Life of Mushroom- From dust to dust, a Micro vision to the Human story?

Come rainy season I wait for a chance to devour wild mushrooms.. my favourite dish which I can never resist that too with a generous dab of butter and otti (rice bread -like peta bread-, staple breakfast of Kodavas). Mushroom foraging, harvesting and eating is a risky job; a tiny error could cost your life or you might end up in mental asylum! But quite instinctively we knew which ones (8-10) were edible by sight, a knowledge just slipped into our system somehow. The taste and flavour can only be experienced and cannot be described:while growing up mushroom hunting was a delight to us as we got to wade barefoot on the rainwater, collected on the clean grass splashing all around, carried an umbrella yet fully wet, an time which can never be relived. Yet just a ray of hope in the distant horizon, teeny-tiny chances, if, Kasturirangan Report is implemented.

Mushrooms are fungus that grow almost everywhere, on every natural material imaginable (tree, logs, soil, decomposing leaves, dung, mulch, compost, etc.) in different shapes, sizes and colours. Even ants and termites grow them as food. It’s hard to delineate the shapes, mostly with a domed cap on a stalk with gills on the underside of the cap. It’s something like the fruit of a plant with millions of invisible seed called spores but it’s hard to say if it is Vegetarian or Non-vegetarian food!! Who cares… I am a gourmand when it comes to wild mushroom!

Without leaves and requirement of sunlight, it pops up magically without any clue within a week or more after a good rain (rains) right in front of your eyes if you happened to be around. It also returns to its point of origin within no time if left in nature.

Recently, I had the unexpected privilege of recording it in the span of 3 – 5 days and that’s when I realized how close it is to our own life cycle! If one can compare this process to 5 days of human life then cycle of our life process say 100 years could be few days of the life of Mother Nature. Creation from dust to dust, the disposal technique of Mother Nature is unbelievable. No wonder the Rishis of yore opted for cremation over burial…

Mushroom decay process depends upon the condition around. I remember Oprah Wimfrey telling, with the makeup, fan and light anyone could be made to look gorgeous not just models or film stars.. Similarly with the sun, rain and air in control, the entire creation could be altered!! I have seen mushroom drying naturally in warm climates like Mysuru in the absence of rain.

The first reaction from my Son when he saw the pictures, whose opinion is very important to me, was yukkk… yukkk Mamma… can’t imagine…did you really photograph it? How could you?!? I joked, yeh I did, everything happens for a reason, I was supposed to that’s why the process cycle was very small. The decay was accelerated as the results of hot day temperature and rains in the evenings. I left the place on the 5th day… letting nature’s recyclers enjoy the remains.

The mushroom had bloomed on 27/05/2017 on the mud parapet at my sister-in-law Shanthi Somanna’s house in Mythadi, but unnoticed till 28/05/2017 evening so by the time it was plucked, it was unfit to eat. My SiL is a sweetheart and was very sad that I did not get to eat it, and to make me happy, kept it in a plastic tray in the coffee drying yard for me to photograph it. I spent quite some time with the mushroom (almost till the end) until by mistake my husband drove over the tray breaking it in the process.

The pictures are self-explanatory… inspite of all the activities the stem standing firm almost till the end is in par with the bones staying for a long time to tell the tales.

Day one was missed out in the wild.

Day Two

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Day three

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Day four

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Day Four evening..

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Final chapter of Mr & Mrs. Mushrooms

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Face of Iraqi Wars & Fable from my childhood.. Two Cats & a Monkey

This is a fable for the young generation..

Indian culture is full of fables & we grew up listening to oodles of them from parents, grandparents, relatives & even exchanges with friends. Those were the most beautiful moments & we never got tired of it… Basically unlike the present day gadgets, it was one of the most important entertainments for us. That’s how we were mentally groomed to grow up as balanced human beings. Keeping the values & growth of mankind, as the Vedas & Puranas have done thousands of years ago, fables were woven & passed on in a simpler fashion known as Ajji-Kategalu (Grandmother’s stories).

