Monday, June 9, 2014

2014 - An Indian Summer

The past few months have been rather hectic. Travelling, coming back to packing & shifting house, settling down into a new home and managing work at the same time. Nevertheless, it all got done, with a little struggle, some heartache and lots of help from kind friends.

In between, I managed to make a couple of short trips outside the city, started going on long walks (doubles up as my exercise plan) which I like, around my new neighbourhood... generally tried to not get bogged down with all that's been happening around me. 

Some snapshots of what I saw, experienced or made me happy!

Beautiful lilies that just brightened up the place

palm, fruit, summer,
Palm fruit being sold on the streets

One of India's natural summer thirst quenchers is the palm fruit. I discovered this fruit very recently when I was living in southern India. I was quite intrigued by these large, purplish fruits loaded on handcarts. A colleague at work first introduced me to it and now I always look out for them as summer rolls around. Each fruit has three hearts or pods which are like the white portions of the coconut. Here, they are fleshy and hold water. As the fruit matures, just like in a coconut, you get less water and tougher flesh. Here's more information on it, if you'd like.

pune expressway tunnels
Tunnels on the expressway between Pune & Mumbai

I love going through tunnels. Even as a kid, I would wait for the trains we travelled in to run through tunnels. Numerous decades later, I still do the same. :)

pinwheels streets of india
A pinwheel seller on the street

The pinwheels make such a colourful picture wherever they stand. You'll see loads of children with harassed parents in tow surrounding the seller. Summer holiday fun.

sunset on the expressway
Setting sun via the car window

A gorgeous sunset in the horizon as we were getting into Mumbai from Pune, on the expressway. 

amaltas tree mumbai
A fully bloomed 'Amaltas' tree

As much as I love this city, some things about it are beyond my understanding. It's a city, I have realised, where most building societies do not take pride in beautifying the outside of their apartment buildings. Inside their homes - kick ass. Outside... ahem! Dull white, grey, brown are the oft seen colours in this dense concrete jungle. And then you suddenly come across a green patch, an oasis of green. Sometimes the city can completely surprise you and throw up vivid colours in the midst of the bleak landscape. Like this 'amaltas' (botanical name: Cassia Fistula) tree that's in full bloom. Heart's delight. :) 

indian wedding
A 'bling' procession

You're forgiven if you think it's a religious procession. But it ain't. This was a noisy, blingy wedding 'baraat' (groom's party) headed towards their venue. The large, brilliantly lit chariot seated the groom. Those big lights in front of it (partially obscured by the trees, such a pity) were incredible. They were carried in huge pots, balanced on the shoulders of men. The lights rotated around like in some crazy disco accompanied by mind-numbing, loud, blaring music. Definitely a recipe to go blind & deaf simultaneously. 

stormy sky pune expressway
A sudden summer storm that overtook us enroute

A wild, tempestuous mid-summer sky while road tripping between Pune and Mumbai. It came upon us suddenly with thunder and streaks of lightning. But very little rain. 

stormy sky pune expressway
Another shot of the stormy sky
Since, these were shot through the windows of the vehicle with the glass up, you can see strange reflections. Like here, where you can see one of the mirrors of the car in the sky. Quirky, I thought and left the photo untouched :)

Summer's by no means over. I hope I can still get some good things out of it, the scorching temperatures notwithstanding. As they say, make hay while the sun shines!

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