Ek aur incident yaad aaya!

28 04 2006

Well, this isn’t about the mango tree. This happens to be about a girl who lived in my neighbourhood till some years back. I found this incident funny; dunno if you’ll find it funny too. Here it goes:

I think it was in late 2002 or probably early 2003. I was returning home from college. The bus stop was a good kilometre away and I had to walk back to my home from there. As I was walking back home, I saw a guy and a girl talking to each other in the middle of the road halfway down the street. At first I didn’t care but a moment later I saw them again. Their body language suggested that they were having a fight. The guy then held the girl’s arm tightly and the girl then struggled to let go of it. I wondered ki yeh kya ho raha hai? Then I saw them part their ways. The guy started walking towards me and the girl went in the opposite direction, possibly towards her home.

And then it happened!

The guy looked back, almost as if in slow-motion of Ekta Kapoor’s serials. He stopped, thought for a moment and then looked back. All he saw was the back of the girl walking back to her home. He stared at her for a moment and then decided to move on. As he turned back towards me, I saw in the background that the girl also stopped to look at him. It was a total filmy scene! First the guy looked at his girlfriend walking away from him and hoping that she would be standing there ready to take him in her arms and then the girl doing the same hoping that her boyfriend would be standing there for her. Gosh! It was such a sight!

Soon the guy walked past me. I had managed to suppress my smile till then but as soon as he went past me, I burst into a fit of laughter. Thankfully nobody saw me laughing that way else they would have wondered why I was laughing so loudly. I suppressed my laughter again and then started for my home. As I turned into the lane leading to my home I realized that it was the girl who lived just 4 houses ahead of me. Now I knew her secret though she didn’t know that I knew that she was talking to her boyfriend (err… it must be her ex-boyfriend by now).

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Bachpan ke din bhula na dena!

25 04 2006

Mango! The word makes my mouth drip with lust for this red-yellow fruit. I am literally licking my lips at the sight of mangoes. As well as the sweet taste, it brings back some of the best memories I have of my childhood. Though I never even attempted to climb that tall mango tree of my then house’s backyard, still I reaped fruits from it for many years.My late grandfather had laid the seeds of this mango tree in the late 70s. Even the earliest memory I have of the mango tree is that of a tall tree whose lowest branch was at least 7 feet above the ground level. It provided us with shade we needed to laze around in the backyard. We had a small backyard at that time and almost everyone in the neighbourhood had a mango tree in their backyards. I remember, there were at least 4 mango trees within 50 metres of each other in a neighbourhood consisting of 8 families. Times have changed since then, and I have moved to an apartment now, having no scope of rearing even a kitchen-garden!

Being the youngest of the kids at that time in the neighbourhood, I was always the most pampered one. Well okay, the pampering in the 80s and the early 90s were in no way comparable to the things kids of today do but still, I had the privilege of doing things at will. The summers were fun in a way. There were 3 mango trees in very close vicinity and my immediate neighbour was a south Indian with two really studious boys. Me and my brother being the mischievous types, we were always at loggerheads with them and left no chance to trouble them. We used to play cricket in the backyard and deliberately hit the ball into their garden (yes, they had a beautiful garden, the envy of the neighbourhood) then call them to throw the ball back to us. Sometimes when they didn’t respond, we would try to sneak into their garden to fetch the ball only to get caught by them. It was fun dealing with them nerdy ones.

The mango! Ah! I love the mango. I don’t quite know the variety of mango that we got from that tree but it certainly was not the dassehri or langda that are famous in this part of the country. It must have been some other desi variety that never turned yellow when ripe. Instead it always kept green and it became quite difficult for us to know which mango was ripe and which wasn’t. The only distinction was a faint smell that could differentiate between them. Some of the older boys of the neighbourhood did attempt to climb up the tree to fetch the mangoes but on other occasions we never allowed anyone to get near it. We used to get the mangoes that fell from the tree by themselves. They were delicious. We had the privilege of having our own fruit at no extra cost!