I am certain that Indian fables are a rich source of bonding & grooming to children. I was really surprised when I narrated my own modified version of the story of “King with the Donkey’s ears’ to Arya, my 3.5 years old granddaughter, she was so excited & made me tell her the story several times. I let her name the King & she would religiously repeat “King Cockle has Donkey’s ears” three times too. One day she also asked me Nana can you write & give it to Mama/Dada so they can read it for me!!

An Ajji would have said: A Door is smaller than a house, a lock is smaller than the door & a Key is smallest of them all. Like how we can enter the house with that little key, a good moral solution can fix big problems & vice versa!!

When the Iran-Iraq war happened (22.09.1980 to Aug 1988), we lived just a ~500 kilometers away & when Iraq annexed Kuwait (02.08.1990 to 26.02.1991) we lived there for 2 months before starting the arduous journey home. In a WAR there is no such thing as winners or losers; everyone is a loser in different context. I always wonder who really benefitted & ate the cake. Coming back to the headlines, you can read the story & interpret the way you want.

Many moons ago there lived two Cats in an old woman’s house. They were good friends, born together & while basking in the Sun spent their time playing & purring whole day in the garden. Old woman was very fond of the Cats & pampered them like her own children. There was plenty of food & milk, & they did not have to toil it. One day the old woman was suddenly taken ill & had to be rushed to the hospital. There was no food or milk kept out for them to eat or drink.

Middle of the day both were very hungry & could not find any food or drink. So both decided to search for the food & wondered all over the village but could not find any food. Finally the aroma of freshly baked bread & cake gave them some hope. When the baker was busy they managed to sneak in & while the baker was trying to chase one, the other ran away with a piece of cake. Finally, they stopped under a bush & decided to share the cake. It was a team effort & both wanted equal share. One of them divided the cake into two pieces & the pieces did not look equal.  Obviously they had no knife to cut it & had to use their paws. The tantalizing smell of cake made them greedy & both began to quarrel claiming the bigger piece.

On a nearby tree a small troop (incidentally it is also called a barrel!!!) of Monkeys were watching the commotion under the canopy. The smart leader decided to mediate between the Cats. Well that’s what it told them… it came down from the tree & asked them why they were quarreling with each other?

When the Cats complained to the Monkey about the difference in the portion, the Monkey said oh don’t worry, I can solve this problem in no time. The leader went to nearby vegetable vendor & borrowed a balance to weigh.

The Monkey said, well keep both the pieces in the balance & let us see if it is different & I will be the judge. Impressed by the size & smartness of the Monkey, the Cats agreed & kept the pieces in the balance. Indeed it was different & the Monkey said it will fix the problem, & cut a piece of the heavier cake & ate it. Then weighed the pieces again & the other piece was heavier this time. Saying it will fix the pieces equally, the Monkey took a bite & ate it. To make the pieces equal, biting & eating from the heavier pieces continued until such time that there was nothing left. Right in front of their eyes the entire cake piece vanished into Monkey’s stomach as both the Cats stood helpless & aghast for the right measurement.

Finally the Monkey smiled & said now my dear friends; I have solved your problem & you won’t have to quarrel over the bigger piece of the cake anymore & climbed back the tree.

Still hungry & sad, the Cats learnt the lesson of their life, not to involve a stranger in their personal affair. They had no choice but to wait for the old lady to return home…

World is still filled with Cats & all kinds of monkeys white, brown, black, etc.

Con-monitization – The 5 legged Cow in a moving Temple

On the 10th of May, I was traveling from Madikeri to Mysuru & saw this unusual looking 4-wheeler in front of us near Kamplapura. I was craning my neck to get a clear view as it was cloudy, raining & mad driving in a 2-way lane. That’s when my husband said look at the extra limb on cow’s back & the people are taking advantage of its deformity. He continued, see how the vehicle is modified into look like a shrine, picture of one of the prophets is kept decked with flowers & the cow is made to look holy! The 3-ladies & the driver, & perhaps even some more might be making a living out of the deformity of the cow!!

