Tuesday, June 29, 2010

A Migration to die for !!

It’s that time of the year again-My parents,grandparents and great-grandparents left the safety of these trees on the shores of Lake Erie- and undertook a tedious migratory journey of 2000 miles,flying 80 miles a day at a time….from the north,across the vast North America-all the way to the south…to escape the cold harshness of Canada to the comparatively warmer climates of Michoacan,Mexico …We are proud of our lengthy annual migrations,north to south before the first frost and then southward return journey in spring –which spans the life of 2-4 generations …No single individual makes the entire round trip-It’s our 2nd,3rd and 4th generations that come back here to Canada-That’s how I came back from the fields of Arkansas,where I was born, to the shores of Canada …And now, it’s my turn…and I’ll be leaving my home for the last time,never to come back !!

I’m a Monarch butterfly and proud to be the only one of our kind to make the dual north and south migration,like the birds ~ I know I’ll have to follow the position of the sun as a compass to reach those conifers of Mexico, as my seniors once did – My winter roost, with millions and millions of others of my family ~ We keep ourselves warm and safe by hanging from the branches of the trees all through the winter, in clusters…..millions and millions of us covering all the branches and the trunks of the trees like one big colorful Persian rug ~ Many of us might be attacked and eaten up by bright-colored Orioles,although we are poisonous and distasteful to many predators~ And many others who fall from the clusters to the ground and fails to come back up by nightfall, will just freeze from the night frost !!

But that is life- our kind have been doing this for many many years ~

And when the 1st signs of Spring arrives implying the end of wintering, we awaken from our crowded bundles, open up,flutter around joyously and make our way back …Well, not entirely..

The ladies will lay their eggs on our way back, in the fields and meadows of North America & the future generations will return home to these trees ~ ~

So, I’m taking my time to enjoy the ambiance of this place I’ve called home for the last several months,till that moment arrives ~ ~

Till, I make the greatest journey of my lifetime and accumulate an once-in-a-lifetime experience ~ * ~

Monday, June 28, 2010

Decoration for Seduction !!

This is a story of the complex behavioral aspects and unique mating techniques-The story of the art of seduction….

He builds a bower, a hut-like conical structure made of sticks, tied together with grass and stuff…an art in itself,which he takes great care and many days to perfect-The front entrance of the bower is propped up by two columns-like sticks...

He takes great care to clear the “ front lawn “ area and decorate it with mosses and dead leaves..

Then comes the final adornment-the entrance to the bower is decorated with dead beetles,flowers,berries,colorful leaves,apricot fungus – laid out very artistically, with the touches of a skillful interior decorator-so much to attract and lure a mate for the season….

And he takes extra care to rearrange stuff,discard old or unwanted items,like fungus off the deer dung that he has so delicately arranged…or properly aligning the charcoal in a symmetric heap !!

And he is not alone….he has neighbours and rivals – and rivalry even leads to theft, with neighbours stealing “ novelty “ items off each other’s property !! So much to outdo each other and attract a prospective female ~

Females visit the bower, often there is a single female visiting many bowers at a time, and after repeated inspection and close scrutiny, depending on whose bower and/or decoration she likes the best, she choses her mate ….The winner is declared and all the hard work is appreciated-The bower itself plays no role in nesting or housing the youngs, but only as an instrument in courtship ~ ~

And to add to this effect,these birds are adept in singing and mimicry as well !!

This is the story of a Bowerbird….to be more precise - the Vogelkop Bowerbird, found in Indonesia –a master seducer,when it comes to the art of presentation and décor….Human males who are in the process of wooing, please take notes ….don’t forget to get the flowers and the candles,before inviting her in your house !!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Maternal instincts in the wild !!

We,humans take pride in our parenting skills….We think animals,specially small,insignificant ones, are dumb and incapable of anything-leave alone taking care of their youngs…My entire notion changed when I happened to come across,among a few-the parenting of an octopus and a strawberry Poison-dart frog …..

A strawberry Poison-dart frog….lays her eggs,as expected,in a pool of water-and when the eggs hatch-the momma frog gets apprehensive-To make sure the tadpoles survive,she carries,each one,one at a time,to different water-filled spaces,like the bromeliad axils (which are epiphytic i.e. growing on another tree trunk ) and deposit them there-separate spaces are important,otherwise the tadpoles will eat each other during the growing process….The frog often makes a climb of half a mile to one mile up a tree to search for separate water-filled spaces or bromeliads-each time it carries a tadpole.There is not only so much toil behind this entire up and down and nursery-searching process, but sacrifice and maternal thoughts,even in an amphibian.