I am a big mango lover. I love the small green-yellowish soft and small dassehri mango. It is deliciously sweet and yummy. Next on my list is the juicy langda. It is a somewhat bigger in size than dassehri and more yellow in colour. I think it is this variety of mango that my grandmother eats without cutting into small pieces. The chausa is another one that is popular in this part of the country. I personally prefer these varieties against the ones that are more popular like the hafoos and alphonsos. I remember having an alphonso in Goa little less than 3 years back and I didn’t really like it. It didn’t leave a long lasting taste in my mouth as langa and dassehri do. For me, dassehri rulez!

Coming back to the mango tree, in 1995 we had a bumper crop from it. I remember I ate at least one mango everyday in my summer vacations (I was in grade 9 that year). Even that was not enough! So much so that I even took some mangoes to school and distributed it among some of my friends. A Bengali friend even demanded more from me but by then the rains had started and the mangoes that were left in the tree got destroyed.

In fact a strange incident happened that year. We had some unusual growth of bushes and plants in our backyard. And among them we saw a new small mango plant growing up to nearly 2 feet high. I inquired my mom about it and she said she had no knowledge of it. Later my brother and dad too said that they had no idea how that plant started growing there. Even the gardener was clueless. Then mom said that since that new mango plant started growing by itself it was an indication that time is coming soon for us to move from there. Weird theory, I had thought then as it had no explanation. Mom being mom, she refused to listen to our arguments and stuck to her theory that if a mango tree starts growing by itself then it suggests that the owner of the house has to move out soon. Incredibly, her theory was to be proved right as in September of that year we moved to a new house. We lost that mango tree forever. However we kept on visiting the new tenant of that house for some time and he revealed that the tree had stopped giving fruit ever since he had moved there.

I have lots of memories associated with that small house and especially that mango tree. Never will I forget the fruits that I got from it. Every time I go past that house, I can’t help but stop for a while to look at the tall tree in the backyard and remember those good old days of my life. I spent my childhood playing cricket under that tree. God I wish there should be some way of getting those good old days back.




Ram’s Bridge

28 03 2006
Off late I have been in the exploration mode. No, it doesn’t mean that I am travelling to all corners of the country, but rather I’ve been exploring the world on Google Earth. I explored the entire Indo-Pak and Indo-China border areas and the Indian coastline from West Bengal to Gujarat. I must say that in all the coastlines on the eastern, southern and western parts of the country I felt that the Gujarat coast was intriguing. With swampy Kutch region towards Pakistan, the coastline creates an open mouth shape and it flanked by various inhabited and uninhabited islands. But the most intriguing aspect of the Indian coastline is the Adam’s Bridge in Tamil Nadu.

Take a look at this picture on the right taken from Google Earth (Click photo to enlarge). Look below the yellow line joining Indian and Sri Lanka. If you look carefully, you will find a cluster of rocks creating a bridge like formation connecting these two countries. This is known in the modern world as Adam’s Bridge though the Indians also know it as Ram’s Bridge. Some more pictures of this bridge can be found here.Legend has it that when Ram was going on the conquest of Lanka, the demonic kingdom, he had to build a bridge to link the Indian mainland with Lanka. He with the help of the army of monkeys built a bridge of rocks under the supervision of Nala, son of the architect-god Vishwakarma. The bridge of rocks was supposed to float on water but the gods anchored it to the sea bed, thus forming a cluster as is seen from the satellite image.

Most Hindu groups claim it as fool-proof evidence of the fact that the events described in Ramayan actually took place and scoff at claims of scholars that Ramayan and Mahabharat were nothing more than fictional stories.

Some may ask why this mythical bridge is known as Adam’s Bridge when it is claimed to have been built by Ram. The answer can be found in Christian mythology which believes that the biblical Garden of Eden was located in modern day Sri Lanka.

Archaeological studies of the area around the bridge are still under progress and some archaeologists claim that the bridge is no more than 3500 years old. Some studies have found that sea levels in this region rose by up to 20 metres to reach the level of today, thus corroborating the above theory. This 30km long stretch is being regarded as the oldest evidence of a man-made structure across the sea.

In recent times in an effort to develop this region for tourism, the Indian and Sri Lankan governments have started the Setusamudram Shipping Canal Project to create a shipping channel across the Palk Straits. The idea is to cut down shipping travel time by up to 30 hours and 400 kms as this canal project aims to prevent the ships from going all across the Sri Lankan island to cross over to the Bay of Bengal.