Like prostitution, conning is one of the oldest professions in the world. Akin to the prey & the predator of the jungle, wherever “innocent victims” congregate, the Salesmen “concentrate”.

I call it CON-monetization (en-cashing on the innocence, ignorance & helplessness of poor people in a cunning way). One has to marvel at their ingenuity, creativity & the ability to fool their fellow beings. Looking at them I remember a famous line from the Kirtane of Kannada Saint Composer Kanakadasa (1509-1609): Ellaru madu-vudu hotte-gagi genu batte-gagi {Ellaru = every one, maduvudu = doing or does, hottegagi = for the sake of stomach, genu = a measurement from the finger tip till the elbow & battegagi = for clothing. In short, everyone is working to fill one’s stomach} be it a King or a pauper, thief or saint, etc., etc. Ironically that piece of cloth is what differentiates the humans from the rest of the living being who walks vertical & has no natural cover!

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After the mystery of Mother Nature, it’s Religion that always fascinates me. Often I wonder who coined, designed, shaped & coloured something called religion. It’s soft & fragile as a new born, beautiful as a flower petal, fragrant as jasmine, stronger than a earth quake, powerful than a tsunami, brighter like Sun, darker like moon lunar, blind as a mud snake, deaf & dumb like each other & definitely the most used, misused & abused aspect of human life. It has taken more lives & spilt more blood than anything else in the history of mankind. As a Kodava, I am privileged not to be bound or bundled by something called religion & it gives me both an edge to privacy while freedom to watch & learn. I find it very funny when someone tries to lure me (twice I experienced) with the classic “you are such a nice person, you must read our book, it has so many merits” … (I have no idea if there is shortage of good people…) & want to tell them to be humans first & then think of religion.

It happens only in India… In India Religious con-monetization & fooling is not just limited to Hinduism but practically wide spread in almost every religion though in different fashions. For example one of the Religions from Middle East has made their Prophet from almost God status into a pure Ghost-Buster (remember the movie & the music?). I am not sure if the Prophet was married or not, wondering what status they would have given her… a she-ghost-buster or a she-warlock? The Religious Salesmen are pro-monetizing* the innocent, the ignorant & the helpless by promising protection from the current & the future ghosts for generations to come!! Guess the entire community of ghosts from India including the ones from Kukkarhalli kere goes to these religious congregations seeking solace & comical action. (*Pro-monetizing, I just made up the word meaning buying human bakras (goats) by converting to boost the volume to accommodate more ghosts even from overseas).

I was under the impression that Black magic & Ghosts doesn’t belong to any particular religion… LoL the possessing of Ghosts & the powers of Priestly Salesmen are so funny I can’t just stop laughing… if anyone wants a good laugh for free without going to a standup comedy show you can watch one too many strange & funny videos on you-tube…

Everyone will do anything for the sake of filling the stomach be it in a righteous or in an unrighteous manner. It will continue to be till the last man on earth survives & sadly religion is the easiest guise to cover up the con.

Changing FACE of India… a visit to Mangaluru & back

January 28th 2017, I was traveling to Mangalore after almost two decades. The last time we wanted to go on that road for a monsoon drive some years ago, but the road was so bad & on top of it a lorry filled with haystack had toppled blocking the road for almost a day! My chauffeur cum bodyguard husband refused to go an inch further & with great difficulty managed to turn the car back. But this time it was a pleasure. The roads are good with the completion of the highway No.88 (Mysore-Bantwala). Had nice cup of coffee at Coffee Day which was almost empty near Sulya along with 5-youngsters in their Mitsubish Pajro sports & we stopped for lunch in Managalore at Giri Manja’s. My nephew-in-law highly recommended the place & insisted I taste the Mangalorean fish dishes there. But he was doubtful if my husband would be comfortable in that small little cramped place.

