Friday, November 24, 2006

The Seasons Change...

It's incredible how seasons have been changing in Pune, where this is my twelfth year of enjoying the greenery and hilly terrain. On a macro scale perhaps the entire state of Maharashtra has been witnessing progressively more rainfall. The underground water table has gone up. This sounds like prices of petrol going down, which never happens, but these days one has to be ready to take another sock in the jaw without allowing one's eyes to pop out.

Been addicted to reading The Times Of India for more than forty years now and lately it seems to have adopted the sensationalism wholeheartedly. In continuation with the ponderous para above, I was aghast to read a cat named Mimi (nickname of my daughter who didn't like this piece of news at all) in some nowhere place in Brazil has given birth to a litter with three pups and three kitten with faces like pups. Our family friend Atreyee Dey was busy sketching me, and oh boy what a pair of sketches she produced in two or three minutes -astonishingly well done. She said it is the beginning of the end of the world. Nino my wife who speaks Bengali with this zany artist agreed, though I tend to think such changes are glacial and several millenia would float by before any end could be perceptible. Unless some monkey presses the Nuke option button somewhere... anything is possible.

Traditionally Pune receives scanty rainfall in September and October and the greenery folds up and dies without a murmur. The green hills in our Bavdhan valley become as bald as a priest in a missionary school once again, and a bland, desolate sense of brown prevails. Not so any more. This year, it is the end of November, and there has been no let up. It's been raining for the past three days. Just when the winter smell was discernible in the cool evening breeze, today I got the old familiar rainy season smell after a few days of no rain. No wonder my neighbour's rooster gets up in the middle of the day, to do his cockadoodle-do bit as if dawn were breaking. Nino thinks he is going crazy with the imminent end of the world looming up larger and faster. I think he is showing off to the brood, some dotty female may fall for him. Hope never dies.

Our neighbouring city of Mumbai has been at the receiving end for a while, with amazingly heavy rainfall. All the shortcomings of the rain drain system came once again to the fore this year, with flash floods raising blood pressure all around. Horror stories matching last year's didn't accrue but people were restless all right. Perhaps infrastructure is improving now.

Pune city has bad roads. Nowadays we have forgotten what roads are. We clamber over ditches and potholes, with an occasional glimpse of a grey matter that used to be a road centuries ago. The highly corrupt and lethargic municipal corporation has been brazenly awarding the road making contracts to proven defaulters, thus sinking spirits sank lower this year.

Congestion, traffic snarls, inefficient cops, road rage... one wonders if this could be the genesis of a Prachanda avatar here too? It was rather amusing to see World Bank seek an appointment with the dreaded Maoist leader in Nepal's capital Kathmandu where the banned leader is staying in a posh hotel. If you want to be amazed at crazy turns, study politics, I tell many youngsters. The unthinkable always happens.

Finally, the Supreme Court called the city of Chennai 'unlivable'. Ah, much fodder for thought... and gruel for future posts.


(c) Max Babi


At 5:21 AM, Blogger gautami tripathy said...

Glad to see you blogging again after so long.

At 5:55 AM, Blogger monideepa said...

Hi Max, great news about the rising water table. Did you influence the miracle by any chance? Umm, about the Times, methinks they've sobered down in the last few years. some years ago, they had the fun-fashion-backbites-nbackbeat sort of stuff in most of the news pages as well as those godawful supplements. Laxman's cartoons and Jug Suraiya and Bachi ji's columns still entertain as do so many other good old stuff.


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