thaatha” ( The grandfather of Tamil ) is credited with extracting ancient Tamil literature written on palm leaves and publishing them on more readable material.  Wikipedia also tells me Civaka Chintamani was a “Jain classic”. Ignorance is limitless. Mine that is!  

Do give My.Iyer a look up.  Atleast for the sake of his statue that has looked at every single passing vehicle on Alagar Koil Road, Madurai. Come rain or shine!



A little further down the road is the statue of Shankardas Swamigal. A man well regarded as the Everest of Tamil theatre.   To the best of my memory the auditorium at Tamukkam is also named after him. I promptly read more about him here and figured he must have been a pioneer and a fantastic passionate man of his time. The industry could get to new lows with juvenile ‘masala’ movies but there are some film makers who would make him proud.  Where the industry is, is a different matter. His statue sits right at the junction of four roads and what a ringside view he has. This statue has been up since 1967. I wish it could speak. The world can be the stage. Seriously! 


Diagonally opposite to him is this pillar. It sure must have some history but nothing that I could find. I am curious if anyone knows more.

A couple of kilometers  away in what is now called KK.Nagar junction sits this man. Tholkappiar. Right under the KK Nagar Arch. 


A statue again bearing the time stamp of the World Tamil Congress, 1981. For me, KK Nagar is like home! And right under his nose, I have been upto mischief, had run ins, worked studiously, ran campaigns, bought medicines and what not. But never before did I realise that Tholkappiar was looking at it all. 


I recall reading Tholkappiar as one of the foremost grammarians of the world. Around 2000 years ago. Google doesn’t throw up any proper leads on Tholkappiar on the first page of search. There are politicos opening parks in his name but about the man himself, there is little except a mention of his being Agastya’s disciple. Some more diving deeper keeps me glued to the monitor for a good hour. Debates have raged on the net and you may want to look up here  or here

I have no inclination and remarkably shorn of knowledge on this subject to get any close to such a debate. More pertinently, the fact that Tholkappiar’s statue stood right there and I had no idea that it stood there painted a rather dim view of how much I knew of ‘home’! 

As I stood there, camera in hand, the traffic whizzed by. Buses. Cars. Cycles. Bullock Carts. Mopeds. From the corner of my eye, I notice many curious eyes looking at me. I wonder how many people know of Tholkappiar or atleast aware of his statue sitting there!  

I wonder if the general populace of the land care much about its true roots, language and culture. I wonder. But Tholkappiar sits there.  Blissfully peaceful. With a handle bar moustache and huge ears. 

He stares me down as the unkempt undergrowth and random wreck of a landscaped garden dominates my picture frame. Perhaps it indicates the state of the language today. Or maybe it just points in the direction of how much people know of their own backyard while they strive to build their futures in other lands. Whatever. 

More coming.   

Madurai Diaries. Crossing the bridge.The AV bridge!

It’s a bridge that I have crossed many times. It is the only bridge that runs across the Vaigai River. I mean, there are other bridges but this bridge is the only one that bridges my imagination and memory in a quaint sort of a way.

It’s called the Albert Victor Bridge

Hurried thanks must go the “Viceroy Earl of Dufferin on 8th December, 1886”, as the plaque there would say.  The man, some 125+ years ago commissioned the bridge. Little would he have imagined that it would stand for so long or that it would see vehicles of this kind and intensity as there are now. BTW the British said that bridge would stand for 100 years and it is already 25 years past its period of best use!

The bridge connects the parts of the city that the river Vaigai divides. There is a shameful trickle put to best use by dhobis and others, that juts out these days that gives the word ‘river’ a rather uncouth bad name. For no fault of the river!  Much water is used upstream, but in another sense, much water has flown under the bridge.  

When you are born in a city and spend your growing years there, you realise that as much as you think you have grown over the city and move on, the city has actually grown on you. It leaves an inescapably indelible mark on you. A mark that peeks through the cracks in the fort of memory resting between your ears. 

At least that’s the effect Madurai has had on me. 

