Foliole Friends

Fuming, steaming, stimulating. A Camaraderie Cafe

Monday, January 20, 2014

An Archive of Camaraderie: Foliole, Vol II Issue I

An Archive of Camaraderie: Foliole, Vol I Issue II

An Archive of Camaraderie : Foliole, Vol I Issue I

Friday, September 23, 2011

Open-Air Class (Rooms ???): Shantiniketan

Where the Mind is Without Fear
"Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high
Where knowledge is free
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments
By narrow domestic walls
Where words come out from the depth of truth
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way
Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit
Where the mind is led forward by thee
Into ever-widening thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.
" - Tagore

Monday, June 06, 2011

अदृष बाग़ विच बुद्ध दी मूर्त - II

NB: Sorry guys, deleting the pic; no more blood. On second thoughts, it fell short of the ethical standards i have been enthusiastically judging others with. Such ethical transgression has become order of the day; no wonder nobody objected...vampires? us? eh?

Sunday, June 05, 2011

अदृष बाग़ विच बुद्ध दी मूर्त

Thursday, May 26, 2011

कुज्ज छवियाँ (सिम्मी लई)

रब्ब दी कुड़ी, बतकां, ते सुक्या तलाब
अदृष बाग़ विच बुद्ध दी मूर्त
सबेर, नौ बजे ते सुर्ग दा स्नेहा
पाली हिल ते कोयल दी कु-कु
मेरी प्यारी दादी-अम्मा ते सफेदी दा सैलाब
त्यान-मग्न साध्वी नाले गायब कैमरा
सरपट दौड्दा ऑटो ते पिठ्ह किती होई पज्दी परी
मोबाइल रिचार्ज ते बाबयाँ दियां हटटीयां
दो गुलाब दे फुल्ल ते व्याह दियां कंटियाँ
रूहानी कताब ते गन्दा नाला
(चल सिम्मी गुसलखाने आपणे)

Friday, March 19, 2010

"ज़ेन, अर्थात चोर को चन्द्रमा का उपहार" : द्वितीय संस्करण

सुदूर अंचल की एक सुनहरी शाम और काम से घर लौटता तीतु गोंड ! आज वह खुश है कि बहुत दिनों बाद बच्चों को भरपेट चावल नसीब होंगे !
झोंपड़ी में पहुंचा तो पाया सब ओर मुर्दनी छाई है! पूछने पर पत्नी ने बताया 'सरकार' ने सब को जंगल छोड्ने
का हुक्म जारी किया है! "माँ कहाँ है?" तीतु ने पूछा ! "सास को जंगल से लकड़ियाँ चुराने के जुर्म में 'सरकार' ने कैद कर लिया है!"
दिनभर के काम से देह दुःख रही थी पर आँखों से नींद नदारद ! देर रात झोंपड़ी के बाहर चट्टान पर बैठा तीतु पूरे खिले चाँद को निहारते हुए क्या सोचता है?


Sunday, March 07, 2010

"जेन, अर्थात चोर को चन्द्रमा का उपहार"

"एक जेन कथा में साधक की कुटिया में चोर घुस आता है. कुटिया में चुरानें लायक कुछ नहीं है. चोर खली हाथ लौट ही
रहा होता है की साधक आ जाता है. वह उसे खाली हाथ भेजनें की बजाय अपने पहने हुए वस्त्र भेंट कर देता है. निर्वस्त्र
साधक कुटिया के बाहर शिला पर बैठ कर पूरे खिले चाँद को निहारते हुए सोचता है, काश ! चोर को यह चन्द्रमा उपहार में
दे पाता !"

