Oh Warm Lunch of Bygone Days

By Bhuvi M

Oh Bhaat, Dal, Aloo Bhujiya,
Three ladle of steaming bhaat,
Two of boiled arhar dal,
A handful of aloo bhujiya,
Was all that cradled my soul.
Bhaat: boiled & drained rice, sparkling,
White, each grain separate on plate,
Dal: split pigeon peas boiled with salt and
Turmeric, tempered with cumin seeds,
Aloo bhujya: my humble fried potatoes,
Were crisp french fries in mustard oil.
Even if this combo with,
Some twists and turns,
Was on table every day for lunch,
It still is the best meal I had till date,
That brought inexplicable comfort to soul.
To have it and run out to play,
Or to play with my dolls,
At times to get back to books,
And complete the homework.
When I tried gulping in hurry,
My Grandfather said, “Go on easy
With meals, else you will choke”
I want you back my soul soothing meals,
Oh Bhaat, Dal & Aloo Bhujiya,
I want those times back again!!

Note: Day 10, Writing 101: Happy Childhood Lunch by the Daily Post

University Letter

By Bhuvi M

While walking back from work yesterday evening, on the iron gate of the house two blocks away, I saw a letter perched. The family had left two days back. No one was around.

I checked the stamp on the letter. It was from university addressed to the daughter of family. I opened it. It was call for admission. The last date for admissions ends tomorrow.

I knew she wanted to get that course. Her career was dependent on it. She was disheartened by rejections from other universities.

I’d no clue where they had left all of a sudden. All I was eager to find their whereabouts and convey the message.

Note: Day 5, Writing 101: Be Brief by the Daily Post

Character of a Little Boy

By Bhuvi M

Last summer I moved to my new house. This is a three-story house. There are other families staying on different floors. On the first floor, is a joint family with eight members from three generations. The youngest of the members of that family is a child barely three years old. He is a fair-complexioned skinny boy with sharp features and brown hair. As compared to his age, he is underweight. Extremely energetic, he is on his toes always. All the time he plays with his toys or drives his battery operated riding car or rides his bicycle. His playground remains his home. He never goes out to the community park to play with other children. He has a sole friend; a little girl next door. She is a year or two older than him. This little boy does not go out to play even with her. He asks the girl to come over to his house to play. Whenever she is at his home, even after playing for hours she is reluctant to leave. Her mother gets irritated because of such behavior.

This little boy has ear-piercing shrill voice. He speaks on the top of his voice. You can hear him talking all the day. He can be heard clearly on different floors of the house and in the park across the road. A child who is never corrected by his mother, he indulges in the conversation of elders. He is never asked to refrain from it. If asked to stay away from such conversations, he starts throwing tantrums by rolling on the floor and hitting his arms and legs. It can be irritating for a visitor. Often he picks up topic on his own which is considered to be part grown up conversation.

He is fond of watching cartoon shows and listening stories from story-book. Still young to read by himself, he needs someone to read them to him. If he is asked to do something or help someone he always refuses. He never shares anything with anyone. But if someone else gets something he wants a portion out of it. If corrected he never pays heed and terms you nasty one. He has labeled me with a title “bad aunt” since I have tried correcting him at times. If I offer to read him stories he will come to me, an association which gets over as soon as the story ends. Even with the pretext of reading stories I have not been able to make any impact on him. With this behavior it is painful seeing the childhood innocence lost. He is getting on the route to be a spoiled brat. This is an output of the example set by parents in front of the child.

Note: Day 6, Writing 101: A Character-Building Experience by the Daily Post

Exploiting Nature – Serial Losses or Collateral

By Bhuvi M

More than a year has passed by when flash flood drowned the Himalayan state of Uttarakhand. It was the after effect of handful of greedy over public & ecological interests. Traversing backwards in memory here is spine chilling account:

Cloud bursts resulting in flash floods and landslides in Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gaurikund area of Uttarakhand state of India on 15th to 17th June 2013. Thousands of people have got hurt, pilgrims stranded, hundreds have lost their lives, residents rendered homeless, thousands missing. The means of livelihoods have been lost and there has been massive destruction to infrastructure and property. Otherwise one of the less developed states of country, such enormity of destruction pushes it ten times backward on the route of development. The pictures depict many of them have lost their life savings. For them standing up and let their life moving ahead will be an uphill task. Bigger chunk of revenue of this Himalayan state comes from tourists, pilgrims, orchards and forest produce. For lots of people staying in northern plains of India; locales in Uttarakhand & Himachal are weekend unwinding destinations.