Finally we parked the vehicles besides the flower market & walked a distance to the restaurant near Kalikamba temple… well not exactly a restaurant… located beside a road of about 12 feet including the pavement… as both sides of the road used as a parking place for two wheelers. Small cars, rickshaws, cycles, people, etc., etc… were plying as a little queue formed to get into the restaurant inside a little house of yester years with tiny windows which had seen better days. It seems BBC travel rated the place as the one of the top five best places to eat in India! Interestingly 20 meters away across the road stood yet another Giri Manja’s in a new building & the food was also carried from this old restaurant itself. However, no one went there & waited here as hungry dogs waiting for their bone. As one young teenager refused to eat there saying it was too dark and ugly & was grumbling with his parents, yet another one came out saying it was heavenly food I ever ate…. Almost everyone was walking out wiping the sweat!

After about 20 minutes, finally we went inside & it reminded me of my childhood days when during the small function at the ancestral homes particularly during the monsoon, small benches were used for seating & tall benches were used as tables. Even before the soiled plates were removed & the place was cleaned, we both sat there lest we lose our turn as the other five waited for the other occupants to vacate their seats. One of the young men from our group knew the cook at the restaurant. Then came Anantha, our waiter for the day. When I asked him what was the specialty of the house, he assured us don’t worry, just tell which fish you want & what rice (boiled or normal) you want & I will do the rest. And he did & suggested dishes to share between the seven of us. It was so yummy, reasonably priced & even after eating so much none of us felt heavy too. Luckily one last plate of prawn biryani was available which we shared between us. Fish cooked in coconut oil complimenting & suppressing the fishy flavour was a delight to the pallets. If you ever go to Managlore don’t miss a meal there. It’s worth every paise you pay!

Mangalore (Anglicization of Mangaluru, which is named after Goddess Mangaladevi) for some reason reminded me of a modern version of Colombo, Sri Lanka. People are kind & friendly too. When I asked about the water supply, the Uber driver said: Amma people of Mangaluru has become smart by drinking sweet water which is so very abundant!! Perhaps Goddess Managaladevi did bless the land with abundance & happiness.

On our way back we wanted to visit Kukke Subramanya temple. The drive is beautiful surrounded by plenty of greenery & hills at a distance. Finally we made it to the thousand year old temple, now managed by Muzarai department of Government of Karnataka. Well organized & plenty of police personnel to guide people, the devotees had one small problem: You don’t get enough time to see the deity! Even before I could see how the flower decked amazing idol really looked, I had to move! I know that according to Indian culture the God lives within us but I wanted to see the beautiful idol too… Unfortunately education once given free, hospitals & now even the God is become commercial… Sadly many temples have become golden goose for the government. Surrounding of the temple could have maintained better too.

On our way another interesting thing was the mushrooming of minarets. Throughout the highway, perhaps every couple of kilometers – I simply lost count of those looking towards the sky painted mostly in green & half white. Seems like the do-gooder petrodollar indeed spreading magic carpet effect. Black gold from across the ocean has brought property for some parts of India too… I was joking with my husband what if US President Donald Trump happened to go on that road, perhaps the heat generated from both inside the car as well as the buildings outside would surpass the summer of Kuwait!!

Somewhere between my working life & retirement… the time known to me seems to have elapsed… giving birth to a new order. People even debate over the religion & attire of Statue of Liberty! It’s odd that every where man is futilely looking & holding & crying & sacrificing self (& others) – for & in the name of God, while they themselves have pushed God into the dark corners of their own heart. For some unknown reason it reminded me of my visit to Amsterdam where the Churches are being turned into discos & restaurants for lack of devotees…

