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Posts Tagged ‘Pondicherry’

ashokbhatia

A place grows on us. It offers a comfort zone which we get used to. We might dislike the place for so many things. But when we are away for some time, the gravitational pull again comes into play. We start missing the place.

Lakshmi Lakshmi

Pondicherry is no exception to this general rule. While here, we might bemoan the lack of civic sense, the streets littered with garbage, the reckless driving on the roads and the absence of adequate parking space in the town area. But take us away for some time, and we start missing it somehow. We yearn to get back to the humidity and the heat of the place.

What is so hot and happening about this quaint little town, perched on the Bay of Bengal, you may well ask.

Consider the following.

A small group of close friends

This is what makes Pondicherry so very special…

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I jumped off a cliff and survived.

I stepped into the fire and came out alive.

 

No matter how hard I tried,

Fate held the strings of my life

Knotted around their needles so tight,

And the bladders of my life’s oxygen didn’t seem to die.

 

It later dawned on me that it’s the

Handwriting on my walls that will decide,

For if it’s not yet time for the ferryman

To row me off from the living world,

Across the rivers Styx and Acheron,

Then I still have a purpose

And I still have shed loads of time

To stay alive and shine

And understand there’s no need for suicide.

Vaishnavi Sathish is yet to finish her schooling but has a flair for literature and fine arts. She lives in Pondicherry, India, and has recently published a maiden collection of 39 of her poems under the title Sunflowers of the Dark.

(Related Posts:

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2019/12/16/the-live-rag-doll-a-poem-by-vaishnavi-sathish

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2019/12/12/true-love-lost-a-poem-by-vaishnavi-sathish

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2019/12/26/paradise-lost-a-poem-by-vaishnavi-sathish)

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The world has eyes of misconception,

The kind of eyes that will perceive

The brightest light, a shadow!

 

The world has a nose clogged with

The filth we dump,

For it is numb enough to be unable

To smell the most fragrant tuberose.

 

It has a mouth that will call

An honest man, a liar,

And hands that will title

The abused, an abuser.

 

A heart that has been frozen

Since the birth of time,

And a mind that will aid

In every single crime.

 

Nothing will ever be fair or just

Because the home we live in

Is cursed.

 

It is the ‘Field of Punishments’,

For the alive and the undead,

making us pay for what

Adam did standing underneath a tree

In the Garden of Eden.

 

 

Vaishnavi Sathish is yet to finish her schooling but has a flair for literature and fine arts. She lives in Pondicherry and has recently published a maiden collection of 39 of her poems under the title Sunflowers of the Dark.

(Related Posts:

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2019/12/16/the-live-rag-doll-a-poem-by-vaishnavi-sathish

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2019/12/12/true-love-lost-a-poem-by-vaishnavi-sathish)

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In the night, they didn’t care about

All her dresses they tore.

In the morning, they call her names:

Slut, bitch and whore.

 

She was an object

Of concupiscence and pleasure.

If not for her curves and bust,

Would she be treasured?

She was alive,

Yet dead.

 

Unlike the men in her army

Who as soon as captured

Were beheaded,

She was locked up in a golden cage,

Touched by all,

Wore long gowns of silk

But was a mere rag doll.

 

Vaishnavi Sathish is yet to finish her schooling but has a flair for literature and fine arts. She lives in Pondicherry and has recently published a maiden collection of 39 of her poems under the title Sunflowers of the Dark.

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The wind blew her hair

As she stood still in front of

His tombstone in utter despair,

Letting the rough weather beat her skin hard.

 

She would have walked away

From the harsh winter breath

If it were any other day,

But not today, just not today.

 

His arms tried to comfort her

But they weren’t enough.

Instead, she craved for the ones of the man

Whose remains lay deep under the ground.

 

She recollected the times when

Her tiny self lay in the dim light,

Giggling to the stories he said

At half-past eight every night.

 

She reminisced the stories in which

The men in the village walked upside down

To cross the bridge with the Basilisk

To get to the ogres who planted roses of brown.

 

Her memories wandered to the times

When she didn’t have enough height

To reach the cookie jar kept high above,

The arms of her father would take flight

To scoop her up from down.

 

Finally, there was a time when

The cameras didn’t show her tiny silhouette anymore

Because she was as old as the Belle

From his stories now.

 

As she grew old,

It was not just his stories

She ignored

But also the old man

Of whom she got bored.

 

Now standing in front of his tombstone,

She let every single tear

Seep down the grass and into his bones,

So that she could give him a part of her

That she ought to have given him

During the last of his years.

