18 February, 2012

Unhappy times

Road - widening hits home : (

When the announcement had come two years ago, all of us had accepted the fact. Yes, our roads were too narrow to accommodate the sudden increase in traffic - both local & tourist.... and, widening them was necessary.

Proposed & approved way back in the 70s, financial shortcomings had post-poned the widening works till now! Those of us along the proposed widening path were hoping that the financial crunch continued & the proposal would remain just that!

Alas! it didn't happen that way. Today, the dreaded moment arrived and was gone within a couple of minutes, leaving all of us sailing in the same boat ......

Most neighbours have lost old, high yielding coconut trees, mango trees, etc. Some have lost a portion of their verandas. We have lost about 8 feet of our garden.

My favourite corner would look like this at this time of the year.


Now, it looks like this .....



Soon, it will be tarred and be called 'road' .......

To give me some credit, I have managed to re-plant/ propagate and save all of the 20 plus varieties of plants that had to be sacrificed. Though I'm heart-broken for the moment, I know, one week of rains and things will look better.

Irreplaceable, of course, are all those huge wayside trees that had to be felled.

The weather's warming up and all of us, including the road users, have begun to miss our canopies.

And, as this one across the road came crashing down, I realised that all we now have are memories - of the pleasure of having centenarians towering over us, protecting us .....

11 February, 2012

Jobs & Attitudes

The other evening, my friend and I were in her veranda - talking about this and that - and her farm hand walked in. He had finished his day's work. As my friend got him his tea, she told him, "Heard that your son's post has been made permanent. Now, you should think of getting him married".

That was all the opening he needed - to pour out his opinions, quite oblivious to the presence of a stranger.
"What 'permanent' akka. With his Rs.7,000 per month income, I'll have to look around for a girl who earns at least that much. Otherwise, how can he manage?
Just see...both of us leave home at around 8.15 in the morning. While my work place is at a walkable distance, he spends Rs.20 one way as bus fare.Then, amidst work, I have proper lunch, tea,...& walk back home, in time to do some chores there. For this, I earn about Rs.6,000 per month (Farm hands in these parts are paid Rs.200 - Rs.300 per day, plus meals). I save whatever remains after spending for the usual daily needs.
Look at my son - no proper meals, only what he takes in his lunch box. Coffee/ tea means extra expenses. Once again, he has to spend for the return journey. Often, he has so much work load, that to finish it, he has to bring office work, home & he cannot save money at all.

These days, after learning four letters, people think that it is beneath them to hold a spade. I may be a coolie and my son may be working in an office, but, often, I feel that I'm better off than him".

Saying so, he rinsed his tumbler at the tap nearby, kept it at its usual place, said 'NaaLe barteeni ' (I'll come tomorrow) and walked homewards.

The farm hand's little speech had triggered a series of thoughts in both of us. We waited till he was out of sight and had a chat about it! Both of us agreed that he had a few valid points there. We appreciated his attitude towards his vocation and left it at that.

This morning, I was tearing out yesterday's date from the calendar on my desk. As usual, I ran an absent-minded eye over the sentence at the bottom. It said, 'There are no menial jobs, only menial attitudes'......it reminded me of that evening at my friend's place.

06 February, 2012

Lotus Eaters

The other day, on our way to Chikmaglur, we passed by this pond near a sleepy hamlet..... and, we saw something that we had never seen before!



Monkeys, or any other animal in the wild for that matter, do not like human attention/ interference. When they are in a group, they are fearless and do not hesitate to show their dislike.

Fearful of attack, I didn't dare to go closer than about 40 feet! That's why, in this pic, one can just about make out that these monkeys are eating some part of the lotus plant!

As a term, 'lotus eater' is synonymous with 'pleasure seeker'.

On the other hand, it is a well known fact that the entire lotus plant is edible in one form or the other - roots, stems, leaves, flowers & seeds!! I remember seeing lotus stem in brine on the shelves of some super markets.
As food, roots, leaves, etc. are supposed to have several health benefits. Curiously, the seeds are supposed to be slightly narcotic.

Whether they were having a rave party or attending a health camp or simply having breakfast (it was 8-ish in the morning), these monkeys were having a lot of fun.
Lotus eaters..... whichever way you want to look at them!!

Century on the Bronze Anniversary!

This is my100th post, and today is the eighth birthday of Alter Idem !! That's an average of a post per month......1.04 to be precise!!...