We too had planned for a short trip to a quaint destination up hills very same weekend when the disaster struck. Mountains are enticing in rains with clouds and mist all over. It was nice to beat Delhi’s heat and eye soothing watching drenched greens. Scary was excessive of rains and dark clouds hovering very low on the mountains. One night stay at a cottage at Nathuakhan, a little ahead of Nainital in Kumaon region of Uttarakhand was both pleasant and scary.

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We reached the destination a couple of hours late owing to en-route traffic jam. It had been raining in off and on for a couple of days there. As soon as we reached, heavy downpour started. We walked down in rain to meet a friend and see an ancient temple in the village. Returning to the cottage it was early set of evening and mist hovering all over the valley. It rained heavily all through the night. The wind blowing through the creeks sounded scary. On Sunday morning we saw dark clouds hovering too low on the mountains on north western side (Kedarnath, Badrinath, Uttarkashi falls on the this direction from Nainital). It was raining incessantly. Our plan was to stay, enjoy and leave around lunch time. Seeing the situation we decided to leave just after breakfast. It was clear if it continued raining for next twelve hours flash flood and land slide can happen and we may pose risk. While returning it continued raining only to stop intermittently. We came across a number of rivulets gushing down the mountains. A tributary of Ramganga which was dry a day back was full of water. The decision of leaving early was a wise one. All through the route we faced heavy down pour. Once returned, realized the catastrophe that had happened in Kedarnath, Badrinath, Gaurikund of Garhwal region. We still got a chance to get out of the area. Anyone could have been trapped in this calamity. It sends chills up the spine. Though none I know personally is stuck up in the situation but I’m a frequent traveler in the area. I was glued to news for updates and my heart bled for all those facing it.

Such event of cloud burst was natural but the effect of disaster was man made. Un-checked way of construction, mining, deforestation and interfering with nature had taken its toll. Personal greed of construction, mining mafia with political nexus had not paid any attention to save the eco-sensitive zones in hills. This flash flood swiping away buildings and villages was the result of man exploiting nature. Precious lives were lost and properties damaged. A war footing rescue was called for in inaccessible hilly terrain. National Disaster Response Force, Army, Air Force, ITBP and locals were engaged in rescue operation. The people who had survived the fury of nature had nightmares to narrate. Heart wrenching tales & pictures emerged with time. What was hampering the operation was tough terrain, at times rough weather, unchecked number of pilgrims & tourists uphills, scattered population all over the area.

This is not the only terrain where man has played with nature. Look around and each place has the same story to tell. Another serial loss waiting to happen.

Note: Day 4, Writing 101: Serially Lost by the Daily Post

Traveling through Rustic Himalayas

By Bhuvi M

It is a small hilly village the destination. The rescue and rehabilitation volunteers after flash flood of Himalayas are camping there. SUVs are the only mode of commuting in Himalayan terrain after flash floods.  I take one of them along with three other volunteers travelling with me from Rishikesh (a small town at the foothills of Himalayas). We started early in the morning to cover the as much of distance within day light.

In this day journey we find broken and blocked roads, completely washed out. The regular route has been diverted hence, increasing the journey by another hundred kms. Navigating though washed out roads, crossing small rivulets and muddy patches the vehicles move. Whenever it is required, passengers get down to help in repairing the roads dumping rocks and silt or to help out clearing a stuck up vehicle. This is only possible if the damage is small.

There are earth movers (called JCBs locally based on one of the companies which manufactures it) deployed by the government agencies for clearing landslides every few kms. They can work only in the daylight. There are some high risk landslide zones. The signage indicates it to drive slow and cautiously. The dirver of our vehicle wants to clear the every such stretch as soon as he can if it is open. He takes updates from the drivers of vehicles coming from opposite side about the road blockages.