 

 

Vaishnavi Sathish is yet to finish her schooling but has a flair for literature and fine arts. She lives in Pondicherry and has recently published a maiden collection of 39 of her poems under the title Sunflowers of the Dark.

 

 

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ashokbhatia

Many amongst us chug along in life somewhat dissatisfied with our life partners. A neighbour’s wife always looks smarter. A friend’s husband sounds more dashing and practical. Our own spouse invariably sounds duller and listless in comparison. We are never quite satisfied with what we have. We often yearn for what we do not have.

What do we expect from a soul-mate? An unqualified acceptance by the party of the other part, perhaps? A companionship which comforts and soothes? A fulfillment of some of our basic needs?

At a deeper level, the illusory search for a perfect soul-mate, The One, begins with a realization that we cannot become more perfect all by ourselves. We need another person’s help to chisel ourselves better. To do so, we search for a person who is perfect in more ways than one.

Some Bollywood movies have dealt with this aspect of our relationships…

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It is fashionable these days to speak of our beloved city metamorphosing into what is euphemistically referred to as a Smart City. Here is a contrary view which may find resonance with some of its residents.

These nameless denizens may instead like to lead a leisurely life in a city where:

  1. The need to jump out-of-the-way of a speeding vehicle gets minimized – in other words, hapless pedestrians and bicycle riders have the right of way; the use of horns and loudspeakers attract a hefty fine, leaving the offender crying all the way to his bank.
  2. Warehouses and hotels are not permitted within the boulevard limits, leaving the narrow streets peaceful and resident-friendly. Elderly and ailing residents need no longer complain of being startled at times – either by the incessant growling of commercial vehicles during days or by the sound pollution generated by tourist vehicles during nights.
  3. More parks, where citizens could stretch their limbs and try to fight off such lifestyle diseases as diabetes and hypertension, thereby warding off cardiac blues. Likewise, a denser coverage of main streets by trees with thick foliage, with water dispensing kiosks, toilets and garbage bins dotting the landscape liberally. What Pondicherry needs are more Ashe Marsons (of ‘Something Fresh’ fame) who are fond of brisk walks and Larsen Exercises in open spaces.
  4. All crossings within the boulevard area have convex mirrors at corners, thereby avoiding speeding-bike-enthusiasts routinely crashing into other vehicles, thereby putting life and limb to grave risks.
  5. All crossings across the canal are made obstruction free, avoiding blind spots and congestion on Gingee Salai and Ambour Salai. (As of now, the Vysial Street crossing is the only good example of a blind-spot free crossing across the canal.) Mandatory mini parks could be planned at all these corners. Shops peddling terracotta articles near the Ashram can be relocated to other suitable places, so the road on that stretch becomes clearer for traffic.
  6. The dependence on tourism alone to prop up the local economy is given a lower priority; where the powers that are exercise their grey cells better, hold consultations with business leaders so innovative ways to augment the territory’s revenues get planned and implemented. A concerted drive towards industrialization by using SEZ-earmarked and other parcels of land available could help. So could a hefty increase in registration charges for petroleum-driven vehicles, with substantial rebates for those who go in for greener vehicles.
  7. A multi-modal public transport system gets implemented in a mission mode, with battery operated vehicles alone being permitted within the boulevard area.
  8. Water channels and aquifers get revitalized, with the single aim of making Pondicherry a model in reversing the trend of increasing ground water salinity. A long-term plan to ward off the ill effects of rising sea levels and to tackle incessant rains also needs to be put in place.
  9. Strict ban on plastic bags of all kinds; a scientifically designed garbage collection and disposal system, duly backed by latest technology.
  10. Cooperation and collaboration at the top, leading to a visionary development of Pondicherry.

Call it a ‘smart’ one or a ‘dumb’ one, but the above features, if worked upon by those in charge of making things happen, would surely make the denizens of Pondicherry a healthier and a happier lot in the long term.

These would retain the essential character of the territory. What the planners would do well to avoid would be adopting a soulless materialistic ‘smart’ plan which would leave the residents gasping for clean air, yearning for sparkling water and ardently wishing for a sound of silence which would enable a person standing on Ambour Salai to hear the unmistakable melody of ocean waves on the main beach road.

(Notes:

  1. A version of this article can also be found at https://www.pondylive.com/2018/08/smart-city-pondicherry-why-some-of-us-prefer-a-dumb-city;
  2. Pondicherry montage courtesy www;
  3. Pondicherry street scene illustration by Emanuel Scanziani for Le Club, Pondicherry)

 

(Related posts:

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2015/04/13/reinventing-pondicherry

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2015/01/05/the-soul-of-mairie-speaks

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2011/07/26/puducherry-2025-a-traveller%E2%80%99s-memoirs)

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