The house that I type this in from is in a different city.  A very different one at that. With the corporate satchel strung around my shoulder work has taken me further and farther from Madurai. 

But the further and farther I go the greater is the longing to come back. It is no Venice or one of those modern cities (although, I remember reading that it carries a sobriquet of ‘Athens of the East’!). The Meenakshi Amman Temple, other temples, the Palace, the Museum, other temples continue to be the calling card!  

The city itself is a patch on the potential that resides amidst it.  Carrying much of the problems from the past and adding on news ones with élan. More of the change, more things seem to remain the same! Withering under political chicanery and pointless debate. 

Yet in its warp and in its weave, the city is home to simple loving people, a unique way of speaking the language, a boundary less desire to stay awake through the night and of course, playing the quintessential host to all those that come in.  

This time around I was there for a different reason. But I lugged the camera around just to change my view and see if there was a story to tell. Well, there was one too many a story to share with the world. Never mind if the world is interested in them or otherwise! 

A few posts and pictures follow.  Of course, would love your views. 

Chitirai Festival

The ‘Chitirai Thiruvizha’ ( The festival that happens in the Tamil month of Chitirai) is an annual feature in a Madurai calendar. There is splendour. Pomp. Simplicity. Devotion. Revelry And a letting down of hair by rural and urban folk. Every body lets their hair down.

Save perhaps the policemen on duty !

Here is a video that i chanced on YouTube !

Pretty much covers one part of the festival spread over many days. The festival itself is a ten day long affair. The pomp and show of a ‘celestial wedding’. The majesticity of a ‘God’ in motion. The piety of the simple. The preparedness of the city. The commerce that keeps knocking on traditions doors. Yet a culture that somehow survives, are all things to see.

Its a must watch.




The next year around, give me a shout if you’d want to visit ! 🙂 The festival involves a deity taken in procession from Alagarkoil into the heart of the city ( a distance of more than 20 odd KM). The young and old rejoice. As part of the festival there is this traditional ‘water spray’ by the young and the old. Specially adorned. Chanting the name of Govinda.

Spraying water to cool things down. Spraying everywhere. Often targeting the camera of a stray blogger !

Here are some images that survived such targeting !






Old Talk !

This is a ‘mandapam’, as called in Tamil territory ! Found in the middle of what once used to be the Vaigai river. Its still called the Vaigai river. Its but a pale stream of a river. With only the river bed, odd plants, dhobis and sand thieves to show.

Most of the water is held up in dams upstream. A population lives of it. The river seems to grin and bear.

But right there, right in the middle of what was once a river, there is this structure. Pillars. Steps. Floor and roof.

“A flowing river, a gentle breeze and a cleaner air, all provide the ideal batter for simple wonderful conversations. Right there in the middle of the mandapam !” Those were a great grandmothers words. Many years ago.

Today, it seems empty. Not many go there. At least not for conversations ! Perhaps because, the river flows occasionally.

The mind wonders if this place doesn’t miss conversations ? Well, but who doesn’t ?

In times when conversations happen only through chat windows, scraps, comments and text messages, who has time for plain old conversation ?

Tweet me. Scrap me. Text me. DM me. Ping me. Mail me. Those resonate well with the modern day world. But ‘Speak to me’ ?!?! hmm !

Mandapams like this still stand holding evidence of conversations, the plain old way. Taking the mind to a different time. When one human being could connect to another. By sitting down and chatting up !

I am an old fashioned chap you see, and it could sure sound queer, but would you mind if i can talk to you without having to use my fingers ?

Madurai musings !

The sights and sounds of home always ring in your ear. But when you are away for a while and get back, the sights and sounds are indeed pronounced.

For when you hear them, you know that you have missed them ! My travels took me home. To Madurai. Of course, it held some sounds and of course, some sights !

For instance, Auto-rickshaws still have this ‘blow horn’ !


Pressed with a certain stylish movement of the hand, there emerges a carefree hoot that could get a deaf year to perk. Ordinary auto rickshaw drivers will of course, think of themselves to share a gene pool with a music maestro and hoot their way through traffic! The mind rushes back to physics lessons, where the distinct between ‘sound’ and ‘noise’ were taught !