When I came home my dear old friend & ex-colleague from Cochin had sent an interesting video on Funeral Event Management…Wow. Its common in India that some communities hire professional wailers & dancers to perform in front of dead bodies depending upon their beliefs… if death & departing is sad for some … for some others it’s the beginning of a new life… continuation of the cycle of birth & death rolling endlessly which calls for a celebration. With the event management (said to cost anywhere between 5 to 10 lakhs) the ugly truth reflects similarities to how the youngsters are given all the expensive toys such the mobiles & games etc., etc., to play with by their busy parents to compensate for not spending the quality time. Now the departed souls are given a grand funeral for not being there when they were needed… I could not understand if it was love or the vulgar display of wealth. It is said that the human brain has stopped growing… I think it’s the heart/feeling that is shrinking while the fauna is getting wiser, smarter, kind & understanding… after all man is a mysterious being, an enigma to himself.

Wondering what next? Facetime or whatsapp funeral…. It will be cost effective too hahahahha

Kali’s home – Carnal pleasures

USA is the world’s Super Power,, and Manhattan is it’s soul & crowning glory , a scion of of diversity & opportunity. Manhattan, perhaps the most well laid block of land in the world, where even a child big enough to read the numbers can navigate, is yet a paranoiac place… I believe Mr. Kali had finally seems to have narrowed down the place for his modus operandi… Manhattan, where even after the 2012 Super Storm Sandy (an unusual phenomenon not seen in decades), could not deter the spirit of Manhattanites!! There are many similarities… between the scenario… then & now!

Kali has unlimited powers compared to an average human & a capable shape shifter who can transform at will. Kali is not really a physical entity or body that we could perceive with naked eye but it has the ability to mentally remote control the flora, fauna and people. Kali is like an alien, a virtual power machine which can spread like virus without cure. And humans & machines are the ones really used by Mr. Kali as tools to control the world for example the GM food, DNA modification, computers, mobile & other devices which has reached the remotest corners of the world. It has taken millenniums to bring the rule of Mr. Kali to get into final shape & it almost seems on the verge of completion.  Once mind is hacked, with the digital handshake, thegap between the humans are narrowed & the task will be completed once the information is overloaded taming the brain, which loses the ability to think!!  End of it there will be no religion (that’s why I kept seeing the different religious connections), no caste bar, grey gender differentiation (that’s why the “T” in LGBT is growing), nothing remains. The world population will turn to Zombie like state under the influence of Mr. Kali till the arrival of the savior, the Son of God in human form. That has to be in human form as man rather Zombies can understand & believe only what is seen or known to them.

Mind is the most important aspect of creation & every being has its own mind. However, man is called the intelligent being because his mind & thinking capacity is deemed superior. Yajur Veda says: When you know a man, you know the universe. Charaka (born 300 BC), the main contributor to the Indian medicine Ajurveda says: Man is the epitome of the universe. There is in man as much diversity as in the world outside, & there is in the world as much diversity as in man.’ When the individual becomes aligned with the universe, the lesser cosmos functions as a harmonious unit of the greater. Man is ruled by the mind. It is said that those who control the mind will control the universe. Also every mind (individual mind) is connected to everyone (collective mind) & that’s why when things done in unison the effect can be noticed – for example while praying you can feel the energy as most minds are connected towards the divine.

 

Individual mind – Collective mind – Divine mind.

 

Even though the creator has the overall control such as the birth & death, the in-between choice is given to the individual mind as creator also has bestowed the thinking capacity to the created. Every being has the thinking capacity but the degree varies. The in-between is something which could come under the control of Kali. It is the individual evil mind is what influenced by Kali. For example, if you can enjoy hurting an innocent fellow being such as a child for personal gain of any kind, then they have to be evil. Even the strong willed King Parkishtha came under his influence.

Also the human mind is a soft target when it comes to Religion where Mr. Kali could have the easiest influence. In a country like India where the thugs such as the Great Empire (& other barbarians), made sure there was division among the people supported by the succeeding politicians whose main target was to bag votes to gain power & money. That was furthered by the roughish Sales men of the Religion. The religion around the world has been divided subdivided & fragmented over the years, so much so even trivia part of the human body, the facial hair (hair – dead part of the body) is used to identify the religion & hate crimes are committed!!

