Feb 27, 2006

Little sellers...

Two Little afghan girls who sell bubble gum and mint for a living...

Feb 24, 2006

Avishaaaaaaat !!!

  • “There’s a cow at short mid-on!”

  • My memory went back to school days when i saw this pic @ this blog. Times when I breathed, ate and slept cricket! My street was relatively quiet and turned into a cricket pitch with ease. There were matches between adjacent streets when tempers fly and passions errupt...
  • Street cricket has its own charm and its own rules . Its also known for its amusing vacabulary, that has been complied for the benifit of future generations by some great soul ...:
  • [source found in wikipedia : Street cricket....dont miss this]

The Vandiyur Theppakulam ... when dry, the biggest & most dangerous cricket field in Madurai...With too many teams playing all at once,U never know from where the ball might come and hit u.

Reflections .....

art by ashok

Strange a thought, I know not why,
Has suddenly struck my mind:
That if this minute I am to die,
Heaven or hell, will I find?

It may be too early to bed,
But will I rise to behold the dawn?
Will I behold the sun in red?
And dew drops in my lawn?

How strange I am, my wants and ways,
And stranger still my brain -
That hates to wrinkle old with greys'
But craves a longer reign.

One score years I've been on Earth,
At last I've stopped to ponder:
Did I live my life its worth?
"No", says a voice," Unforgivable offender".

How many times I've mocked a friend!
How many butterflies I've killed for fun!
Never I forgave nor forgot a foe, and
Never confessed a wrong I've done.

If I turn my last page now,
Few dears may shed a sorry tear;
But have I earned a name above?
If 'yes' I say- I am a liar.

Far more my sins, far more they are,
Than all the stars of the firmament;
Years ahead I have, I thought, for -
Never did I kneel to repent.

Aches my heart to think its been,
A selfish life of pride and lust;
I wilt, I wane, I weep unseen,
What if I hit the lowly dust!

Ashamed I am of a life so mean,
Rich of rotten rubbish and rust;
O' Time is lean and I've to clean,
'Fore I wither, 'fore I burst.

Every soul sure has his harvest;
Good or bad he has to reap;
Worst or best the reward is must,
'Fore or after his dreamless sleep.

A day of must we have to rest,
In a seven feet bed, great or meek;
Then gold and silver - why we quest?
Power and pelf - why we seek?

The World's a library and men are books;
A book has an End - but was it good?
Fame, fortune and lovely looks,
They travel not beneath the mud.

So, let the blow be far or near;
Lo! I've got in time the message;
Even if it’s just an year,
I will live it as a sage.

The journey may be short or long,
But was it for a worthy cause?
And thus goes the Wiseman’s song:
"It matters 'HOW?’ not 'HOW LONG?' it was" !

Written in 1995 (reposted from my archives)

Feb 23, 2006

Archi-cultural surprise!

Ramkumar (architect) is my junior from college. He is now living for the past 6 months in Bristol, UK. Last week when he sent me a mail, saying "ashok, fotos attached,U 'd like them" , I was exited. I have a bad habbit of opening the attachments even before I read the mail. Knowing Ram, I was expecting something really exciting in the attachment. But when I saw a few ordinary Church fotos, I was for a second questioning the sanity of Ram.

I went back to his mail. Read it in disbelief and again scrambled back to the fotos. oops!Its not a church...but a Hindu temple! This Temple is located at 163B, The Church Street, Bristol. (Yes, they do give numbers to temples aswell in UK.) According to Ram, many Indians mistake this building for a Church and never bother to visit it.

In Ram's words "its a good place ... far better than many of the Hindu temples in UK, that are housed in an ordinary hall. this temple at Bristol, to me is the only temple that has the privilege of getting housed in a building that was primarily designed for worship. Visiting this temple is more soothing to mind than going to the others housed in a huge hall, very much similar to the marriage halls at Madurai."
whatever Ram...I have myself seen/designed Churche(s) in Dravidian temple style. But this is the first time I see a Hindu temple in Gothic style...Truly an Archi-cultural surprise! ... and Please forgive me for doubting ur sanity.

Feb 19, 2006

random kabul snaps...

kabul traffic...the only aspect of kabul that reminds me of my hometown.. 

traffic in front of old mosque...

more crazy traffic...
at last a quiet road...
DHL office..
new and old- juxtaposed !...an old mosque and Kabul business center, Sher-e-nov. 
another calm neighborhood...ready for spring!
These are some randon snaps I took today...forgive the quality of photography as they were all taken from my moving car...

