Sunday, July 24, 2016

After I had developed some pain in the knees, I had almost stopped walking. I went swimming every day and walked only a kilometer or two once in a way.  The orthopaedists whom I consulted said “reduce walking and climbing but continue the Yoga exercises.”  But then, I noticed that the knees twisted considerably while performing 'Padmaasana' and as a trial, stopped Padmaasana for a few days. The pain in the knees reduced considerably. I stopped Padmaasana altogether and the pain almost disappeared. I started walking more and more. No trouble. I went back to my 3-4 km walking routine and then increased to five and sometimes six kilometers. No difficulties. 

Since the last two months I had been gradually increasing the distance and covered nine kilometers thrice. Last Sunday we decided to walk to the Sri Anant temple in Savoiverem near Ponda and we walked the distance of 11.5 kilometers in two hours. It was pouring and we were soaked. But whenever the rain reduced a bit and allowed taking the camera out, I took some pictures. It is green, green and more green.  Nothing great but just the countryside Goa in rains.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

A Week Of Rains - Want More?

Remember my post written with lot of excitement just after it started raining? Yes?  Well, I am surprised.  No? I understand and I don’t grudge. Any way, if yes, remember what I wrote at the end? It will be a bigger surprise if I get another yes. I had said that the wholehearted welcome notwithstanding, I would be waiting for a ray of sun shine if it keeps raining for a week. 

That time has come. 

It has been raining without break for a week now and everything is damp and mouldy. While I wait for the sun to appear and brighten things I am posting some pictures from around the house - converting the words in the previous post into visuals.  Yes, I do have better things to do - outside the house - but I decided to remain indoors and I needed something to keep me occupied.  How I kept myself occupied? You know now. Please bear with me.
The ladder remained on the ground and fungus grew on its feet. 
Anything wrong with the foot? - keep the foot up. Thats what I have tried here. I hope I can save the feet.

It is my responsibility to save my patient's feet too. The sidewalk is covered with moss.

Backyard looks like a cyclone affected area.

Rain makes patterns in the water collected around the house.  I hope it does not seep in and make patters on my walls.

A major part of the room is converted into a clothesline and the fan is on  24*7

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Monsoon Walk - One more craze.

Inspired by the weekly running programme of the group of Ponda marathoners, "Aamhi Antruz Runners" (they  actually run half marathon, 21 kms, but that is more than what I can think of, even) I joined the group for a 10 km run. No, walk. They are runners but are Ok with a walking old man. (which many of them turn out to be by the end of their marathon) Why they run, I don’t know. It is their craze. Some people run, some cycle, some sing, some paint, some climb and so on and so forth. I walk, sometimes sing while walking and write about it in my blog. Three crazes actually. There is no logical reason why we do it.

Well, today was the monsoon run and as the name implies an even crazier run. You get up at five on a chilly, rainy morning and start running in the pouring rain while sensible people cover themselves tighter and shift to the next scene of their dreams.  

Just to prove that whatever craze you have, you are not alone in this world, a friend of mine was waiting when I reached the designated place. It was nice to have company but it meant that I could not sing. Yes. I try to sing when I am out of reach of anybody’s hearing, including mine and luckily it is certified that my hearing is poor!  (No, not because of continuosly hearing my own singing, because of age) A dark lonely night or early morning when the few household that are there along the road cannot hear anything other than rain is the best time to sing. And when it is raining there are no dogs on the street and you are absolutely safe. Anyway, company is more important and I was happy with his presence.

The route taken is devoid of traffic and very picturesque, especially in the monsoon and I had carried my camera in the hope of getting a few pictures. It was a mild drizzle when we started at half past five but as it grew brighter the rain started pouring harder and the camera remained in the plastic cover safely out of reach of rain.

After we ended the walk and got into the car to reach home from the designated place, the weather cleared a bit and I could get a picture to give you a sample of the scene that we experienced all along the walking route. Well, Goa is not always like this but you find Simla in Goa once in a way during the rains. A wonderful combination of lush green slopes partly masked by layers of clouds. Have a good look. Sadly, It may not last long.
I took this on a stretch of the highway near my house and edited it to give an idea of the scene along our walking route. That route is much more beautiful, lush and exhilarating.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Let My Life Be Like A Jasmine Grown In The Wild

Our Slogan last year was ‘Clean Ponda’ and this year it is ‘Green Ponda’. ‘Our’ means our social group, ‘People Of Ponda’. Please don’t think that we are a group of people who shout slogans and go home. Last year we slogged over 25 Sundays between 6.30 am and 8.30am in the morning, to clean up ‘dirty spots’ in our city. We did not hope to achieve in fifty hours what hundreds of waste collectors couldn’t do in years.  The intention was to create an awareness amongst our co inhabitants about their part in keeping our city clean.  It was not a complete success nor was it a total failure. But as we gather, our people prefer to retain their dirty ways and a dirty city rather than change a fraction and have a clean city. So be it. This post is not meant for that topic.  What I am trying to say here is something different. 

As mentioned above, this year our slogan is ‘Green Ponda’. We intend planting as many trees as possible in our city during the rains and also care for them after the rains. With that intention we decided to plant about a hundred saplings of fruit bearing trees all along the walking track in our sports complex. Our members obtained permission from the ‘authorities’,  got the saplings from the forest department,   transported them to the spot, had the pits dug and fixed a Sunday for the purpose.

We assembled on the ground at seven in the morning to carry out our ‘tree plantation’ drive. Not with a lot of fanfare, but not entirely silently either. We invited a few ‘eminent’ citizens, posted about our programme on whatsapp and facebook, managed to assemble about fifty people, took as many pictures of people planting saplings, posted them on above mentioned media  - real time, gave press reports and saw to it that our action did not go unnoticed.

