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Sunday Ramblings - 4

It was quite an eventful past week since it took me out of Goa in a long long time. And the thought of having to make a dash to Bombay for any reason whatsoever has been like wanting to run the other way. The very thought of keeping a clean and scented kerchief ready to hide the nose once landed there to avoid all sorts of smells starting from Sion and the onward journey through the dreaded Dharavi was revolting. Naturally, I am talking of a bus trip to Bombay So this time when I had to make a dash to now Mumbai for a day for a business meet, I fortified myself saying that it was only for a day. But when I landed at Sion via the expensive Volvo, things looked different. In fact things smelled different. Moreover, at 9.00 a.m. there was no choking air pollution. Clean! When I passed through Dharavi, I forgot I had to tie up my face. Still no smell. In fact Dharavi didn’t look like Dharavi at all with the normal sight of people doing their job on the roadsides. Later, my brother would tell me that should I visit Dharavi a year from now, I would fail to recognize it as Dharavi. The day, of course, was all surprises. Clean air against all expectations. CNG?. And to find this clean atmosphere in good old Mumbai, I would have thought it was bordering on the impossible. I would find Mapusa, Margao, Ponda, Vasco and even Panjim more polluted, dirty and stinking than anywhere I happened to be in Mumbai, which was South of Santa Cruz. And I positively failed to spot a single piece of plastic or a plastic wrapped ‘potli’ (parcel) lying quietly along the roadside like we find umpteen of them everywhere in Goa. And unlike our roads in Goa, even in Panjim city, the roads in Mumbai are clean swept and one fails to even notice a street sweeper anywhere in sight after 7 a.m. unlike in Goa, where our municipal cleaners observe bank timings. And the traffic movement was swift and easy with all those fly-overs which makes Bombay not look like good old Bombay or Mumbai at all. And it was a blessed surprise for me to have been moving on the 2.5 kilometer fly-over in the heart of Commercial Mumbai Central area, the longest one I have traveled on, except in Bangkok or in Lagos, Nigeria, etc. And all the time since my entry into Mumbai, I was troubled by just one question. Why not Goa? If Mumbai could be transformed into something like this for me to appreciate it and force me to eat my previous revulsion at the same time, my thoughts immediately moved over to Sanjay Dutt. For I, at that time, could have convinced him to hand over to me his AK-47, if he still had it with him, so I could come to Goa bindass, like Praveen Mahajan, and have a field day spilling the garbage at its prestigious dumping site – The New Legislative Secretariat at Porvorim. Hopefully, Sanjay Dutt will start doing just that, the next time he comes a shooting at the Associacao Academica grounds at Moira just like Shakti Kapoor did it on the lawns of the Marriot in Panjim a fortnight or so ago.

And the Amma from Chennai must be feeling sorry all over for having lost her cradle to her old, wily, dark glasses wearing detractor. But most of all she must be feeling sorrier for having spent all that foreign exchange to supply all the TN workers, working in labour camps of Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait what have you, with telephone cards to call back home and convince the folks at home that they should vote for Amma dearest. Maybe she should have offered Mercedes Benz’s and cute looking brides to these gentlemen to compete with the dark glasses wearing naughty boy who gave not only the telephone cards but also colour TVs, fifteen thousand bucks per marriage and a bagful of rice at Rs. 2/- per kg. The important thing to watch now is the population explosion that will have poor Amma grounded for good in time to come. If Sonia Gandhi had the effrontery to resign from her Lok Sabha seat to hide from the Office of Profit and come up a winner with a margin of over 4 lakh votes, all at the cost of stupid taxpayers like me, then there is nothing left in this country that is worth calling democratic politics. And for sure, Mrs. Das Munshi, who won her seat to keep company to her husband as a high profile Cong Man, must be feeling elated that at least one of her subjects has not only voted for her but has been ready to break his head like a narial (coconut), falling prostate at her feet in public view, and console herself that this narial would burn himself to death by dousing himself with kerosene just like a faithful restauranter has done to herself not to be able to see Amma’s sorry face in defeat, if she ever becomes too small in his eyes at the next hustings.