सन्दर्भ ग्रन्थ: जेन कहानिया, मालचंद तिवारी , वाग्देवी प्रकाशन , 2009


Monday, September 15, 2008

Be gentle on my curves! O ye curves, be gentle on me.
Yesterday I rode up to Chail, a beautiful town in the state of Himachal Pradesh. The return journey was harrowing. To sum up the danger I was in, I’d just mention that I was in a delirium while riding; I was half asleep in the latter part of the journey back home. The curvy hilly roads were as dangerous as the frequent potholes that embellished it. Riding on low beam I could see the potholes that I was headed for, but not the direction in which the road turned, and the reverse in the high beam. Consequently, I had to keep the dipper pressed on with my index finger and release it for the time there was someone coming from the opposite direction. The shock absorbers took a serious beating, so did my butt, back, shoulders and arms. My ears and neck were hurting from having the helmet on for more than 12 hours. And just to make things more difficult for me, the oncoming traffic mostly comprised of doggone-idiots who did not keep their beam low.

Picture this:

You start the ride a little sleep deprived from the previous night.

you’re desperately trying to stay on the curvy road trying to focus hard to keep a lookout for potholes (pot-wells actually). Every once in a while a broken patch of road or a deep pothole suddenly appears from nowhere and you go over it…JHANK!! Was that the bike or your bones? You don’t know!

you’re going at a reasonably high speed for hills (45-60 kmph),with your index finger you’re maneuvering the dipper (keeping it pressed most of the time),

you’re dogging traffic and constantly shifting gears from 3rd to 5th,you have a heavy pillion rider (nearly a 100 kgs) who is incessantly complaining of a sore butt. He can’t help it, the rear seat is a massive torture, especially on such roads.

Your whole body is hurting; in fact an involuntary action sets in whereby your body has started to shut down. Some part of your brain is battling to keep the eyelids open but the eyes themselves have almost lost contact with the rest of your brain.

The oncoming lights become hazy and you’re trying hard not to fall into a gorge that’s just a few feet (sometimes inches) away from you.

You cannot stop, you must reach home. You’ve gotta be back in your lab and do that little experiment that you thought you’d do when you reached at an earlier time…unfortunately you’re calculations, owing to some friendly advice, has gone horribly wrong.

You stop to pee and recognize the landmark; Ah!! The hills are finally going to end…unfortunately that’s just your brain playing tricks on you! That place is still far away! You start again and do not understand why, after an hour, you’re still riding on the confounded hills.

On the dividerless highway, you are blinded by the highbeams, it seems like there’s no place to go, I seem to going in the wrong direction…wait, that’s just a couple of cars in the wrong lane while negotiating a dangerous overtaking procedure.

You get pushed off the road a couple of times by the aforementioned…the other option is to die.

You’re body’s shutting down more and more with the passage of time; home is still far away.

SCENE 2- You’ve reached home. How? You don’t know!

SCENE 3- You're in your lab at 12 midnight, thinking if such adventures should be banned for PhD students...scientists die old, don't they!

I just have one thing to say at the end of it all:Chail’s beautiful! more thing, i'd do it all over again...yeah, but wouldn't start sleep deprived.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Watched Amol Palekar's Akreit

It was difficult to immediately say anything about Akreit. I have grown to relish Amol Palekar's cinema but it was difficult to say if I enjoyed this one. Not because the movie lacked finesse but because it is difficult to use the verb enjoy for something that is as naked as starkness itself. Something as bare as life. Script is Vijay Tendulkar's. His recent death gave a mysterious contemporary flavour to this 27-year-old film. But then there is nothing mysterious to long-standing tragedies of our nation. It is all so stark that we are always looking for ways to avoid speaking about them. We have lived in this state of denial for so long that we have now lost touch with our own feelings about the obscenities.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

of course not

21st of December, i.e. 4 days back. Returning home from the gym that evening I was feeling extraordinarily charged up. The air was cold and the breeze was strong but I felt invincible. I was wearing a sweat shirt (so old, it’s more like a full sleeve t-shirt) and the air was circulation well through it. I mean I was literally roaming around topless in the cold and the cold breeze felt wonderful on my neck, chest and back. As I entered the warmth of my home, I wondered how many other people could bear the cold as boldly as I did that evening. As I cuddled up in my bed a few hours later, I felt a strange gagging sensation in my throat. I tried pacifying myself by saying, “no no, its nothing…coz I’m so strong…I lift weights for god’s sake, I’m strong and healthy, no microbe can eye my system with hungry eyes” No amount of uncritical thinking helped; the pain gradually grew over the next two days. I did not keep away from anything that is normally proscribed in such a condition. The pain persisted on my birthday, 23rd December, but that didn’t stop me from hogging down the goodies.