According to Mahabharata, Kali’s arrival on earth coincided with the death of Sri Krishna (Vishnu). However, he was not active until the death of the mighty & righteous Kuru King Parkishit, (grandson of Arjuna, one of the Pandava brothers & best friend of Sri Krishna). Strangely Mr. Kali had obtained permission to enter the Earth… in other words it was Legal!! Parikstha, son of Abhimanyu was a unique child from the Middle Vedic period, who while still in his mother Uttara’s womb, was killed by Ashwathama, using Brahmastra, the ultimate weapon of that period, in retaliation to the killing of his father Drona. Sri Krishna brought him back to life, hence the name Parikstha (tested one). His grandmother Subhadra was Sri Krishna’s younger sister.

Mr. Kali had tricked the King who sat on his horse, to let him enter the kingdom & the King had given him permission to dwell only in 4-places including gold. The symbolic Lady Virtue was his strength & constant companion. Strangely, the King himself became the first victim as Mr. Kali entered his golden crown & master minded the King’s death as he could not conquer the humanity with the righteous King still ruling the land. The King died when he took a single bite from the apple which floated towards him in the water just a fraction of a second before the time was up.

Whats the connection with Manhattan? Like Parkisthit’s watch tower in the middle of the water body, Apple showroom stands transparent with clear glass in all 4-directions, aloof among the concrete jungle! {an interesting story & I will write about it later…}

Like the King was tricked & entered without his knowledge, the slaves of the virtual software are gripping the generation without their realization, sinking in quietly … the mania increasing day by day hour by hour & minute by minute & second by second… oh Lord…both fear & relief passed through me pushing to shudder… it has already beaten the records of whatsapp & facebook mania.. with all the personal information about anyone who could access the internet is saved under google… {every persons alphabet under Alphbet Inc… coooool} control will not be difficult too.. all that the hegemonic Kali had to do was just find the right portal!

Late Mr. Steve Jobs (of Middle Eastern origin – Syrian) had opened his glass Apple cube showroom with 15 monolithic glass panels right opposite to the Plaza hotel, with his iconic one bite missing apple. When under construction, the showroom had made a controversial curiosity sensation as the rumours ran amok that it was an imitation of Kaba itself! There were debates on it till it was unveiled…

Central Park is almost a forest or oasis of green/trees in the middle of the concrete jungle surrounded by bars with all sorts of activities where the King had given permission for Mr. Kali to dwell. The main entrance has the General astride on the horseback lead by the Lady Victoria holding a palm frond, all in gold, symbolizing victory, triumph, peace & eternal life. The video was playing too fast in my mind & wondered what was happening & why – without any answer.

Strangely in the middle of the night the couple above our flat with the wooden floor started their carnal action… it started with a thug… as if there was an elephant amok which brought the thought of the elephant in heat which I had seen few months ago & felt sorry for it. It got nosier & nosier as if they were pumped up with Viagra & had a death erection. These basic needs are stretched too far by man leading into all sorts of activities & expectations… everything was happening around me & I was wondering what the hell is it all leading to? I am a grandmother & I can understand how the world works but this was confusing. I wondered why I had planned a short trip to New York out of the blue forcing my husband to accompany me? He simply hates short trips to long distance…

In the middle of it all I thought of the Dajjal, according to the Middle Eastern belief the anti-Christ will be born on earth (location unknown). It is something similar to Mr. Kali… & his actions. It is said that the Son of God in yellow robe will kill Dajjal. He is expected to descend near the white eastern minaret of Damascus, clad in two yellow sheets, leaning on the shoulders of two angels. Perhaps the two angles are the 2-wings of Garuda his official vehicle? One cannot lean on two persons at one time right? Since, the Sanatana Dharma has no specific single book, they are not included in the terminology of Middle Eastern believes. So it is always said that Lord Jesus will come back as he is said to be the Son of the God. But Lord Jesus never wears yellow & not two pieces too… he wears white single robe… so who is that Son of God who is coming back? There is no other prophet or anyone wearing yellow… the holy colour of Indian beliefs.

