Wednesday, 2 September 2015

H-appily ever after


Our much loved fairy tale characters, armed with apps. Would the stories have taken a different turn? Let’s put 5 of them to the app-test and see the stories, h-appily ever after.

Poor Hansel and Gretel had the misfortune of being lost in the big, dark, forest. Now, if only Hansel and Gretel had been armed with google maps, they would have never had to strew breadcrumbs on the trail back home. As for the poor hungry bird who ate up all the breadcrumbs, a food technology delivery app like Swiggy would have got her all the bird-feed she needed before she could even tweet her distress.

What about Cinderella and the fairy godmother? Ever wondered why the godmother had to ask Cinderella to return by the stroke of midnight?  Did the magic spell broke then or maybe it had something to do with return policy of the things she procured for Cinderella? Valid for only 6 hours? Now, if only fairy godmother had access to Amazon or Flipkart on her magic wand smartphone, she would have dressed up Cinderella to the hilt and Cinderella could have partied away all night without losing her hair or shoe.

Now, Sleeping Beauty had a different challenge. Falling asleep for 100 years and waiting for the Prince to wake her up. How boring it must have been for the poor Princess. As for the Prince. Why wait for a 100 years? Maybe the Prince was fighting traffic challenges of a different kind. Well, one click of Uber or Ola and the Prince would have been delivered to the doorstep of the sleeping, bored, Princess. And while he was waiting for Princess to wake up, he could have read her stories using the latest Kindle app. Till it was time to wake up to the new mobile wake up alarm.

Let’s peep into the tower of Rapunzel combing her shiny, long hair with hundred painstaking brushstrokes, yet to realize the hair would soon disappear. And that the poor Prince would not have her braided tresses to make the ascent to the tower. Well, one clap to Urban Ladder and a new, shiny ladder would have saved the duo much drama and the evil witch would have been able to take a nap in between her wicked spells.

What about Rumpelstiltskin? The queen went to so much trouble, sending her loyal soldiers all over the country to search for the name of evil Rumpelstiltskin. Well, a crowdsourcing app to get answers from multiple people; or such, would have crunched time and money; not that money would have been an issue in those pre-double-dip-recession days. But yes, the ending would still have been the Queens’ victory, with crowdsourced intelligence.

Alas, our fairy tale characters, had to work much harder in those days, without the tell-tale apps of today to click on their hearts’ desire.

App in hand, they could have been singing these stories, h-appily ever after.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

A Tale of Two Rocks

“Hey NosyRock,” goes BigHead
In the ancient land of Cappadocia.
“Your nose seems crooked today.”
BigHead breathes in the sunshine
And waits for the usual reply,
“No less than your cracked head,
Woke up wrong side of the bed?”

“I see we have visitors today.”
“You mean the hot air ballonists?
They are here for the sunrise, silly.”
“No, the two humans climbing this way,
Their faces look cracked, don’t they?”
“They don’t get free exfoliation, like us.
Maybe things are a bit rocky,
What do you know, Mr. Cocky?”

“Hey don’t crack me up now,
Am a little creaky these days,
Going on 4,000 years after all.”
Say BigHead, maybe it’s easier
Just being a rock these days,
Crooked noses, cracked heads and all.”
“If only they could exfoliate their fears,
NosyRock, no wonder we don’t shed tears.”

Rocked by Cappadocia, Turkey

When I first looked at the rocks, they looked straight out of a Starwars movie or maybe from a scene in the Flintstones cartoon. But they are real, an act of nature, so sublime and ethereal, that you can just sit and gaze in wonder at the landscape dotted with rocks carved, shaped, re-shaped and exposed by natures' seemingly cruel hand.

Cappadocia, in Turkey is a land that compels you to imagine. 

There are rocks and there are caves. 
Empty, bare, stark in summer and covered by a white sheet of snow in the winter. And then, there is history. Millions of years of history, steeped in those caves, hiding from the sight of the casual travellers who are happy to get another photo opportunity clicked for the latest Facebook Post. Fairy Chimneys, the rocks were called when they were first discovered, no doubt because they looked a bit too unreal to be true, as if they could only exist in the land of fairy tales.

Each rock seemed to be hiding its own story. A rock shaped like a monk saying his morning prayers, another rock shaped like a yogasana gone wrong, one tiny rock shaped like a man with a slumped back, who just lost his dream. Each rock, an invitation to the imagination. But there's more, underneath, literally.

Beneath these rocks are remmants of the underground cities of Cappadocia. Multi-level underground cities that saved generations of Cappadocians from invading armies. A march down the caves is not for the claustrophic.  As entire families fled the fairy chimneys to hide in the underground cities, there were spaces for cooking, prayer, even for hanging people, could be traitors or enemies. We'll never know.

The geography still remains a testimony to the regions' uniqueness but the history remains sketchy, at best. Did the enemy warriors ever find out about the underground cities? Did the underground cities get used as bunkers during the World Wars? Answers we'll never know. No one wrote an Anne Frank's diary in these caves, after all. So, we can imagine. Just imagine.

And wonder. We have not seen the last of these caves. As late as December 2014, a new archaeological site has been discovered at Nevsehir, by accident, by a building company.

It's almost like you could try hitting a nail on the wall and by accident, stumble onto a new underground city. An archaeologist's dream for sure. Give me a shovel and let me dig, I say.

But coming back to the rocks. They aren't sharing any of the secrets. Maybe, over their rock gossip, they discuss the old tales one more time. We can only see them, and what better way than to float above in a hot air balloon waiting for the sunrise to paint the entire panorama in a mystical, magical, mythical glow?

A new dawn breaks. The faces change. Visitors change. New travellers come and marvel at the rock formations. From a distance, it feels like the rocks are having an evening get-together and joking about all that is changing around with, with them; a nose that got shaved off, a head that got tilted - exfoliation they call it, all part of the game. Tomorrow is a new day. As always.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

A Rain Song

Drenched, soaking,
I enter the café,
Pocket empty of notes.

“A grande latte,
Make that a large”
“Cash or card?”  she asks
“A poem, actually.
I’ll pay with a poem”
She stares at me,
I need that coffee. I start,
My poem song.

At the corner table,
He sits alone.
I watch him,
Watch the rain.
The notes dance,
The notes fly,
A smile stains his eyes,
The coffee is still warm.

Drenched, soaking,
I leave the café,

Heart filled with the right notes.