Yesterday the pain grew worse. While conversing, as a strange raspy fluid blocked my larynx when I exhaled/talked, my voice would stop abruptly. When this happened, it caused a strong stinging pain in my throat. My throat feels like it has been lacerated and scraped by serrated knives and every now and then when the raspy fluid gets stuck there, it feels like it’s gnawing at my wounds. Sneezing causes an intense pain but I’ve learnt a way to bypass the jerk in throat by letting out all the pressure through the nasal passage while keeping the opening of the esophagus blocked during the process of sneezing. Everything hurts, water hurts, food hurts, breathing hurts. When the air moves in behind the sinus region (I’ve forgotten the terminology, I doubt if “sinus” is the region I actually mean), it probably moves in through the injured/infected region and causes activates a number of pain receptors there. I suppose the regions of my food pipe as well as upper regions of my windpipe are infected, since both breathing and swallowing cause pain. It is the first time in my life of 28 years that I feel like keeping my neck covered and drinking warm water. I get rudely shaken out of my sleep in the middle of the night when the pain becomes too intense. I’ve had throat infections before but this one is a class apart. I wonder which bacteria outsmarted me…maybe they infected my brain first by making me think that I was super-immune and then when I committed the ridiculous act of roaming unprotected in the cold, laid the foundation of their colonies on their actual breeding ground, the upper respiratory tract. Wait! They’ve invited friends too; today, after suffering for 4 days from this terrible onslaught of bacteria, my nose started to run…viola!! Virus attack!! I’m quite sure that by tomorrow I’ll have the classic symptoms of common cold…influenza virus! Do you know it’s the relative of the bird-flu virus! That scares me because I eat a lot of eggs and chicken. Do you know that influenza infection is self limiting without fatalities but the bird-flu plans its attack on humans at a different level? The only consolation is that it didn’t start with the flu, rather a throat infection so I’m hoping this one won’t ebb away the life out of me.

I repeat, the pain is unbearable; swallowing saliva is painful too. Now friends, I’d want you to wonder about something! Though even uneducated people would know about the repercussions of roaming around without warm clothes in cold weather, I did and boldly so. I was in a state of denial till I actually started to write this post. Now think of the people who take the threat of HIV not very seriously…think of the high risk professions, soldiers, truck drivers, barbers (lets forget about the medical professionals for they actually know lots). Promiscuity, drug abuse, visits to brothels, I’m talking about voluntary habits as opposed to accidents like needle pricks. Isn’t it human to think that you’re invincible when you’re healthy and happy? Then I wonder how many people would be in a state of denial despite knowing their HIV +ive status. And it sends shivers down my spine to think how many would spread the virus owing to the state of denial. The worst part is that the gap between contracting HIV and actually developing symptoms of sickness is a long one, months to years, how many people can a single person infect during this period. Virus is considered to be a connecting link between the living and the non living. Unlike bacteria, fungi or other pathogen/microbe, it turns into a sort of non-living material outside its host cell. This “non-living” stuff can be present on shrapnel like blades, needles etc and mind you, that minuscule crystal just need one entry into you system via a nick or prick. Once it enters, it becomes alive. It recognizes its particular host cell, invades it and uses that cell’s machinery to make its own copies in millions. Like other vira HIV is smart, let’s say one of the smartest, for with all the technology and brains of our times we still don’t have an absolute cure and it’s been almost 25 years now. It attacks the very cells that protect our body and over time throws the whole immune system into a chaos, this is one dangerous little guy. It changes its form to fast, our immune system can’t fight it back and this is the precise reason we’re unable to find a cure…how much do you think a billion different faces per day sound like?…sounds a hundred million times (per day) more dangerous than Ramayan’s Ravan I guess. The medication that will just borrow some more time for you to live on…is not cheap!