Around pre noon we stop by at a small road side hotel for tea and refreshment. It is a small hut kind of place with rustic wooden benches and tables. The refreshments available are maggi, chips, some fritters and tea. After having it in another 20 mins we start moving. There is a running water tap nearby. I go there to freshen up. Water is chilling and refreshing. Standing at the edge of the road, I can see the river flowing by with all its fiery. All muddy with the silt it has brought from uphills. It is still roaring with daily rains. At each curve it has been washing away some hundreds of meters. The river has grown four times in its width.

Late in the noon we halt again at another hub of make shift hotel to have lunch. Locals have told us there is no place to eat after that joint. We have hot steamed rice, dal, chapatti and potato curry. It is soul satisfying meal. In another half an hour we move again. Driver wants to stretch as soon as possible so we reach the destination by evening.

In another one hour up the road, we come to know about the blockage of usual route. We now have to take an alternate route which is hundred kms more. We take the diversion. This road is rustic, unmaintained road which has hardly seen visitors. It has been used only by the villages in vicinity. Most of the patches are muddy and full of bug and small rocks and slush. It has been a tough 12 hours journey and we are still half the way to reach the destination. The evening falls by. We know we can’t reach the destination today. The driver is still rigid to take us within the night itself. He does not want to lose another day.

Moving ahead we come to a massive jam. Another vehicle ferrying relief materials in upper echelons is stuck now just a few hundred meters away from us. It is pitch dark. All that we have our trekking torches and the headlights of the vehicles. We are stuck. Some of the men get down and walk in slush ahead to check if the way can be cleared. We wait for more than an hour. It is evident that it can’t be cleared in the night without help of JCB. While waiting we get down the vehicle. Some of the people are chatting about jaguars often spotted on those roads. There is jungle in the valley just where we are fixed. At once we see one of those shining jaguars in the light of flashlight. It was there just beneath us. It scared us to hell. We are at a fix. As it saw the light it disappeared in the trees.

Note: Day 2, Writing 101: A Room with a View (or Just a View) by the Daily Post

A Walk

By Bhuvi M

Since long I’ve been thinking of resuming to my morning walks. Today morning I was able to pull myself out of the bed. Hurriedly, I freshened up, changed, slipped into my walking shoes and stepped out. As I started walking, I felt morning chill. It was still dark, dawn yet to break. The air had moisture from the last night’s showers. I could feel the dampness against my skin.

The tranquility of early morning was a blessing. The silence was singing its song that I could hear. Calmness was soothing my mind which loses focus so easily. It was an inexplicable feeling. The smell of calm fresh air was feeding my soul. The life of cities hardly gives a choice to have it at any other time of the day.

As I proceeded, I saw a very few of early risers of neighborhood. In today’s world most are late night owls rather than morning risers. They were busy with their walks and exercise routines.

I could hear the birds chirping. It was a lovely feeling. The watch dogs were up and occasionally barking at unknown vehicles. The barking dogs as well as the noise from early morning vehicles were irritants for mind, disturbing the calmness. By that time I’d reached the walking track in the park. As I walked further, a few pebbles on the track was rustling whenever my shoes established a contact with them. They were music to ears.

As I increased the speed, my heart was filled with morning freshness. I continued walking for another quarter-hour. There were gold of daybreak on the horizon. I loved it. By that time my heart and mind was satiated with freshness, beauty and the nature around. I slowed down and decided to return with an exhilarating experience.

Happy Walking!!

Note: Day 1, Writing 101: Unlock the Mind by the Daily Post

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Process of Triumph

“When you feel that you have failed – Just remember: there are no failures, just results & learning. Even if things don’t unfold the way you had expected, don’t be disheartened or give up. One who continues to advance one step at a time will win for sure. The battle is always won far away and long before the final victory. It’s a process that occurs with small steps, decisions and actions that gradually build upon each other and eventually lead to that glorious moment of triumph.”

– Bhuvi M, Tapestry of Life & Soul

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Let the Life Flow

Life should be touched, not strangled. You don’t need to micromanage things. Sometimes you have got to relax and let life happen, let it flow its own way, without incessant worry. Learn to let go a little before you squeeze too tight. Take a deep breath. When the dust settles and you will see the forest for the trees, the clear blue sky, take the next step forward.”

 Bhuvi M, Tapestry of Life & Soul