My former school – a marvel in itself

6 03 2006

I always wondered what made my school click. Was it all due to money? Or was it all due to the hard work of its students? I think I would go for the latter because lets face it, I have seen many former students of my school (including myself) toil hard to make a name for ourselves. There are people who say they are proud to be alumni of DPS or Mayo College or Moderns or Doon School, but if we say that we are proud to be alumni of Green Fields School, people react like Green what?Let me give you an introduction about my school. My school was established in 1967 under the aegis of the Safdurjung Educational Society.

Click here for its website. It soon was to become a money spinner machine for the family destined to run it. Well, not exactly soon but surely with the hike in fees that were observed in the late 80s and early 90s (a trend that I believe is still running), the school has helped its management rake in lakhs every month. Sample this: My school monthly fee was just INR 87 when I was in kindergarten in the year 1986. But by the time I completed school in 1999, the fee had increased to INR 700 per month. I bet it would be around INR 1400 now although I am not sure of it.

My school’s name was quite popular though my school never became popular very much. Confused? I will help you out. There are many schools in Delhi that use the name Green Fields and interestingly, they are not related to each other. There is a Green Fields Public School in Dilshad Garden and Karol Bagh while there is a New Green Fields School in Saket. And yet, none of them is even closely associated with my school based in the posh locality of Safdurjung Enclave in South Delhi.Its not that the school did not care for the students. We were looked after very well during our times. We had all kinds of facilities for us, except of course the sports and extra-curricular activities that play an important role in deciding the quality of education in every public school. Once I remember, I went to DPS-RK Puram to represent my school in a competition. I was surprised to find their world class sports facilities. Being kids of class 10, we were in awe of DPS for what they were providing to their students.

In contrast to DPS, we hardly had anything to show for our facilities. The school did have its own Cricket and Basketball teams but in my time, I rarely heard about the school winning some championships. But throughout our school life, we were made to believe that it is better for us to devote more time to our books and ignore the extra curricular activities. I think this was the way the school made up for its sagging image. Most of the time, the board results of my school was good, with a few compartments and barely one or two failures.

We had our share of controversies. The infamous physics teacher Arti Malhotra was one such lady. Going through a rather emotional period in her personal life, she used to take her anger out on us kids at school. I remember that she had a spat with a senior Azam Ali over matters that I don’t remember now (it’s been a long time really). The science students of my batch were made to suffer because of her long absence.

I have heard a lot since my exit that the image of the school has taken a beating. I wonder why. For a start, our then principal Mrs P Khanna has retired and has been replaced by Mr. K P Singh, the mathematics teacher who taught me in classes 11 and 12. Some senior teachers have also retired since then and maybe that has made a difference to the school. In comparison to schools located near it (schools like Delhi Police Public School, St. Mary’s School, Laxman Public School, Ram Jas RK Puram and DPS RK Puram), my school stands nowhere.


The point is that almost all public schools of South Delhi have an instant recall value that is associated with their name. Except for the govt. schools and Kendriya Vidyalayas, almost all public schools of south Delhi are well known, however big or small they may be. But sadly even when my former school is a big and one of the oldest schools in the region, it has failed to make a name for itself.




Anybody home?

24 01 2006

Looking at the hit-counter that I have installed on my blog I get a feeling that somebody is reading my blogs. I am getting hits from someone who is not commenting on my blogs. Its not that I have recommended my blog to anyone as yet but still I know there’s somebody reading my blogs.





Random Note

21 01 2006


Its been some time since I started writing blogs but most of my attempts are half-hearted. And the ones that I wrote with all my heart, I am not willing to show them. I guess in a way they’re too personal. Anyways, dunno how long this blog will go but for today, here’s a photo joke:





Girls!

3 12 2005

I went to the market today to get some stuff for home. While returning, I saw this cute girl wearing a blazer and a mini skirt. The first thought that came to my mind was – Nice legs!

The second thought that came to my mind was – goddammit! It is 7 degree celcius, ain’t you feeling cold?