The thought of Dajjal & Mr. Kali was making me uncomfortable & then I realized that Lord Vishnu is to appear towards the end of the Kali Yuga. Lord Krishna, an Avatara of Lord Vishnu himself says in Srimad Bhagwad Gita that … Yada yada hi dharmasya… Whenever virtue subsides & wickedness prevails, I manifest Myself. To establish virtue, to destroy evil, to save the good, I come from Yuga (age) to Yuga. Kalki is the tenth & final Avatara of Lord Vishnu during Kali Yuga. An avatar means a divine being born in a human form usually to sustain law & balance of nature when it grows out of control.

Lord Vishnu is known as Pitambaradhari (the one who wears yellow!! – see the concluding part for more details) & the thought of those smiling eyes gave me comfort. So is it almost time for his arrival… Mr. Kali will be ridden by Sri Vishnu.

I thought who is going to win the Presidency & who could play a major role? That’s when I could see the monkeys jumping around scratching & screeching themselves, as if mocking me. Monkeys in Manhattan… then I remembered seeing them at the Louis Vuitton showroom as window dressing just around the corner between Apple showroom & the Trump Towers during my previous trip!!

Horse Carriage ride and Dessert at the Plaza – Part 3

We decided to go on the classic central park horse carriage {it always brings back the memory of , Richard Gere & Julia Roberts  in Pretty Woman } but thought that $50 was little too expensive…. Then it’s the Manhattan… Big Apple, trendsetter of the universe!!

We sat on the carriage with a beautiful black horse with a patch of white on the chest & left leg. It was a handsome horse called King, standing tall, head held high. Mario, the young man from El Salvador (Central America) clicked our pictures in the dark. We moved on while Mario started with his explanation of the buildings around pointing towards Lady Gaga’s 75 Million dollar penthouse on Central Park South, with simple yet pleasant lighting! He was happy to learn that we were from India because his doctor was a kind hearted Indian who helped him a lot… as we moved on in the darkness, he pointed towards different parts of the park explaining its past & present… which often missed my ears because of the noise or I could not understand him. Sometimes I asked him back about it… when I was showing my husband the white slivery speck of the black rock glittering in the light, he said it was Manhattan granite.

Then he asked do you know why New York is called the Big Apple? Then continued saying the trail in the park had annual track race, where the commentator used the term, you go around like a big apple & it stuck… forever!

After we were done with our ride, Mario, allowed all of us to feed King with a banana each! King was regal as he picked out each banana smoothly from each of our hands!

Once we were done, we  crossed over  to the food hall in the basement of the New York Plaza hotel & have some dessert. Plaza is expensive but it’s nice to treat ourselves once a while. Ironically the main Plaza hotel {a landmark 20 story luxury hotel & condominium apartment building} shareholder is the Indian Conglomerate Sahara India Parivar, with minor partnership of Saudi. So the 5 large flags Indian, Plaza, US, Saudi & parent company Fairmont hotel flaunted at the entrance.

At the food hall, we finally decided on enjoying French Crepes prepared by some nice Americans . A couple of Middle Eastern origin, the lady wearing the light peach Niquab were waiting for her strawberry ice-cream & the husband for his crepe. I was wondering how is she was going to eat it? I did not have to stare at them as they were seated across our table. When it was handed over to her by her husband wearing jeans & check shirt, she quietly lifted her veil from the face & started eating revealing her pretty face bringing a smile on my lips!! As I remembered in one of my trips to NY, at the Battery park, I had seen a woman in black Niquab kissing her husband. After the crepe, we had lime coconut juice, there was nothing coconut about it… Coconut, a fancy drink, after years of condemning has caught up with Westerners after the publicity about its health benefits.