And she doesn’t stop at this- she visits the growing tadpoles every few days and deposits one of her unfertilized eggs- source of food for the growing young ones …..

An octopus,slimy and weird looking as it is, is a creature deserving commendation for it’s parental techniques !! A male octopus dies after mating…and the female lays the eggs-sometimes 200,000 together,after a few days and hangs them in strings from her nest-They look like clusters of grapes from vines. She stops eating entirely, so that she doesn’t have to go out to hunt and leave her embryos in danger ….She sometimes has to sustain out of her own body parts- She,like a caring mother,gently sways water over the eggs, to ensure they get a constant supply of oxygen. And once the eggs are almost ready to hatch, the mother octopus leaves the lair and is too weak to survive the attack of her predators…She sacrifices her life so that there wouldn’t be any competition for food between her and her young ones ~ ~

Maternal instinct exists in perhaps all the living creatures- It is us,humans, who fail to see it or realize it, bcoz we are too pressed for time, are selfish and busy, taking pride in our intelligence, which we have successfully used in wiping out hundreds of species from this earth- species whose maternal instincts we would never come to know !!

The swaying curtains .....

The windows were open,the curtains were moving in the light summer breeze-A lovely summer afternoon…tea was on a tray with my favorite cream cookies..Cookery show was on and the bell rang-Dad is home !! And that was when I woke up ~ ~ Woke up and found that the window was closed shut and the curtains weren’t moving either-There weren’t any tea on the bed,the television was dead and everything was still,boringly dead …… ~

So, I woke up not from a dream,but from the past to the present ~ And even if the curtains swayed now,I would feel like being on an ice floe,alone in the cold,in Antarctica …trying to survive and live another day !!

Deja Vu

A dream or a forgotten experience- I had a déjà vu-while watching LIFE- Snow-covered conifers,frozen lakes~Have I ever been to such a place ?

All those tall trees standing aloft,touching the sky-reminded me of someplace I had frequented in the past ~ Few jumbled-up feelings of nostalgia,déjà vu and faint memories which might or might not exist ~ Painful,exhilarating ,exciting,eerie ..among the various named emotions I’m going through right now !!

Memories of a garden,of a similar garden which I can see on the screen right now- where Mom showed us that so many butterflies have lain their eggs under the leaves of a certain plant …of several butterflies fluttering around and making us wonder if there will be more within the next few months !!

Memories of hundreds and hundreds of caterpillars at a certain time of the year on the Night-flowering Jasmine ( Shiuli ) and drumstick tree ( Sojne ) – barring us from venturing anywhere near them during those times ~ ~

Memories of the beautiful and short-lived flowers of the cactus,during summer nights ~ Mom’s greatest collections – waiting, ever since laying eyes on the buds ,specially after dusk…almost as if to catch them in the act of blossoming and then taking pictures,before they close and shrivel up in the morning sun - to cherish them forever ..

Those were not Déjà vu ….these are real memories…and I have surely been there !!

The Star of my balcony ~ ~

I took in long,deep breaths and enjoyed the enchanting sweetness of the Jasmine ~ kept on submerging deeper into the sea of fragrance with each inhalation….of the intoxicating Jasmine ~ My very own home-grown Jasmine….coming in 1s and 2s and sometimes in 3s….when the heat sets in !! As pleasing as they are to look at….I call them the stars of my balcony garden ~ their fragrance surpasses everything that can be called beautiful and awe-inspiring.

As the daylight gets absorbed into the oncoming dusk, the star of my balcony sets out to hypnotize us with it’s aromatic spell,after it’s share of all the mesmerizing it accomplished during the day, with it’s beauty ~ They remind me of my childhood days, of summer, of my hostel days….

And each time I breathe in into these delicate beauties, only one thought comes into my inebriated mind – if only I could hold on to this perfume forever ~ If only I could keep on smelling this smell and nothing else ~ Why do things of beauty and bliss always have to be so transient,passing and ephemeral ?

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

~ Cloud 9 ~ Heaven 7 ~

The bestower smiled….And she was in cloud 9, Heaven 7-whatever that means !!

