Monday, May 29, 2006

Thiru Vi Ka Poonga...

Poonga means Park in Tamil.

Pretty fluffy, well-rounded and easy-going word I would say. Anyway, this park, perfectly circular in cross-section lies almost three kilometers [two miles] from my place. Nearly every morning, after a soul uplifting coffee at Dr. Terror's House of Horrors, I keep meandering through the lanes of Anna Nagar East and take a full circle of the park with all intentions of sitting on one of the benches and watching the world go trickling by.

That has neve happened. The walk makes me hanker for one more cup of the huge kick-giving coffee and a copy The Hindu [which they local populace calls Dee Indu, meaning the egg in Gujarati]... the limitations of the Tamil script send me into a tizzy now and then...

I mean Baank in place of bank is fine, but Oot-lent in place of Woodland recoils me in horror... the first prize goes to Bilibus. Guess what name is that? Phillips, good old lighter up of homes and breaker of deathly silences and thrower of moving images plus the hoi polloi that must follow. I'm glad I taught myself how to read Tamil by comparing the ubiquitous signboards mostly written both in English language and Tamil script. Decades before Madras became Chennai, I had been reading that name as Sennai [since they seem to have a single letter for both 's' and 'ch' sound...].
Joining the consonants is hell for them, Piribakaran is what the name reads -the one we know as Prabhakaran.

Long before reaching my coffee place or Thiru ['Shri'] Vi Ka [both initials] Poonga [Park as we saw] I have to watch a hundred neighbouring houses with strangely tilted compound walls. This fascinated me no end, most likely reason could have been an earthquake or two... however, over the weeks, I noticed none of the new houses like ours, had tilted compound walls, competing with Pisa's leaning tower, but all the old ones did have sometimes cracked and partially tumbling down compound walls. The day I realized it was the tall palm trees -that seemed to grow all wonky, seeking sunshine due to taller houses all around, which were exerting pressure on to the walls... one old palm tree or coconut tree, whatever, fell down two buildings away. I was a little startled to see the tree across the road, taking down telephone wires and electrical cables along with it. As I neared the spot where it had fallen on the road, I was a little more startled. There was a spot of blood, most probably human blood, in a spot that spanned nearly six inches. Somebody got hit on the head, I presumed. I didn't ask Kaka who would have come out of his Dog House to do the song and dance routine to tell me what happened. Sometimes that hits me like a door in the dark, this routine, especially without a cup of coffee in the morning.

The merciless sun by six thirty, truly an ungodly hour, has climbed up in the sky so high, that it would be nine o'clock in Pune or Mumbai.

Back to the Poonga, it's sheer fun to see the local early morning walkers and joggers jostle in the park. I have at least a dozen favourites. There is this old old man who walks crisply throwing his arms up forwards and backwards marching to his own tune... there is this extraordinarily funny young man with a walkman plugged into his ears and his hands dancing in a choreography none of us can ever figure out... and the various ladies with generously proportioned behinds, that wiggle and waggle with a life all their own.

Another favourite is the Yoga class teacher at whose command nearly a hundred souls lie flat on the ground as if dead, or contort themselves into rubbery mutilated postures that seem to scream with pain... or breathe in and out noisily. The fact that he controls a crowd of nearly 200 persons early in the morning, makes me jealous. I hurry over to the next part, rather than watch them. He uses a public address system with a huge microphone stand like a political leader.

There are many more... we shall examine them later.

(c) Max Babi


At 7:28 PM, Blogger david raphael israel said...

Curiouser & couriouser.

A couple of supplemental photos (e.g. leaning-tower-of-Pisa walls) could augment the tale on occasion. Though imagining some of your characters is part of the fun.

At 3:31 AM, Blogger poona said...

I think Family Drug Education is very important to the whole family.

Laptop Stores in Anna Nagar


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