We walked home leisurely talking about luxury buildings & shops & well-dressed New Yorkr couples eating and enjoying the Sunday evening. Passed Mr. Trumps residence guarded by men in black with a NYPD vehicle parked outside. Well-dressed oldies & youngsters moved out of fancy clubs called Lavo and Tao where I’m told there are parties that start in the midday and wrap up before its night!, The Isle of Capri looked old & worn out but still held its former glory at least in terms of name. As we walked, my son said Mum I will show you something… see this building with opening in the middle & took me to Bloomberg headquarters at Lexington Avenue. I said we, like in the company where I worked for decades, pay more than a million annually. Click a picture for me to show it to my colleagues… (Incidentally Mr. Bloomberg is a Jew, guess American Jews not Israelite, so the product is accepted in the Middle East) & the picture he took was rather strange… looked as a large horse shoe… through which the passage ran like a space craft.

We picked up some sweet smelling lilies… & reached home. It was a long & exhausting day & we had walked more than 3 miles. No one had any complaints as we had spent quality time together as a family without the interference of any modern devices. I never really thought it was strange till I was woken up by the whisper of my DIL in the middle of the night & the events unfolded like a video in front of me. Seemed like someone was putting the pieces of the puzzle together in my own mind.

Manhattan – Fishing and Rats (Part 2)

When we entered the park through the south-east corner, the same drama was being enacted inside too but the crowd was mixed. Being Saturday, the park was crowded. A young lady was painting the stone bridge & I peeped from the side to see the work. She was good. We walked little further & sat on the bench opposite to the lake overlooking the bridge. A Youngman was catching fish with simple hook & some plastic looking bait, while 3-ducks stood close to each other on a small rock popping out of the water. Another man from across was capturing the beauty of the natural stone bridge with his camera. At least they were aware of the what they were doing!!

Youngman’s fishing became our discussion for a while as many passersby looked at him with critical eyes. I was wondering if the fishing is allowed inside the park pond? There were a whole lot of fish in the pond… some coloured ones too… meanwhile he got one & he showed it to two kids saying it’s a trout… & released back the fish as an asian woman watched them all. I commented it’s nice that it was released, I know it is to teach his kids but he also should tell them that the fish gets hurt like us & feels uncomfortable deprived of oxygen nearly expecting death too. In the meantime, the kids pointed towards the back & said see Dad there & ran towards him. Oh boy it was not his kids! Was it fair to catch the fish? What was the purpose?

Then the Youngman took his fishing rod & walked to the other side of the lake. I wondered if he was maybe re-living his childhood or maybe making it up for the lost childhood? Now our mind moved towards the stone bridge where many women sat & some kids crawled along it’s the ledge of the bridge, which gave us goosebumps.

My husband and son talked about the buildings around. And I pointed to my daughter in law the Rats racing & scurrying from both sides… with full speed ignoring the presence of humans on their mobiles! There were so many & one was just behind us on the tree watching us. I started telling them about an Indian National volleyball player’s unprecedented accident, when she had rats feasting on her raw flesh right in front of her eyes while she lay unable to move between Two railway tracks. Actually my talk was not about the rats but the human mental endurance but my husband & DIL quickly got up to move… & on the other side of the lake there was a father & son duo both equipped with fishing rod… besides them was the same Youngman!! Same old thing repeated yet I was thankful for they were releasing it back to the water… we moved on fearing their hook might hurt us from their behind while throwing.

Outside “Zombie Oasis” was getting larger & the lights were on. NYPD vehicle which I had seen earlier was still there & I joked what would the Zombies do for Uncle Sam to wait on them… eat each other? Glued to mobiles, they were almost dead to reality, no one spoke or laughed.. thank God they still seemed breathing!! Only casualty was the Psyche Crash!! While the passing cars rolled smoothly & sounds of horse’s hoop reminded of a bygone era, there was an eerie silence among the packed homogeneous sardines..