You don’t know u possess a certain property, unless others tell u so…..and when there is a commendation from the very bestower of such property, u know what heaven looks like-right here on this earth ~ ~

When the ocean praises the river about it’s journey and the lush vegetations which it created on it’s sides ~ or the rain and the snow, which gave birth to the river ~ The river perhaps, feels the same way as you feel now…Although it might have taken a different route, a different journey than it’s creator …the very stamina,the way it could curve the banks and deposit the alluvium was due to all those who shaped it’s physics and determined the course it would take ~ ~

And so when that very creator compliments, there’s no looking back and no need to go searching for happiness anywhere else ….It is here,it is this,this is it ~ ~

A Confidant in the making !!

Been confiding in my sibling for so long, I never felt the urge or need of a female companion,like sisters…who confide in each other – until I found you !! And now I know so many things for sure ~ I know that this companionship is unique, many cherished for such but never found one~ I know even if I had a sister,I might not have formed such a bridge between our hearts~I know with passing time our love and respect will grow~

With marriage, came the marriage of minds ..so apt,so glorified by so many and yet not overrated at all ….

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Looking beyond ~ ~

Almost anything and everything is beautiful when looked thru’ the eyes of an artist….Photography is one such medium thru’ which u can capture the happenings around u, animate and inanimate , the way u see it and the way it’s supposed to be seen by u and how u want the others to see it !!

For there aren’t many people who can paint the essence of a subject or objectify the true meaning of an emotion …in it’s true colors- but in a click they can get near to their goal much faster and easily, much easily than wielding a brush and a palette !!

Photography for me is not only capturing the outer beauty of a subject , as I see it…but also capturing the inner beauty, as I feel it ….looking beyond more than u can normally see ~ ~

Never in a loss of subjects and beauty in everything u see, touch and feel ~ that’s art for me and photography comes to me more naturally than the stroke of a brush ~ ~

Saturday, June 19, 2010

To be a baby !!

Synonym- U don’t know anything and yet you are oh-so-happy about everything :-)

Synonym –U know everything..but pretend u don’t know anything ..an escapist and an irresponsible !!

Synonym- U need help and u appreciate it…

Synonym-U need help but don’t acknowledge it…



And so much more, in those lines….. !!

In love ~ ~

Been in love with so much and then gradually out of love with so many of them ~

But, books and food have been the eternal love of my life till date ~

I’m totally, obsessively in love with both of them…so much so that, even after piling up a few to read and no time to finish them all, I keep on hovering around the stacks in the local library…just to look at those objects of my absolute affection !! So much so that ….even after exhausting every piece of paper I could possibly find, with recipes…I still look for more,on a daily basis !!

And the love manifests itself in so many ways ~ ~

In love with the discussions I have or plan to have-with people who share my interest ~ with mom about the world cuisine and with dad about Chekov and Nemirivsky !!

Then there’s the sudden crimson tide in my sky and watching “ Un long dimanche de fiancailles “ ( “ A Very Long Engagement “ ) ..And then there’s the afternoon tea and a book, and some reflections,with some simmering thoughts, agitating slightly.

So much to love and so little time ~ ~

The golden flood of my morning sun,when the curtains are pulled open...and the thoughts of a book to read ….with contemplating breaks~ looking out at the misty mountainscape or the swaying wheat fields outside ur train window, or the rolling meadows….yellow with the harvest season written all over it ~ ~

In love with a cozy nook,where I can see the water or the sky or the combination of both…of the white clouds of hope and gray clouds of apprehension ….In love with a sunny solarium, overlooking the lotus pond,where the Koi fleets around or the woods,dark & deep ~ and all these….with books, books I love or would love to read....…..

In love with the colorful bazaars of Morocco,where I can buy all the spices of my dreams and cook the authentic food…In love with the opulent lands of Italy,France, Sardinia and others…where I can pick up the fennel and artichoke at their best, touch and feel the fleur de sel off the coast of Brittany or smell the lavender off the bouquet garni…..and cook ….just cook to my heart’s desire !!

In love with having a croissant & jam at a streetside bistro in rural France or the heavenly Pizza Margherita & Zeppole in Naples, Italy…. and feel at peace with myself ~ ~

In love ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ with having a sumptuous life ~ an eternal love affair of my senses ~

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Forbidden

What is more alluring ~ the pleasure derived before ~ from the thoughts and thereafter ~ from treading, the forbidden paths Or the pain which comes after ?