Regulars at this blog would have read many a post about the Meenakshi Amman temple at Madurai, which is a regular fixture during each visit. This time was no different.




There are tourists. Foreign tourists. Speaking Italian. Perhaps it was French. Well, it wasn’t English, for sure. And then Marathi speaking rural folk. All walking about in awe. Interspersed with endless chatter and click of mega pixel laden cameras.

The spirit of travel, wonder, discovery and joy awes. Always. Aware that native places have tourists as well. And the natives who call some other place as ‘home’ always come back. And some of them look in awe and wonder. Tourists at their own home.

The roads around the temple are silent of traffic. Paved and cleared. Quite different from earlier times that were punctuated with traffic. Today, there are electric vehicles that run and boards that announce the fare. While the mind rushes to spot spelling errors on this notice board….. Go ahead and spot them too…



And just as you spot them, say a prayer of thanks. The vehicles not being allowed here means that the Gods have been spared of soot from mega horse powered cars and the mini orchestra horns they sport !




Women carrying a basket load on their heads is as common as a paan-spit stain in a government building.

Pushcarts and door delivery boys reigns common here in Mumbai. But these women, with their gait and ease of movement, are an inseparable part of small town living.

Lifting ten odd kilos on the head and walking about 20 odd kilometers a day, is no small feat. Think of doing it day in and day out. Now, think of that feeding the family. Well, if you didn’t swallow hard… perhaps you should try lifting a basket and walking. And try doing five meters
!



The waistlines of Madurai folks are built in the street corners. Street corners lined with roadside stores that churn out the best tasting vadas !

Deep fried, hot and piping. Served with some coconut chutney on a banyan leaf, they are a riot of a delight to parched taste buds. Of course, they get straight to the hip !

So what ! Home grown hips can indeed be the next rage in town !


Click power !

Have been away travelling. That explains the silence. Will catch up !

By the way, the Meenakshi temple at Madurai, offers some wonderful sights. Of great architecture. Today, we sit here watching a dozen weddings getting solemnised.

It doesn’t take long to realise that one breed seems to be calling all the shots. They seem to have more power than the high priests and the low grooms ! For everybody is acting at the call of the …….wedding photographer.

‘Slow’ he shouts. And everything slows down. ‘Once more’ he shouts. And dutifully the groom garlands all over again, to ensure that this moment is captured for posterity.

Today, the pillars of this ancient temple reverberates with their command. Add to that, the fact that each marriage seems to be sporting a couple of photographers. Well, you have divine commotion !

The typical scenes play out.

The groom garlands. The bride garlands. The in-laws garland. Suddenly everybody garlands. He clicks every sub event. Sometimes re-clicks sideshows that are carefully re-enacted !

Everybody who is somebody walks in with a gift and upon reaching the bride & groom, freeze like kids playing ‘statue’. Perhaps wanting to extend that moment much longer than the worth of the gift itself ! All captured on camera.


Such sundry stuff, is often punctuated with shooting ‘special effect’ shots. ‘Protait ‘ ( thats the prounciation) shot : Of just the bride. Just the groom. Just the bride and groom. Just the front. Just the back. Just the hands.

Presumably all to be remixed and rolled into a big fat album later with a fluorescent spiral binding, which will have images of the bride looking longingly from the grooms palm. And vice-verca. For sure.

Ofcourse, other yogic postures would be present as well. Like the groom feeding the bride. And the bride feeding the groom !

Sitting there, the mind races to wonder what goes on in the minds of such photographers at each wedding. These folks are privy to intimate moments that the bride and groom share, like feeding each other ! Of course, in the presence of everyone who has come there. Perhaps they compare mental notes….

Of the difference in saree colour. The bridal make up. The sullen faces. The dour groom. The relatives who gift and pose for eternity. The jewelery that makes the flash on the camera redundant.