Feb 17, 2006


In an age when they should be carying school bags behind their back, these afghan kids are carrying sacks stuffed with rags picked from my street...Will they see a better future?

afghan kids

the 'chicklet' kid...tired look

this little boy works in the local grocery ... surprised by the flash.

the little tea seller...pensive look...

Feb 15, 2006

Sheesha party

It was a freeky night...Emad Matter, our Q.C manager (Egyptian) brought out his Sheesha (hooka) and invited everyone to join the fun. Curiosity took the better of us and we joined the sheesha party. Everyone was enthused by the ‘gurgling’ sound made by the pot. There was an engineer who was not amused by this whole hangama at all and we later found that it was becoz he was all the time blowing into the pot instead of sucking in…

Since Iam not a smoker, I had no idea of what to expect. All I can say is that, I felt like a steam engine smoking out fume…but some regular smokers certified that, it was the best tobacco they had ‘tasted’ in years…whatever... I just ended up with sore throat!

Feb 13, 2006

Tea girl

This little afgan angel is selling tea for drivers close to my office....

Feb 12, 2006

In mood for some Fruits !

step 1  halfway thro'...

step 2  voila..the fruits are ready !!!

Today after many years I found some good mood to do a few paintings...But not with paint and brush on paper...I dont have time for that anymore..But on computer with a mouse using a very rudimentary software 'Paint'!

Sketches in MS Paint...

mother and child...

My Fist !

sketches made with MS Paint

Feb 11, 2006

Great day!

Today I moved to the next phase of my Life. Became a Dad ! at around 18.30 IST my daughter was born ! Iam walking on the clouds!

Feb 6, 2006

Boom boom booooom

I recently heard this old Tamil film song…
“Boom boom boom maatukaran theruvil vanthandi….doom doom doom melam kotti sedhi sonandi…(very crude translation : the boom boom boom cow-man came on the streets …doom doom doom-he drummed and gave the tidings…).It woke up some sleeping memories.
In my childhood, for no reason the distant sound of the boom boom maadu (cow) will send shivers down the spine… this was utilized by elder bullies (read parents) “if u don’t finish your breakfast (read idlis), I’ll call the boom boom maatukaran”…(poochandi threat was reserved for dinner)…
Actually, it is only a harmless but holy temple cow. But its bizarre attire, its sharped horns, its violent head shake backed with the eerie drum will give chills to any kid.

The 'cow-man' would stand at the doorstep and make a boooing (cant think of a better word) sound by scratching his stick across his drum in a curious rhythm. The People of the house run to ask questions to the intelligent cow - which would shake its head vigorously …and this shake would be interpreted by the 'cow-man' for an answer. So it was sort of an advanced method to know your future, if you’ve got one. And of course a complicated method at taking alms!
The boom boom madu is another dying tradition now.
Iam sure many of today’s city kids many not understand what a boom boom maadu is… Just wondering what today’s bullies use to threaten their kids into eating idlis…………

(Photos: from the net - maybe the last surviving boom boom madu @ the meenakshi temple )

Feb 3, 2006

and the ' veeraval ' goes to...

I have no idea who this guy V. Balakrishnan is…I don’t know who are all the members of his Amutha Surabi Kalai Mandram…no clues what they do the rest of the 364 days in a year..but what they've been doing on one day every year is most amusing.They've been bringing to Madurai some of the iconic legends of Tamil filmdom like Vayapuri, Laila, Abirami, Shyam etc and presenting them with amazing awards and titles…in a gala event at Raja Muthiah Mandram.
This time they presented ‘veeravals’ (swords of valor) to Sneha, Priyamani and Padmapriya. Very brave ladies indeed…to come and accept such an award itself needs guts…so no need of any doubts here. And of course, Sneha made her acceptance speech in chaste ‘Madura tamil’ and made the day for the mob…Another ‘veeraval’ recipient was director Pee.vasu. He was once titled by this same mandram as ‘navarasa eeyakkunar’…for directing the silliest movie of all time ‘chinathambi’…man this was needless…for the quality of movies he makes, he already has the fitting title in his initials…I almost forgot. Some new actor called Prasanna was also encouraged with a veraval..but who cares for dessert, lets focus on the main dish…Sneha made her speech in…..ok ok I already said that

Well, the only glaring difference between this awards show and Oscars is that, here the award winners have to undergo an interactive question answer session with the audience. So guys, its just not fun but informative as well..

Nothing can match the fanatical film craze that this city embarrasses you with. Ok, Trichy still holds the Guinness record for building worship places for actresses…But what you see in Madurai is unmatched hilarity in its own way… So what, Sneha made her speech in……