Friday, May 30, 2008

New Addition To The Family

Simhachallam (Simba for short) joined us on Tuesday 27th. Simba is the ginger coloured ball of fluff I saw rushing madly around the Willingdon club verandah when I took Sean and Pervin there for dinner about five or six weeks back. I wanted to take him home straight away but the fond waiter serving us requested me to wait a couple of weeks as the kitten had not yet been weaned. In the meantime I didn't get back to the club and the kitten went out of my mind. Till I was there with my former classmate Nazneen and I suddenly thought of it again. That afternoon we were in a rush so the next day I roped in Sudha and Sharat to help out and we went off with a basket to collect Simba, who was so fast asleep and just gazed at us from the basket like he was stoned, that I thought he might be sick. Nothing of the sort. In the cab he started to yowl like a crazed lion (I knew immediately it was a male!) and now that he's got used to being here he tears around madly, bites Saru's feet and wraps himself constantly around her legs, tries to jump up onto the dining table during meals and does all the things a normal feline ought to do.

He's fussy about food though. Doesn't seem to relish anything other than minced meat. We'll have to try out the regular cat food now. Currently he's sitting on the window sill watching the crows.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Chipko at Haji Ali

Chipko is a movement that was originally conceived of and followed by women peasants in Uttarakhand, to prevent the felling of trees in the region by the forest department. Launched in 1973, this movement by the end of the seventies, had spread like wildfire throughout the Uttarakhand Himalayas . The good news is that the movement continues to inspire people from all over the country and the latest Chipko slogans I've been reading about have been raised in my own neighbourhood.

A whole lot of residents living around Haji Ali have decided to battle against the municipality which wants to chop down 84 trees as part of a plan to beautify the promenade at Haji Ali. The idea is to get rid of all these trees and replace them with Zodiac signs. Huh? Concrete Zodiac signs as part of a beautification programme?! Are there any sane people left in the municipality or are we dealing with a bunch of complete morons? Neither probably. Somebody somewhere is going to be walking away with a bulging wallet and a fat smile on his face, on account of the so-called beautification programme which according to many of us will result in a seriously hideous promenade.

Anyway the Chipko movement at Haji Ali has been apparently spearheaded by one Jayashree Desai who has also agreed to adopt a tree. Several people have now said they will adopt and look after a tree and that they will stand between the tree and the axe if the municipality comes along to further its idiotic ideas. I feel tempted myself to go join them so I'm going to be finding out more about this protest, very soon.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Juzt simbly

The sea is getting slowly rougher each day, although there are several weeks left for the monsoon. Dark clouds have also started to pile up in the sky in the evenings and you almost get the feeling that rain is a few days, rather than several weeks away.

This morning I went out onto the balcony and breathed in a fresh draught of the sea air mingled with ... aaaah... fresh piss. From where I couldn't exactly say, I mean there are men relieving themselves over the rocks every day but this smelt like it came from somewhere closer. Maybe someone had peed against the building wall?


Reading Pamuk's "Istanbul", a good three years after my visit to Turkey. It brings back memories of my own trip down the Bosphorous with Ayse and Bablu, and our visits to monuments like the Sofia Haga. In some of the places foreigners have to pay more to enter, than the Turks so while visiting Topkapi our very clever driver Yashar actually persuaded us to pretend we were locals and not tourists from India, while Ayse dinned it into our heads NOT TO SAY A WORD. "You're deaf, both of you, understand?" It worked - inspite of the fact that Bablu made a very strange looking Turk in his dhoti and colourful kurta, but what the hell, we got in almost free of charge.