Yes we’re invincible, till the day “something” proves otherwise. The next time you have a cold, remember there’s a little guy that’s breached the security of your awesome immune system, managed to invade some part of your body and is reproducing itself by the millions with the passing minutes…it’s not just a running nose buddy. Stay safe, they are million different types and they’re winning against us!

Friday, November 30, 2007

The struggle has gone to the dogs

Let me tell you about what I watched on NGC the other day, it was a program on wild dogs in some park in Botswana। There was this big pack of WDs with lots of healthy pups, all but one, a weakling by the name of Niyuki। Poor Niyuki hardly ever got a chance to suckle. Soon the pups were weaned and graduated to meat eating and Niyuki remained underfed and weak. WDs feed their pups by regurgitating pieces the meal they ‘hunt down and eat alive’ (…just one of the things my mom frowns at, while I watch with tears of joy and amazement in my eyes.) This scientist followed the dogs and studied their behaviour over a couple of years. He thought that Niyuki would probably be the first one to die in case any tragedy struck. Tragedy did strike; lions attacked the pack and killed 4 cubs. Lions actively ambush and kill wild dogs, cheetahs, leopards (if they are ever able to ambush one) and other carnivores to eliminate competition of food (they have to think 10 times before doing the same to hyenas…and hyenas never leave any opportunity to attack lions). Guess who survived; Niyuki! Then after some months, the scientist discovered that the dogs started dying. Unexplained, the dead-bodies were found scattered, not a single dog was alive in that area. It was surmised that they probably died due to rabies contracted from the domesticated animals in the vicinity of the sanctuary. Talking about domestic animals, it is legal for the farmer to shoot down any wild animal that strays out of the park into their farm and most animals understand that, ones who don’t, don’t live to learn. So our scientist bro roamed around in the vast park but there was no sign of a single dog. After around 2 weeks though, he saw fresh WD pugmarks. Guess who!! It was Niyuki and his mate (from some other area). A full grown WD, Niyuki was big and healthy now. The two committed the blunder of starting a family; pups in a big pack have a better survival rate. So they had a couple of pups for whom they had to forage (actually they were on mum’s milk, but the mum’s eating requirement grew by leaps and bounds). So mum and dad went hunting and they walked and walked but found no game and strayed too far away from the pups. Out of desperation, they went…guess where!! out of the park into the farm. The farmer spotted them and fired his gun, Niyuki and his mate ran for their lives but just they reached the fence to enter the park, another shot claimed Niyuki’s girl’s life. Niyuki stood there stunned; out of fear he crossed the fence into the park, waited for a whole day for his partner. With head hung low, he returned home to pups that died by dehydration. Niyuki was desperate to find a new home so he started following another pack. He followed them for weeks but never went near for fear of being attacked. Finally Bell — the alfa-female—allowed him into the group (Tikolo, the alfa male, wasn’t pleased at this but tolerated him). Gradually love blossomed between Bell and Niyuki (because Bell was in estrous) and one day they mated while the other dogs went hunting (Ok Ok there’s some masala in my serials too…it’s not just very pleasant to look at…they call “that” love!! Poor Niyuki shivering under the effects of testosterone). Tikolo didn’t let Niyuki anywhere near the pups; Niyuki was only tolerated because of his hunting skills. Over time, Tikolo became more tolerant of Niyuki and allowed him to meet the pups…and what a sight it was when the real dad met his babies and fed them regurgitated meat. As the pack shifted base, they moved towards Niyuki’s original territory, he took over a dominant role in hunting. It was a sight to behold, how a WD chases its quarry for miles at a stretch at high speed. Even the swift impalas can’t match the speed and stamina of wild-dogs and as they slow down, the indefatigable dogs gain more speed and literally finish eating the rear of the impala while it is still alive and wondering where he disappeared from front limb down. It was a treat to watch Niyuki chase the impalas, he was like an arrow released from a bow, so swift and for soo long that the cameraman couldn’t keep pace, neither could the other dogs and nor could the impressive impala. Niyuki knew the terrain well and knew where to find water, impalas and even places where lions were most likely to ambush them. One day after a hunt, a lioness headed towards the pack, the dogs chased her away. Little did they know that she had a backup of numerous other lionesses and a large male lion. The dogs were ambushed and attacked mercilessly, they ran for their lives but almost each one bore the brunt, two of them died (one being Tikolo). As Niyuki headed home with the other mauled dogs, I was moved on seeing his lacerations; his body, especially the front region was bore deep gashes by the razors in the lion usual, Niyuki received more than his fair share of beating and was the most severely injured dog alive. Despite this, on reaching home, he dutifully fed the cubs. Niyuki managed to live on (God know how his wounds healed) and became the new leader—the new alfa male.
In the end, our teary-eyed scientist bro narrated the last few lines of the tale. He said that later on in his life, Niyuki once again strayed into the farmland and was never seen again. What a life for a pup that was least likely to live! A survivor, a leader! Our scientist bro said that he couldn’t understand how in the world of the fittest, Niyuki ever managed to grow up in the first place and how in the world did he stray away from his pack just before the disease wiped out every dog!! Niyuki, the weakest pup, had survived and lived through it all.
Chance perhaps, perhaps destiny…perhaps just one of the things that we cannot explain! Hats off to Niyuki!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Watched Amol Palekar's Kairee