Nevertheless, seemingly,no one can bar u from visiting those forbidden paths, of material and mind, to feel that dual rush of pleasure and pain !!

Moving, Revisited ~ Yet Again !!

This morning, I saw the waters strewn with the fresh-cut grass and the blown away leaves. And then, in the evening, it was one big flowing,rippling body of molten gold,crystal clear…and in my mind,it substantiated,yet again…that it’s in motion, almost alive ~ ~

On a different note ~ Moving, is one of those things, which u never get used to,no matter how many times u go thru’ the whole process of packing & unpacking. For me, the only part interesting is looking for a new abode….and that comes with it’s usual hitches…a house of ur interest might suddenly become no longer available,leaving u dejected and irritated to go thru’ the process of sifting thru’ the list,shortlisting and shortlisting yet again...

A single word and it makes u wonder what myriads of emotions,thoughts & meanings it can bring about in ur mind !!

Moving is exciting…new place, new people,new opportunities,new life, fresh start…a new promise of a better tomorrow, almost as if the magical touch of an “ undo “ button lets u start afresh with a clean slate ~ ~

Well, it’s better to think of it that way,to block out the pains of discarding,choosing,deciding to take or not to take and what to take,packing and then unpacking…and organizing,assembling…those inescapable chores and drudgeries !!

And then the fear of going away from people u love to socialize with, things u love to do and those specific times of the day when u did them….everything gets topsy-turvy with this one hit of a “ moving “ button…

But still,u move and keep on moving…bcoz that’s the nature of life..moving forward~ towards ur aspirations and inspirations, with a hope to get closer to the sunshine-away from clouds and gloom ~ ~

Stifling ripples...

The ripples ….big and small ….some persist, some fade away…in the fluid of one’s memory !! I watched the rain-soaked bunches of the royal Poinciana,almost washed off it’s color…the puddles of water everywhere…and the next day, the ducks were so happy !! The dragonflies buzzed around ….the sun shone brightly and the golden waters…with it’s fluid gold ripples,flowing not knowing where it’ll meet it’s end …

Some thing stays with u, however hard u try to erase …Some things stay with u and haunt u pleasantly…with an urge to go back to them again…Things left undone,unsaid,unseen- accomplish them,or places that u shudn't go back to, going back to them …Some days even the twilight,the oncoming dusk,the balcony,the trees,the trilling birds doesn’t take away the weird stifling…Maybe an escapade would do the trick ~ ~

And so I watched Rebecca again…and the concluding part haunted me even more this time. I felt almost foolishly sad ~ there wud be no Manderley for me !! And no such memories where one can escape momentarily ~ memories where one had passed one’s time smelling the azaleas, listening to the waves crashing against the rocks, to the long walks on the lush grounds….No,I can’t smell the azaleas once again…not even in my memories..bcoz there was never a Manderley for me ~ * ~

Not so fogged up ~ ~

This misty, foggy day….blurring everything but ur memories are distinct ~ of all those rain-soaked mornings and gloomy afternoons…so much distinct that u even remember clearly that dad and u had a special term for such days. The evenings were gloomy adding to it’s eerie romanticism…of the last drops dripping from the foliage, of the dampness, of the crickets chirping, of the rain lilies-yellow,pink,white~ lining the concrete pathway of ur mom’s garden- the drooping ones, those barely survived the stampede of the harsh, forceful rain and the few strong ones,swaying proudly in the zephyr…and then memories of the newly-formed puddles and muddy footmarks of dad coming home at the end of yet another day at work ~ ~ The creeping vines, full of mist-kissed buds and renewed hopes to bloom sooner and better…

And then, yet so many memories,which keep receding and getting foggier with each passing day…and will disappear suddenly but come mysteriously back one day,maybe…. The signal turns green and u had to keep moving, homeward…with churned-up thoughts and infiltrating the present mist and the fog ~ ~ ~

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Expression ....

Sing…. like the sky sings today

Open wide and look…. like the sky ~

The wind breezes thru’ the leaves~ making them to rustle and murmur ….

Breeze thru’ my heart like that wailing wind..and make me cry….

Sing out like that singing sky ~

Take in ….like the all-encompassing ,wide open sky ~

~~~~ A take on one of my favorite tagore songs