And the Da Vinci Code has come around to unnerve the Catholic leaders world-wide and rightly so. If the world saw eruptions and mayhem just because a Danish cartoonist thought he could poke fun at Good Mohamed Prophet, so also the Catholic world is expected to gear up for the Crusades that have been long forgotten. Man has always been a genius at finding something or the other to poke fun at. But then there is a limit to poking fun when one is poking at a ‘mystery’ which is the raison d’etre of the very foundation of Christianity. I wonder if some such Charlie would have the gall of poking fun at ‘Ram’ given the fiery sentiments of the RSS in India. Me think the culprit, the root cause of all these weird happenings is ‘science’ itself’. Galileo should not have been spared after all. As a child, I remember our Church’s pulpit ( now an ornament only) reverberating by the assertions of our home grown priest (who, by the way is still very active as of today) “that man would never be able to reach the moon however hard he may try, as God’s own secrets cannot and will not be unfolded by man”. And bang! A few years later, man not only reached the moon, but he even played hide and seek and had a ball bouncing around there to come right back to the good old earth, safe and sound. All said and done, in my very humble opinion, the best thing to do is to allow poky souls to wear themselves out trying to pry open the lid off history. The lid will stay put if it is heavy enough. And I will repeat what I have said a hundred times. That religion has been the cause of every evil on this good earth and there is history to vouch for what I say. If only people would keep their religions within themselves rather than flaunt them in public, and go about doing what they have to do, i.e. ‘EARN THE DAILY BREAD’, things would be very much alright. Did someone say he saw what GOD looks like??? I am dying to know.

And, at almost fifty nine, not having much urge to do anything revolutionary, I have resigned myself to taking care of my newly acquired German Shepard pup whom I have name “Hitler”. People look at me askance when I tell them its name. And I say to them “Why not?” After all, Hitler was a dog. A very mad one at that. But my main hobby of a lifetime has been to watch birds bathing. It is tricky, as birds are creatures of definite daily timings when they must bathe. And after years of preparing make-shift bathing arrangements for them at various places of their choice, I have finally succeeded in giving them a permanent bathing place. A bird pool around a tall pine tree, planted prominently in my compound so it would serve as a Christmas tree come Christmas season. And after sizing up the new arrangement for almost a fortnight, my birds have decided to bathe at last. They are funny creatures, mostly very suspicious. They will only venture close enough after giving the newly set up place a wide berth for about a week to reassure themselves that it is safe. The first in the day to take a drink and then a splash in the pool is the crow. At 7 a.m. he is the early bird, and very noisy too. Then, by 8.a.m. comes the nightingale, one to go straight to the job on hand and very thorough too. Then comes the turn of the wild spotted pigeon we call ‘Koudo’. Not one to bathe but religiously feeding around the pool from the broken rice and nachni that I sprinkle for it to feed on. He even takes an occasional drink or two from the pool water but mortally scared to dip himself. Then by 9.00 a.m. comes the red capped bull-bull called the ‘Firghi” (European Bishop). Very suspicious but very meticulous at bathing. He bathes with his bigger sized cousin called the “Khapri” ( the Negro). And there are grey, yellow and purple ones, of all shapes and sizes who take their turns and decorate the pipe tree to pick & dry out their soaking feathers before flying out for the day. The bathing cycle is repeated at 3.00 p.m. but by certain morning customers only. And before sundown they are mostly back at the job with the nightingale being the last.

And as much as this bird bath gives me the ultimate pleasure, I am worried that it may not last long, the pool, I mean. For my wife is more of a worried master of the house than me, complaining of my indulgence in wasted time watching birds having bath. But knowing my capabilities, I am very confident that there will be two of us enjoying birds having their baths, even at the cost of going to bed on an empty stomach. For, as they say, the pleasure will be mine, all the way.


I shall be better off watching birds having their baths than watch scheming politicians at work, specially those handling the Town & Country Planning Department where the fear is that the Department may soon lose its full name with the word ‘Country’ missing, altogether.

And if at all I have enjoyed reading the witty and most often very sensible writings by anyone, it would be through the pen of Senhor Kuldip Singh. But this is the day I must disagree with his assessment of the Biblical as well as the Political Abel over Cain. (NT Panorama-Sunday May 14, 2006). It would do good for the old Sardar to check out if the Biblical Abel and Cain were married brothers and if Abel was not too fond of Cain’s wife having chosen her himself for his younger brother.


Goa Su-Raj Party has been in existence since 31/08/2000.




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