 Monsoon was yet to arrive in Goa and we decided to take turns and water the saplings till rains began. We were lucky. We had to water the plants just for a day. It started raining the next evening and poured without break for forty eight hours. I was wondering whether our saplings would survive the onslaught but one of our friends who visited the spot the next day said that they had survived but most of them were bent and almost touching the ground. We decided to do something about it and met at the ground on the third morning. We were surprised to see all the twenty five saplings upright, supported by a stick driven firmly into the ground!

We had absolutely no clue as to whose good work it was.  We thanked providence for taking the load off our backs though we did not know how providence had managed it and returned home happy. When he went for his walk the next day, one of our members met the lady, a daily wage worker, who waters the grass around the cricket pitch and enquired if she saw anyone working around our plants. To reproduce the lady’s words “I did it sir. They were all bent down because of rain.  All of you big people worked so hard to plant those saplings. I wanted to do my bit”.  It had taken me fortyfive minutes just to water the plants with a pipe and I can imagine what was the ‘Bit’ she did. No wages, no help, no whatsapp and no photograph. Just silent service for the sake of the society.

Reminds me of a poem which we had in our Kannada text book in primary section. It starts “ವನಸುಮದೊಲೆನ್ನ ಜೀವನವು ವಿಕಸಿಸುವಂತೆ ಮನವನನುಗೊಳಿಸು ಗುರುವೆ ಹೇ ದೇವ "  and goes on "ಕಾನನದಿ ಮಲ್ಲಿಗೆಯು ಮೌನದಿಂ ಬಿರಿದು ನಿಜ ಸೌರಭವ ಸೂಸಿ ತಾನೆಲೆಯ ಪಿಂತಿರ್ದು ದೀನತೆಯ ತೋರಿ ಅಭಿಮಾನವನು ತೊರೆದು ಕೃತಕೃತ್ಯತೆಯ ಪಡೆವಂತೆ " .   Meaning, let my life flower like a wild jasmine.  Blossoming silently in a forest, spreading  fragrance while remaining invisible behind the leaves, with humility, without ego, and thus finding fulfilment”, a lesson for all of us, silently taught.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Nature - Rain - Wonders - Tragedies

As I have mentioned in an earlier post, every year, when the much awaited rains arrive, I go gaga over them. I can’t help but feel, that the nature, against which we sin incessantly, has pardoned us  yet again. I can never stop wondering about the change brought about by a bout of rain. Overnight, my living room transforms into a paradise after being a pressure cooker for months. I can open the balcony doors and stretch on the sofa with a book in my hand, forgetting the fan. Two days back I was focusing two fans towards the sofa and they only made the matter worse.

Outside the house there are changes which almost feel like magic. I see them every year but I can  never stop wondering about them.

Look at these mushrooms which have sprouted in the crevices between the stone slabs, and on the mud around them in the front yard. I pour water on the slabs and all over the yard, every day, through the year, but they appear only after the rain water falls there! Do they detect the difference between my piped water and rain water?

And these night jasmine (paarijaata) flowers. It is the same soil and same plant. I water the plants religiously every day and they grudgingly give out few anaemic looking flowers which wither away within minutes after separating from the plant.  Look at them after a day long bout of rain. They blossom to double the size, look healthy and happy, remain fresh for hours, and retain freshness even after falling to the ground! How well they express their disdain towards my care!

These are the jasmine buds. I pour buckets of water on the plant, put all sorts of fertilisers that I find in the market, dig around them, remove the weeds that encroach on them and slog to keep them comfortable. For a whole year, I do not even see a single bud on the plant. Now, after just two days of rain, five buds have appeared overnight!

Any way I don’t grudge any of these. I just wonder at the ways of nature and enjoy them when they last.

I come on to the main road. Early in the morning, before the traffic takes over, it is a pleasure to walk here. It is nice in any season but it is inviting when it is washed by rain. There is no dust on the road, the road side trees are washed clean and green and the leaves are dripping. I walk along singing a tune till I see the first casualty of rain.

 The Civet cat, a wild cat, which used to appear around my house every evening and climb onto the roof at night, is lying dead on the road, run over by a vehicle. I can’t blame the rain for its death but it is likely that the motorist did not notice the small animal in the pouring rain. It used to climb onto the roof over the water pipes in search of rats which resided under the tiles and had kept the rat population under control. I will surely miss it.

But the death of two viper snake hatchlings, the bodies of which I found about a hundred meters ahead is certainly due to rain. They stay in the crevices and burrows in the ground and when the rain water enters their residence emerge on to the surface.  Being inexperienced, they must have strayed onto the road and must have been run over.

May the souls of the civet and vipers rest in peace. (Since I am not a whatsapp paparazzi, I have allowed them privacy in their death - no photographs)

As I was returning from my walk, I saw the sun struggling to break through the clouds. I was glad to note that the clouds held ground and it has been pouring since morning.  The meteorological dept has officially announced the arrival of monsoon in Goa today.  And if their predictions are right, we may expect above average rainfall this year. We are in for a bounty! 

I am excited about the rain today but I am sure that when this bounty keeps pouring without a break for two weeks, when my side walk turns slippery with moss, when the washed clothes remain wet and start smelling,
and when the fungus appears on anything left unused for a few days, I will be praying for the sun to break through the clouds and brighten things at least for a short while!

Well that is nature and that is life. All of us know it but I keep writing about it year after year at the cost of being repetitive. So, that’s it.  Happy rains!