November 11th, 2009


Morning Walk...and mental images...

The weather finally let up a bit today, and I went for an hour's walk; went down to Luz, down Katcheri Road (or Cutchery Road), down Santhome High Road to the Marina, along it and back through Sir Radhakrishnan (earlier Edward Elliotts) Road.

Didn't take a camera, but the images are vivid....

Newspaper vendors, with piles of the day's papers, busy putting in the advertising leaflets, and sorting them out for quick delivery.

Large piles of milk sachets...also being taken for delivery, or being sold as they are, on the pavement.

Several people who are still fast asleep in shop doorways or on the footpath. Some are just waking up, and retying their lungies.

Tea-shops along the way, already bustling with activity; knots of people standing around, eating small biscuits and sipping tea.

Stray dogs everywhere, approaching hopefully, but yet too scared of having a stone chucked at them.

Walkers and joggers in their "uniforms" (branded tees, branded running slacks, branded shoes, and sometimes caps....also branded...) walking or trotting along, also with umbrellas.

Beggars who share the road and footpath with these walkers, yet occupy a different planet.

A tourist taxi that has "Do Before Die" painted on its side. (I wish I had brought my camera after all.)

Women making kOlams along the pavements in front of their homes.

The cars of the rich, parked along the Marina (to have a healthy walk, it's necessary to pollute the atmosphere in your car.)

The autos, getting down to the first demand and bargain for fare, of the day.

Push-carts and "fish carts" (they are "mini carts", which got abbreviated to "min carts"...and "meen" is Tamizh for "fish", so then they became "fish carts"!) and pedal carts with vegetables on them...beginning the day's sales.

Dirty roads and footpaths, with LOTS of plastic and trash.

Puddles that I step over, skirt, or step gingerly through.

The realization that pedestrians have NO rights here. Footpaths are often just that...a FOOT in height from the road level, and difficult to get on, or off.....on the Santhome High Road stretch, often so narrow as to be unusable....

A lone raptor (NOT a Black or a Brahminy Kite, but too far away for id) flapping its wings slowly, fading into the sky.

The glass architecture on Radhakrishnan Road. Some old, gracious buildings, in bad shape.

Grey, leaden sky, not warm at all...but still, humid and sticky.

Traffic increasing as I walk towards home.

Pot-bellied police constables, who, to their credit, are alertly on duty on the roads.

Flower-sellers already displaying their wares...garlands and lengths of jasmine carefully preserved from yesterday.

The realization, once again, of how much I like walking....I am happy, content....and I head for home, coffee, and the day's newspapers.


She's known to us as ...simply...Dadda...which was my sister-in-law's childish way of saying "dAdi mA" (paternal grandmother).

She's approximately 90 years old; I'm not sure she knows when, exactly, her birthday is. She's as spry and perky as a sparrow. She still makes most of her meals herself; she was married to a freedom fighter, who won the tAmra patrA for his struggles, and still earns a freedom fighter's pension herself.

She's a repository of wisdom, tales of long ago, stories of her family, and is a superb cook.

She keeps up her pooja-pAth (rituals of worship) but accepts me as I am....and though she is rigid in her own discipline, she's incredibly modern in some of her views...when her grand-daughter wanted to marry a south Indian, and the relatives were against it, she said that her husband had fought for Indian independence, not north Indian independence!

She'll be travelling by train tonight, on her freedom fighter's pass... to Kanpur, Lucknow, and then to Haridwar, where she lives in an ashram, where, every day, she can see her beloved "gangA ji"...Mother Ganges.

Here she is, with our maid, Chitra, braiding her hair...which is snow-white, long, and curly as a baby's!

chitra doing dadda's hair 111109

She's so affectionate...she travelled all the way from Haridwar, just to attend my daughter's wedding, and took a star part in the festivities....

Dadda...a dearly beloved lady.