Perhaps they compare the whiteness coefficient of bridal teeth. The rings on the grooms fingers and the kilos of gold that hang from the neck! Perhaps they think of the spice in the food and the length of the decoration.

‘Smile’ He says today. Actually, he thunders. With a start and sputter, the groom lets go a smile. A trifle terrified and knowing fully well, who is in charge !

Perhaps he gets the greatest kick in teaching the first lessons in obedience. To the groom (of course) !!

Ah ! That explains it ! Not too bad for a profession ! hmm.

Garbage

These chaps, they used to be regulars at the garbage dump near home. So much so that if they missed a day, it showed. On the garbage dump.

At first, nothing seemed abnormal to the mind. One day, perhaps when the eyes were really ‘seeing’, a question popped.

‘What do these chaps eat in a garbage dump’ ? A dump that was a collection of discards from middle class housing board colony ! Old magazines and discarded report cards. Perhaps old love letters and recent bills.

Or maybe it was the worn out dress with fresh designs, left by the milk that went sour. And such else.

And in a short while, the bigger question popped up. Since when did horses start feeding on garbage !

It took some intelligent souls to let my primitive brain know that these were not exactly ‘horses’ but some sort of ‘crosses between horses and donkeys’.

Ok. So ?

The answer trail didnt lead anywhere. Infact the trail stopped right there. ‘What’ they ate, ‘how’ they ate and ‘how come’ they ate garbage, didnt occur to (m)any !

In a typical worldly way, It was satisfactory to all that lived there, that some work on the garbage happened. So, this unanswered question still stays unanswered.

And i wondered, what other beings live off garbage.

Quick realisation dawned, about that being a very tricky question. If you include metaphorical references of ‘species living on garbage’…well, the entire world will have to get mentioned.
Isnt it ?

All the mega serial and news channel followers. Of all the political analysts who will comment on TV about your cat, if you call it Cabama ! Of all those that hurtle after those wierd material stuff. As wierd as as a Rs.11.00 lacs ( Approx $23,000) pen in the name of Mahatma Gandhi !

The list is endless. And ofcourse, includes the writers that dish trash, and trashers that dish out blogs.

So, leaving out such metaphorical references, what else have you seen live off garbage !?!

But then, who defines what is ‘garbage’ !?! For example, these half asses must think of me to be a complete ass, to label their principal source of sustenance & living, ‘garbage’ !

And, so must the others.

hmm.


Distance in space !

Moving about is an inherent need of most human beings. Lets keep the rest of the folks out. For the present. And lets just consider the folks that indeed desire mobility. Now, who doesn’t want mobility.

Even the Gods do. The modern day self proclaimed Gods have streams of Roll Royces and BMWs perched in their courtyard, that would perhaps use the GDP of Norway on fuel ! Perhaps all of Scandinavia.

And still be left with some surplus change to pick up the islands in the pacific ! But that’s a different story.

Where were we…yes. The Gods. Moving on to the ‘Common Man’, the common man’s urge and need to travel is often times expressed in the most uncommon of ways. This blog has had several posts in the past. Often, showing how informatively local trains and buses have been used.

The urge to travel is universal ! Modern day man has it woven into daily life ! Mankind has been known to use anything that moves. For travel. From donkeys to Camels. And now, we are even talking bacteria led biological warfare !! Phew !

The point is if it moves, it will be used. Presence of a specifically designed seat / place for travel is rather immaterial ! Here is evidence.



That perhaps leaves us with the smaller families. Four member. Three member. Five member.

Well mention of a five member family is not something that will cause a flutter in your eye. But say, all of the five members travel on two wheels at the same time. On a busy highway. Without helmets. Without understanding of road rules. And without a lot else too.



And also. Not as a part of a circus trick. Or a politician’s austerity drive. Or a photo op. Or an advertisement promoting shock absorbers, engine power, fuel efficiency. etc etc. And the like.

The question of how much space is there between two wheels of a bike is yet to be answered.

Indian roads keep presenting a picture of space that can take as many people as required. A space that houses a seat that has no end.

A space which screams ‘no distance is too far’ !