Crimson Quencher

Pomegranates always had a medicinal aura about them in my imagination. Perhaps it’s the intricately studded gems of tiny and yet at the same time bountiful rubies that pop and burst like tiny firecrackers of flavour when crunched upon. Perhaps it is the deft craftsmanship required to peel and deseed one theat wrenches your faith into believing that some creations were blessed with capacities to heal. Whatever it is for you, I urge you to purchase some on your way home today. In Mumbai they are available in every market and in good quality too. At Rs. 120/kg (bolne ka bhaav not dene ka bhaav) they are not too pricey either.

The crimson quencher
The crimson quencher

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The Bubble

A dull and constant silence enveloped her. She felt at once both peaceful and secure. Even within that bubble she feared the inevitable prick. She awaited patiently for the phone which she was holding to her ear to cackle; her eight month old son lying on his belly on the plastic chattai just a few feet away to resume his cooing as he played with the bright red fire truck with it’s glowing amber beacon; her husband who was keeping a watch on the daal which she had left simmering on the gas stove for the evening’s supper to send out a clanging of steel utensils and lids on the granite counter top.

Her bubble held it’s form much longer, or so it seemed to her. None of the interruptions she expected occurred. Instead, it was time which gently dawned her senses to her surroundings. She became aware to the sound of the voice of her friend and ex-colleague who had called her on her mobile. Her mind was made fully aware of the present by her eyelids just like a fluorescent tube-light when switched on flickers a couple of times before shedding it’s brilliance. Her boss was dead! The person she admired the most, the person she respected the most, the person she estimated as the most intelligent and most hard working, was gone. But how could that be? She had just spoken with him yesterday and they had discussed next week’s plan of action. She was to continue developing the technology prototype for navigtaional routing. He said that he had himself studied the tools and documentation and assured her that the task was within her sphere of abilities. It was such assurances and directions she felt most comfortable to work under his guidance. Their decade long association implied the unstated. She could approach him anytime she hit a roadblock without any fear of chiding.

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Katti to katti, bara baje batti’. Kids, especially in Mumbai, could not have escaped this rhyme. Be it the local neighbourhood or school playground, it was too catchy to go unrecited. ‘Katti’ and ‘batti’ are terms indicative of the intent of affection towards a friend. Katti meant that it’s sour and declaring batti indicated all is well. An approximate translation of the rhyme in English would read ‘If sour be sour, come noon it be fine’. Relationships are that easy to manage for kids. Even in dour times, noon was the constant hour of hope.

Simpler days
Uncomplicated bonds

Growing up escalates complications proportionately. Perspectives change gradually. While as kids the purpose of tarred roads were for riding bicycle or playing cricket or marbles now it’s a means to reach some place. Home was a shelter, now it’s treated as a sanctuary. Trains and buses were fun on wheels, now it’s a choice topic for gripe. Objects are perceived in significantly derivative and segregated purposes then their original intent. This is apparent in the story of any urban neighbourhood with a worthwhile history.

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Fatigued cash flow & towering graveyards

Dubai witnessed one of the craziest cash runs into it’s economy. Most of it went into real estate. Outlay out-dreamed demand. Reality mattered little when it came to realty. Desert, a place with nothing but land of sand with oil beneath and a 360 degree horizon, was being transformed into a Manhattan or Shanghai. In the past a large water body attracted settlements in deserts. Now it’s structures of steel, concrete and glimmering glass facades. Even desert land was shamed by this appetite. Sea was claimed, tamed and landscaped. “If you build it, he will come” was the premise of the Hollywood film Field of Dreams. An Iowa farmer hears voices instructing to build a baseball field in his farm to invite ghosts of legends past to play. The film ends happily for it can choose to end where it wants. Dubai has to endure the 2008 credit market crash.

Field of Dreams
If you build it, they will come.

Mumbai beaches are a repugnant sight after high tide. The receding sea litters the beach with another sea of rubbish. The waves of cash crashing into the Dubai economy has left behind a similar metaphorical litter on it’s exit trail. The facade is still pretty but the skeletons of unfinished and forgotten highrises will perhaps be preserved for ages as monuments to our era of excesses. History had Pharaohs and their pyramids, we have our politician-financier nexus and their highrises.

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