Last evening I saw Kairee, a movie directed by Amol Palekar. The first movie by Palekar that I saw was Thodasa Roomani Ho Jaayen, the movie all of us saw together. And then Bhartesh, Ravinder and I also sat for Ankahee, the second Palekar-directed film. I haven't yet seen Paheli or Daayraa but they are on my list. And then of course there are his Marathi films that I hope are available with subtitles.
Just wanted to share this with everyone. If you get a chance do watch Kairee, a fantastic movie. And perhaps we can share our experiences like we did when we watched Thodasa...

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Femme "reservation" fatale

Hello everyone.

Allow me to introduce myself: My name is Jesse and I'm the newest foliole on your foliage. I am 27, have a masters degree in biotechnology, have worked as an infamous lecturer at the infamous engineering college in Tangori, have also worked in one of CSIR's well known institutes (Imtech) and have just joined the editorial office of Pearson Education.

Ashish has been my friend for a long time now, though we haven't been in regular contact. Recently I sent him message from my new cell phone number asking him to guess who it was (by giving a hint that I'm the guy who likes cycling), he recognized me instantantly...only later did he tell me that he mistakenly read the "cycling" as "crying"...and still guessed accurately who it was :-/ (didn't make a difference...this clue was as good as the original)...that embarassed me so much that I haven't cried since then.

I attended one of the meeting of the Foliole community sometime in the mid-late 2006 at 'Bakes n Beans' Sector 10, Chandigarh. That day, I met three other members of Foliole. I don't remember too much about what all was discussed, but I remember that Ashish asked us all to come up with a word (Why?? I don't remember that!), I couldn't think of any, in the context that it was asked. Ashish came up with the word "perspective"...oh! it's one of the words that I love. Why? Cause over the years, my perspective of the world has become so skewed that lately I've been trying hard to correct it! This word thus holds a place of supreme importance for me.

Anyway, that evening, I was also handed over one of the previous printouts of FOLIOLE. I found one of the anecdotes in it to be extremely interesting; the one in which a burka clad lady, in one of the buses in Delhi, rightfully forced a man to get up from a seat marked "only for ladies" despite the man's best effort to resist. It reminded me of the time when I was in Delhi once ( I was 17 back then) and was rudely told to get up from my seat (it was actually the "ladies" seat). I was shocked at the treatment metted out at me...c'mon man! I wasn't even arguing, so why were these women so rude to me? I wasn't even aware that the "ladies" seat was actually meant for ladies (that's not the case in Chandigarh's buses :-( !!). Since that day, such a strong fear of the "ladies" seat has been instilled in me, that whenever I'm sitting in a local bus and see any female look my way more than once, I just gulp down that last bit of saliva and offer the seat to the lady...lest the androgen-infested lady shouts "auraton ki seat par baith-ta hai besharam!! jaanta nahi- its a woman's world!!" never know, maybe all the seats in the world are reserved for women.